After last week’s detour into a Coterie dating bonanza, we’re back to some good ol’ workplace drama. Pardon me, I should say DRAMA, because things at Speckulate are getting crazy tense and bless the rains down in Africa because Alex finally gets called out for being a dick. I’m sure Mariana still has a battle to fight, but “Byte Club” is all about the little victories.
It’s also about Mariana finding allies in two very important, very good-looking people (not that that’s important, but I’m just saying). We’ll get to Raj in a bit (RAJ!), but first let’s talk about the latest guest from The Fosters to make an appearance on Good Trouble: Jesus is in town! Yes, America’s Internet Boyfriend Noah Centineo found some time in his schedule to remind us just how wonderful and charming Mariana’s twin brother is. I miss him! And he’s involved in three characters’ story lines this week, so I suspect some other people did, too. Jesus fits in with the Good Trouble gang quite seamlessly and I hope he’ll be back again. I enjoy this character for many reasons, but two were readily apparent in this episode: First, not everyone goes to a fancy college and gets fancy jobs and it’s nice to shine at least a little bit of light on a different life path. (Instead of a degree, Jesus got a contractor’s license and works with his friend and universal hair guru Wyatt). Second, the Mariana-Jesus sibling relationship is a special one and, like on The Fosters, every scene Centineo and Cierra Ramirez share on Good Trouble is excellent. There’s just something about those Adams Foster twins.
So what exactly does Jesus walk into when he comes to visit his sisters for a few days? Well, Mariana holds the first meeting of her “Women in Tech Fight Club,” or as she, but nobody else, would prefer to call it, “Byte Club.” It takes a little time and a lot of wine, but eventually, the women of Speckulate start to open up about the misogyny they’ve faced at work — and it feels good. More than just venting about Josh (ew) trying to kiss a bunch of them, the women of Speckulate come up with some actionable items to put into practice at work.
Mariana goes into a meeting and refuses to be passed over. She never says “I’m sorry,” she stands up to show nonverbal assertiveness, and when a guy still wants to pawn off her idea as his own (Sam is a total “Himitator”), another woman in the room makes sure Mariana gets the credit. This is called “amplification,” and it’s a good lesson for all of us: If you see someone being unfairly shut down or ignored in the workplace, BE AN ALLY. Raj hears that loud and clear. After the meeting, he again apologizes for being disrespectful by trying to kiss her and wants her to know that he really does think she’s a brilliant engineer. It wasn’t just a line. If there’s anything he can do to help her, let him know. OH SHE WILL, DUDE.
Mariana is proud of her little victory at the office and relays the good news to Jesus and Callie. But Jesus doesn’t see it as good news. The Mariana he knows wouldn’t be happy with “scraps” like that. Mariana doesn’t take that so well. It doesn’t help that Jesus follows up his dig with his own news: After two days of hanging out with Dennis, the guy introduced him to an old venture capitalist friend who has agreed to invest in Jesus’s idea to build tiny houses. Mariana storms off. The tiny houses send her over the edge. Same, girl.
Because Jesus is such a sweet boy, he isn’t satisfied with letting Mariana be mad, he wants to know what’s going on with his sister. What follows is a lovely scene that I may or may not still be crying about. The twins make me cry, what can I say? Especially when they’re being very open and honest and also saying “I love you.” I’m only human. After Mariana gets upset over how everything comes so easily to Jesus because he’s this charming dude, he reminds her that actually, nothing comes easily to him — remember his TBI (if you didn’t watch The Fosters, Jesus suffered a brain injury after a nail-gun incident — it was A Thing)? He also reminds her that she’s the smartest, toughest person he knows and that she shouldn’t stoop down to her colleagues’ level. It all ends with a hug and I am forever changed by it.
Back at the office, Mariana decides speaking up in meetings isn’t enough — the Byte Club needs to do more. Like demand equal pay when they go in for their progress reports. To do that, Mariana suggests making an anonymous spreadsheet with salaries, but obviously they’d have to find some male co-workers who would be willing to help. Mariana goes to Raj to call in that favor. He, like most of the Byte Club, is immediately put off by the idea — they all signed a nondisclosure agreement regarding their salaries, among other things. Raj could get fired just for knowing about this spreadsheet. And then we see a very anxious Raj meet with Andrea, head of HR. And then Andrea shows up seething, wanting to talk to Mariana in front of the entire Blue Team (and Jesus, who is visiting). It looks like news of Mariana’s spreadsheet got to her … but that’s not it at all.
Andrea is there because it has been brought to her attention that Mariana is being excluded from the social-network project and that’s not how things work at Speckulate. DO YOU HEAR HER, ALEX? Alex is so pissed and is about to lay into Mariana (although Jesus is on standby to kick his ass) for going to HR, until Raj speaks up. He’s the one who told Andrea and he should’ve done it a long time ago.
You guys! Sweet Angel Person Raj! Even Jesus shakes Raj’s hand. That’s how things begin to change in the workplace. The people with some power have to stand up for those with none. I truly hope with all of my heart that Mariana realizes she’s a hot nerd and Raj is a hot nerd and they should be hot nerds together. I am very much here for a slow-burn romance, but also, like, if Mariana breaks Raj’s sweet, tender heart I’ll throw a table. Anyway, what a development!
• A sexual-harassment case brings up horrible memories for both Callie and Rebecca. When Callie learns that the reason Rebecca’s senator grandfather pulled strings to get Rebecca the clerkship with Wilson was because the judge Rebecca was working for was harassing her, she opens up about her rape while in foster care. Callie knows it is scary to speak out, but thinks Rebecca needs to hold this judge accountable, because it seems like he’s doing the same thing to another female clerk. Rebecca refuses to go public — her family would disown her.
• Callie’s really having a rough week at work: She walks in on Judge Wilson having an intensely emotional fight with his son. Later, he has an equally emotional chat with his clerk about her drive to succeed and not to ever compromise her character. Should be interesting once she decides to call Wilson out on his conflict of interest with the chief of the LAPD!
• Can we talk about how great Roger Bart is as Judge Wilson? I know this show is all about the hot 20-somethings, but he really makes you care about this character, regardless of political beliefs. Even Callie is conflicted!
• Poor Dennis! He finds out that his venture capitalist friend has been dating his soon-to-be ex-wife Jennifer for months. Oh, it hurts! Will Dennis ever get a win? I mean, the guy bakes some seemingly excellent coconut bars.
• Listen, I’m all for twisty timelines in order to create some dramatic tension, but this episode felt a little out of hand, no?
• You guys, Rebecca’s getting hers. And by hers I mean some. With Jesus Adams Foster. They meet at the bar near the Coterie, flirt like there’s no tomorrow, and end up in bed together. Jesus is taking her out to dinner on his last night in L.A … when he introduces “Becca” to his sisters. It’s totally not awkward for Rebecca and Callie. Just kidding! Have you met Callie?
• How about Callie throwing shade at Davia for dating a married guy when Davia snarkily asks how Callie feels about Gael and Bryan being exclusive? I’m with Davia: “I didn’t know she had it in her.”
• Oh, hi, incredibly hot public-bathroom makeout sesh between Callie and Jamie. Why don’t you stay a while?