Thursday, September 22, 2022

REVIEW: 'The Good Fight' - Carmen Feels Trapped by the Unethical Demands of Her Client in 'The End of Football'

Paramount+'s The Good Fight - Episode 6.03 "The End of Football"

Ri'Chard and Liz team up to work on a case about racial discrimination between a Black coach and an NFL team owner. Ben-Baruch returns and stirs up friction with Carmen.

"The End of Football" was written by Aurin Squire and directed by Nelson McCormick

At one point, Diane wonders where all of her cases are. It's a salient point because it takes until this episode for the season to feature her in a courtroom again. Her mind has been focused elsewhere. It's not on managing the floor of the associates. She's still tucked away in her own corner of the office. That's her own little world there. It's only when she invites people in or shows an interest in something elsewhere that she becomes engaged with the other employees. Those moments have been extremely fleeting. She's as alienated in this workplace as Marissa is on her father's legal team. It all presents as positive visuals. It doesn't amount to meaningful lives where crucial decisions are being made. They hope to be active. Diane has understood that to mean being engaged with the state of the world. She needs to be up to date on the news. She can still make a difference even when she isn't scrolling through all the articles foretelling the doomed nature of the world. Of course, it's necessary to be informed. Those dynamics on the global stage do have an impact on the work Diane loves so much. She has also been striving for balance throughout the entire run of the show. She hopes she found a treatment that works. It has certainly offered her a new perspective on life. She sees colors much more vividly now. She wants to embrace that more. That doesn't mean she can ignore the chaos and destruction happening right outside. She had a near-death experience at the end of the premiere. That repeats itself at the conclusion of this episode. A bomb actually goes off. The window in Lyle's office shatters. The doctor and patient are flung onto the ground. Before that, it felt like Diane no longer needed this treatment. All of this may solely be a creation to ensure Diane still depends on it. That too could be a very tricky slope for her to navigate. The threats on her life seem to be getting closer. She has always done well in navigating the extreme stakes of her job. Carmen is in the hot seat as she's expected to uphold Ben-Baruch's plan of sending Charles Lester to prison for a murder he didn't commit. Carmen understands her ethical obligations. She can't be loyal to the interests of both her clients. She can't knowingly derail a case either. Diane provides support. Again, it's so crucial to see her in this setting. This is where she thrives. She doesn't even have to behave in the courtroom like she always has before. She always saw her righteous anger as a necessity of the job. The treatments help her realize she can remain calm while still defending her client. She can enjoy herself despite the severity involved. She helps an associate at the firm. She empathizes with Carmen's concerns. She hopes to alleviate them. Carmen still has to pit her criminal clients against each other in order to remove the threat against her life. That's the truth of it all.

It's foolish to be oblivious to the harsh realities of the world. Liz and Ri'Chard believe they are fighting for a worthy cause. They're targeting a lawsuit against the toxic culture of the NFL. They point out the insane nature of the league's protocols. They were created to create opportunities but nothing has actually changed. People in power go through the motions even though they have already decided what they want. The teams may thrive on racial diversity. However, the management and owners are near-exclusively white. The one owner of color is charged with financing this suit. And yet, his motives can't be trusted as altruistic and noble. He just wants a better deal. He exploits the situation for his financial benefit. At the end of the day, that's all that really matters. The justice system is all about helping people in power retain even more of it. The lawyers are paid well. However, they don't make the kind of difference they hoped for. In the end, nothing changes. It all stays the same. That was frustrating to Diane. As she's matured, she hoped the country would be in a much better place. Instead, the same fights are happening over and over again. She's comfortable. She can afford many treatments to help herself feel better. She can't ignore the blast that rocks her world. The same applies to Liz and Ri'Chard. They certainly hope for the best. They lead with noble ambitions. That requires their partners to be operating in good faith. That's not present here. Their client is susceptible to persuasion by the person financing the lawsuit. The money is all that matters. Whomever can pay dictates the terms of just how much gets to change. That's the cynical nature of life. It can provide so much for those who have proven themselves worthy. Oscar Rivi threatens Ben-Baruch because Carmen has provided solid work for him in the past. He trusts her to always represent his interests no matter how much pain that might cause him. Lester also recognizes Carmen as a genuine talent who approaches the law in a way that matters. Meanwhile, her former law professor wants to take credit for all that she has become. Her presence in the legal world has gotten noticed. People are nervous going against her. The prosecutor fails to make his case. Diane did the heavy lifting. It was all a show. Carmen was always central because her life hanged in the balance. Her brilliance saved her. That must be acknowledged. It too falls into the same patterns. She may never be able to escape representing less than savory clients. She relies on them just as much as they need her. That has informed her career from the start. She can still learn and grow. Everyone can do that. There simply isn't any guarantee at a better, more stable life. It's simply life-affirming when they find exactly where they need to be. That's enlightening for Diane even if arguing in a courtroom only lasts for a short amount of time.