Thursday, April 11, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Good Fight' - Jay and Lucca Battle Nazis Trying to Intimidate a Polling Place in 'The One Where a Nazi Gets Punched'

CBS All Access' The Good Fight - Episode 3.05 "The One Where a Nazi Gets Punched"

Blum weasels his way to a co-counsel seat on Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart's largest case against genetics testing company Second Helix. While volunteering as democratic poll watchers in the suburbs of Chicago, Lucca and Jay come face to face with an alt-right group aiming to intimidate voters. Maia attempts to move on while the partners grapple with a divided firm following revelations of pay disparity.

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 Where a Nazi Gets Punched" was written by Tegan Shohet and directed by Jim McKay

This hour certainly makes the case for it being appropriate to punch Nazis in the face. Don't get me wrong. Their views are abhorrent and shouldn't be normalized in a civilized society. It's wrong that they have such a significant voice in our culture again. However, is violence really the best way to confront the problem? It runs the risk of it being seen as assault and making the nazi in question appear sympathetic. It's a complex conversation. The show wishes to treat it as a unifying impulse though. It doesn't matter where on the political spectrum you may fall. Everyone can accept the fact that sometimes it's just right to punch a nazi. This hour is titled after that action and it doesn't disappoint. It doesn't follow through with any significant consequences though. Jay and Lucca are just suppose to be monitoring a special election in the Chicago suburbs. They are the democratic representatives monitoring the site to ensure that nothing improper is going on. They have republican counterparts as well. They can argue about their ideologies. There is even the understanding that nazis make up a certain portion of the Republican party. That has certainly been the case over the last few years to the point where the leaders in charge struggle with condemning white supremacy in the world. But here, the show wants the audience and characters to see the similarities amongst communities that can bring them together instead of the divisions that pull them apart. There is the fear that Jay will be reprimanded for punching a nazi in the bathroom once he is caught by the republican official. Instead, that guy also sees it as a perfectly acceptable action. All of this starts because a group of Red Jackets set up shop outside the polling place to stop any kind of illegal voting from happening. Jay and Lucca see it as a form of voter suppression that is turning away key communities. This is an election were the votes are always close. And so, everyone is trying to incentivize as many people as possible in order to prevail in the end. However, the ultimate results don't even matter. Instead, the focus is all about the riot that breaks out in the parking lot. Lucca stirs up trouble by taking pictures of the Red Jackets to ensure that the people online see who are the faces behind this kind of intimidation. That has immediate consequences for them with the losses of their jobs. That is a key concern throughout all of this as well. People live in a reality where every moment defines someone's values and those may not line up with the corporate interests we work within every single day. Those consequences are real and damning. It just once again leads to an outburst of violence. That's what this entire story is about. It proves that nazis are the absolute worst and everyone should be united in taking them on. That may be idealistic but the show also aspires to have more of that in the real world even though it may be difficult to condone the violence depicted here.

Elsewhere, Maia is more isolated than ever before now that she no longer works at the firm. Her concerns from the previous episodes of the season are still apparent as well. Roland Blum is still stirring up trouble and infecting the mindsets of the familiar characters. Now, he just has nothing to do with Maia. He destroyed her career and now she's working for an online consulting place that charges by the minute for legal advice. It's depressing but that's the only job she can find at the moment. She sees her friends trying to help her land on her feet. Marissa and Lucca both reach out to see how she's doing. Diane lines up some interviews for her at other firms in the city. People are trying to help her. And yet, she only sees them as slants against her ability to do this job. She sees it as a way to make her suffer for this mistake for as long as possible even though she no longer works at the firm. Diane wanted to be as kind as possible to Maia during this difficult time. But Maia only sees a former friend who doesn't think she should work for the next six months because that's when these new jobs would start. That may be selfish and impulsive on her part. But she feels like she has to push away all of her friends because none of them stood up for her during this confrontation. She has to find her new way forward. That may take her off the show for good. Or it could present as a sudden change that could shake up the narrative in surprising ways. In the later seasons of The Good Wife, the narrative liked to shake up the storytelling foundation every half season or so in order to keep things entertaining and complex. The same could be happening here with the hope that Maia finds new focus. But it will be difficult to see how all of that connects to the overall themes of resistance and disruption this season. Diane has been battling an idea just as much as she has taken action against the current presidential administration. She and Liz enjoy an impromptu sing-along of Prince's "Raspberry Berry." That brings them closer together. But this episode also firmly aligns the firm with Blum for the foreseeable future. They prevail in a class-action suit because Blum continues to prove how his tricks can lead to fast results. That's beneficial to the firm because they need money to offer bonuses to their employees following the recent reveal of pay disparity. It just means they will be working for the tech company they just beat in court while having to put up with Blum and his tactics for the next year. That's a long time and will give him plenty of opportunities to convince people that his way is the best way to succeed as a lawyer.