Catching up on The Good Fight: Reviews of Episodes 7 – 9

1×7 “Not So Grand Jury”

In this episode, the Rindell-on-Rindell betrayals continue apace, as does the trend of new-fangled technology providing key evidence.

After Lucca tells Maia that Henry has indeed passed on her fake evidence to the firm’s slimy arch-enemy, Mike Kresteva, Henry tries to guilt Maia over not trusting him even though she was clearly right. Kresteva has figured it all out from Elsbeth Tascioni’s Alexa-like “Ada” device, which recorded everything she said in her office.

Henry tries to convince her that he was only trying to get the firm in trouble to protect her, which is the thinnest of all excuses. She secretly records him, but eventually they both turn off their devices and place them on the table between them to prove they’re not recording each other. Never a great sign about a father-daughter relationship.

Meanwhile, the firm tries to thwart Kresteva by bringing the conversation back to race, because Lucca has gleaned from Colin that the department’s concerned about looking racist. (So Lucca is, essentially, using information given to her by Colin to help her firm, while in contrast he uses information gleaned from his colleagues to help her.) But Kresteva responds by subpoenaing the only three white people at the firm.

Then the firm takes their own revenge by suing Kresteva for “tortious interference.” Colin is asked to defend him, at which point he has to reveal that he’s dating Lucca—only to be told unceremoniously by his boss to just stop dating her. (This, of course, just causes them to make out in a darkened courtroom, because forbidden stuff is the hottest stuff.) For her part, the rather ruthless Lucca makes herself Elsbeth’s second chair because she knows she can throw poor Colin off his balance in court, including by lasciviously sucking on a pen while he’s speaking. Meanwhile, Reddick Boseman loses their venture capital funding because the twitchy young white capitalists are nervous about being dragged into the grand jury room.

Meanwhile, Diane has to admit to herself and Adrian that she gave Adrian too much information about their case in order to get hired. She tries to resign because she thinks her relationship with the Rindell fund is going to get her and the firm in trouble, but Adrian—who’s been very protective of her—doesn’t let her. Again, we get to see Adrian standing up for the people at his firm. It’s a whole different world for Diane, who’s used to rivalries and power grabs at her work.

Finally Maia finds out that her father has agreed to testify against Diane in order to get a lighter sentence, and to get Maia out of trouble. But she says she’ll cut him off, and cut him off from any future grandchildren. And she gives her firm the information about what Kresteva offered him in exchange for his grand jury testimony, which gets everyone angry and gets Kresteva fired. He drops by Elsbeth’s office to tell her it’s not over. DUN DUN DUN.

I found this episode not particularly compelling, because it gets frustrating to watch Maia letting her dad off the hook all the time. Nevertheless, it’s always fun to watch Diane and, especially, Elsbeth go up against Matthew Perry’s gleefully villainous Kresteva.

1×8 “Reddick v. Boseman”

TGF 108

The Good Fight for one week resembled its parent show more than ever as firm politics and in-fighting took over everyone’s brains for a week: Reddick, the founding partner, returns for just long enough to try to oust Adrian and become managing partner. But since he seems to have left immediately after this episode, it didn’t have much far-reaching consequence.

Adrian arrives at the firm one morning to discover Reddick giving one of his apparently infamous inspiring speeches to everyone at the firm. Redick isn’t thrilled with the new direction of the firm, namely their large new client Chumhum, which is only 2% black employment. So at his behest they take on the case of a black pastor, Jeremiah, who runs a housing program for homeless youth. Jeremiah trying to evict a young man from the shelter, only to be accused of sexually abusing him.

This case, too, ends up turning on evidence collected by a new-fangled technological device—this time, a Fitbit-like fitness tracker. Marissa discovers that the pastor’s heart rate was slowing, rather than speeding up, during the time he was supposedly abusing the young man. The final twist is when they find out, also from movement data gleaned from the young man’s Fitbit, that the lawsuit itself (and his shitty strip-mall lawyer, played by that boyfriend Monica had who declared that the coffee cups at Central Perk “might as well have nipples on them”) turns out to have been funded by an alt-right group.

Meanwhile, Lucca and Colin run into the latter’s mother at an art show and get roped into attending a birthday party for Colin. Lucca seems to be enjoying teasing and embarrassing Colin at first, but once she’s stuck at a party, held in Colin’s childhood home which is even grander than the Rindells’ with a bunch of white liberal elites, it gets a lot less fun. Everyone wants to talk to her about, like, Jay-Z and how much they love The Root. Finally, to cap it off, someone mentions that he’s going to want to run for office one day, and having a pretty black wife could help him with that. After that, Lucca ducks out of the party and later breaks up with a disappointed Colin, telling him they both knew this wasn’t for life. She acts like it’s not a big deal but then cries to herself as soon as she’s in the car, which gives me confidence we haven’t seen the last of Lucca and Colin and their totally adorable repressed feelings for each other.

Reddick insists on having a vote for who will be managing partner, himself or Adrian. For some reason Barbara doesn’t vote until Adrian already appears to have lost, and then decides to stand up for her friend, declaring that Reddick represents the past and Adrian knows how to fight the fights of the present. A bitter Reddick declares that the fights aren’t different at all (and Lucca’s experience at Colin’s party may subtly underline that).

Maia is pulled out of work by a concerned Amy, who fielded a call from a sobbing Henry. They rush over, only to find that the hapless idiot Maia calls a father has fallen off the balcony inside the family barn while attempting to set up a rope to hang himself. Maia not only agrees to lie that he fell so he won’t have his bail revoked, but even gets Amy to help her cover. But one good thing does come out of all this: Maia guilts her mother into ending things with Jax by showing her his suicide note.

I can’t help but think Amy won’t put up with this family’s bullshit for much longer; Maia’s total inability to draw boundaries with her felonious parents can’t be enjoyable for her. Nor, frankly, is it enjoyable for me. The following episode does much more interesting things with Maia’s relationship to her parents; but in this episode her constant willingness to be hoodwinked by her father comes across as frustrating.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned, the one-week focus on firm politics is also somewhat thinly developed because Reddick is basically a cardboard rival to Adrian who shows up for a hot second and then leaves having managed to change—nothing. What was the point, then? Should we be worried he’ll come back? It just didn’t really seem to fit with everything else, and it shoved Barbara—who could easily play antagonist to both Diane and Adrian once in awhile—to the sidelines for no reason. I’d like to see Barbara trying to make a power grab at the firm, because she seems to be the kind of woman who knows her own mind—and who thinks others should listen to it.

1×9 “Self Condemned”

TGF 109

This episode features yet another memorable character from The Good Wife. This time it’s an old client: sexually voracious, dryly sarcastic Colin Sweeney. (There’s still only one Colin, because—tragically—Colin Morello isn’t in this episode). Sweeney is accusing a known “bad cop” of police brutality. Despite their distaste, Diane and Adrian take it on because they’ve been wanting to put that same cop away for awhile. (There’s a really sad scene where a black man in the same cell thinks Diane is his lawyer only to be ditched without a thought when she realizes he’s not the brutality case.) Sweeney’s girlfriend Naftali screws him over and testifies that he punched the policeman without provocation. But Diane and Adrian do get him off by proving that the cop frequently frames people.

Meanwhile, it turns out Colin is being vetted for an ambassadorship because he gave over a million dollars to Trump’s PAC. That totally cracks up his lawyers (a great moment) but come on, it does make sense: why wouldn’t a super-rich serial sexual assaulter who’s totally unqualified for president decide to give a super-rich serial wife killer a job he’s totally unqualified for?

Oh, and Adrian and Diane are apparently going out on a date? Maybe? I’m not sure I’ll see it, but hey, Diane deserves to have a good time in life.

But the real story of this episode, and by far my favorite plotline that we’ve seen so far, is about memory, about self-deception, about scandal: Maia’s involvement in her family’s disgrace finally crystallizes into something really compelling.

Lucca represents Maia in a proffer hearing with a sly, somewhat nasty federal agent played by Jane Lynch. Maia seems to be merely the innocent child at first, but as facts start to unspool in her testimony, both the audience and Maia herself start to see things differently. Maia could clearly tell, as a young girl and then a young woman, that her parents were hiding things. On the day the Lehman brothers went bankrupt, she overheard her parents trying to convince people not to pull their money from the firm; she had doors shut in her face, she even came across her mother embracing Jax. Most chillingly, it turns out she refused to hook up Amy’s parents with an account in her parents’ firm, without admitting to Amy, or to herself, that she knew something was wrong with the fund.

As soon as Maia starts feeling guilty, Lucca tries to save her from herself. Maia’s self-preservation eventually wins out, and she says almost word for word what Lucca subtly suggested she say: that she didn’t tell her parents about Amy’s investment because she didn’t want to mix up their family finances. But watching it, we know the truth, as does Maia: she let her loyalty to her parents win out over the evidence in front of her eyes that something was wrong.

And Agent Starkey can tell Maia’s lying, too. So at the end, she announces she’s going to recommend that Maia be prosecuted.

I really liked this reveal, and I have to admit it puts into perspective why Maia is constantly going along with her parents’ blatant lies in earlier episodes. She is simply too loyal, and too unwilling to make waves, so it’s not that she’s too stupid to notice, it’s that she refuses to notice. In fact, the more we learn about her, the more she reminds me of another character, the reason that this universe exists to begin with: Alicia Florrick.

Some random notes

  • At the first dinner with her dad, Maia wears a long-sleeved white dress, presumably to emphasize her (appearing) innocence. A nice touch.
  • Does anyone else feel like Kresteva and Elsbeth are totally going to hook up? I mean, they’re just so obsessed with each other! That would be just such a twisted, repulsive pairing that I almost can’t resist it.
  • A little glimpse of everyone’s life outside of work: Adrian gets served for the grand jury hearing while at cooking class, Barbara on a date with an old flame from college, Lucca while on her way out for a run.
  • In related news, Lucca and I have the same exact running shoes! Now, if I could only get ahold of her amazing collection of shift dresses…
  • Also related: the chef teaching Boseman’s class is listed on iMDB as “female chef.” Are they SERIOUS?
  • When Kresteva subpoenas the only three white people at the firm, those three people are Diane and the two people she’s hired. Marissa claims Diane mentors her in confronting her own white privilege, which, I mean, I think “confronting” it would probably include questioning oneself on hiring a weird, not particularly professional, inexperienced white woman as your executive assistant when you had just finished interviewing many eminently polished and experienced black women for the same job. I know the fans all love Marissa, but let’s be serious here. That was absurd and remains absurd.
  • Diane thanks Maia for saving her in a very sweet moment, touching Maia’s cheek like a mother touching her daughter.
  • Quote of the week during “Not So Grand Jury” has to be Judge Gallo dissing Elsbeth: “Ma’am, you’re an acquired taste, and I don’t think I’ve acquired it yet, so…”
  • Lots of good female friendship and Bechdel test passing: Marissa and Maia go out for drinks at the end of a rough day.
  • Maia hasn’t even told Amy that her mother is sleeping with Uncle Jax. Is this a functional relationship like at all? How is Maia going to stay connected to her partner if she is going through all of this craziness without telling her about it?
  • Lucca calls a Lyft instead of an Uber to escape Colin’s party: a realistic touch. Supporting Uber is so last year.
  • We get an Alicia mention: Colin Sweeney called her before calling Reddick Boseman, but she couldn’t take the case.
  • Possible new theory about Alicia: She’s dead in Colin’s freezer. RIGHT? It explains everything!
  • At one point, Maia tells Agent Starkey that Jax came over while she was doing her homework, so it must have been before dinner. So, Madeleine was a studious girl from a wealthy family who went to a fancy law school and yet finished her high school homework before dinner at 5:30? She might be the only person of her generation who could say that.
  • During Maia’s testimony we get a little flashback to the start of her relationship with Amy—her eighteenth birthday, when Amy was already a senior in college, they met and ditched Maia’s boyfriend at the time to make out by the car. That’s kind of sketchy, right? A 22-year-old with a high school kid?
  • Another female friendship developing: Lucca trying desperately to save Maia from incriminating herself with her Catholic guilt. I love it!
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