A show of hands; how many of us are hanging in there for all things Mariana Adams-Foster?
Despite everything that happened on Good Trouble Season 5 Episode 12, it’s been more evident than ever during this fifth (and bittersweetly final) season that Miss Thang is the lynchpin of the series.
And when storylines have to stray from her, it’s becoming increasingly difficult not to distract oneself with the phone.
It’s not that Good Trouble has become unwatchable.
But there is some redundancy to some storylines, others that feel as if we’re circling the drain and running out of steam, and sadly, with the awareness that the end is near, there’s an antsiness for the buildup to a worthwhile end, and as of now, things are simply falling short.
The beauty of this hour was knowing that it was Sherri Saum’s directorial debut, and it’s pleasing that she got to cut her teeth in the directorial role in a franchise that is so beloved to her. Little things like that made you smile, even when some of the storylines were a bit rough.
Unfortunately, Alice Kwan’s present storyline may arguably be the weakest of the bunch.
There’s some comfort in knowing that she’s found marginal success in the industry, and goodness knows, if we haven’t learned anything from the dual strikes and scathing best sellers such as Maureen Ryan’s “Burn It Down,” it’s that the industry isn’t a kind, fair, or easy place to navigate.
She’s a head writer for a show, something she should be proud of, but she’s understandably upset about what it all means for her Boomer colleagues.
I enjoy a cross-generational friendship like no other as they’re such rare finds on the air these days and can be compelling, but for whatever reason, it’s just not exciting and thus a difficult arc to have any investment in.
Half the time, they’ve stalled with her character and don’t know what to do anymore.
Meanwhile, Davia and Dennis are officially a couple, and they had such a long, emotionally exhausting road to get there that the two facing everyday couple problems can feel just as daunting.
Is it just me, or has Dennis Cooper become a bit of a jerk? He’s also a pretty shitty boyfriend most of the time. It genuinely leaves you wondering what happened to his growth.
It’s like we have ringside seats and a better clue as to how his marriage fell apart well before he lost his sweet baby boy. He has tunnel vision regarding his professional relationship, which tends to come at the expense of his romantic relationship.
I’ve lost count of how many times he’s bitter and angry, cranky, or snappy at Davia for having the gall to care about him and want to extend some level of help and support.
Typically, it can get dicey when the girlfriend has strong opinions about her spouse’s friend and frequently voices them, even going as far as wanting that person to cut ties.
But in this case, Davia Moss isn’t overstepping regarding Jeet. The man is actively harmful to Dennis and a menace. Any reasonable person would want their loved one to set some boundaries or keep this person at a distance.
this is some weird shit.
But Dennis’s solution is to omit things from Davia, telling her half-truths, not keeping her in the loop, and taking every innocuous attempt she makes to help as some kind of insult, and it’s annoying.
It’s also redundant. Dennis has apologized for the same things so many times that the words feel meaningless, and watching Denvia spend more time bickering and making up, then applauding themselves for their communication is not what most of us had envisioned.
Dennis getting put in another position where he needs to learn to lean on those around him instead of attempting to do everything himself is something we’ve explored before.
Now, we have to keep rehashing this in a new setting. What good is having a staff if he doesn’t want to utilize it properly?
And why can’t he ever listen to his sous chef, who has more experience and knowledge about the industry than Dennis?
Knowing Dennis, he didn’t properly promote the opening of Haven, and that’s why they didn’t have any customers. Perhaps all the social media knowledge he learned from Isabella evaporated.
And then he jumped at the chance of hosting the 50 zombies. It was a stretch that they’d be able to pull that off when they were short-staffed and ill-prepared for it, but I won’t knock the guy for taking a risk.
Where he royally screwed up was not listening to anything his sous chef said about controlling the menu and other things.
Getting the Coterie crew to help was great, and most of them gave it a go, but by the time we got to Alice spitting an orange rind into a cup and calling it orange zest, even I wanted Haven shut down.
Dennis is also an idiot for not pressing Jeet for all the details regarding this supposed loan he got, so we’ll likely get to see more fallout and drama from that as the rest of the season unfolds.
Haven at least gives us most of the characters together, which is always a treat. And we get some of the more interesting side characters to explore. And, yeah, it also gives us a break from Davia’s play fiasco, which is slightly more appealing than Alice and the Ferrets.
Elsewhere, Malika Williams does not feel cut out for politics, but after all her doubts and what appeared to be an initial decision to quit, she’s back at it again.
Mariana: Co-CEO or nothing. I know how valuable I am, and I won’t sell myself short, so I guess it comes down to how much you need me.
Evan: Co-CEO it is, then.
It seems that Malika was unaware she wasn’t the only one in Lucia’s office who didn’t get a proposal passed. The most hilarious part of this storyline was that Malika somehow thought she was the exception to the rule.
Her reluctance to return to Lucia felt somewhat reasonable for several reasons. But this reviewer was woefully unprepared for the notion that Malika genuinely believed she was the only person in the office who had a proposal die on the floor and was only throwing a tantrum about that.
Oh, my sweet summer child. What? Sis, get a grip!
There’s no feeling whatsoever about her choosing to go back, but there is frustration regarding the idea that leaving the job would’ve been her being “a quitter.”
We attribute everything to “Don’t be a quitter.” But sometimes, it’s about stepping back from something you’re not suited for or doesn’t work for you or learning to let go of things.
All of that is healthy as well. Not everything is “quitting.”
But if anyone is quitting, it’s Isaac, as he’s giving up his anti-depressants, perhaps because of his addiction issues. But that’s not how those work. He needs them, and I hate to think of how his rehabilitation is going to work when he is off the drugs he desperately needs.
Despite our most profound hopes, this cult storyline still rages on, filling out the crime procedural portion of a season with enough tonal shifts to give a person whiplash.
There’s not much to dislike about Joaquin Perez; it’s one of the few things about this arc that works. I love what Craig brings to the character as the soft, brooding, but dedicated journalist who genuinely wants to find justice amid all this.
His hunch about Madison’s letter is probably correct. Silas is most definitely attempting to throw Joaquin off his trail, and that envelope he’s having his adorable cop friend run will indicate as much.
Joaquin delving deeper into this investigation meant he wasn’t exclusively tied to Mariana.
But that also meant that Mariana was at the mercy of the Bulk Beauty girls for a bit. And we also got the return of Raj, however briefly, as well.
Is there ever a time when the BB girls aren’t annoying as hell? By now, it’s like the tepid response to them was met with earnest attempts to make them out to be loving, supportive friends who only have Mariana’s best interest at heart.
Unfortunately, when they’re not coming across as a cautionary tale for women of color and toxic gender-racial friendship and workplace dynamics, they’re condescending, inauthentic individuals who infantilize Mariana in the name of love.
Given everything that has transpired in this friendship group, the BB girls opting out of telling Mariana the real reason they didn’t want her around, and the company going under was ill-advised.
The red herring wasn’t fun because the BB girls aren’t likable enough for it to be a relief that they weren’t screwing Mariana over again. If anything, it was frustrating that they finally teased a reason that Mariana would be done with them once and for all, only for her to be intertwined with them even deeper.
Naturally, it’s Mariana Adams Foster who must save the day and their company that is still flailing after that transphobic influencer snafu.
Mariana’s solution takes her (and, tragically, the BB Girls) back to Speculate.
Their Badass Boss Ladies strut into the place — it was classic Good Trouble, and it was good to see Mariana smile.
She’s in her element when she’s taking on the challenges she faces, fighting the patriarchy, and all of that.
It was genuinely shocking that Evan agreed to her proposal that she become Speculate’s co-CEO. Sure, it seems a bit farfetched and ludicrous, but who cares?
Mariana is back in her Boss Era; she and Evan will undoubtedly have some fun, engaging, and potentially memory-triggering moments and interactions, and Mariana deserves good things.
She started from the bottom, and now she’s here, and hell, I’m not mad at her for that. There’s a lovely full circle aspect of this that we ended back at Speculate under less bleak conditions.
This plot point may be the breath of fresh air and bring the humor and fun this dark season needs.
Also, it’s another step in toying with this love triangle between Mariana, Evan, and Joaquin.
Would you consider coming back to Speculate? I need your help, Mariana. Please.
Now, she’ll spend all her working hours sharing an office with the amnesiac ex she used to love and all her off time sharing a living space with a companion who is head over heels for her.
It’s the love triangle we’re invested in, and it beats out Luca’s weird, aloof way of using the friend who likes him to seduce the girl he seems perpetually out of touch with.
Mariana’s comeback was the highlight of this episode. Let’s go, Mamacita!
Over to you, Good Trouble Fanatics.
Do you have any favorite storyline? Will Mariana’s return to Speculate bring her and Evan together?
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.