Good Trouble 1x13 “Vitamin C” Review
In its first season, Good Trouble has provided endless drama and laughs while re-introducing characters from the hit Freeform drama The Fosters in an entirely new chapter of their lives. While it was a giant risk to throw them into a loft with people the viewers have never met before, and rely on just two original characters to pull it all together, it paid off. Big time. In the final episode of the first season, we see new relationships between said characters blossom, old ones fall apart, and some are left hanging. Because after all, what is a good season finale without a few cliff-hangers?
At the end of Episode 12, three major plot twists occured. First, the head of HR at Speckulate, Angela, gave Mariana a list of all the male employees at the company and their salaries. Second, Malika had a mysterious family emergency, one that caused her to uncharacteristically skip out on the Black Lives Matter protest she helped organize. And third, Dennis took his ex-wife’s malicious words to heart and appeared to be on the metaphorical and literal edge.
Thankfully, light is shed on each of these situations fairly quickly in the finale. We discover that Malika’s mother has had an aneurysm and is essentially brain-dead. This causes yet another rift between Malika and her brother, who refuses to take her off of life support. Malika meanwhile knows that it’s time for them to let her go.
At Speckulate, Mariana questions Angela’s motives and decides to confront her. Angela confides in her, telling her that when she was first hired years ago, the same optimistic thought went through her mind about the engineering culture shifting. However, nothing came of it. She wants to help the cause, but knows that if she is outed for her involvement, she’ll lose her job and probably never find another one, making her unable to care for her child. This was a heartwarming moment of female solidarity, thankfully not a rarity in this show.
Back at the loft, Dennis is still missing. Davia seems to be the only one worried about him, and has called every jail and hospital in the area to no avail. Her mind is soon taken off of her friend’s disappearance, though, when her student whom she and Malika suspect is homeless shows up at the front door. Though this storyline seemed random at first, it serves as the motivation Davia needs going into the second season to make the right decision regarding her future. She’s been considering leaving LA to go back home and live with her boyfriend, who up until this point, has been making the empty promise of leaving his wife. However, despite her lack of confidence, she’s a great teacher. Her students need her.
The chaos in the Coterie continues as Sumi is about to get married on the rooftop. The whole event has been orchestrated by resident pushover Alice, who must keep up the facade that she’s straight and definitely not dating Joey, I mean, Joanna, when her parents stop by with a congratulatory present for Sumi. Alice manages to get them out of the Coterie without suspecting she’s in a relationship with Joey, or that Sumi is the bride marrying another woman. However, she’s left with more weight on her shoulders than before.
At the courthouse, Callie continues to question if Judge Wilson has ethical motives as he withholds personal information belonging to one of the police officers accused of wrongly shooting and killing a black boy, Jamal Thompson. Callie and Jamie conspire that he’s made a deal with the LAPD following his own son’s arrest, allowing his son’s charges to be dropped in exchange for biased favoring in the court.
Because Callie has no proof of this, she considers rummaging through Judge Wilson’s desk drawers and finding the private files for herself. However, she decides against it, the clerk beating out the social justice warrior in her.
Also facing an internal conflict is Mariana, who isn’t sure whether she should take the opportunity she’s been given by the CEO himself, Evan, to create an app and recruit women and people of color to help her, or publicly release the company’s salaries. Her greatest concern is inciting positive change, and Callie reminds her that she can convince herself of anything, she’ll know what the right decision is by listening to her gut. At first, Mariana does just that, telling herself and her sister that the app is the best decision. She soon realizes though that she’s being too safe, and that posting the salaries is the right move.
Though Callie and Mariana aren’t biological siblings, it’s very clear at this point that they were both raised to act with the greater good in mind. Without Stef and Lena acting as major characters in the series, moments like this one are nice callbacks to them and the morality they’ve instilled in their children.
While they’re talking, Callie mysteriously (or not so mysteriously?) receives an envelope that was left for her earlier, full of the personal information she almost stole out of Judge Wilson’s desk drawer. Regardless of who delivered the envelope, it’s in her hands now (though she struggles with what to do with it). Within the envelope is a document stating that the Chief of Police in the city said it’s cheaper for the city to let victims of police shootings die, a detail that if revealed to the public, could help Jamal’s family win the case.
We see Callie argue with herself, unsure of whether or not to give the files to Jamal’s attorney. She doesn’t get a chance to make a decision, as she’s interrupted by a newly single Gael. He confesses to Callie that he broke up with Bryan because she’s the one he loves, and questions her relationship with Jamie. Callie says nothing in response, but seems a bit shaken.
Davia, meanwhile, finally meets the father of her student, who reveals that the two are in fact homeless. He begs Davia not to tell anyone, and also tells her that she’s his daughter’s favorite teacher. Without her, he says, she would hate going to school. Davia makes learning fun. This one small moment seems to cause a lightbulb to go off in Davia’s head, that she should stay in LA and continue teaching, but also that’s she’s worthy. For too much of the season, she’s struggled with her own self-worth, and while countless characters have tried to steer her away from actions rooted in self-loathing, like staying with a man who isn’t entirely committed to her and wants her to give up her professional dreams for him, it turns out she just needed to hear that her students needed her.
The next day, Mariana arrives at work and overhears coworkers talking about Evan’s interest in another employee and how she ended up being fired. She confronts Raj, who she yelled at days prior for warning her about Evan’s possible motives. Raj only wants what’s best for her, and seems not to have any questionable motives himself.
Knowing Raj will always have her back, Mariana attempts to convince the members of Byte Club that publishing the salaries is the right move. While Casey opts out, fearing that all the work she’s put in over the years will have been for nothing, the other women decide to back Mariana up.
It goes about as well as any of them expect, when Josh demands the perpetrator come forward. However, things take a turn when he blames Angela for not bringing the wage gap issue to his attention (obviously bullshit) and fires her. Mariana immediately stands up, taking the blame for hacking into the system and getting the salaries. Soon, a wave of people standing in solidarity (including Raj) washes over the room, forcing Josh to rethink firing Angela. Several women also call out Josh for trying to kiss them, flipping the script.
And though Evan tries to keep her from leaving, Mariana decides that she should say goodbye to Speckulate and move on with her career, maybe even create her app on her own. Unfortunately, Evan tells her that if she leaves, she can’t take the app with her. It belongs to him now.
Back at the loft, Meera reveals to Alice that Sumi has called off the wedding. When Sumi finally returns, Alice must tell her that she doesn’t love her back, even if she isn’t with Meera anymore. She does remind her friend though that she shouldn’t marry someone she isn’t sure about.
And in her own moment of bravery, Alice comes out to her parents via FaceTime, who reveal they knew all along that she was gay. They’ve suspected she was in love with Sumi, and tell Alice that they just want grandkids. With so many cross-cultural coming outs gone wrong, it was nice to see Alice face her fears and come out the other side better than okay. This moment left me hopeful that maybe she’ll be able to get Joey back, who wasn’t impressed with her closeted behavior, and have a happy, authentic relationship in Season 2.
As the Jamal Thompson trial continues, the files have been released to his attorney. This leaves the courtroom a bit shaken, and ultimately causes Judge Wilson to call a recess for the time being. It looks like it’s Callie versus Judge Wilson now, though he doesn’t know (yet) that she’s working against him. This will definitely get interesting next season.
Having made a professional decision, Callie is still unsure of what to do in her personal life. This episode included a great choreographed dream sequences which showcases Callie dancing with several partners, all of whom play important roles in her life currently: Judge Wilson, Malika, Gael and Jamie. They seem to be pulling her in every which way, and although cheesy, this play on conscious thoughts bleeding into the unconscious in the form of a dream portrays to us viewers just how torn Callie is in her life currently. As a young woman, she’s understandably lost and questioning herself more often than not. This allows Callie to be extremely relatable to young viewers (even if they aren’t clerks secretly meddling with a case or in the middle of a love triangle).
Despite my dislike for Gael and Callie’s relationship and his portrayal as a bisexual man who’s unable to commit to one partner, I can’t deny that she’ll probably end up with him next season. This isn’t to say that their relationship will last, but I’m definitely seeing more chemistry between them than between her and Jamie. I love her and Jamie together, I really do, but this is one battle I’m prepared to lose.
Across town, Davia finally finds Dennis checked into a hospital after nearly committing suicide. He tells her that her voice had been running through his head, telling him not to be an idiot, and the two share a sweet moment together. Davia doesn’t tell the others back at the Coterie where Dennis really is, lying instead and saying he’s on a road trip and didn’t have service for a while. During a rooftop hangout, she also reveals to her friends that she’s decided to stay in LA, despite her boyfriend coming by and telling her he broke up with his wife, finally.
And while Callie is still unsure who she wants to be with, Mariana has made some moves in the love department. In a moment I’ve been waiting for all season, she kissed Raj on top of the Coterie roof, finally bringing their adorably supportive friendship to the next level. It’s clear that Raj has a lot of respect for Mariana, and really just wants what’s best for her. Though he inappropriately tried to kiss her earlier in the season during a work project, his redemption arc has been steady. Raj has proved that he’s not some slimy dude, like the rest of the guys at Speckulate, but he has genuinely innocent intentions. He respects Mariana as an engineer, but he also has feelings for her.
I can’t wait to see their feelings explored in Season 2, and hopefully see Callie choose a suitor as well. I’m also totally rooting for Davia and Dennis, because ever since their duet on the rooftop, I refuse to believe these two are platonic.
And so, the first season of Good Trouble is over. Starting as a The Fosters’ spinoff, this show has caught the attention of many as a show that can stand on its own. Though Callie and Mariana are familiar faces, and there are occasional cameos from Adams-Foster family members, the show is about so much more. The Coterie members come from all walks of life and each serve a purpose to each other and to the audience, to educate us on the lives of people we may not interact with every day. Issues of intersectionality, sexual harassment, biphobia, police brutality, racism, and mental health have all been discussed in just 13 episodes, making it clear that Good Trouble isn’t just here to be entertaining.
Going into Season 2, I’m so excited to see some character dynamics grow and change, but also to learn more about their experiences and see them be their true, authentic selves. Character creation is where this show really shines, and I’m confident it will continue to do that in seasons to come through the reinvention and evolution of everyone in Callie and Mariana’s lives.
Some stray thoughts on the season:
I wish we got to see more of Jazmin. Having a trans voice amongst the sea of characters was so, so, important, not to mention a trans woman of color. I hope we’ll see her return in Season 2.
Irrelevant to the plot, but Mariana’s outfits were consistently on point. I’m sure no one is surprised, though.
As much as I want to love Gael, I really haven’t been able to get there yet. I feel like he’s been shrouded in his identity as a bisexual man and his seemingly subsequent inability to commit, which is frustrating to watch. I know he’s more than that, and more than anything, I wish his story had been handled differently (Say it with me: Bisxuals are not noncomittal by nature!)
Season 2 of Good Trouble airs on Tuesday, June 18th at 8/7c on Freeform.