Sunday, April 8, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Good Fight' - Adrian Takes a New Job While Lucca Struggles with Her Pregnancy in 'Day 443'

CBS All Access' The Good Fight - Episode 2.06 "Day 443"

Adrian becomes an overnight celebrity after his candid appearance on a cable news show goes viral. Lucca, who has yet to formally announce her pregnancy, worries about her future at the firm. Adrian's newfound cable news fame grabs the attention of Chicago's top law firm and the jury of his latest case.

It's fascinating how last week The Good Fight was calling Adrian out for his bias and abuse of power and this week he is celebrated as a viral star and the next great political commentator on cable news. He has always been a well-spoken character who can passionately articulate his point at any moment. But this story also seems like the show once again addressing just how crazy the entire political system has gotten. It's done that largely through the politics of this job and the turnover of the country's agenda. But cable news is also a significant voice in the politics of this world. As such, it's important to satirize just how crazy the current setup actually is. Of course, this story also creates a couple of problems with the actual logistics of this cable news show. For instance, where does it tape? It has to be local because Adrian appears on the set with the other panelists twice and they are talking about the deaths of lawyers in the city - with another one being announced here. And yet, Adrian's first appearance on the show which gains so much attention takes place with him as a talking head. There's no reasonable explanation for why he appears that way. It's just suppose to show how alienating an experience it can be to talk directly to a camera with just the audio of what's happening elsewhere. Adrian is thrown for a loop by the whole experience. But then, he becomes a star even though he doesn't ultimately say that much. The scope of his commentary is very small. As such, it's a little unbelievable that he would get so much attention that he would make a spark with viewers who need to see his comments online. It's a perfectly acceptable appearance that could lead to further appearances on this show. But the amount of recognizability he gets throughout the rest of the hour seems a little far-fetched.

Of course, Adrian plays into that as well. He too thinks that it's silly that his brief appearance gets all of this attention. The rest of the legal community looks at him expecting him to be acting differently. He's the same lawyer he has always been. But now, people are coming up to him wanting his autograph. More important though, it sparks a conversation about the diversity and inclusion both on cable news and in the legal community. When Adrian returns to the show, he is made completely aware that this isn't an environment all that welcoming to two black panelists. As such, one gets fired as soon as Adrian speaks up and is passionate in his argument. He is more articulate and a fresh voice. And thus, he is allowed to flourish in this environment even though he keeps rubbing his other panelists the wrong way. First, he directly talks about the salary that they make in this job and how absurd it is for his opponent in this debate to be making his point. And then, he closes by trying to bait the white men into saying the n word. It's a very amusing sequence largely because it's unclear for the longest time whether the show will actually say it. Adrian is giving everyone the freedom to use it. But they don't and that proves his point. As such, he's beaming with pride because of this job even though he's ruffling feathers. He's also just as happy to be proactive about the current situation of clients killing their lawyers. He's proud to be accepted into the meeting of the biggest firms in the city. Of course, it's also notable that the show doesn't feature any recurring faces in that moment. The only one who's appeared before is the lawyer Diane and Adrian are currently facing in court, Greta Lee's Wood-Lutz. That means there isn't a whole lot of personal stakes to this component of the story. And yet, it's also fascinating that the police may be very reluctant into looking into these lawyer deaths because of the amount of times they are sued for wrongful actions.

"Day 443" is also a plot heavy episode. In addition to all of this attention Adrian is getting, he is also defending a website that posted the home address of a neo-Nazi. Of course, everyone objects to that moniker. Wood-Lutz argues that the man is simply a historian who is protesting the destruction of key parts of history despite how unflattering they are. It can be a compelling argument because it takes a lot of effort for Adrian to prove to the jury that this isn't a man they should have sympathy for. It's much easier for his mother to take the stand and say just how nice and passionate he has always been. She would never describe her son as a white radical. Instead, his online comments need to be brought up and defended. But Adrian gets in trouble for how he's playing things to the jury. It's always a little annoying when legal procedurals take a meta turn in some character explaining to a jury that the law is nothing like how it is depicted on TV. This new judge - played by Veep's Matt Walsh - is constantly explaining things about how often the job is paperwork and making deals outside of the courtroom. Juries rarely deliver a final verdict with most cases not even going to trial. But here, Adrian is making things more and more like a legal show on television in order to win favor. His antics annoy the judge. It's then up to Diane to point out that the judge is asking Adrian to change his behavior without offering any constructive criticism for how he isn't doing his job representing his client to the best of his ability. It's again Diane having a lot of fun and not really caring how anyone perceives her anymore. She stands up for herself and is able to enjoy a good laugh later on when watching Adrian on TV and a couple having sex just outside her office window.

Elsewhere, the show is in pure setup mode with a major trial that Lucca is preparing for as first chair. She is on the partner track. She has the respect of this firm. She's someone they want to keep. They know that she's an effective lawyer in and out of the courtroom. And yet, she's scared of how other's perception of her will change after they know she's pregnant. She doesn't want anyone to know. She wants to keep it as her secret. Of course, she's not really hiding it. Adrian, Diane and Julius discuss it even though it's potentially illegal for them to be doing so. In fact, the show finds an easy scapegoat in Julius by making him the bad guy in demanding answers for these logistical questions about how much special care and time off she will be needing to take care of her health. Expecting mothers are a protected class for a reason. And yet, it's so fascinating to see how even the best of the characters here struggle with how to react to this news. They can be celebratory when Lucca finally sits them down to share her news. She finds it a freeing experience when she tells Maia and Marissa - even though she doesn't want a baby shower. But she is demanding to be evaluated solely on her work. She wants to continue being seen as a hard-working lawyer solely devoted to this firm. She wants the partnership to know that she has already come up with a plan to avoid missing work for doctor's appointments while only taking a couple of days off after she gives birth. She seems to have put some thought into this decision. And yet, it shows that her priority is with her work and not really focusing on impending motherhood and what she's going to do with the baby. That's her right as well. She's the one who should be making these decisions because it's her health. But it should be very fascinating to see just how much patience everyone will have for her.

It's already clear that the firm is setting up a contingency plan in the case that Lucca has to walk away from this trial unexpectedly. Julius approaches Maia to tell her that she should be the one to argue the next motion in front of the judge. Of course, Lucca and Maia are very strong friends at this point that they are open and honest about what's happening behind-the-scenes at this firm. That's partly what motivates Lucca to continue fighting hard no matter how many obstacles are in her way. She believes that Colin is moving for a continuance with this case to ensure that she's in the delivery room when the trial is starting. She is very cynical in believing that Colin would rather face Maia because she is still a first year associate who may not be able to handle a case of this magnitude. Of course, Lucca is paranoid because there's no indication that Colin is even aware that Maia would replace Lucca in this case. Lucca is so worried about things changing in her life. She wants to keep being on the partner track. She wants to be seen as a brilliant legal mind instead of a woman who may get exhausted or is jeopardizing her health because she's working too hard. She views that as sexism that needs to stop. And yet, it also seems inevitable that things are about to take a tragic turn in this story because she's being so driven and forceful. She is willing to do this all by herself. She continues to rebuff all of Colin's advances. It's perfectly fine for her to care about her career. She is happy at the firm. But she also seems to be ignoring other things that could become problematic later on. She's not anticipating that things could go wrong or against her perfectly precise schedule. That over-preparation at work could also be an issue for her.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Day 443" was written by Jacquelyn Reingold and directed by Brooke Kennedy.
  • Marissa gets her ten percent raise from Adrian by proving her worth as an investigator. She takes the initiative to investigate why the other top firms are pressuring Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart to stop pursuing their police brutality cases. She discovers it's because the leader of this group is trying to land the police as a client in their civil suits. Helping ease the amount of lawsuits could be very appealing. Marissa discovers that without needing to feel prompted by any of the partners.
  • Are the people having sex outside Diane's office window while wearing Trump and Hillary faces all that necessary? It's certainly a memorable image. It's another excuse for Diane to laugh at this crazy and insane world. She's pushing back because she no longer gives a fuck about what the potential consequences may be. That has come back to hurt her already. But she deserves a good laugh at the world as well.
  • The cable news show that Adrian appears on seems to be a parody of CNN more than MSNBC or Fox News. Yes, all of the networks employ the panelists structure. But CNN is the one that always pushes for fair and balanced news by having arguments between people with different political views. Here, Adrian faces off with people's whose views don't line up with his liberal ones.
  • Bebe Neuwirth is only in a little bit of this episode as the judge hearing Lucca and Colin's various motions. And yet, she has some wonderful reactions upon learning just how intense and complicated their dynamic actually is. It's enough for her to exclaim that this child is going to have some memorable parents. Hopefully, she returns as this case is actually being argued.
  • What exactly is the time frame of Lucca's pregnancy though? Colin is arguing for a continuance of four weeks. That would place the trial starting on Lucca's due date. She doesn't seem eight months pregnant though. It seems like the show just revealed that she was having Colin's baby. Plus, it seems inevitable that she won't deliver until the end of the season - with the penultimate episode falling the day before the due date Lucca mentions here.