How about a big round of applause for Zuri Adele? She’s tremendous this week as we finally get some follow-up on Malika’s situation with her family. My heart still hasn’t healed from watching her have to feign remorse in front of her manipulative mother in order to have some shot at a relationship with her brother, Dom. And even that backfires! We’re all crying in our cars with you, Malika.
So, yes, Malika does finally come face-to-face with her mother. Dom tracks her down at work and hand-delivers a letter from mom. (Another gutting moment: watching how excited Malika is to see her brother, only to realize that he’s only there on behalf of their mother.) She wants to make amends. She’s clean, he says. Malika wrestles with whether she should even open the letter, if she should let her mom have any effect on her life. After having conversations with both Sandra Thompson, who tells her that we all can build our own families, and Mariana, who has been through a similar situation with her own former-drug-addict birth mother (who’s doing great now, BTW), Malika decides she’s not going to read the letter. She’s going to see her mother in person. I know, you guys: top-notch Drama.
The entire scene at Malika’s mother’s house is pretty awful to watch. It’s clear her mother is still manipulating Dom into taking care of her, and she still believes that Malika betrayed them by calling CPS when they were kids. She wasn’t unfit to parent, she had simply missed some utility bills, she says. But she’ll “forgive” Malika if Malika forgives her. She’ll apologize if Malika does. Oh, you guys, then Malika looks at Dom, whom she desperately wants back in her life, and back at her mother, whom she wants nothing to do with, and tells her everything she wants to hear, even though she hates doing it. The real kicker: Her mom tells Malika that she owes them some money. And then Malika goes and has a good cry about it all in the car. She deserves a good cry. She has been through it.
But it’s not over! Almost immediately after she throws down some cash and gets out of there, she sees Dom run out and buy their mom some booze. She might be off drugs, but she’s not sober. Brother and sister proceed to get in a fight about how their mom is still using Dom. Malika so badly wants him to come with her, to get out of that situation, but he won’t go. It’s no wonder that she goes back on her promise to Callie and sits down right next to Sandra during a hearing — Sandra’s been there for her, so Malika is returning the favor.
Speaking of Callie, after nine episodes, I’ve officially reached my Callie threshold. I am frustrated. Honestly, I lasted much longer than I ever anticipated, so that’s something. But in “Willful Blindness” the girl goes too far. She gets into arguments with two people, and the self-righteousness is out of control.
First, there’s Rebecca. Listen, obviously people need to be held accountable and someone like Rebecca, with her family connections, could weather the storm of a scandal much easier than most people. Callie is right that if you think someone is being victimized, people in power need to stand up for that person. BUT STILL, Rebecca’s story is not Callie’s to tell. Rebecca has every right to be mad once she figures out that Callie went to Wilson — sure, Callie didn’t use Rebecca’s name, but they all know he’ll connect the dots. Not like he’s willing to help anyway — he tells Callie it’s useless for him to file a complaint if no victim will come forward. It’s all very bleak.
I’m glad that in the end Good Trouble allows Rebecca to come forward on her own terms, rather than being bullied into it by Callie. But what changes Rebecca’s mind is an ice cold meeting with her mother — she sure explains a lot — in which she must listen to this woman, who gave birth to her, go on about how Judge Handelman having a female clerk isn’t Rebecca’s problem, how the #MeToo movement has gone too far, and how Rebecca is going to be a good girl, stay quiet, and take that job with the prestigious law firm her grandfather got for her. Rebecca doesn’t throw her glass of wine at her mom, but the disgusted look on her face tells us she wants to.
Instead, Rebecca files a sexual harassment complaint against Handelman. She informs Wilson that she’s done it and strongly hints that she knows Wilson knows and is doing nothing about it. And then, like the wind, she is gone. But not, like, because Handelman’s people took her out or anything. She started her job early, and it’s not at the fancy law firm her family wants her to work, thank you very much. She’s taking a smaller gig in Denver, where she wants to go. She leaves Callie a letter detailing all of this and thanking Callie for her example of conviction and ethics and not letting others define her, which, like, barf. Anyway, I’m very sorry to see Rebecca go — as much as she believed Callie was challenging her, she was also challenging Callie, and ya girl needs someone to do that. Also, in her goodbye letter she tells Callie to tell Ben to go to hell, which is an excellent way to go out.
The other argument Callie gets into this evening is with Gael. She keeps creeping upstairs to “drop off forms” and to “pick up forms,” but Gael knows exactly what she’s doing and calls her out on it. She was the one who ended their relationship so she could focus on work, and now she’s up in his apartment flirting her face off. Listen, I respect that Callie has the right to be horny as hell, but what she’s doing to Gael isn’t fair. Plus, that guy’s having a stressful week as it is, trying to figure out how he wants to brand himself ahead of his art show. Bryan thinks he should reach out to the queer community, but Gael is hesitant to define himself one way or the other. Mariana thinks he should reach out to Latinx community. Now, that he feels better about. Needless to say, he doesn’t need Callie waltzing in and getting mad at him for not reciprocating her flirting, LIKE SHE ASKED HIM TO. And then Gael drops a bomb so full of truth that I am, as the kids say, profoundly shook: He complains that we are all just living in “the world according to Callie.” Have I mentioned how much I like Gael?
• Good news: Wilson files a complaint against Handelman, asking the Chief Justice to remove him from the bench. Bad news: Wilson rules on a motion in the Jamal Thompson case on behalf of the LAPD and now Callie’s really worried the whole thing with his son is coming into play here. I’m very interested to see how she handles this.
• Of course Rebecca would have monogrammed stationery.
• Alice and Meera share a nice moment complaining about some of Sumi’s less-than-endearing qualities, but then get into a huge fight once Meera hears Alice talking shit on her and Sumi on Joey’s radio show. It escalates into Alice reminding Meera that she and Sumi were still together when Meera slept with Sumi. When Sumi pops in, they cover up the fight and the girl continues to remain clueless. Has anyone ever been so oblivious in the history of the world?
• Is Joey the worst radio show host ever? She has a guest on and her first question is, “What’s on your mind?” followed up with, “Tell us about your day.” No, honey, you’re the one who is supposed to come up with the conversation topics. No wonder Alice bombs so hard! NO WONDER THE SHOW ONLY HAS TEN LISTENERS.
• Okay, I’m officially over these fake-out fantasy sequences the show uses sporadically. The latest is during Alice’s lunch, in which she imagines coming out to her parents. These add very little to the story and are distracting. Can we phase them out?
• Davia’s bathing suit, please and thank you.