Sunday, May 13, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Good Fight' - Jay Continues His Investigation While Diane and Kurt Come to an Understanding in 'Day 478'

CBS All Access' The Good Fight - Episode 2.11 "Day 478"

Heated debates occur at the firm when Liz and Maia represent a well-known photographer suing a woman who provided an account of their relationship to a website. Jay continues to investigate possible suspects in Adrian's shooting while Diane receives surprising news from her accountant.

Did The Good Fight ultimately play fair with the resolution to the "who shot Adrian?" mystery? It was a story that the show purposefully left unresolved last week. It did so in order to create an even more overwhelming sense of tension and paranoia as the show head into its final episodes of the year. At first, it became a story about the police ultimately misusing the client list that Liz gave to them. It just presented as a new way for the firm and its clients to be targeted. That was the story last week. Jay and Marissa began their own investigation into the shooting and immediately came up with five suspects - Colin Sweeney, Felix Staples, Keith Fisk, Dylan Stack and Frank Gwinn. Because an answer wasn't given in that first episode, it seemed likely that it had to be one of those five suspects. As such, speculation could begin as to who did the crime. And now, "Day 478" has a very telling moment at the start of the hour. In the "Previously on" segment, the show lays out three key facts to remember from last week: Adrian has been shot, Jay and Marissa are investigating, and the police are conducting their own investigation. It's that last one that proved to be the most telling. This story always felt more personal to Jay and Marissa because they were the ones with an investment in the outcome of the case while also discovering the five most likely suspects. The show including that mention of the police at the top of the hour ensured that some grand twist was about to occur that would somehow compromise this investigation. That's exactly what occurs as the episode plays out as well. Jay and Marissa need to work in sync with the police to ultimately get an arrest. It's a story where their individual bias and the trickery of memory play a huge role. But is it ultimately fair to the audience that the culprit is none of the five suspects the show presented last week?

In the end, I do think that the show gives a satisfying answer to this grand mystery. It's good that the show didn't drag out this story for too much longer. This investigation needed to be a priority for Jay and Marissa - even though they have other work at the firm as well. It's a crime that needed to be solved before Adrian could return to work so that everyone could feel confident and joyous during such an occasion. This episode needed to be a celebration in this particular story. Justice needed to be served with Adrian being welcomed back and moved by the show of support from his family. And yet, the first sighting of Jay and Marissa this week shows them basically throwing out their old suspect list and expanding the scope to people they beat in court. That presents even more opportunities and files to look through. It's also shaded by the police investigation having a witness that contradicts Adrian's claims that it was a white man. All of this mostly proves just how chaotic and confusing all of this has been for him. Jay and Marissa are doing their best. They are presenting multiple different suspects who could have pulled the trigger. They are pursuing every lead with Marissa even pretending to be a neo-Nazi in a coffee shop. In the end though, it's revealed that Officer Whitehead shot Adrian and then misled the police investigation to cover up his crime. It's a resolution that does feel earned because Whitehead's actions have been a huge story this season as of late. No, he has never been more than a one-dimensional character. Other characters mostly talk about him instead of him having any personal agency. It's more important that his actions on the force affected so many lives. And now, it's easy to understand his motivation for this attack because his civil case cost the department a lot of money with over thirty cases of his being reopened for dropped guns. It's a story that the audience can easily identify from recent episodes instead of having to pull back our memories from cases that happened a long time ago. This was all so recent which gave it more urgency. But it's also such a relief that it is now over and Adrian has returned to work.

Of course, Adrian was making sure that his influence continued to be felt at the office even though he was in the hospital. Diane and Liz wanted to drop this latest case they are working on which they are clearly going to lose. They don't have the money or the facts on their side to keep fighting it. They see no reason to keep pursuing it. And yet, Adrian happens to know that the case is very important to their financiers. This is an episode that is very aware of the power of money when it comes to litigation and personal success. Diane gets the happy news that she has completely bounced back after losing her retirement fund in the Rindell scandal. It's an accomplishment achieved by lucky and strong investments, Diane working hard at the firm and the new Trump tax cuts. It's not even a question if she is going to retire like she once planned or keep working. Instead, it's a question of whether or not she wants to get a divorce from Kurt because that will have an impact on her savings. That's where her head is at throughout this episode. She wants clarity on this marriage because they've just lived in limbo for too long. The show even states that the two of them have never really settled down as a married couple for very long. They've always just been stealing little moments of time with each other. Their lives are so busy and full with work. They both enjoy work and using their expertise to impact the cases they work on. They are more than willing to support each other's professions and ambitions. And yet, it's so significant that Kurt is willing to put down roots in Chicago with a job at the FBI in order to actually commit to this marriage. He wants to move in together and stay together for the rest of their lives. He doesn't want any breaks from Diane. That's the moment where he is able to win her back. He has tried so hard for so long and almost lost it all because Diane simply didn't have the patience to listen to his latest excuse for seeing his former mistress. But now, she is able to get swept up in the moment as well because this is still a relationships she wants to work as well. She actually has a clear and level-head to commit to it right now too.

Back to the case-of-the-week, the financiers are pushing for the firm to continue with the depositions by giving them a sudden influx of cash. It proves that the firm is ultimately beholden to the people actually paying the bills. The show has incorporated these characters before. They make all of their decisions based on an algorithm they've designed that will determine which cases will see the most profits for everyone involved. They are solely focused on the money. They are willing to support whatever the firm wants to present as long as it can be profitable. And now, the tables are turned because they have a personal agenda with this case. They are the ones targeting this website where women can share their stories about the horrible and abusive behavior of men. It's again a very topical story in a season that has embraced the #MeToo and Time's Up campaigns in so many different and fascinating ways. This feels like a website that has popped up in the months since the Harvey Weinstein allegations first appeared. It's the show being timely in showing the kinds of cases that can be brought against this system if it isn't too careful. In the past, the show has been a champion of women's rights and protections. Diane has been a proudly feminist character always fighting for what she's passionate about. But here, she's on the side of this issue that is difficult to defend. She is asking Marissa to dig up evidence against the victim with Maia actually presenting it during the deposition. Maia can defend it by saying that depositions are exploratory missions in the hopes of finding something that can be used to better one's case. But here, it definitely feels like a personal attack against this women's character. The show does a very smart job in presenting both sides of this argument and just how confusing both stories actually are. Both of the individuals involved are complicated and have a pattern that could make this case even more troubling and difficult to prosecute. It's enough to make the bullpen erupt into chaos as everyone is arguing with each other instead of getting any work done.

But the owner of this website, Gretchen, believes that the firm is only fighting so hard in this case because one of the financiers is about to be added to the list of inappropriate allegations on her site. She feels like she must fight hard because it's the responsibility of her generation of feminism. She supports the first and second waves of the cause that have built to this moment. And yet, she argues with Diane as an old white woman who doesn't have the best perspective on the issues anymore. As such, it's so rewarding to actually see Diane speak up and prove that she knows exactly what's going on and how to make a difference. In the end, she knows that it's complicated that the financiers are fighting so hard for this case. She is willing to settle in a way that would be beneficial to everyone. All she's really asking for is the website to be shut down. Gretchen sees that as a personal attack from a second generation feminist who encouraged victims to stay quiet for so many years. It really is a complicated story that the show delves into this week. Is there any culpability to be had for the women who encouraged these practices of keeping quiet for so long? Or should they all be empowered right now because there is strength that comes from finally being able to speak out and be heard? Gretchen sees this as the cause for the next wave of feminism. Diane sees it as a cause for all women to support with her just happening to know more about how the real world actually works. She supports the idea of this site. She just attacks Gretchen because she didn't have the foresight to hire a lawyer in the beginning to ensure that she wouldn't be sued by any of the actions the site would ultimately take. That's why the website ultimately goes down. But it still creates the potential for Gretchen to move on and do things in a better way in the future as well. She just has to be open and willing to hearing everyone's perspective.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Day 478" was written by Jonathan Tolins and directed by Brooke Kennedy.
  • The show has never been afraid to namedrop the real-life celebrities who have been taken down by harassment charges over the last few months. And yet, it's still notable when this episode mentions Charlie Rose. This is still a show produced by CBS Television Studios and airing on the CBS streaming service that CBS wants its audience to pay for. As such, it could be seen as a risk to bring even more attention to that case even though CBS did the right thing in firing Rose immediately. But the corporation probably doesn't want to add more fuel to the fire either.
  • Jay is officially rehired at the firm by Diane and given a pay raise. She sees how dedicated he is to finding Adrian's shooter. He doesn't think the police will find the man responsible for the crime. And yet, he can only have access to the firm's resources if he is working there. So, it's important for Diane to hire him again - though it doesn't help Marissa score another raise for herself.
  • Is the show setting up Lucca's exit? Right now, she and Colin are on better terms. They feel like they are dating again even though she doesn't want to get married or split custody of their child. And yet, Colin is planning for a future where he is moving to Washington, D.C. because he gets elected as a congressman. As such, it would also make sense for Lucca to move there. To prove that, she is quickly bombarded with job offers that prove her worth.
  • And yes, the firm has certainly undervalued just how important Lucca has been. She is on the partner track. They know that she is a skilled attorney who is juggling a lot right now. But there has been some professional distance as well that forces Lucca to doubt if this really is the right environment for her - especially after the lawyer from the Barack and Michelle presidential library approaches her eager to work with her once she makes this move.
  • Diane randomly walks into an aikido studio in the back of a laundromat this week. It's so surprising but also presents as a new outlet for her to feel safe and powerful. It means she can feel strong through her body and not have to carry a gun around everywhere she goes. She signs up for the training mostly because she wants that confidence boost knowing just how chaotic the rest of her life can be.