Thursday, September 29, 2022

REVIEW: 'The Good Fight' - Eli Reflects on the Power He Wields When Confronted With Death in 'The End of Eli Gold'

Paramount+'s The Good Fight - Episode 6.04 "The End of Eli Gold"

Eli Gold's trial is underway, with Marissa as part of his legal team. Liz and Ri'Chard attempt to solidify their working relationships, leading to a surprise discovery about Ri'Chard's history and Liz's father. The firm attends a Democratic fundraiser.

"The End of Eli Gold" was written by Davita Scarlett and directed by James Whitmore Jr.

Has the world changed? Or have things always been this bad? In stepping back to reflect, several characters are reckoning with the current state of the world. They are inspecting their own personal accountability in its construction. Diane notes how it's easy to catastrophize in the moment and then believe it wasn't as bad as it seemed later on. And yet, it's important to understand the history of the world. The pain and trauma inflicted on previous generations inform this moment. That can't be discounted or forgotten. That appears to be the path Diane is on. She wants to silence the world. She needs to ease her anxiety. She can't dread everything that's happening. She also can't escape the threats. They are literally looming around her all the time. Violent protests are right outside her office. A car bombing occurred outside her doctor's office. A man was killed at an event she attended. Lyle helps her navigate these stresses. As such, she has transferred a lot of affection onto their interactions. She casually forgets about Kurt in order to fantasize over Lyle. It's weird. The story doesn't have a whole lot of purpose either. It's simply for the sheer contrast of how absurd it is for Diane to be taking a hallucinogenic drug in order to cope. She recommends it. It's working for her. She sees the vivid colors of the world. She inspires Eli to keep fighting even after people want to send him to jail or kill him. He's too valuable. It's hard to make that argument when he hasn't been a prominent character in this show. He had priority in The Good Wife. He had proximity to power. That provided a meaningful service. On this show, he provides updates for the characters he was once so closely linked to. He wanted Peter Florrick to be President. Instead, he was once again convicted for fraud. Eli can't escape this cycle of political gamesmanship. He needs to emerge victorious no matter what. That has strained all of his relationships. It's made his connection with Marissa purely transactional. They need to be offered something in order to help one another. They each provoke that from each other. However, Marissa is right to say she fears this is the last time she'll see her dad. He had a two-episode arc in the spinoff of a show he once starred in. It's nice to see him again. His presence helps reflect on the cyclical nature of politics. It also enhances the disruption that is constantly swirling around. The threats are real and dangerous. Frank Landau was killed. Eli was targeted. He never thought his actions carried that weight. He lived outside the public spotlight. That has never been true. He helped corrupt politicians remain in power. He crossed lines in pursuit of some higher purpose. His reasons matter less than they once did. He simply had to win. Those are the tribal lines that define these conflicts. It's increasingly nasty. Eli will continue to fight. Marissa helps him in the end. It's just in service to his journey instead of reflecting on what it means for the characters this show is meant to be about.

All of these reflections are common within Ri'Chard too. His entire identity was informed by one interaction he had as a young lawyer. Carl Reddick referred to him as trash based solely on what he was wearing. It didn't matter how intelligent he was. It was all about his inability to be taken seriously by the clients the firm wanted to draw. And so, Ri'Chard presents himself with a life of luxury. He wears the most impeccable suits. He drinks the most expensive wine. He surrounds himself with people willing to praise his every move. It's all a performance in search of recognition. He wants to win over people because he seeks that self-worth. It's been very transparent so far. He believes Liz's life was also informed by who her father was. It has been to a certain extent. However, she wasn't inspired by him. She became a prosecutor in spite of him. They had differing opinions on the law. She now happens to be running his former firm. She carries his legacy even though she was responsible for exposing him as a predator. That was difficult for her to do. It seemingly wasn't enough for Ri'Chard. He hopes to charm Liz. He knows one conversation won't be enough. It also doesn't matter if they can lead this firm together. He just has to enjoy the support of the partners. Their praise can be enough for him to steer the ship wherever he wants. He has big, bold ideas. He presents them. He's giddy with excitement. Liz is stunned because none of this is plausible. They can find a way to work together. They don't have to continually be presented as enemies. That's how the world continually shapes them. They are meant to distrust each other because of the details they omit from their stories. Ri'Chard shares the moment that defined him but left out who once belittled him. That's a crucial detail in Liz's mind. She sees a person who only cares about the excesses of life. He lures people in so easily. His charm is effortless. It hides an ulterior motive. He may have dastardly plans for the firm. It's because of what happened in the past. Liz recognizes that. She isn't her father. She's trying to do what's best for the firm right now. And yet, the explosions still ring out. The building needs more protection with every passing episode. She knows how much people had to fight for their rights as citizens today. It feels like all those protections are under attack. She can't be level-headed about the direction of the firm because she is constantly looking over her shoulder having to carefully manage these office dynamics. People aren't inherently trusting her vision and expertise despite the success she has already proven. That's a story far too common for women in the workplace. Liz deserves so much more. She fights for that too. It doesn't inform her entire being the same way it does for Ri'Chard. Those complexities are noted and provide the show with the nuances to engage in this serious conversation despite some heavy-handed metaphors along the way.