The Good Fight recap: The one with the raging storm and the destructive meme
A storm is raging in Chicago — again. “The One With Lucca Becoming a Meme” opens with Marissa and Jay pondering the tumultuous weather as they stare out of the firm’s windows. It’s a weird occurrence for them. Based on the use of inclement weather in last week’s episode (one fateful encounter with Roland Blum on a stormy night ultimately leads to Diane landing back on the NSA’s radar), though, we know it portends trouble; however, I definitely couldn’t predict how much damage the storm would leave in its wake.
We begin with Maia, who meets with the partners about her drug arrest. After she leaves, one of the partners suggests that she should be fired because that’s how they handled things with another associate who was arrested for drugs. None of the main characters — Adrian, Diane, and Liz — want to take such a drastic course of action, so Adrian decides that they’ll review all of the evidence and consider a suspension.
Spoiler alert: Maia is fired by the end of the episode. Sure, that’s a surprising development on its own, but what’s even more surprising is how the episode builds to that moment. It doesn’t’ come about because they found new damning evidence. Instead, it’s the result of a few small decisions that have dramatically unintended consequences and bring the firm’s racial disparities to the fore. And it’s all a result of the internet.
See, a white woman calls the police on Lucca while she’s out with her baby. You know, as some people are ridiculously want to do. Of course, it’s 2019, so someone catches the absurd incident on camera and it makes the rounds on the internet. This leads to Lucca meeting with the partners, who assign Jay to driver her to and from work because of the death threats she’s receiving. In the meeting, Lucca observes how all of the black partners can remember the names of black police brutality victims, but the white partners don’t; the white partners do know the names of white victims of crimes.
Taken on its own, this is another instance of The Good Fight holding a mirror up to liberals, especially white liberals. And this isn’t unique to The Good Fight either. Robert and Michelle King held liberals/Democrats accountable on The Good Wife, too. That entire show was about how power can corrupt even those on the left. Here, the show is pointing how even some liberals have biases that they’re unaware of.
After the meeting, though, Lucca notices that most of the new associates are white. When she brings that up to Jay, he informs her that even this minority-owned business has race problems. Out of innocent curiosity, Lucca asks him to pull the salary data to see if there is a racial disparity so that she can talk to Boseman about it. Unfortunately, that request opens another can of worms as Jay discovers that Marissa is now making the same amount as him even though she hasn’t been there for nearly as long. Note, a storm erupts as Lucca and Jay discuss this problem on the way to work.
When Jay gets to the office, he immediately confronts Adrian and Liz about the pay problem. “It’s a mistake to equate salary with value,” says Liz, speaking like a head of a corporation instead of a human being. Needless to say, the conversation doesn’t go well. And once Jay leaves the room, Adrian and Liz have a very frank discussion about the fact that yes, the white associates make more than the black ones because the white associates are more likely to leave and thus need an incentive to stay. “It’s capitalism, Liz!” says Adrian.
This is another instance where the Kings touch on the ways in which power can change people. Now that Adrian is in charge, he has to worry about keeping the business alive and sometimes, at least from his point of view, that means compromising — allowing a little bias to dictate things like salary. Adrian and Liz’s entire exchange is uncomfortable but it’s also realistic. Furthermore, I also love that The Good Fight is willing to cast characters who admit to uncomfortable truths like this.
In the wake of his failed conversation with the partners, Jay decides to send around the salary data to the entire firm. Naturally, this knowledge being out in the open upends the entire firm as colleagues become adversaries. Eventually, the black associates meet with the partners to discuss the firm’s issues and they bring up how the biases go beyond just pay and offices. Specifically, they point out that Maia is only getting suspended for her drug arrest while the other associate, who was black, was fired. That leads to the partners being forced to vote on whether or not Maia should keep her job, and despite Diane’s protests about the uniqueness of her situation, the vote ends up being 6-5 in favor of firing Maia (Liz votes yes). And thus Maia’s career at Reddick Boseman Lockhart ends (at least for now. I can’t imagine Rose Leslie is actually done with the show). In some ways, Maia’s firing is directly the cause of Lucca becoming a meme, but it also feels a bit like comeuppance for her learning the wrong lessons from Roland Blum, too.
While all of this was going on, Diane and Liz were also busy dealing with their rebellion group, which was emboldened by last week’s victory. This week, they use P-Anon to attack a country singer named Sabrina, who happens to be one of the firm’s clients. Remember when Taylor Swift’s Instagram post caused a spike in voter registration among young people? Well, the group wants the same thing to happen now, except they want Sabrina to come out against the alt-right.
When the alt-right creates a meme with Sabrina, Diane and Liz urge her to denounce the alt-right, but she declines because she believes music shouldn’t be political. So then P-Anon starts attacking her sister who is transitioning online, and Sabrina changes her mind and makes a statement. At first, Diane and Liz are uncomfortable with the group’s methods, but they decide to stick with the group because their methods are indeed effective. Again, the good fight sours a bit.
- DNC chairman Mike Landau shows up at the firm and berates Marissa for helping Julius with his federal judgeship campaign. It’s one of the funniest moments in the show’s history.
- Alas, the Historical Law Society drops Julius as a candidate for the judgeship because he refuses to drop Marissa as his consultant.
The Good Fight