Thursday, October 6, 2022

REVIEW: 'The Good Fight' - Liz Becomes Intrigued By a Stranger Calling Her Every Night in 'The End of Ginni'

Paramount+'s The Good Fight - Episode 6.05 "The End of Ginni"

Ri'Chard, Diane and Elsbeth Tascioni are hired to negotiate a "push-nup" for a husband and wife trying to determine fair compensation for childbirth. However, a challenge is presented when the unborn fetus also gains representation in court. Marissa gets a gun after her near death experience with her father and grows wary of strangers around her.

"The End of Ginni" was written by Jacquelyn Reingold and directed by Lily Mariye

Liz instinctively believes she's being pranked when someone calls her claiming to be Ginni Thomas. It couldn't possibly be real. And yet, the woman knows details that wouldn't immediately be known to the public. Plus, it's all done with the suggestion that Clarence Thomas could retire from the Supreme Court with the right encouragement. As such, Liz wants to buy into the hope. She needs to believe Ginni is lonely. She needs a friend. They bond over their shared love of Below Deck. The stakes are simply too high to disregard the possibility entirely. But it ultimately is a prank. The story provides that clarity. This isn't the first time the firm's lawyers have found themselves precariously close to real-life political figures who engage in highly consequential actions. One episode was devoted to exploring the various conspiracy theories about Jeffrey Epstein's death. Another featured Lucca possibly being vetted by Melania Trump. Those stories were taken seriously. That shows the limitations of what this show can achieve. It has arguably handled the changing political environment with more searing observations and satire than any other show out there. The characters live in the same world the viewer does. However, it strains credulity when they gain proximity to these figures. The show can only do so much before it inevitability has to pull back. It can't take things too far. It would love to be a fantasy of what every liberal-minded person wants. That isn't fair or insightful to anyone. Liz gets seduced by hope. It's then a personal betrayal when Del reveals himself. She loved him at one point. And yet, he's someone who solely sees the world's changing political dynamics as a way to create content. Liz sees the potential value in people with different beliefs sitting down and talking about something they equally love. That has fostered many friendships in the past. That may no longer apply in the current political climate. Everyone huddles amongst their own tribes. Everyone else is the enemy who must be hunted. All of this is clearly building to some dramatic climax. The explosions continue to echo throughout the office. People ignore them and keep working. And yet, ordinary life continues to be disrupted. Carmen takes down one symbol of white supremacist only for it to be replaced the next day with a hundred more reminders. People are desperate to feel in control of their lives. That still requires the show to have something new and insightful to say. It's obviously playing the long game with all this setup. However, it feels particularly uninspired because so much has happened before. Now, Jay happens to be the one joining a resistance movement to make a difference in society instead of trusting the system or local officials. That didn't work out for Diane. It probably won't work for him either. The writing is on the wall even though it's just introduced now.

All of this distracts from the celebrated return of Elsbeth Tascioni. It has been years since she opposed the firm in a case. She is initially presented as offering details to the newest addition to management. However, Ri'Chard falls into the same exact pattern everyone else has when contending with Elsbeth. They underestimate her because she's off in her own little world where everything is ridiculous. It's impossible to get something over on her. The case itself is very silly. That's the premise from the start. It maintains that energy throughout the entire proceedings. Sure, it eventually brings in Diane who has a blast reuniting with an old friend. It also ends with the lawyers arguing in front of a pro-life judge who is eager to make some kind of statement with how this case is handled. New precedent could emerge if both sides are willing to manipulate reality to get what they want. Now, that has always been the show's focus. People have their beliefs. They use their politics in order to test the boundaries of what the law covers. It's all in the name of helping society. No one truly knows the far-reaching implications of their actions. They don't know if the arguments they make will actually inspire the crowd who take all of this seriously. Illinois state law says a fetus has no rights. The child can only be recognized after birth. Before that, it's up to the parents to make any necessary decisions. Speculation could complicate those interests. A couple is fighting because they want to maintain some sense of control over the money they are meant to share together. The prospective grandparents also believe their money is being invested poorly. They want to set up a different system. All of this could have real-life parallels. It's all in service of showing a changed perspective in Diane. She recognized the power of still fighting. She still finds purpose in her work. However, she has become more like Elsbeth as a result of her treatments. They are kindred spirits giggling in the courtroom. It's a delight to see. It's amusing because the characters have solid senses of humor. That doesn't help propel the story along or maintain internal consistency over what the audience should be expecting from this plot. It's all too quizzical without offering a stable center. All of this could be natural development after years on the air. But it's mostly a disappointment seeing how such a solid show is grasping at straws in its final season. It's not for a lack of ambition or ideas. The cohesiveness is lacking in a way that may be purposeful. If it sparks too much conversation about the aimless nature of it all, then it's failing in a way that may not be worth whatever is destined to happen by the end. Those consequences must be weighed when opting to tell stories in this manner. It requires a delicate balance. That's just off in a way that interrupts continued enjoyment of some much beloved characters.