The Good Fight finale recap: The one with the scary cliffhanger
Even though it seems like The Good Fight has traveled a long distance from season 1, the show hasn’t forgotten where it came from. In fact, it embraces that legacy in today’s season 3 finale, which turns a critical eye to how Reddick Boseman & Lockhart lawyers “fought the good fight” in that first year, mirroring season 1 in interesting and meaningful ways.
“The One About the End of the World” (what a great title) begins with the firm congratulating Julius Cain on his federal judgeship, which opens up an equity partner spot that Lucca and Roslyn end up competing for (who is black enough to take it? Is the question). Before Julius takes his leave, though, he gets pulled into court one more time to fight Blum, who brings a class-action suit against the firm. Blum and several past clients allege that the firm actively took advantage of the police brutality case victims by over-charging on legal fees and ensuring that they made more money on the settlements than their clients. The bombastic disbarred lawyer’s goals are clear: He wants to destroy the firm by tarnishing its reputation as the defender of underdogs.
The following case winds up being difficult for two reasons: First, the judge, Dash Toosie (not Tootsie!), is a new Trump appointee who knows nothing and is easily swayed. Second, the firm has to face off against Maia, who is handling in-court arguments since Blum has been disbarred. And this isn’t season 1 Maia. No, this Maia has been hardened, learned from the School of Blum, and is out for blood.
Of course, Diane is shocked to see Maia working with Blum, and after court, she confronts her on the street. Diane throws out all of the negatives to working with Blum, but Maia doesn’t care because not only does she get a chance to build a firm from the ground-up, but she also truly believes that this class-action suit is justified. “You’ve done wrong. Look at these cases, in all eight you made more money than your clients. In all eight, you had a conflict of interest, yet all the while, you were still patting yourselves on the back thinking you were fighting the good fight,” she says.
Even though I barely remember season 1, that interpretation of the firm’s actions doesn’t feel 100 percent incorrect. To be fair, Adrian did make decisions on the cases they took based on money (remember the firm’s financiers), and earlier this season, he did say he didn’t have time to be outraged because he was too busy trying to make money. Furthermore, this does tie into The Good Fight’s favorite theme: how business concerns often cause good people to compromise on their ideals (“It’s good to be rich, but it’s hard to be nice,” sings Jonathan Coulton later on in the episode). As always, I like the way The Good Fight is willing to hold its seemingly righteous characters accountable when they slip, as they do here.
The ensuing hearing takes many hilariously absurd twists and turns. Once the partners realize that Blum has the judge wrapped around his fingers, they resort to some hilarious tactics. For example, one witness explains a boring legal concept using a children’s story and some of Jay’s drawings, and another expert witness talks into the microphone like she’s performing ASMR because the judge loves ASMR. I was dying during the latter scene. Of course, Blum counters by flooding the courtroom with Brooks Brothers Bros, whose main job is to cheer whenever Maia makes a point and boo whenever the other side does in order to sway the malleable judge. Furthermore, Blum also asks Judge Hazelwood, you know, Adrian’s girlfriend, to bring Judge Toosie to side with them.
In court, Adrian takes the stand and defends the way the firm has tried help the underdog and remain a successful business. Essentially, he argues he’s done what any other firm does. “Now I won’t be held to account because the firm that I helped to build doesn’t conform to your idea of a black law firm,” says Adrian. “Reddick, Boseman, Lockhart is my firm, and I apologize for nothing.”
And then a lighting ball hits a power plant, which causes a citywide blackout (yes, like in the season 1 finale, because these repetitions have meaning) and the sky turns red like a scene out of Crisis on Infinite Earths (“Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And the universe will never be the same). But the apocalyptic sky isn’t the only thing that made me think of superhero comics. As the characters stare pensively out their windows and contemplate their multitudes of sins and wickedness, end times, betrayals, race-relations and so much more, we’re treated to the latest animated short that recaps everything that happened this season and ends with a message that’s both hopeful and foreboding.
“There is no Superman. Sometimes there’s no second chance,” sings Coulton. “So come and sit here next to me at the end of the world. Cause we’re the ones coming to save us. We’re flawed, but we’re all that we got. The season is over, but the story is not.” The idea is that the only way out of this hot mess real-world crisis (some people have flourished, some people have fallen, and our country will never be the same) that we’re currently suffering through is by endeavoring to do and be better, because the Flash isn’t going to sacrifice himself to save the multiverse. And the fact that we have to depend on ourselves is scary and optimistic, depending on which way you look at it.
Here, Diane is choosing to remain optimistic. As the blackout continues, Diane and Adrian have a sequel to the conversations they had mid-blackout at the end of season 1. Adrian — who just found out his girlfriend bribed a judge — says he was wrong to believe that the law would help through the chaos of the world, but now he believes he’s wrong. Diane tells him love is the solution. Seriously. “I was just watching my husband Kurt on TV, and I realized I felt something I haven’t felt in a very long time: hope,” she says. “When everything slips away, there’s that. Love, we can’t give up on that.”
Diane’s entire arc has been building up to this moment. In season 2, Diane reached her lowest point. She was hopeless, apathetic, and microdosing her Trump-induced mental anguish away. In season 3, she’s slowly been working her way back up from there. Part of that involved flirting with darkness when she burned that sex worker earlier in the season and then teamed up with the resistance group that started crossing too many lines. Last week, she finally cut ties with the Book Club because she realized the craziness of the world wasn’t enough to justify compromising her higher ideals, and she even asked Jay to approach Rachelle about threatening her. Now, she’s reached a place where she has faith that things can get better. (Elsewhere in the blackout, Maia considers Diane’s partnership offer; Lucca and Roslyn reflect on the firm pitting two black women against each other; Lucca finds out that Maia was offered the job and decides to drop acid with Marissa because she doesn’t care anymore).
After Diane’s hopeful and reflective conversation with Adrian, the episode continues to lure the viewer into a false sense of security. The next day, the lawyers return to court and Judge Toosie ends up ruling in favor of the defense (Reddick Boseman & Lockhart). But then it hits you with the first sobering turn: Maia turns down Diane’s offer because she and Blum are heading to Washington D.C., where Blum is still allowed to practice law. If that isn’t a scary idea, I don’t what it is. But I love how that’s the show’s way of, I’m assuming, writing Maia off, which feels like a fitting and very surprising end to her arc. The final shot of Maia sucking on a fentanyl lollipop as she and Blum drive off is gold, gaudy, and brilliant.
Then the episode cuts to Diane and Kurt in bed and reveals that the season’s opening scene was actually a flash-forward (Yes, The Good Fight hit us with a surprise flash-forward). Diane talks about how happy she is etc…But then, they hear movement outside of their door. A S.W.A.T. team has entered their home. They’ve just been swatted. The S.W.A.T. team prepares to enter their bedroom and the final shot of the season is of an officer’s fingers counting down 3, 2, 1. Cut to black.
What a bloody terrifying and bleak way to end the season! Because of The Good Fight, swatting has become one of the things that scares me most, and I was already pretty nervous about the cops. But it makes sense for the season to end with Diane’s Book Club using their radical tactics on her because she left. Again, The Good Fight is all about holding its liberal characters (a.k.a. ostensibly the good guys, in the show’s eyes) accountable for when they compromise themselves, and that includes facing the consequences. Diane created Book Club through a lie and now she’s facing a reckoning of sorts — a very scary one, to be sure. Not to bring up superheroes again, but it reminds me of Ultron’s line about how we all create the thing we dread in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
While I appreciate the show’s willingness to end on such a cliffhanger, I have one note: If Kurt isn’t alive when season 4 resumes, I will riot.
- Lucca finds out that some partners don’t want her to become an equity partner because they don’t think she’s black enough. So, Lucca tries to endear herself to her fellow black associates, which doesn’t go well. In the end, though, she and Roslyn, the associate some of the partners prefer, realize how messed up it is for the firm to pit two black women against each other.
- The White House asks Kurt to introduce Trump at an event in Chicago. Kurt struggles to write his speech, and so Diane agrees to help him because she loves her husband. At the event, Kurt stands right behind Trump and looks downright miserable. In fact, two Trump campaign aides remove him from the first row because he isn’t cheering enough. Of course, the moment goes viral.
- Lucca guessed Maia was going to turn down Diane’s partnership offer.
- “The end times are beautiful. “
- The power plant explosion was inspired by something that actually happened while I was in New York in December.
The Good Fight