Thursday, July 1, 2021

REVIEW: 'The Good Fight' - Diane Lands in a Strange Court as the Firm Welcomes New Associates in 'Once There Was a Court...'

Paramount+'s The Good Fight - Episode 5.02 "Once There Was a Court..."

Diane and Marissa find themselves arguing at the Circuit 9 3/4 Court, led by the quirky "Judge" Hal Wackner. Meanwhile, Carmen Moyo proves herself to be an effective, yet underestimated, new associate.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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 Paramount+'s The Good Fight.

"Once There Was a Court..." was written by Jonathan Tollins and directed by Michael Trim

How much of the corrupt and broken system is kept in place out of inertia? Is it simply too hard to change behaviors and learn how to approach systems in a different way? Of course, that would require a vast swath of the public to agree with those terms. That too can be a daunting task. If people agree to the rules and that they are binding, then doesn't the system inherently have power no matter the larger jurisdiction and philosophic issues at play? The season premiere recapped a year of trauma for the firm. It had a lot of messy business to conduct. And now, this season gets to introduce its big themes and ideas. It analyzes how institutions have power in the first place. Nothing that happens in Judge Wackner's courtroom could be seen as legally binding. And yet, lawyers are pulled into the game because they can treat it as mediation that their clients support. It offers a new perspective and approach to the law. It's simply pleading one's case to one man who will make a determination based on common sense. Legal precedents are valid and should be upheld because they set inherent rights for the public. However, Wackner isn't any more quirky or distinct than all the other judges the show has introduced over the years. His courtroom simply operates in a backroom of a copy store. He offers quick justice that circumvents the problems that have plagued the legal system long before the pandemic shut down everything. He perceives himself as providing a valuable outlet for cases to be argued and leave the clients satisfied with the justice rendered. It isn't perfect. It's all ridiculous frankly. Diane doesn't initially thrive in this environment. Instead, Marissa is the one who carries the burden of representing her client's interests. She knows this case and how to make a convincing argument. It doesn't matter that she isn't technically a lawyer. She recently decided to make that career change. She is already arguing in front of a judge. She wins too. Wackner sees all of this as a proof of concept for how the system can improve as well as help the people within in. After making his final decision, he asks everyone to shake hands and profess their respect. He views that as bringing people together. The divisions that have defined the world for years now are so toxic. It comes from people walling themselves off in their own media echo chambers. People fail to see the nuance in life and how other people exist in this world. The people who have power wield it to great effect. The powerful systems can delay justice for as long as it takes. That's what makes this situation appealing to Diane's client. She wants this case to be over already. She wants to move on to the next stage of her life as a teacher. She doesn't need this lawsuit hanging over her head. It has already been postponed. Because everyone buys into this specific system, they then have the freedom to move on following the verdict. That's a gift and a blessing. It highlights what people want. Diane questions whether she should still be leading the firm. She knows optics are important. This firm took her in when no one else did. She will fight to keep her seat at the table. She also respects Liz as a partner. They are figuring out how to lead together. Crucial business decisions are being made. New associates are brought in. That too highlights how the upcoming generation questions the system and the way things have always worked. Carmen takes a client no one else is willing to meet with. She provides him with the precise legal representation he wants. Countless people talk down to Carmen though. They figure a killer and his shady business manager are taking advantage of her. She is new to the law and doesn't know how the system works. She has that clarity though. She knows her self worth and valid existence in this space. She has empathy for her client. She never crosses a line. She shouldn't have to follow one set path in order to succeed in business. That has worked only for a select few to consolidate power at the top for generations. It's time for something new. She serves as that disruptive force. She too argues in court for the first time. She prevails too. Liz takes a keen interest in her. It's still a conflict of power and how to wield it appropriately in this business. Everyone was gratified that the guardrails of the law survived the last few years. The way the system works though is still being challenged. Things can be done better. That shouldn't disregard everything in the past. New and refreshing ideas are welcome developments too. That should be celebrated even when it forces people in authority to behave differently because their actions are no longer acceptable. That evolution is necessary to stay relevant and be at peace in life. The characters seem to be reckoning with all these complex concepts this season. It holds personal significance to them while also trying to appease the world at large with the might they carry.