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Entertainment Weekly

TV Recaps

The Good Fight finale recap: 'Chaos'

Patrick Harbron/CBS

Posted on

We gave it an A-

The Good Fight

2/19/17 - 1/1/70

type
TV Show
Genre
Drama
Cast
Christine Baranski, Cush Jumbo, Rose Leslie
Producer
Michelle King, Robert King
Network
CBS All Access
seasons
2
Status
In Season
genre new
Drama

If there’s one thing Michelle and Robert King know how to do, it’s craft one hell of a finale cliffhanger — and that’s definitely what they give us in The Good Fight‘s first season finale. But there’s a lot to go through before we get there,  because, as always, this was a rather busy hour of television. “Chaos” was fast-paced, entertaining, and a great way to end the season. 

If you’ve been reading these recaps all season, you know it’s been frustrating to me that we’ve never seen Maia in court because she’s been so concerned with the Rindell Ponzi scheme. Well, it appears that was the Kings’ intention all along. “Chaos” opens with everyone receiving their biannual review (and a nice callback to the premiere with the use of Erin McKeown’s pop-folksy “You Were Right about Everything”). Adrian and Barbara tell Maia she’s been doing a good job but that every partner is worried she’s not bold enough. So, they tell her that she needs to pick a partner, demand that they let her shadow them, and not to take no for answer. Adrian and Barbara doubt that their words will have any effect.

Lucca’s review is far more positive. Adrian and Barbara tell Lucca that she has the highest billable hours and that they want to reward her by putting her on the partner track and giving her a bigger office. When Lucca returns to her office smiling, she finds Maia Eli Gold-ing it in there (which is code for “lying on her couch”) because she thinks the partners hate her. Lucca says they don’t. I loved this scene because it showed just how much Maia and Lucca’s relationship has developed over the course of the season. The strength of their friendship is confirmed by this episode’s case, which puts Maia in the position to fight for Lucca’s life after she’s arrested and charged with co-conspiring to perpetrate a terrorist attack.

Here’s how we get to that point: Bitcoin creator Dylan Stack (Jason Biggs) re-enters Diane’s life when he asks her to represent him since he believes someone is trying to frame him for an impending cyber attack on Chicago’s power grid. When The Good Wife used Stack, it often fell into an exposition trap, bending over backwards to explain what Bitcoin was. Thankfully, The Good Fight avoids that same trap. All we need to know is that some hacker group is planning on using a vicious piece of malware to cause a blackout in Chicago. (My Chekhov senses are tingling…)

The firm takes on Stack as a client, and Lucca meets with Colin to arrange a deal: Her client will hand over the malware in exchange for immunity since he claims to have no part in this. The conversation is pretty tense since they haven’t spoken since the breakup. The scene’s direction, which places both of them on opposite sides of a big table, reminded me of the line, “We met at Borders” from Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” Nevertheless, Colin hands over the flash drive with the malware to Wilbur Dincon, who stupidly inserts it in his computer, allowing it to infect the government’s computers and access the power grid. The Feds assume Lucca did this on purpose and arrest her. This lights a fire under Maia’s butt, and she demands that Adrian let her work the case with him.

Stack refuses to come forward, even if it would help save Lucca. Instead, he works with Marissa and Jay to figure out who placed the malware on his computer. He suspects it was someone he was chatting with on 4chan. Marissa and Jay discover that said someone is none other than annoying alt-righter Felix Staples, who is overjoyed to see Diane again. (It appears as though Felix is Diane’s Colin Sweeney.) Felix, who admits to having spoken to both Stack and the hacker responsible for the virus, agrees to help Diane under the condition that she help file lawsuits against people who have wronged him. Thus, they enter into a “one for you, one for me” agreement that’ll probably oscillate between fun and annoying when we return to it next season.

When Adrian becomes unavailable to question Felix himself, it’s up to Maia to step up and do the questioning in court. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for all season. On the stand, Felix reveals that the hacker’s plan was to turn someone like Lucca into a mule or Trojan horse in order to infect the power grid. Dincon starts throwing objections, and he and Maia get into a yelling match. Both Lucca and Adrian, who arrives midway through, are surprised and impressed by how forcefully Maia argues in court. In the end, she wins over the judge.

Now it’s time for the denouement, and there’s a lot of it.

First, Diane accompanies Felix to his meeting with the hacker responsible for the malware, who turns out to be Stack, surprising no one. Colin shows up with the FBI and arrests Stack right after they exchange flash drives. And that’s when the blackout hits, throwing the entire city into darkness. I’ll admit, a blackout on this scale really pushes the show’s limits, since The Good Fight is supposed to be a realistic show. But overall I liked it because it helped set a tranquil mood for the finale.

While Colin and Lucca share their final word with each other for the season, Maia heads to her parents’ home to celebrate her court victory. Surrounded by candles, she finds out that her father has agreed to take the DOJ’s 35-year deal. She pleads with him to not give up, but he confesses that he’s guilty of everything. Here, the show draws on the Madoff scandal again, and Henry confesses that everyone knew about the Ponzi scheme, which expands the scope of the crime. He gets a call and leaves the house to supposedly turn himself over. However, it’s a lie. Instead, he gets in the car with a shady man who will help him flee justice. It’s an incredibly selfish move, especially because he knows that the Feds know Maia perjured herself.

Meanwhile, Diane shares a very reflective moment with Adrian as they discuss how the law is their way of dealing with the weirdness and chaos of the world. Little do they know that Barbara is listening in on their conversation and seems slightly worried about what this friendship means for her position in the firm. After that chat, Diane drives Kurt, who was injured while trying to stop a carjacking/baby kidnapping, home, which allows Kurt to apologize for cheating on her. He invites her to stay the night, and she agrees. Good Wife fans probably let out a sigh of relief here, and this moment probably didn’t mean much to everyone else, since Diane’s troubled marriage hasn’t been a big part of the season. (But, let’s be real, no one who didn’t watch The Good Wife is watching The Good Fight.) While I’m surprised that Diane’s story concluded on such a positive note, I’m glad it did, because she deserves some happiness before the chaos of season 2. It appears as though there will be plenty of it, given the cliffhanger… 

Lucca joins Maia for a drink at her apartment at the end of the day, but the moment is ruined by Wilbur Dincon, who shows up at Maia’s with a warrant for her arrest. She’s been let down by her family yet again.

“Chaos” was a great end to good/occasionally great season of television. I loved the way it used the central case — the hack — to tie up all of the season’s loose ends in a way that didn’t feel rushed. Story lines seamlessly moved in and out of each other without any stumbling. For example, see the way we found out about Henry’s predicament when Colin entered Dincon’s office to give him the flash drive right as Dincon was meeting with Henry to discuss the 35-year deal on the table. Or how Diane getting on the elevator to go see Kurt in the hospital led right into Dincon exiting the firm’s elevator with a bunch of lawyers to arrest Lucca. Moments like that made this finale feel like an intricately plotted play.  

Furthermore, the hour featured the show’s patented cynicism but tempered it with some touching and optimistic moments, which were primarily courtesy of Diane. I’m very excited to see where the show goes next season and hopes that it takes steps to fix some of the first season’s problems, namely the lack of development for Barbara, as well as Maia’s girlfriend Amy, and the fact that it needs to pay more than lip service to the social justice issues it tackles.

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