Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

“Mother Nature” is going to be a universally praised episode of Black-ish. It deals with a very serious issue — postpartum depression — with a comedic touch, much like the episodes dealing with anti-black police violence and Trump’s election. Black-ish is a particularly thoughtful sitcom, and the recent episode will only serve to prove that reputation.

According to Dre’s voice-over, Rainbow hasn’t been herself since giving birth to Devonte, and he’s struggling to do more around the house when she’s feeling too low to do the mom shuffle. After a huddle with Stevens & Lido, Dre wonders if Bow has postpartum depression and tries to affirm it with a quiz from a women’s magazine.

If all “Mother Nature” did was deliver the Black-ish take on postpartum depression and the feelings of guilt, it would be a commendable episode. But rather than going through with the generic special episode about a specific problem, it breaks off in an unexpected way and adds new depth to a central relationship between Bow and Ruby.

Bow goes to her doctor to seek treatment for her mood swings and receives prescription antidepressants. Her fear of tainting her breast milk is gone when the doctor tells her it won’t do anything to it. By this point, Ruby has already concluded that Bow is just being weak, and when Bow finds out that Ruby fed Devonte baby formula instead of her breast milk, she goes off on Ruby.

When Bow is at her best, she can take Ruby’s verbal arrows and shoot them right back at her just as hard. But now that she’s regularly sad, Bow’s tolerance for Ruby’s insults are at an all-time low. And this time it isn’t about her cooking skills or her fashion sense, but instead her ability to raise children. When Bow doesn’t seek treatment, Ruby says she’s just weak. When she does seek treatment, Ruby believes her milk is poisoning the baby. It’s a vicious circle, and Bow is right to call Ruby out on her decision to feed Devonte baby formula.

“Mother Nature” ends with Bow asking Ruby to leave the home because she thinks having her around won’t make her postpartum depression any easier. Ruby tries to have Dre side with her but he too tells his mom to leave the house, siding with his wife instead.

It’ll be interesting how Ruby and Bow rekindle their relationship after this fallout and how the rest of the season goes with this cloud roaming over there heads.


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