Good Trouble 1x03 “Allies” Review
Only on its third episode, Good Trouble is already proving that it’s so much more than a spinoff of The Fosters.
Callie and Mariana, the adoptive Adams-Foster sisters, are each navigating their way through their first jobs out of college and living together with a bunch of strangers in a communal apartment space in Los Angeles. Mariana struggles to make her voice heard in a male-dominated tech work space, and Callie has difficulty figuring out who to trust in the competitive legal field.
Callie is clerking a case for notoriously conservative Judge Wilson on a police brutality case, which centers on the devastating murder of a black boy named Jamal Thompson, or at least she hopes.
In episode 1x02, Callie was whisked away from her work writing a memo for said case to party with the other Coterie members, and in the process, lost her phone and missed an important business call. Her work frenemie Rebecca then wrote the memo, meaning she was in the position to out Callie for disregarding her work responsibilities.
Thankfully, in the beginning of 1x03, Rebecca tells Judge Wilson that the memo was a collaborative effort between herself, Callie, and Ben. It turns out that the memo was written from Rebecca’s own conservative standpoint, and Judge Wilson proceeds to ask Callie to rewrite the it on her own so not to let her coworkers pressure her into suggesting a ruling she doesn’t believe is right.
Meanwhile, Malika finds herself more and more involved in the case, meaning that she and Callie cannot be seen talking about Jamal or much about anything at all. When Judge Wilson rules to investigate 911 calls from the night of the incident that could prove the guilt of the police officers involved, Malika agrees to celebrate with Jamal’s mother and blow off her own mom whom she hasn’t spoken to since she was taken into foster care as a child.
In a series of flashbacks, we see Callie struggle to write the memo that leads to Judge Wilson’s decision, and even go to her ex fling Jamie, who’s now a lawyer in LA, for advice. She worries about how she will get around living with Malika while not messing with the case. She also uses Jamie to make Gael, her current on-and-off fling, jealous while he’s out with his date, Bryan.
By the end of the episode, the dynamics of many relationships are up in the air. Rebecca seems to want to help Callie, but she has a poor track record. Similarly, Casey wants to help Mariana avoid floundering in a sea of male egos and dog-eat-dog attitudes, but there’s not much she can actually do. Malika wants her brother back in her life, but she’s not willing to let her mother back in too, which is what he wants. And perhaps the most scandalous of all relationships is Callie and Gael’s. Their love triangle has now become somewhat of a love square, and it’s difficult to predict how these individual love stories will pan out.
One of the greatest themes in this episode is female alliances. Though they’ve had their fair share of squabbles in the past two episodes alone, Callie and Malika seem to be on the road to a real friendship — if they can make it past the Jamal Thompson case, that is. I’m expecting that the case will cause some rifts between them, unfortunately, but I’m excited to see where they end up by the end of the season.
Similarly, Mariana seems to have a friend in Casey, but this is only the second time she’s popped up to give some useful advice. I’d love to see her become more of a fixture in Mariana’s work life and really help her get on her own two feet. I don’t think Mariana’s ever had this much trouble getting her way and turning a bright idea into a reality (or at least getting credit for it), but it’s definitely taking a toll on her. She needs a female friend who understands what it’s like to be in her position and help her get some confidence back.
Something I disliked about Good Trouble at first but have grown to love is its use of flashbacks. The plot isn’t linear in any sense of the word and while this confused me in Episode 1, it now has me excited to piece together bits of the story as it moves along. There’s something really endearing about going back and getting information that no other character knows about except for the ones who were there, such as majority of Callie and Gael’s relationship. It also leaves me as a viewer wanting more and looking forward to the next flashback.
Speaking of Callie and Gael, I’m unsure how I feel about these two. They have undeniable chemistry, but I don’t know if I love the portrayal of a bisexual man as someone who’s juggling relationships with a man and a woman and can’t commit to one of them. Bisexuals are too often portrayed as serial daters and cheaters in popular media, so while the reveal of Gael being bisexual had me jumping for joy, the progression of his storyline has me worried.
However, this show does a great job at speaking on issues of racial profiling and police brutality and how quickly these cases are forgotten about when another occurs. Since Episode 1, Malika has taken the angry black woman stereotype and reclaimed it, emphasizing that black women have reason to be angry when innocent black lives are being taken every day and are then being forgotten about within months. She wants real change to be made. Because of this, she cannot afford to be warm to Callie if she’s a threat to the progress of the fight for justice for black lives.
In this episode particularly, Malika acts as a beacon of hope and showcases an admirable refusal to give up in the face of adversity. Good Trouble’s social awareness is perhaps its greatest strength, and Malika is only one face of it. Though Gael is questionable, I’m hopeful that he will evolve and provide better, more realistic bisexual representation as the show continues.
More than anything, I’m excited to see relationships new and old develop. There’s so much potential for friendships and romances to blossom, some that I expect and some I’ll probably never see coming — but that’s the beauty of this show. It certainly knows how to keep you on your toes.
Good Trouble airs Tuesdays on Freeform at 8/7c.