The case at the center of this week’s THE GOOD FIGHT is a complex ownership dispute over an embryo. One of Barbara Kolstad’s very first clients, Laura Salano, sold her eggs to a fertility clinic eight years ago. Contractually, if the eggs were not used within five years, ownership of the eggs reverts to her. Laura, having survived ovarian cancer, now sees the frozen eggs as her only opportunity to have a child. Barbara brings Diane and Lucca in on the case. Again, Diane and Lucca make a great team. The fertility clinic has changed ownership, and the eggs were sent to a research hospital. Eventually, our lawyers discover that only one viable egg remains, and it’s already been fertilized. The wife of the couple who now owns the embryo has a genetic disorder. They plan to take the egg to England for a procedure that’s illegal in the U.S. to “raid” Laura Salano’s egg for it’s genetic markers, thus destroying its viability. However, as the judge points out, the case can’t be decided on questions of life, he must adjudicate it based on property law.
The science in this case is complex, but the morality even more so. Even the judge appears visibly emotional knowing that the letter of the law fails to take into account the humanity of the dispute. The best part of this case, from a story standpoint, is that it finally brings Barbara and Diane together. I’ve noted over the past few episodes my disappointment at showing these two powerful women as solely adversarial, but this case gives them an opportunity to have an honest and powerful conversation about their choices as mature working women who chose not to have kids. It’s rare on TV to see women who choose not to be mothers—who choose their careers over more traditional paths. Barbara asks Diane if she ever regrets having kids, and Diane admits that she does sometimes, but rarely. Diane explains that it’s only now that she’s been with Kurt, whom she met late in life, that she wonders what a son or daughter of theirs would be like. After speaking with Barbara, Diane even calls her estranged husband, but hangs up after two rings. It’s a deeply human moment, and Christine Baranski’s performance is impeccable as ever.
Diane is having a rough week in more ways than one. Mike Kresteva (Matthew Perry) is back. Diane warns Adrian that Kresteva is “not straightforward,” and she worries about his visit to the firm. Her fears are confirmed when Kresteva serves the partners and Lucca with subpoenas requiring them to testify in front of a grand jury. Kresteva has been named special counsel in charge of police brutality, but rather than addressing the core issue of brutal cops, he intends to go after the firm that prosecutes the majority of police brutality cases in order to reduce the number of lawsuits.
Lucca seeks out Colin’s help to go over Kresteva’s head, and get him to drop his shady tactics. This leads to more flirting between Lucca and Colin, and Lucca agrees to a date. These two are great together on screen, and bring much needed balance to the show’s often heavy themes.
Meanwhile, Maia and Marissa (who I might start referring to as the “kids” of this show) have their own war to win. A fake Twitter account in Maia’s name is spreading salacious rumors about her, and she wants it to stop. With Marissa’s help, Maia discovers her ex-boyfriend, Ted, created a Twitter bot out of revenge for her dumping him. Maia confronts him, but he says there’s nothing he can do. The bot is self-reproducing. Things get worse for Maia when Twitter agrees to freeze the account, but the bot pivots and begins producing fake news stories about her. Once again the Kings are hitting the hot-button issues of the moment. Maia and Marissa, with the help of investigator Jay and Maia’s friend Yesha, turn the tables on Ted by creating fake news stories about him. He comes to the law office enraged, but is quickly put in his place by Adrian. Ted agrees to back down if Maia will too.
Unfortunately for Maia, the fake news stories have already spread to Reddit, and there’s no way of purging all of them from the internet. Yesha tells Maia she needs to “let it go,” and Maia takes a breath, and closes her laptop. However, in the episode’s closing scene we see that Kresteva’s gotten a hold of the stories, and believing them to be true, wants to use them to help cripple the firm.
The Good Fight may be fiction, but it never shies away from dealing with very real issues. Fake news is a problem because people believe it. Lies can and do hurt innocent people every day, and I’m interested to see how this storyline plays out.
Diane name checked Alicia again this week, but we still don’t have any clue what happened to her after the slap. I wonder if the Kings will continue to tease us, or if we’ll ever get any insight into where Alicia is now.
Marissa and Jay have only a few seconds of screen time together this week, but the actors have great chemistry. I’d love to see more of them together in future episodes (and not necessarily in a romantic sense, although I wouldn’t be opposed).
Racial politics continue to be a major theme throughout the show, and it’s often done in the small moments, which I like. It’s in the brief exchange when Laura Salano asks Barbara about the firm’s “expansion” after meeting Diane. It’s how Maia and Marissa, the only two young white women at the firm, have immediately sought each other’s friendship. It’s in Colin explaining that Kresteva going after an all African-American firm is a potential PR nightmare. It’s in the “raiding” of a black woman’s egg to provide a white couple with a viable embryo. It’s these moments which create the show’s constant, underlying tension. It’s good to see a show that’s unafraid and unapologetic about tackling uncomfortable topics.
Season 1, Episode 4 (S01E04)
The Good Fight streams Sundays at CBS All Access
A.R. Wasserman | Contributor