When we last left Bob Hearts Abishola, our central couple was at a crossroads.
Abishola had just received her acceptance letter from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, more than 700 miles from the marrieds’ current home in Detroit. Then there was Bob, who was initially on board with moving, then decided that he didn’t want to run MaxDot remotely.
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Nine months later, the CBS sitcom returns for its fifth and final season of 13 episodes — premiering Monday, Feb. 12 at 8:30/7:30c (get scoop on cast cuts) — and husband and wife are no closer to a resolution.
“Life has taken over,” series co-creator and star Gina Yashere tells TVLine. “A lot of other things have come up that have taken their attention. No big decision has been made yet.” Adds co-showrunner Matt Ross: “The idea is that it will come to a head. All these big things get thrown at them — and because they’re such pragmatic, practical people, they deal with those things and put their own, deeper desires on the back burner. What that turns into is something that they will have to deal with [later in Season 5].”
In the season opener, Abishola is struggling with college-bound Dele as he pushes back against long-held expectations set forth by his parents.
“A big part of this season is Dele pursuing a future that might not be the one that Abishola mapped out for him — his individuation from the traditional Nigerian trajectory,” Ross says. “Another big thing is how Abishola deals with having raised not just a Nigerian kid, but a Nigerian-American kid.”
Dele’s father Tayo also will return and add to the friction between mother and son. “Tayo has always represented the more traditional outlook on how you might raise a kid,” Ross points out. “The most interesting part is Abishola deciding where she’s at on that spectrum now, and that’s a line that continues to move. She really has to wrestle with that head on at this point.”
In Episode 2, Bob and Abishola make themselves available to Uncle Tunde and Auntie Olu after Tunde gets into a car accident.
“He’s not feeling as youthful or as virile as he once was,” Yashere previews. “It’s about coming to terms with the fact that he’s not the person in his mind that he is in his body.
“Olu has always been the supporting wife,” she notes, “but she’s also the realist standing behind him, saying, ‘You need to come to terms with what is happening.’ Tunde is in a little bit of denial, and Olu is the one to force him to see sense.”
With that said, she’ll still need help from her niece and Bob. “There’s a backstory to Tunde’s accident that Olu is aware of, and that Bob and Abishola will learn,” Ross teases. “It is a deeper issue that they all then help Tunde face together.”
Big changes are also afoot for the Wheeler family — beginning with Bob’s sister Christina, who wants to start a family of her own. “Christina decides that she wants to [embark on] the IVF journey and have a baby — ostensibly by herself,” Yashere tells TVLine. This, in turn, may inspire her long-time admirer Kofo “to let his feelings be known.”
Meanwhile, Bob’s brother Douglas “has a big, new idea for the future of MaxDot,” Ross reveals. “There are people who have underestimated him, and they get to see him in a new light.”
Family matriarch Dotty also “makes a big career decision later on in the season,” Yashere tells us — a decision that will impact Bob’s plans as we inch towards the end of the series.
Viewers can also expect a wedding before series’ end, now that Kemi is engaged to Chukwuemeka.
“You get a dose of what Kemi’s ideal wedding might be [in Episode 3],” Ross says. But as Yashere points out, “Kemi doesn’t necessarily get what she wanted.”
“Obviously, we don’t want to repeat the same visuals that we had when Abishola got married,” Kemi’s portrayer tells us. “Circumstance is going to come into play and diverge from her ideas of what the dream wedding is going to be.” According to Ross, what results is an episode where “Kemi is more honest than we’ve ever seen her be about her own insecurities.”
Bob Hearts Abishola kicks off its fifth and final season on Monday, Feb. 12 at 8:30 pm, and will culminate in a May 13 series finale. Check out TVLine’s exclusive first look at the series’ farewell key art above, then hit the comments with your hopes for the final 13 episodes.
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