That was chill.
It's hard to say if the stripped-down and simplistic hour with a few characters reflected the pandemic or a more deliberate, natural choice, but Good Trouble Season 3 Episode 9 was lowkey with a touch of progression.
Surprisingly, a seemingly low-impact hour made a couple of big moves.
The hour's theme was about taking control and sitting in the driver's seat in your life and with your choices. Alice is the first person to come to mind with something like this. She's infamously a pushover and doormat, and she tends to let life go by her or lead her in any direction.
She's a passive person, to her detriment. Her relationship with Ruby is one of many instances of this.
Pairing Alice up with Mariana was a step in the right direction, and it worked. Mariana is not a passive person with most individuals, so if anyone could teach Alice about owning her space and taking more initiative, it was her.
The series playing around with different connections has been rewarding. Before, it wasn't often you'd see Mariana and Alice spending any significant amount of time together.
The friend date sounded stupid at first, but as it progressed, and Mariana through every possible scenario at her, as Alice went from her passive, people-pleasing self to a confident woman, you saw the genius behind the silliness.
Mariana's advice ranged from the seemingly innocuous or frivolous to sound and genuinely helpful, laced with classics, such as not allowing someone to shoot down or belittle her or attempt to change her.
Mariana: Do you even like this person or do you want them to like you?
Alice: What's the difference?
Alice's relationship with Ruby isn't even clocking on the radar of interesting romances compared to others. But she wanted more from Ruby, and thanks to Mariana, she had the confidence to put herself out there, be honest, and now, it's something the pair can discuss.
She took control of what she wanted and made it happen. It's progress for her ongoing battle with carrying herself with her head held high, taking risks, and putting herself out there.
Ironically, the evening prompted Mariana to return home and talk to Callie about how she doesn't feel she can take control of their relationship.
Callie was right to point out that they both take over with the other, depending on the situation. It evens itself out with neither of them coming out on top for always sitting in the driver seat. However, there have been enough instances where you can safely say they've both steamrolled or had the other steamroll over them.
Callie doesn't have an issue with this when it comes to her work. The opening game/cartoon scene was funny -- it presented the relationship conflicts that everyone was dealing with; it seemed like Callie invited Tony to hang out at the Coterie.
Instead, she, Tony, and Rowan spent their evening off driving around and reenacting their client, Tommy's every move on the night of the murder.
Kathleen is looking for anything to bring back to the court to save the case.
Tony and Callie play off each other well as colleagues, as they usually approach things from different angles. It's predictable that Callie spent a few moments alone with Tommy and concluded that he's innocent.
Callie felt an instant connection to him during his moment of vulnerability, and his father's strong personality and opinions did make Tommy sympathetic.
However, it's still early in the game, and Tommy could've killed his best friend. The evidence could go either way.
Callie can't fight hard unless she believes in something, so Tommy's innocence is of importance to her.
The timestamp discrepancy with the security footage isn't a case closer, but it's a start.
And her sexual relationship with Tony feels like the start of something, too. At this point, expecting Callie to stay single or out of entanglements for longer than a few seconds is a lost cause.
We know Callie, and we this show. It's never going to happen.
Tony had his eyes on Callie for some time, and he's a respectable guy who follows her lead, accepts her boundaries, but also knows how to put feelers out and go for what he wants.
We knew her sleeping with him or making out was inevitable.
Tony: So, I know this is none of my business.
Callie: Nothing good ever comes after that sentence.
Tony: Fair, but the guy from the DA's office, Jamie? Is there something still going on there?
Callie: No. Honestly, I don't want to think about him or anyone else tonight.
Tony: I'm good with that.
He's made his interest known. He checks in to see how Callie feels about him and starting something, and he caught Callie at the right time. It probably won't be anything serious, but Callie wanted to blow off some steam and not think about Jamie or Gael.
Maybe it'll affect their work relationship or stir some things up if Jamie notices, or even Gael.
Maybe it won't. Who knows?
Tony knows how to take control and sit in the driver's seat. Gael is the one who needs to work on that.
Despite Davia's (the sudden Gael/Callie 'shipper) prompting, advice, and observations, Gael held off making a move.
Gael's reasoning for not going after Callie was sensible, so reneging on that feels unnecessary. However, he and Callie kept dancing around each other, with neither of them willing to take the lead and shoot their shot.
Callie went to his art thing as a friend, but she held out for the possibility that it was a date and dressed as such. Gael plied her with compliments, but he assumed she wasn't interested, especially when she rejected Yuri's number.
Gael resorting to a "You up?" text after Yuri screwed him over could have been Gael learning a lesson about going after what he wants.
It would be the best takeaway after what that jackass did. Yuri has sympathetic moments where you see beyond the egotistical and temperamental artist.
But when he's awful, good grief, he's the worst. I had a feeling something similar would happen when he asked Gael to paint his sketch, but it wasn't any less enraging when that jerk signed his name on Gael's painting right in front of him.
It was the same painting he threw a hissy fit about and told Gael was awful. Yeah, it was so bad that someone bought the thing for $50K.
It's every artist's worst nightmare come to life, and I'm furious about this. I'm also grateful that the series has spent so much time expounding on Gael's career endeavors.
By doing that, the romantic stuff isn't so offputting -- even if I do wonder if Gael's text to Callie could be a sign of regression and him falling back into old habits when things got rough.
Gael: Did I tell you that you look absolutely gorgeous tonight?
Callie: Did I tell you?
It's too early to tell.
Ironically, now that the series is slowing things down with him and Callie and having them build a friendship, their relationship works. Let them be the slow-burn.
It also works given that the series' best slow-burn is flamed out.
Davia has been in this limbo for so long since Dennis left. And we've been right along there with her. I was proud of her for going on that day with Matt.
It was a step forward for her -- that even if she still carried a torch for Dennis, she wasn't putting her life on hold for him either.
The date was awkward at first, and sweet Matt radiates all of that anyway, but once she saw that Dennis' texts were hiking photos and nothing concerning or love confessions, she allowed herself to be in the moment with Matt.
She liked what she learned and saw when she did that. Matt is a transplant by way of Mississippi who lost his accent and charmed her with stories of Southern culture and cotillions.
And when he got back to the Coterie, he taught her how to waltz. It was sweet, and it was easy to fall for the potential of what this pairing could be, even if most of us are devoted to Davia and Dennis.
We were as conflicted as she was, but when he went in for that kiss, she froze, flashes of Dennis going through her mind, and her walls went back up.
And then we got that freaking video call. Again, it was notable that Davia was the one who video called him, not the other way around.
Dennis loves and cares about her, but he has also pulled away, and it feels as if he closed this door on their relationship. The worse part about it is that their friendship has cooled too.
Dennis initiated what could be their final duet, and I couldn't think of a more suitable song for this pairing than Sarah Bareilles' Gravity. The lyrics felt like their relationship bleeding out on a page.
Each note they sang wrought with tension, chemistry, but a haunting loss and feeling of closure.
Davia was crying, knowing what it was and how it applied to them. Every time she thought she was moving forward, Dennis sucked her back into his orbit, and hell, those moments of screentime shared had the same effect on the viewer.
Just when some of us were probably willing to let go and accept Davia and Matt, there we were going back to Davia and Dennis.
They make it easy with their chemistry.
It left her dangling again, assuming that maybe they still had it. But then, Alice shared with the group that Dennis may be giving up his loft and leaving the Coterie.
It's something that did not come on during their zoom call. The news blindsided Davia.
I wish the duet gave Davia the closure she needed rather than his permanent disappearing act.
It makes her pursuit of Matt more reactionary. Nevertheless, she took control of the situation and put herself back out there, apologizing to him and letting him know that she's ready for him if he still wants her.
Fortunately, Matt does. And it's what Davia deserves. Their kiss was sweet.
Tony: Why do you think Tommy is innocent?
Callie: I don't know. Just my intuition.
Again, I'm left wondering if this is an indefinite departure for Dennis. Is it COVID/Pandemic related?
Has Josh Pence chosen to take a break or flat out leave the series, and the show has been writing around that?
The uncertainty is something that keeps us in suspense, and the indirect and nonlinear way that Dennis's absence has played out is quintessential Good Trouble.
We don't know what's in store for Dennis or if he's ever coming back. And something tells me that we'll be hanging on this for a bit.
We had this entire hour, and we still never revisited Isaac's priceless reaction to Malika's polyamorous coming-out moment.
But it was an hour that had this easy, whispery, retro Felicity vibe. It also served as a reminder of how well the series has done this season of expanding its focus on the characters, giving everyone storylines that can breathe and ample screentime.
I feel more connected to Davia, Gael, and Malika this season than in previous ones. Mariana and Callie can have minor storylines that take a backseat to the others.
They've leaned into the ensemble portion of the series more, allowing the extended cast to take up more space, and it's nice.
Over to you, Good Trouble Fanatics? What are your thoughts and theories on the Dennis and Davia and Dennis thing? Are you enjoying the Callie and Gael slow-burn?
What the hell is Gael going to do after Yuri backstabbed him like that? Hit the comments below.
You can watch Good Trouble online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.