Finally – all of the storylines are coming together. No more loose ends!
CBS is really giving NBC the finger this week. Shots fired!
The storyline is incredibly current. A fictional Trump tweet even influences the episode’s resolution.
Elsbeth Tacioni. Need we say more?
Lucca and Colin finally have their milkshake and sex date. We’re very jealous.
Did Maia’s girlfriend disappear? The teasers made a big deal out of her being a lesbian but that storyline seems to have died down.
A lot of emotional moments for everyone but Barabara. We still don’t really know what she’s all about.
The Good Fight takes a jab at its competitors while tying together well-established arcs in a complex narrative.
Whew. This week’s episode of The Good Fight is one of the most densely-plotted ones yet! While Mike Kresteva (Matthew Perry) ups his attacks on Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad, the firm ups their ante – bringing in none other than Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston) to figure out what Kresteva has planned going forward. In the meantime, Diane (Christine Baranski) finds a way out of her capital contribution by luring in ChumHum CEO Neil Gross (John Benjamin Hickey) as a client – even earning a promotion to name partner. In her personal life, Diane struggles as she reconnects with ex-husband Kurt (Gary Cole) after last week’s phone call.
Elsewhere, Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) and Colin Morello (Justin Bartha) finally have their long-awaited “milkshake date” and it’s safe to say her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. Things get heated and the two end up spending the night together. In the midst of everyone’s personal struggles, the firm decides to take on the case of a television writer, whose episode has been shelved indefinitely. As the story features a Trump-like character facing rape charges, Julius Caine (Michael Boatman) – the firm’s lone Trump voice – is not keen on taking the case and heavily protests the move.
The Good Fight takes on NBC & Trump – but it doesn’t stop there.
Long before the 2016 presidential election, Dick Wolf – creator of NBC powerhouse Law & Order – pitched an episode loosely based on Donald Trump’s trials and tribulations. The episode, ironically titled “Unstoppable”, featured a Trump-like figure played by Gary Cole (The Good Fight’s Kurt) whose campaign was damaged by accusations of sexual assault. While the episode was supposedly written months before Trump made similar headlines, the network decided to hold the episode until after the presidential election – and then pulled it indefinitely.
This week’s episode of The Good Fight boldly explores – and criticizes – NBC’s politically tainted move to scrap the installment permanently. While this particular story makes for a grabby logline, the episode never gets lost in self-righteous indignation. Instead of merely firing shots at Dick Wolf and NBC, writer Marcus Dalzine examines the moral issues related to the case without phasing out the overall narrative.
“There he is! The black man who voted for Trump!” – Julius Caine
The main strength of The Good Fight is that the legal aspect of this show serves mostly as a plot device to further develop its key players. Instead of relying heavily on the cases to create compelling television, the show always cracks stories that either establish or evolve characters in a personal way.
In this week’s episode, the firm’s decision to take on an anti-Trump client, bolsters their image of an anti-Trump firm – which plays an important part in landing Neil Gross (John Benjamin Hickey) as a client. One question remains: in an environment so heavily positioned against Trump, what happens to his supporters? The answer is Julius Caine (Michael Boatman).
Here’s the Problem with Julius Caine: he’s not a character as much as he is a foil – a talking point –with the sole purpose of triggering other players. As the firm’s lone African-American Trump voter, the character is in a remarkable place in television history. There is tremendous possibility – especially in this episode – for both the actor and the writers to create a counterargument to the firm’s anti-Trump stance that actually delves below the surface.
Sadly, enough, this argument fails to materialize – as it has in the past. While Julius Caine does provide the show with a countering voice in the room, he never defends his position on the matter – making it hard to buy his loyalty to the current administration. Does he agree with the travel ban? Does he regret having supported Trump? While there are still five episodes left, we might not ever get know Julius any better than we already do – and that’s a shame.
It’s a big week for Diane as she – finally – deals with her financial situation.
Let’s go back to the beginning of the season. Diane (Christine Baranski) fell victim to a multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme – ruining her legacy and wiping out her life’s savings. Forced to join another law firm in order to make ends meet, her financial collapse – seemingly the focal point of the show – was highlighted from the get-go.
A few episodes in, everyone – including Diane – seemed to have played down the gravity of the situation, opting instead to focus on interpersonal relationships between supporting characters. This made us wonder: was that high-profile Ponzi scheme really that sensational? Was Diane really in that much trouble? That’s what happens when you undercut the premise of your show: instead of raising the stakes, you lower them – dramatically. We expected Diane’s flailing finances to influence and affect her personally and professionally ever step of the way, but that never happened. There was no dark cloud hanging over her, and she didn’t seem worried in the slightest.
We expected Diane’s flailing finances to influence and affect her personally and professionally ever step of the way, but that never happened. There was no dark cloud hanging over her, and she didn’t seem worried in the slightest. And that just didn’t seem right.
“Objection, Your Honor. I guess I’d call it sarcastic badgering” – Amber Wood-Lutz
This week, however, we finally got what we were waiting for: pressured to put up her capital contribution once again, Diane finally emerges a fighter – blackmailing her way into becoming a name partner and settling the account on her own terms. Atta girl. But that’s only one piece of the pie…
On a personal level, Diane finds herself in an even messier place. While she is not afraid to get her hands dirty at work, she is ever so feeble as she contemplates her situation at home. Kudos to the continuity in this show are also in order: last week’s phone-call-that-wasn’t perfectly set the stage for Kurt’s (Gary Cole) return in this episode. For the first time since The Good Wife’s finale, the couple spent the night together – leaving the door open for a romantic reunion of some sorts. While things are definitely looking up, their personal issues are far from resolved as the entire encounter is shrouded in uncertainty. But that’s
For the first time since The Good Wife’s finale, the couple spent the night together – leaving the door open for a romantic reunion of some sorts. While things are definitely looking up, their personal issues are far from resolved as the entire encounter is shrouded in uncertainty. But that’s alright, because it raises the stakes.
Things shouldn’t be easy for Diane. Not at this point – not with this premise. Let her fight – and the victory will prove that much more satisfying.
Mike Kresteva V. Elsbeth Tascioni: let’s get ready to rumble.
Last week’s episode of The Good Fight brought back Mike Kresteva along with his wicked ways of manipulation. When his character first surfaced in The Good Wife, we instantly knew there would be only one person devious enough to beat him at his own game: Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston).
At the time, it never came to a confrontation between these two heavy-weights, but now… Our prayers have been heard. Ironically, it wasn’t just us who had expected the two of them to cross paths way earlier – with Tascioni self-consciously delivering a jab at the show upon the pair’s first encounter.
After seven seasons of quirkiness and bizarre behavior, Tascioni had lapsed into over-the-top territory – tragically turning the beloved character into a caricature of her former self. In the final season of The Good Wife, she was only given one episode and never had a chance at redemption – until now. Let us tell you: Tascioni is back – and boy, has she been waiting for the opportunity. Kresteva V. Tascioni? The game is on!
“Hello. Do I know you?” – Mike Krestva
“No, I don’t think so. Which is weird because we have been moving in the same circles for years. – Elsbeth Tascioni
The Good Wife always excelled at bringing quirky characters to life because they always provided them with a rich background – and Elsbeth is no exception. In any other show, this particular character would have been a foil – a laughing stock – but in this case, there is much more than meets the eye. While sometimes Tascioni is made out to be from another planet, she simply wins cases – emphasizing that being different does not always equal being bad.
This week’s episode merely set the stage for a larger showdown that will take place between Kresteva and Tascioni in a couple of weeks. The two of them have only quickly examined each other’s boundaries but will definitely continue to bring the heat in episodes to come. Out of all the characters in The Good Universe, these two always seemed to get a kick out of manipulating others – albeit for different purposes. Who are you rooting for in this face-off? We’d have to stick with Elsbeth as we have a soft spot for outcastst – #SorryNotSorry.
FINAL VERDICT: Halfway through the season, the gloves finally come off. Effortlessly tying together complex storylines, The Good Fight proves unstoppable once again.
The creative team behind The Good Fight really pulled out all the stops this week. Both the writing (Marcus Dalzine) and directing (Ron Underwood) were on point as we blazed through this season’s midway point, tackling several issues at once.
Apart from bringing back fan favorite Elsbeth Tascioni – and actually doing her justice – the show also successfully tied together all of the separate storylines it had been setting up since the beginning. This week, it also became glaringly obvious that the writers are committed to more than just churning out newsworthy plotlines. While the case of the week took a few jabs at current events, it never got lost in the hype surrounded by it – instead delivering strong emotional character moments we had been craving all along.
While most of the episode worked well, it was Michael Boatman’s Julius Caine that threw us off at times. Even though the character – the lone African-American Trump supporter – could make for some groundbreaking television, his part is wasted on trivial conversations that fail to delve below the surface of his actions.
In future episodes, we would love to learn more about his political beliefs so that his counterarguments no longer fall flat. While The Good Wife has often been criticized for misrepresenting its African-American characters, the writers should embrace the challenge and rise to the occasion. If Julius Caine truly is the only pro-Trump voice, he simply needs to be better developed – period. Other than that, we can’t wait to see what next week’s episode will have in store for us!
Questions, Comments, Concerns and My Reaction on Twitter…
- Amber Wood-Lutz (Greta Lee). I don’t think she’s been on the show before, but she sure seemed to blend right in. She’s just the right kind of quirky and she totally fits the series’ overall voice. Her “Fuck You” really threw me off there for a second.
- Elsbeth Tascioni is still meme-worthy. Her first encounter with Kresteva was hilarious – both visually and acting-wise.
- My first laugh-out-loud moment of the season: the lawyer horrifying all of the partners by quoting rap lyrics.
- What’s up with Lucca being in all of the partner meetings? I thought she was just an associate? I’m not sure how much sway she should have but the balance of power doesn’t seem quite right here.
- We got a glimpse into what happened between Lucca and Alicia – but we seriously need more. At least we know they’re still friends in some mysterious way.
- How does Kresteva have such a nice wife? Good job on humanizing him, though! Would love to see more of her!
- I’ve barely mentioned Maia and her storyline in this review. While she’s definitely more connected to the overarching theme, I still don’t care for her or her parents. She bores me and I’m not sure what to do about this.
- #DURT! I just loved how Diane got all giddy with joy when she got the gun from Kurt. Makes me believe they still have a shot at some point.
- Was that blood on Colin’s back? Seriously, what happened to goody-two-shoes Lucca?
- Is Neil Gross seriously crushing on Marissa? I can kind of see that work, to be honest.
Catch new episodes of The Good Fight on Mondays, exclusively on CBS All Access.
The Good Fight: 1×05 – “Stoppable: Requiem for an airdate” Review