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Good Trouble 1x04 “Playing the Game” Review

Good Trouble 1x04 “Playing the Game” Review

Don’t you hate it when your boss invites you to his house to play 20 Questions: Legal Edition and ends the party early when you stump him? No? Callie, Ben and Rebecca sure do.

Episode 4 picks up with Judge Wilson’s clerks sitting at a bar, visibly unamused after what seems to have been a long day. As flashbacks show us, they went to the judge’s house for an afternoon BBQ and played an intense game of 20 Questions, attempting to guess the names of legal cases and people involved in notorious legal matters.

While there, Callie discovers that Wilson is lying about his son studying abroad for the semester. In actuality, he’s on house arrest and isn’t allowed out of his room when there’s company present.

Meanwhile, Mariana reaches a boiling point at work when she’s asked to speak highly of the company in a recorded interview in which only the employees of color are being included. She knows that this doesn’t represent the company at all, as it’s mostly made up of white men, and decides she has to say something during her interview.

Coworkers Casey and Raj warn her that speaking out won’t help improve the company’s diversity and may end up getting her fired. Ultimately, Mariana listens to them and lies about loving her workplace and its culture.

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Alice also struggles with the decision to speak her mind or please everyone when several issues in the apartment are left to her to take care of. This comes just after she helps ex-girlfriend Sumi and her new fiance begin to plan their wedding, despite the fact that she’s still in love with her.

Malika helps Alice to realize her worth and stand up for herself, reminding her that when she moved in, Alice had given her three months to get a job and begin paying for her share of the rent. Though it’s difficult for her, Alice holds a meeting in the Coterie and announces she will no longer be buying toilet paper for everyone in the loft. To her surprise, no one seems to care much.

All the while, Davia is considering leaving the loft. Her friend with benefits whom she hopes will become something more lives in Wisconsin, and she considers moving back to be closer to her family as well as him. However, he’s married, and though Davia believes he and his wife aren’t in love, he encourages Davia to stay in Los Angeles and continue teaching at the school she doesn’t love before catching a flight back home.

While one relationship seems to be falling apart, another could be blossoming. Mariana invites Raj out for a drink, just them without their annoying coworkers. When he arrives at the bar, he realizes that Mariana invited some of her friends along. He sits down anyway, but when Mariana mentions finding a stranger across the way attractive, he seems more than a bit jealous. Could this turn into something more than just a crush?

Callie also seems to have an admirer in Ben who walks her home from the bar and asks to come up for a drink, but when she refuses and he leaves, he sees Malika walking into the apartment right behind Callie. Ben is clearly suspicious about how Malika and Callie know each other and if there could be meddling in the Jamal Thompson case. This could prove difficult for Callie going forward as the clerk in the case.

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This episode focused a lot more heavily on other characters in the loft besides Callie and Mariana, which was much needed. Prior to Episode 4, Davia and Alice have been floating in and out of storylines, not providing much except for a few one-liners here and there.

Here though, we really got to know the two women and what drives them. Alice is too nice for her own good, but as Malika reminds her, she hasn't always been that way. This has laid down a foundation for Alice to grow and change in front of the viewers’ very eyes.  

Davia, on the other hand, has been a pretty closed book up until now. We now know that she has been in a relationship with a married man, and that this man provides her with a lot of her confidence. This isn’t abnormal. I mean, being in love is great. But I’d really love to see this relationship end, and for Davia to learn how to love herself instead of needing the affection of others to prop her up. She puts on a confident facade, but as we’ve seen in the past from the way she reacted to trolls on her Instagram page fat-shaming her, she isn’t as strong as she pretends to be.

This is what makes Davia such a great character though. Even though she seems to have it all — good looks, a career, a substantial social media following, friends who love her — she still has her downfalls. This is exactly why she is easy to relate to and so fun to watch. I’m excited to witness Davia’s journey to becoming a more confident and happy person.

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On a different note, I continue to love and appreciate Good Trouble’s nods to social justice issues that are relevant right now. The discussion about sports players kneeling during the national anthem, and conservative Judge Wilson’s agreeance with Callie’s liberal perspective was definitely a highlight of the episode.

Similarly, the inclusion of statistics about the racial and gendered makeup of tech companies was so important. I was shocked to hear that only 15% of engineers are women. Again though, Good Trouble is shining a light on these issues and making sure that those who don’t know, learn.

I’m definitely hoping for more Raj and Mariana in future episodes. Though she hasn’t expressed interest in him, this could be the perfect slowburn. Admittedly, I was hoping they’d hook up this episode, but it would be nice to see them form a real friendship first before becoming anything more. After all, Mariana really needs a friend.

Gael was absent from this episode, which leaves me wondering if he and Callie will ever end up being more than just loft mates who occasionally have sex. I wouldn’t have much of an issue with that, seeing as he rubbed me the wrong way leading on Callie while having someone else in his back pocket.  

Maybe it’s best for Callie not to worry about relationships, at least for a while, because this case is about to get a lot more interesting now that Ben knows Malika is her roommate. I, for one, can’t wait to see how this turns out.

Good Trouble airs Tuesdays on Freeform at 8/7c.

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