Tuesday, June 18, 2019

REVIEW: 'Good Trouble' - Callie Continues to Take Action During the Conclusion of the Jamal Thompson Case in 'Percussions'

Freeform's Good Trouble - Episode 2.01 "Percussions"

The outcome of the Jamal Thompson case is decided, and Callie is forced to decide who she's willing to fight for. Mariana jumps into a new relationship but stumbles into a situation she wasn't prepared to face. Alice attempts to win Joey back. Davia attempts to help Dennis.

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 premiere of Freeform's Good Trouble.

"Percussions" was written by Joanna Johnson and directed by Peter Paige

A lot of this premiere is devoted to resolving the plot threads that were left dangling at the conclusion of the first season. The Jamal Thompson case was always presented as a season-long story that defined Callie's new professional career clerking for Judge Wilson. And yet, it didn't reach a conclusion at the end of the season. As such, the burden is on the show to provide that here. Sure, everything is made complicated so that it's still entertaining and compelling to watch. But the show also saw the ambiguous ending as being more powerful than it actually was. Plus, it should be very interesting to see if Callie deals with any sizable consequences for her actions. She wasn't the person who leaked the police officer's personnel file to the defense. She did receive it at the Coterie from an anonymous source though. That person probably sent it to the defense as well. Of course, that then introduces the question of why Callie needed to be brought into that at all? Was it just to make it all seem more personal for the sake of the show? Callie could only have so much influence as it pertained to this case. She fought hard in order for Jamal to get a fair shake. In the end, the police officers are found not liable for their actions. Their excessive use of force and unwillingness to provide medical assistance was found to be acceptable behavior. That is such a gut punch. However, it also comes across as a sustained sense of character motivation for Malika to then steal from Callie in order to break into the judge's chambers. That's a precarious way to close the episode. It leaves Callie's future hanging in the balance. She didn't disclose things to the judge right away on several occasions. She would always worry and mull it over before making her position clear. That could make her a good legal mind one day. Right now though, she is being escorted by federal marshals for whatever Malika actually did. Her simply entering that restricted space may be enough to compromise Callie's entire legal future. Any further actions could only make things worse. Will the show actively explore that? Or will it continue to just tease that consequences are on the horizon for Callie but never actually follow through on them? She isn't in physical danger on this show like she constantly was on The Fosters. However, Callie is still making consistent mistakes to the point where it's unclear just how strong her morals and convictions actually are because she doesn't really seem to be learning from her mistakes. All of that is pretty heavy as well in comparison to Mariana's story. She is trying to enjoy the happiness of her new relationship with Raj. They are being sexually amazing with one another even though Mariana feels self-conscious at one point. She's not entirely sure how to please him in the proper way. But that's just a minor speed bump. It's more intriguing to note that she is still employed at Speckulate and developing her activism app. And yet, she is paralyzed by the fear that everyone assumes she is sleeping with Evan in order to move up within the company. Her influence with him is important. But she's the one forced to temper that perception even though the nerd bros should be shamed for thinking that's the only possible reason women can get ahead in business. That's the show continuing to handle sexism in the workplace in a really engaging way. Plus, this hour also appropriately deals with suicidal thoughts from Dennis as well as Joey wanting to change pronouns to they/them. Those are fascinating and important stories that are powerful because they are visible on a show like this. Of course, the show provides some more conventional character beats as well like Gael being self-conscious after a crushing review and Davia still not knowing how to break things off completely with Jeff.