The Good Fight Review: 1×4 “Henceforth Known as Property”

In this episode, Matthew Perry returns to the universe of The Good Fight as Mike Kresteva, the cunning, shameless liar who made life hell for Alicia back in The Good Fight. He is so deep in the role as to be almost unrecognizable as the erstwhile Chandler Bing—it literally took me almost a full episode the first time he showed up, to realize that he was who he was. And he’s fun.

Kresteva visits Reddick Boseman on the pretense of being friendly and wanting to work with the firm on reducing police brutality. But it turns out he’s actually going to try to make them look bad to reduce police violence suits and make it look like he’s successfully reduced police brutality. Diane, though suspicious of him at first, is still thrown off by just how brazen his lies are—he eventually subpoenas her, Boseman, Lucca, and Maia and literally waves falsified notes in her face during a hearing where he accuses the firm of using police brutality cases to profit, rather than to do good. Kresteva is forced to drop that angle (more on that later), but Kresteva sets an entire team of lawyers to investigating wrongdoing at Reddick Boseman, so more conflicts are guaranteed to ensue. I’m looking forward to that; Kresteva is so beautifully, flamboyantly corrupt that he always makes a good foil for idealistic characters like, well, everyone at Reddick Boseman.

I must admit that I’ve got a soft spot for Lucca’s flirtation with Colin Morello, the cutie-pie opposing lawyer from last week who shared his burger with her. He does her a huge favor by getting the district attorney to make Kresteva drop the case against Reddick Boseman, at which point she refuses to have sex with him so that it won’t look like a quid pro quo situation—though she all but promises to sleep with him on their planned date for milkshakes the following week. They are cute together, and Lucca’s opening up to him in a pleasant-to-watch way, belying her usual insistence that she’s Miss Independent. It’s still not clear to me, and has never been clear to me, what the core of Lucca’s character is. With a romantic storyline we might get a bit better sense of her. Oh, and fine, they’re just damn CUTE together. That’s my real motivating factor here.

Meanwhile, Maia is being approached with all sorts of random comments by strangers—canning advice, among other things. It turns out her ex-boyfriend, bitter about being dumped for a woman, has written a Twitter bot in her name that makes her look like an internet cam girl obsessed with canning fruit and talking about sex with women using the (gross) hashtag #Wetlands. Maia slaps him, which is so The Good Wife of her. Marissa helps her figure this out, then helps her take the high road, and by the high road I mean that they make him look like an even bigger creep to make him stop. (A temporary restraining order doesn’t work because of Technology Magic that makes the state jurisdiction not apply to his bot.) Unfortunately, all of Reddit has decided they hate Maia and they won’t let it die; she’s going to be harassed by them until they come across a shinier target.

It’s always gratifying when the biggest villain of a storyline turns out to be the bitter self-loathing misogynists who hang out in certain dark corners of Reddit (:cough:Gamergaters:cough:), and I always enjoy watching the Kings’ trademark commentary on how Modern Life intersects with technology. There’s also a great moment where Boseman stands up for Maia while Ted harasses her, despite the disruption her chaotic personal life has already brought to the firm—a truly feminist moment, if quietly so. “In this firm, we stand up for each other,” he tells her. On the other hand, what’s going on with Maia’s parents? Why did we not get any developments on that front this entire episode, making it seem like the kind of filler that doesn’t usually show up till about 75% through a season? They couldn’t get Bernadette Peters to sign on for four episodes in a row?

The A-plot is a wacky law case: oh my oh my, what will those writers come up with next? A young woman who once sold her eggs to a fertility clinic wants them back, but the clinic has closed and reopened itself as a new clinic to avoid its legal obligation, and the very last egg that hasn’t been destroyed has already been fertilized. And they have to use contract and property law to fight the case, because the egg isn’t a person! Gee, ain’t that wacky?

Anyway, they lose at first because of the “innocent purchaser” doctrine that the other couple didn’t realize they were purchasing an egg that wasn’t the clinic’s to sell. The most gratifying moment of this case, which is mostly run-of-the-mill “how weird can we make this case?” stuff that you see on procedurals like this, is when Diane and Barbara, who have not gotten along well so far, have a quiet moment bonding over drinks, discussing their ambivalent feelings on their own childlessness. Diane almost caves and calls Kurt—but then she thinks better of it and, in her solitude, has an epiphany about the case. She realizes that the couple who bought the eggs can’t have their implantation done in England as they were planning to do because of different laws there, and thus are going to destroy the embryo. The judge declares that since the other couple have no use for the embryo, Diane’s client has the right to it.

So they win after all—and I think the show wants to hint that Diane’s childlessness, her independence, may be tied to her success. I hope and think that it’s not the stupid thesis that “women can’t have it all,” aka be successful and have a family of some sort, but that when you’re tied to a man like Kurt who doesn’t respect you, it can hold you back. Her ability to stop herself from taking him back after he cheated on her may be the same strength and resolve that’s carried her to the top of the legal profession.

It is satisfying to see a female friendship developing for Diane, who has always been incredibly independent, and often the only woman around at her level of power. And I liked that we got an insight into her struggle with her breakup with Kurt. I hope to see more storylines that give a real insight into what’s going on with her; she shouldn’t be allowed to fade into the background as I feel she did in last week’s episode.

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