Good Trouble: Season 1, Episode 9 “Willful Blindness” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Rebecca, Callie, Kate (Dianne Doan), and Ben in a elevator.
Rebecca, Callie, Kate (Dianne Doan), and Ben.
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On top of meeting Malika and Alice’s illustrious mothers, and Rebecca’s, someone says goodbye to Good Trouble.


Episode Information: Episode 9 “Willful Blindness”

Network
FreeForm
Director(s) Kelli Williams
Writer(s) Lauren Moon
Air Date 3/5/2019
Introduced This Episode
Moe (Malika’s Mom) Karole Foreman
Diane TBD
Trea Lee Chen
Kate Dianne Doan

Recap

Life In The Closet: Trea, Alice, Joey, Sumi, Meera

Trea (Lee Chen) talking to Alice.
Trea (Lee Chen)

Despite having a possible good thing with Joey, the Sumi incident of her leaving Meera, for a night, to be with Alice, and so much more, she is still planning Sumi’s wedding. On top of that, she still has Sumi come to lunch with her family – though she honestly had no choice in that. Probably because Sumi’s family, her mom Trea especially, like Sumi far more than they do their own kid. Though considering her dad just makes sounds to note he is in the room, he isn’t of much help as Trea digs into her daughter’s insecurities.

But, for a moment, it seemed like things could get better. Meera and Alice form their own unique bond, but with it looming that Alice was cheated on and Sumi ended up with Meera, there is some awkwardness there. Bad goes to worse though when Alice decides to go on Joey’s AM radio show to try to win her back and flays Sumi and Meera. Thus causing a bit of drama between her and Meera.

It doesn’t end there though. With Alice getting so much flack for that radio show, despite how well things went with Joey, to the point Alice could have had a real comedy (radio) show opportunity, she declines. Which further pushes Joey to believe Alice isn’t over her ex and isn’t ready for them to be anything. Maybe not even friends.

Identity Issues: Callie, Bryan, Gael, Mariana, Rebecca, Diane, Judge Wilson, Kate

Gael is having a seriously hard time trying to not only create pieces, but market them. Especially since he doesn’t want to be in front of his work nor his being queer or a person of color for then it limits the lens of his work. Yet, he knows he has to stop limiting himself for otherwise, as Mariana says, others will just speak about his work for him. Something that is a bit of an issue for Gael’s work is personal. So, taking Mariana’s advice, since Gael is a bit uncomfortable using the gay community to support his work, he instead may look into the Latinx community.

Diane, Rebecca's mother.
Diane

Switching to Rebecca, with Callie pressing on about reporting Judge Handelman, Rebecca finds herself back at odds with her. Yet, then with meeting her mother Diane, realizing that all she has is due to her family name, she decides to step out. She reports Judge Handelman, lets Judge Wilson know what led to her being transferred to his office and takes a job in Denver rather than a fancy, big name, firm in DC her grandfather set up for her.

Why? Well, Callie. Though they disagree on many things, Callie does know how to create a convincing argument and her holding true to what she believes is the truth convinced Rebecca to come forward. However, while her point of view convinced Rebecca to report Judge Handelman, the same attitude causes another fight with Gael. So let’s just say her attitude/perspective isn’t always driving positive results in her life.

A New Kind Of Family: Moe, Dom, Malika, Mariana, Sandra

Malika's Mom (Karole Foreman) talking to Malika.
Malika’s Mom (Karole Foreman)

After avoiding her for a long time, Malika finally decides to meet with her mother. As you can imagine, the conversation is tough, but three big factors led to her meeting with her mom. Mariana noting how her relationship with Ana recovered, Sandra speaking on her loss of a child and how much she mourns that relationship, and lastly, there is Dom. For to have a relationship with him, clearly, it means reconciling with their mother.

But there comes a question of what is she willing to sacrifice? Is she willing to put aside how she feels about calling child protective services for the sake of a relationship? To dare say she was wrong to do so when she was right? How about Dom buying their mother alcohol, when she is supposedly sober, and going for the argument that it at least isn’t drugs?

All of this complicates the terms and conditions of reconciling, so Malika walks away and finds a new mother figure in Sandra. One who she puts before Callie’s needs, so Ben doesn’t get on her case.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Is Rebecca gone-gone as in off the show?

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Judge Wilson decides to block the personnel record of the person who shot Sandra’s son from the court case.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

[…] Sometimes you have to go out in the world to find your family.

Review

Highlights

Gael’s Identity Issues

Being that Gael is bi, an artist, and let’s throw in that his parents aren’t the most accepting, him having apprehension with labels makes a whole lot of sense. Think of it this way, Gael is likely the type who doesn’t have an issue with the labels but the association that brings. So while he has no problems with being queer, he doesn’t seem to want that be one the first thing to describe him and, apparently, doesn’t interact with the community outside of Bryan and his sister.

Then, when it comes to being Latinx, you have to admit it is strange how Mariana bringing that up came up as a brand new idea in his head. Leading you to question if he was raised in a family that didn’t push and celebrate their culture and instead had their children mostly be “American.” But maybe I’m off?

Malika’s Issues With Her Mother

Malika feeling coerced to apologize to her mom to have a relationship with her brother.

The complicated relationship between Malika and Moe (name assumed because lack of subtitles) is just so much. For while we got a taste of what Malika is going through with Ana, with a brother who sticks up for her, this situation is vastly different. For one, the reconciliation is being asked for when Malika is an adult, and she and Dom weren’t taken as babies. Also, they didn’t end up in the same home raised by a loving family so that need and desire for forgiveness doesn’t exist. Making it so Malika gives us part of what we saw with Callie early on in The Fosters when someone isn’t given that love and connection which kids need for a foundation.

Yet, despite not having that on the level that Callie got, or Mariana, we’re reminded it doesn’t stop someone from still becoming a productive adult. Which is an important thing to note considering the various personalities on the show.

An Episode Focused On Non-Callie or Mariana Issues

While Callie is involved with the Rebecca situation and does have a fight with Gael, this episode pretty much was about Malika, Gael, Alice, and Rebecca. For me, I appreciate that since we spent over 100+ hour-long episodes with Callie and Mariana. Yes, they are at a different stage of their lives, but they are still following long-established patterns. Callie is still getting into relationships in which she isn’t as emotionally available as the other person needs and Mariana? Well… really thinking about it, even with Byte Club and all that drama, does Mariana really have a lot going on?

That thought aside, it was nice that this episode pushed the idea Good Trouble is more so an ensemble cast than Callie and Mariana featuring the people they live with.

Meet My Mother

To me, it is so important to meet characters’ families for it clues you into what is their truth. Are we just seeing their representative who they put out to seem cool, moody, or something similar? When it comes to their family, do they snap into a leadership role, a submissive one, or is it like Malika in which the idea of dealing with family just dredges up issues you know neither party really want to deal with? The combination of these things gave us a quality episode which found a way to address multiple characters issues without making things sappy.

On The Fence

The What If Scenarios

Sumi announcing she is engaged before answering to who.

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A part of me wants to appreciate the “What If?” scenarios this show does, like Alice and Sumi coming out to her parents. Yet, with them not necessarily representing flash forwards but just giving the worst case scenario, if not what a character fears would happen, I sometimes question their value. For it does really feel like a nod to fans letting us know they see how dramatic they could take things, but they hold back. If only to make sure when a blow-up happens, like Malika with her mom, it doesn’t feel like just another scene but an important moment which represents a shift in a character or relationship. Though it could very well be also just something to throw social media into a frenzy as well. Which, if it is, shame on all those involved.


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