The Coterie crew is so wholesome.
Shame was the name of the game on Good Trouble Season 3 Episode 12. It was an hour of personal growth, breakthroughs, and the previously mentioned wholesomeness as this diverse group of individuals once again solidified how much of a family they are.
The series is always at its strongest when the large group rallies around one another.
The Isabella situation is something the series could’ve dragged out. Blessedly, they chose not to, and it aligned well with so many of the most judgmental and typically unforgiving characters having some personal moments of growth and awareness.
She feels like a new character, and possibly this once overbearing, acquired taste of a character has since simmered down and carved out a spot in the Coterie family.
The group of friends — or rather family — knows how to come together and support one of their own when it counts most. In hindsight, there was no shame to be had about opening up and laying oneself bare.
But fear and shame go hand in hand, and Gael was nervous about sharing with everyone.
Dennis and Callie knew the truth about Isabella, but the others didn’t. And it didn’t seem like something that would affect anyone else too much until he shared his moment with Davia.
They have become something akin to best friends, especially in Dennis’ absence, so Davia was inclined to feel cast to the side by Gael when Dennis returned.
Gael: Alright, what’s up? Is this about Isabella?
Gael: C’mon, I know you got something to say about it.
Davia: I think it’s pretty clear you don’t care what I have to say now that your bestie is back.
Gael: What Dennis? You know that’s not true. You’re my girl, ain’t no man gonna come between us.
The friendships between Gael and Dennis and Gael and Davia have done wonders for broadening Gael’s character and presence within the Coterie and making the series richer.
But while Gael never considered Dennis’ return as a deterrent to his friendship with Davia, his fear of a notoriously judgmental and vocal Davia led to him avoiding her.
Another layer of the Isabella predicament was it prompting a case of Catholic guilt.
Gael’s a lapsed Catholic, but the traditional shame that permeates all aspects of Catholicism is something he hasn’t unlearned, and this situation took him back to his childhood, confessing his sins.
Gael: Listen, all this stuff they’re teaching you, it’s to make you feel bad about yourself. We all make mistakes. It doesn’t mean we’re sinners, especially if you own up, and take responsibility, and make it right. You’re a good boy. Try to love yourself. Because God made you perfect just the way you are.
Young Gael: Okay. You too.
Eventually, he’ll have to wrestle with telling his Catholic Latine family about this child he’s potentially having out of wedlock. It will come with a whole other set of issues and feelings, but learning not to feel ashamed of where he is now is a start.
It’ll prepare him for that. Gael’s moment of talking to the younger version of himself was such a profound moment and a highlight of the hour.
It’s what young Gael needed to hear back then, that he’s human, it’s okay to make mistakes, that he isn’t a sin and God loves him as he is, and it’s what adult Gael needed to internalize now.
And again, while this baby storyline is a bit polarizing, one thing it has done is further add depth and exploration of Gael. And Martinez is a very commanding presence when he’s given something substantial to chew on here.
The moment he let go, Gael could share with his roommates the whole reason that Isabella was there. And he could see and experience what we all knew to be true: the Coterie family would lend their unwavering love and support.
And that’s something that Isabella needed too. She did have her moment of making amends with Mariana, and it was a relief.
It would’ve sucked if she spent however long avoiding everyone at the house as much as possible.
Mariana was in a unique position to understand Isabella’s experience, fresh off making some mistakes of her own and losing her friends.
And while it’s not the first time that Mariana has proclaimed she’s new and improved, she showed signs of growth by forgiving Isabella and keeping her secret.
She also chose not to compromise herself again for the next tech job.
The notion of Mariana and Isabella becoming genuine friends is as promising as Mariana working with Callie at Kathleen’s office.
It’s endearing how she fell into an administrative job by accident, but this is a fresh start for her until she figures out some other things, and she’s good at it.
It’ll be fun having the sisters interacting in both a professional and personal capacity.
We’re having a Coterie baby!
And Callie could probably use some backup since she’s still dealing with the guys’ passive-aggressive statements.
Their latest break, in this case, was finding an expert to support their theory that the death was an accident. It took some long hours, but it was proven to be a possibility.
But now, the prosecution has DNA evidence that their client was at the scene, so now they have that to contend with going forward.
For the most part, it was light on the Kathleen storyline. Constance Zimmer was likely too busy working her magic behind the scenes as the director of the installment.
But I can’t wait for them to jump back into the investigation into Kathleen. We’re also due for a Jamie appearance.
Someone whose appearance was not welcome was Scott. Alice’s return to the comedy workshop was all warm and fuzzy for all of five seconds.
The others expressed their guilt and shame over not having her back, and now they hail her as some form of hero and leader.
And that’s all great, except Scott sitting through one two-hour sensitivity training isn’t enough to make up for things.
Sadly, the organization firing Scott, and it sticking would’ve been too easy. Of course, he has a binding contract with no feasible loophole to exploit to their advantage.
So I took some sensitivity classes yesterday, and my eyes are open. Racism, it’s not just in the south! It’s everywhere! Did you know that up until recently they only made band-aids for white people?
But if they think this is the PR spin necessary to save their image, I got a bridge I can sell them.
Alice begrudgingly agreed to the terms, but they probably should’ve walked. F**k it.
And Isaac will never live down walking away from Malika.
I feel for the guy. Isaac is coming across as immature and awful for running away from Malika after what she shared.
I think there should be space for Isaac to process everything Malika shared with him without coming across as an immediate attack against her coming to grips with her sexuality and for Malika to tell and live her truth without judgment and shame.
Malika’s therapy sessions are so therapeutic, even for the audience. Her counselor gave her the task of recalling moments in her life where she felt ashamed, and it went back to her childhood again.
She still harbors all of this guilt, blaming herself for her and Dom ending up in the foster care system. It’s a lot to carry, and I’m glad she had that time with her father where he reminded her of why it was necessary. She needed to learn how to let that go.
And once she accepted that, she could face her friends after fearing they’d slip in an “I told you so.”
But, of course, they were consummate supportive figures. Isaac left her, and yeah, some stuff needs acknowledgment there, but Malika, with her new tattoo and outlook, will be okay.
Therapist: Issac could’ve chosen to stay and work things out but he chose to leave.
Malika: It’s still my fault.
Therapist: Can you describe what you’re feeling right now?
Therapist: Shame is judgment turned into ourselves for things we often have no control over. It’s usually rooted in childhood when we felt humiliated by a parent, or teacher, or peer. And we carry these painful wounds around inside us these feelings that are bad or that we ruin everything.
And now that Dennis has finally opened up to his Coterie family a bit, I believe he’ll be okay too.
It was such a beautiful, gratifying, long-awaited moment when Dennis told the group about Jacob.
Dennis has had quite the journey on this series, and it was such an emotional, well-earned moment that made one’s heart swell with pride.
Hell, the sheer beauty of the moment was put into perspective when Kelly initiated a hug before anyone. She canonically doesn’t give a damn about anyone.
It’s a significant turning point for Dennis. It means that it will be for Denvia, too.
Since we’re all sharing, um, I have something I want to add. I had a son. His name was Jacob, and he died when he was six years old. A few of you already know this, but I mostly kept it to myself because I couldn’t deal with talking about it or people feeling sorry for me, but I know that I need to move through all of this, and y’all are like my family. I can’t hide anymore.
While Davia is right to put her boundaries up, the passive-aggressive or plain-aggressive remarks were excessive, and she should’ve apologized for all of that.
I’m happy that Davia shared the pressure on her carrying Dennis’ baggage without anywhere to lay some of it down.
Respecting and keeping Dennis’ secret without having anyone but Gael (later on) to confide in was a lot and wreaked havoc on her mental health.
Dennis and Davia’s slow path back to each other is frustrating for some, but it’s necessary.
I really want to have compassion for you without judgment and losing myself, but I’m not really sure how to do that. I know you’re hurting, but I’m hurting too. It hurt so much, and I couldn’t talk to anyone who didn’t know about Jacob, and everyone kept asking me ‘Where’s Dennis’ and ‘Why did he leave,’ and I just didn’t know what to say. Anyway, we both live here, and I don’t want to be mad at you anymore, so I forgive you for leaving, and just because I don’t trust you know yourself enough right now, not enough to at least be with me, that doesn’t mean that I don’t still care about you because I do.
And as per usual, with this duo, they are intoxicating to watch, and every part of their journey together keeps you glued to the screen and thoroughly invested.
Over to you, Good Trouble Fanatics.
Are you happy Dennis finally shared Jacob with the group? Have you warmed up to Isabella now? What are your thoughts on the theme of shame as it played out throughout the installment?
Hit the comments below.
Don’t forget that you can always watch Good Trouble online here via TV Fanatic if you missed something or want to relive it again!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.