Good Trouble: Season 1/ Episode 4 “Playing The Game” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Judge Wilson conveying he doesn't want his son's situation to become common knowledge.

Mariana and Alice are given the opportunity to stand up for themselves, as Davia and Callie are tasked with a needed shift in a important relationship.

Mariana and Alice are given the opportunity to stand up for themselves, as Davia and Callie are tasked with a needed shift in a important relationship.


Director(s) Michael Medico
Writer(s) Cristian Martinez
Air Date 1/29/2019
Introduced This Episode
Libby Jessica Tuck
Jeff Chris Sheffield

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The Boy Back Home: Davia, Jeff, Mariana

At the present time, Davia doesn’t know what to do with her life. Though she has a bit of a social media following, it isn’t enough to quit her day job, working for Teach for America, and live off being an “Influencer.” Yet, with the return of her friend Jeff, a boy from back home in Fitchburg, WI, there are temptations to leave LA behind. Even if he is married. Something Mariana discovers and questions, but is pretty much told to mind her business on.

Yet, while Jeff may previously have noted being in an unhappy marriage, it seems he has no intentions of leaving his wife for Davia. So as much as Jeff may make Davia feel wanted, sexy even, it’s clear she is not who he wants. At least in the way she desires to be wanted.


Jeff and Davia in bed.

You have to love that Davia, a woman who is as young and flirty as Callie and Mariana, was put in the same position you could expect them in. Not just having her moment of complaining about work, drinking, and all that, but also being shown as someone who likes and enjoys sex and romance. Even having a bit of a hot and steamy scene with Jeff.

But I must admit, I’m kind of conflicted about Jeff clearly being unable to become Davia’s love interest. On the one hand, her having a messy storyline, and her morals being flexible, expands the personality of the character. Yet, it acts as a counterbalance for the praise. Yay, she is shown as a sexual being, but it sucks that she isn’t seen as a love interest. At least to a guy who she notes she is compatible with and has feelings for.

Yet, maybe the show may tackle how difficult it is to date in a culture which has made hooking up widely acceptable. Especially for those who don’t look like Mariana, Callie or, as seen on the male side, Raj.

You Got To Stand Up For Yourself: Mariana, Raj, Casey, Alice, Malika, Sumi, Alex

Be it Alice’s relationship with her mother, a strong belief in community, or just generally being a pushover, things are getting a bit hard for her at The Coterie. The big issue is Alice being responsible for stocking toilet paper, and following that closely is planning Sumi’s wedding. Seeing Alice go through all this pushes Malika to say something but Alice has this weird sense of guilt which makes the idea of inconveniencing other people difficult. However, after someone stuffs up the toilet, and she has to go out of her own pocket, she puts her foot down. Not with Sumi, but at least with the toilet paper issue. Leading to people having to buy their own toilet paper which doesn’t bring any real sort of negative response.

Switching to Mariana, Alex is becoming a bit much and Raj playing along is making things especially difficult. But then with being asked by HR to lie, as an obvious ploy to not seem like a racist and sexist place to work nearly pushes Mariana over the edge. However, with a conversation from Casey, Mariana doesn’t leap herself onto the unemployment line. She does, however, truly befriend Raj who may finally say something.

But, with asking him to hang out, without the others, and Raj realizing he doesn’t have a chance with Mariana, who knows how solid their alliance might be.


With Malika noting Alice is the reason she wasn’t homeless, it makes me hope they do another flashback with her so we could see how their relationship developed. On top of that, I don’t think I realized, until we saw all those people during the toilet paper meeting, how many live in The Coterie. Are we going to meet even half of them, and get some kind of development out of them, or will they be interchangeable? As of now, we only know Mariana and Callie, Alice, Malika, Gael, and Davia really. We’ve met others, mostly during the parties, but their names don’t roll off the tongue that easily.

Switching to the Spekulate situation, you have to love how this show is addressing an issue which is both tech industry-specific, but can apply to any industry, including education. Being sold the idea, through marketing, how diverse a school or employer is, yet ending up at a place which has a culture that may be diverse, but only at its lowest levels. When it comes to the decision makers, especially those who control the money, it is as you’d expect.

Raj trying to get on Mariana's good side.
Raj: Well, I take you seriously.

But, Casey poses an interesting question, as does Raj – what can you do? Raj’s approach is the one many are forced to do which is assimilate. Take your culture or background being made into a joke and not be considered sensitive. All the while, taking note the people saying this are in the majority, often power positions, so you may not have the same liberty to poke fun at the odd bits of their culture.

There is also the case I want to say Casey was presenting. One in which, little by little, with each hire, they can make a place diverse. After all, Casey is Latina, as is Mariana, so that’s two, and there are others in the company who are non-white or women. So, within time, they shall find themselves with a stronger ability to influence the culture.

Granted, it would require more people in leadership positions, as Casey is as team lead, but there is the conundrum. Do you stay and bite your thumb or leave? It’s a private employer so trying to expose them is an option, but you still need money. So what can you really do?

We All Have Our Secrets: Libby, Judge Wilson, Rebecca, Ben, Callie, Malika

Judge Wilson decides to invite his clerks to his home, under pressure from his wife, Libby. This leads to a fun exercise in him trying to stump them with a case he has in mind, and them doing so in return. But, what they didn’t know is as much as Libby may note she doesn’t like this game of the Judge, she is a participant. To both Ben and Callie, she reveals what could be an answer, but Callie doesn’t take the bait – Ben does. Why? Well, Ben is all about the money and climbing up the ladder to make as much as possible. Yet, he questions why Judge Wilson doesn’t seem to like him.

Though, what may really give Callie an edge is her ability to hold a secret. One secret is her relationship with Malika, that Ben learns the truth of – after Callie curves him. The other secret is that Judge Wilson’s son isn’t studying abroad but actually is on house arrest. It isn’t clear why, but you can tell this is definitely an embarrassment to the judge.


Ben with his head pointed down.

Ben is such a weird character to me. He seemingly wants to be liked, but does everything in his power to not be likable. He pits Rebecca and Callie against each other, decides to poke at the judge when he doesn’t guess the case they’ve come up with, and doesn’t really present himself as a friendly guy. Yeah, you could bring up him walking Callie home, but let’s be real – he wanted some ass. So with Callie curving him, combined with him seeing Malika living in the same place, you know he is going to use that against her.

But, who knows if Judge Wilson will care? For I think it is being revealed to us that even with Judge Wilson leaning towards a more conservative viewpoint, when it comes to the constitution, he isn’t rigid. Also, it seems clear he doesn’t like kiss ass people like Ben nor is he fond of those well connected like Rebecca. He’d rather a real, pick yourself up by your bootstraps gal like Callie than the other two. Especially since Callie is honest. That may be the most significant thing since, as noted in the last recap, even if on separate sides of the political spectrum, there is still a need to recognize that doesn’t make two people mortal enemies.

Which might be the biggest reason Ben may not have the trump card he thinks he does. For while a bit unethical, because of Callie’s honesty towards him, Judge Wilson, he may believe there is no impropriety. Making Ben snitching on his colleague what may lead to Ben getting the boot since who can trust a snitch?


  1. Davia being further developed, as well as Alice and Malika’s
  2. Mariana’s storyline dealing with a false sense of diversity and inclusion in the workplace – and that applying to other industries as well.
  3. Callie and Judge Wilson, professionally, growing closer and you seeing how much he admires her.

On The Fence

  1. How Raj is going to be with knowing he doesn’t have a chance with Mariana, yet not liking the culture that isn’t just sexist but also racist.
  2. How Ben may handle knowing Callie and Malika live in the same building.

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