The Good Fight
Spoilers ahead for episode eight of The Good Fight, now streaming on CBS All Access.
I’ll admit that until I read the title of this week’s episode of The Good Fight, I hadn’t given much thought to who the “Reddick” might be in the firm name Reddick, Boseman, and Kolstad. I guess I’d semi-assumed it was Barbara, since she’s the partner who’s been closest to Adrian all along, but if I’d actually thought about that for more than a split second, I would’ve realized it didn’t make sense for Barbara’s last name to appear before Adrian’s. That assumption is destroyed for good in the first few moments of the episode, in which we meet Adrian’s co-partner and apparent nemesis Carl Reddick. (I double-checked, and Barbara is the “Kolstad” in the firm name — I likely should’ve remembered this from earlier, but this series is nothing if not name-heavy.)
When Adrian arrives at the office, Carl gathers the whole staff for a meeting Adrian apparently wasn’t invited to. Carl invokes the Selma protests as motivation for the firm to fearlessly stand up to Trump, and the camera cuts to Julius, who I thought had resigned? He refers to the staff as a band of fighters, which is another in a long line of heavy-handed allusions to the show’s title. When he pulls the partners aside, Carl reveals that he’s furious about the indictments and the firm taking on ChumHum, “one of the whitest companies in Silicon Valley,” as a client. Carl airs several other grievances, during which Barbara once again uses the term “the good fight.” We get it, you guys. Jeez.
In the halls, Diane runs into Pastor Jeremiah, a former Good Wife character whose name seems to be either a massive oversight or a strange nod to President Obama’s Chicago minister, Jeremiah Wright. He asks for help with an eviction case, but when Diane tries to serve Paul, the resident, with papers, Paul says he’s only being evicted from the halfway house because he ended a sexual relationship with Jeremiah. Shortly after, Paul’s lawyer turns up at the firm and informs Diane that Jeremiah “put his penis in two of my clients orifices.” Specific and vague all at once!
Jeremiah denies the allegations, and says that a late-night visit to Paul was for a drug test, not a sexual encounter. But Paul’s lawyer, who is a real piece of work even by the standards of The Good Fight universe, points out how terrible the optics of the case are. A pastor accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old? What jury wouldn’t be predisposed to convict? The show feeds really nicely into our assumptions about clergy and sexual assault — we spend the episode waiting for Jeremiah to get caught in some sort of lie, when in reality, he’s telling the truth all along.
Once again, it’s Marissa who’s instrumental in investigating the case, and she does so well that Jay promises to sponsor her for her investigator’s license. Is this a real thing? Is it like the Justice League? And most importantly, can it be a spinoff?? When Jay and Marissa can’t find the surveillance footage they need to exonerate Jeremiah, Marissa realizes Jeremiah and Paul both wear FitBits (a notable instance of the show actually using the true brand name for a tech gadget). They examine Paul and Jeremiah’s heart rates during the time of the alleged assault and realize they’re not in keeping with two people involved in sexual activity. Paul’s lawyer counters that his client has intimate knowledge of a birthmark on Jeremiah’s penis, knowing that Jeremiah will refuse having a photo taken of it out of dignity. Ultimately, Marissa and Jay save the day when they track down a woman who was involved with Paul’s lawyer in the past. She lets slip that Paul’s lawyer works with First Charter Choice, an alt-right organization. They’ve conspired to discredit and ruin Jeremiah, because he’s a well-respected minister and a man of color and maybe also just for fun. It’s great that their plan is thwarted, but this falls into the “depressingly accurate” category of The Good Fight’s ripped-from-the-headlines-style storytelling.
Meanwhile, Maia’s father is still desperate to make things right with her. After she rebuffs him for turning up in the parking garage of her office, Henry decides to commit suicide (that’s less the sequence of his thoughts, most likely, and more the sequence of the events as they unfolded). It’s a serious attempt, too, more than just a cry for help. He dresses in his best suit, writes notes, leaves his watch behind, and tries to swing a noose made out of a garden hose over the rafters of the family’s barn. He miscalculates the angle and falls several stories, landing flat on his back in the barn. When Maia discovers him, he makes her discard all the signs of suicide — if it’s an obvious suicide attempt and the police and paramedics see, Henry’s bail will be revoked. They manage to pass it off as an “examining the roof” accident.
Maia’s mother shows up to the hospital with Jax, then has the nerve to pretend like there’s nothing wrong with that. Someday, I’d like there to be a web series in which Lenore explains whether she doesn’t care how her family feels or whether she truly, truly thinks she can fool them into thinking she isn’t having an affair, because it’s one of The Good Fight’s great mysteries. Lenore finally breaks things off with Jax, but only after Maia reads her parts of Henry’s suicide note, in which he basically apologizes for not loving Lenore enough, and for ruining Maia’s life with his scandal. Henry’s suicide note also directly mentions “his crimes,” although it’s unclear whether we should interpret that as an actual confession, rather than an effort to exonerate his family through his death.
“Lucca meeting Colin’s mother” wasn’t exactly on my list of must-see moments in The Good Fight’s final episodes, but there she is at a gallery opening Lucca and Colin are attending, and she has a gentleman friend of her own in tow. Colin’s mother invites Lucca to Colin’s birthday party, at which basically every guest treats her as some sort of token — assuring her how much they love progressive websites, asking her to speak for all black people, commiserating with her about Trump’s latest move (micro-chipping Muslims, which only seems unrealistic because this administration is too disorganized to pull something like this off). It comes out that Colin might be dating Lucca because she’s a “great on paper” partner for his potential run for Senate. Colin tells her that’s not true, but she coldly tells him that she’s not an accessory or a trophy. He walks away, and Lucca slides into the front seat of her car and starts to cry. It’s the most outwardly emotional we’ve ever seen her be, and it’s heartbreaking.
One of the plot points I was most tired of as The Good Wife drew to a close was its game of musical legal chairs, constantly changing up configurations of firms and the allegiances of their lawyers. That said, The Good Fight pulled off a completely compelling, novel take on the same subject matter. Unhappy with the direction Adrian’s shepherded the firm in, Carl calls for a vote of the full partnership board. Carl wants to take back the reins and, as he explains to Barbara, move the firm back to a place that’s operating from the heart, not the head. This seems like, broadly speaking, a poor foundation to build a business on, but Carl gets more votes than Adrian in the final board meeting, thanks in large part to a vote from Julius, who’s only eligible to participate because he’s still in his final pay period. Who will roll his eyes every time someone mentions conservative politics once he’s gone?
Carl moves for a vote to immediately remove Adrian from the firm, although I’m not sure whether that would fire him completely or simply oust him from his role as a named/managing partner. But Barbara, who abstained from the first vote, says she has to vote for Adrian. She honors what Carl has done for the firm’s past, but she recognizes Adrian as its future. This puts the firm’s partners at a deadlocked vote, which I guess means … nothing happens? Something happens? Carl and Adrian have to start sharing an office? No matter what the results of the vote mean, Adrian and Carl won’t be hugging and reconciling anytime soon, but it’s clear that whatever comes next, Adrian and Barbara are in it together. At the end of the episode, they sit together on Barbara’s desk, drinking red wine. “To idealism?” Adrian says. She laughs. “And pragmatism.”