Serving only two storylines, this week’s episode of The Good Fight delves deep into its characters while offering a much-needed break from the chaos.
After eight thrilling episodes, The Good Fight finally delivers a moment of respite – successfully steering clear of the redundant subplots it has offered in the past.
After years of handling police brutality cases, Adrian Boseman (Delroy Lindo) and Barbara Kolstad (Erica Tazel) finally hit their lucky break – or so they think. When Diane (Christine Baranski) is approached about a case involving an unlawful police officer (Scott Aiello), the cards seem to be stacked in RBK’s favor – until they meet their victim. Uh oh.
Bringing back supposed wife-killer & billionaire Colin Sweeney (Dylan Baker), an interesting legal battle ensues – as it always does. While Diane seems to be ahead in court, her skills are put to the test when Sweeney’s exotic girlfriend, Naftali (Katrina Lenk), decides to lie on the stand. After a little quid pro quo between the two, Sweeney comes out on top – a changed man. We’ve heard that before.
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Elsewhere, the show focuses on this season’s main storyline: The Rindell Ponzi Scheme. Maia (Rose Leslie) – now represented by Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) – finds herself questioned by FBI agent Madeline Starkey (Jane Lynch). Under the conditions of her proffer, Maia will not be prosecuted as long as she tells the truth about her family’s criminal behavior. While the rules are simple, the execution proves to be that much harder.
Deftly exploring Maia’s memories of the scandal, it becomes clear the images in her mind do not match up to reality. While Starkey lulls Maia into a sense of safety, her only objective is to catch Rindell in a lie – and she does. Multiple times. Whatever happens to her in the future will depend on her father, Henry (Paul Guilfoyle). If he refuses to take responsibility for his actions, it is clear his daughter will pay the price.
To be continued.
Sue Sylvester – queen for a day.
After wrapping up the bittersweet feud between Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston) and Mike Kresteva (Matthew Perry), The Good Fight desperately needed a new bad guy to drive the narrative. After all, there’s no “fighting The Good Fight” without an adversary defending their own opposing views. The solution? Madeline Starkey (Jane Lynch) – a predictably wacky FBI investigator. Or it might just be Sue Sylvester, hell-bent on destroying Glee club once and for all.
Much like her character on Glee, Jane Lynch’s Madeline Starkey manages to manipulate unsuspecting marks into getting what she wants – a head on a plate. Even though she was brought in as a proxy for Mike Kresteva, Lynch’s impeccable timing provides the show with some much-needed comic relief.
The Good Fight often tends to take itself too seriously, calling on investigator Marissa (Sarah Steele) to draw in the laughs. While her quirky sense of humor fits the tone of the show, Starkey’s cynical behavior showed that humor can arise from darker places as well.
Jane Lynch, you were Queen for a day.
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“The mind has an odd way of turning wishful thinking into actual memories.” – Madeline Starkey
Maia’s memory proves to be tainted by emotions.
For an entire season, we wondered why Maia’s (Rose Leslie) story felt disconnected from the other arcs. In theory, it never made sense for the audience to disengage from the character – her family was instrumental in setting up this spin-off, after all. Every dramatic twist and turn that occurred after the show’s pilot was influenced by Henry Rindell’s (Paul Guilfoyle) Ponzi Scheme – and yet, none of us seemed to care.
After all this time, we finally understand why we never connected with the show’s main storyline. While the financial scam served as a major catalyst, it never made an impact. Unlike Peter Florrick’s (Chris Noth) extramarital affair, this scandal failed to explore the emotional consequences in the lives of those involved – until today.
The series’ penultimate episode finally gets us into Maia’s head. While the flashbacks don’t provide us with any new information, they do finally allow us to emotionally connect with Maia.
Better late than never? Or too little, too late? Only time will tell.
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“In my experience, whenever somebody says “the truth is” – that usually means it’s not.” – Madeline Starkey
Colin Sweeney – the billionaire and alleged wife-killer – is back with yet another exotic girlfriend.
One thing The Good Fight has been consistently good at? Serving up former fan favorites. After bringing back some of the quirky judges and guest stars, Robert & Michelle King decided it was time to bring out the big guns – Hello, Colin Sweeney (Dylan Baker)!
While it’s always good to have an entertaining creep like Sweeney return, his presence felt out of place. When he was first brought in during The Good Wife, he insisted on being one of Alicia Florrick’s (Julianna Margulies) clients. Whenever Sweeney popped up in subsequent seasons, he never took no for an answer – manipulating Alicia into taking his cases at any cost. It feels out of character for him to show up to RBK, simply because Florrick “couldn’t take his case”. He’d do anything for some quality time with Al-e-cia – so what happened?
If it weren’t for Dylan Baker’s performance, the character would have fallen flat because of poor, repetitive writing. Whenever Sweeney brings charges against someone, the story goes like this: After manipulating a lawyer into representing him, Sweeney’s exotic girlfriend lies on the stand for personal gain – seemingly turning him on. In the end, he always prevails and offers nothing in return.
While entertaining to watch, there’s much more to be accomplished with this character. We, for one, would like to see him do some good in the world.
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“They’re out to get me. The same way they did with Rodney King. We have a lot in common, he and I. Can’t we all just get along?” – Colin Sweeney
Lucca Quinn: sharp & suspicious.
While this episode should have been Maia’s moment, her character fell flat once again. Even as we delved into her emotions, we never actually felt bad for her.
This show beautifully illustrates the subtle differences between flaw and failure: all of the characters have their weaknesses, but none of them are weak. None of them – except Maia. After seeing her thrown off by Madeline Starkey (Jane Lynch), we couldn’t help but wonder how she is every going to be a successful lawyer.
Compared to Maia, Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) seems thick-skinned and even stone cold at times. We have seen her kick ass in court but her performance here was unparalleled. Guarded, careful and quick-witted – three traits Lucca possesses and utilizes in order to defeat Madeline Starkey. The only problem? Maia doesn’t listen and still perjures herself. We can tell you one thing: it definitely wasn’t Lucca’s fault, because she was at the top of her game.
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“I Googled you over lunch. You’re not married. – Lucca Quinn
The firm’s investigator finally proves his worth – but he’s no Kalinda.
Over the course of the season, we have seen Marissa (Sarah Steele) transform from secretary into an investigator. While she doesn’t hold a license just yet, Marissa has managed to outsmart the firm’s actual investigator, Jay Dipersia (Nyambi Nyambi), at almost every turn. A few episodes in, we wondered: “what does Dipersia do?”
In the absence of Marissa, Jay finally rose to the occasion – proving to the audience he is not completely obsolete. After being a reactionary character for most of the season, the investigator’s leash was finally cut loose – and he delivered. While it’s obvious he’s no Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi), at least we know he can get the job done. The question remains: is RBK large enough for two investigators or will Marissa be gunning for his job in the future?
Hopefully, we will find out in the recently-announced second season of The Good Fight.
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“You were partying? – Jay Dipersia
“Yes, chem-sex.” – Colin Sweeney.
Final Verdict: showcasing a simple narrative, The Good Fight heads into its finale with proper focus as it takes a break from the chaos.
The season’s penultimate episode brings us back to the core of the show. Enhanced by a simple narrative structure, the audience finally comes to understand Maia (Rose Leslie) while contrasting her weakness with powerhouse Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo).
When Lucca was introduced in The Good Wife’s final season, she acted as a foil to Alicia (Julianna Margulies) – always shy and emotionally attached to her clients. While we haven’t discovered what made her shed the self-doubt, we can see a parallel storyline unfold between her and Maia. Even though Maia’s still hiding deep within her shell, we have confidence that she, too, can become a stronger person by shedding her past.
The director (Jim McKay) manages to do a lot with the few elements he has been given to work with. As the narrative is much simpler, so are the locations – with the episode split evenly between a courtroom and Madeline Starkey’s office. Because of its size, Starkey’s office definitely makes it a challenge to get multiple interesting angles – so kudos to you, Jim.