Good Trouble: Season 1, Episode 11 “Less Than” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Malika laying on her bed.
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Good Trouble dives into varying topics dealing with race from pay gaps, representation, privilege, and also how to be an ally this episode.


Network
FreeForm
Director(s) Bradley Bredeweg
Writer(s) Kimberly Ndombe
Air Date 3/19/2019

She’s Still In Love: Alice, Sumi, Meera, Joey

With Sumi hearing Alice is over her, she decides to show she is by no means over Alice. Unfortunately, this is done over a double date so Joey can see the madness as well as Meera. A double date which features Sumi going over how she met Alice and dismissing how she met Meera. Praising Alice like that’s her fiancée and that leading to Meera and Sumi fighting. Something which Alice makes sound like a normal thing.

However, all this isn’t normal for Joey. She is willing to roll with it, even Alice not being out yet, but there is some hesitation.

In The Minority: Malika, Isaac, Sandra, Mariana, Casey, Evan, Davia, Josh, Angela

It’s a hard episode for the women of color on Good Trouble. Malika learns Jamal, Sandra’s son, had an issue with dark skinned women. That he fetishized Asian women, on social media, and was very vocal about his opinion. Even in his room, with many posters of women, all would pass the paper bag test.

This leaves Malika a bit conflicted, but doesn’t necessarily kill her resolve. However, with Davia questioning it and Isaac trying to play down her feelings a bit, it makes her feel isolated and alone. A feeling Sandra has as well as she blamed herself and looks to Malika for comfort. But with her turning her back comes a reminder of how alone Sandra is in this. Even if Malika apologizes and still shows up to protest.

Sandra noting she doesn't have the time to be vulnerable.

As for Mariana? Well, she too is having issues, but rather than it be about colorism, it is about intersectionality. The white women at her job are clearly being paid more, with one who was hired around the same time as Mariana making $10,000 more. However, as usual, there is the fear that if race is pushed with the gender gap, that means the two issues will conflict and kill momentum. Luckily, with the grit Mariana has, she is able to convince the white majority to side with her.

But then comes an interesting situation. Evan, the CEO of Speckulate, pulls Mariana, Josh, and Angela aside after a meeting. He wanted to question why Mariana was so gung ho on a pitch and went silent and with her telling the truth, a chain of events happen. One, she gets her meeting. Two, Angela gets admonished and three, Josh is taken off a pitch for suppressing Mariana. Leaving us seeing neither one of them happy that they got put down in earshot of a person barely hired and hopefully not ready to do something about that.

The Work Drama Continues: Kate, Judge Wilson, Callie, Jamie, Tate

By force, or rather immense social and job pressure, Callie finds herself bringing her family to Judge Wilson’s house. Mind you, it’s just her moms, Mariana, and Jamie. But that seems more than enough for Judge Wilson to make a scene. Since it appears the goal of this get together was to shame Tate. To show Callie, a girl who grew up troubled and in an unconventional home turning out good and yet here is Tate. Someone who has to rely on his dad’s connections to have charges dropped against him.

Which, of course, pushes the idea Judge Wilson may have made a deal in some form and that leads Callie to consult with Jamie. Someone noted to be her boyfriend to Judge Wilson, so that causes a bit of a stir. Yet, the real stir to the pot is Judge Wilson taking Callie off the Jamal Thompson case and replacing her with Kate – his new hire.

Now, why did he do this? Well, as we’ve seen a few times, Callie has an issue with recognizing she is a judge’s clerk and not a lawyer. So her advocacy, while the passion is appreciated, it is also making Judge Wilson’s pursuit of objectivity increasingly difficult. So, it seems he’d rather Kate, who likely is just happy to have a job, over Callie who might be getting a tad bit too familiar.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Stef and Lena continue to have marital problems, but now it is over Stef feeling like the politician’s wife who can’t say too much or be her own person. Something which is a massive issue for her since it makes her feel silenced. However, because the campaign, and if Lena wins, already making their marriage difficult, Lena tries her best to reassure Stef and even notes if she wants to be her campaign manager she can. This is offered due to Cindy, Lena’s current manager, being a bit much when it comes to her relationship with Lena. Leading to some jealousy.
  • It has roughly been four months since the series began.
  • Casey has worked at Speckulate for 3 years.

Highlights

Good Allies Are Hard To Find

Speckulate salaries.

From Davia to the white girls on Mariana’s team, even Casey to a point, we’re shown how difficult it can be to get things done, especially if you’re a woman of color. Heck, we can even throw Malika in there when Sandra was having a moment. For despite all Malika said to Isaac, when she saw her warrior queen remind her she is only human, she got scared off and distanced herself. Showing, as much as she is down for the fight, she isn’t for the pain of the healing. Which, all things considered, might be harder than the fight.

Think about it, when your enemy is external the battle is easy since you have someone to lash out and rage against. However, when battling your own internal feelings? What can you do? As Sandra showed, you can’t erase a lifetime of decisions, indecisions, or quell thoughts of what you should have done. Unfortunately, sometimes all that is available to you is a few days of pity and then you have to put on a strong face again.

Switching back to Mariana, it’s important that we’re reminded that it isn’t just people of a different race we need to be allies but also those we share a race, skin tone, and/or culture with. For those are the ones which empower us to continue, who, like Malika’s friends, help us deal with the cracks and outside opinions so we don’t lose our resolve. Yet, sometimes, like Casey, they want progress without having to put their neck on the line. After all, not everyone has the gumption to really put themselves out there like Mariana. However, whether it is what Sandra is going through or Mariana, there is a need for skin folk to be kinfolk for otherwise that passion can easily burn out the fighter or be doused.

The Batson Challenge

While jargon on the law shows and technical stuff often just goes over your head and are seemingly to boost the authenticity of the situation, you have to appreciate the Batson Challenge being broken down. That is, on top of it being noted how difficult it is to prove yet show why it exists. To me, with the law being so complicated and varying from state to city, little things like this present a nice “The More You Know” opportunity.

On The Fence

The Fosters 2.0

There are times when Good Trouble feels less like a spin-off and more of a rebranding of The Fosters. One which recognized, perhaps based off audience surveys, Mariana and Callie tested high, and so they got a pseudo-spinoff. Now, let me note I have no issue with the Adams-Foster family showing up at all, but it does push the feeling that, if The Fosters could have gotten away with a time jump and the ratings allowed it to continue, it would have. That and if, budget-wise, it could support the cast who were, likely, getting raises upon every, or every other, renewal.

Though, who knows, considering how the actor who plays Jesus is doing on Netflix, maybe many just wanted to seek out something new? Not to say they were tired or hated their characters, but perhaps found the timing to be good for the next chapter of their careers. All the while appreciating the fact a door was left open by this spin-off to have mini-reunions with the people they grew up with.

What Kate Brings To Judge Wilson’s Office

Ben and Kate getting her situated.

With two liberal clerks, so comes the question of how that may affect the office chemistry? Though my big hope is, with Ben and Kate clearly having something going on, maybe Ben may finally get some development beyond being a douche? One could only hope.

Retribution

I fear what Angela and Josh may do, especially considering that spreadsheet Mariana has which may or may not be on a work computer. One that she brings and edits at her job, and while she might be on the hush-hush for now, Alex increasingly is growing tired of her undermining and outshining him. Add on she likely made an enemy of Josh and Angela is 50/50, and this pushes you to wonder if they may see Mariana as a problem. Especially since she is the one trying to change a culture they find very comfortable for them.

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