Thursday, May 7, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Good Fight' - The Firm Handles Satire From a Play in Different Ways in 'The Gang Is Satirized and Doesn't Like It'

CBS All Access' The Good Fight - Episode 4.04 "The Gang Is Satirized and Doesn't Like It"

A former divorce client, Duncan Herz, seeks the firm's help, claiming a buzzy new play running in Chicago is based on his divorce and shares specific details that unearth more than just his dirty laundry. Diane attempts to get to the heart of Memo 618 when a missing case leads her to the corporate overlords themselves, STR Laurie.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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 Gang Is Satirized and Doesn't Like It" was written by William Finkelstein and directed by Nelson McCormick

No one likes satire. That's the sentiment Adrian expresses early on in this episode. He says it referring to Lucca's client wanting to sue a playwright for using details of his divorce in his new piece of work. He dismisses the notion that a lawsuit should be filed for defamation. When Adrian sees the play though, he allows his feelings to be just as robust and fiery because he too feels like he was portrayed poorly. The Good Fight is fundamentally a satirical show. It lives in the same world as the audience. It comments on the headlines that define the world. It creates its own individual stories to fuel the narrative. However, they take inspiration from what is currently happening in the judicial system and political arena. As such, it's very insane for the show to offer up a subplot satirizing itself. It has to be done so delicately because it could go awry in so many ways. The show has earned every laugh that extends out of its satire over the last few seasons. It having that introspection about itself is less sure off the bat. But it also has a fun time examining the power dynamics at play to the naked eye at this firm. The partners become characters in a play. It's a play that wants to garnish a lot of praise for what it says about power dynamics. It absolutely fetishizes power. It tells the story through the lens of sexual tension defining every dynamic. And yes, the show has absolutely challenged the notion of how the name partners perceive the world and their cases being different than what they expect from their associates at any time. Lucca speaks up to question Adrian's motivation in this case. She wants to ensure that the client's needs are being prioritized. She doesn't want to keep this case going simply because of Adrian's bruised ego. The characters could potentially learn something about themselves from seeing this play. Diane assumes that Kurt must have a fetish for leather because they have the best sex of their marriage after seeing the play. She tries her best to offer that to him. And yes, it is very sexy and fun to watch. But it also fosters a greater conversation. One that sparks because these characters are willing to look at themselves through this new framework and challenge the way they have operated. Some of them have that ability to separate the art from their lives. Diane, Liz and Julius have fantasy discussions with their play counterparts. Adrian doesn't. He doesn't have the objective mindset necessary to think that someone else may have a valid point about the way he conducts himself. He just sees a young associate who was fired and is just trying to get even with the firm by making them as ridiculous as possible in public. In the end, that may actually doom this lawsuit. It doesn't work out for Adrian. However, it does serve as inspiration for Diane to embolden her connection with Kurt while also strengthening Julius' respect for the law and determination to offer justice as he sees fit. The conversation with Liz is a little more opaque and forced. It's a conversation about interracial romance. But it's also one about power dynamics in the workplace. She covered up her father's misdeeds. She regrets that action. But now, she may be following the same pattern by growing closer to Caleb. It's impressive to see his photographic memory work. That intimacy though is a little rushed. It's the only true downside of this episode overall. It shows that the series itself can have a great time poking fun at itself. It's a stunt meant to entertain. However, it also allows the characters to take stock of where they are in their lives and how they can improve them moving forward. Diane is determined to get to the truth about Memo 618. She may back off the case because she doesn't want anything to compromise her marriage. She doesn't want to be lost. But she is determined to prove that there is still order in this country. It can't be eroded so quickly by those powerful enough to bend the judicial system to their will. She may take a step back but Julius may reignite the investigation and pursuit to hold people to the same standard of the law no matter what. That proves that these character insights may only be beneficial for a moment before they are challenged and risk reverting to their former ways. That isn't always a bad thing. Lucca is encouraged to embrace her friendship with Bianca while also billing her for the time. But it also means things are awkward between Liz and Caleb now. The power dynamics of the world are influx. It's worth passionately proving that some ideals are upheld no matter what. The ambitions of the judicial system are goals worth aspiring towards at all times. But the firm can always be forced to account for its actions. Mistakes are made because of the numerous egos involved as they all embrace selfish interests that may not be beneficial to the overall business.