The Coterie takes on dating in the 21st century, and there were some surprising developments and a whole lot of sexytimes on Good Trouble Season 1 Episode 7.
Pretty Little Liars' Troian Bellisario directed the hour. Don' t you love the steady stream of talent associated with this series?
It's one of the best things about it.
"Swipe Right" didn't dive too deep into anything taxing, and they barely scratched the surface of the Millennial dating world, but it was a fun hour regardless.
For one, it brought back that Mariana with the sparkle in her eye who loves to love and be loved, even if it's just physically.
Mariana has been damn near beaten down by everything happening at Speckulate, and while she has been letting loose in her personal life with the club-hopping, Mariana had yet to take her boy crazy side for a spin.
The girls coming together and choosing who to swipe right on for each other was bound to end in a disaster. There is something about being set up by someone else, even those you are cool with, that rarely works out well.
It was destined to end a hot mess, but it was also due to be entertaining as hell, and it was. Fortunately, the girls weren't looking for something permanent and long-term so much as looking for a good time, and most of them found it.
Eli's Girlfriend: Hey, hon, I really like Mariana. Can we keep her?
Eli: We can do whatever you want, babe.
Eli's Girlfriend: OK, what do you want Mariana?
Whoever picked out Mariana's date (was it Alice? I think it was Alice) dropped the ball big time. That guy was a world-class jerk and so self-absorbed it was insane. The real shock was that Mariana sat through most of the date at all because, after the first couple of sentences, it would have been a hard pass.
He wanted to flaunt his fancy suits, expensive taste, and money in her face, and he wanted some arm candy. It was amazing how quickly he turned on Mariana when he realized he wasn't going to get anywhere with her.
Why do guys immediately resort to diminishing a girl's looks the second they feel the slightest bit rejected? Her appearance wasn't an issue when he thought he had a shot at taking her home.
Just when it appeared as though Mariana had wasted a perfectly good "freak'um/ freak'em (?)" dress on that tool, Eli swooped in as charming and transparent as ever.
The Originals' Steven Krueger playing the taken guy who rings in a conquest for him and his girlfriend was such an unexpected but amusing delight.
Mariana's interactions with Eli and his girlfriend were fascinating and funny. While you had an idea what they were angling for, you didn't know how Mariana would respond to it as they volleyed back and forth with flirting and innuendo.
What was great about those scenes was Mariana always felt in control of the situation as well as her agency. There was never the sense that she was in any real danger with either of them. Eli was attracted to her and wanted to be with her, but he wasn't a creepy guy who preyed on her.
Both Eli and his girlfriend appreciated Mariana for all that she is, a beautiful, smart, and funny woman and it was genuine in how they interacted with her. Mariana had the choice to partake or not, but it didn't seem like they would hold it against her if she didn't or like her less either.
The couple wasn't portrayed poorly for their sexual proclivities, and Mariana wasn't either for exploring her sexuality and having a great time.
If you can't take anything away from his series so far, you can take away a better understanding of sexuality. Notably, that sexuality isn't nearly as black and white as some of us like to think. It truly is fluid.
Everyone is sexually liberated, which is particularly refreshing for all of the ladies. There's still this seemingly neverending "Madonna-whore" thing that plays out time and again whether intentional or not in many works of fiction.
All of the women were getting their sexy on and it even that was so diverse that it was striking because you rarely see such diversity, especially at the same time. There was Mariana with her interracial threesome. There were Davia and Paul with the sexy and adorable ( Paul, was the most adorable) full-figured sexytimes.
There was Alice and her sweet date not only being lesbians but not being "traditionally feminine" lesbians. Typically, anything close to a love scene or romantic scene with two women always seems framed for the male gaze instead of being about the women.
There were Malika and Isaac damn near reenacting a scene from Love & Basketball with a great emphasis on "black love," which was important given Isaac's biased he didn't seem to realize he had regarding who he chose to swipe right on.
Then, of course, there is Callie and Gael. Although, by now we're used to their super sexy moments. The two of them are insatiable and addicted to one another. However, perhaps I jumped the gun when I noted that their relationship only seems physical.
Maybe you don't want to be a lawyer, Callie. All you do is complain about your job. Maybe you can't cut it.Gael
While it's true that they barely share much of anything outside of the bedroom or the walls of the Coterie (and that's due to what we aren't privy to seeing), it doesn't cheapen their connection.
Do you know what it is? They have that all-encompassing, seductive, fiery and alluring romance that happens when two artistic souls come together. It's a whole different vibe altogether. The more that I think about their 'ship from the perspective of Callie the artist versus Callie the lawyer the more sense it makes.
That came into focus when Callie tried to keep away from him to study for the Bar, but she couldn't. It isn't just Gael that she's attracted to, but she's also probably drawn to the art life. For five years, Callie suppressed parts of herself to get through college and law school.
She didn't have relationships, and she was celibate (so despite the occasional annoyance with the overabundance of love scenes with those two, it at least makes sense and fits the narrative). She also devoted all that time to school, and it is a grueling, soul-sucking process, and probably lost sight of Callie the artist.
That was such a significant part of who she was, and she is reminded of that part of herself when she's with Gael. I wouldn't be surprised if Callie goes full Felicity Porter at some point and succumbs to her love of art.
For now, she has to quit Gael if she ever hopes to pass the bar. Five years is a long time to be singularly focused on a goal that you can't lift your head long enough to enjoy life, but it's harder when you have a taste of a normal life only to dive back into focusing on a demanding job and studying for the bar.
Callie: Law school wasn't easy. I had to study a lot. The only reason I got through was because I was so focused and practically celibate. I'm just afraid that I won't do what I need to do if ...
Gael: You're seeing me.
Callie needs to find a library though, for real.
Gael needs to avoid stringing Bryan along or using him as an emotional salve or a placeholder. The guy doesn't deserve it. I was proud of Bryan for laying his feeling out there with Gael and giving Gael the space to process the news and reach a decision.
It was the best thing he could do for both of them, and it was the most mature he has been. I don't doubt that Gael has feelings for Bryan, but his feelings for Callie appear to be stronger.
The fear is that Callie pumped the brakes on their relationship so that they could both focus on their work, which is something they can't do while together.
In the interim, Gael may run right back to Bryan just so that he doesn't have to be alone or to distract himself from not being with Callie, and Bryan doesn't deserve that at all.
Thankfully, Davia has realized that she doesn't deserve how Jeff treats her. Everyone has told her that, and she hates it when they bring it up because she feels judged, but they're her friends, and they are concerned about her.
Bryan: You analyze my faces?
Gael: I love your faces. Angry face is top three.
Bryan: God, I hate you.
Jeff, who I am assuming knows that Davia is a social media influencer, didn't even think about or maybe didn't care that she could easily find out that he lied to her about not being in LA and lied about not being with his friends. Social media will expose a person every time.
While she wasn't interested in Paul, per se, I did enjoy that once she stopped openly displaying her lack of interest, she taught him how to be more confident in himself and they even hooked up to scratch an itch. Davia taking a picture of him while he was sleeping to send to Jeff was a bit much, but that was so very Davia.
Now, if Alice could cut ties with Sumi, that would be the best for her. Alice's date was cute, sweet, and they had a similar dorky disposition that was endearing. It was surprising that Alice was the first one who went home with her date.
Then attention-seeking, self-absorbed Sumi came knocking at the door and threw Alice's life in a tail-spin as she always does. Alice taking a stand for herself was short-lived when she couldn't get a hurting Sumi off of her mind while she was with her date.
It wasn't surprising that Alice caved; she can't seem to help herself. I don't want Alice to put herself and feelings on the back burner trying to support Sumi when, to borrow from Evan, the energy isn't compensatory.
Sumi: Meera said that I'm selfish and thoughtless, and she doesn't want to marry me.
Alice: That's crazy, you're not -- she should love you for you.
She did make up for it with her date the next day with the cute phone call to the station though. Go Alice, indeed!
Sumi is a lot to deal with and good luck to Meera and Alice both having this woman in their life. As long as they know their limitations, all should be fine. Meera and Sumi will probably be married, and Alice will keep planning it like the loyal, dutiful friend that she is.
Technically, Malika didn't fall in line with the girls' dating game because of the guy Davia found, and she swiped right on swiping left for her.
First off, ouch! Second, it didn't stop her from keeping an eye on her friends while they were on their dates and she tended bar. That's what good friends do!
It got super awkward when Isaac (played by Insecure's Sarunas J Jackson) came into the bar with his friends looking for drinks and wanting to hit on Malika, now.
What transpired was an interesting conversation among Malika and her friends about the issues brown/dark-skinned black women face on dating apps and with dating in general. Anti-blackness or racism has a little sister, and her name is Colorism.
You seem like a nice guy, but I just don't feel right giving my number to someone who subconsciously or not wrote me off without a second thought.Malika
Colorism isn't exclusive to the black community; it's in all of them. Unfortunately, even in the present, there is still some deeply ingrained societal "light is the equivalent to desirable" thing going on.
Malika's friends touched upon the two extremes of the desexualization or hypersexualization of black women.
Also, they mentioned in passing the equally problematic fetishization that happens as well.
Her one friend addressed when explaining why her last date -- with a white man -- had that vibe along with some white saviorism thing going on which was offensive to a beautiful, intelligent, and gainfully employed, black woman who wasn't looking for someone to "save her."
The series could have fleshed that out a bit more. If you aren't in the know or at least vaguely aware of all of those micro-issues, much of it wouldn't have resonated or hit the mark, with its blink and you miss it approach to a complex and layered issue.
However, the series did succeed in its approach of showing subconscious racial or color bias. So often everyone assumes that any issue involving race or color is racist. Along with that, there is this immediate jump to anything racist and racial being out of malice and intent, when that's not the case.
That's where racial bias or racial microaggressions come in. It doesn't mean someone is a terrible person. It does mean that our subconscious or preconceived notions come out in ways we aren't aware of until someone makes us aware.
Maybe next time open your mind to the whole person. You might make a real connection.Malika
Isaac was attracted to Malika from the moment he entered the bar. He spent the entire evening trying to ask her out. However, on his dating app, he didn't even realize that all the women he swiped right on (compared to the women like Malika whom he initially rejected) were white or light-skinned women.
Truthfully, dating apps such as Tinder are a perfect way to notice some of your hidden bias. You'd be surprised! Life is so much easier when you don't have a type!
Also, and I promise this is the last of my social science geekdom, but if you're interested in what your biases may be, for years there has been a joint study with Harvard and a couple of other universities where they studied hidden biases as part of the Project Implicit.
You can take tons of tests relating to race, gender, color, sexuality, age and more to see what type of bias you may or may not have. It's also interesting to revisit it after a few months or years because you get to see how perspectives change and evolve, sometimes for better, and other times for worse.
But back to Isaac and Malika. They are the cutest, and I hope this burgeoning relationship continues.
Isaac: I'm gonna call you about that date.
Malika: What date? You lost the bet.
Isaac: That wasn't a bet. That was a gesture.
Isaac is a genuine, decent, charming guy, um, his voice is sexy as hell too. Plus, he loves romantic comedies and appreciates the best ones. Malika and Isaac's debate over what made the best Rom-Coms so good (the running or the actual gesture) was probably the most adorable scene of the hour.
Also, he not only figured out her favorite movie, but he reenacted it with her to win a date. He listened to her about the grand gesture, so count him as smooth as hell too.
Go, Malika! Also, can we have more of Isaac?! Please, and thank you.
The situation with Isaac and Malika was a perfect example of things you might miss out on if you make snap judgments at face value. Honestly, much of the hour had to do with that.
It was nice to see Malika in a different element that didn't relate to her ties to the Jamal Thompson case or her complicated situation with her birth mother and brother. She was fun and sexy and carefree, and it was awesome.
Everyone gets love at the Coterie!
Over to you, Good Trouble Fanatics! Did you enjoy this fun and sexy hour? What are your thoughts on Gael and Callie putting the brakes on their relationship? What do you think that means for Bryan and Clark Kent Jamie?
Did Mariana's threesome surprise you?! Are you happy Davia called it quits with Jeff? Are you 'shipping Malika and Isaac? Hit the comments below!
You can watch Good Trouble online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.