Note: The following discusses spoilers for “Good Trouble” Season 5 Episode 1.
The “Good Trouble” Season 5 premiere picks up right after the dramatic cliffhanger from last season, when a bullet collided with an unknown victim as Mariana (Cierra Ramirez), Joaquin (Bryan Craig) and Jenna (Maiara Walsh) attempt to escape a strange farming community that Joaquin believes has been holding his sister against her will.
In an unexpected turn of events, the Freeform series revealed that Mariana’s on-again-off-again boyfriend Evan (T.J. Linnard) was the victim of the shooting, after he’d joined Joaquin’s trip to the farm out of concern for her. Now his life hangs in the balance and Mariana’s been given the reins of his company while he recovers.
Ramirez teased that the twist leaves Mariana reeling with survivor’s guilt.
“She’s always had a soft spot for Evan, and for it to be him, or to be anyone, is difficult and horrible, but I think she’s gonna deal with a lot of survivor’s guilt moving forward,” Ramirez told TheWrap. “He was there when he shouldn’t have been, and she’s gonna have to deal with that moving forward and alongside him as he recovers, if he ever does.”
While Mariana struggles with the aftermath of the shooting, Ramirez hints that the character’s previous traumas come to the surface, leaving some potential Easter eggs for fans of “The Fosters.”
“Mariana has been through a lot of traumatic moments in her life and I don’t think she’s ever really dealt with it, so this was just another thing to add on,” Ramirez said. “It’s a lot deeper than we all think — I think she’s really gonna have to put everything aside and kind of look in towards herself.”
Though Mariana must do some work to confront her trauma, she didn’t have to do it all alone, as Callie (Maia Mitchell) returned to the Coterie in the wake of the tragedy and the sisters reunited in an emotional moment of support. This marked Mitchell’s first “Good Trouble” appearance since leaving the series at the beginning of Season 4.
“The first scene we filmed together was our reunion scene — Mariana runs into her arms and I swear, I just melted,” Ramirez recalled. “To have Callie there is just everything to her. She’s that older, wiser person in her life that can help her make those decisions … it’s the person she needed most and she showed up.
Keep reading to hear from Ramirez about what the tragedy means for Mariana and how it further complicates her feelings for Evan and Joaquin.
TheWrap: Mariana also faces a great deal of guilt as she reckons with Evan’s shooting. What’s going through her mind and why does she feel such guilt?
Cierra Ramirez: She didn’t have a lot of closure with their relationship. They’ve always kind of worked together very closely; he’s always been there. Everyone, I’m sure, can agree that you’ve kind of silently been rooting for them. It puts into perspective how much Evan means to her, and how much she means to him, because you’ll end up finding out that he legally has signed her as a proxy, so he obviously trusts her a lot. That just adds on to that guilt — oh my gosh, now I have all this pressure to make him proud and take over his company while he’s down.
She also seems to harbor some anger at Joaquin for bringing Evan with him. Can you walk us through those complicated feelings?
It all goes back to that survivor’s guilt — it’s her taking it out on Joaquin, but really she knows she made that decision to go to the farm, and he’s an easy person to place the blame on. It’s something that should have never happened — no one should have been in that situation. At the end of the day, it was her decision to go without telling anyone, so, of course, these people care about her, they’re gonna go and try and find her. But I think it’s just really easy to place all the blame on Joaquin, but really deep down, she’s feeling like it’s honestly her fault.
Why do you think Mariana decided not to tell anyone that she was going to the farm? Do you think she regrets that?
I think she definitely regrets it. I don’t think she thought it would get to where it is right now. I think she thought she’d be okay — meeting these girls at the farmers market, having a quick little dinner going to see Jenna. But then things really started to get real in the van ride over when her phone started to have no service, and she kind of started to get a feel for what the bee farm cult really was.
Why did Mariana feel this need to take matters into her own hands by going to the farm in the first place?
She really cares for Joaquin; they really have bonded — a big reason as to why they bonded was their strained relationships with their sisters, and they both have kind of helped mend those relationships. Mariana is very independent — I just don’t think she really knew what she was getting herself into …. He’s already got a restraining order against him — this is probably the end of the road for him as far as finding his sister goes — So I think I need to take matters into my own hands.
On top of all these complications, Mariana was also figuring out her romantic feelings for Joaquin and Evan. Where does she stand now?
That’s gonna be very interesting to unravel this season because it’s something that’s not really on her priority list, but it’s obviously there. She has a history with both guys, and I think navigating the aftermath of what happened is going to be interesting moving forward — you’ll see a change a little bit this season for sure.
She is also given the responsibility of being Evan’s proxy. What’s going through her mind when she’s told she’ll be the acting CEO of Speckulate?
It’s kind of triggering to go back to a place that she has such hard feelings about, where people don’t respect her, you know, the bro-hole energy over there. The last time she stepped foot in Speckulate was when she left and made a stand. We’ve all known there’s a leader in Mariana, but that means she’s gonna have to put Bulk Beauty on the back burner — I know she doesn’t want to do that with her girls.
She’s gonna feel a lot of pressure to run a company — she’s never done this before — but also trying to make decisions that she knows Evan would approve of, and she doesn’t have that opportunity to talk to him … She’s just hoping that everyday she can make the right decision.
Did she wish Evan discussed making her his proxy beforehand?
She’s definitely very blindsided by that. I don’t think they’ve ever had a conversation like that. I don’t think she ever imagined that he would give her that type of responsibility, and that he would trust her that much. It’s like, wow, what an honor, but also, why would you ever do this to me? It’s a lot of pressure on top of everything that she’s been through.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
New episodes of “Good Trouble” Season 5 premiere Thursdays on Freeform, and will stream the next day on Hulu.