Tuesday, March 19, 2019

REVIEW: 'Good Trouble' - Mariana and Malika Combat Racism in All Aspects of Their Lives in 'Less Than'

Freeform's Good Trouble - Episode 1.11 "Less Than"

Callie takes her moms, Mariana and Jamie to meet Judge Wilson and his family. Marina and the other women at Speckulate face a heightened risk of being fired when the spreadsheet they created to fight gender pay equality becomes less anonymous.

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.

"Less Than" was written by Kimberly Ndombe and directed by Bradley Bredeweg

The show is telling a couple of really interesting stories about race at the moment. It is highlighting the intersectionality of feminism that needs these voices to be heard and respected because it's more than just one systemic issue they are facing. People can't just believe that gender is the greatest issue that is keeping women from being equal to their male counterparts. Race is just as meaningful and important to talk about. But this hour also focuses on how Mariana and Malika are tired of always having to explain these issues so that their white contemporaries can understand it. That shouldn't be their job. People should uplift voices of color. And yet, the female co-workers at Speckulate believe that they can lift up all women without needing to include a race column in their anonymous spreadsheet. When Mariana actually brings up the numbers and puts everything in stark context, they understand fully and are more than willing to step up to ensure she gets what she's worth as well. Of course, that only further complicates the situation by making the document less anonymous because the addition of race makes people easier to identify. That may mean they will face more disciplinary actions from the executives once they find out that this sharing of information has been going on despite the NDAs they have their employees sign on this very subject. It's all very difficult and delicate. However, Mariana walks away with a couple of significant victories here. She continues to show her worth to her team by finding problems and fixing them while ensuring she gets the credit. She continues to impress Evan who will hear her pitch even though she was told to calm down her enthusiasm. Meanwhile, Malika is devastated to learn that Jamal was yet another young black man who discriminated against black women. It's horrifying for her to hear this yet again. That's the way she has always been conditioned to the world. The message of the world is telling her that she is less than. She is pushing back. And yet, she continues to do so in a way that may only alienate the people closest to her who also wish to fight. Jamal's mother is breaking down and worried about how her son held this belief. Malika runs away instead of dealing with that uncertainty. And then, Isaac is trying to offer his own explanation to prove why Malika is still staging a protest for Jamal. She doesn't appreciate that because he doesn't truly understand. She feels more accepted by Callie than anyone else. However, that's the relationship that is the most complicated from all of this. Callie knows that she just has to listen. That's how to be an ally. Of course, she is also in a position to do something about these issues as well.

Callie sees herself in a valuable position where she can make a difference in the Jamal Thompson case. She sees the lawyers representing the police dismissing all of the potential jurors who happen to be black. But she is also confronted with the subtle reality that the lawyers fighting for Jamal may not have the experience to win this case. She goes above and beyond to make her own argument for why this is an issue. She wants Judge Wilson to be more independent and willing to offer his own rulings to ensure that everything is treated fairly in this case. However, Callie is plagued with doubts about him and whether or not he is biased in this case. The evidence may be mounting against him after his son has all of the charges against him dropped. It's chilling to watch that moment in which Judge Wilson's son drops that information with no remorse whatsoever. It's clear that Judge Wilson invited Callie and her family over for drinks because he wanted to show her off as an example to his son that people can be inherently good despite the problems in their pasts. He sees Callie as someone who made something of her life. He wants that same drive in his son. However, Callie sees a situation of privilege where this young white man got off easy with no consequences whatsoever despite the severity of his crime. She sees that as potential proof for Judge Wilson being biased against the Jamal Thompson case as well. He will do anything to protect his son. He only offers a condemnation of the tactics used in jury selection after it's whittled down so that there is only one juror of color left standing. That's a stark image and proves just how casual all of this is done to ensure that the outcome is in the police's favor. It's now up to this one man to speak on the behalf of all people of color which is too much of a burden for any one individual. People have to be willing to share their lives with others. Their decisions affect more than just themselves. That's something that is also going on between Stef and Lena. They turn up here once more because the season made a promise to keep updating the audience on the progress of Lena's run for state assembly. She does return with a different look and some clear tension with Stef. That's palpable. And yet, there is no real reason to worry about them in the long run. It should just be fascinating to see how everyone reacts once those results are announced and how all of this will continue to be incorporated this season. However, the priority should still be on the fallout of Callie being taken off the Jamal Thompson case and Mariana continuing to gain traction at Speckulate