Tuesday, April 2, 2019

REVIEW: 'Good Trouble' - Callie and Mariana Face Crucial Decisions That Could Radically Change Their Lives in 'Vitamin C'

Freeform's Good Trouble - Episode 1.13 "Vitamin C"

Jamal's trial begins, along with the Black Lives Matter protest Malika has organized, leaving Callie in a difficult position known she has information that could help Jamal's lawyers. Mariana gets some new information about the salaries at Speckulate from an unlikely ally, forcing her to make a decision about whether or not to release the spreadsheet outlining the pay gap. Sumi's wedding day is here, and it's time for Alice to face her emotions head-on.

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 season finale of Freeform's Good Trouble.

"Vitamin C" was written by Joanna Johnson and directed by Joanna Johnson

This finale wraps up so many of the various plot threads from throughout the season. And yet, it's curious why the show is choosing to leave things open when it pertains to both Callie's personal and professional life. The hour props up the fact that she needs to make major changes in both areas that could have lasting repercussions for her life. Both Jamie and Gael make their feelings known for her and are willing to take their relationships to the next level. Meanwhile, Callie gets information that may prove that the police had a bias against Jamal and Judge Wilson is ruining in favor of the police in exchange for the charges being dropped against his son. And yet, Callie is faced with almost crippling doubts about what she should do. That inaction can be compelling. It just feels like the show is choosing to delay instead of crafting an entertaining and compelling way to tell the story. It means that the end of the season doesn't feature any kind of resolution in the Jamal Thompson case. It will continue to play out in the next batch of episodes. That's awkward. It makes it seem like that is the only thing of importance going on at Callie's work. Sure, the show has a lot of fun with that fantasy moment in which Callie is bounced around from character to character dancing the tango. That is a unique way to dramatize her internal turmoil. But again, it doesn't really lead to any clarity for her. She makes the conscious decision not to look at the personnel file of the police officer behind the shooting despite it being in the judge's office. She still gets her hands on it from an unknown source though. There is the sense that the defense has also learned this information. The show may be propping up some kind of mystery there. It just feels like the show is punting any kind of resolution just to ensure this source of tension will continue to be important in the future. With no conclusion in her personal and professional life, it feels as if Callie is a less necessary character here even though she has always been positioned as a lead. With Mariana, she is faced with several major decisions about her future as well. She has the salary information of all of the men at Speckulate. She can make that public in order to shame the company for not being as progressive as it claims to be. She doesn't want that to jeopardize her new app which has been greenlit by Evan. There is also the concern that Evan likes her to the point that he is willing to do anything for her in the hopes that she will feel the same way. And yet, Mariana's story differs from Callie's because she actually acts on the information that she has here. The information is released and she immediately deals with the fallout at work. Sure, it only leads to Josh being fired, which is a little lame and makes it seem like he is the scapegoat for all of the problems at this company. He isn't even the inspiration for Mariana coming forward. Instead, that's the other members of her team who doubt that she could have gotten anything without flirting and leading Evan on. But it all works out for her in the end. She gets that clarity and the season ends with her faced with a different choice. That's an effective way to tease things for the future while resolving everything that has already happened this season in a satisfying way. Plus, she and Raj finally kiss.

Elsewhere, the show drags out the reveal of whether or not Dennis is still alive. He left a frightening voice mail in the previous episode which made it seem like he was suicidal. That was the right reaction to have in that moment as well. He was ready to end his own life. He only stopped because he didn't know how he could justify that to his son if there really was an afterlife. It's also beautiful to watch as this forges a new connection between him and Davia. He may have checked himself into a treatment facility to get the help that he needs. But he does reach out to her because she's the one who is overwhelmingly worried about him. She too has made the choice to stay in Los Angeles for another year and complete her Masters degree. That's what she's passionate about. She gets the validation from her friends and her student. She has such a fulfilling life here that her relationship with Jeff feels mostly like an afterthought. He still appears here. But his presence isn't as warm and meaningful as Isaac's is for Malika. Right now, Malika is grieving because her mother has been declared brain dead when the trial begins. After organizing this protest, she isn't even there to see it through and have that proud feeling of people being united and passionate alongside her. She is still there to support Jamal's mother. It's still important to her. But she also has to be there for her brother and get him to accept that their mother is truly gone. It's not just the hospital refusing to put the work in to save her. This was always the inevitable outcome. It may bring Malika and Dom closer together once more. But it's also just as special to see Malika break down and be supported. She doesn't have to be strong and passionate all the time. She is entitled to whatever emotions she is feeling. Here, she has the understanding that she can say or do anything with no judgment whatsoever. That is special. And finally, Sumi and Meera don't get married. That was always the expected outcome to this story. Everyone saw it coming. Alice still put in all the work to prepare for the ceremony at the Coterie. It was only called off at the last moment. But it wasn't so Alice and Sumi could get back together. Throughout all of this, Alice has accepted that she is no longer in love with Sumi. She trusts her as a friend but that's it. Sumi breaks off the engagement for her own personal reasons. Joey does the same thing because she now sees just how little Alice actually loves herself. She can't ask for her to give that love to anyone else until she knows how to process all of it personally. Alice has such cherished friends at the Coterie. She gets immediate support from her family as well. She doesn't even have to come out to them. They already know. That too is special. It puts her on the path for a potentially better life. She just has to continue working on it.