Tuesday, July 23, 2019

REVIEW: 'Good Trouble' - Malika Asks Her Friends to Challenge Themselves During Her Birthday Celebration in 'Twenty-Fine'

Freeform's Good Trouble - Episode 2.06 "Twenty-Fine"

Malika asks the Coterie crew to create performance pieces expressing themselves as their birthday presents to her, leading to a night of improv, music performances and revelations.

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.

"Twenty-Fine" was written by Joanna Johnson & Ashly Perez and directed by Chandra Wilson

This show knows how to put together a birthday celebration. This hour is dedicated to Malika turning 25. And yet, it's drastically different from Davia's birthday from the first season. That episode was a ton of fun. This one is as well. It gets back to the spirit of communal living and chosen family. Davia and Malika are very different people. And yet, this hour proves that this is a community of people who genuinely want each other to do well in life and continue to grow. They are so supportive of one another. In fact, it's just wonderful to watch how aspirational this hour actually is. Now, it doesn't always meet those ideals. It wants to be an hour of fun performances that show that this is a group of people who are entertaining when they are just hanging out with each other. The show throws in a ton of melodrama in order to ensure that there are some stakes to the storytelling as well. Callie and Mariana are clashing because of the growing pains of their relationship and the financial burden of their lives. Davia is reluctant to embrace a more intimate bond with Dennis even though she's the only person he's willing to let in on what's going on in his life. Callie and Jamie are debating politics while Raj is insecure about what Evan's intentions are with Mariana. Plus, Alice is so uncertain about how to feel sexy especially when Joey is actively pursuing what makes them feel empowered and strong. There is a lot going on here. The most effective moments though are when the gang at the Coterie is simply celebrating each other and enjoying the company of everyone at this party. Malika gave each of them a task to create a performance piece that speaks to how they are continuing to grow. She and her girls set the bar high with the opening number. The rest of the pieces are dynamic as well. And yet, that first piece of poetry is extremely powerful and needs to be heard. The message of black girl power is so complex but those stories need to be shared frequently and with the nuance that they deserve. It puts the spotlight on Malika which is exactly where it deserves to be for her birthday. There doesn't need to be any additional drama from Dom or Isaac. Instead, they too can profess just how wonderful this woman is and how grateful they are to have her in their lives. Everyone has to cherish that. But these pieces also aim to do different things for the respective characters. With Gael, it's all about the silliness of it all. It leads to him feeling more free and comfortable as an artist willing to share his work with the world. Confidence is so key. It's also sexy. That is prominently on display throughout this episode as well. Alice frets over every single decision in her life. And yet, she doesn't solely have to react based on what everyone else is doing. She doesn't have to read too much into things. She should simply feel confident with who she is and the intimacy she is forming with Joey. That is sexy and makes them the strongest and most engaging couple to watch. Plus, there was never any fear that the drama between Mariana and Callie would last for awhile. They will always be sisters. That family bond will always carry them through even the most difficult of times. They may clash for moments but nothing can permanently change their feelings about each other. It's just the key source of drama here that allows for several things to explode out into the open even though it's not all of the intimate thoughts they have had this season. Jamie still believes that Callie may want to move in with him. That's certainly not the direction she was pursuing a week ago. And yet, it's also just freeing to celebrate the relationships that have formed amongst these people. That's what the final moment in the pool is all about. Yes, there is uncertainty hanging over the future. Things are bound to get dramatic sooner rather than later. But right now, it's just more important to embrace the shining brilliance of what one has and hold onto that for as long as possible.