Ba ba ba ba baaaaaa. And we’re back, baby. By “we’re,” I of course mean that season three of Freeform’s Good Trouble has finally arrived after being pushed back from a 2020 release due to the ongoing pandemic. We are always grateful for even the smallest of gifts. But hi, hello, I also mean that after a season-long hiatus, these here recaps are back in business. It’s a good thing, too, since I’ve basically been screaming internally about the season two finale (both joyous screams and ones of frustration — looking at you, Mariana sleeping with Evan) since it aired back in March. I will not lie to you, when Davia and Dennis finally (FINALLY!) kissed, I stood up and did a lap around my apartment. It was a small lap, but it’s the thought that counts. I couldn’t control myself! All of which is to say that returning to these recaps is as much of a service to me as it is to you. Wow, wow, wow, doesn’t it feel good to be back at the Coterie?
It’s been almost a year since we last saw our favorite communal living buddies and the season three premiere dives right into the drama and doesn’t look back. There’s a lot to remember from season two, so it might be best to break this episode up by character. Let’s get into it.
Well, Callie’s really in the thick of it, isn’t she? I mean, you could say that for literally any episode that Callie’s in because Callie is always and forever going to Callie, but still — the woman is dealing with a lot at the moment! You might recall that she was assisting Legal Aid in representing a group of tenants who were being forced out of their building by a large corporation that Jamie’s law firm represents. Callie found privileged documents in Jamie’s briefcase that revealed the company was being shady as shit and was going to turn the apartment building into a mental health prison. She uses that info to tip off community activists, who inform the tenants of what’s going on, and the deal between the tenants and the developers tanks. Jamie, of course, realizes this is Callie’s doing and, feeling completely betrayed, kicks her out of his apartment and back to the Coterie. When Callie goes to see Jamie later, wow, he is the saddest boy. He looks like he hasn’t slept and also has been crying nonstop, probably as he stares at that painting of Gael’s he bought. He tells Callie that he’s going to lose his job because of what she did and that she has made her priorities clear. It’s pretty devastating. How is there any way for Callie and Jamie to come back from this?
On top of all of that, Callie also learns that Jerod — the homeless man with severe mental health issues who followed her into her and Jamie’s apartment last season — is in prison because Jamie decided to press charges. He says it’s for Jerod’s own good, but when Callie goes to see Jerod in prison, she discovers that the guards are refusing to give Jerod his medication and have beaten him — he’s covered in bruises. It’s a bad situation.
Well, wouldn’t ya know? Legal Aid is moving offices and the woman moving into their old place is Kathleen Gale (welcome, Constance Zimmer!), a high-powered criminal-defense attorney who is starting a small nonprofit firm. Callie comes to her with Jerod’s case. Kathleen will take it on — but only if Callie quits Legal Aid and comes to work for her. Callie agrees. The new job makes it extra exciting when Callie, our dear Callie, learns that she has finally passed the bar exam. What a roller coaster of emotions!
Ah yes, the aforementioned sleeping-with-her boss story line. Listen, I know there are lots of people out there who cheered when Mariana couldn’t fight that feeling anymore and, fueled by an assumption that Raj was hooking up with Isabella, made a stop at the Speckulate offices for some late-night coding with Evan (coding means sex). But I have a soft spot for our dear Raj and it cannot be denied!
At the end of season two, Raj had admitted to Mariana that he was working out some feelings he was having about Mariana’s new roommate, Isabella. Isabella was being shady in all aspects of her life, but she was definitely the most shady when it came to Raj (remember when she broke the mirror??). So, when Isabella hung up her confession on the Trap Heals confession tree and Davia saw that it said “I slept with my roommate’s boyfriend,” she of course told Mariana, who took it as a free pass to act on her feelings for Evan. Now, before you go, “Ugh, Mariana! You need confirmation before unleashing the kraken (unleashing the kraken is sex)! Never trust a confession tree confession without some evidence!” — it is obvious to the audience, and grows increasingly obvious to Mariana by the end of the episode, that she was simply looking for any excuse to hook up with Evan. Isabella, it turns out, was most likely referring to an old roommate situation, plus Mariana knows that Raj would never cheat on her, even if Isabella seems into messy drama.
In an extremely mature move, Mariana tells Raj that maybe the fact that they both have feelings for someone else (she does not tell him she had sex with Evan, by the way) is a sign that something just isn’t working between them and they should take a break. It is sad but feels right.
In a not so mature move, Mariana then goes to Evan and tells him that dating her boss is a bad idea but she wants to do it anyway, in secret. That seems healthy and not at all like it will somehow blow up in her face.
Hot tip, people: If you’re a character in a TV drama, please never say out loud that something is just routine and no big deal and totally going to be fine. Whether you’re going to a pretrial hearing or a doctor’s appointment or, like, a quick run to the grocery store — do not tempt fate! Unfortunately, this is exactly what Malika does as she assures Isaac that her first hearing in the case being brought against her for breaking Judge Wilson’s restraining order is nothing to worry about. Isaac is concerned that the D.A. is making an example of her because of her ties to Black Lives Matter. But it’s precisely because she has the support of BLM that Malika feels like everything is going to work out just fine. She’s very casual about the whole thing! Too casual!
It’s not until she’s out playing flirty hopscotch with her co-intern Dyonte (if this show hurts Isaac, I swear!) and sees fliers gathering support for having the charges against her dropped that the seriousness of her situation sets in. Malika is beside herself, scared that she might be going to jail. Dyonte promises her that she is not alone in this. They are going to do everything possible to help her.
She’s going to need it. It turns out Isaac’s fears are all coming true: The court goes hard on Malika. Because of her BLM ties, the judge deems her a flight risk. Her bail is increased to $250,000 and she will be remanded into custody until it’s paid. Malika gets cuffed and taken away. Well, that’s a gut punch I wasn’t prepared for.
Hm, how do I put this gently … um, what in the actual fuck, show? On one hand, just because all the angsting and all the longing between Davia and Dennis ended with Dennis coming in and saying that although people have warned him not to trust his feelings while he’s grieving so intensely, he thinks that’s bullshit and he loves Davia and they gloriously smash faces, you knew it wouldn’t be immediately smooth sailing for these two. Dennis is broken! Davia has reservations and insecurities! But on the other hand, it would’ve been nice to have more than a sex scene as part of a bigger montage and a quick scene of them in bed deciding to go on their first date before Dennis runs away to the beach to work on himself. We deserve more! We’ve been so patient!
But sadly, as Davia is getting ready for said date, Gael shows up worried about Dennis. That morning, he showed Dennis the mural he made over the picture of Jacob and Dennis seemed upset. Now he’s gone, and Gael can’t get in touch with him.
Obviously Dennis taking off is alarming for Davia. The last time this happened, Dennis ended up in a voluntary psychiatric hold because he was going to hurt himself. As Davia tries to get a hold of him, she ends up going to his grief support group to see if he’ll show up there. He does not, but Davia talks things out with the counselor. She reminds Davia that grief is a tricky thing, and that someone can seem like they’re moving forward until something triggers them and they’re overwhelmed and in pain. It’s clearly what happened to Dennis.
Finally, Davia gets him on a video call and rather than getting upset with him for scaring the shit out of her, she seems defeated. He doesn’t think he deserves to be happy and he can’t be at the Coterie right now. She makes him promise not to disappear on her, but doesn’t say much else. She’s giving him space to do what he feels he needs to do. The Coterie’s stalwart will-they-or-won’t-they couple is back to they won’t in record time.
• This episode doesn’t have room to check in on Alice’s comedy showcase rivalry with Lindsay just yet, but Alice does call out the fact that they haven’t had a family dinner at the Coterie in a while and they should get back to it — and this is why we love her.
• So, after realizing that everyone thinks she slept with Mariana’s boyfriend, Isabella just up and disappears. Sorry, first she has hot, hot sex with Gael and then she disappears. You know this woman is going to show up again at the most inopportune time. She! Is! Messy!
• The capoeira sequence is gorgeous — Dyonte teaches Malika capoeira to help her feel strong, centered, and prepared to take anything on — although through a lot of it, all I could think was, “Wow, she really picked that up fast.”
• Am I just an old person, or was the timeline in this episode particularly hard to follow? Some story lines felt like they took place over one day, others over several. I need some time markers every once in a while.
• Isaac suggests he and Malika should move in together. Doesn’t he know no one can ever leave the Coterie? No one!
• Wait, are we to never see our Legal Aid friends again? They will be missed!