Death is in the air on the 408th day of Donald Trump's presidency
The excellent first season of The Good Fight ended with stylish lawyer Adrian Boseman having a late-night drink with Diane Lockhart and reflecting on how insane the world has become. “It’s like something’s come detached,” he said, as the two of them looked out onto Chicago, which was plunged into darkness after a cyber attack. Boseman was obviously talking about how much the world had changed in the first days of Trump’s presidency, which takes up a lot of air on the show. Well, the world hasn’t become any less unhinged in the past year. In fact, the show’s world — now 408 days into Trump’s reign — is even crazier (and scarier) than before.
How unsettling has our world become? Well, The Good Fight‘s second season begins with three deaths. First, there’s legendary civil rights lawyer Carl Reddick, who, as Barbara notes, was born and died when Nazis were marching in the streets. Then, there’s the death of Roger Hill, a lawyer we’ve never met before, who was murdered in a hit-and-run by an angry client. “Death to all lawyers!” yells the deceased attorney’s client. And, finally, one of the court bailiffs has a heart attack in the middle of voir dire. Diane, who was already shaken by the state of the world, finds all of this even more disturbing and has no idea how to respond to it.
Remember, the series opened with our favorite liberal lawyer watching Trump’s inauguration in disgust and surprise that the world had come to this. Alas, she’s even more unsettled in the season 2 premiere because of all of the death that surrounds her, not mention the fact that the daft Howard Lyman, with whom she used to work at Lockhart and Gardner, is now a judge. (In case you didn’t watch The Good Wife, all you need to know is that Howard is a racist, sexist idiot, which means he has had no problem succeeding in the world.) But that’s the brilliant thing about The Good Fight‘s season premiere. While it’s obviously using death to show how unsettling and irrational the world has become in the past year, it also conveys this with smaller developments, like the fact that Howard is a judge now.
While Diane is stuck in court because Howard won’t let her leave since he has a problem with Reddick, the rest of the firm is paying their respects to their deceased and antagonistic named partner. Or at least they’re trying to. Even though this is a relatively important loss, business still takes precedence. When Boseman approaches Liz (Audra McDonald, reprising her Good Wife role on The Good Fight), Reddick’s daughter and Boseman’s ex-wife, to pay his respects, they end up sniping at each other about if the firm can keep Reddick’s name. Boseman wants to, but Liz is against it.
At the funeral, Liz’s boss Wilbur Deacon asks her to take a step back from the Department of Justice because she called Trump a white supremacist in a tweet. But Liz won’t stand for that, and in the middle of her dad’s funeral service, she writes, “I quit” on a program and passes it to Wilbur like she’s back in high school slipping notes. Yet another instance of how the world doesn’t stop for these personal moments.
Boseman, Julius — who returned to the firm after a chaotic four months at Hart’s firm — and Barbara also have more important matters to tend to at the funeral. After Barbara gives a speech in which she admits that Reddick, Boseman, and Kolstadt has failed Reddick, the Obamas’ lawyer Rob Habercour starts to pull his business back from the firm, which was supposed to help settle some issues about the location of Obama’s library. Boseman and Julius assume this is in response to Barbara’s speech, but when Diane arrives at the funeral and meets with Habercour, he says it’s because the Obamas want to follow Liz to wherever she lands. (Next: Diane Lockhart does drugs)
Because this is The Good Fight, there’s still a lot more going on at this funeral. The premiere reveals that Maia is out on bail and rocking a new ankle monitor after being arrested in the finale. Jane Lynch’s Madeline Starkey approaches Maia, who has developed a tough exterior in the past year, about making a deal yet again. This time, Madeline tries to manipulate Maia by showing her a picture of a woman Maia recognizes as her old tennis coach withdrawing money from one of her father’s offshore accounts and a recording of her father.
On the way to the post-funeral reception, the characters continue to have other things on their minds. Diane plots with Julius to offer Liz a named partnership at their firm; Lucca and Maia listen to the audio recording Madeline gave them; and Marissa complains to Jay that Boseman doesn’t take her seriously at work.
When they all arrive at the reception, Diane and Julius make Liz a proposition, and she agrees to give it some thought. Meanwhile, Maia starts flashing back to the few months she spent with her tennis coach and remembers seeing her naked with her father. Obviously, Maia is considers cooperating with Madeline, but Lucca and Jay realize that the recording is fake. I’ll admit I loved watching Lucca, Maia, and Jay fool around with the FBI’s voice manipulation software, which they used to create a hot and steamy convo between Henry Rindell, Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence. Anyway, Lucca and Maia reject Madeline’s plea deal, which means Maia is heading to trial soon.
As the party continues on, Diane, who’s now visibly shaken by the lawyer murder, visits the bar for some bourbon and leaves it with both a drink and some psilocybin (a.k.a. mushrooms) for microdosing. The episode ends with Rene, who offered Diane a job, rescinding that offer and giving it to Barbara, who was apparently trying to oust Diane from the firm. It’s a shame to see Erica Tazel go because the character had so much potential. (Christine Baranski’s chuckle lights up my world.) Diane leaves the party and gets in the backseat of her car, where she takes a hit of the eye dropper and gazes up at the shimmering sky, like she’s submitting to the absurdity of this mad world for a few moments.
The Good Fight‘s season 2 premiere was a lot of fun. Going into this season, I was worried about how the show would respond all of the news that happened while it was off the air, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun it found in how insane this world has become. My one concern after this episode is that Maia’s story line still isn’t as engaging as it should be. Less criminal father stuff and more lawyering. Rose Leslie continues to give a fantastic performance, but I want to know more about who Maia is as a person. She still remains a bit of a cypher who is simply responding to the events around her.
- One other development: Marissa, played by series MVP Sarah Steele, convinces Boseman to let her work part time as an investigator for the firm.
- The thing I loved about The Good Wife and love about The Good Fight is that it’s a very talky show, but it’s rarely boring. One of my favorite scenes of the episode was of Diane and Marissa lounging on the stairs and talking. I especially enjoyed Marissa’s observation that Diane definitely loves the fight even though she thinks she doesn’t. Having watched The Good Wife, we know that’s true. Diane (and Will and Alicia) were constantly finding ways to make their lives more complicated because they thrived under pressure.
- I’m glad this episode didn’t dwell too much on Howard Lyman as a judge. He shows up in two scenes to remind us of how incompetent he is and doesn’t overstay his welcome.