How did you love that filler installment, dolls?
A murder mystery was the perfect opportunity for some fun, high emotions, and drama, and it was abundantly clear that the cast and crew had a blast filming Good Trouble Season 5 Episode 15.
The hour wasn’t all silliness and pointless fodder, as some notable developments pushed the storylines further.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t prevent “It’s My Party, I Can Die if I Want To” from being the epitome of an “acquired taste.”
The difficulty of a filler installment like this is that we now know it’s the final season, and with every bit of anxiety about how things will wrap up and if they do so correctly, an entire installment devoted to frivolous fun can feel downright wasteful.
It was a classic Coterie event with some relationship woes and progress, wholly unique concepts that make you wish you were invited to such an affair, and lots of arguments and drama.
They took some liberties with the murder mystery angle by having the characters dress up as they did. And they had a blast with the editing.
The black-and-white moments appealed to anyone who finds the film noir genre entertaining.
It’s my party, I can die if I want to.
Good Trouble has never shied away from its creativity when filming throughout five seasons, so as utterly absurd as the concept likely seemed on paper, it was fitting that they made a go of something like this.
But as previously mentioned, it’s an acquired taste. Many viewers could find this installment fun with the flashy retro outfits, the throwback gumshoe lexicon, and the Clue-esque quest.
And others may have been put off or bored by the whole ordeal. It certainly was one of the more polarizing approaches to an installment.
Of all the characters, the costumes for Mariana, Mabel, and Luca were the most appealing. Cierra Ramirez is made for the 50s vintage aesthetic.
And Mabel looked stunning in her rendition of Daisy from The Great Gatsby, and she damn sure knew it, too.
It was an overall fun ordeal, not the least surprising; it was something orchestrated by Kelly.
They have a way of bringing Kelly out when it’s convenient.
She’s one of the more underrated characters, but they’ve done her a service by providing us with more depth. Some of the hour’s strongest moments were her vulnerable scenes with Gael.
I think we have this idea that a child or relationship will make us whole
Little moments like that make you wish they had spent more time with the character over the years and given her proper due.
The actress clearly has far more range than she’s gotten to showcase over the years with the similar appeal of Felicity‘s Amanda Foreman.
Kelly has this way of dropping major bombshells on someone and never even giving them a chance to process what just happened.
Gael was gobsmacked when she stated that she wanted to freeze her eggs and would like it if he were her sperm donor.
And Gael Martinez is such a great, intuitive character when adequately utilized. It was refreshing to see him not dismiss Kelly but take in everything she said to get to the bottom of it and offer his advice and perspective.
It was shocking to hear Kelly state that part of having a murder mystery birthday bash and wanting a child was that she didn’t want to be alone.
She wants someone to show up at her actual funeral when it happens.
Kelly has always been proudly weird and anti-social. Her vulnerability made you ache for her, and Gael’s genuine willingness to hear her out, understand what she was driving, and then tell her how much she is loved made you adore the character even more.
People tend to believe that relationships or children can fill this void inside of them or fix things like loneliness or whatever broken bits are inside.
But there’s nothing healthy about putting all your eggs into those baskets and expecting fulfillment.
Gael’s words to her didn’t truly resonate until she realized that they had cake for her, and all of them were happy to genuinely celebrate Kelly for who and what she is.
Everyone deserves to feel loved, wanted, and as if they aren’t alone, and it was beautiful that the resident queen of Darkness could let us in a bit more and got to be on the receiving end of all the overwhelming love that the Coterie has to give.
Isaac: Speaking of stories, what’s the one there?
Malika: Um, we dated for a while.
Otherwise, the hour had a bunch of fighting and minor dramas.
Davia and Dennis Cooper aren’t even fun anymore, as they spend more time bickering with each other than anything else. It’s gotten old that they’ve essentially become the well-worn married couple out of the series.
There were more issues with the restaurant, Dennis’ split attention, and Davia Moss not telling him about the kiss.
But all was well enough between them that they graced us with yet another Denvia duet. It was theme-appropriate, and Emma Hunton looked like she was enjoying herself.
Alice and Sumi’s bickering came in the form of the two making plans with each other. If there was ever a sense of the series’ impending end slipping into the installments, it was through something like this.
Understandably, Alice Kwan wanted to avoid talking about moving in together and buying houses because she wasn’t ready to let go of the Coterie and her family there just yet.
Fortunately, once she could voice that properly, Sumi understood and could reassure her that it would take them a long while to afford a house so that they could enjoy the Coterie until then.
The only thing missing from their bed chains, sexytimes, was Jack Harlow‘s Lovin’ on Me playing in the background.
Mabel and Luca had more than their fair share of moments, and as someone who prefers this pairing more than the alternative, I appreciate the groundwork they laid here.
The only way Luca and Mabel can work in the near future is if it’s evident that Luca also has feelings for her. It couldn’t be a one-sided ordeal.
Mabel finally feels like she’s on an even playing field right now, which is what makes a worthwhile love triangle in the first place.
Luca can be himself with Mabel in a way that he cannot be with Riley, and there’s just no getting around that.
Joaquin: I’m sorry that I’m having a hard time letting go of looking for Madison. Do you really think she wrote her parents that letter?
Mariana: I guess I need to believe it because this is all getting a little overwhelming. I’m sorry that I said that you’re an angry person.
He wouldn’t have been able to have a good time at the party at his home if Riley had been there because he’d been too paranoid about what she would think about him.
He never would’ve shown Riley his room because he would feel too embarrassed.
Mabel only showed how amazing she is even further when she called Luca out on his jumping to conclusions about Riley and constantly allowing what he built up in his head to get in the way of things.
He came up with this idea of what Riley can and can’t handle or what she’d think about him because of her privileges, and he’s projected all of these things on Riley even when she hasn’t given him reason.
Mabel gave him something to ponder when she brought that up, and hopefully, he will reflect on that and how unfair it is to himself and Riley that he consistently reaches these snap judgments and assumes the worst.
But Mabel also sparked something in him through the course of the evening. They shared intimate moments that nearly led to kisses, and Luca didn’t want that night to end.
It seemed he was only moments away from asking Mabel to stay with him. Whether it was the pool scene or their moments in his room, the heat and chemistry were there and could not be ignored.
Luca will have to come to grips with his feelings for both women and make a choice in the end.
In this one installment, however, we got to see just how much Mabel and Luca work. What sets them apart from what he has going on with Riley is that he can fully be himself with Mabel, good, bad, and ugly.
She holds him accountable, calls him out, and keeps him honest. It’s hard to resist that when considering Luca’s romantic options.
In many ways, that’s the appeal of Joaquin and Mariana Adams Foster.
As much as many fans are rooting for Evan and Mariana to find their way back to each other, myself often included in that, there is a strong case for Mariana and Joaquin as well.
Joaquin: I can’t be casual with you. Not as long as you have these unresolved feelings for Evan. I can’t.
Mariana: Of course.
What remains so special about their relationship is how sincere, honest, and vulnerable they can be with each other.
They’ve become one another’s confidants, and it’s such a beautiful sight that we have these two coming together on an equal level and learning how to communicate appropriately.
Even when they have rough days, the intimacy and honesty between them are unlike anything we’ve seen for Mariana.
They had their spat, but they apologized to each other and talked through things.
We got more insight into why Joaquin is so obsessed with this Silas case and finding Madison when he opened up about his father’s abuse and how Silas reminds him of his father.
Joaquin Perez is naturally a guarded, close-off person, but there’s something about Mariana. She brings him out of his shell, gives him space to open up, and generally makes him a better person.
There’s a trust there that can’t be faked — it’s so effortless and natural.
I admire Joaquin’s ability to be vulnerable with Mariana when you can tell it doesn’t come naturally to him under any other circumstances.
As much as he would’ve loved to keep kissing her and taking things further, he knew he had to protect his heart.
He managed to be honest about how he couldn’t be casual or romantic when she still harbored feelings for Evan. But he shared that with her without blaming or judging her for not knowing where she stood with Evan.
Sure, he lashed out at her earlier in the installment, in another of their many moments of brutal honesty. But it’s evident that he cares about Mariana enough that he doesn’t hold it against her if she wants Evan; he knows he has to protect his heart as best as he can.
It’s why it’s so easy to appreciate Mariana and Joaquin for whatever they are and can be because the intimacy of that dynamic is so special on its own.
Of course, he’ll have to figure out when to tell Mariana about Silas’ development.
It took that time with Kelly for Joaquin to realize that Silas was in the house and came in through the window. His cop friend confirmed it. But now, what do they do about it?
Indeed, the moment Mairana learns the truth, she’ll battle her anxiety again, and my heart breaks for her on that front.
However, that segues into the storyline with Isaac.
With all these new stressors, in no time at all, Mariana is going to notice that she’s missing Xanax.
It was disheartening to see Isaac’s fall from grace as he stole and took Mariana’s pills. But it was probably important to see the full effects of Isaac’s addiction.
We’ve heard about it, and it’s clear that Isaac is struggling, but we also haven’t fully experienced it until now.
Going cold turkey was not a good idea, and now Isaac has made a mess for himself.
Malika Williams is not fully prepared for what this can look like as she helps Isaac through this. I doubt the audience is ready for it.
Addiction isn’t pretty, and we’re starting to see the uglier sides of it, whether it was Isaac’s irritability and blowing up at Malika for micromanaging him or taking Mariana’s pills.
But Isaac also knows that he’s not in the position to be in a relationship, and interestingly enough, he seems to accept that his and Malika’s time has passed.
He supported her and Angelica, which was as interesting as unexpectedly delightful.
I think you know I still love you, and I could be wrong, but I think you still have feelings for me. And I wonder if maybe you’re making excuses for why we can’t be together because you’re afraid.
He could see that Malika still had feelings for Angelica, and like a good friend, he pushed her to follow her heart. And now, we may have a Malika and Angelica reunion after all.
Over to you, Good Trouble Fanatics. What did you think of this filler installment? Sound off below!
Good Trouble airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on Freeform. You can stream it the next day on Hulu.
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.