Good Trouble 1x12 “Broken Arted” Review
In the penultimate episode of Good Trouble’s first season, sh*t hits the fan. Then again, what else can we expect from the show with more love triangles, rectangles and whatever shape you can think of, really, than any other?
Most of the episode takes place at an art gallery where Gael is featuring eight of his pieces, hoping to attract some new fans and some buyers. Most of the gang tags along, and even some of Mariana’s coworkers and her boss are there.
Raj accompanies Mariana, who is preparing to make an app pitch to the CEO of the company, Evan. Unfortunately, Mariana’s work friend, Casey, has advised her not to pitch her original idea as it’s something he’s heard before, and when Mariana brings up her idea for an activism app, Casey isn’t so sure he’ll like that either.
Mariana is also majorly stressed out about the not-so-anonymous anonymous list detailing employee salaries at the company. Though she still wants to make positive change and close the wage gap at Speckulate, she knows that being the only marked Latina female on the list will out her and attract some negative attention.
Regardless, Raj agrees to stick by her side and remain open about his race on the list as well. He says, “If you go down, I’m going down with you.” (Is anyone else crying?)
Meanwhile, Gael receives slightly negative feedback on one of his pieces, causing Bryan to immediately strategize how he can get some positive publicity. Gael is getting more and more uncomfortable by the minute though, and when his sister, Jazmin confronts him about his feelings for his boyfriend, he realizes that becoming exclusive with him was probably a mistake. He’s still in love with Callie. After all, she helped him craft one of the pieces in the gallery last minute the night before. She’s his muse, as he calls her.
While he tries to sort through his feelings, Jamie and Callie seem to be going strong. Jamie continues to look into Judge Wilson and his son’s legal past, since both find it strange that charges on him were dropped after he assaulted a police officer. With Callie being replaced as the clerk on the Jamal Thompson case, she seems to have more time to snoop, and less worries about the possible consequences. When Malika tries to get her to come to the next Black Lives Matter protest though, she still says no. Being seen at the event may be a little too public seeing as she’s still a clerk for Judge Wilson.
While Malika is attempting to organize the protest, her mind is occupied by her brother, who she hasn’t heard from in a while and whose number has suddenly been changed. She tries to focus on her work, but when she finally hears from him, he tells her he’s not well.
Meanwhile, Sumi and Meera’s relationship is threatening to fall apart. Sumi tells Alice that she’s still in love with her, and even admits she was her soulmate. She’s set to get married in just days, and while she’s admitted her feelings, Alice seems to genuinely be into Joey. I can’t be the only one crossing my fingers every time Alice is on screen that she won’t forget her worth and get back with her ex, right?
Speaking of which, ah, Davia. Her on-and-off boyfriend who’s from Wisconsin and still married (what a mouthful) is back in LA and still promising to leave his wife for her. Though Dennis has made it clear that he doesn’t want to see her get hurt and doesn’t think he’s good enough for her, Davia is continuing to see the guy. However, she seems to be taking Dennis’ words to heart, because she informs her boyfriend that she’s not moving back home until he’s divorced. She’s not going to continue being someone’s mistress. Yes, girl!
At the gallery, Mariana runs into Evan and pitches him her idea, which despite Casey’s warning, he seems to love. Unfortunately, Angela and Josh are watching the entire exchange, and Josh tells Angela that he’s afraid Evan is into Mariana for more than her app ideas. He mentions a name we haven’t heard before, Amanda, and remarks that he doesn’t want what happened to her to happen to Mariana, landing Speckulate smack dab in the middle of a #MeToo movement scandal. He then tells Angela to get her fired.
When Mariana tells Raj about how well her informal pitch went, he isn’t as congratulatory as she’d hoped. Raj then unknowingly echoes Josh, telling Mariana that he’s afraid Evan has bad intentions. She doesn’t want to hear this though, and blows up on Raj, reminding him that he’s the one who had bad intentions. Yikes.
Back at the loft, Bryan confronts Gael about his feelings for Callie, knowing from the paint on Callie’s hands that she helped him create his last minute piece. Gael admits that he should’ve never agreed to be exclusive (sigh) and breaks things off. Bryan’s words to Callie as he leaves? “You won.”
The next morning, at Speckulate, Angela confronts Mariana about the anonymous list, having hacked her way into the system to get it. Instead of firing her on the spot though, Angela gives Mariana a hard drive of all the men’s salaries. Could this be an unexpected partnership blooming? Or is Angela taking Josh’s warning seriously and setting her up?
We don’t have much time to ponder this because in probably the most heartbreaking Good Trouble episode ending ever, Dennis is missing. This comes after his friend who went into a deal with Jesus on building tiny houses is threatening to back out, all because of drama involving Dennis and his soon to be ex-wife.
She then tells Dennis that he was a horrible husband and horrible father, and that it took their son getting cancer for him to care about her feelings. With these words ringing through his head, Dennis takes off and parks his car on the roof of a tall building overlooking the city. He leaves his ex a voicemail detailing how horrible he feels for everything he’s done, and how he wants her to have all the money from the settlement so that she can start a happy life without him.
It’s clear that Dennis is about to hurt himself, but as we see Davia panicking, thinking back on every interaction Dennis had with his friends at the gallery that day, she realizes as we do that it wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. He’s been saying goodbye to everyone he knows and loves for days. And before we can see what he does, the screen cuts to black. For the first time ever, Good Trouble has left us wondering about the fate of a beloved character (can someone pass the tissues?).
So let’s unpack all of this. Where do I even begin?
There’s so many relationships intersecting here that it’s almost difficult to keep track, perhaps the biggest drawback of having so many amazing characters. Of course we have Callie and her love triangle with Jamie and Gael, who’s also dating (well, dated) Bryan. But then, there’s also Alice, Joey, Sumi and Meera, and then there’s the weird unestablished shape that is Mariana, Raj and Evan. Because after all, she may not be interested in either of them.
And a bit more understated, we have Davia whose relationship with her boyfriend is on and off, and who I refuse to believe doesn’t have something going on with Dennis, whom is also dealing with his ex-wife.
On top of all this relationship drama, we have much bigger issues unraveling in this episode. Mariana’s anonymous salary list has now been discovered by Angela, her boss, and it seems like people at Speckulate want her gone. Additionally, the CEO of the company, Evan, who’s taken interest in her, has a cloudy past that may involve sexual assault? Whoever this Amanda person is, I’m dying to hear about her and maybe even get a flashback of her relationship with Evan. But for now, the fact that we know close to nothing is only building the suspense.
Meanwhile, Malika’s brother seems to be in trouble in the midst of the protest she’s organized. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly could’ve happened, but I can only imagine it involves their mom in some way, shape or form. Regardless, it’s about to get ugly.
But most worrying of all is Dennis’ disappearance and worrying voicemail left to his ex-wife. We can all assume that he’s probably about to attempt suicide, and with Davia the only person who seems to be around, I’m terrified to find out if she’s able to get to him on time. I’m really glad though that the show is honing in on this relationship between two friends who virtually hated each other at the beginning of the season. They’ve learned in such a short time that they have more in common than they thought, and that they only want the best for each other. If only one thing can happen in the finale, I hope it’s Davia saving Dennis and reiterating to him that his life is worth living, because he is worthy of love and happiness and success just like everyone else.
With all the “good” trouble we’ve seen the characters get into, it’s so important that real issues like the wage gap and mental health are being brought up as well. Scandalous relationship drama and threesomes can be entertaining to watch, but Good Trouble is concerned with being more than just entertaining. This show is starting conversations about things like men’s mental health, and I’m so, so thankful they are. Men have only recently been given a platform to talk about their mental health issues, and Dennis is one of few great examples of representation in that space.
As we go forward to the finale and into the second season, I’m hoping that Dennis’ story will continue to be told, and that we’ll see him heal, even if slowly, because that’s real and it’s raw. In addition to Dennis, there’s so many amazing stories being told in this show that will continue to be told. I feel like I say this every week, but the writers of this show are so fantastic and I applaud the work they’re doing to create realistic dialogue between characters that tackles social issues. There are so many characters in the Coterie and at Judge Wilson’s firm and at Speckulate that come from all walks of life and have their own experiences to share.
The finale is definitely going to be full of drama, with Dennis, Callie/Gael/Jamie, and the lesbian love rectangle just to name a few characters/relationships. I’m definitely not ready.
Good Trouble airs Tuesdays on Freeform at 8/7c.