Tuesday, February 26, 2019

REVIEW: 'Good Trouble' - A Visit from Jesus Makes Mariana Feel Like Things Happen So Easily for Him in 'Byte Club'

Freeform's Good Trouble - Episode 1.08 "Byte Club"

Mariana forms a women-in-tech "fight club" with other women in her office to deal with sexism in their workplace. Despite bonding over past traumas, Callie and Rebecca don't see eye-to-eye on how to address a potential workplace harassment situation for a colleague.

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. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Freeform's Good Trouble.

"Byte Club" was written by Nicole Paulhus and directed by Peter Paige

The timeline wonkiness within Good Trouble is a structural device that really doesn't add anything to the overall storytelling. It's mostly just a way for the show to entice the audience into a story by making some big pronouncement before delaying the resolution of it. It's manipulative and has been the biggest problem with the first season. The show just doesn't feel the confidence to tell stories in a linear way and trust that all of the groundwork will be enough to get the audience to care about each specific plot development. This hour opens with Callie overhearing a conversation between Judge Wilson and his son while Mariana is approached by the head of HR as she is showing Jesus around the office. Both of these moments play as these big things that could further shake up these workplaces for the characters. But it takes until the very end of the hour for things to come into context so that when Callie asks the judge for a favor it has meaning and so does Raj standing up for Mariana by reporting a problem. Plus, there is plenty of melodrama along the way that can further complicate these stories - like the uncertainty of why Raj is going to HR in the first place or Becca and Jesus sleeping together before they know about the Callie connection between them. This is also just the latest episode to welcome one of the cast regulars from The Fosters to catch up on how they are doing in the present day. Jesus started a treehouse company that hasn't exactly taken off. And so, he is looking into designing tiny houses by hopefully getting some investment partners. He's lucky because Dennis can connect him with a guy who really latches onto the idea and likes Jesus a great deal. All of this has the potential to feel like one episodic story though. There has been no follow up to the other characters from The Fosters who have appeared here. Jude, Lena and Stef have only popped up for one episode in which they were suddenly important again. It forms the connection between this show and the original one. However, it's also taking time away from the other series regulars on this show. Alice and Gael aren't seen at all here while Malika only has one text conversation with Callie. Sure, Dennis and Davia still have a presence. But it's mostly about the workplace issues and how Jesus doesn't totally understand the uphill battle that his sisters are facing at the moment. Both of those main stories have been great in addressing workplace issues such as sexual harassment and discrimination though. Mariana has brought together the women of her office to push back and earn the respect that they deserve as smart and capable employees. She gets the advice that helps her stand out as well as the support that her ideas are noticed and recognized as such. It may just be a minor victory. But it still means something. Plus, the show is pushing this arc of redemption for Raj because he actually takes action as an ally instead of just offering some supportive words to Mariana when no one else is looking. Sure, he still has to put in more work if he wants to be taken seriously as a romantic option. But it's a fascinating story nevertheless. Meanwhile, Callie and Becca bond over their history of dealing with sexual assault. Callie was raped while Becca was harassed to the point where she had to change jobs. These two have had polar opposite politics for the entire season. This has the potential to bring them together. However, Callie also recognizes that asking for no women to serve as clerks for one of the judges isn't an appropriate solution because it cuts down on the opportunities for women who are just as qualified and deserving of these jobs. But that may only create more tension between her and Becca - which may be the core source of drama instead of just waiting for Jesus to come back to town.