“Morello residence, Down with Trump.”
Adrian and Julius join a “Violence Prevention Committee” only to find their fellow members are basically Fox News personified. Lucca goes into labour two weeks early and Judith Light is her mum. And having failed to get rid of Jay, the Feds turn their attentions to destroying Diane. Or at least having a bloody good go at it.
What more is there to say about the sharpest show on the box? With its cast and writing as fantastic as ever, this finale doubles down on the season’s principal theme of the corruption, ignorance and sheer farce of the current political situation in America, mocking those who more than deserve it mercilessly, while maintaining an irrepressible sense of humour along with an unshakeable understanding of just how wrong things have gone. Debates on law and ethics and my visceral fear for Diane might, on one view, mean Lucca’s labour with its duelling grandmothers and sort-of-happy ending (although apparently not for poor Colin who, as we’ve said before, deserves better) qualifies as the light relief, but the other two storylines are somehow just as funny, and Kurt swearing at the FBI to get out of his house is a proper punch-the-air moment. (Kurt and Diane are together again and totally lovely, I am SO RELIEVED.) After an uncertain start, this season blasted off into brilliance in episode 3 and hasn’t looked back since – supremely confident, unashamedly political, deeply principled, utterly fearless, and just really, really hilarious, this is exactly what tv is FOR. Come back soon, TGF. We need you.
“They’re rounding people up, Your Honour. They’re rounding people up and putting them into camps. In 2018. I can’t be the only one who sees the irony in that.”
The best thing about The Good Fight’s shift of focus away from Maia and the Rindells this season has been the time freed up to focus on other characters and other stories – and this is a show with a lot of compelling characters and a lot of interesting stories worthy of that time. This week, it’s the supremely talented Nyambi Nyambi’s Jay who’s at the centre of it all as he becomes swept up in the implacability of the federal government’s current immigration practices, and the rest of the firm has to pull out every stop imaginable, and a few more besides, to try and save him from deportation.
Federal rights v state rights, sanctuary cities and competing court orders, family reunification and Einstein visas – it’s a huge area to tackle, but the show does so bewilderingly well, making the terrifying situation Jay is sucked into all too real, and the viewing experience pretty stressful. Because this is The Good Fight, however, it’s still absolutely hilarious. Mining glorious comedy from tragedy, without ever sacrificing empathy or understanding in the process, the writers of this show demonstrate once again just how potent a form of protest that ridicule can be – every joke and every jab lands exactly where it should, while Nyambi’s understated, lovely performance keeps the whole thing grounded and real. That last scene is everything. And this episode is a triumph.
With an eye on this controversy and a nod to that one, TGW dives back into the #MeToo arena, with particularly difficult issues of gendered perspectives and what consent means to whom hotly debated not just with the other side but throughout the firm. Because this is the best show on tv right now, the writers manage yet again to cover all the arguments around a hugely complicated, multi-layered conundrum with compassion, intelligence and their trademark wit, and to do all that (and more) in their usual few minutes.
Throw in a strand about reductive attitudes to second-wave feminism, a lovely return to work scene for Adrian, Diane being awesome in any number of ways (and taking up aikido!), and she and Kurt deciding to live happily ever after, and once again, I’m stunned by just how bold and brilliant The Good Fight is. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.
“Day 471” sees the return of some dastardly but very welcome faces from The Good Wife in the form of Dylan Baker’s incorrigible Colin Sweeney, Mike Colter’s suave, sinister Lemond Bishop and Wallace Shawn’s deceptively mild-mannered, utterly ruthless Charles Lester. The recurrence of something else from The Good Wife is, while beautifully-executed (sorry), considerably less welcome to me, though – having already lost one TG Universe senior partner that I adored to a bullet (and never really got over it, as the long-suffering Jed will confirm), having another one shot in the chest seems particularly cruel.
Happily, REDACTED survives – quite possibly due to the quick-thinking Marissa and her cardigan – but he’s not out of the woods, yet. The culprit’s at large, the self-righteous, sanctimonious Liz does something both stupid and wrong (FFS, Liz!) which means the firm’s suddenly in none too healthy a position either, and the police are significantly less interested in finding the shooter than they are in harassing Reddick Boseman’s more notorious clients, regardless of evidence, motive or anything to do with anything. I mean, for a start, Sweeney was actually in a completely different building on the phone to REDACTED at the time – an airtight alibi which would have taken seconds to confirm, if Capt Lawrence actually cared at all.
The strengths of this show being its characters and its wit, however, there’s plenty of hope and humour amongst the worry, though. Diane, who has been through this before but with a significantly less happy ending, finds herself again, ditches the drugs and the self-doubt, and despatches Alan Alda’s duplicitous Solomon with aplomb. Jay comes back because he’s great. Colin is adorably worried. And Lucca gets an entire office full of balloons because…. why not? Her and Diane gleefully popping them is exactly the kind of joyful moment we all need. Get well soon, REDACTED. (Please, please don’t die.)
If the main storyline this week was somewhat gimmicky, at least TGF didn’t pretend otherwise – as Diane said, “We’re hoping that a golden shower tape brings down an idiot. Not exactly Woodward and Bernstein.” Gimmicky or not, though, the wit and intelligence of the show’s writing and its peerless cast (regular, recurring and guest alike) somehow worked a risky, ridiculous premise into its usual tv, um, gold, nonetheless. And the sub-plots were beautifully handled as well: does Colin have an unconscious racial bias? Quite possibly. Is Fisher Stevens’ Gabriel a terrible lawyer? Most definitely. Would any other show on tv have considered tackling all of this in one episode, let alone managed to do so with such skill and humour? Nope. But how fabulous it is that TGF is consistently going places and doing things other shows don’t, making this episode, which wasn’t even my favourite but was still fantastic anyway, another smart, daring and supremely confident instalment of a show that’s at the very top of its game.
Gosh. The case of the week starts off being about cops and race – a white cop shooting an undercover black cop. A few sharp, perfectly-pitched turns later, however, and it’s about cops and corruption, Facebook and the power of disinformation, and the end (?) of Diane’s marriage and Jay’s patience with a system where the right thing to do can be so very, very wrong.
There are plenty of laughs to be had from the micro-targeting story and Diane having a rare old time running rings around Judge Trig Mullaney, but it’s the more serious stuff which has the most impact this week. Christine Baranski is magnificent, the look on her silent face during the courtroom scenes in particular saying more than reams of dialogue could. And Nyambi Nyambi and Delroy Lindo are terrific too in a confrontation between Jay and Adrian teeming with suppressed rage.
If I have one quibble, it’s that the show might be in danger of falling into
Clarissa Marissa Explains It All territory – the same character magically coming up with the answer every week became a real problem for The Good Wife and Kalinda the Magic Sexpot. Since Marissa is much funnier and much sunnier than the morose Kalinda ever was, though, and watching her solve problems is always a delight, I don’t think I’ve really got anything to complain about.
If this week’s TGF doesn’t quite hit last week’s heady heights for me, it comes very close – it’s only because I don’t care about Maia’s love life and I don’t quite know yet what the show’s trying to say about Marissa’s that it falls short at all. Those quibbles aside, though, everything in the other two main stories – both political, both handled with aplomb – is as awesome as we’ve come to expect from The Good Fight.
The magnificent combination of Christine Baranski, Delroy Lindo, Audra McDonald and Michael Boatman is joined by tv royalty Margo Martindale as the visiting DNC rep, and the ensuing battles about the rights and wrongs and how-tos of impeachment are dazzling: as witty as they are smart, and as sharp and pointed as they are fantastic fun. And they manage to get an Avengers and Justice League reference in there, which makes one half of unpopcult very pleased indeed. Heh.
As the partners duke it out in the conference room, meanwhile, Lucca is pulled into a different political campaign entirely with Colin’s unstoppable mum successfully luring her into his run for Congress. (I really like Colin – have I mentioned that?) Running for office storylines could sometimes be a mixed bag for The Good Wife – when they worked, they worked brilliantly; when they didn’t, we got Alicia’s campaign for DA – so it’s maybe too early to say how this one will pan out. But on the strength of this first outing, with the intriguing, amusing political director; the hilariously shameless Francesca; and a singing rabbit reminding me of this, it’s all looking pretty great so far. Maia’s love-life or not, “Day 450” is superb.