Take your usual spot on the Coterie couch, my friends, because Good Trouble is back for the summer. The midseason finale aired in April, so the hiatus hasn’t been too long. But dang if this show didn’t leave us with an enormous amount of drama to angst over. Apparently, we aren’t the only ones feeling that pain because the episode kicks off with a bunch of Coterie ladies openly sobbing over their breakfast together as “All By Myself” plays. The sadness is real, people — especially for Mariana, Alice, Malika, and Davia. The visual paired with that song is ridiculous enough, but what really takes this opening scene to the next level is the perfect button: Callie, daughter of darkness and drama, walks into the kitchen the most chipper she’s ever been in her life (she’s humping Gael again, so it tracks), and without looking up from her phone to see the disaster zone before her, she asks the girls, “How is everyone on this beautiful day?” I’ve watched this moment three times now, and it only gets funnier. Bless this show for being able to walk that line of thought-provoking social commentary and high comedy! Bless all of us, really.
But back to the serious stuff. Let’s start with Mariana, whose story line is pretty gutting: I mean, the girl starts off with a boyfriend and three great friends she’s about to go into business with and ends up completely alone. Welcome to the Rough Stuff. Last we saw Mariana, her friends brought up the notion of suing Evan and Speckulate for workplace harassment in order to (1) get what’s theirs and (2) have money to fund their Bulk Beauty app themselves. This meant Mariana had to come clean about secretly dating Evan this whole time. The ladies are shocked and hurt to learn what Mariana has been up to behind their backs, but it doesn’t matter that she can’t sue Evan. They still can. And they plan on it.
So you could say Mariana’s in a tough spot. It’s made even tougher when she fills Evan in on everything and pleads with him to settle with the ladies when they bring their suit against him, and he refuses. He has a deal in the works to take Speckulate public, and a lawsuit like this would tank the whole thing. There’s a lot of money on the line, plus settling an “unfounded” lawsuit like this would open him up to future lawsuits. Mariana tries to explain that it definitely isn’t unfounded — they all experienced discrimination and harassment while working at his company — but he doesn’t hear it. He thinks he’s come up with the best solution for everyone: He’ll become a silent investor in Bulk Beauty, which gives the girls their money without him having to deal with a legal battle. Mariana knows this is a terrible idea. And we know she knows this because we see her on the phone with Callie later, looking for reassurance that telling her friends about the Speckulate IPO deal — which will give them some real leverage — and betraying Evan is the right thing to do. Callie’s an expert on blowing up your relationship in order to Do the Right Thing, so it is the perfect phone-a-friend, really.
Mariana’s choice between her friends and her boyfriend ultimately seems pretty easy, but the conversation with Evan after she makes that decision is anything but. She tells him what she did and explains once again that her friends really do deserve to get compensated for what they endured at Speckulate and how it’s awful that Evan wants to do the right thing only after he has no other options. It’s clear she’s ending things, but Evan doesn’t want to. He loves her and knows she makes him a better person. Therein lies the problem: Mariana has spent their entire relationship making excuses for Evan; he doesn’t make her a better person. What a wonderful lesson to learn in your 20s, holy hell.
Unfortunately, Mariana’s heartbreak is just getting started: The Bulk Beauty ladies regroup and thank Mariana for feeding them the IPO info, but they feel so betrayed by her that they’ve decided to cut her out. And not just from their app — they’re cutting her out of their friendships, too. They want nothing to do with her anymore. A tearful Mariana is left alone to deal with the consequences of her actions and start over in every regard.
Let’s try to cheer ourselves up for a minute: Alice, who’s upset about getting kicked out of the comedy diversity workshop for taking a stand against the blatant racism baked into the program (and rejecting Ruby for not taking a stand), and Malika, who’s nursing a broken heart after Isaac doesn’t take her “Let’s try polyamory” pitch well, both get high on edibles. It’s all fun and learning lessons from Jerry Maguire until a bird flies directly into their window, and they take it as a sign that they’ve ruined their lives with their most recent choices. But then, just when they’re at their lowest, the bird takes flight once more, and these ladies feel alive again. Their sense of self is restored. And they do what any person who has found a new and powerful reserve of hope would do: They dance it out to Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping.” Do these children even remember this song? Who’s to say? But it feels good nonetheless. Plus, they’re high as hell.
The good times roll on for these two when Ruby appears in the middle of their kitchen dance party with news for Alice: Margaret Cho took what Alice had said to heart and gave an interview to The Hollywood Reporter calling out the workshop and the network for racism. They end up firing Scott, the head of the program, and deciding to let the talent lead the creative, just as Alice demanded. And they want Alice back. She did it. As Malika had pointed out, “It only takes one voice at the right pitch to start an avalanche,” and that was our dear Alice. There’s so much to celebrate!
Well, until Malika gets a message from Isaac saying he wants to talk. The ladies are riding that high in every sense of the phrase and so believe that only good things are going to come from this conversation. Remember, Malika brought up exploring a poly relationship with Dyonte, but when Isaac balked at the thought, she told him she would give that up to stay with him. She loves Isaac and doesn’t want to lose him. Isaac, however, needs space. Now that Malika has expressed her feelings for Dyonte, her and Isaac’s relationship will never be the same. He doesn’t know exactly what he wants to do yet — so he is taking a six-month work contract in London. Maybe it’s time to turn the Chumbawamba off?
• Sorry, not sorry, but it freaks me out when Isabella acts like a normal human and isn’t, like, throwing things at mirrors. She seems kind of cool about the pregnancy situation? She’s the one who suggests getting a paternity test to give Gael peace of mind even though she’s sure he’s the father, and she wants to pay for it even though her parents have cut her off (they end up splitting the cost). Who is this person? Thankfully, the moment she swears she doesn’t want to get in the way of Gael and Callie AS SHE IS MOVING INTO HIS LOFT, I know she’s the same old agent of chaos as always.
• So Callie and Gael are very cute and mature. And I just don’t think I’d be able to survive yet another reunion for them to break up again, so let this be the last. But that’s less because I’m attached to them and more because I’m old and that sounds exhausting.
• Ooooh, what will Mariana say when she has her first run-in with Isabella at the Coterie?
• We get a little more clarity on Kathleen Gale’s FBI investigation: She did have something to do with her client Albert Chen’s wife disappearing but, like, in a good way, I guess? She secretly tipped off the wife, Denise, that her husband was going to kill her to stop her from testifying against him. She doesn’t know where Denise went, but she’s alive. However, the FBI has a witness stating that Kathleen was in the room when her client said he wanted to “take care of” his wife, and until Kathleen can find Denise, it looks like she assisted Chen in some shady, possibly murder-y things. A new twist: Tommy, the teen they are defending in a murder case, is actually Denise’s nephew! Tommy’s dad promised Kathleen that he would tell her where Denise is if she took on Tommy’s case. So many layers of secrets with Kathleen! She swears Callie now knows everything, but Kathleen has fooled us before.
• “No, I know what an aunt is.”
• Anyone else feeling really torn over the Davia and Dennis of it all? Obviously, they have Been Through It, and I want nothing more than for those two precious people to be happy together. Still, I’m glad to see — once Davia learns that Dennis’s epiphany about her being his “light” and his realization that she’s what he both needs and wants came only after he heard she’s dating someone else — that she doesn’t just take him back. She needs him to figure out his shit and prove he means what he says. She has zero time for this!
• Davia leaves the door open with Matt. For now, since she’s a mess, she just wants to be friends, which is very nice because he is so nice … but Davia and Dennis are endgame. Matt should get out while he’s still mostly unscathed. I mean, he was walking around in public in Davia’s silk robes, but it’s too late to change that, buddy.
• Dennis gives Gael reassuring dad advice; Gael gives Dennis reassuring Davia advice. This is a bromance for the ages.
• “Correction: A bird saved us.” Zuri Adele and Sherry Cola are a dream team.