Paranoia abounds in the thrilling season 2 finale 'Day 492'

By Chancellor Agard
May 27, 2018 at 01:29 PM EDT
Elizabeth Fisher/CBS
S2 E13
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In the season 1 finale of The Good Fight, Lucca Quinn found herself in the hot seat when she was erroneously arrested for conspiring to commit a terrorist attack. Well, a year later, it’s Diane’s turn to be in some legal hot water as the feds come after her for conspiring to assassinate the president; bonkers, but also thrilling. The season 2 finale seamlessly vacillates through several tones — from paranoia to cynicism and farce — giving us an impressive episode that reminded me why I loved this remarkable season.

Diane’s legal troubles arise after two FBI agents interview her as part of Kurt’s background check for his new FBI gig. They ask her if anyone’s slept over at her apartment in the past year. At first, she says only Maia and a friend’s daughter, but then she remembers she also slept with nutty leftist Tully Nelson. With Liz’s help, she discloses that fact to the FBI, which reveals that there’s actually more going on here because Tully, who has made several extreme statements, is being tried by a grand jury for planning to assassinate President Donald Trump. Not only that, but our least favorite federal prosecutor, Patrick Basehart, also wants to indict Diane for conspiring with him to do so.

Now, your first reaction to hearing this is probably, “That’s ridiculous, Diane would obviously never do that!” But then The Good Fight reveals the long game it has been playing all season: When Diane goes before the grand jury for the first time, Basehart plays her a recording of her scolding Tully for the gun he has on him and pointedly saying that he’s discussing a crime with his lawyer, which he shouldn’t do. So Diane’s defense that she thought Tully was joking about killing the president goes out the window. The situation grows even more complicated because Basehart gets his hands on the recording of Diane of saying she’s this close to taking to the streets with her gun in “Day 450.” We knew she was being hyperbolic, but that’s still a pretty extreme thing to say.

Both these twists make this finale feel rather paranoid. Upon hearing that first recording, Diane destroys her SIM card, and when she returns home, she only communicates with Kurt via a Word document that turns sexy because she’s concerned about their home being bugged. Furthermore, Liz later learns that Ruth Eastman was responsible for leaking the second tape to the feds. Ruth was worried about the optics of the DNC working with a lawyer who was being tried for conspiring to kill the president and wanted to get ahead of it by showing that the DNC doesn’t tolerate that kind of discourse. Ruth obviously knows Diane wasn’t being serious, but she has her eye on winning the midterm elections and will do anything to do so. Given this show’s politics, it’s easy to forget sometimes that the Kings aren’t afraid to be critical of the left too, which is something they displayed on the very cynical Good Wife. (Recap continues on the next page)

After celebrating the birth of Lucca’s child (Lucca was in labor for 14 hours), Diane, Adrian, and Liz have a heavy discussion about the law in the Trump’s America. Diane reminds Adrian that he said that the law is their only constant in this unhinged world in last season’s finale, which is a statement that he stands by a year later. However, in light of everything that has happened, Diane wonders what the point of following the law is if the laws aren’t just. Liz suggests that maybe conscience rules, meaning you should break the law if it offends your conscience. Diane takes that to heart.

Diane, like most of these lawyers, plays by the rules; She and everyone else here make sure they never have to lie on the stand, or at least can plead plausible deniability. However, with the feds coming down on her, Diane is willing to forgo her normal ethics and engage in situational ethics, which has been a long time in the making, since her big speech in “Day 450.” She realizes the only way to get out of her current jam is to lie, so she has Adrian leak a photo of Basehart with a former Hooters waitress who now works for him to idiot right-wing morning show host Ted Willoughby in order to raise suspicions that he’s having an affair. Diane knows he’s not having one; in fact, he moved said employee to Chicago to get her out of an affair with the president. But this is war and all bets are off, and Diane won’t sit idly by while people are coming after her. Although we don’t see the resolution, we’re left to assume the president will end up firing Basehart, putting an end to this case.

While Diane’s legal problems were the driving engine of the finale, it wasn’t all serious. In fact, what made this episode so enjoyable is that the script balanced the paranoid, tense, Trump-heavy moments with scenes of levity. There was Diane telling Kurt via Word document she wanted to “f—” him, and Adrian and Julian forced to deal with several idiots on an anti-gun-violence committee assembled by Rahm Emmanuel that farcically ended up being taken over by an NRA rep. And of course we had Lucca giving birth, which was mostly played for humor, from Francesca arguing with Lucca’s white mother, Deirdre (Judith Light), to everyone around Lucca cursing at the top of their lungs to make her feel better. I died laughing when Lucca yelled “You motherf—er, you bring the drugs back!”

I really liked where we left things with Lucca in the finale. Obviously, Colin is very eager for Lucca to move to Washington, D.C., but she’s still on the fence. However, it’s pretty clear she’s made a decision when this lone wolf finally returns home after giving birth and smiles when she sees Maia and Marissa’s car waiting for her outside her apartment. Those are the people she wants to come home to, not Colin.

I’m sad The Good Fight is ending, because this season has been great. The best thing I can compare it to is the comic Mister Miracle, which, like The Good Fight, was about the mental strain of living in this crazy time, when it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s fake. The Good Fight captured that feeling perfectly. Diane’s inability to process what was happening around her was incredibly relatable, and her journey from a self-induced hallucinogenic haze to deciding to fight back was one of the most interesting things I saw on television this year. After this finale, I have no idea what to expect from season 3, but given how the Kings switched gears between seasons 1 and 2, I have no doubt it won’t just be more of the same.

Sidebar:

  • I have no idea what to make of Diane’s secret meeting with a porn star who claims to have slept with Trump. Diane sets up another a meeting with her right as the episode ends, but who knows if the show will actually return to that.
  • In the last scene of the finale, we see Ted reporting that someone murdered a journalist and left a note that said “Kill all reporters” on the body. Then the computer screen fades into a video of President Trump warning that a storm is coming. A forebeoding end.
  • David Buckley’s score was, as always, perfect. Get this man some awards!

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