The Good Fight s3 ep 8

An episode steeped in classic Good Wife/Fight themes and dilemmas this week as the excellent case of the week pits the firm and long-term clients Chumhum against old frenemies Solomon Waltzer (hi Alan Alda!) and “motherless chi-i-ld” Felix Staples, with free speech vs hate speech, Sillicon Valley’s profits vs its morals and, spectacularly ironically, a short we don’t see because it’s censored by CBS. Turns out Silicon Valley companies aren’t the only ones who don’t want to upset the Chinese government.

The case of the week isn’t the only one going all meta on us, either: Lucca and Gary Carr’s romance continues, making some sort of point about (TV) life imitating (TV) art (I think), and it’s all very clever and mildly amusing but I still feel like I’m missing something. Maybe I’m just overthinking it. Points off for shoehorning in a monologue, however, even if it’s significantly less jarring than the ones we’ve had before as Cush Jumbo plays it less as directed to camera and more as directed to herself.

Amongst a crowded field of Good actors at the top of their respective games, though, this week’s MVPs are Gary Cole and his moustache as Kurt (who, delightfully, seems to work in a 70s spy thriller) accidentally intercepts an ominous warning meant for Diane and sets about solving a mystery and saving his wife, with the help of an unexpected ally – I was so impressed with the twist, I almost clapped my hands when I realised who it was. No Blum, no Maia, two terrific stories and a third that’s not too bad at all: job’s a good’un.

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The Good Fight s3 ep 7

*SPOILERS*

I’ve been increasingly confused and a little distressed by the way this season’s Good Fight has very quickly changed from the best show on TV to… something else, so I don’t know if the new uber-wackiness has just worn me down and I was just relieved to get a reasonably traditional episode, but I really liked this?

Of course, when I say “reasonably traditional”, we did still have Lucca in a fledgling romance with Gary Carr from Downton Abbey playing Gary Carr from Downton Abbey (or so TGF and IMDB tell me, I don’t watch Downton Abbey). I didn’t quite understand why this was happening, to be honest – I mean, Rose Leslie was also in Downton Abbey and I know she wasn’t in this ep, but surely the fact that they specifically chose another person from Downton Abbey and not, say, some dude from Call the Midwife (I don’t watch that either) wasn’t a coincidence? What point am I missing? My distress levels are rising again….

Still, Cush Jumbo made it work and the very meta “wallet” scene was cute, so, despite my unshakeable suspicion that not only was something going over my head but it was all a bit unnecessary, that sub-plot worked out ok. It was very much a side dish to the bigger, better storylines of the week though, which, probably for the first time, wholly successfully married up the arcs involving the Book Club, the work and history of the firm’s characters, and the unspeakable Blum in a way which felt organic and meaningful, as opposed to gimmicky and weird.

Essentially, the firm took on a class action about dodgy voting machines; it turned out to be a cover for the next phase of the Resistance, giving Liz and Diane not only their now-weekly conflict of interest but an astronomically-high stakes moral dilemma too; and, in the midst of all of that, Blum started sniffing about threatening to air the dirty Reddick laundry if he didn’t get a permanent gig at the firm. (NO. JUST… NO.) Great scenes included Adrian shoving Blum up against a wall, and, at one point, when Blum was splayed across the window ranting about horned beasts and revenge or something, everyone turning round and completely ignoring him. Heh. And Diane actually getting to be a lawyer in court again – as opposed to an axe-thrower or whatever – for the first time in weeks and being fantastic at it was fab too. MVP for the night, though, was Audra McDonald’s Liz (with Christine Baranski assisting) – her scene explaining to Diane exactly why history isn’t one of the things they share was both utterly devastating and absolutely tremendous, as well as a reminder of why we’ve stuck with the show this season, wackiness and all.

The Good Fight s1 ep 10

Season one of The Good Fight marches triumphantly off into the good night both literally and figuratively, with the finale’s case of the week focussing on a cyber-terrorism plot to hack the Chicago power grid and cause a blackout, for woolly reasons not dissimilar to those old-school 24 villains used to have – “things need to change, save the country from itself” etc. How turning the lights out is going to achieve that any time soon remains somewhat vague, but I assume it’s a very long game.

The plot brings back both Bitcoin Boy and NotMilo, and causes all sorts of trouble for Colin, Lucca and everybody else with lots of dashing from court to court and angry lawyering going on all over the place. Not that the lawyering always needs to be quite so angry – was I the only one thinking it was somewhat counter-productive for Adrian (much as I love him) to attack Colin on the stand in the way he did? The guy was DESPERATE to tell the world Lucca was innocent – why not let him?

But attack mode is the order of the ep, with the partners finally telling Maia she needs to be “more bold” and Maia finally – DEAR GOD – actually doing it. Her defence of Lucca is as spirited as it is unexpected, so good for her. Especially since she may need to use this new-found boldness to defend herself now Papa has done a runner and the Feds are coming after her instead. While apparently ignoring Lenore and Jax who could not be more obviously guilty if they held up signs saying so? Hmm.

The other big news is the return of Gary Cole’s Kurt McVeigh, being as irresistibly Kurt McVeigh as he can possibly be, and winning back Diane at last, even if it only takes a carjacking, an act of heroism and a short hospital stay to do it. I love Diane, I love Kurt, and I love Diane and Kurt together, so hurrah for that. Just don’t mess it up again, dude, FGS.

And that – give or take a bit of jealousy on Barbara’s part which might well cause trouble for Diane later – is pretty much it for a great first season. It took me a little while to warm to it, but once I was in, I was in deep. Following the TGW house style in wit, intelligence, legal quirks, thought-provoking interest in technology and general awesomeness (before it lost its way) as well as a gallery of fantastic familiar characters and fantastic new ones, TGF has performed the impossible trick of giving us not just a worthy follow-up to one of the best tv shows ever made but a genuinely terrific one in its own right. Like its parent show, it’s not without its flaws (Maia, Lucca’s love life, Maia) but it’s also smart and thoughtful, and its cast, both regular and recurring, is to die for. I can’t mention everyone, but my gosh, Delroy Lindo’s Adrian is magnificent. Sarah Steele’s Marissa makes everything better, and her partnership with Nyambi Nyambi’s Jay is tremendous fun. Cush Jumbo is excellent as Lucca, even if Lucca is the new Kalinda. And, at the heart of it all, Christine Baranski’s Diane is, of course, peerless. As Jed has pointed out, there are some narrative drawbacks to a season as short as this one, but one advantage is that it leaves this viewer, at least, wanting more, and thankfully we’re getting it. Bring on season 2.

The Good Fight s1 ep 9

Even with TGF’s undeniable skill at the TGW trick of playing with the accuracy of memory and perception, half an episode devoted to what is, essentially, a three-way argument about a calendar isn’t really my idea of a good time, especially if it’s in service of the Rindell storyline and What Maia knew. Credit to the writers, director, terrific guest star Jane Lynch and the ever-reliable Cush Jumbo for making it significantly more watchable and amusing than it could have been though. And credit to everybody for livening up the rest of the episode with the return of Dylan Baker’s incorrigible Colin Sweeney, who is a terrible human being but a more than welcome diversion. Baker working with Christine Baranski and Delroy Lindo is something of a dream team, and throwing in Mark Linn-Baker as Judge Linden an unexpected boon. Is it really wrong to want Maia to go to jail, so we can clear space in season 2 for these other, much more fun characters instead?