This Week’s Episode of “Good Trouble” Was the Queerest of the Season

This recap continues spoilers for Good Trouble episode 516

For all the shortcomings of Good Trouble, I’m hard pressed to recall a show — other than The L Word, Pose, and A League of Their Own — that integrated so many queer characters into its narrative. The show often overflows with storylines, but this week’s episode was heavy on the queer storylines so, you know, I’ll allow it.

Callie tries to calm an anxious Mariana with a hug. Callie's wearing a white long sleeve blouse and, honestly, she's never looked better.

Before I get to the gay storylines, Callie returns to the Coterie while she’s in town on business. She overhears Joaquin reveal that he’d found proof that Silas broke into Mariana’s loft and she’s incensed. She’s mad at Silas, of course, but she directs most of her ire at Joaquin and Mariana for continuing to kick the hornet’s nest. I am amused by how much the tables have turned: teenage Callie seemed to seek out trouble on The Fosters, now adult Callie resents Mariana and Joaquin for doing the same. I wish her mamas were around to give her that look that parents give…you know, the one that says, “now you know how we felt.” I also wish her mamas were around so Stef could solve this cult case and we could finally break free of this god awful storyline but I digress.

Ultimately, though, Callie’s priority is keeping her sister safe: She urges the detective investigating Silas to arrest him for breaking into the Coterie and when that doesn’t work, she files — and personally delivers — a temporary restraining order. She assures Silas that her sister is done looking into his shenanigans…which is news to Mariana who is busy looking into Silas’ shenanigans.

Good Trouble 516: Jazmin explains to Gael and Isabella why she can't agree to let Isabella visit with Lyric.

Also back at the Coterie? Isabella. After an intensive in-patient therapy program, she’s rebuilding her life and she comes to Gael seeking a chance to spend time with Lyric. Isabella insists she doesn’t want custody or even visitation, just the opportunity to get to know Lyric. Gael approaches Jazmin and Spencer with the idea and his sister refuses to even entertain the notion. Jazmin is rightfully skeptical of Isabella’s motives — she hasn’t earned the faith that Gael freely extends — but also, she’s exasperated by the process she’s having to endure to become Lyric’s mother. The adoption interviews have been horribly evasive and transphobic and, as a result, Jazmin feels it’s necessary to set boundaries, both with the probing social worker and Isabella. Visits between Lyric and her biological mother will have to wait until after the adoption is finalized and everyone affirms Jazmin’s motherhood.

With such a talented ensemble of actors and writers, it’s always been difficult to say which storylines Good Trouble should focus on and which should go on the backburner…and now, with the show’s end on the horizon, that’s even more difficult. Still, I found myself wishing — if they were going to bring back Isabella at all — that the episode had devoted more time to Jazmin and Spencer. I wanted them to be centered more in the story. I wanted both of them, but Jazmin in particular, to have the opportunity to be angry, rather than being stoic all the time. Those who suffer the indignities of microaggressions and outright discrimination shouldn’t have to be graceful all the time.

Morty and Alice get their first looks at what goes on in a gay nightclub. Both are shocked!

Meanwhile, over in the writers’ room at America’s Funniest Ferrets & Friends, Morty approaches Alice and asks for advice on meeting other men his age. Alice suggests volunteering but then Morty clarifies: He’s not looking for male friends, he’s looking for men to date. Not for a friend, he adds, but for himself…he’s gay. Morty admits he’s repressed his sexuality through three marriages and now, inspired by the love between Alice and Sumi, he wants to find a cure for his loneliness. I love this for Morty but I hate that this storyline is coming so late in Good Trouble‘s run. This would’ve been a great way to build a connection between the Ferrets writers’ room and the audience when Alice was just starting out. Alas, I worry that Morty won’t find his true love before the show’s run concludes.

Morty insists that Alice not tell Morrie and Murray and so she and Sumi take it upon themselves to serve as Morty’s wing women as he heads out to a gay bar for the first time. Morty’s nervous and enchanted by the experience but when he sees someone he knows, he absconds to his car. Alice joins him and encourages him to not give up. Morty’s convinced his behavior must seem ridiculous to someone from a generation that freely embraces their queerness but Alice corrects him: Coming out was hard for her too. The first step — and the hardest, Alice admits — is letting go of the shame. She encourages him to come out to Morrie and Murray but Morty’s reluctant.

“Maybe trusting them will help you love and trust yourself,” Alice advises. “But you shouldn’t do it unless you’re ready and if and when you are, I’ll be there.”

Morty takes her advice and comes out to his friends the next day at work. At first, they assume he’s joking but when Morty assures them that he’s serious, they both react poorly. Morrie walks out and Murray questions whether Morty had ever been attracted to him. Poor Morty.

Good Trouble 516: Malika realizes what's wrong with Isaac when Mariana reveals that her Xanax are missing.

While Morty, Alice, and Sumi are hitting a gay club, Malika and her friends are enjoying drinks at Douro. Angelica approaches and suggests they talk after she’s done with her shift behind the bar. Malika readily agrees but, of course, who comes and spoils the potential reunion? Isaac. After demurring Malika’s earlier invitation, he shows up at the bar and makes a point about only having one beer.

But even that lone drink is too much for Isaac, as he starts behaving erratically, including suggesting that he and Malika try to be friends with benefits. Malika rejects that suggestion and then calls for an early end to their night. She apologizes to Angelica and asks to postpone their talk. Angelica agrees but wonders if she’s “not the only one that’s putting up obstacles.”

Back at the Coterie, Malika gets Isaac into bed. He chalks his behavior up to an interaction between the alcohol and his antidepressants. Malika praises him for going back on his meds and leaves him to sleep it off. But when she returns to Mariana’s loft, Mariana asks about some missing Xanax pills and Malika pieces together the real reason behind Isaac’s behavior.

With all the drama permeating the Coterie, there’s no better time for a visit from our favorite mamas! Stef and Lena are coming and, hopefully, after planning Callie and Jamie’s engagement party, they can close the cult case, help Jazmin navigate the adoption process, or counsel Morty on coming out later in life. That’s what mamas are for, right?

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A black biracial, bisexual girl raised in the South, working hard to restore North Carolina's good name. Lover of sports, politics, good TV and Sonia Sotomayor. You can follow her latest rants on Twitter.

Natalie has written 408 articles for us.

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