The Goldbergs season 5, episode 16 recap: The Scrunchie Rule

THE GOLDBERGS - The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Byron Cohen)
THE GOLDBERGS - The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Byron Cohen) /

Erica goes to war with her college roommate in the latest episode of The Goldbergs. While the kids are all away for the weekend, Beverly tries to fill the empty nest.

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It was 1980-something and the Goldberg kids are growing up fast. With Erica off at college, Barry close behind, and Adam off doing his own thing, the Goldberg house can get pretty empty. The quiet may come to a relief to some parents but for Beverly Goldberg, it’s an absolute nightmare.

The episode, titled “The Scrunchie Rule,” not only focuses on Beverly’s fear of her kids leaving the house but gives The Goldbergs more time to focus on Erica’s college life. Recent episodes revealed that Erica has had a tough time readjusting to college but now viewers get a better look into the relationship with her roommate, Valley Erica.

Beverly’s empty nest

Since a young age, Adam has always relied on his mother, or “smother” as he refers to her, to get him out of any full-contact gym class activities. Her current Bevolution gets her full attention so Beverly doesn’t come to Adam’s rescue when he has to face the infamous rope climb. He tries but ends up falling off. Adam not only lands on Coach Mellor but causes his teacher a serious injury that requires a neck brace.

While all three kids are away for the weekend, Beverly has no idea what to do with herself. She starts to have fears about her soon-to-be empty nest so she sets her eyes on poor Coach Mellor, Since his injury, he can’t really care for himself so Beverly invites him to stay at the Goldberg house. What starts out as a nice gesture, quickly turns a little creepy for Murray as Mellor starts to act as if he’s one of the kids.

Coach Mellor’s brother Nick is enlisted to assist when things begin to get too far but then Beverly learns he too needs help. Nick has been living at the gym because he doesn’t have anywhere else to stay. Beverly extends her hand and lets him have Erica’s room. Murray gets desperate so he pleads for Adam to come back and pretend to need his mom. Beverly finally realizes she has gone too far when the Mellor brothers have fully transformed into replacements for her kids. It was probably a huge man wearing a tiny pink robe that changed her mindset.

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Erica vs. Erica

Erica and her roommate Valley Erica seemed to have gotten along in the past but it looks like things have changed. The two Ericas are at war with one another with just about everything and anything. Being stuck in their tiny dorm is straining their relationship. It isn’t until Erica finds a scrunchie on her door handle that she realizes she must fight back. The scrunchie means that Valley Erica is entertaining a guest so Erica must sleep in the common room or go home.

The Goldbergs season 5
THE GOLDBERGS – The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Byron Cohen) /

While at home, she decides Barry would be the perfect person to carry out her revenge plan. Roommates can’t use the scrunchie rule if the other roommate has a guest staying with them. So Barry accompanies his sister for the weekend at the dorm. He quickly bonds with Valley Erica and Erica finds herself scrunchied out of the room once again. So she comes up with another plan. To put a halt to the new romance between Barry and Valley Erica, Erica invites Lainey. The move completely throws off Barry since he still has feelings for her.

The scrunchie backfires

Barry and Erica keep inviting people to the dorm to get back at each other. Geoff, the JTP, and seemingly half the high school are stuck in the dorm during the Erica/Erica feud. As a last-ditch effort, the two Ericas run to the R.A. to solve their issues. In doing so, all of the current guests decide they need to work things out. Erica’s plan backfires and the two roommates are scrunchied out of their own dorm. In a fit of anger, Erica claims that Valley Erica is just some random girl and they were never really friends.

They both find themselves sleeping in the common room. Valley Erica is upset about how Erica truly feels about her. Erica explains to her that she didn’t mean it and that college has been a lot more difficult than she expected. Without Valley Erica as a roommate, Erica doesn’t think she would be able to get through life at college. The two have a sweet heart-to-heart and decide to get back to the dorm with their guests. They end the feud and host a fun party in the dorm.

The Goldbergs season 5
THE GOLDBERGS – The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Byron Cohen) /

Dealing with change

Beverly thinks she’s the only one dealing with the worry of the empty nest. Murray reassures his wife that he hates change. He’s also dreading the day when all the kids are gone. Murray is used to having his loud moronic kids around but replacing them with adult men is obviously not an option.

Next: The Goldbergs season 5, episode 15 recap: Adam Spielberg

Murray proves to Beverly that they will have to a quiet house but it will be okay because they will deal together. He has even surprises Beverly by making a candle-lit dinner just for the two of them. The situation will take time getting used to but the empty nest clearly has some bright spots. For now, they still have years left dealing with the wild lives of their family.

The Goldbergs air Wednesday nights on ABC at 8/7c!