Good Trouble is back, and things are no less complicated at The Coterie.
For the most part, Good Trouble Season 3 Episode 1 picked up where Good Trouble Season 2 Episode 18 left off and wrapped up some of the loose threads or spun them into potentially new storylines for the season.
The hour was about choices, and some of the characters made some ranging from mature, to impulsive, to life-changing.
The sexy montage at the top of the hour was classic Good Trouble, and at times you didn't know if it was something current that kickstarted the rest of the hour or if it was a flashforward to what they were building up to at some point.
Oh, Good Trouble and your nonlinear stylistic storytelling, you've been missed.
The Gael flashes were a fakeout; it wasn't Callie and Gael hooking up again; instead, it was Isabella whom he dipped his paintbrush in at the end of the hour. It's a refreshing psych-out, but they're delaying the inevitable, yes?
Dennis and Davia, however, escalated things faster than one could've anticipated. Dennis confessing that he loved Davia was a huge step, and kissing her was another one.
If he wanted to disregard the advice of the counselor at his grief group and trust his feelings, then he had the prerogative to do so, but he and Davia jumped into the deep end by having sex.
Having sex while being in love with each other has put them in a vulnerable place. Neither Dennis nor Davia is equipped to handle that. Their post-coital bliss was sweet for those few moments while they were still in the bubble, but there was always the nagging feeling that the date Dennis promised wouldn't come to fruition.
Counselor: Grief is not predictable. We think we're getting past it even and then something triggers a wave of pain that completely overwhelms us.
Davia: I know that you told him that we shouldn't get involved, that he can't trust his feelings. So maybe he confused needing me with wanting me. Maybe that's what he realized in the morning and that's why he freaked out. I guess this is my fault.
Counselor: Davia, you can't fix Dennis. This is no one's fault. And I encourage you to be as kind and empathetic to yourself as you are to Dennis.
Dennis has made some significant strides in his battle with depression and grief. But his counselor was right; he's not ready for a romantic relationship with Davia right now.
He thought he was ready for the art piece Gael made for him, but it felt as if he erased Jacob, and it sent Dennis into another spiral that had him falling off the map for hours without others hearing from him.
Davia went on every bit of a high to a scary low as Dennis did.
She understandably panicked when he went off-grid and was unreachable. It drove her to the grief group she used to attend with him at times, and there, she had an upsetting emotional fit, spilling to the group that she was afraid Dennis realized he mixed up wanting her and needing her.
Davia was upset at herself for not keeping a strong front, but she's been in such a challenging position as Dennis' sole confidant and solace. In many ways, she's put Dennis' best interest ahead of her own, and it's been to her detriment.
And the second she allowed herself to fall -- she let down the last wall she kept up to protect her heart, the gravity of what Dennis is battling hit her head-on like a Mac- truck.
The road to Denvia is a long, windy one, and it's not going to be easy. But it's probably the smartest move here, so I appreciate the series tackling this in such a manner.
Dennis made a necessary choice for himself, getting away from The Coterie, and as he eloquently put it, working through his grief instead of trying to "get over it." Dennis doesn't believe he can be the man he feels Davia deserves in his current state, no matter how much he loves her.
I can't come back to the Coterie right now, Davia. I need time. I need to be alone. I've been trying to find a way out of this when I need to find a way through it. I can't be the man that you deserve to love you until I can do that.Dennis
It's the best thing for him and Davia, and it's commendable that he's thinking about that. She may be his motivation to improve so that he doesn't sabotage himself or insist that he doesn't deserve to be happy, but it isn't exclusively about her, so he's making moves in the right direction for the best reasons.
But it doesn't make it hurt any less for Davia. It's impossible for her not to feel utterly gutted by the fact that he left her like that. At some point, it's severely affecting her mental health and feelings trying to make space for and accommodate his, so their relationship should be interesting going forward whenever Dennis returns.
The Coterie is his family, so there's no way he'll stay away for monumental things like Malika going to jail.
Mariana: If I tell you something will you promise not to judge me?
Callie: When have I ever... okay, fine.
Mariana: OK, so after Raj told me that he had feelings for Isabella, and Davia told me that she read Isabella's confession that she had sex with Raj, I went back to Speckulate and I hooked up with Evan.
It's a constant frustration with this series that we have some of the great Found Family material to play with, especially during group scenes or when they play mix-and-match with the character dynamics, but they don't take full advantage. The majority of the time, the Coterie gang is too disconnected from each other.
The majority of the time, no one knows what's going on with their friends and flatmates.
It sucks that Dennis has mostly battled all of this grief, depression, and a suicidal attempt with very few people in the know. It weighed heavily on Davia as the only person living there aware of the full extent of things. The heaviness fell onto Gael too recently.
But now he's gone, and outside of Davia and Gael, no one else understands why he took off or knows enough to think twice about it. It's something that translates to many of the storylines.
Malika's activism and legal troubles have escalated in seriousness, and yet, most of the other Coterie members aren't cognizant or don't express the level of concern you'd expect.
They all have full, separate lives, but the lack of overlap at times can make it feel as if everyone is too self-absorbed and are in different timelines altogether.
Callie has moved back into the Coterie, and it's almost as if we're supposed to forget what drove her out in the first place.
She and Mariana made up, but are none of the others going to acknowledge the awful things they said about her and did? Gael gave another noncommittal apology, but it was as if nothing happened, and they were there to celebrate her passing the bar.
I'm really sorry for all the things I said to you. You weren't a mistake.Gael
And if Malika had a hearing, and Isaac was away on business -- then why couldn't at least one of her friends from The Coterie show up for her?
Callie back at The Coterie felt like a matter of her not having anywhere else to go. For some reason, she operated as if she and Jamie were in some form of limbo, and she was waiting for the confirmation that he was ending things.
Callie is so stuck in her ways, but how self-involved does one have to be to do what she did and expect things to remain the same? She was so dismissive of stealing his files and the repercussions he may have faced for it.
It made no sense that Jamie had to break it down like she was in kindergarten the severity of what she did to him.
Because she stole his files, his firm lost the Anwei account. And since it doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that his live-in girlfriend worked for the opposition who conveniently go their strategy and information, he's paying the price for it all.
Jamie: Whether you meant it or not, you ruined me, Callie. How is that not personal?
Callie: Well, I'm sorry.
Jamie: It's too late. Like I said, you made your choice, and there's nothing else to talk about.
He works at a big firm, and after a loss like that, someone has to be the Fall Guy. That person is Jamie.
Jamie went from a large account that fast-tracked his path toward making partner to inevitably getting fired and his reputation ruined.
Once again, Callie was dismissive and acted as if she couldn't fathom why he was upset or didn't want to be bothered with her anymore.
Jamie is right; Callie did destroy him. And the worst part about it is she only learned that much from him because of her seeking him out to confront him about filing charges against Jerod and asking him for a favor.
Jamie went from mentoring and encouraging Callie when she arrived in LA to being ruined by her, and he didn't deserve any of it.
Sadly, it's also easy to understand his perspective regarding Jerod. After Jerod's psychological break, he showed what he's capable of, and he's still camping outside the apartment complex and making others uncomfortable.
In Jamie's mind, he's doing the safest thing for all parties by having Jerod charged. He hopes that it gets Jerod the help that he needs and protects him.
Unfortunately, the criminal justice system is ill-equipped to handle the mentally ill. Jamie isn't the problem here; whether he drops the charges or not, Jerod will end up in the same place at some point. The system is the issue.
You know what I like about you? You're idealistic yet willing to get your hands dirty.Kathleen
It was heartbreaking when Callie visited him at the holding center, and he shared with her the guards' actions. They beat the hell out of him, not once taken into account his mental illness.
He needed his meds, they didn't provide them, and then they roughed him up when he got upset.
Callie found her newest crusade. Initially, it seemed as though she would work the legal aide class-action suit against Anwei that she, well, lost her relationship and more for, but instead, she's working with new Head B*tch in Charge, Kathleen Gale.
Callie gets the best mentors, and this storyline will have my undivided attention for the mere fact that it involves THE Constance Zimmer.
Kathleen sees a bit of herself in Callie and admires her gumption and tenacity, so of course, she offered Callie a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Callie's ability to fail upward is astounding.
Jerod got his wish, after all. Callie passed the bar, is working with an acclaimed defense attorney who has vices and already likes her a lot, and they're taking on this "loser" case.
Maybe this focus on her professional life will keep the messy romance stuff to a minimum.
Gael seemed happy to have her back, but he was more puzzled by Isabella's absence, and it seemed as if he thought it would be a happy arrangement.
Isabella made the right call moving on, and she ended up not being as bad as she came across before. She was sympathetic by the hour's end.
As most of us predicted, the sex with Raj confession was blown out of proportion and only required a little something called "communication." Isabella had half the Coterie against her because of Davia and Mariana making assumptions.
I know that you didn't cheat on me. But I don't know if you didn't want to, and these feelings that we have for other people make me feel like, I don't know, that we're questioning whether we really do want to be together. As long as we have those questions, then I don't think that we should be.Mariana
She wasn't particularly likable, but that sucked. Her confession was about her previous roommate's boyfriend, and she wasn't one to repeat that mistake.
Her innocence didn't mean anything in the end since Mariana wanted her out anyway so Callie could return, and Mariana and Raj broke up.
Mariana's initial reasoning behind the breakup made sense. Neither of them could deal with the other having feelings for someone else, and sometimes, love isn't enough. She would've always feared that Raj wanted to cheat on her, and he probably felt the same and had good reason to since, hell, Mariana did.
But then Mariana went from this seemingly mature choice with Raj to the reckless, "bad" decision to carry on a secret affair with her boss.
I'm sorry I've been avoiding you, I just needed time to think. You're my boss, and every way that I look at it, dating you is just a bad idea. But I do know that these feelings aren't just going to go away. So maybe we can find a way to turn this bad idea into a good one.Mariana
Mariana and Evan are hot together, and their chemistry is too good to ignore. Nevertheless, this feels like a trainwreck waiting to happen. It's going to hurt so well, but f**k me, I'm ready for it!
And since stable, healthy relationships are too much fun to screw with, it feels like maybe we should be worried about Malika and Isaac.
Isaac was ready to stay home and skip his business trip to be with her, and he's probably going to regret going when he hears about Malika going to jail until she can make her $250K bond.
Malika: Maybe it's time I got a bigger bed.
Isaac: Or maybe it's time we got a bigger place.
He's been waiting for the impact of what she's facing to hit her. He understands the movement, Malika's work, and passion, but he's wary of their dedication to protecting Malika versus making her the face of a statement.
Malika's new work friend she does Capoeria with does understand her and their work. It was him whom Malika broke down in front of as the reality of what she faced came crashing down on her like a ton of bricks.
She's spent most of her time convincing others that she'll be OK and trying to be the strong one, but once she saw her face on that flyer, something clicked. It's real; all of this is happening quickly, and it's her reality.
Good Trouble isn't a show that pulls any punches, and through Malika, they're about the address how the criminal justice system treats BLM activists, in particular. You need only pay attention to the news to see it in action; it's disturbing.
In most cases, the moment Wilson dropped the charges against Malika, the prosecution should've as well. But they're trying to make an example out of her, and they have a reputation for going after BLM activists hard.
They wanted the girl held without bail at all. She's not a violent offender or accused of anything that caused a person bodily harm or death, so in what universe is that acceptable?
They argue that she's a flight risk because of BLM and its international ties, but again, her charge doesn't even warrant all of that. While the judge didn't go for a defendant held without bail for a non-violent offense, she did declare that they would hold Malika in custody for a $250,000 bail.
And that means Malika would have to post a $25,000 bond to get out or stay there until her trial. It's outrageous!
Malika: This is all getting too real. I'm scared.
Coworker: Just breathe. It's OK to be scared. This shit is scary, but you have a team.
It's so clearly disgraceful and gross abuse. In the attempts to punish Malika for her ties to an organization they deem controversial (the irony of that recently isn't lost), they've effectively made Malika a martyr of the movement.
I wonder how this will play out. Will BLM have the backing and the funds to get her out? Will they raise money on Malika's behalf?
Do you think Isaac will put up his business or something as collateral? How about her friends and roommates?
And with this move, we're further entrenched in Malika's activism storyline. If you were looking for or expecting a respite in that regard, it's not going to happen.
Echoing Malika's sentiment, shit is getting real.
Over to you, Good Trouble Fanatics? How is Malika going to get out of this? Are you disappointed that Dennis and Davia took a break already? What are your thoughts about Callie's new job and boss? Hit the comments below, and let's discuss.
You can watch Good Trouble online right here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.