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Good Trouble 1x09 “Willful Blindness” Review

Good Trouble 1x09 “Willful Blindness” Review

War, what is it good for? In “Willful Blindness”, things get heated around the Coterie — and not in a good way.

In the initial flashforward, we see everybody arguing, though we can’t tell what their debacles are about. Callie and Gael are going at it, as are Alice and Sumi’s fiancee, Meera, and Malika and her brother.

We soon learn that things have been awkward between Callie and Gael since they broke things off completely. When she comes to bring him some legal paperwork for his sister, Jazmin, the conversation is short-lived. When Bryan walks in, Callie is sure to drop Jamie’s name before leaving.

Bryan, meanwhile, is attempting to help Gael better market his art. He suggests that his boyfriend show off his body on social media in order to attract followers who will then be able to see his work. Gael is iffy at first, not sure if he wants to exploit himself for followers. Bryan also suggests he reach out to members of the Latinx or queer art communities, so that he can brand himself and attract a niche of followers. Gael, though, is uncomfortable with labeling himself as any one thing.

Across town, Callie looks to Judge Wilson for help. Worried for the safety of Kate, the new clerk of a judge that sexually harassed Rebecca in the past, she informs him that she’s heard the judge is potentially dangerous. Though she doesn’t out Rebecca as her source, she does name Kate, who Wilson later meets in the ele vator when she visits the firm.

Rebecca, shaken by the fact that her harasser’s actions have been brought to the attention of another judge, struggles with what to do next. She has several job offers, one from a notable firm and one from a smaller firm in Denver. When she meets with her mother, she doesn’t give her much of an option, assuming she’ll take the job at the bigger firm. She holds Rebecca’s family name over her head, completely belittling her by reminding her that her grandfather’s notability got her the opportunity (despite the fact that she graduated from Yale).

Alice also clashes with her mother when she has lunch with her parents and Sumi, who they believe to be her ex-roommate, not ex-girlfriend. Alice’s mom torments her with relentless questions about her personal life, like when she’ll get a “real” job or get married. When Alice is asked if she’s seeing anyone, she does tell them she’s dating, just not that it’s a woman.

The lunch inspires her to reach out to Joey, who she really wants a second date with. Joey invites her to come on her radio show, and though Alice is nervous, she agrees. This is in the midst of her planning Sumi’s bridal shower and wedding, and though Sumi’s fiancee Meera is nice enough, even telling Alice she’ll listen to the show, Alice ends up bad mouthing the couple during her comedy set on air. While she scores a second date with Joey and even a spot in a comedy lineup on a much bigger show, she understandably angers Meera.

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At the bar, Malika’s brother confronts her about seeing her mom, whom she hasn’t spoken to in years. After Malika gets a letter from her mom that she can’t bring herself to open, Mariana encourages her to reach out and at least test the waters with her mom, as she did the same as a teenager and found the experience to be healing. So, Malika goes to visit her mom, who turns out to be in poor health — and self medicating with alcohol. Though Malika tries to repair the relationship, she sees that her mother hasn’t changed. Instead, against Callie’s pleading, she goes to the next Jamal Thompson trial and sits with his mother. Though this might cause yet another rift in her and Callie’s relationship, she reminds Jamal’s mother that she’s “happy to show up for the people who show up for me.”

Towards the end of the episode, we find out what the various arguments were about. Meera and Alice argue over her radio show appearance, Callie and Gael get into it when he accuses her of coming up to his room to flirt with him after calling things off, and Malika and her brother fight over his enabling of their mom’s substance abuse problem. We also find out that Rebecca has accepted the offer in Denver, despite that it’s a smaller firm, and that she’s filed a suit against her harasser, having been inspired by Callie to do so. Wilson is definitely right when he calls her persuading.

Unlike the speed dating episode a couple of episodes back, this one is jam packed with drama. Almost everyone is fighting about something and both old and new relationships are being tested. We finally got to learn more about Malika’s mother, as well as Alice’s and Rebecca’s!

As always, I found myself falling in love with characters all over again in brand new ways. First of all, Rebecca! I mean, way to make me love her right before she leaves. I never expected her to take Callie’s advice given her anti-feminist speeches and conservative leaning. But I’m so glad she did and that going one step further, she decided to go work at the smaller Denver firm against her mother’s wishes. She’s finally taking control of her own life and becoming her own person.

Malika’s backstory was both heartbreaking and empowering. She probably won’t be able to repair things with her mother before she passes away, and may even have a shaky relationship with her brother now, but she’s found someone who cares about her in Jamal’s mother. Even though I want Callie to succeed as the clerk on this case, I really do, I’m so happy that Malika is surrounding herself with people who have the best interest for her. As much as Callie needs to protect herself, what she’s doing is completely selfish and inconsiderate.

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This brings me to her relationship with Gael. I thought we were done with this, but alas not. Callie and Gael have a connection, I know. But just last episode, she seemed so into Jamie. She literally pushed him into a bathroom to make out with him. I can totally understand Gael’s anger at her for flirting with him. She’s made a decision to pursue Jamie, and now Gael is with someone else. I swear, if he cheats on Bryan and becomes another unfaithful bisexual trope, I think I’ll lose my mind.

Potential poor representation aside, the amount of strong women in this show has me wondering why it’s not 10 times more popular. Seriously, even without much of  a Mariana or Davia storyline this episode, Callie, Malika, Alice, and Rebecca all proved that every single one of them is a badass woman — and in different ways. Even Callie and Rebecca who have the same job title couldn’t be more different, but are still strong, empowered women in their own respects. And this is so important.

Unfortunately though, it seems like Callie and Malika may have an issue that can’t be ignored for much longer going forward. Judge Wilson is starting to really respect Callie as a clerk, but Malika’s presence in the courtroom during the trials definitely threatens her position. However, Malika needs to be there for the person who’s taken on such a maternal role in her life. I have a feeling things are about to get a lot harder for these two.

Completely unrelated, but oh my god, I love Alice and Joey. I’m seriously rooting for these two and hoping and praying that Alice won’t fall back into the Sumi trap. In reality though, no matter what she does, I just want Alice to be happy. She deserves that.

I think what makes Good Trouble so good is its characters. We’re only on Episode 9, and I already find myself completely invested in their stories. It’s extremely impressive that the creators were able to take these two existing characters and throw them into the world of a spinoff in which I care equally about these new characters I haven’t known nearly as long.

I’m so excited to see how each and every one of their stories progresses, and how their relationships with each other continue to be tested. Most notably, Callie and Malika’s. As if there wasn’t enough fighting in this episode, it looks like there’s bound to be more.

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

Jessica’s episode rating: 🐝🐝🐝🐝

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