Tuesday, January 15, 2019

REVIEW: 'Good Trouble' - A Party at the Coterie Brings More Dimension to the Supporting Ensemble in 'The Coterie'

Freeform's Good Trouble - Episode 1.02 "The Coterie"

The residents of the Coterie throw an epic party, which Jude attends. Callie puts aside work for one evening to finally let loose and enjoy herself, but will it put her job as a law clerk in jeopardy? Mariana tries to make friends with her new co-workers since she still feels like an outsider. Alice gets some upsetting news about her ex-girlfriend, Sumi. Malika is confronted by her foster care past.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. Premieres and finales may feature longer reviews. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Freeform's Good Trouble.

"The Coterie" was written by Joanna Johnson and directed by Peter Paige

In the second episode, it has become clear that this show is falling into some storytelling patterns that really could grow annoying over time. It is very much in love with the idea of telling its stories out of order. As such, there is a lot of going back-and-forth in time to inform some aspect of this party that is being held at the Coterie. That was an aspect of the premiere as well. That means it could become a stylistic flourish of this show in order to differentiate it more with The Fosters. And yet, it can also make it difficult for the audience to analyze everything and understand what is going through the characters' minds in any given moment. Similarly, the story here once again features both Callie and Mariana freaking out about potentially being fired from their jobs. That's a fear they had throughout the premiere. They were wondering if they had made a mistake with the positions that they had gotten. They didn't know if these jobs were the best places for them to be. And now, Mariana finds herself constantly apologizing to Alex because of an Instagram video Davia sends out calling him an asshole for not coming to this party. Sure, it's so condescending when Alex is telling Mariana how she needs to fall in line and be less opportunistic in this job. But it's perfectly reasonable for her to be respected amongst her new colleagues. She may still be pushing too hard. And yes, the constant phone messages push her into very awkward territory. But it's all with the purpose of making her even more insecure with this opportunity she has gotten for herself. Meanwhile, Callie misses out on a call from Judge Wilson bringing the clerks back into work late on a Friday night. They have to deal with a motion that has just been filed in the Jamal Thompson case. That's the case that Callie won in the premiere. It's the case that she is specifically clerking for Judge Wilson. It makes Malika and her friends feel like they have an inside connection to the outcome of this legal battle. They feel like they have an ally on the inside who can hopefully get some justice for his grieving family. And yet, Callie isn't the one in the office preparing the documents for the judge. Instead, that responsibility falls onto Benjamin and Rebecca. They continue to do the work. Callie is too distracted by her personal life at the Coterie. She wants to have to fun in this new city. It's what Mariana and Jude are encouraging her to do. She ultimately has sex with Gael again instead of checking in to see if Rebecca finished the memo. This is an environment where she is still learning how to work with her fellow clerks. And now, they are both helping her with her case load. There may be no reason to fear that she is about to be fired. But she feels very insecure and even more likely to stop listening to Mariana's advice moving forward. Elsewhere, more time is spent on introducing the new characters. Alice is still in love with her ex-girlfriend who immediately comes across as so needy and demanding. Moreover, she arrives to this party happy to announce her engagement which immediately destroys Alice. And finally, Malika's brother stops by to tell her that their mother is sick once more. They are distant though because they were split up in the foster system. She is such a fighter who aims to make the world better. And yet, that appears to have been destructive in her past as well.