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The Good Fight

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Link to our thread on The Good Wife

I hadn't seen this in two years, but I took advantage of a 1/2 price for 3 months deal for CBS all access and have been binge watching. Rewatched S1 and then watched S2 and am 1/2 way through S3.

The most obvious comment is that in between S1 and S2 it moved away from the Ponzi scheme about Maya's father and became more about Diane, the racial politics of the firm and life in a post-Trump America. 

At first I thought that change would be for the worse, but there the arc of S3 seems to be about how things spiral out of control, how people at the firm justify decisions and actions as response to Trump (or other issues) and how easily those responses can become more/other than what they intended. 

For example, the firm learns about micro-targeting via Facebook and uses that to their advantage, but then the the fake-stories they make sometimes take on a life of their own. Lucca jokes that she stole a baby in response to a white woman's racism and the joke quickly escalates once the woman calls the policy. Racial tensions are exacerbated at the firm when there is a leak of salaries, and a (white) associate becomes a sacrificial lamb to outrage because that is easier than addressing the root causes. Marissa Gold (Eli's daughter) agrees to campaaign manage a conservative candidate for a federal judgeship and she and he are both punitively treated by their respective sides of the spectrum.

In short, there is a lot of what was good in The Good Wife -- explanation of complex issues by integrating them into narratives...avoidance of too much self-righteousness by showing liberals doing many of the same things they complain about when conservatives do them. 

Baranski is terrific. If we're honest, much better than Marguiles ever was, though, to be fair, she has better writing and is given a range of ideas. It's a weird sort of inverse of television...the fact that she is older allows frees the character from having to be always and only about hooking up, though her personal life is intergrated. She's been doing this character long enough that she now just inhabits it, and a scene in which she verbalizes what she thinks about Kurt in comparison to other men is full of the sorts of contradicitons and raw honesty that one doesn't get too much in network television. 

If I am honest, the one issue that tires me is the fakes within fakes within fakes. Nobody's decisions are rooted in a genuine sense of values or principles, and there is always another layer beneath the one that gets peeled off. It's a legal thriller equivalent of Lost...never resolution only moving on to the next level.




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The S4 first episode was masterful with Diane living a dream in which Hillary is president and the firm is representing Harvey Weinstein. 

Like so much of the show, dating back to The Good Wife, I thought the story line would be cute for one scene and then exhaust itself into triteness, but the writers are able to find layers and angles of the material that strike me as fresh and complex. 

And Baranski...my goodness. I came in thinking I was going to say that I was "finally" willing to concede she is better than Marguiles and Diane more interesting than Alicia, and then I see I actually got there six months ago (see above). It's probably a disservice to her or the show to trot out the cliche that women of a certain age are largely invisible on television. And strangely, I can't think of another stage or screen role where she has stood out to me

I like the way the film has edged more and more into blurring the lines between satire and theater of the absurd. Living in the space between those things takes an emotional toll, so it's helpful to see that toll reflected back to me in a serial entertainment.

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