THE GOOD FIGHT Review: “Chaos”

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In the aptly titled season finale, “Chaos,” THE GOOD FIGHT wraps up it’s inaugural season with an exploration of how that word affects us is in both macro and micro ways.

We begin with Maia, whose entire life has been chaotic since the beginning of the season when her father was arrested for his Ponzi scheme. She’s been through a lot in the past three months. She began her first year as an associate at RB&K, she’s weathered explicit online harrassment in the wake of her family’s scandal, and she covered up her father’s suicide attempt. Now it’s time for her bi-annual review. Adrian and Barbara tell Maia that she needs to be bolder, and task her with choosing a partner to shadow, and to not take “no” for an answer.

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Maia worries that she’s the only associate who’s received a bad review as she watches through the glass walls as Adrian and Barbara smile and shake hands with various other associates. Lucca, for example, gets a well-deserved promotion to a bigger office and the partner track. But Lucca’s in for her own battle with chaos this week.

Jason Biggs returns as his Good Wife character, Dylan Stack, this universe’s Bitcoin creator. He comes to Diane asking for help. He is being framed for cyberterrorism. He shows Diane code he found on his computer, and warns that the code is identical to the hack that caused a power outage in Vermont. He claims that the same code will be used that evening to take down the Chicago power grid. He wants Diane to get him immunity in exchange for helping to prevent the hack.

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Lucca is asked to speak to the DOJ about the potential hack. She meets with Colin Morello in a melancholic scene in which they discuss their breakup, she returns his t-shirt, and he gives it back to her. I totally ‘ship these two, and really just want them to work it out. Lucca presents a “hypothetical” cyber attack scenario to Colin, and gives him Stack’s flash drive containing the code.

Colin gives the drive to his boss, Dincon. Dincon deduces that Lucca is the lawyer involved, and arrests her as a co-conspirator when the drive turns out to be a Trojan horse that installed the malware onto the DOJ’s computer, thus giving the hacker access to the power grid.

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Now, this is where I, as a viewer, take issue. We are supposed to believe that, for the most part, these are intelligent people. What idiot takes a potentially dangerous, hacker-provided flash drive, and plugs it into an internet-connected government computer? I saw the Trojan horse coming a mile away and none of these people did? They shouldn’t arrest Lucca for co-conspiracy, they should arrest themselves on charges of gross stupidity.

Lucca’s personal and professional chaos comes to a head at her hearing when Colin is forced to testify, and admits in court to their relationship and breakup. Adrian’s personal attacks on Colin are helpful to Lucca’s case, and she’s smart enough to know that, but it’s obvious from just watching her and Colin that the public discussion of their involvement is torturous.

Meanwhile, Jay and Marissa are working on identifying the real hacker, and their investigation brings them back to the one and only Felix Staples. Staples agrees to help unmask the hacker in exchange for Diane’s legal representation in a number of lawsuits. Staples is the worst kind of provocateur. As previously discussed in Episode 6, Staples enjoys chaos for its own sake. It’s unclear whether he believes any of the incendiary things he says. He simply enjoys riling people up. He basks in the anger and hatred he creates, which is seen clearly as he sits smugly in an empty theater while protesters outside rage against him. He cares only about attention, good or bad is of no concern to him.

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Maia has chosen to shadow Adrian despite his protests, and he can’t help but be impressed by her tenacity. The DOJ knows they can’t beat Adrian in court, so they come back from recess early after Colin’s testimony when Adrian’s at the office, leaving Maia to question Staples. Over the phone, Adrian advises Maia to “get angry.” Maia is still nervous, but she acquits herself nicely, and gets exactly what she needs from Staples. She also impressively dresses down Dincon for attempting to manipulate the judge’s emotions. Maia is generally a reactionary character. She acts in response to the chaos that surrounds her. In this moment, we finally see her exert control, and it’s exhilarating for her and the audience alike.

It’s a fleeting victory for Maia, although she doesn’t know it yet. Henry has been offered a plea deal for 35 years. Distraught, he calls a mysterious man, and we realize he’s going to flee. However, Rupert, the Rindell’s lawyer, returns to say they’ve sweetened the deal. In exchange for a guilty plea and 35 years, the state won’t prosecute Maia for perjury.

Back in case-of-the-week-land, Diane makes a deal with Staples to out the real hacker. Staples sets up in an person meeting with the hacker to discuss their plans to blackout other cities. Who arrives but Dylan Stack, of course. The DOJ takes him into custody as Chicago goes black—the hack was successful.

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At the Rindell mansion, Maia, Lenore, and Henry eat pizza off paper plates in the candlelight. It seems the Rindell’s are finally becoming a family again. Henry tells his wife and daughter about the plea. He also finally admits his guilt to Maia. However, when he goes out to “Rupert’s” car to turn himself in, it is actually the mysterious man in the driver’s seat.

Maia returns to her apartment in an exhausted, but good mood all things considered. Lucca comes over, and the two discuss the chaos of the past three months, and toast to a “boring” next three months. But, of course that very toast is the kiss of death. Dincon and his minions arrive at the door to inform Maia that her father has fled, and that she’s under arrest. Chaos . . . here we come.

Final Thoughts:

There is a very nice tertiary storyline for Diane this week in which Kurt ends up hospitalized after saving a baby from a carjacker. The momentary panic of thinking Kurt might be dead when she gets the emergency room call reminds Diane how much she loves her husband despite the hurt he’s caused her. After driving him home in the dark of the blackout, she agrees to stay the night. It’s very sweet, and Christine Baranski is divine in Diane’s more emotional moments.

Diane also has a moment with Adrian as they sit on the conference room table, staring out at the black city. Adrian waxes poetic about the importance of law in our turbulent and divided times. He is fighting chaos in the only way he knows how . . . with order. What’s most impactful about this scene is that as the camera backs away from Adrian and Diane, we see Barbara, sitting silently in the dark, listening, a look of sadness on her face. Now, while a viewer could certainly interpret Barbara’s envy of Diane to be a hidden romantic interest in Adrian, I fully believe this is about their relative positions of power within the firm. Barbara has been Adrian’s right hand for years, and it’s clear she feels she’s losing her place to Diane. Diane’s presences has been Barbara’s chaos this season, and I would love to see their dynamic explored more deeply in Season 2.

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The other two characters I want to see more of next season are definitely Jay and Marissa. Marissa has announced her intentions to become an investigator to a skeptical Diane, but we’ve seen enough to know she’s got the chops. I love Jay and Marissa’s playful, mentor/mentee relationship, and it provides a much-needed levity to the show’s often dark, political undertones.

So, that’s a wrap on The Good Fight Season 1. Here’s to even more chaos in Season 2!

TB-TV-Grade-A

Season 1, Episode 10 (S01E10)
The Good Fight streams Sundays on CBS All Access

Read all of our reviews of The Good Fight here. 
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A.R. reads and writes YA, watches too much , and serves at the pleasure of her cat.
Follow A.R. on Twitter: @ARWasserman

Keep up with all of A.R.’s reviews here.

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