I would like to sue the powers behind Good Trouble for emotional distress.
Of course, the need for them to continue to churn out this quality content supersedes any stress they may cause.
Good Trouble Season 1 Episode 13 was not nearly as anxiety-inducing as Good Trouble Season 1 Episode 12. Well, unless you exclude the cruelty of extending our meltdown over the fate of Dennis until the final 20 minutes. However, the finale was jam-packed and mostly satisfying.
This series remains one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.
It has a way of taking the viewer on an emotional ride which is entirely unexpected. It's not to say its predecessor wasn't one of the most emotional family dramas in television history, but out of the gate, Good Trouble had a different enough vibe where the degree to which they tap into a person's emotions is shocking.
If you watch teary-eyed dramas meant to do that, you knew what you were getting into. However, Good Trouble is sneaky and masterful in its ability to gut-punch you with a raw depression, grief, and suicide attempt arc which leaves you emotionally spent.
It blindsides you with the effects of a case so realistic and unsettling the moments of which the pain or fury of it subsides are far and few, but smartly, the show doesn't let you forget it even when they give you moments of reprieve.
It eases you into a moment of triumph after a well-fought battle, but then it interjects uncertainty and unease; it's not a clean win. It gives you a little bit of everything, and it remains grounded in reality but also hopeful.
The finale was evidence of that, and I appreciated how it provided so much closure while leaving little loose ends to serve as a handful of mini-cliffhangers. It was a bearable finale given how intense the installment leading up to it was, but it left enough to have fans clamoring for more.
Callie's love triangle decision was not one of particular interest when other developments are more worthy of investment.
It's interesting to note the series excelled at providing us likable, well-developed, multifaceted characters in this ensemble, and the series has veered away from The Fosters enough where everything doesn't have to hinge on the sisters (mainly Callie).
Yes, they're the leads, but given the talent of their cast members and these evolved characters whom we have come to learn about and love, the show can trust the audience is invested even if Callie isn't at the center of everything.
For example, the fandom losing their minds over the fate of Dennis is proof the series could have a cliffhanger that had nothing to do with Callie but would be discussed and send fans in a frenzy.
You gotta call me the second you get this! I'm serious, Dennis! Please call me. Call me!Davia
As a result, unlike the show playing a cruel joke on us, I'm going to discuss Dennis first. He is alive, thank the heavens! Words cannot describe how stressful it was wondering if he harmed himself.
To echo off of what Davia told him if he were gone there would be a void in the series. We can put a pin in our plans to riot.
It's impressive what Josh Pence has done with this character in the span of a few installments. He wasn't in all of them but from Good Trouble Season 1 Episode 5 and onward, his arc has been one of the strongest and his presence one of the most notable.
The relationship between Davia and Dennis has been fascinating and frustrating, but the evolution of their bond is impressive. The two of them orbit around one another frequently, and their interactions have ranged from tense to endearing.
I know there are some fans whose speculations include a turn towards romance, but it's not something which should be on the table yet (if at all). Their vibe always felt antagonistic sibling-like, and it's what made Davia's dogged quest to reach Dennis for two days fitting even if she didn't know about his ex-wife and Jacob.
Dennis: I drove out to this cliff at a beach. I was gonna drive off. One of the voices I kept hearing in my head was yours.
Davia: Really, what was I saying?
Dennis: Do it.
Davia: Shut up!
Dennis: I heard you telling me not to be an idiot... it's not like I'd leave some big void in the world, but it suddenly felt selfish like a betrayal to Jacob. It felt so hard to live. How do I explain that to him if there is a heaven? How would I explain that to him? How would I explain we put him through so many tests and drug trials just to keep him with us? That I just throw my life away ... so I drove myself here. Checked in for a 48 hour hold.
Davia: You lost your child. I can't imagine coping with all that pain and grief. Especially when you keep it locked up inside of yourself, and you don't share it with people who care about you. Because people do care about you, Dennis. I know there would be a huge void in my life if you weren't here.
Dennis did consider driving off a cliff, and he cited one of the things keeping him from going through with it was Davia's voice in his head. However, more importantly, and what struck the most emotional chord was he imagined what he would tell his son in some afterlife.
He and his wife put Jacob through every treatment and study imaginable in a desperate attempt to save their son; he fought like hell to keep his son alive, so how could he give up on his life when he never gave up on his son's?
How could he encourage his son to fight and then give up himself? If Jacob could fight his cancer, then Dennis could fight his depression. It was the best way he could honor his son's memory.
In his moment of clarity, he did the best thing for himself and drove to a hospital and checked himself in for a 48-hour psych hold. I'm fortunate enough to have never been suicidal, but I was close to someone who was as a teenager, and Davia's frantic phone calls and texts were so relatable.
The mix of relief and concern when she realized he checked himself into a facility was as well. Those 48 hours can feel like an eternity, not just for the person who may be going through it, but the close ones of the person battling their issues.
Once again Pence and Hunton knocked it out of the park with their scenes together. Their chemistry is out of this world, and the dynamic between the two characters is one of the best of the series thus far.
Dennis so often took it upon himself to advise the younger Coterie members in his way. Davia was a recipient of his advice more than anyone. What made their scene so special was how she was able to support him.
Before with Stef, Dennis was closed off, but there was a noticeable difference in how he carried himself and made efforts to improve things in his life, but he was weary and tired, and he gave in to opening himself up and being honest with Davia.
It was another way in which he got the help that he needed. Holding so much inside is toxic and draining, and I'm happy he was able to unburden himself with Davia even if he's not prepared to do it with the other Coterie members yet.
It's a step in the right direction, and he has the support there at the Coterie whenever he makes himself emotionally accessible to his found family. I like how Dennis' crisis centered around him and by extension Davia, but it didn't go further than that.
It would've rung untrue if Jennifer popped onto the scene, or the rest of the gang found out somehow and rallied around him. Good Trouble touched on this topic beautifully, and it was heartachingly real and raw without being exploitive or insensitive.
Hey Jen, it is me. I'm sorry, and I never stop being sorry, and all I do is fail people. The truth is. I wish I would've died that day, not Jacob. I want you to have everything. I want you to have a great life. I want you to be happy.Dennis [crying]
Many people battle it every day, and it's an unfortunate part of life, not something which should become a "very special episode" and wrapped up neatly in the end.
It was an important arc and a stunning, heartrending one, and Pence and Hunton were remarkable in their scenes.
Also, Davia is a character who had such remarkable growth throughout the season; she's a character of whom, I referred to as an acquired taste, but she had a great journey. What I love is how her journey rarely if ever related to her size.
Too often, a full-figured character's arc always goes back to weight-related issues, but Davia's were about learning to love and respect herself for different reasons.
She had to learn to respect herself enough to give Jeff an ultimatum because she is better than someone's mistress; she deserves better than the title. Jeff claims he's single now, but I'd rather she stay away from him altogether.
She also had to learn how to be more sympathetic and less crass to others who are supposed to be her friends. She had to unlearn bad habits and check her privilege and become more present.
By the end of the season, Davia was a better friend (to Dennis), and someone who took criticism and learned from it (due to Malika), and she was able to apply it to her life.
Vivian returned, and her story unfolded into a moving tale of a single father who was doing the best he could for his daughter.
Thanks to Malika's experience with homelessness and her hard truths about the ignorance of middle-class white teachers to the struggles of low-income students and students of color, Davia reconsidered how she was handling the situation with Vivian.
Davia: So now you want to educate me? So what is it, Malika? Should I go get a book and figure it out for myself or should I wait patiently for your next lecture?
Malika: Why are you getting so defensive?
Davia: Because you're attacking me when I'm just honestly trying to understand. I'm on your side, but it feels like there is nothing I can do to convince you of that.
Malika: If the truth feels like an attack, you need to check your privilege.
Davia: I didn't know it was a privilege to have a conversation with my friend without feeling patronized or judged.
If Davia immediately jumped on her first instinct of getting the authorities involved with Vivian, her father could've lost her, and Vivian could've been worse off. Vivan's father wasn't a negligent parent; he was a single, widowed father working his butt off to acquire enough money to pay for the deposit on an apartment.
Davia displayed genuine sympathy and understanding when she heard Vivan's father out after requesting to speak with him. So often topics like homelessness are oversimplified and wracked with stereotypes and tropes. It conjures up the image of someone mentally ill, or unkempt.
The average person who falls upon a difficult time due to circumstances they couldn't control (like Malika and Vivian) is an overlooked narrative.
It sparked Davia to pursue teaching seriously which is something she didn't consider before. She feels differently now, and it's beautiful how she has discovered her passion and evolved.
Malika lingered on the periphery of the scene, but she was never intrusive and offered empathy when the moment allowed for it. It left an effect on her as well. Malika's reason for not attending the rally she put together was a medical emergency involving her mother.
I don't believe that she's braindead. It's just cheaper for you to let her die. A black woman with no money? Yeah, y'all don't care about her life. I'm not pulling the plug. I'm not letting them do that to her.Dom
Malika did not leave on the best of terms with neither her mother nor Dom. It was a blow when she heard her mother was braindead and worse when she knew she had to let her go.
Familial relationships are messy and complicated. Dom was devastated, but Malika had a muted response.
Malika could've been fraught with guilt, and maybe part of her was, but she made peace with who her mother became by sympathizing with who she was before the drug abuse thanks to Vivian and her dad.
It didn't excuse her mother's actions, but Malika was able to let things go for her benefit. It's commendable, and she is closer to her brother now, which is all she wanted.
Similar to Davia and Dennis, and Davia and Vivian's father, the scene between Malika and Sandra was also an incredible scene.
Sandra checking on Malika, apologizing, and comforting her reaffirmed how their relationship is beyond Jamal.
I'm sorry. You know I, um, I gave you the wrong advice when I said we couldn't have our moments -- that we had to be strong. That black superwoman complex, we don't have to be that. We can just be real. We can break down. We can ask for help. We can be there for our sisters and our brothers the way you were there for me.Sandra
Sandra provides the maternal energy Malika needs. It's instilled in young black girls how they don't get to have their moments, but by apologizing and checking herself for embodying the "black superwoman complex" she and Malika can work towards dismantling it.
Malika was vulnerable with Sandra, and Isaac returned by the end of the hour, too. They are the best couple on the series, and he ignored their spat and came to support her; she wouldn't have reached out otherwise.
Zuri Adele has been exemplary all season and a breath of fresh air.
The portrayal of the Black Lives Matter protest was also refreshing. The movement is frequently demonized or mocked. The addition of one of the founders of the movement, Patrisse Cullors, is one of the best touches of the series.
She spoke about "Jamal," with passion, but it felt like the show was addressing all the real people who lost their lives to police brutality. It felt like a real protest, and the powerful energy of it was enough to give you chills. I loved the reminder of what the movement is about at its core.
Those chills continued when Callie kept glancing at the cops gripping their batons and prepared to get physical if they felt compelled.
Who Callie chose was the last thing on my mind during this jam-packed hour. Fortunately, the series didn't make the bulk of Callie's storyline in the final hour of the season about her love life.
It smartly focused on the Thompson case and Callie's ethical and moral quandary. The continuity of Good Trouble and the way it expertly interweaved plot points throughout the season is superb.
it's all here. Griffin told internal affairs that he was there when chief Kelly said it was cheaper to allow victims of police shootings die.Callie
From the moment Callie signed her document about upholding ethics her first day we knew she would face something or multiple things which would put her in a difficult position.
For Callie, the reality of what is right, moral, legal, and ethical conflicting with each other is hard to grasp.
She is an activist at heart, but she is working within the confinements of law. The series' stylistic choices receive mixed reviews, but the Callie versus Callie visual was the best.
It was old Callie grappling with mature Callie -- Callie battling it out with her conscience. The split technique was enjoyable, and The Fosters could've used it whenever she made dodgy decisions.
How could Callie keep what she knew quiet? Officer Griffin overheard Chief Kelly's despicable statement about the cost efficiency of letting gunshot victims die.
It could be of use to Thompson's attorney, but Wilson made his ruling; Wilson was at his most disingenuous. Callie suspected Wilson was burying the personnel file as part of his arrangement to get charges dropped for Tate. It wouldn't be a surprise now.
Callie had a hard time walking the line when she wants to be on the front line. Jamie reminded her to be careful, but he still doesn't know our Callie as well as we do.
The court trial was riveting, especially the contradictory evidence. Both sides had expert witnesses whose testimonies were the polar opposite of each other. Rarely do you see such contrast, and it's going to be difficult for the jury to reach a decision.
On one side, Jamal had a personal picture up of a smiling Jamal, and the other was a mugshot. One side painted him as a normal teen and the other a gang member and criminal.
The choice to show the picture of a deceased Jamal in a pool of his blood was bold and provocative. From the case standpoint, it made sense, but it's sickening and enraging that he has to be viewed in such a state to invoke emotion and be viewed as a human in the first place.
The court decision could go either way. Wilson called for a recess, so now we're in the dark. Did Callie pass the file along or someone else?
Callie considered doing it, and it seems Wilson thinks she's behind it too. If someone sent the files to her, then they could have sent them to other people.
It's the biggest mystery, but while grappling with her work drama, her love life was complicated too. The tango was unexpected but also so delightful. I loved how it was utilized to show both issues she was juggling: her feelings for Jamie and Gael but also her loyalties to Malika and Wilson.
The tango was visually stunning, and so was everyone involved in it. Also, impressive moves by all.
I cannot help but laugh over Gael's part. Not only was Gael donning an unbuttoned shirt exposing his chest, but their portion of the dance was in the bedroom.
I broke it off with Bryan. Part of the reason I broke it off is you. I haven't felt this way about anybody un a long time. I should've fought for you. I know you're seeing Jamie. If you have any doubts if he's the one for you, I just wanted you to know where I stand.Gael
I love Gael, and I do like him with Callie. They're a sexy couple, but their relationship needs to grow and develop into something well-rounded. They have an undeniable connection, but it's often limited to their physical attraction to each other.
I don't begrudge Callie a healthy sex life, but coming off of Gael himself pointing out he felt reduced to a Latin lover fantasy, if she chooses him, hopefully, we can expect more layers to their relationship.
Gael put his cards on the table. He's no longer with Bryan, and he has real feelings for Callie and is open to exploring them if she and Jamie aren't meant for each other. You have to respect the guy for not wasting time or letting love slip away without a fight.
Speaking of love, it was a nice pivot by Jamie. It sounded like he intended to tell Callie he loved her but backed out of it. Jamie is astute and may know there is a chance Callie doesn't feel the same way he does.
As much as I love Jamie and Beau if Callie doesn't feel the same way she needs to do Jamie a favor and let him go completely. It's not fair to him if he sticks around as her friend or personal lawyer.
Why do we need a love triangle when the best solution is a throuple?!
Jamie: I really care about you.
Callie: I care about you too.
Jamie: And I love... that you're so passionate about Jamal's family getting a fair trial. Please do not do anything impulsive that you might regret for the rest of your life.
Mariana's love life is less complicated, but her work life is beyond complicated. Angela did help Mariana with the best intentions. It's sad someone in her position felt trapped and forced to put up with things she didn't like to support herself and her children.
The best thing about the different women's positions as they tried to figure out whether to expose the salaries or not is no one was wrong; everyone's reasons were valid.
Casey didn't want to risk everything by exposing the company, and it was fair. Mariana was almost in a similar position when Evan gave her what she wanted by greenlighting her app idea and giving her access to whatever team she wanted.
She had to figure out if she wanted to make a change through her app and relationship with Evan or by exposing the salary disparity.
She leaked the information, and Josh's meltdown was epic. You had to laugh in disbelief when he went on and on talking about the bad PR when they could've avoided poor optics by paying women and POC the same pay as their white male colleagues.
He didn't know how to respond when a Byte club member suggested the remedy. His attempt to blame it on Angela and publicly fire her was laughable.
Byte Club Member: What if you just raised the salaries of women and people of color to parity the men? Wouldn't that solve the PR problem?
Josh: Um, OK, so here's the thing, we were not aware of the disparity. Angela here, the head of HR, should have brought this problem to us a while ago, and I think that what we should do is hold Angela accountable, so Angela, I'm sorry to do this publicly, but uh--
Mariana: I did it. I hacked into HR, and I posted the salaries online.
Casey: I did it. I hacked into HR, and I posted the salaries online.
All the women and Raj: I did it. I hacked into HR and posted the salaries online.
While it was a beautiful Spartacus moment of solidarity having the others say they were the culprit, Josh would've had a shitshow on his hands if the public found out the company was paying women and POC less and then he fired all the women and POC who spoke up about it.
How did this guy get a job?!
The good news is Evan didn't know about the pay disparity. It made sense he was out of the loop with the administrative side of the company because of how apparent it was that it wasn't his thing.
However, Evan is still a mystery, and we didn't get the closure or confirmation of whether he was a good guy or not. Evan is capable of developing feelings for Mariana while respecting her work and capabilities.
The feelings he may or may not have for her could stem from how impressed he is by her skills and contributions.
Mariana: I want to be honest with you. It was my idea to expose the gender and race pay gap and considering everything else --
Evan: What else?
Mariana: You know, everything. I think it might be best if I leave Speckulate.
Evan: I don't want you to leave. I'm glad that you brought this to my attention. I don't like dealing with the administrative side of things, so I had no idea that women weren't getting paid the same as men, but I plan to correct that and get rid of Josh. Please don't leave.
Until Mariana asks him directly what his intentions are, I don't think we'll ever know for sure what's going on there or what happened to Amanda.
We're operating on gossip and speculation. Given Evan's disposition and social issues, Evan could gravitate towards Mariana out of comfort.
Is it me or did Gael's reaction when Mariana said Evan might be interested in her dubious? Do you know who could use more screentime together and a friendship? Mariana and Gael. They work and live in the same buildings but barely interact.
Gael has to know some of the things happening at Speckulate, yes?
Mariana's decision to possibly leave the company was unexpected, but her lack of knowledge about the fine print of the contract she signed was shocking. Isn't it common knowledge any ideas you come up with while contracted to a company belongs to it?
Evan may like Mariana, but he's a businessman first, and he didn't hesitate to remind Mariana.
Mariana, if you choose to leave, I can't stop you, but you can't take your app with you. Every idea you had under contract here belongs to me.Evan
We can't make sense of Evan, but Raj has always supported Mariana and been her biggest cheerleader. She forgave him, and a guy who takes her constant flogging whether it's warranted or not is a man who adores her no matter what.
How do we feel about the culmination of Maraj? Both sentiments are understandable. They are cute together, and it's unsurprising if, after Raj's unwavering support and risking his job for her and the other ladies, she recognized how great of a guy he is and found all of his actions over the months attractive because it's worthy of attraction.
It led to her wanting to kiss him. Their kiss was sweet and kudos to the series for showing consent as cute, flirty, and sexy but also something which works both ways and isn't limited to only men asking for permission.
However, the argument for why Mariana and Raj should've remained platonic after proving he wasn't the "Nice Guy" trope is valid too. I can understand if it came across as though his reward for good behavior was a kiss.
Mariana: You know, I know we're colleagues, and I don't want you to think I don't respect you as a brilliant engineer, but do you mind if I kiss you?
Raj: Yeah, that would be really disrespectful and inappropriate, I'm so kidding. Please, kiss me. Please
Maraj comes down to taste and how you look at it, but their moment was romantic and adorable.
Alice's moment with her parents was probably the sweetest and most heartening scene of the hour. Her parents are so cute, but who knew they figured out her sexuality and love for Sumi all this time?!
Alice spent years fretting about her parents and staying in the closet with them, and she could've been open and unburdened; they knew the truth and loved her.
Of course, we would've been robbed of the charade everyone put on for Alice's parents. The kiss between a passionate Meera and unsuspecting Gael was priceless.
The hilarity was short-lived when Joey had her one-on-one with Alice.
It was something reminiscent of Grey's Anatomy when some of their gay characters expressed reluctance about dating a "baby gay" who was either new to dating the same gender or weren't in the place where they were out and at peace with their identity.
Joey's words were a gut punch, and her impression of Alice was reasonable. Alice may have a few things she needs to sort through as she comes around to fully accepting herself. Her parents knowing the truth should help.
I don't think that the problem is just that you aren't out with your parents. You're not out with yourself. You're not at peace with being gay and that's way scarier because if you can't accept yourself, how can you accept me?Joey
Fortunately, she didn't go back to Sumi. Unsurprisingly, the wedding didn't happen. So much for Sumi's lovely wedding dress being put to use; she looked gorgeous.
Sumi shouldn't have gotten married when she's unsure. She made the right call, and while it sucked for Meera, she deserves someone who loves her completely and wants to marry her and put her first.
Someone out there will appreciate Meera and her awesome hat collection.
Over to you Good Trouble Fanatics. What are your thoughts on the finale? Please, let's discuss in the comments below!!
If you want to rewatch the season, you can watch Good Trouble online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.