Stef and Lena come to The Coterie and reveal what is going on in their lives, and shine a light on Dennis.

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Stef and Lena come to The Coterie and reveal what is going on in their lives, and shine a light on Dennis.

Director(s) Bradley Bredeweg
Writer(s) Joanna Johnson
Air Date 2/5/2019
Introduced This Episode
Dennis Josh Pence
Stef Teri Polo
Lena Sherri Saum

Moms Are Coming!: Callie, Gael, Mariana, Malika, Bryan, Davia, Stef, Lena

Being that Callie’s focus has been work and Gael, and Mariana’s has been work and partying, neither have done much with their loft. However, with their moms coming, both go into overdrive. Callie ramps up a cleaning effort and Mariana? Well, using her credit card, heading into $20,000 worth of debt, she buys a lot of lavish furniture.

But, perhaps the most interesting thing is Callie and how she has decided to handle her moms meeting Gael and Malika, or rather how she’ll introduce them. For Malika, she is so pro her meeting her moms, and she does towards the end of the episode. As for Gael? Well, despite how intimate their relationship has become, beyond sex and Callie talking about childhood trauma, they remain in an odd place. Leading to Callie talking about how she doesn’t want to present Gael as anything serious and effectively pushing him away in the process.

This, as you can imagine, is a win for Bryan, as well as Davia who decides to really swerve out of her lane when Stef and Lena come about. For what better time to show how dysfunctional the whole building is than when two of its newest members have their family come by?

Introducing Dennis: Stef, Dennis

Dennis (Josh Pence) and Stef (Teri Polo) talking in the bathroom.
Dennis (Josh Pence) and Stef (Teri Polo)

Though the person who draws the most attention from the moms, specifically Stef, is Dennis. As Mariana notes, he is the oldest person at The Coterie, but while his love for younger women is well known, alongside his passion for improv and dream of becoming a rockstar, not much else is. That is until Stef keeps pushing the idea he is a predator, so he opens up to her.

Approximately 2 years ago his son, age 6, died of a rare form of cancer. Before that happened, Dennis had a pretty good life – outside looking in. He was married, had a big house, a well paying corporate job, but then his life fell apart like a house of cards. So, he decided to rebuild his life at The Coterie and appreciates the fact no one, for however long he has lived there, has asked about his life.

So, with that said, Stef, maybe Alice, could be the only people who know Dennis beyond the façade he puts out. Something he hopes Stef will keep that way for he doesn’t want to be pitied, rehash his past constantly, or anything like that. The persona of the creepy old dude who likes younger girls, improv, and wants to become a rockstar is a much more enjoyable life.

The Truth Sets You Free/ Someone Who Understands: Lena, Malika, Callie, Mariana, Gael, Bryan, Ben, Davia

Things becoming unnecessarily complicated and set off by Davia, they begin to get uncomplicated. For with Davia, during family dinner, bringing up Gael messing around with multiple people, Mariana snitching on Callie about being one of them, and Callie snitching on Mariana’s credit card debt, later on, everything is out in the open. Oh, alongside both girls struggling mentally and emotionally because of work and trying to be adults. Especially since, despite living together, they don’t spend much time together or check in as Mariana would like.

Lena (Sherri Saum) after someone spits in her face.
Lena (Sherri Saum)

However, they aren’t alone in having issues. Stef is still dealing with anxiety and her time hunting predators and Lena is feeling iffy about continuing to run for State Assembly after a (insert a slew of expletives here) spat in her face. Especially since the democratic party isn’t the most supportive of her progressive views and thus would rather her drop out than split the vote.

But, that is when Malika steps in. In a weird mother/ daughter way, you see Malika and Lena pull strength and recognizes each other in ways strangers usually don’t. Pushing you to wonder, outside of her mom, what Black women does Lena interact with? For there is just something about their connection which makes it seem both found something they always wanted.

Though their connection isn’t the only one which is addressed. Rather than continue to pretend there isn’t something serious going on between them, Gael and Callie talk about what is going on. Now, neither decide to make things official and exclusive but recognize being casual isn’t going to work. So while this may break Bryan’s little heart, and flare up Davia’s, neither have any choice but to face the inevitable. But for Callie, another inevitable might be Ben snitching that she has a connection to Jamal’s mother – something he derives from stalking the Instagrams of Callie’s family and neighbors.


Lena and Malika Having a Moment

I’m catching up on the last season of The Fosters and one of the things I’m realizing, as old memories come back, is that we haven’t seen Lena interact with a whole lot of Black people. She did do the charter for Anchor Beach with another Black woman, but as for girlfriends and mentors who are Black women? I don’t think she had that. Which is why I felt her connection to Malika had such a spark.

After all, Lena and her mom have issues which run deep and have long complicated any chance for them having a buddy-buddy relationship. So this fresh start with this activist young woman who is young, gifted and Black? Well, it reminds you why Lena wanted to get pregnant early in The Fosters. Again, as she said, not because she doesn’t love her adopted children. It’s just to have something of hers is missing, and that connection Stef has with Brandon is different but no better, than what they share with their adopted kids.

So with that conversation, Lena has with Malika, I almost felt like she was vicariously experiencing what would have happened if her child lived. Through Malika, Lena was imagining the conversations and I think for Malika, she too was taking the moment to be what she knows she’ll never have. Her momma, for better or worse, will probably never have conversations about what Malika is studying, name dropping civil rights leaders, and having a deep and engaging conversation with her. So they both took hold of that moment, damn near blocking everyone else out, and found love in the intensity and being engaged as few others could engage them on multiple levels.

The Evolution of Gael and Callie’s Relationship

Callie and Gael talking in Gael's bathtub.

While never fond of love triangles and breakup to makeup drama, I must admit I love the intimacy between Callie and Gael. It sort of pushes the boundaries of FreeForm a bit, because the camera angles are definitely tricky, but it also reminds us that Good Trouble, like its predecessor, is ahead of the curve and setting a precedent.  Mind you, this isn’t me saying they need to head towards an HBO direction, with more cursing, violence, and sex. More so, taking into consideration FreeForm is Disney’s transition channel once a person leaves Disney Channel’s demographic, you have to appreciate how Gael and Callie’s relationship shows how complicated young love can be.

For with showing how vulnerable sex can leave you, even if you try to keep it casual, is so important. That and having conversations about what is going on rather than just be petty and show out whenever you feel a certain type of way. Now, whether they will respect the people in their lives who have a stronger interest in them than they do of that person? Well, we’ll have to wait and see.

Momma Alice

I think we really have to shout out Alice for being the maternal figure most of the cast members need. Though everyone having a sob story is low-key irking me, it helps you understand why Alice is sometimes so frantic and caring. Whether they are like Malika or Dennis, these people seem to need someone in their corner who restores their faith in humanity. A task Alice has seemingly taken on, sometimes at the cost of her own sanity, and it is hard to not admire her efforts. Often without complaining.

Thus helping you understand, when it came to the toilet paper thing, no one argued or flipped out. Yes, Mariana may have made it seem that they thought Alice lost it, but considering how she’d talk about Stef and Lena back in the day, it seems she gets it. She just may not want to own her part of why Alice lost her mind.

On The Fence

Ben Stalking Mariana To Get To Callie

I need Ben to maintain the appearance of being three dimensional and not a simple 2D villain. Him spending his time going through multiple Instagrams to catch Callie was ridiculous. Like, I get her is a climber but must he be shown as such a basic b****?

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