Well, that was equal parts intense and terrifying and uplifting, wasn’t it? Malika’s still in holding after the court increased her bail to $250,000. If it’s not paid, she’ll be sent to a women’s prison nearby. As scared as she is (Zuri Adele really punches you in the gut as she sits quietly spiraling in fear in that holding cell), Malika has several things going for her: Dom, her dad, and the Black Lives Matter team are on top of it. They have a petition to deliver to DA Hansen asking her to drop all the charges. When Hansen ignores them, they stage a sit-in right there outside her office at the courthouse. They’re not leaving until they’re heard.
Meanwhile, there are a few other minor reassurances: They’re using Mariana’s Act-ivism app to crowdfund enough money for Malika to make bail, so not all hope is lost there. Also, Malika ends up in holding with a few other women waiting for arraignment hearings. Some of them have been there before — they give Malika something to eat and make sure she knows she isn’t alone. And Malika must feel a tiny bit of relief the moment a young lawyer in a coffee-stained suit walks up to the cell and she realizes it’s Callie. Sure, Callie’s there for a different client, but she’s a familiar face and that’s not nothing. Also not nothing: When Callie reminds Malika that, yes, she has BLM working to help her, but the Coterie is her team too and they want to be there for her. It’s so sweet it almost makes you want to try out communal living. Almost. Sorry, a community that has your back is cool and all, but that bathroom situation is a dealbreaker.
Anyway, things don’t exactly look great for Malika, but they aren’t completely dire. Okay, fine, things get much, much worse before they get better. And a lot of the problems are tied to the Act-ivism app.
Mariana walks into work, a young woman brimming with sexual tension and excitement over her secret workplace romance (that elevator guy knows what’s up), only to be smacked directly in the face with reality. Her team tells her there is a huge problem with the app: Apparently, a bunch of white supremacists who’ve been trolling BLM found it and have co-opted it for themselves. They’re spreading their hate, harassing other users, and have even pushed down the crowdfunding post for Malika’s bail. Mariana’s first instinct is to ban the most offensive users and hope the problem goes away. She doesn’t want to tell Evan because she knows Speckulate can’t handle the bad publicity and Evan would probably shut the app down. That app is her baby.
This course of action only makes things worse. Banning users only gets the hate groups fired up and even more begin creating accounts on the app. They even use it to organize a counterprotest at the courthouse where the sit-in for Malika is taking place. That’s where Mariana comes face-to-face with what her app has turned into. This scene is stomach-churning, to say the least. The people standing in front of the courthouse brandishing their “White Lives Matter” signs start screaming racial slurs at her and it’s only with the help of Gael — who is filming everything — that she gets in the building. Mariana is visibly shaken. Things are escalating both in-person and on the app and there’s really only one thing to do at this point. She needs to tell Evan so he can shut the whole thing down. She knows that Act-ivism is now forever linked to these white-supremacist groups anyway. It’s too late to save it.
That conversation with Evan, however, doesn’t go exactly as Mariana had assumed it would. He won’t shut down the app. He explains to her that they are simply a platform, they don’t get to police who uses it and they can’t be seen catering to only people whose views they agree with — it would be bad for business. Mariana is infuriated. This isn’t a both-sides situation, there’s a right and wrong here. Ultimately though, it’s Evan’s company and she can’t do anything about it.
Well, there is one thing she can do. Mariana quits her job. Flanked by her team, Mariana walks out of Speckulate in spectacular fashion, and the women have plans to build their own start-up. Who doesn’t love a walk out in a blaze of glory moment?
So, Mariana’s having a time of it, what about her sister? It’s Callie’s first day as a real, live lawyer! Last week she was quoting Elle Woods, but will she be able to casually talk about the chemistry of ammonium thioglycolate in a court of law? Well, not exactly, but she has a similar type of win in the courtroom.
Since Kathleen Gale has no clients, the team heads to the court of arraignment to find some. Callie gets assigned to a college student named Shai (this is how she runs into Malika) who is being charged with indecent exposure after a cop found her in her car making out with her girlfriend. Callie is sure that since Shai has no previous record and is an honor student, she’ll be released on her own recognizance. The only catch is that Shai would have to have a parent in the courtroom vouch for her and Shai’s parents don’t know she’s queer — her dad would disown her. She’d rather take the plea deal even though the charge is crap. Callie explains all of this to Kathleen who refuses to let Shai take the deal and takes the case from Callie.
Kathleen then gives Callie a big ol’ lesson about being a lawyer. The courtroom is a theater, she explains, and the lawyer is the actor who is “trying to manipulate the judge and jury.” When Kathleen gets in front of the judge she first makes sure he knows this charge could easily bring upon a discrimination lawsuit and then as she argues her client should be released on her own recognizance, she broadly gestures to the gallery when talking about Shai’s proud father. There’s a man there who people could easily assume is her father, but he’s not. It’s all a manipulation by Kathleen. She’s tricky! She tells Callie that you need to “read the judge, read the jury, and put on a show.”
Callie Adams Foster is a fast learner. At Malika’s request, Callie takes on the case of one of the women who’s been helping her in holding: Her name is Yvonne, she’s a mother of three, and she has multiple bench warrants out for her arrest over unpaid parking tickets. They keep changing hearing dates and times at the last minute, which she’s then unable to make because she’d lose her job. Callie realizes the judge appreciates respect and humility, so she puts on a whole stumbling, bumbling show and admits this is her first time arguing in court and she’s nervous. She also talks openly about her time in the foster-care system. She is very good. Kathleen is impressed. The judge brings down Yvonne’s bail as low as he can.
It’s still too much for Yvonne to pay, but luckily, she doesn’t have to pay it. You see, friends, Malika is too good for this world and after the crowdfunding effort raised enough for her bail, she decided instead that they should use it to pay the bail for a bunch of other women in holding with her. Most of them are mothers and need to get out more than she does.
So with paying bail out of the question, what will become of Malika? Thankfully, her team is working hard on a plan B. Specifically, Gael and Dyonte are working on a plan B. They use all of the footage Gael’s been taking and create an ad exposing where DA Hansen’s loyalties lie. It immediately goes viral … and I’m happy to report that means that she drops the charges against Malika. Malika! Is! Free! This nightmare is over (let’s hope). And then they dance. They really needed to dance.
• Alice gets into the CBTV Comedy Diversity Workshop! It isn’t easy: She’s prepping for her audition when she learns about the sit-in for Malika. Malika’s been one of her biggest cheerleaders, telling her “not to let anyone or anything get in the way of [her] audition,” but as Alice tells her later — she’s not just “anyone or anything.” While at the sit-in, Kelly has a great idea: Alice should do her set there. She does, it kills, it gets livestreamed, and Sumi sends it along to Ruby who shows it to the CBTV judges. So many people are pulling for Alice! One bit of news that dampens the celebration: Lindsay also got accepted, so that rivalry between the two isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
• Sumi is such a stealth MVP on this show, and I’m so glad she’s back in the mix this season.
• During her set, Alice refers to the Coterie as a clown car, or “a jalopy that runs on sexual tension and bad decisions.” It’s funny because it’s true. So, so true.
• Very glad to see Good Trouble circle back to Davia deciding whether or not she wants to risk her job by standing up for the students at her school and joining the Equity Committee. At first she tells Jordan, the teacher who organizes the group, that she really needs to wait until after she gets her contract for next year squared away. Joining this committee would put that in jeopardy. When Davia hears Malika talk about gratitude for people fighting against oppression no matter the consequences, it inspires her to join a teacher-led protest after one of the students in the “Diversion Program” — which as Jordan points out is basically “a pipeline to prison” — gets arrested for a small infraction.
• So do we think there’s going to be some kind of reveal with Kathleen Gale? Everyone seems surprised that she would leave her cushy gig to start a nonprofit firm seemingly overnight. The other attorneys who followed her insist it’s all very unlike her. What gives?
• Anyone else catch how disappointed Dyonte looks when Isaac shows up and swoops in for a celebratory makeout with Malika? A love triangle is brewing, people. Be on alert.
• That small moment in which Callie comforts Mariana, knowing how awful she feels about what happened with her app, made me so misty-eyed. It’s so nice to have the Adams Foster sisters back together again!