The Good Fight recap: The one with the Downton Abbey crossover
This week’s The Good Fight opens with Roland Blum telling all of Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart’s partners that they need to essentially grow a pair. It’s part of his expectedly vulgar pitch to bring him on as a partner because he’s willing to fight for them and play dirty. Even though the partners are (rightfully) skeptical about his sales pitch, you can see our main characters becoming bolder and more courageous throughout the episode in their various fights — dangerously so.
For the most part, The Good Fight season 3 has been relatively light on cases of the week, but tonight’s episode features a case that touches almost all of the season’s arcs. Adrian asks Diane and Liz to help him with a potential 2016 presidential election class action suit. According to a woman named Mona, she voted for Hillary Clinton but the voting machine registered her vote as one for Trump and now she, and several others, want to sue the voting machine manufacturer. To Diane and Liz’s surprise, though, Mona is friends with Book Club member Rochelle, which immediately raises their suspicions about the case because they want to make sure they’re representing the client’s interest and not the Book Club’s.
Spoiler alert: It’s definitely the latter. When the firm goes to court for a hearing on the suit, Rochelle pushes Diane to also request the voting machine manufacturer’s software as part of the discovery. Later on at the meeting, though, Rochelle reveals that she wants the software because the Book Club wants to pull a Defiance, a.k.a. hack the voting machines to win the 2020 presidential election.
Of course, Diane has the only reasonable reaction to the plan “Are you f—ing kidding?”
The answer: Nope, they aren’t.
Rochelle and the rest of the Book Club group are dead-set on putting malware in the voting machine software to help the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nominee defeat Trump. The Book Club believes they are well within their right to do this because the other side (allegedly) stole the 2016 presidential election and this is their way of righting the ship. Even though she’s crossed some lines this season, Diane is very vocal about her objections. “This is not winning. This is stealing,” she says emphatically. “This is totalitarianism.” All the while, Liz silently sits beside her.
What’s so amazing about this ridiculous plot is how The Good Fight comes up with a somewhat understandable explanation for why anyone who believes in the rule of law could possibly go along with this. Diane takes Liz aside, believing that Liz agrees with her. To Diane (and my) surprise, Liz is actually considering it. In Liz’s mind, this is a unique opportunity to fight back against all of the ways in which the other side has sought to disenfranchise black voters over the past few years. “We share a lot of things, but we do not share histories,” Liz tells Diane. “At some point, these stories become more than just anecdotes. There’s something bigger. This democracy you talk about doesn’t exist for a lot of us… It is slowly being taken away from me.” Rigging an election is freaking ridiculous, Scandal more showed that, but Liz’s thought process makes sense and the way Audra McDonald performed the scene moved me. While I might not agree with Liz, I definitely understand where she’s coming from and why this is alluring. In the end, Liz votes to support the plan, as do most of the other women.
“It’s official, we’ve just become as bad as the other side,” says Diane. Not to pile on Diane, but it’s worth pointing out that she essentially created this monster. Several episodes ago, she had the chance to just let the rebellion group die, but instead, she fed the beast and now it’s willing to do anything to get what it wants, including rigging an election. It’s another instance in which The Good Fight reminds us that we created the horrors we’re currently dealing with in the real world.
Even though Diane wants nothing to do with this plan, she nevertheless has to do her job. So the next day in court, she stands up and makes an impassioned case for why Judge Gayle Eno (Kathy Najimy) should rule in favor of releasing the software. Her speech took my breath away. As two American flags wave in the wind outside behind her, Diane argues they need the software to defend the most important right, the right to vote.
“How can they trust the rights that flow from those votes?” says Diane. “If our votes are subverted or discarded, why have faith in our democratic institutions? Why respect a president? Why not choose violent overthrow if our votes are not counted? This is about a constitutional right. It is not a secondary one. It is about who we are. That is why we need this discovery.”
It’s a beautiful moment because she’s doing two things at once. She’s fighting for her client, which goes against what she wants to do. But, she’s also talking to Liz and Rochelle, who are seated in the gallery, trying yet again to dissuade them from walking further down this path to ruin. In the end, the Judge rules to let them inspect the software to find any discrepancies.
The Good Fight is a very self-aware show, especially when it comes to what it means to be a lawyer. Diane’s passionate speech highlights how the best lawyers can argue anything if it means winning, even if they don’t believe it themselves. At the same time, though, the show undercuts TV’s theatrical depiction of the law elsewhere in the story. While all of this is going on, Lucca is busy spending time with Downton Abbey actor Gary Carr, who is shadowing Blum for an upcoming lawyer role. Part of their flirting involves discussing how TV shows over-dramatize what being a lawyer really is, which is some meta nonsense that I absolutely love.
After securing the software, Jay discovers the software is already infected with malware that favored Republican candidates. The firm presents this evidence to the Judge, who decides to take some time before offering a ruling. Adrian’s judge girlfriend tips him off that Judge Eno is going to rule against them because she’s on the take. Although they don’t have any concrete proof, Diane and Adrian boldly try to use that tip to force Judge Eno to recuse herself. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work, and she dismisses their class action with prejudices, which means they can’t re-litigate.
Of course, Diane is pissed that a corrupt judge just triumphed and shut them down. So, she returns to the Book Club and declares that she’s not only for the voting hack plan, but she wants to be the one to push the button when Polly is ready to deploy her malware. In other words, we’ve just witnessed Diane break bad even further. However, she isn’t the only one who made some bold moves here.
Blum realizes the partners aren’t taking his pitch seriously, so he decides to force their hand by looking into the Reddick sexual harassment settlements. Adrian catches wind of this and confronts Blum, and physically pins him to the wall. Realizing that this situation needs to be handled, Adrian goes on the offensive. First, he has Marissa collect evidence that Blum suborned perjury and reports him to the bar association. Second, Adrian decides that the firm needs to go public with the Reddick settlements. We’ll have to wait whether or not that happens in next week.
- I can’t overstate how much I loved the fact that the Kings hired Gary Carr to play Gary Carr in a story about how he’s researching his next role and ends up becoming Lucca’s new love interest. It’s weird and meta and I love it. I also love how Lucca isn’t interested in his fame at all.
- This week’s animated short is about what Carr did on Downton Abbey.
- Of course, there’s a storm raging outside of the court’s windows when the judge rules against Diane et al.