It’s already difficult to even think about saying goodbye to The Coterie.
It’s especially tough when Cierra Ramirez keeps delivering such raw and impressive performances.
And keeping with the general dark tone of the season, Good Trouble Season 5 Episode 11 was a nerve-wracking, frustrating, emotional, and ominous opener as we head into the final installments of this series.
One can always anticipate the mood the hour will set when we get the eerily slow and ominous opening credits.
The hour gives us some interesting developments. For one, Mariana and Malika are two characters who never interacted nearly as much as some of the others.
Initially, it was surprising to learn that Malika Williams was giving up her room to Isaac and intended to stay with Mariana.
It made sense logistically, but because they barely came across as friends, it didn’t feel within the realm of possible until this scenario.
And it may be one of the best things to come. Malika and Callie should’ve been closer than they appeared. However, there are a lot of similarities between Malika and Mariana.
It’ll be nice to see both women play off one another whenever they spend more time at the Coterie.
And Malika is the right type of attentive and intuitive friend to be there for Mariana in these more vulnerable moments. We’ve been long overdue to see others outside of Joaquin actually take notice of how Mariana has been struggling.
It’s also nice that Malika can have a sisterhood within the house, which keeps in line with her living a more balanced life. Too often, her storylines have been consumed by either her work or her love life.
Mariana: I left Dennis’ party the other night because I was having a panic attack. I almost didn’t make it home. When I opened the door, Silas was here.
Malika: Silas was here?
Mariana: I don’t know if he was really here or I was having hallucinations. I told him to get out, and a couple of seconds later, Joaquin was at the door, and he said he didn’t see anyone.
We’ll likely still get some of that, especially with the possibility of her reuniting with Isaac romantically lingering in the air, but it’ll feel more balanced than what she’s had in quite some time.
Every interaction between the two women, big or small, excited me about the possibility of more between them as the season progresses.
It comes at the perfect time when Mariana does not need to be alone and needs to know that she has more than one person to lean on as she battles her PTSD.
And Malika is at her best as a character when we spend time with her in “friend mode.”
It’s also why Isaac’s return is so promising.
The intentions for these two characters are clear enough with the Monica and Chandler jokes and everyone rooting for them to find their way back to each other again.
But for now, their time apart may mean they have the potential to be stronger than ever.
No one ever seems to know Malika as well as Isaac does. And he has a gentle but honest way of approaching her and getting to the heart of what she’s currently struggling with.
He’s insightful, knows when to push her and when to sit back and listen, and she receives that energy well and can typically reach a sound decision after she’s talked through things with him.
If Malika is that friend whom others can confide in, a backbone in her friendship groups when the series chooses to showcase it, then Isaac is precisely that for her.
What has always been so endearing and invaluable is how the series depicts that particular relationship and Black Love.
We’ve seen countless times where Isaac has been supportive in Malika’s life, and that’s refreshing. But I love how important it is to see her be able to provide that support to him now.
They needed to establish their boundaries, especially as Isaac embarks on a journey of sobriety. Too easily, all of that overlaps, and hurling himself into a new and different addiction could be an issue down the road.
Malika and Isaac undoubtedly will face an uphill battle. I can’t think of a better place for Isaac to find himself through this journey than in the Coterie, surrounded by people who genuinely seem to love him, no matter how long it has been since he’s spent time with them.
It’s a mark of Malika’s growth that she’s recognized that they can’t blur the lines between them while he’s recovering, and she’s firmly establishing boundaries while being a genuinely great friend in the process.
Isaac also reminds Malika of who she is, and that’s not someone who gives up or quits. I lean toward the thought that politics isn’t the best avenue for Malika.
It doesn’t mean she can’t do other things and change the world in different ways. Everything with Lucia didn’t feel like the best environment for her, so I am holding out that she’ll find a new way to pursue her passion and purpose.
But at least with Isaac there, she can confront her feelings head-on, formulate a plan, and determine what’s best for her rather than hiding out and licking her wounds.
As a long-time Malika and Isaac shipper, I’m thrilled to revisit this pairing, whether they are an endgame or not.
Malika’s love life has been nothing short of messy, and while they’ve managed to clean things up as best as they could, it feels right that we’re back here, with the two having a stronger foundation from their time apart.
At this point, Malika’s love life feels back on track, while Luca’s is nothing short of bothersome.
Luca’s addition to the series was such a gift, but with them focusing exclusively on a tired love triangle, the concern is that they don’t actually know what to do with this character.
Luca is figuring out his place in the world, reconciling with his newfound privilege as a housed person, and grappling with the shame from his roots. It’s all a natural progression for his character, perfectly sensible and human.
It’s all of this coming out through something as uninspired as a love triangle that’s disappointing.
Booboo Stewart could charm the pants off the best of them. As the kiddies say, he has a natural Rizz, which means you can put him in a scene with nearly anybody, and he’d have great chemistry.
We’ve seen it with Luca’s interactions with Davia AND Gael.
But there is nothing of substance or fun about him chasing after Riley, who is one-dimensional and the epitome of a plot device.
If we must have a love triangle, it should be plausible with a strong argument for either part.
But it’s hard to muster up the energy to root for Luca and Riley when he’s constantly ashamed of who he is and feels he must hide things from her.
Riley may or may not be a good person, so that’s not in question. But she can’t be the best person for him when he has to go through all of this just to date her.
Riley doesn’t bring out the best version of Luca as he pursues her. Ironically, he doesn’t have such problems with Mable, who genuinely appears to care about him without question for who and what he is.
He’s comfortable enough to tell her about his background, confide in her, and foolishly even use all her ideas to date another girl.
Luca, you’re a person, not a circumstance. If Riley really likes you, I don’t see why that would make a difference. Itwouldn’t to me.
Does he know how much he flirts with Mable just to direct all of his attention to Riley? It’s a bit offputting.
Because Mable is presented as the clearest and best choice thus far, it’s hard to invest in a love triangle that no one asked for in the first place.
But at least with Mabel, the series can still segue into some of his character’s more compelling potential storylines.
Luca had the second biggest cliffhanger of Good Trouble Season 5 Episode 10.
But they quickly resolved that in such a neat fashion that it felt underwhelming. A well-timed garbage truck cutting him off from the police chase prevented Luca from getting deported.
It was a hell of a close call, and while he got a rush out of it and was proud of Gael’s work, he wasn’t too keen on repeating that.
It’s one of the best parts of his story, as it would’ve been unrealistic and dumb on his part if he hadn’t exercised caution and continued to break the law willfully.
Gael, on the other hand, has found a new purpose in his street art. After the amount of time he’s spent under Yuri’s thumb, in the shadows, without getting the credit he deserved, he needed a new lease on life.
We haven’t seen him this passionate and invigorated over his art since Good Trouble Season 1.
Gael has caught the bug, and there’s no way he’s putting a stop to his street art. Where I’m curious is how he’ll parlay it.
His murals allowed him to get his artwork out there on his terms, pouring his passion into something meaningful for him and sharing it with the world.
But everything he intended to do nearly landed him in the same spot he was in when everyone fawning over his work assumed he was some other unknown street artist named High Smith.
Now that he has a trademark signature to correct people, he can create dope pieces all over LA and become the latest anonymous sensation.
But if Gael felt this way about a slip-up, it only suggests that he won’t be content remaining anonymous.
Too many of his frustrations have revolved around not getting the credit for his work. I don’t know how long he can keep this up, shrouded in anonymity when he feels too passionately about his work not to let the world know he’s behind it.
Denvia are genuinely in the settled stage of their relationship, aren’t they?
Davia: Whatever happens with the restaurant or anything, I am on your side. Always and forever.
Dennis: I know.
They have arguments like a married couple.
It’s the closest we’ve gotten to seeing who and how Dennis Cooper was before he made it to the Coterie. The way he blew up at Davia because he was stressed out about work and her efforts to help him felt reminiscent of those flashbacks between him and his wife when he worked in the corporate world.
The good thing is that cooking and running this restaurant is his passion. But he certainly has his work cut out for him with this experience if he has to deal with the likes of Jeet and whatever messes this man drags him into.
Davia Moss has grown so much. One couldn’t help but feel proud of her when she stood up for herself, set her boundaries, and communicated her feelings about how Dennis treated her and why it terrified her when he pushed her away.
Just because things are good between them now doesn’t mean the scars from him abandoning her before have gone away. It’s realistic of them to still have that between them.
Dennis is often torn between needing the Coterie family and the stability and love they provide and still trying to control how they perceive them.
Because he’s the eldest of the bunch, he’s more prideful and tries to maintain a certain air that he should be there to help others but not rely on them for help.
He didn’t want the rest of the Coterie to know about his contribution to the building and how he’s why they even have this place.
And he didn’t want to feel like they were pitying him by helping. Unfortunately, Alice Kwan is the worst person to confide in and not expect her to awkwardly fumble through helping as best as she can, so it gave everything away.
I’m less concerned about the state of Denvia right now than I am about Dennis’ relationship with freaking Jeet and what that means for the restaurant.
Dennis was literally hours away from not reaching the deadline for paying off the lease.
And Jeet claims he got this money legitimately, but that’s doubtful. Even on the off chance that he did, the $75K is coming with some serious strings.
My money is on Jeet borrowing from a loan shark, which means there will be hell to pay if they can’t pay back to the specifications of the person from whom they borrowed.
Jeet is bad news, but Dennis feels stuck in this deal with him as his partner, and he’s not ready to let go of his dream, so Jeet is about to take us all on a nerve-wracking ride.
Speaking of nerve-wracking, Mariana Adams-Foster has my entire heart, and these days, I’m most drawn and invested in every aspect of her storyline.
There is no shade to everyone else, but Cierra Ramirez has been carrying this season on her back. The woman deserves a massage.
She’s in such a poor mental state that she couldn’t even trust that Silas showed up in her room at all, which is terrifying and heartbreaking at once.
Halfway through the installment, I started to wonder if the man was really there, too, even though I also wondered if he had found an alternative way of entering the building.
You know things are bad when one of her BB friends flat-out sent her a recommendation for a therapist and told her to go.
In any other scenario, it would be understandable, but because the BB girls have often been terrible friends, I found the gesture horribly intrusive.
Nevertheless, Mariana has needed therapy for some time, so it was easy to be happy about this development. And those therapy scenes were wonderful.
Ramirez does so well in these dramatic moments that I genuinely look forward to what her career pursuits will be in the future. Seeing her hone her skills and evolve in the decade of playing this character has been such a delight.
We got a true glimpse of how Silas worked when he ran down so much of Mariana’s life story, bringing up Jesus and their biological mother.
He knows how to manipulate people, especially women, making them feel alone, capitalizing off their latent fears, and then appearing as though he’s their lifeline and all that they have.
His menacing moments in the corner of her room were so alarming.
And he played into the notion that her mind could be playing tricks on her. He specifically avoided getting caught on security cameras.
Silas taking the Callie doll is the one thing that will confirm Mariana’s initial hunch or at least make her question everything again.
It may spark a disagreement or moment between her and her new roommate, Malika, but most likely, the doll is the key to everything.
It’s comforting that Mariana has turned to other Coterie members through her struggles, as she isn’t wholly reliant on Joaquin.
My only intention coming here was to say that I see you.
Silas [to Mariana]
It also sets things up for the two to have a more even-keeled relationship where she doesn’t have to rely on him being her everything during all this.
Nevertheless, it was still tough to see their exchange. Mariana is deeply hurt that he rejected her even though she hasn’t allowed him to talk about why he did it.
And because she’s so hurt, she doesn’t even want to tell him about the Silas room situation because it bothers her that he overwhelms her and oversteps in his concern for her.
He also comes across as a hypocrite when he tries to control everything and doesn’t process things he’s endured healthily.
The last thing she needed to hear after confiding in him that she was going to therapy was him doubling down on why she needed it so much instead of gracefully filing that information away and wishing her well.
Mariana has been too vulnerable with Joaquin Perez. The two have trauma-bonded like no other, and as a result, it has colored their relationship and made it difficult at times for them to figure out what they are to each other outside of what they’ve gone through.
It works similarly with him. He’s grown obsessed with trying to take down Silas. He’d probably destroy himself in the process of doing it.
I’m still eager to delve more into other aspects of Joaquin. But it seems we’re steps closer to that.
Now that Silas is running a background check on Joaquin as well, he’ll be armed with all the things he can utilize against Joaquin to emotionally and mentally destroy him.
I’m not looking forward to this in the least.
Protect Mariana and Joaquin at all costs. Leave them alone! And by goodness, wrap this Silas thing up expeditiously. I beg!
Kicking it at the Coterie:
- Alice has to take this promotion as head writer if she wants to save the show and Morty, Maury, and Morrie. But they’ll probably hate her and think she’s an opportunist.
- I’m eagerly awaiting Alice to make her mark, but I’m worried about it being through a ferret show.
- Is anyone else worried about “the other side” of Isaac? He still seems pretty chill, but we haven’t scratched the surface of his rehabilitation, and it’ll likely test things and not be a pretty sight.
- Luca and Mabel, I mean, Luca and Riley’s date was sweet. Her wearing the wrong shoes because he forgot to tell her what to expect from felt like another sign of how they’re out of sync.
Over to you, Good Trouble Fanatics. How do you want the final episodes of the series to play out? Let’s discuss everything below!
You can watch Good Trouble online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.