Good Trouble 1x11 “Less Than” Review
There’s choppy waters on Episode 11 of Good Trouble and it seems like ships might be sinking — even Stef and Lena. With only a couple episodes left, this show is really amping up the drama. If you aren’t caught up, you’ll definitely want to get on that.
Stef and Lena, the moms of the Fosters clan played by Teri Polo and Sherri Saum, make their second cameo of the season accompanying Callie, Mariana and Jamie to Judge Wilson’s home. Though it appears at first that the Judge was simply being polite by inviting his clerk’s family over, it soon becomes apparent that he’s trying to teach his delinquent son a lesson.
If you don’t recall, Wilson’s son was charged for assaulting a police officer and placed on house arrest. He and Callie have had a few awkward encounters, one which ended in him apologizing for her having to work for his father.
Though Callie tries to be polite and keep her chatty sister away from him, he soon reveals that his charges have been dropped. Callie is appalled by this, especially since she knows Jamal Thompson, the center of the case she’s currently clerking, did not have receive the same fate due to his skin color.
Meanwhile, Malika and Callie become annoyed when black jurors are continually questioned and dismissed off the case. And as if things couldn’t get any worse, a video of Jamal speaking poorly of black women leaks, causing many to question their continuation of protesting against the court on his behalf.
Malika struggles with her stance, knowing that she must continue to defend the lives of those who succumb to race-based police violence, but also questioning whether or not a black man would do the same for her. She recalls her own boyfriend Isaac, and how the first night they met, he was swiping left on black women on a dating app while instead going for white, blonde-haired women.
Alice, meanwhile, is also struggling to keep her blooming relationship going. Joey accepts that she isn’t out to her family yet, but what she has trouble accepting is the fact that Alice’s ex, Sumi, is still hung up on her. When Sumi shows up unannounced at the loft offering to make dinner for the three of them plus Sumi’s fiance Meera, things get awkward quick. Sumi’s relentless sucking up to Alice catches the attention of not only Meera, but Joey as well, who is uncomfortable to say the least. Unfortunately, when she expresses her concerns to Alice, it becomes clear that Alice may have been lying about being over her ex after all.
Back at Judge Wilson’s house, tensions between Stef and Lena rise as they talk to the judge and his wife. Callie and Mariana, concerned about their mothers’ relationship, jump at the first opportunity to leave and force their parents to sit down and talk things out as soon as they get back to the Coterie.
It turns out that during Lena’s campaign for State Assembly, Stef said something in an interview that didn’t align with her wife’s views, and Lena didn’t stand up for her. This has caused a communicative disconnect between the two. Thankfully for them (and for us), they are able to talk it out, avoiding what could’ve been possibly the worst breakup in television history.
Speaking of breakups, though, there’s Malika and Isaac. Due to differing views about Jamal Thompson’s comments and Malika’s unwillingness to let her guard down, the pair have broken it off. This doesn’t mean of course that they won’t get back together (and I’m so hoping they do), but the stress of this case seems to be too much for Malika to juggle with a romantic relationship right now. Luckily, they’ve been straight out of a romantic comedy from the beginning, and romantic comedies always end with huge romantic gestures and professions of love. So should we really be worried? Probably not.
At Speckulate, Mariana is attempting to put together an anonymous list of women and men to show the wage gap at the company on paper. However, she runs into a lack of support when she brings up adding race indicators to the list. Mariana is only one of two women of color at the company, so it’s unfortunately unsurprising when the other members of the Byte Club want to tackle general women’s equality first. Mariana knows she can’t back down in the fight for intersectional feminism though, so with the aid of some statistics, she’s able to convince the other women to side with her on the issue. Unfortunately, it then comes to her attention that by marking herself as Latina, she’ll be getting rid of her anonymity completely. Thankfully, Raj agrees to mark himself as Indian, outing himself amongst his white coworkers as well.
And in a giant win for Mariana, the CEO of the company personally asks her to meet with him about developing her app. Her hard work is finally paying off! However, something tells me that when this not-so-anonymous list goes public, that might hinder her success a bit.
And across town at the firm, Callie has an outburst. When the judge won’t take away defender’s abilities to question and dismiss black jurors, Callie calls him out and throws his son’s privilege back in his face. Although Callie is later pleased to see that Judge Wilson has hired a new liberal clerk, the woman who she suspected was being harassed by a Judge who had assaulted Rebecca, that joy quickly fades though when the Judge delivers her some devastating news: she’s being replaced. YIKES.
Last episode was hyper-focused on relationships and didn’t cover the work lives of our beloved characters at all. So, I was ecstatic to see the focus shift back to Callie and Mariana’s professional endeavors, and for some waves to be made in the workplace. Similar to the pilot though, one sister’s risk-taking worked in her favor, while it definitely did not for the other.
Callie’s been getting braver and braver in the firm, choosing to speak up against Judge Wilson instead of keeping her mouth shut even though she knows he’s conservative-leaning. This is partly, of course, due to the fact that the Judge himself encouraged her to do so. However, she definitely took it a bit too far by bringing up his son — a subject she knows is touchy for him. Although I’m sad to see that Callie got dismissed from the Jamal case, I’m glad that she spoke her mind and I’m hoping that his new liberal clerk won’t back down from doing the same.
Meanwhile, Mariana was able to score a meeting with the CEO of the company. This development has been a long time coming, and it’s super satisfying to see her get a win over her misogynistic, white male coworker. Raj all the while is being a stellar ally to Mariana’s Byte Club and even seems willing to face repercussions if it means some positive change is made. Even though he messed up by trying to kiss Mariana a few episodes back, I can’t help but to love these two together, even if it’s just as friends.
This episode also did an amazing job at bringing up the issue of internal struggles within the black community. Malika wants to feel supported by the group she’s trying to support, and even though she knows that black men are so often victims of police violence, she finds that black men often don’t show up to support black women and even prefer white women over them romantically in some cases. This show is always shedding light on social issues we don’t often talk about, and I’m so thankful for the scene in which Malika shut Davia and their other roommate down for telling her to stop protesting. Malika is tired of having to explain black issues to white people at the drop of a hat, as she should be, and I’m so here for her reclaiming her identity as a black woman and refusing to let non-black people tell her who she should be or how she should feel.
The representation on Good Trouble is always amazing, but the writing really stuck out to me this episode. The dialogue within these important conversations blew me away. Important issues are being discussed without seeming super staged, and that’s so critical. These are normal conversations and normal problems that we face in our everyday lives. So, they should sound normal when being discussed — not like PSAs.
I’m just so thankful for this show and all that it is. It’s truly better than I could’ve ever imagined, and with a season two in the works, I can’t wait to see how this season ends and what comes next. Cierra Ramirez who plays Mariana recently teased that this season will end on a cliffhanger, and with the drama that’s been building up throughout these first 11 episodes, I don’t think any of us are ready.
Good Trouble airs Tuesdays on Freeform at 8/7c.