Tuesday, January 29, 2019

REVIEW: 'Good Trouble' - Callie and Mariana Feel the Pressure to Lie to Keep Their Jobs in 'Playing the Game'

Freeform's Good Trouble - Episode 1.04 "Playing the Game"

Judge Wilson invites Callie and the other clerks over for a seemingly friendly BBQ that takes an unexpected turn. Mariana deals with a lack of diversity in her workplace and questions whether it's the right place for her. Alice struggles with the responsibilities of managing the Coterie.

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.

"Playing the Game" was written by Cristian Martinez and directed by Michael Medico

Callie and Mariana both feel the pressure to lie in order to keep their jobs here. That's such a fascinating dynamic. None of this feels like appropriate workplace behavior. And yet, it's the show actually depicting what the world is truly like. The workplace is very difficult and complicated. Mariana hoped that all of this drama ended with school. She didn't want to engage with that kind of social hierarchy once more. She believed she was going on to bigger and better things. And now, she finds herself appearing on camera for her company to talk about how great and inclusive the culture of this business is. It's something that she feels the pressure to do. She can't just abstain from it either. She is targeted for this diversity push and can't say no. That's the pressure everyone in this company is giving to her. It makes it feel like her only chooses are to prop this company up even though it's a lie or speak the truth and be fired because of it. She wants to prioritize her career at this moment. And yet, she feels like she shouldn't have to compromise herself in this way in order to get ahead. But she also doesn't want to do anything now to jeopardize that. She has a nice life after all that allows her to go out partying all of the time. That's a lifestyle that Callie doesn't have because of the demands of her job. Mariana is still just trying to find the right balance at work. She finds a kindred spirit on her team in Raj who is clearly crushing on her with her being completely oblivious to it. He isn't perfect either. He still normalizes the behavior of their teammates. As such, it's once again the minority's responsibility to make those in power seem comfortable in any given situation. It's horrible but that's the life that Mariana is living in this company. Meanwhile, Callie understands the pressure of this high-profile case and doesn't want to lose the clerkship at all. That means she is doing whatever it takes to remain in the judge's good graces. Sure, this hour teases right off the bat that something happens that angers the judge. But it's pretty innocuous in the grand scheme of things. He likes putting his clerks in competition with one another. That informs so much of their dynamic. They do work as a team to stump him in this game that he has created. And yet, he still pits them against each other to see if any of them are capable of prevailing should the tables be reversed. His wife doesn't like that he does this. She tries to help Callie win. But Callie impresses the judge mostly because she can maintain his own secrets and privacy. He wants to keep it hidden that his son is at home under house arrest instead of taking a semester at sea. That's a secret that Callie is willing and able to keep at the moment. Ben and Rebecca press her for details and she doesn't crack. However, her career may be coming apart in other ways because Ben learns that Callie and Malika happen to live in the same building. He suspected that something was going on between them. He questions her about it. She denies it in order to maintain her hold over this specific case. But now, Ben might be armed with enough information to steal it from her which will throw everyone into even more personal jeopardy. That's the source of so much drama at the moment. It remains very intriguing to watch as well.