Thursday, April 4, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Good Fight' - A Viral Video and an Arrest Create Chaos at the Firm in 'The One with Lucca Becoming a Meme'

CBS All Access' The Good Fight - Episode 3.04 "The One with Lucca Becoming a Meme"

Lucca's involvement in a viral "mothering while black" video sparks conversations at Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart that unearth racial biases and pay disparity at the firm. Liz joins Diane at a resistance group meeting but their next act - to help swing votes in key states - hits close to home when the group decides they need a celebrity influencer. Maia faces serious consequences at the firm thanks to Blum.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS All Access' The Good Fight.

"The One with Lucca Becoming a Meme" was written by Jacquelyn Reingold and directed by Nelson McCormick 

The firm has been in a state of transition since the very beginning of the series. In the very first episode, the firm had to decide whether or not they would hire Diane and Maia in the fallout of the Rindell scandal. There were concerns about what hiring them would do to the corporate culture of this business. The firm has always been proud with its identity. Carl lashed out at the partners when he came in and saw what was happening to his legacy. And now, that legacy has only further been tarnished by the truth that he was an abusive individual who hurt women. No one wants to destroy his legacy. But Liz and Adrian have made the conscious decision to set their sights on a new future. One in which they determine what the firm is and how it moves forward. Adrian is now making the argument that the business has to diversify in order to stay afloat. This business model is just not sustainable for a long period of time. Yes, it has done well for so many years. But Adrian wants to ensure that the foundation that is set now will last for 50 years. He wants this to be his greatest achievement. It is just sparking a ton of debate about how the firm may not be as proud and progressive as it once was. The associates note that the makeup of their clients is changing. Even though the firm has a reputation for taking on police brutality cases, they haven't litigated one of those in a long time. Moreover, more white associates are being hired than equally qualified candidates of color. Adrian can make the argument that many of the people interviewed for the jobs just didn't want to move to Chicago. But it's also a very tricky balance that must be maintained because the culture of this business has radically changed in such a short amount of time. The mailroom is actually the place where all of this is being noticed and discussed. That is an essential service of this business. And yet, many people take it for granted. Jay is the only one who actually engages with those employees and understands their perspective on the world. That is crucial and helps him do his job. But it also stirs up the anger within him. Jay and Lucca are faced with brutal racism here that stings so hard even though they are also trying to recognize that their individual cases aren't the norm for how the world operates. Lucca doesn't want to be accused by a white parent in the park of trying to steal her own baby. She thinks it's ridiculous that she has to explain herself to the police. It's all a part of the argument that people of color have to prove that they belong in a specific corner of the world and ease the worries of white people who can do whatever they want there. This woman claims she's not a racist but she makes so many assumptions about Lucca just from eavesdropping on a conversation she is having with Maia. That sets all of this into motion. Lucca makes so many comments about the racial makeup of the firm and how the people who work here no longer have the same priorities. Diversity of opinions is good and healthy for any organization. But here, it ultimately amounts to numerous screaming matches in a place of business. No one is getting any work done because they are questioning the pay disparity happening at every level of the firm.

Jay respects Marissa but doesn't think she should be making as much money as him. Julius argued for her raise because of all of the help she is giving to his campaign to become a judge. And yet, that's a decision that he should have made in private over how to compensate her for her work instead of making it a part of the firm's overall business. That's what triggers all of this animosity. Jay confronts Adrian and Liz. Adrian is sympathetic but also tired and has come to accept the ways of the world. White man are simply paid more because they need to be secure enough to stay with this business instead of looking elsewhere. Patterns of life have just shown that women and people of color are too afraid to rock the boat. That makes them more disposable and easier to fool into taking lower salaries. That's appalling. But the show does such a smart and insightful job in calling out the biases of all of the characters here. Diane sees herself as a proud member of the resistance. She has been a liberal her entire life. She has been confronted with her racial bias in the past. But now, it is even more succinctly pointed out to her in that she doesn't recall the names of the people involved in police shootings. She is made to feel bad because of the privilege she carries around every single day. Sure, she and Liz get the same amount of respect when they walk into this resistance meeting. They are on the same team when it comes to being outraged at the actions taken to spur their client into becoming a political activist. A transgender woman's life is on the line. But everyone seems to accept the attitude that the ends justify the means. This doesn't dissuade Diane and Liz from the group altogether. They see this as an important mission that is actually doing something to combat the political divide in the country. It's using the same exact tactics that were used to break the system to begin with. And yet, that may only be creating a larger problem. One that may be fixed through elections. But it also threatens to turn everyone into a paranoid monster that can destroy lives with a simple click on the internet. That is terrifying. But all of this has such remarkable personal stakes as well. Diane and Liz are passionate about this mission. At first, they are kept out of conflicts brewing at the firm. But they can't avoid them forever. They are a part of this environment as well. They are the ones making the decisions at the top. They were willing to give Maia another chance following her arrest. And yet, the exposure of the pay disparity calls out the fact that not everyone at the firm is treated the same way. She has to be fired because another associate was fired for the exact same thing. Diane would love to make the argument that he was using and Maia isn't. The drug test proves that. But even that is up for debate because the show calls attention to the fact that Maia is hoping to trick the system by relying on help from her white allies who want her to stay. In the end though, that's not enough. Diane delivers the news and Maia is out at the firm. That too will only add to the chaos swirling over every single element of the narrative at the moment.