Not only does Good Trouble bring so much trouble, but they bring angst, too.
Good Trouble Season 1 Episode 9 had a serious tone, more so than previous installments. The closest the hour came to being funny was Alice cracking jokes at Sumi's expense on Joey's radio station.
It made the overall tone of the hour heavier than we are accustomed to, but more introspective too.
The heaviest hitters in this hour were Malika, Rebecca, and Gael. Ironically, each of them was directly influenced and orbiting around Callie who has a long-time history of being obstinate in her rightness and her unwavering sense of morality by her terms.
Callie knows who she is, and despite her plethora of issues, that is something that has been consistent, so it was interesting having her assert herself and her position so strongly on others.
In a way, she wanted to impose her way on others, and in one case it worked for the better ( Rebecca), and in another it backfired (Malika), and it the last case she was, as the hour was titled, willfully blind of what she had been projecting (Gael).
You have pretty loose lips for someone who has secrets of her own.Rebecca
It was fascinating how she affected others.
Callie's determination as far as making sure Handelman faced the consequences of his actions instead of going unchecked for however long was reasonable. However, she came on strong.
Callie is like a dog with a bone when she sinks her teeth into something, and she focuses on her goal and end result with such precision that she often loses sight of other people's feelings.
When it comes to something like sexual harassment, there are so many different components to the situation that affect why someone may not step forward or why certain things get handled in different ways.
Rebecca was fortunate enough to have a family who could help her with the situation with Handleman, but she also had other issues to contend with due to her family that Callie couldn't comprehend.
Was Rebecca somehow complicit in sexual harassment culture despite being a victim of it because she didn't file a complaint against Handleman?
Well, if you know something wrong is happening and you don't do anything about it, especially if you know someone else might be victimized, you're as responsible as the perpetrator, even more so if you're in a position of power. Right?Becca
You'd want to say that she shouldn't shoulder any responsibility for this despicable judge's actions, but Callie was reminding her that in not taking a more formal stand against him, Handleman has been able to continue harassing women who are less fortunate and connected than her.
It's something that was presented during The Bold Type Season 2 as well. The idea that with power and knowledge comes duty and responsibility to use it for the best to make sure things like that don't happen again.
Callie's point, which she double down on and perhaps didn't think about how it came across, was that Rebecca (and Wilson) were in better positions to do the right thing and should have done more to make sure someone like Kate didn't experience what Rebecca did.
It's a possibility that if one of the women before Rebecca took a stand against Handleman, then maybe he wouldn't have been around to harass Rebecca. It's also a possibility that Handleman would have carried on, and the other women or even Rebecca despite her privilege, would have been destroyed.
Callie was laying it on thick. It was almost to the point of discomfort. On the one hand, she was advocating on behalf of other women and for the sake of sisterhood and solidarity. However, she doesn't realize that not everyone can live up to her moral standards or can take risks as she does.
Your generation is so sensitive, you can't handle any aggression of any kind. Men will always be men.Becca's Mom
The world isn't nearly as black and white as she would like it to be, and neither is doing the right thing or even knowing what the right thing is.
Rebecca was also worn down with not being taken seriously. It's awful enough that people like Ben always assume that she never had to work for anything, but it's even worse that her family feels the same.
Rebecca's mother played by Good Trouble creator and EP, the fabulous Joanna Johnson, was pretty darn terrible. She basks in the privileges that their family and name afford them, and she doesn't even believe that her daughter is capable of doing things and succeeding without that name.
Rebecca worked hard and earned her achievements, but her mother kept bringing up how Rebecca's grandfather pulled strings or had some influence, or he is the sole reason Rebecca is where she is. It must have been infuriating for Rebecca.
The decision to sweep Handleman's actions under the rug, so to speak, was not Rebecca's decision. Rebecca filing a formal complaint against Handleman and taking a job in Denver for a fresh start, that was her decision.
Rebecca took control over her life, and she plans to work toward defining herself. It's all thanks to Callie, who despite coming on strong, inspired her.
I won't be my own person until I have the courage to stop being who my family wants me to be. I never thought I'd say this, but thank you for challenging me in so many ways. But mostly to be an independent thinker, and to define myself on my own terms.Rebecca
It was a special moment when Rebecca left Callie that not. The two women had a brief history of struggling to be friends, and it's nice that they got on the right foot before Rebecca left. It appears to be the last of Rebecca, and I hate to see her go.
She reassured Callie that her Malika secret was safe. I hate that we didn't see more of what their conversation was like after Callie realized Becca was the girl Jesus was seeing.
Based on their conversation, Rebecca didn't consider pursuing anything else with Jesus after discovering the connection, and I'm assuming she got enough of an eyeful of The Coterie to know Callie and Malika aren't able to avoid seeing each other in the intimate space of the loft.
Callie's interactions with Malika have backfired. Callie put herself in a difficult position from the beginning. As with Gael, Callie is compelled to hide or downplay her relationship with Malika, and that cannot feel good.
It also leads to so many restrictions Malika has to abide by for Callie. However, Malika's feelings about her family and Mrs. Thompson have clouded her judgment.
It's not fun nor fair, but there is a reason Callie has chosen to distance herself from Malika, and it is to help with this case.
Shouldn't Malika know that she's jeopardizing the case and maybe Mrs. Thompson by not listening to Callie here?
Her decision to not only show up in court but once again sit beside Mrs. Thompson after Callie asked her not to was bold and defiant. She was driven to do it after her experience with her mom and Dom, but if she's all about showing up and prioritizing those who matter to her, does that mean Callie didn't make the cut?
Their friendship is mostly confined to the Coterie, and it usually entails Callie making a plethora of requests to cover herself. Malika's actions were agitating, but she had valid enough reasons for only caring about Mrs. Thompson.
Malika's background is heartbreaking enough, but those scenes with her mother and Dom were so hurtful and enraging.
Malika's mom: Mika, I forgive you for doing what you thought you had to do, and for all the pain it caused me to lose my babies. I forgive you.
Malika: Thank you for forgiving me, mom. I'm working on forgiving you, too.
After some genuine advice from Mariana (who was doling sage advice like candy throughout the hour) and Mrs. Thompson, Malika went to see her mother.
She didn't want to have any regrets, but by the end of the hour she not only probably regretted not reading her mother's letter Dom gave her, but she probably regretted going to see them at all.
Family is tricky, and so are the past hurts and wounds they inflict. It's easy for most to suggest you extend a hand or make amends, but some ties are better off cut.
Malika let everyone else's opinions on the matter and her need to have her big brother in her life force her to do something she didn't want to do: see her mother.
Malika's mom is a classic narcissist. Narcissistic parents are notoriously difficult to grow up with, but the woman was an addict too.
The amount of gaslighting done in that scene by her mom was astounding. The woman kept emphasizing her many health issues and ailments. She was short and snide with Malika from the moment the young woman arrived.
In a jaw-dropping moment that had me clenching my fists, Malika's mom had the audacity to say she forgave Malika. She essentially laid all the blame on Malika for tearing up their family.
It was the quintessence of both a narcissist and an unapologetic addict. She took no accountability for any of her actions, and it was infuriating.
You could tell Malika was hurt and angry, but she swallowed her pride and apologized for Dom. Then, her mother proceeded to sing Dom's praises at Malika's expense and demand money.
Mrs. Thompson: If I had a daughter I would want her to be just like you.
Malika: If I could have picked my mother, right back at you.
By the time she was done breaking and shaking down Malika, I felt violated.
Dom had that confrontation coming. He's enabling his mother, and it doesn't benefit anyone. It's best that Malika cut ties from both her brother and her mother for the foreseeable future.
Family is what you make of it. It's about the family you choose. Malika has chosen Mrs. Thompson who admitted that she is everything she would want in a daughter.
The hurt and pain from her experience with her biological family have driven her to Mrs.Thompson more than ever, and she has prioritized this woman and idolized this mother figure. It's hard to say how that will fare for Callie going forward.
Malika has drawn her line and chosen her side. Zuri Adele was fantastic during this installment.
It's hard to say what Callie and Malika's relationship will be like going forward. Wilson's ruling showed that despite Callie's arguments, his fondness for her and his ethics, there are some factors greater.
He may be feeling the crunch and compromised given this situation with his son, and it may have influenced his ruling during the case.
Mrs. Thompson: Thank you for being here.
Malika: I'm ready to show up for the people who show up for me.
Overall, Callie couldn't do but so much, but why do I feel like Malika will be let down by her anyway?
If Callie's "Calliness" backfired with Malika, it imploded with Gael. It was another strong hour for Gael, wherein the Cael haze lifted, and we were back to understanding and knowing him on his own.
Gael and Callie's sexy times have been, well, sexy, intense and of course, gratuitous. Thankfully, the hour addressed their highly sexual but otherwise limited relationship.
Gael often came across flaky and indecisive. While he never appeared malicious when it came to Callie and Bryan's feelings, he was inconsistent and played games without even realizing it.
During this hour, we got that vulnerable Gael who spoke about his bisexuality with Callie during Good Trouble Season 1 Episode 2 again.
Like many people during this period of his life, he's still figuring out his identity and who he is as a person (not just his sexual orientation).
Gael is one of those individuals who doesn't like labels. The thing is, it's not the labels that are the real issue but rather how others confine you to a label that's the problem. They can be constricting and frustrating.
I don't think I want to brand myself as a queer artist. I mean, I don't label myself a Latino artist, and I don't want to use my face to get people to look at my art.Gael
He's an amazing up and coming artist, but up until this point, he never figured out how to promoted himself.
It's an area of which he lacks knowledge and confidence. In the ideal world, his art would speak for itself, but as everyone pointed out he is part of the marketing.
It was refreshing to see this confident, attractive guy struggle in that regard. He didn't want to be the Latino or bisexual artist, nor the attractive, shirtless artist. He just wanted to be an artist.
He couldn't shake any of that, and he has a real and understandable hangup about being reduced to one thing or one part of his identity. He bristled at Bryan's mere suggestion of promoting himself as a queer artist which would garner the support of the LGBTQ community.
I'm guessing that his identity in that community is more difficult for him to appeal to at times because he doesn't always feel welcome or understood or respected wholly within it.
Gael speaking with Mariana served him well. For one, it was nice that the two of them had a real interaction. They have barely crossed paths since the premiere, and despite the lack of romantic or sexual relationship blossoming between them, it's surprising that they haven't come across as friends.
They live and work together, and they can understand some things about one another as Latinx.
It's better if you define your work before someone else does.Mariana
Mariana reminded him that there's nothing wrong with presenting himself as a proud Latino artist. It's less constricting than the queer angle. She also presented him with examples of why representation is important and valuable.
It may get people in the door wanting to support, but his art is what will keep them there. Labels can be confining, but they also foster community and support.
Without the Callie haze and with his vulnerability coming through, Gael was reconsidering many things. It was frustrating that he jumped from Callie to Bryan. It didn't seem like he had the same type of feelings for Bryan, and he was using him to get over Callie.
However, during this hour, it's the most decisive and intimate Gael has been with Bryan, and I loved it. He saw and could appreciate how supportive and genuinely caring and considerate Bryan was to him.
It was almost like Callie and Bryan did a role reversal with Callie playing games, trying to entice Gael, and speaking down on Bryan, and Bryan being supportive, caring, and open with Gael.
Callie was going out of her way to entice Gael after they called it quits, and she kept using Jazmin's case to do it. It wasn't her finest moment.
It's just interesting how the second you're done playing out your Latino lover fantasy, you have time for good old all-American Jamie.Gael
Up until this point, it seemed like Gael didn't mind their previous arrangement nor did he care that they didn't do much outside of having sex with each other.
However, he called her out on her behavior, and aside from him being defensive of Bryan when Callie said something in a way he never was when Bryan repeatedly made digs, his comments were spot on.
Callie wanted to keep Gael a secret. She claimed she didn't want a relationship or a distraction. She wanted to hide things from everyone, and their relationship did consist of her sneaking up to his room for sex.
While they were both complicit in their relationship, whatever it was, he was within his rights to make the Latino lover dig.
If you think about it, that's how he came across with Callie. Also, given her history with Jamie, their shared careers, and her not living with him, she does have a more open relationship with him, and they are building to something.
I don't know if he believes that of Callie or if he was in a vulnerable space and still thinking about his identity, but their argument was heated.
The worse part, is instead of Callie hearing what he was saying there, she implied that he was some sellout. Gael was already in a raw state thinking about his sexuality and race; it came across offensive and insensitive when Callie did that.
Gael: Bryan cares about me and my feelings. He doesn't just sneak up here in the middle of the night to use me for sex and then hide it from everyone.
Callie: I'm sorry I made you feel that way, and I'm sure selling your sexuality on Instagram will help you feel better.
Gael: Like you have any idea what it's like navigating this world as a queer person of color, but then you only see the world according to Callie!
She so often imposes her way of thinking on others, and in this case, she was out of her depth.
The argument between Gael and Callie was intense; it's difficult to figure out what Bryan thought when he overheard it. It could comfort him knowing that Gael defended and is committed to him, but it can also concern him that the amount of intensity in that argument means that there is still passion there.
Alice's relationship woes aren't much better. She's still stuck in the pull of Sumi, and it interferes with her having new relationships.
Joey is right. Alice is still hung up on Sumi, but also, Alice's parents don't know she's a lesbian, and it affects more of her life than she would like to admit.
Her meal with her parents and Sumi was both sad and expected. Her mother spent most of the meal comparing Alice to Sumi as only moms can do. She also kept pressing her about her love life and emphasizing that she's ready for grandkids.
Not even Sumi admitted that she's marrying a woman. She lied about who she was engaged to, but I couldn't tell if that was for her benefit or if she was protecting Alice.
Sumi: What's going on?
Meera: Just arguing.
Suma: Yeah, I know, about what?
If it was the latter then maybe Sumi isn't as self-absorbed as she seems. It's still a big ask letting your ex-girlfriend plan your wedding with the woman of whom you cheated on her.
The bit of information that slipped out when Alice and Meera were arguing was telling and made this situation more cringe-worthy.
At what point does sweet Alice bow out of this and stop making herself suffer?
It's upsetting that she and Joey could have had something special, but it didn't work out. They seemed so happy, but unfortunately, their relationship went sideways after that radio debacle.
In the absence of Dennis, why can't Alice be happy?!
Is this one of those things where she won't be until she's open to her parents and resolves her lingering feelings for Sumi?
Alice and Joey were cute together, but alas it wasn't meant to be.
Yes, Good Trouble brought all the angst, and no one was spared, except maybe Mariana and Davia who were the only ones having a good time in the pool together.
Over to you, Good Trouble Fanatics! Did Callie overstep too much during this installment? Will you miss Rebecca? Are you surprised by Wilson's ruling?
Hit the comments below, and remember you can watch Good Trouble online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.