In a taste of what’s to come, engagements are announced or hinted to, and as some members of the family grow closer than ever, others split apart.

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In a taste of what’s to come, engagements are announced or hinted to, and as some members of the family grow closer than ever, others split apart.

Directed By Bradley Bredweg, Peter Paige
Written By Joanna Johnson
Network FreeForm
Air Date 12/16/2019
Introduced This Episode
Diane Susan Walters
Carter Spencer List


Happy Tears & Affirmations: Stef, Lena, Brandon, Eliza, Davia, Dennis, Jesus, Emma

Emma announcing she and Jesus are engaged.

The holidays are a hard time for many, and being that Good Trouble has never really tried to hold back from the drama, we get a good bit in this dual episode/ holiday special. Take Davia and Dennis heading to his old house when the Coterie’s oven conks out and Dennis being hit with multiple memories – mostly of his son and the few good times they had. Or you could note Stef pushing the idea that the reason Dennis doesn’t do therapy, or anything of that ilk, is because he has Davia as a friend, and perhaps a crutch.

Which isn’t to say Stef and Lena are shining beacons. As usual, Lena senses something is up, as she preps to become a state assemblywoman, and she maintains that tone she has had since we’ve met her that makes it sound like, if Stef wanted to leave, she’d be understanding of that decision. Yet, the truth is, just as Lena is starting a new chapter in politics, Stef wishes to down in Venezuela doing crisis work. A topic that originally was a secret, but with there being a gag of Lena and Stef, who have the same cellphone model, taking each other’s constantly, Lena finds out Stef’s secret.

But, in the end, all is well between them, and they may just, for a year, be long distance. Just like how Eliza and Brandon were going to be as Eliza lived out her dream of being a first chair at a world-renown orchestra in Amsterdam. For with him having a job as a composer’s assistant, it was his chance to pursue his own career as his wife’s exploded.

However, with a pregnancy scare, and commentary from Eliza’s parents, and Callie, it is ultimately decided their relationship may not be at the point they can do long distance like that. Leaving one last thing to talk about: Jesus is engaged, and it is to Emma.

Can You Keep A Secret?: Mariana, Callie, Brandon, Jude, Eliza, Carter, Jamie, Alice, Diane

Jude and Carter continue their behind closed doors love affair, and as much as Carter wants to come out, it is difficult. Especially since, at this point, the Adams-Foster clan has snagged up all but Carter and, jokingly, but not really a joke, Diane tells Mariana not to get any funny ideas. Unbeknownst to her, Carter has made out with Jude multiple times and Lena damn near catches them.

But, moving along, as Jude and Carter whisper, kiss, and fondle behind closed doors, Callie is dealing with the conversations she has had slowly making their way to the public and biting her in the ass. Specifically, her issues stem from her quitting her clerkship not being public knowledge, her relationship with Brandon, and her believing Mariana is the source for many of her troubles.

An example: Mariana discovers Jamie may have bought a ring for Callie, and with telling her that, you can see that flight mode activate in Callie’s head. After all, commitment does things to Callie that makes her flip the table and try to dash off before the other person can finish asking, “What’s wrong with you?” Making her lucky Mariana did discover this for it allowed her an out. But, while she dodges that bullet, Brandon still deals with Eliza not being comfortable with how close they are, as he confides in Callie about his decision to go to Amsterdam.

That conversation leads to Callie talking about fear and easy choices, and being that Brandon’s communication skills aren’t that better than Callie’s, he takes that offense and decides to bring up Callie’s clerkship. This sends her into a frenzy, towards Mariana, who is trying to do this big holiday charity thing, in the Coterie, to make her seem less selfish to Raj. Someone who is off in South Asia living his best life while she is trying to secure his attention on social media – passive-aggressively.

Oh, and we learn Alice may have been managing the Coterie, in theory, but she didn’t own the lease. Someone else, named Claudette, does, and before the end of the episode, Dennis ends up taking over the lease as Claudette was trying to force herself back in, with her primal screaming, as a condition for her signature. Which no one wanted to return.

The Greatest Gift And Pain Is Family: Jazmin, Gael, Mariana, Callie, Malika, Dom, Joseph

With Gael coming out, Jazmin finally feels some solidarity from him as now he isn’t straddling the fence but fully understands, after more than 3 years, the loneliness which comes from a family effectively disowning you. But with their mother calling, she learns that is a lie. That they are still contacting him, and even though he claims he isn’t answering, the fact they still call hurts for their mom doesn’t reach out to her like that.

Though with the calls dealing with their Abuelo having a stroke, it brings the family together in unexpected ways. Primarily Jazmin and her father, who agree on doing a DNR and talking about loss. Their father about the loss of a son and Jazmin about the feelings of losing her father. But, it isn’t until Abuelo wakes up, takes his granddaughter’s hand, his son’s, and tries to reconnect them that there is any sign things could get better.

Yet, between the tears and love in the room, there might be hope. Which cannot be said for how Mariana and Callie end things. For with Mariana getting Callie’s note about moving out as Callie reads a touching letter from Mariana, things are definitely at a crossroad for them, and they walk down different paths.

Leaving us with Malika, Dom, and Joseph. With this being the first Christmas since Malika and Dom’s mother died, Dom is taking it hard, but Malika is still in her feelings about how they were brought up. But, upon going to church and talking to Joseph, and learning he is the reason their mom stopped taking them to the prison to see him, there is a breakthrough. She exchanges all the thoughts that the church folk were judgey, and many of her negative feelings, and begins to see her mom as a woman who was trying. Struggling, definitely, but trying. And it is in realizing and recognizing her struggles, after listening to a young woman speak at Mariana’s event, that leads to Malika crying and perhaps finally finding forgiveness in her heart.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

You may never be invited, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show up.
— Gael



Outside of Callie and Mariana, Things End Pretty Well

From Malika’s breakthrough, Jude being there for Carter, even when he backs away from his decision to come out, to so many other things, we got a whole lot of drama and an ending to many of the scenarios without things feeling rushed.

Jazmin and Her Father

Jazmin, abuelo, and papi coming together after abuelo has a stroke.

Can I just say, having Jazmin’s storyline with her father, and him having a very difficult time with her transition, and then the 700 Club following this program seems so strange? That thought aside, one can only hope between Jazmin and her father truly reconciling to Abuelo not having to die for them to truly repair their relationship, things continue to progress. Hopefully, on-screen and not through Gael giving verbal updates.

Malika and Her Mother

For most of the episode, as the drama happens with Callie, Mariana, and the family, Good Trouble is just pure entertainment. However, then comes Malika, then Jazmin’s Abuelo, and Dennis. But the one that hit hardest is Malika since that character, consistently, will get you in your feelings due to how passionate she is. Making it so as you can see her memories heal, and not paint a negative picture about the church or what people said about her mom, you can see her perspective shift. Leading to the need for some serious tears. The kind that, not to put down Jazmin or Dennis’ situation, perhaps hit hardest since it seems less based on being a sob story, like Dennis’ situation, and feels more rooted.

This isn’t to say Jazmin’s doesn’t, but her whole storyline is packed into one or two episodes at a time, and we got quite a few before seeing her. So compared to Malika’s slow-burn, Jazmin get the microwave treatment. One that still packs a punch, but isn’t like Mike Tyson hitting you in the gut.

Has Dennis Found Peace?

While Dennis does seem like he needs to get away and perhaps start a new chapter, it seems he is stuck at the Coterie. Leaving you to wonder, with the house sold, his wife remarried, and finally remembering a happy memory of his son, does this mean he has found peace? Also, will it mean Davia and him, who keep dancing around the possibility of a relationship, may come to be?

We’ll find out when Good Trouble returns January 15, 2020.

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Has Dennis Found Peace? - 80%
Malika and Her Mother - 90%
Jazmin and Her Father - 89%
Outside of Callie and Mariana, Things End Pretty Well - 85%


Trajectory – Plateau: Political as ever, as dramatic as its audience can handle, Good Trouble keeps the spirit of The Fosters alive by not only keeps us up to date on the cast, but remaining one of the most socially conscious and passionate shows around.

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