In the sophomore premiere of Good Trouble, things came to a head when Malika (Zuri Adele), angered by the unfavorable ruling in the Jamal Thompson case, stole Callie's (Maia Mitchell) courthouse security badge and gained access inside Jude Wilson's (Roger Bart) chambers. What follows is an exercise in dramatic tension fueled by a confluence of emotions -- anger, sadness, devastation -- that is both spine-tingling and eye-opening.
Ahead of next Tuesday's episode, ET spoke with co-creator Peter Paige about the consequences following Malika's actions, how this affects Callie's professional standing, the state of Mariana and Raj's secret office romance and much more.
ET: In terms of the new season, what new topics or themes are you looking to explore further this year?
Peter Paige: The only thing that season one lacked was time, so it's nice to have a little more room because there's so much going on in the world that directly and personally impacts these characters' lives. All you have to do is open your eyes and there's more story there. Living in Los Angeles, writing and creating a show that is set in Los Angeles, there's just so much fodder there. The approach, all the way back to The Fosters, has always been that especially for marginalized people, the political is personal. That continues to be the focus. When you're a marginalized person, what's going on in the world is affecting you more directly than maybe some other people. There are lots to draw from. There's never a lack of things to want to explore with these people.
Looking ahead to the second episode, what really struck me was the consequences of the ruling from the case that Malika had dedicated herself to and her decision to take Callie's badge to gain access into the judges' quarters. Can you tease what the aftermath will be?
There comes these points in our lives when we just can't take it anymore, and Malika hit her wall in terms of the decision in the Jamal Thompson case. And she can't hold back anymore. She's done. There's a really beautiful moment in episode two, and I don't want to say who says it, and I don't want to say what's said, but someone puts in context Malika's actions. On some level you might be like, "Well that's so stupid. Or it's so reckless of her to do that." But we reach these points where we can no longer co-sign the systematic oppression that's going on. At the end of episode one, we see that Malika has reached hers. And bless Zuri Adele, and the brilliant, brilliant performance she gives, that helps us feel how personal and honest that is. It's not a plot point, it's a character point, and it sets her up for some real challenges moving into season two.
How does this affect Callie's standing with Judge Wilson?
It will have consequences, though the consequences may not be coming from the direction you're expecting them to come from.
It's been interesting to watch her work with this particular judge and see her in this environment because it seems like she's really learning what she doesn't want to do or what she wants to do instead.
Working as a clerk for a judge is so almost anathematic to who Callie is. Callie is a an actor and a reactor, she is not an adjudicator. She is not someone there to interpret and sit on the sidelines, and pass judgment. She wants to create change, and so I think for Callie, that journey really has been her season one journey. Is, is she cut out for this path? Maybe it's the law in general, but maybe more specifically it's what she's doing with that law degree that she's going to have to recalibrate.
In the first episode, picks neither Jamie nor Gael. Does she start to lean on one or the other as the season progresses?
Callie is a runner. The very first episode we ever met her, she ran away. I think it's very hard for someone for like Callie to be all in anywhere. It feels dangerous. The last time she was all in somewhere was her birth mother, and they got in a fight, she left the house and she f**king died. Psychologically, it's understandable that that's hard for Callie to do. And look, she has these two men, who not only are sexy and compelling and dynamic and funny and charming in their own rights, they also represent two different sides of her personality. On any given day, it's very easy for her to find herself aligned with one or the other.
Mariana and Raj, it's been interesting watching their partnership and now, romance, blossom too. Was that pairing something that surprised even you?
There was something about Mariana choosing the nice guy that felt really right to us and really exciting to see her pick the guy who was picking her. It felt like he was a guy who made mistakes, and who owned them, and who listened, and tried to learn, and tried to do better. He won her over, and I think we were all really taken with that character's journey and how that might impact our girl.
And then there's also the Evan part of it. Anything you want to say about that aspect of this maybe pseudo love triangle?
I think it's premature to call it a love triangle. Mariana gets Evan in a way that not a lot of people do and I definitely think Evan has affection for Mariana. I don't know that even he knows what form that affection can or should take, but they obviously have a connection and a respect and compassion for each other and their journeys. It's a complicated, interesting thing. Where is it headed? I'm not even sure I know.
It has been touching to watch Davia and Dennis come together in a very, very significant way. Davia is helping Dennis deal with his suicide scare and trying to pick up the pieces of himself. What can we expect for these two?
Their connection is undeniable. With the two of them, the question is: Can they unpack the baggage that they're bringing into the "relationship"? I say that in quotes because I mean it in the most literal sense of the word. Can they unpack enough of the baggage to make room for the other person? They're both coming into it with a lot of complications and a fair amount of damage. Can they choose each other? Or will they?
Since you directed this episode, is there a scene or moment that really touched you this episode?
I don't think I was prepared for Malika in the judge's chambers. It was such a privilege to witness that pain firsthand, and I think it's a really staggering moment. There are a lot of moments in the episode to be honest; everyone has an amazing moment. The introduction of Gael's [ex] Elijah is a great moment. The end of the episode, with the turn of events that happens for Callie. There's a lot there, but I think if you asked me, "What's the scene that haunts me?" It's Malika in the judge's chambers.
Will we see members of The Fosters family coming back around this season?