Kudos to the visual storytelling in this episode. The clocks were very dramatic.
The case of the week featured a thought-provoking resolution. The government always wins – but should it?
The Kings are fearlessly experimental in their writing – and it pays off. Those silences were masterful.
Marissa Gold seems to have met her match in the firm’s investigator. A fun dynamic to watch.
The episode raised some important issues but failed to delve below the surface. The story felt superficial – and so did the characters.
Julius Cane’s personal struggle in voting for Trump was much more interesting than the tedious case of the week.
Did we really need another story casting a person of color as a terrorist? This type of narrow-minded writing counters everything Diane stands for.
Actions speak louder than words: The Good Fight offers a lesson in humility as the balance of power shifts.
While Diane and Lucca fight the government, Maia hunts down her Uncle’s schtup list. It’s all about getting your priorities straight.
Time is running out in the third episode of The Good Fight! Last week, Maia (Rose Leslie) decided to visit her mother (Bernadette Peters) at the exact time she was getting down and dirty with Uncle Jax (Tony McGowan) – the supposed root of all evil. Struck by disbelief, Maia visits her father Henry Rindell (Paul Guilfoyle), in prison to warn him of the affair – an awkward situation as both parties are accompanied by their attorney. As a farewell statement, Henry quietly burdens his daughter with an uncomfortable assignment: find Jax’ schtup list and bring it to him. Being The Good Daughter, she obliges and succeeds with flying colors. Are those really all the people her uncle has banged? Perv.
Back at the office, Diane (Christine Baranski) and Lucca (Cush Jumbo) are ordered to work together on a new case. After Doctor Picot (Zachary Knighton) is detained for providing medical assistance via Skype, ASA Morello (Justin Bartha) argues he is knowingly aiding and abetting a Syrian terrorist. While Diane is first chair on the matter, Lucca gets to throw the punches as she manages to to get under Morello’s skin – turning the courtroom into an awkward first date. In the meantime, Julius (Michael Boatman) wins back a politically-invested client by admitting he voted for Trump. Great job – everyone hates you.
When words fall short, a deliberate silence speaks volumes.
What is the most intriguing way to open a television show? Phew – a loaded question, right? While there’s no right answer, The Good Fight clearly stated its opinion in this week’s episode by simply remaining mum. As Maia learned about her mother’s affair during the show’s opening moments, we held our breath as we waited for the drama to unfold. Instead, there was nothing but thirty seconds of astonishing awkwardness – a masterful choice by director Marta Cunningham.
Rose Leslie owned the part of disconcerted daughter – showing us all the gears in her mind at work before finally grasping the reality of her situation. Maia’s restraint seemed to be this week’s theme as she showcased it again later in the episode. As she visited her father in prison, both parties were joined by their legal team in order to protect the conversation under attorney-client privilege. A conversation that, once again, spoke volumes due to its lack of words. If anyone’s ever wondered what great acting looks like – this is it.
“I’m trying to talk some sense into him!” – Lenore Rindell
“What kind of sense requires you to take off your shirt?” – Maia Rindell
While staying silent in moments of stress is a natural reaction, it’s not one we are used to seeing on our television screens. At first, the quiet stares felt quite uncomfortable to watch but as the episode progressed, we realized that was exactly their intent – good move. Apart from Rose Leslie’s quality acting, there was one more factor that helped succeed this peculiar style of writing – the visuals.
Usually, dialogue is used in order to transition between scenes but when words are scarce, visual storytelling becomes key in portraying a coherent story. In this particular case, dramatic close-ups of several different clocks were added to convey a sense of urgency. Every time we started to get comfortable in a situation, some ominous clock reminded us we had no time to lose and lives were hanging in the balance – way to move the story forward! You know what they say – a picture speaks louder than a thousand words.
Diane & Lucca – Junior Partners in crime.
We’re not sure what happened between Lucca and Diane after The Good Wife aired its series finale back in May but it sure has our attention. Only a year ago, Lucca appeared to be the epitome of ‘The Good Fight’, righting judicial wrongs in bond court and only barely scraping by. While her friendship with Alicia (Julianna Margulies) probably taught her a thing or two about resilience, she always carried a sense of innocence with her. Remember, this woman was the shoulder Alicia cried on at night over a glass of red wine.
Nowadays, Lucca is trying to make a name for herself – throwing shade left and right. Much like Diane at the end of her tenure with ‘Lockhart & Lee’, she seems to have lost some of her ideals in pursuit of corporate success. Unlike Diane, though, she has not yet suffered a loss big enough to trigger a moral reset – something we fully expect to happen in the near future. Bring it on.
“The thing about power is you’ve got to take it from somebody in order to give it to somebody else” – Adrian Boseman
It became clear in this week’s episode that the showrunners are keen on exploring a universe in which Diane is no longer the boss. While she is still ahead of Lucca in the corporate chain, her name is no longer on the door and she is no longer calling the shots. As soon as Barbara (Erica Tazel) ordered her to work with Lucca in court, Diane struggled to assert the authority she no longer had over her former employee. In a previous life, Lucca would have gracefully bowed down t but after a few months at her new firm, she knew better than to avoid conflict – she’s a lawyer after all.
While the case of the week wasn’t particularly interesting, the story served its purpose as vehicle to showcase a pair of lawyers that hadn’t worked together yet. Throughout the episode, the pair gradually became more attuned to one another as they argued the case no one really cared about. Even though they lost, we took comfort in knowing that their relationship has started to thaw a little.
Kanye voted for Trump!
As a result of Trump’s win in November, the Kings admitted the show had undergone several re-writes and re-shoots in order to be set in the correct political climate. Because of these last-minute changes, we had assumed that references to the new administration would be kept to a minimum in order to save time and money – but, boy, were we wrong.
Despite those assumptions, ‘The Schtup List’ tackled a fully Trump-centered storyline in Monday night’s episode where a major client decides to take their business to a Trump-friendly firm. As the multimillion dollar company needs the federal government on their side, the only way to win them back is to find a Trump supporter in the office – and have them present a pitch. Adrian (Delroy Lindo) hilariously tackles this problem by bellowing “who voted for Trump!” into the bullpen – to no success. A few moments later, Julius Cain anxiously admits to having backed the Republican ticket. Wait, what? Does he think America is great again now?
“Kanye didn’t vote for Trump. He said he would have voted for Trump… Had he voted.” – Julius Cain
Those questions illustrate the problems with this episode. We don’t know what Julius thinks – we don’t know why he voted the way he did. The episode made no attempt at explaining the psychology behind his choice and the entire story just fell flat. The Good Wife regularly struggled with stories about race and this could have been the turning point – that much-needed moment of redemption. We didn’t need (or even want) a complex rationalization but once again it was made glaringly obvious that this is a show written by a bunch of privileged white people.
Instead of delving deeper into his thoughts on politics or dissecting his guilty conscience, the writers instead chose to focus on the pay-off – because, what else? After Julius’ initial fear of being ostracized by his colleagues, he winds up landing the client and is rewarded with cheers from his peers. Let’s face it: there was an opportunity but they left it at the door. And that’s not what The Good Fight is all about – so get it together next week.
FINAL VERDICT: The silence is deafening as important questions are left unanswered in The Good Fight. While some of the story fell flat, there is plenty of opportunity to right those wrongs in future episodes.
Overall, we couldn’t help but be disappointed by this week’s episode. After a strong series’ premiere, we had high hopes for the subsequent hours to be equally quick-witted – but to no avail. Perhaps the problem with this show is not the writing – which is above average – but the writer’s experiences of life. It’s clear that they are good at conveying their truth and their fight – but struggle in areas they have not been able to experience. Personal stories about white, privileged attorneys are well executed but those about minorities tend to fall flat. It’s not a criticism as much as it is an observation: this writer’s room serves as a poignant metaphor for our society.
While the stories fell flat, the experimental way of storytelling did really pay off. Instead of relying on dialogue-heavy scenes, the writers (Tegan Shohet & staff) chose to focus on the more intimate moments by highlighting Rose Leslie’s acting chops. Her performance carried this week’s episode as the other leading ladies did not have that much to do. Even though Christine Baranski and Cush Jumbo always manage to elevate their material, they were not given that much to work with in the first place as they were stuck in court for most of the episode.
The most interesting moments of the episode came when the original characters were interacting with the current ones. Diane has met her match in Barabara and Lucca is on track to become Mrs. Morello if she doesn’t stop the heavy flirting already. It’s clear that this show is not done blowing up its predecessor as it’s constantly pitting the old against the new. In the future, we’d love to find out what happened to Julius after coming forward as a Trump supporter. Even though the consequences of his decision were not tackled in this episode, we’re hopeful his storyline hasn’t wrapped up yet. While there are obviously some issues for the Kings to tackle, this show obviously knows where it’s going – and that’s the most important thing to keep it on track.
- I know I’m supposed to love Bernadette Peters as Lenore Rindell, but I just don’t. Both this show and its predecessor had a way of bringing in eccentric characters (YES, I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU ELSBETH) but Peters just annoys me. I’m not sure whether it’s her voice or just her mannerisms in general but I hope they keep her screen time to a minimum
- Justin Bartha seemed a little robotic to me. I wanted to love him but he seemed uneasy in his role. I was looking for the next Finn Polmar but got this instead. At this point, I think even Matan Brody had more charisma.
- I love seeing all the judges from The Good Wife. I want to see the lady that wants to hear everything is “in your opinion” all the time. I forgot her name, but she was hilarious.
- While we’re requesting cameos, can we get Eli Gold to visit his daughter? Marissa used to randomly pop in when he was at ‘Lockhart & Lee’, so why can’t the opposite happen?
- Seriously, Barbara. You are throwing some seriously sly shade.
- Okay, I have to get this off my chest: while the stories weren’t great this week, I’m so glad they didn’t bring in those damn financiers.
Catch new episodes of The Good Fight on Mondays, exclusively on CBS All Access.
The Good Fight: 1×03 – “The Schtup List” Review