It was one of the best balanced hours of the season.
Coterie group scenes and hours are always a special treat, but when it comes to moving the plot along with all of the primary characters, Good Trouble Season 2 Episode 7 nailed it.
The hour balanced out Coterie drama and whatever is happening in the real world outside of the house.
It was a nice change of pace moving Malika away from the bar and having her pursue a different job. It pays the bills, but it's not something she's passionate about, and I always wondered what would be of interest for her.
Panoptic Threads was the type of company she would've wanted to work for on paper. Their marketing was inclusive and meant to appeal to all people.
When Malika first sat down for the interview, the assumption was they recognized her from the Jamal Thompson protests. It turned out they were the only company who responded to her resume she sent them with her real name (Malika Williams) versus a less "ethnic" name.
The only thing less surprising about Malika choosing that experiment for her class project was the results of it highlighting the racial/implicit bias.
Except, the funny thing about implicit bias and people who believe they're doing the best or "woke" is how easily they can fail in some other regard.
Malika: Black women are trendsetters and brand loyalists, and yet so many companies ignore us in their marketing, and that is why I love what you are doing at Penoptic Threads.
Interviewer 1: We're all about inclusivity.
Interviewer 2: We want our clients to be every voice. Every woman. Socioeconomic group--
Interviewer: 1: Binary and non-binary
Interviewer 2: True. You don't have to identify as female to find your fashion here.
The company wanted the representation as long as it wasn't controversial. How can you profess to be an inclusive, socially conscious company while avoiding controversy and politics?
Unfortunately, diversity and inclusivity overlap with politics and controversy, and it's unavoidable. You can't preach inclusivity and think you're not going to make waves.
Is it inclusive if the people they choose can't be their authentic selves? What's the point then?
They encouraged Malika to downplay her relationship with the BLM movement.
She's an actual member of it now; how the hell was she supposed to avoid mentioning it on social media when it's the movement's biggest resource?
BLM member: You ready for this?
Malika: I'm so ready.
If they were inclusive, they wouldn't silence Malika or put her on a leash; they would have people with different viewpoints in their company as well.
But how can a company want to profit off a message of inclusivity when they don't want to acknowledge why it's necessary in the first place? They can close their eyes and speak of racism in hushed tones so as not to upset anyone but profit off of the diversity.
Malika's frustration was understandable, and how torn she was made sense too. The more we get to learn about Malika, the similar she is to Callie.
They are strong in their convictions, and they would rather stick to them than compromise in any way. Sometimes it's admirable and enviable; other times it's frustrating and stupid.
The deeper Malika has fallen into the BLM movement, the more passionate she is about it. It's not something she wants to give up.
She's valuable as a new face who isn't recognized yet, and she's ready to do what's asked of her; put herself out there on behalf of the movement.
It's a direct conflict with what the company wanted her to do, so it came down to giving up one or the other. Malika could've used the money, stability, and the opportunity to make a difference in another way in her new job, but she wasn't giving up on BLM.
There was no doubt about which choice she would make.
Malika: I don't know how to work for a company that sells itself on being socially conscious but doesn't want to be too political or polarizing. Especially when it comes to black liberation.
Isaac: I know, and pretty soon you won't have to, but right now, you have to play the long game. You know how many crappy companies I worked for before I started my own? It sucks. You feel like you have to shrink yourself to make them more comfortable. Baby, and to succeed after all you've been through, that's an act of rebellion. That's protest, baby.
I love Malika and Isaac's relationship. They balance one another out, and he has a way of speaking to her with some reason and in a way that makes her reconsider things and look at them from a different viewpoint.
Isaac's more realistic and grounded in his approach to matters. He knows that most people have to put up with crap and pay their dues. For Isaac, setting aside aspects of yourself or toning them down for the comfort of others is part of life and the sacrifices one has to make as a POC in the world.
Isaac believes in picking and choosing your battles, and he also has maintained that success is a form of protest. He's giving a middle finger to oppression and racism every time he succeeds when he's happy when he beats obstacles in his way.
Both of them are correct. There are two types of people, and they are those people, but I wonder how Malika takes his words.
He would've approved of her taking the job anyway, and his reasoning for it wasn't bad, but it also would have meant she gave up something of herself she couldn't.
For Malika, it would make her feel like a sellout.
She and Isaac are the couple goals on this series and the most stable relationship too. However, when situations relating to this come up, it's curious to what extent their different methodologies will affect them.
Malika made her choice, and she's ready to put herself out there on the frontline of the movement, however controversial and dangerous. She has never been a person who sits idle in the background, so it was the right choice for her.
Meanwhile, her kindred spirit did take a job which limits her, and she can't figure out how to stay in her lane. Callie's legal aid work is suitable, but she still can't process restrictions.
If she had her way, every case would lead to an expensive lawsuit. Every person who enters the office is the chance for her to go on another crusade. Unfortunately, legal aid work doesn't work like that.
You remind me a lot of myself, especially at your age, just out of law school. People dismiss your enthusiasm. Tell you you're naive for thinking you can make a difference. Don't believe them. We make a difference every day, and when you pass the bar next time, I hope you'll let me hire you here as a lawyer.Teresa
To make matters worse, she is a pawn in a game between Teresa and Marcus. Her colleagues were joking, but it did seem as though they were children caught between their warring parents.
The relationship between Teresa and Marcus is intense.
It's believable they had a sexual relationship, but whatever is going on between them now isn't professional and should stay out of the office. They had Callie ping-ponging back and forth, and now that it seems like Teresa values Callie to spite Marcus, he's ready to use her against Teresa.
Callie managed to step in it outside of work too. It's about time the show has acknowledged how little Callie has interacted with other members of the Coterie.
The closest person she has to a friend there is Malika. Outside of Mariana, Callie spent most of her time only interacting with Gael and Malika. It's why the others have such a vastly different impression of Callie than anyone else who knows her.
It's of Callie's doing that she never bothered to get to know the other members of the household. It speaks volumes how she never noticed she was ostracized until she saw the Coterie Biatches group chat.
Are mommy and Zaddy fighting again?Cary
She never put in an effort, and now her feelings are hurt, but I feel terrible for her. She stayed there because of how much the gang felt like a family, but now she has realized she feels excluded from the family.
I hate that Callie is going to use this and her increasing tension with Mariana to justify moving in with Jamie. It's not fair to Jamie that she uses him as a backup plan or somewhere to flee when everything else falls apart.
She was right the first time; it's too soon for them to move in together. Jamie is becoming Callie's version of Jeff, and it sucks.
She feels like an outcast and the butt of the joke among the Coterie women, Mariana has joined in on making fun of Callie behind her back, and Gael is angry with her. For a girl who always has one foot out the door, this is all it will take for her to bolt.
Callie: You're the one who volunteered to help him get laid.
Mariana: Maybe I'll just do it myself ... I'm kidding.
Instead of staying and hashing things out with everyone as you would do with family, she's going to run and hide, and I'm not ready to see it.
Mariana approving and partaking in the trash-talking about her sister is disappointing, and I could have done without the reminder of how mean and bitchy Davia can be. She even got the classic disapproving look from Dennis.
Mariana's work stress explains her behavior. Evan has made her his unofficial right-hand woman. It's nice that he values her, but he's putting too much pressure on her.
Mariana is earning every cent of the increased salary she hasn't received.
Evan's position is interesting. He's the CEO of the company, but he also tends to be at the mercy of the board. He's going out of his way to show the board why he supports her.
Evan: I want you to create a chat feature to keep users in the app longer and boosts ad sales.
Mariana: You mean like further down the road after the launch?
Evan: No, I mean now. But don't worry, you can have until the end of the day tomorrow to show me something.
Marina: Tomorrow? That's not much time.
Evan: You can do it.
Mariana: What with everything that we have-
Evan: You can do it.
Mariana: It's going to be pretty --
Evan: You can do it
Mariana is feeling the pressure as a result.
His faith in her is endearing and hilarious, especially when it comes to his dating life. It has made them closer than they ever could have been.
They're friends, but that's also more of a reason why Mariana should have spoken to Evan about the pressure she was under and everything else instead of blurting out her frustration in front of her team.
They could have spoken one-on-one about how stressed she was and what Amanda said. There wasn't an excuse for her not to given how close they have gotten.
This woman wants to know what I'm wearing, so should I say shirt and pants, or is it code for something, like down to ... sex?Evan
Mariana is cognizant of their work relationship when it comes to chickening out on asking him about Amanda and saying no to him, but she's taking advantage of their relationship when she airs out her grievances and his dirty laundry in front of a roomful of people.
I'm dying to know more about this Amanda situation too. Angela lying about what happened to her isn't shocking, but I also doubt it's as Amanda said.
I believe Speckulate has blackballed her, but doubt Evan is this calculated, inappropriate monster she's suggesting.
We would find out a hell of a lot if Mariana asked Evan what the hell happened. They're in a place in their relationship where she could and he would tell her.
At least, they were in that place before she humiliated him in front of his employees. It's also bothersome that Evan trusted Mariana with his social anxiety issues, and she has shared it with damn near everyone.
Mariana: Either learn to take no for an answer, or fire me like you did Amanda!
Evan: How do you know about Amanda?
Mariana: You know, people talk.
Evan: Well, people don't have all the facts.
I'm also bummed we didn't get to see Mariana and Gael working together. Why do they barely interact despite working in the same building?
They get interaction (somewhat), and it's Gael bailing on her under Elijah's encouragement.
I cannot decide if Elijah's influence is a good thing or not. Sometimes his intentions seem pure, but then other times he's too pushy and controlling.
Does he have an agenda? What's the story about him stealing, I'm sorry, "being inspired" by Gael's art? His sketch was similar to Gael's work.
It's interesting how he has done what Bryan was attempting to do during Good Trouble Season 1 with Gael.
Gael does need to take his art more seriously if he wants to pursue it as a career. He did have a habit of sacrificing his art for other things and people.
Elijah: Sometime to take care of yourself, you have to let people down.
Gael: She's also my friend.
Elijah: You and your friends.
However, Speckulate is what's paying the bills, so the work project should have taken priority. He pulled it off by the skin of his teeth, but it was a crappy thing to do to Mariana.
Elijah is hard to figure out. What's his angle here? What does he gain from making Gael the hottest, up and coming artist? Why did he breeze back into town and now spends all of his time in Gael's room anyway?
If I were Jamie, I would be annoyed Callie let someone into his apartment, but I would be super annoyed Mariana sent Gael there in her place; it's weird!
It was only a matter of time before Gael found out Jamie was the anonymous buyer of the art piece he made with Callie. It couldn't be a more contrived way of him finding out, but Gael standing there looking like an angry, hipster Gomez Addams paid off, I guess.
We have another wrinkle in this love triangle. Gael probably thinks Jamie did it for ulterior motives, and now Jamie will find out Callie created it with Gael. The messiness never stops!
Alice: Are you cooking?
Alice: I miss your cooking.
Alice continued the middle school messiness with playing the go-between in the Davia and Dennis saga. I love Alice so much!
Alice is the den mom of the Coterie who has been doing double duty since den Dad Dennis has been down and out.
Dennis hasn't been making the family-style pasta dishes, coconut bars, and frittatas for the house. Who has been feeding the kids?! No wonder they missed him so much!
It was still a surprise Davia confided in Alice about her feelings for Dennis. She said the words out loud. She loves him.
She's afraid he doesn't love her back though, and Dennis' history of women who don't look like her messes with her self-esteem.
The best moment during the exchange was when she snorted at Alice telling her she's beautiful. Davia knows she's beautiful, and too often people treat plus-sized and ugly as if they're synonymous when they aren't.
Davia: The truth is, I didn't break up with him because I didn't think anyone else would ever love me.
Alice: How do you know Dennis doesn't love you?
Davia: I know that he loves me as a friend, but let's face it, I'm not his type. He dates girls the size of my thigh
Alice: First of all, you're beautiful.
Davia: Duh. I said I was fat, not ugly. Just because I learned to love my body doesn't mean that Dennis ever could.
Alice: Jeff does. Sorry sorry, I just meant that your body is obviously lovable.
She knows she's beautiful and that Dennis finds her beautiful too. He has said as much. However, she's unsure if Dennis finds her sexually attractive; there's a difference.
He's her best friend, and she knows he loves her in that way, but she doesn't know if he could love her as anything beyond that.
Davia captures the complexities of self-confidence well. She's so confident in many parts of her life, but she also has moments of low self-esteem that will break your heart.
For example, she knows she's gorgeous and that Jeff loves every part of her, but she also is afraid no one else could ever love her. How do you respond when someone says something like that?
Thankfully, Davia did what she needed to do a while ago. She told Jeff the truth and let him go. It was hard for her, and he didn't take it well, but it needed to be done.
OK, look, I don't have time for this BS. Do you have feelings for Davia?Alice
Contrary to what Jeff said, Davia didn't ruin his marriage. His marriage ending was an inevitability and had nothing to do with Davia in the end.
She's feeling bold and brave, and even though Alice's meddling may have caused some awkwardness, she ended the hour in Dennis' room ready to tell him the truth about her feelings.
It cannot be that simple, right?
While everyone with eyes could see the fireworks between the two during their performance, Alice cutting to the chase and damn near asking Dennis to fill out a "Do you love Davia? Check: Yes, No, or Maybe" note on wide-ruled filler paper tipped him off.
Dennis suspects Davia has some feelings for him. Otherwise, he wouldn't have pushed for the song, and he has noticed her behavior even if he hasn't said anything.
He was the one who nearly confessed his feelings before, and he appeared resigned when she called him her best friend and also when she claimed their performance was acting.
Alice: Do you love Davia as more than a friend? A simple yes or no would do.
Dennis: Who wants to know?
Alice: Inquiring minds?
But he has to know Alice was asking on behalf of Davia. It wouldn't be a surprise if now that she's willing to 'fess up to them to his face, he pumps the brakes for some reason or another.
Isn't that how these things work? Even though they both have feelings for one another, it still doesn't mean they're ready to be with one another either.
Hell, Dennis has just now started coming out into the living space with the other people thanks to Malika's guilt-tripping over her birthday and Davia talking Alice into removing his personal refrigerator.
Meanwhile, Davia parting ways with Jeff is still too fresh. It's also a concern that she doesn't think anyone else could love her.
The superior 'ship will always be [insert character] with self-love and/or therapy is all I'm saying.
So, I have something I need to tell you.Davia [to Dennis]
Over to you, Good Trouble Fanatics! Should Malika have taken the job anyway? What really happened with Evan and Amanda?
Does Elijah have ulterior motives? Should Callie move in with Jamie or have a sit-down with the ladies of the Coterie? Did you feel bad for her?
Will Davia tell Dennis the truth, or will something interfere? Hit the comments below with all of your thoughts!
You can watch Good Trouble online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.