Good Trouble Midseason-Finale Recap: The Returned

Good Trouble

She’s Back
Season 3 Episode 10
Editor’s Rating 5 stars

Good Trouble

She’s Back
Season 3 Episode 10
Editor’s Rating 5 stars
Photo: Freeform

Holy hell, there is so much happening in this episode, my little Good Trouble fam! But do you want to know the most fun part about it? Every single story line is worth getting invested in. That’s a real feat. Especially because when I say “every single story line,” I mean it: Good Trouble uses its spring finale to push every story line it’s been juggling this season forward. Normally, episodes like this feel overstuffed, and too many story lines can be a disservice to the episode as a whole, but not here. Nope. By the end of the episode, I still wanted more of everything. Sure, we’ll have to wait a while for the next batch of episodes, but at least we have so much to look forward to.

Let’s kick things off by addressing that episode title. Sorry to tell you, buddies, but the “she” in “She’s Back” is none other than Isabella. And she’s pregnant! And it’s Gael’s! And she’s keeping it! Neither her return nor the status of her uterus is surprising, but wow, she really did find the worst possible time to stroll into the Coterie, didn’t she?

Apparently, I’ve become a Gael/Callie ’shipper (I don’t recognize myself, don’t worry), because it really stung to see these two almost get together and Isabella show up to ruin everything: After telling off his boss, Gael was amped up and texted Callie that he wanted to talk about “us.” Callie, as it turns out, did not have sex with Tony — she stopped him before it went that far, telling him that her “heart belongs to someone else.” I mean, it’s not like she was going to marry Tony; she could’ve just had a little fun, but then again, this is Callie. She goes to Gael’s so they can finally be open and honest about their feelings and probably start kissing a lot, but Isabella is already there. Eventually, Gael tells Callie everything, including that he wants to be a part of his child’s life (will Gael be tempted to crawl back to Yuri and take him up on his offer to pay him to keep painting work that Yuri can pass off as his own?? Babies are expensive!). It’s not that Gael and Callie can’t start up a relationship, but the news certainly does make that prospect a whole lot more complicated than it was five minutes prior.

And Callie already has a lot of complications in her life. Specifically: Her boss Kathleen Gale has been arrested by the FBI! Right before the team can make their arguments to get a continuance on their murder case! It is very dramatic. Kathleen tells Callie to present their argument since she’s the one who discovered the discrepancy in the prosecution’s timeline, and I guess this D.A. Rothman lives for the drama, because he tells Jamie to get up there and respond for the prosecution.

The exes are both very good at their jobs, and things are getting heated in that courtroom, so much so that I was like, Should they make out in front of the judge? They don’t, but a girl can dream. DA Rothman would be onboard, and that is a stone-cold fact. So no in-contempt-of-court face smashing, but at one point Jamie starts talking over Callie, and she says, “Excuse me, I’m speaking,” and It. Is. Awesome. The judge gives the defense a two-week continuance, which isn’t a lot, but it is something. Kamala Harris would be proud. Elle Woods, too.

There’s no time to celebrate because this FBI stuff is serious. Callie finally asks Jamie to tell her what he knows about the case against her boss. If you had guessed “she possibly helped a Chinese mob boss murder his wife, who was going to testify against him,” wow, good for you. Officially, Kathleen’s being charged with witness tampering, and there is clearly going to be much more to this story (this is Good Trouble, come on!), but the FBI thinks she at least has some information about how this witness disappeared. And now Kathleen wants Callie to be her lawyer. So that’s fun and not at all beyond the depth of a just-passed-the-bar baby-bird lawyer!

Callie’s sister is also dealing with some drama, albeit without the big win to at least balance it out. Mariana and the tech girls pitch Bulk Beauty to the investor that Evan secretly helped them get a meeting with, and it goes well! They want to buy it! The ladies celebrate with a dance party in the lobby! Mariana and Evan celebrate with a romantic date and say “I love you” for the first time! And then Jackie, the woman they pitched to, calls and says sorry but the big boss has decided not to move forward with the app.

Mariana marches back over to the offices to find the CEO, Vincent, and plead her case. Vincent’s confused — he’s never heard of this app. Jackie shows up to explain: She was trying to let Mariana down easy, and the real reason she backed out is because she discovered it was Mariana and her team who leaked the salaries at Speckulate. As a woman in her industry, she says she feels like she’s overly scrutinized and needs to be extra careful as to who she invests in — Mariana and the girls are just too much trouble. Mariana coming down to the offices to talk to the CEO is more proof of that.

Well, the tech ladies are pissed. They were fighting for a more equitable workplace and are being punished for it. They think Evan turned a blind eye to the toxic environment, and Gina thinks they should sue him for workplace harassment and then take that money and fund Bulk Beauty themselves. The other girls are immediately in agreement, but Mariana says that they can’t sue Evan … because he’s her boyfriend. That’s definitely not how Mariana wanted to share her secret, and this whole situation just got a lot more complicated.

Speaking of complicated, we only get a tiny taste of what’s going on with Malika’s poly-relationship situation, but already it is emotionally confusing. After Malika admitted to wanting to be in a relationship with both Isaac and Dyonte, Isaac ran. Days later, he comes to tell her that he certainly doesn’t want her to change who she is for him, if this is what she wants. He has two options here: He either loses Malika, or he has to be okay with her also being with Dyonte. He hates both options and wants them to take a break so that he can process. Malika is beside herself, and she ends things with Dyonte before they even start because she knows that the only way to prove to Isaac that she loves him is to not see Dyonte anymore. It’s all so crushing.

There is so much going on in this episode I haven’t even mentioned Margaret Cho shows up at the diversity workshop! Margaret Cho! Alice says that she played Notorious C.H.O. over and over as a kid, so when Margaret Cho shows up to watch the rehearsal for their showcase (on Good Trouble, Cho is an alum of this particular diversity workshop), she’s beyond excited. And then she remembers that this means she’ll be performing those stereotypical Asian characters and racist sketches in front of her idol, another Asian comedian. She’s riddled with anxiety.

They perform the sketches, and Margaret Cho laughs and laughs and tells them all how impressed she was. Alice is surprised. So, when she gets the chance to have a one-on-one chat with the iconic comedian, she asks her if she was also asked to lean into stereotypes during her time in the workshop. Margaret tells her it was even worse, but that you need to play the game to get past the “gatekeepers.” Alice is brave here, confronting her own idol about that line of thinking: “If we keep playing the game, aren’t we part of the problem?” Alice asks. And furthermore, she doesn’t hesitate to question that if there’s someone like Margaret Cho who has been through this and is on the other side, shouldn’t she be helping to change “what it takes to get where [she] is?” Margaret isn’t given the time to respond, but you can see how much the conversation affects her.

Later, the diversity workshop meets at the Coterie to blow off some steam. They decide that they don’t have to be complicit in this; they could all band together and refuse to do these types of sketches. The higher-ups would have to listen to them. They’re definitely a little drunk (or a lot drunk), so that adds to their enthusiasm and bravado … but they seem ready to demand change.

They are not ready. The next day at the workshop, after seeing Shawn get cut ahead of the showcase and Scott going off about the “PC police ruining comedy” and reminding them that they’ll lose chances for lucrative talent deals, Alice stands alone in speaking up about what’s going on here. Scott tells her that if she doesn’t want this opportunity, she is free to leave. And so she does. In front of everyone in the group, in front of Ruby, and in front of Margaret Cho, Alice takes a stand.

Hey, Alice isn’t the only Coterie member taking a stand this week. When probation officers wrongly try to pull Andre out of class and put him in juvy, she physically blocks them from getting near Andre. Nice Teacher Matt is right by her side. The whole thing leads to a confrontation with the principal, but in the end he agrees to make the Restorative Justice art class an after-school program. It’s a huge win for the Equity Committee.

But it’s not the only thing the teachers can do for their students. Andre approaches Davia to thank her for standing up for him, but also to tell her that he and some of the other students have started a petition: They are going to refuse to take the big schoolwide common-core test coming up unless the school agrees to remove the police from inside the building. Andre’s tired of being scared to come to school every day where he might get searched or receive a third strike that sends him to juvy. The students are standing up for themselves, just like they were taught. Nice Teacher Matt doesn’t hesitate to sign it, regardless of the consequences it might have on his job. Davia has never been more into him than in this moment. She signs it too; she stands with her students.

Davia and Matt’s celebrations back in her loft don’t go exactly as planned. You guys, I am here to inform you that this episode could just as easily be called “He’s Back” because YOU KNOW who walks into the Coterie at the end of the episode. Yes, Dennis has returned. Honestly, I’m so happy but also HOW DARE HE. Like Isabella, it was obvious he’d make his return at a truly inopportune time, but seeing him walk into the kitchen and tell Davia that he was wrong to “leave the best thing in his life” and call her “his light” just as Nice Teacher Matt walks out in one of Davia’s robes is truly sending me into this hiatus. Dennis how could you, but also welcome back!

Good Trouble Recap: The Returned