It was probably inevitable that those two ding-dongs from Speckulate would show up again to make things difficult for Mariana. You know what? Ding-dongs is too nice of a word for these two. Alex and Sam are the truest of assholes and apparently have almost immediately bounced right back after being fired for writing that misogynistic manifesto and sending it out to the entire company. You’d think the news of what they did would travel fast around the tech world in Los Angeles and they’d be blackballed for at least a few months, but alas, they are not. Why? Well, read the title of the episode, people.
No, instead, Mariana and the other ex-Speckulate women bump into Alex and Sam just as the ladies are about to pitch their new game app to investors, only to learn that these guys secured funding for an AR interior-design app geared toward women (really rich, guys). The guys clearly know nothing about interior design, or much about AR for that matter, but pitch with the confidence of knowing that they’ll simply “figure it out” as it goes along. This is infuriating on several levels for Mariana.
Earlier, she had learned that Evan’s first major app, Day Trader, was a huge risk. He is quoted in an interview saying that he and his friends who created it knew nothing about the stock market, but thought it was a “big idea” and “figured it out” after getting funding. This news sets Mariana off since, after all, it was Evan who advised her to ditch the ladies’ original Bulk Beauty app because it was too big of an idea and they didn’t know enough about retail and encouraged her to instead think up something small, like a game app, that they could handle. So when she has to listen to Alex and Sam failing up, Mariana’s had enough.
Just as the women are about to go in and pitch their game app, Mariana gives an impassioned, empowering speech about how women are conditioned not to believe in themselves, that women are taught that they “have to walk before [they] can run.” And she’s tired of that bullshit. She apologizes to her friends for making them scared of their “big idea” and thinks they should pitch Bulk Beauty. No, they don’t have a prepared deck for it, but they’re passionate about it — and they can figure out the rest later. Anyone else want to stand up and clap for our girl Mariana after that moment? Her moms would be so proud.
Mariana & Co. pitch Bulk Beauty, but unfortunately, the investors pass. Kudos to this show for never making things seem too easy for their characters (like this story line, Callie failing the bar exam). Good Trouble is about figuring out who you are, and a major part of that is failure — the show never forgets that. But just because Mariana fails, it doesn’t mean she’s giving up. She seems more determined than ever to get an app off the ground. And she knows the very first thing she needs to do: She needs to talk to her boyfriend about boundaries.
To have any shot at a career and a relationship with Evan, Mariana tells him that they can’t talk business anymore. “You can’t help but be brutally honest, and I can’t help be swayed by your opinion,” she tells him. We’ll see how long that lasts!
Since Mariana brings up boundaries, Evan has something he wants to discuss, too. We’ve watched him look on painfully as Mariana walks through his loft in bare feet and moves things around in his refrigerator. He needs her to stop. Everything in his loft has a specific place, and he needs her not to move it — his anxiety and OCD has been through the roof. He’s not trying to be mean: He explains that he has to “tolerate so many things out of [his] control,” and doing that every day, all day, cannot only cause him anxiety but also “physical pain.” His home is a place he can feel safe — just like he feels safe in his relationship with Mariana. She of course understands (and is moved!). It’s a huge step for the two of them. It feels like this conversation has turned this relationship from a secret hookup to something much more serious.
Now let’s talk about what goes down in Davia and Gael’s latest restorative-justice session, shall we? A couple of girls purposefully got in trouble so they could hang out with Gael — which, like, we all get. When Gael shows up and the girls hear Gael and Davia talking about “home,” the girls wonder if the two are dating. One girl, Jessie, however, says there’s no way a guy who looks like Gael “is hooking up with someone as fat and basic as Miss Moss.” Eighth-graders haven’t learned to whisper yet, so literally everyone in the classroom hears this. It’s awkward, and Davia is visibly upset by it. Andre, still an angel, although a bit misguided here, wants to defend the teacher he’s bonded with and so hurls back insults at Jessie about her size. The whole thing is awful, and Davia yells at all of them and then ends up running out of the classroom in tears.
One of the things Good Trouble does so well with Davia’s character is present body acceptance and positivity not as a one-and-done deal but as an ongoing relationship. There are good days and bad days and setbacks and big wins, and it is something that must constantly be worked on. Davia is proud of her body and has worked hard to get to that point, which is why it’s so jarring to see her reduced to tears by her students. She admits as much to Gael when he finds her still upset back at the Coterie.
Yes, part of it is just that kids can be little shits sometimes and even the toughest person can let it get to her, but there is something else going on: Davia was always hesitant about falling for Dennis because he’s never dated any fat women before, so when Dennis declared his love for her, they had sex, and then the next day he ran off indefinitely, all of her concerns and insecurities felt like they were coming true. She tells Gael everything (this friendship is growing before our eyes, and it warms my heart). She’s upset because she thought she was past letting people make her feel shitty about herself, but it turns out that maybe she’s not. Gael shows her the “Fat Bitch” video they made last season to remind her of the sexy, confident woman she really is and tells her that what Dennis did was wrong and it hurt her and “rattled her confidence.” She’s human, he reminds her, she’s allowed to feel hurt and have insecurities sometimes. She’s also allowed to tell Dennis all of this. Gael! What a pal!
Davia does in fact tell Dennis how upsetting it was for him to take off like that and she’s angry about it, but we only get a quick snippet of that conversation — let’s hope there’s more to come. That chat with Gael really did wonders for Davia, because she has clearly remembered who she is, and part of that is being a good role model for her students. She gets the restorative-justice group back together for a discussion.
First, she apologizes: She met their aggression with aggression, and that’s the opposite of what they’re supposed to be learning here. Jessie apologizes, too. Davia makes it clear to Andre that defending her by hurting someone else isn’t okay. She talks about how boys in middle school would make fun of her body and it wrecked her self-esteem. Jessie begins to open up about the cruelness she faces every day because of her body. Kids making fun of her size and snapping her bra straps that stick out because they’re wider than the other girls’ and commenting on her clothes, which are the same things other girls wear but they look different on her body, only makes her stick out — she ends up getting in trouble for causing a commotion and wearing “inappropriate” attire. It’s a heartbreaking speech.
Davia makes sure that Andre understands his words have meaning because the other boys look to him as a leader; he could make a positive difference at this school if he wants. He shrugs the conversation off, but we learn later that he really took what Davia said to heart. The next day, he puts on a tank top and bra and walks down the hall next to Jessie, wearing the same thing. He tells the other boys that if they ever snap Jessie’s straps or anyone else’s, there will be a problem. It’s a pretty amazing sequence made even better by seeing Davia standing in the background, just the proudest teacher there could ever be. When Nice Teacher Matt tells her she’s done such a good job with the restorative justice, she responds, “Well, Andre just said he’d end a kid, so it’s a work in progress, but thank you.” Still, a proud moment after everything.
• Well, well, well, Malika ends up calling in Dyonte to help her watch Yvonne’s kids, and after a day of bonding and making eyes at each other, Dyonte tells her that he’s polyamorous. His girlfriend has another boyfriend and wonders if Malika is into something like that. She tells him that she is not poly and she and Isaac are really solid. They seem cool, but Malika is definitely a little standoffish the next time she sees Dyonte.
• The scene in which Malika breaks through to Kiara, Yvonne’s teenage daughter, by bonding about their relationships with their mothers was a short one, but impactful. Malika thinks she’s not good with kids, but she is! It’s also a reminder that a lot of what’s been going on in Malika’s life has been reminding her of her mother and she hasn’t been dealing with it. Her decision to bury herself in her work rather than take Dyonte and Isaac’s suggestions to try therapy is probably not the best one.
• Wow, okay, so Yuri, the artist Gael interns for, “offers” to go speak to the kids at Davia’s school where Gael’s still helping with her restorative-justice sessions. Something tells me Yuri might not be a huge hit with eighth-graders, but I’ve been wrong before.
• Callie goes behind Kathleen’s back to track down Jerod’s sister and let her know about the options Jerod has with his case. Callie seems quite pleased when his sister shows up and makes it clear that she’s a little pissed that Kathleen is trying to take away Jerod’s “right to advocate on [his] own behalf.” In the end though, Jerod decides to go to trial, so Kathleen’s pretty pleased, too. She also has him moved to an institute for mental disease as he awaits trial — she was never going to leave him in prison. She makes it very clear that if Callie doesn’t start trusting her, there will be consequences.
• Oh! Kathleen also pulls some strings to get a new deputy DA put on Callie’s Yvonne Byers case. That new DDA is Jamie Hunter. This should be fun (here, fun means devastating).