First things first, we got ourselves a second season, you guys!! Freeform has renewed Good Trouble, and we cannot be happier about this news.
As for the installment, moms make everything better. Moms tend to have that effect on anyone and everyone who matters.
Stef and Lena dropped in for a vision on Good Trouble Season 1 Episode 5, and it did Callie, Mariana, diehard The Fosters Fanatics, and even a couple of Coterie members some good.
What was endearing about this hour, outside of the pure, unadulterated joy of experiencing the reunion of Teri Polo and Sherri Saum as they reprised their roles as some of the best television matriarchs (and the ultimate marriage goals) of the 21st century, is how the series effortlessly captured the relationship transition.
There comes a point upon adulthood when you recognize your parents as more than just your parents.
Stef and Lena came into The Coterie thinking of Mariana and Callie as their babies, but by the time they gathered around the pool with wine glasses in hand to speak about their experiences and life, it was about women uplifting fellow women.
To borrow from the late Orphan Black, the galaxy of women doling out advice and supporting one another around the pool was the best scene of the hour.
Callie and Mariana have always been close to their mothers, but they're at the sweet spot in their life where their moms can be their friends too. The relationships start to feel more balanced.
Lena: This man spit on me when I was campaigning. He told me my life didn't matter, and he called me the N-word. It's 2018 and some things have changed, but racism hasn't. It's still as ugly and pervasive as it was.
Callie: That's why you can't drop out of this race, mama.
Mariana: You can't let this minority of ugly people win.
Malika: We don't need more politicians who are trying to play it safe in the middle. We need people who are willing to fight for what's right.
The girls could confide in their mothers with their plethora of work and life issues as they did when they were young, and moms could share some of their current woes and life issues too. It felt as though the hour was building up to that moment.
Of course, there was still the reminder that no matter what, they would always be their moms' babies. They weren't too old for a good old fashion mama sandwich, and sage advice and wisdom on how best to tackle their respective issues.
I'm curious to know how Stef and Lena were received by those who didn't follow The Fosters. They are such distinctive characters; there is a lot of history there.
The series did a decent job of giving newbies the skinny on Stef and Lena so that they could understand the different relationships, personalities, and so on.
Lena was still the soft, bohemian, soothing one who could appreciate the lighting in Gael's loft and who would have wanted to live in a greenhouse. She would have Stef taking breathing lessons and listening to Ted Talks. She is the one who could connect with Mariana as the only two women of color in their household.
Stef is sweet and snarky, and no-nonsense. She's the one who always pays attention to her surroundings, cuts to the chase, and is protective of her family.
And their love for one another is still heartwarming as hell. They did the handholding, you guys? And a kiss. I miss them so much!
I knew they would come around to The Coterie by the time their visit was over because they can appreciate the notion of an unorthodox family forming a community, and they also know how to let their kids live. The rush to get the place in order before they arrived was no less hilarious, however.
How unfortunate that they waltzed in just as the inspector was mentioning that the place was uninhabitable. Although, nothing prepared me for stoned moms. Callie and Mariana tried their damnedest to make a good impression, and Aria blew it to hell with her edibles.
High moms were at their funniest while scoping out Gael's loft.
There were too many cringy moments to count from Lena spotting phallic shapes in Gael's art to Stef inquiring if Gael ever seated two people in the tub not realizing that he and Callie had done all the things in that sex tub of his ripped from the pages of a romance novel.
Is this a working tub? It's so big like two people can fit in here.Stef
Stef while high stole the show at Dennis' improv class, and Stef's blazed out state didn't stop her cop spidey senses from kicking in and taking potshots (pardon the pun) at Dennis.
We know, or at least suspected, that Dennis, while older than the others, was a decent guy and another lovable member of The Coterie. However, from the outside looking in, Stef had valid reasons for being concerned. It doesn't help that Dennis' hookups are youthful.
He's the only person over 30 hanging out in a communal living space playing guitar and running improv classes. He stands out from the others. Up until this point, he seemed like a quirky free-spirit who thrived off of the environment. He felt like that cool uncle who didn't mind sitting at the kids' table because he's a big kid himself.
Personally, that would have been enough for me. Of course, as we've come to discover, everyone at The Coterie has a past that makes their living arrangement befitting and beneficial. Dennis' tragic backstory still caught me off guard though.
So, in addition to the Alice club, can we start a Protect Dennis at All Costs squad, too? Dennis didn't give too many details, but we know enough to be utterly heartbroken for the man. He had a perfect life, and it fell apart when his son died from cancer.
Pence and Polo killed that scene, something that I'm familiar with when it comes to Teri Polo, but Pence gave me all the damn feels.
Stef's superpowers include identifying and taking in strays, getting people to bear their souls to her without even trying, and reducing men to tears for a myriad of reasons that could be hilarious and gratifying or downright devastating.
The scene with Dennis was so reminiscent of when Mariana's birth father broke down and admitted to Stef that he was suffering from severe depression on The Fosters. Stef has that effect on people, and that moment squashed any mixed feelings she had about Dennis. How could it not?
Hopefully, one day he'll share with one or some of the others his experience. Right now, it works for him that they are "too self-involved" to pry into his personal life. He's so acutely sad and grieving that it would be nice to see some of the others rally around him.
Stef: Maybe someday if you have kids you'll understand.
Dennis: Hm. I had a kid.
Stef: You had a kid?
Dennis: A son. We lost him when he was six. Rare cancer.
Stef: I'm sorry.
Dennis: Yeah, I had the big house, the corporate job. After Jacob died, I just couldn't play the game anymore. I couldn't be what my wife needed me to be. After our marriage fell apart, I thought, why not do what you always wanted to? Play music. So I moved in here where everyone is too young to have a kid and too self-involved to ask what my story is. Look, I know I'm not going to be a Rockstar, I just need something that can fill me up. Jacob would have been eight this week. His birthday, so, I guess I haven't asked Aria to leave because I don't want to be alone.
Stef: I don't think you're alone here. A lot of people really care about you from what I can see. Just ask, you know?
Dennis: I feel like I'm always alone.
The others being in close proximity helps him a little, but his loneliness was palpable. Stef knew it too, and while she didn't force anything on him nor did she share his secret with anyone, she did advise him in her way to open up to the others.
They adore him, so maybe the next time his son's birthday comes around, or the anniversary of his death, or something to that effect, they could support him the way that he needs it.
It seemed like none of the other Coterie inhabitants are close enough to their parents to have them stop by for a visit. That Stef and Lena magic did them all some good.
Stef formed a bond with Dennis, and Lena had a connection with Malika. Good Trouble knows how to carry distinct traits about the newer characters over into other things organically. Malika seeks out maternal figures without even realizing it. She does it with Mrs. Thompson, and she managed to do it a bit with Lena as well.
Lena wandering into Malika's room was hilarious until it wasn't. Everything about Malika's room appealed to Lena, which wasn't a surprise, but when she fixated on the photo of Elizabeth Eckford (one of the Little Rock 9 who was used to desegregate Little Rock High School), and it led to a disturbing flashback, it was like a gut punch.
Lena's campaigning for assembly is not going well, and it's terrible because the family gave up their home and made so many changes so she could do this and do good. Lena is one of the purest, sweetest, most sensitive souls, so it made her being on the receiving end of a vicious, racist tirade all the more troubling to witness.
Give it up for Sherri Saum during that scene! She sold that stunned, vacant look in Lena's eyes as she dissociated. We didn't need to hear the rest of his tirade to know the extent of what was said. If there were doubts as to how ugly it got, the fact that he spat on her punctuated it.
Irate Man: You libtards are all about the handouts, and you lazy blacks are the worse.
Lena: OK, thank you for your time.
Spitting on someone is one of the vilest, most dehumanizing, and despicable things you could ever do to another person and there weren't enough Aria cookies in the world to stop the rage one felt over Lena being on the receiving end of such hatred.
It was discouraging, on top of the fact that she's expected to step back so that a palatable centristic candidate ( read: male, straight, cis-gendered, and white) could take the Democratic ticket for the good of the party.
It's understandable why she would want to throw in the towel, and no one would think less of her, but her galaxy of women, including her daughters, reminded her that the Foster-Adams don't quit, and so many underrepresented, misrepresented, and other individuals need her.
It was the perfect opening for Mariana to expound on her experience at Speckulate, but while she and Lena had a brief exchange that acknowledged the issues, it was mostly glossed over. Other than a wisecrack about a loan, for the most part, Mariana's $20k debt was glossed over too.
Although, the girls bickering and exposing each other's business to moms leading to a special talk and hug fest was still amusing.
The advice Callie received was as expected. So, are we led to believe that outside of a couple of questions, Ben hasn't made his move yet? How does Callie not obsess every moment of every day over this predicament?
Ben: Hey, so uh, what's it like living above The Palace theater? Do they still have shows?
Callie: Yeah, they do.
Ben: Do you know everyone who lives there?
Callie: No, I don't. Why?
Ben: No reason.
It's like she felt she threw him off when she answered his questions about not knowing all of her neighbors, and it didn't hit her again until Mrs. Thompson wandered into the Coterie and sparked Callie to flee the room.
It's such a difficult predicament that Callie is in because it's a matter of the longer that she waits, the worse it's going to get. She already lives with Malika, and people have already seen Malika and Mrs. Thompson together.
Malika can avoid Callie and Mrs. Thompson (something, that I don't think Malika is capable of doing because of how drawn she is to that woman and how deeply she craves that maternal bond), but it's like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube.
Ben is not a stupid guy, so he wasn't going to let any of this go. I wonder if she would have fared better telling him the truth the first time instead of doing all of this lying. Now, he's playing detective and combing through everything that he can, and he found a damaging photo of Callie and Malika talking at The Coterie party.
Callie should have 'fessed up to Wilson ages ago, but now she has to beat Ben to the punch and hope for the best. Oh, Callie. The messes that this woman gets into will stress anyone out.
Callie could have also used some advice about her love life. It's shocking that neither Stef nor Lena touched that at all, not even to inquire if she's using birth control or being safe. I mean, Callie and Gael are getting it in.
The sexual chemistry between Callie and Gael is undeniable. Interspersed between breathy moans were sporadic conversations about their lives, apparently, and they have spent their free time studying each other's body, ahem, of work.
I'm sure as hell not mad at Callie, but this love triangle is a different kind of stressful. What do you guys make of it?
While alone in the theater, Callie admitted that it hurt her to see Gael with Bryan. Bryan has been telling Davia how much it hurts him to see Gael with Callie.
As a side note, I love Davia, and I respect how protective she is over her friends, but in her quest to get snippy with Gael, she was screwing with Callie too, and that's not cool.
Bryan: Dav, I'm really into him.
Davia: I know.
Bryan: It's hard to compete with Callie when she lives here, and she can just sneak up to his place anytime she wants. He always says he's working on his art, but I don't see any new pieces.
Davia; His art sucks anyway.
Gael and Callie have acknowledged that they have feelings for one another, and it's not this "casual" thing that they kept telling themselves that it was. Callie's part in this is standard for her: the good, the bad, and the messy.
Gael is confounding. He doesn't know what he wants, and right now, he wants Callie, but what does that mean for Bryan?
It has been evident that Bryan has deeper feelings for Gael than their casual arrangement led us to believe. Gael's insistence that he not get serious with anyone is what must have kept the two of them from being exclusive.
Now, though, Gael has developed real feelings for Callie somewhere along the way of their many sex sessions, but Gael has been leading Bryan on. That's not fair to Bryan at all.
Gael keeps telling Bryan that there isn't a competition. If they haven't spoken about it (which they should have by now), Gael is at least somewhat aware of Bryan's feelings based on his response to Callie and his genuine belief that he's competing for Gael's heart.
If Gael at least ended things completely with Bryan, or he stopped reassuring him that Callie hasn't "won," giving him mixed messages, or lying about working on artwork when he's working on Callie, then it would put poor Bryan out of his misery.
As annoying as Bryan's gameplaying and cattiness go, he deserves better than to be strung along like this. I sympathize with him the most in this triangle. Bryan and Gael need to have an actual conversation without the snarky back and forth, funny quips, and mind games.
Lena: So Gael, Mariana tells me that you work together at Speckulate.
Gael: Yeah, I'm a graphic designer.
Stef: Oh yeah, how do you like that?
Gael: I like it. I'm actually an independent contractor, so my hours are a little bit more flexible so I can work on my art.
Davia: Oh, and how is that going? You're art? I mean with all the people you're dating, how do you find the time?
They need to have an honest and open conversation. Does Gael have deeper feelings for Bryan? Sometimes it's hard to tell.
Both 'ships have smoking hot chemistry and are enjoyable, and it's difficult to choose one over the other. Gael's inconsistency and confusion are as confounding and frustrating to some viewers as it probably is for poor Bryan though.
What gives, Gael?
I also wonder if there is more to Gael and Callie's relationship. Callie has her hands full at the moment with her job, and she should devote more time to sorting all of that out. Callie's love life is notoriously disastrous and messy, so if she cools it down for a bit, there will be no complaints here.
They haven't experienced each other outside of Gael's bedroom (or with their clothes on for that matter). The foundation for a friendship or more is there, based on a couple of moments, but we haven't seen enough of those moments to know what they would look like if they were exclusive.
I adore Gael, but outside of their sexual chemistry, doesn't it seem like he's drawn to the "newness" of Callie? What happens when and if that wears off?
Maybe moms had the right idea not touching Callie's love life. It's probably best to watch from the sidelines and hope everyone makes it out unscathed.
To the newbies, what did you think about the moms visiting? For the veterans, were you excited to see moms make an appearance?
How heartwrenching was Dennis' storyline? Do you feel like you understand him better now?
Can Malika stay away from Mrs. Thompson? What do you think will happen between Ben and Callie now that he's digging deeper into this?
What are your thoughts on the Callie, Gael, and Bryan love triangle? Are you as torn and confused as I am? Are you thrilled about the renewal news? By all means, 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.