The Coterie is filled with major changes. HL got EXCLUSIVE scoop from the ‘Good Trouble’ EP about Mariana’s rock bottom, Callie and Gael’s ‘complicated’ relationship, and more.
Good Trouble kicked off the next half of season 3 with a lot of chaos. Callie and Gael are trying to make their relationship work, even though he’s expecting a baby with Isabella. By the end of the episode, Isabella has moved into the Coterie after getting kicked out by her parents.
Meanwhile, Mariana suffered serious heartbreak. When her Byte Club girls found out she was dating Evan, they cut her out of Bulk Beauty. This was after she broke up with Evan for her friends. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with showrunner Joanna Johnson about Mariana’s journey ahead, Callie and Gael’s future (and Jamie’s, too), Malika’s heartbreak, Davia’s ultimatum with Dennis, and more.
Mariana’s kind of lost it all: her Byte girls and Evan. How is she going to be handling this next chapter, especially with things not working out really well for her for the first time in her life?
Joanna Johnson: Mariana has always managed to manipulate the truth a little. We love her because she’s not malicious, but even from The Fosters, she was always someone who tried to figure out a way to have her cake and eat it, too. She often was very successful with it or it managed to work out, but it’s finally coming to the point where she’s painted herself into a corner and she can’t get out. She has to tell the truth, and she loses two really, really important relationships, and maybe even mostly the one with her Byte Club girls. They’ve been through so much together. They walked out of the job in solidarity with her, and she wasn’t completely honest with them. Mariana is now finally having to deal with the real consequences of her actions. It’s part of her growing up. It’s time for her to grow up and stop being the childish Mariana that she had been from The Fosters and be an adult and realize that there are consequences to your actions. The older you get, usually the deeper those consequences get. We’re going to see Mariana start to change and start to grow up finally and try to mend bridges.
When it comes to Callie, complicated is the perfect word to describe what’s going on with her, Gael, and Isabella. How are Callie and Gael going to navigate their relationship as Isabella’s pregnancy continues?
Joanna Johnson: What I really enjoy about writing the show is because I think that your 20s can be the hardest time in your life. You’re trying to adult and you’re faced with adult issues and adult concerns when your brain hasn’t quite become adult. What the two of them don’t realize is how complicated it is. Callie says, “I don’t mind complicated.” We know, historically, Callie is complicated. If you’re not already complicated, she’ll find a way to make them complicated because that’s part of her damage. When you come from drama, as she did in her early years, you end up kind of continuing to create drama because that’s what you’re used to. That’s just a part of Callie’s DNA and something she needs to kind of grow out of. But what they don’t realize at that young age is it’s really hard to date somebody and to start a relationship with somebody who’s having a baby with someone else. It’s not going to be as easy as you think it’s going to be, and you’re not really anticipating it because you don’t really understand the huge responsibilities of parenthood. It’s going to start dawning on Gael more and more that this is huge. He’s going to be thinking, “I’m too young, I’m not ready for this. I didn’t plan this, and I’m suddenly being forced to grow up overnight.” What does that mean to grow up overnight? One thing it means is maybe it’s not the best time to start to rekindle a relationship with someone who’s not the mother of the child. That’s going to be hard, and then Callie’s going to realize he needs to be there for Isabella and is this the best idea in the world. The truth is, especially once the baby’s born, you’re going to be number three in line for their attention. These are just things that you don’t think about when you’re young.
There’s also Jamie to think about. In the trailer, I think Tony says to Callie about Gael, “Does he know that you’re still in love with your ex?” I feel like there’s still so much that’s been left unsaid between Callie and Jamie.
Joanna Johnson: For sure. They broke up over philosophical and ethical differences. They didn’t break up because they weren’t still in love with each other. They both drew a line in the sand over that. Callie’s very all or nothing. I think when you’re young you see the world is sort of black and white, and then as you get older it’s more gray. You’ve got to learn to tolerate the gray areas and see other people’s points of view. But she’s not quite there yet. She was really disappointed in Jamie, and she did something that did betray him professionally. It’s not like they didn’t love each other. There’s a lot of hurt there, but there’s still love there. That’s something they’re going to have to figure out and navigate. I don’t think she was quite over for him, but that’s the other thing you do in your 20s is that you rebound. I think Callie’s questioning: did I make the right decision when I chose Jamie over Gael? But for whatever reason, Jamie keeps being put in her path, so sometimes you have to look at that and ask what the universe is trying to tell you.
Dennis is back and he’s ready to be with Davia, but she’s moved on with Matt. She does stand up to him and says she wants him to figure out what he really wants. How is he going to be proving himself to her?
Joanna Johnson: It’s kind of hard. How do you prove to someone that you’re ready to be in a relationship with them? It’s a little bit tricky to kind of understand his point of view, which is like, “Why does it matter why I came back? Why does it matter that I came back because I don’t want to lose you to someone else? I don’t want to lose you.” And she’s like, “No, that’s a knee-jerk reaction. That’s not genuine I came back because I’m ready. It’s like, I came back because I don’t want to lose you, and I don’t think that’s legitimate.” So how does he prove himself is tricky, but one way is to come to terms with some of his grief. Dennis has coveted his grief. He’s held it close and tight. He hasn’t wanted to let it go because if he lets the grief go, it’s almost like he’s further away from his son. In his mind, if I’m not in grief, then I’ve abandoned my son. I think he has to grow up and learn that’s not true. You can move on with life and still honor and love that person who passed. He has to show that he’s ready to do that and not going to knee-jerk again if he gets triggered by something that reminds him of Jacob.
Isaac tells Malika that he’s moving for 6 months. What does this mean for their relationship and her relationship with Dyonte?
Joanna Johnson: Malika was honest with Isaac about wanting to explore a polyamorous lifestyle. It’s something that’s becoming more and more common. I mean, it’s not for everyone, but a lot of people are finding that that not depending on one person for all of your needs is rewarding and works. We have this idea in our country, or just in every country in our society, that monogamy is the right thing, and that if you’re not monogamous something’s wrong with you. Maybe that all came out of religion and the idea that you didn’t want people running around, you wanted families and structure, but our life is so different now. We’re not all on the farm where you need the family together in order to feed each other. We live in a different world. Polyamory is a very legitimate lifestyle, but she expressed that to him and he said, “No way. I’m not going to deal with that.” And she said, “Okay, I still want to be with you. I love you. You’re my priority.” I think he was hurt, understandably, but I think he also knee-jerked a little. He also kind of got his feelings hurt and got into his ego, and then he just up and left. I think that gives her legitimate cover to say, “Well, if he’s going to abandon me, then I’m going to go on with my life and that means I’m going to explore this thing with Dyonte and explore this lifestyle.” She might not just see only Dyonte. I think she has every right to do that.
Alice got a victory with the program. Now that she’s back and starting this new chapter, what can fans expect?
Joanna Johnson: The good thing about Alice is that she went back to the program, but she did tell them, “You didn’t have my back, and I don’t trust you guys really.” That was a big step for her. But she also realized that because she was hurt by them, she’s not going to forego her opportunity to possibly get exposure to casting directors or getting an agent. But, of course, things don’t change overnight. What’s wrong with that program isn’t just one person. It isn’t going to be solved by just firing that one guy. In any corporate situation, do they really walk the walk about diversity and inclusion, or are these programs sort of cover, and are they really translating to real changes. The other thing also is these struggles with comedy. What can you talk about? What can’t you talk about? What’s offensive? Can you overcorrect? Is now everything off-limits because you don’t want to offend anyone? They’re going to continue to deal with those sorts of issues in the program and the main purpose is to keep growing Alice as one of our main characters.
I’m not sure how much time is going to pass in this season. Will we see the Coterie baby by the end of the season?
Joanna Johnson: We don’t move that fast. We’d have to jump nine months and that would throw a wrench into all the other stories that we’re doing. So I wouldn’t expect to see a Coterie baby right away.