An Old Foe Brings The 'Fight' To The Good Fight
An interesting legal case, a potentially-interesting-but-we'll-see political battle, and horribly stupid Rindell drama take us further into The Good Wife Season 8.
The case of the week is a complicated and heartbreaking one involving an old friend of Barbara's who once sold some of her eggs to a wealthy couple having fertility issues. The couple never used them, and the client, Laura Solano, has since become wealthy herself and, more importantly, survived ovarian cancer. A clause in the contract says she can have her eggs back after five years, and she wants them now because they're all she has left. But the original clinic has closed, and "liquidated its assets" in the process. Even though it was illegal to do so without informing Laura, there's no one to sue since the company is gone, and anyway that wouldn't get the eggs back. Diane and Lucca track them to a stem cell research lab, and then to a couple that plans to use the now-fertilized egg to harvest genes to implant in the new mother's own egg to protect against a genetic disorder she's a carrier for.
In theory, both sides of this are sympathetic -- neither can have a baby without this egg (though the Heights can presumably get another one) -- but in practice the stem cell side comes off pretty creepy, since this is now a very much wanted embryo that's going to be "discarded." But they couldn't have known that when they got it, since eggs are donated to labs all the time for expressly this purpose, to help people like them! But now they do, so they don't look great going to court. Meanwhile, the whole thing is covered by property law, which the family court judge acknowledges but really hates. It's messy and complicated and it actually made me think about stuff. Go figure!
Meanwhile, Good Wife villain Mike Kresteva is back. You’d be forgiven for forgetting all about him, since no one cared about Peter Florrick's run for governor, but even Diane deigns to mention Alicia sympathetically when explaining to Adrian (and us) that Kresteva is bad news. He's now heading a task force to bring down the number of police brutality cases in Cook County, which sounds good, but it turns out he hasn't changed much. This looks like it's setting up an ongoing arc; let's hope it's in place of the Ponzi scheme instead of in addition to.
Because unfortunately, there's also Maia.
Let's get on with the rankings, shall we?
Maybe this will be The Diane Lockhart Show? The case is a great showcase for Diane at her fiercest. After they lose she has a sudden revelation that they can take the fight to England, where the non-FDA-approved cell transfer procedure is going to be performed. The procedure is legal there, but the original sale of the embryo wasn't, making the whole thing void.
Diane also goes up against Mike Kresteva, and it's not pretty. She starts to break down in front of a grand jury when faced with complete lies from Kresteva. She's clearly terrified and furious, and Baranski gives a great performance.
Lucca serves as Diane's second chair, but she really shines in getting Colin to go after Kresteva. She stakes out the bar where they hung out last week with a burger, getting the bartender to tell Colin his own order will take longer than he has, so that she can offer him half of hers just like he did last time. Then she grills him about Kresteva and asks him to help call him off Reddick/Boseman. It's not a hard sell -- he hates the guy too -- but her methods are effective and of course her flirtation game is also on point.
Laura's case for her eggs is a tough one, and we're clearly meant to be on her side. She makes it easy, being completely reasonable and likable. She also gives us a great scene with her old friend Barbara. Watching them code-switch when Diane leaves the room is a good, subtle reminder of Diane's outsider status at the firm.
Adrian still doesn't have enough to do for my taste, but I'm happy any time he's onscreen. He gets two great moments with Maia: One when she asks him if she's going to be fired and he says, "I barely know who you are" with the best "nobody has time for this" tone, and later when Maia's ex shows up at the office threatening her, stepping in and telling her, "At this firm, we stand up for each other, Maia." Please keep being everyone's awesome dad, Delroy Lindo!
As with Adrian, I'm disappointed that Barbara isn't getting more screen time, but she has a couple of nice scenes: first with Laura, then with Diane. She seems to be warming to Diane a little, and when they think the case is lost they commiserate over a drink in the office. Barbara asks if Diane regrets not having children, and while she doesn't say much, one senses she wishes she weren't quite so married to her own career.
The family court judge (another returning TGW character) is extremely fair, even while being emotional. He clearly hates this case, and ruling on embryos as property, but he knows the law and how it works. He initially rules for the Heights because in fact they'd done nothing wrong, but in the end, he rules that if one couple doesn't want the "property," they can't destroy it out of spite if someone with an equally legal claim to it does want it, and Laura wins her case.
The Heights' attorney (yet another TGW reprise) doesn't come off great, in large part because she's arguing hard on the "property" side and making analogies about buying stolen cars. But ultimately she's just fighting for her clients, who want a baby and didn't intend to do anything wrong. Plus she's played by Becky Ann Baker, which goes a long way.
I could do without Colin's whole "I know I'm great and I know you want me" schtick, but he does seem like a good guy underneath. He asks Lucca out on a milkshake date (douchily, but still) and clearly likes her enough to keep this up even though she insists that they not do anything yet. (She's clearly into it too, so it's not like he's being a saint -- it will obviously work out.) More importantly, he puts that charm/smarm to good use, convincing his boss that going after an all-black law firm is a bad PR move and getting Kresteva to back off (for now).
Jay would rank higher if he had more than a couple of lines this week. Alas, he doesn't. Probably for the best, since the only storyline he’s involved with is this Maia nonsense.
Marissa is rapidly becoming The Young Person Who Knows Everything About The Internet And Other Millennial Shit. She's better than that, plus Maia and her lawyer are around the same age as she is so they shouldn't even need her. I appreciate her unsentimental approach to things (very much like her father), and in the end she's the one who takes down Maia's ex (or maybe it's Jay, it happens offscreen), so I have to give her props for being bad-ass, but I want more from this character. She deserves better than to be stuck with...
WHOOOOO CAAAAAARES? People are acting weirdly towards Maia at work, and Marissa tells her it's because of her Twitter account. But she doesn't have a Twitter account. They trace it to her ex-boyfriend, who created a Maia bot when she broke up with him (sure?) which is suddenly getting noticed because of the Ponzi scheme. The tweets get picked up and turned into fake news stories, it's a whole thing. Maia and Marissa fight it (do they not have actual law firm work to do?), but ultimately now that it's out there on The Scary Internet, there's no stopping it. (Side note: I will never understand the use of copyrighted brand names on this show. "Reddit" is fine, but Diane is still using "ChumHum.") Maia's lawyer advises her to just let it go. Great, so why did we just waste all of that time watching it? (There's a reason, but it's dumb. We'll get there.)
The Heights And Their Doctor
I'm sympathetic to the situation of the couple who purchased Laura's egg, and their doctor who's doing some pretty cool stuff in general medical terms, but they (in part through unbalanced writing) really don't come off well. As a person who goes out of his way to stay away from children and can't imagine going to these kinds of lengths to acquire one, I can't imagine how I'd react in their situation, but it seems like the proper response to learning that what you thought was a research ovum was actually a lovely cancer survivor's last chance to have a biological child is "Sorry, my bad." And when the procedure gets nixed, they opt to destroy the egg, since, fertilized, it's half theirs. After they lose that gambit, Laura graciously approaches them to invite them to have a role in the child's life, since Mr. Height is the father, after all. His response: "Fuck you." Not a good look.
At least the Heights aren't actually evil. It turns out Mike doesn't care about ending police brutality, just police brutality cases, so he's going after Reddick/Boseman. He flat-out lies in front of a grand jury, and when he's told to back off, he pivots to just try to take out the firm for whatever reason he can find. How convenient for him that there are all these negative news stories about Maia online!
The Ancient Stem Cell Researcher And The Audience's Intelligence
Diane and Lucca interview a very old doctor who is hard of hearing, but in a way that makes no sense whatsoever. Never mind that no one in real life has ever responded with this sitcom trope of answering questions that were never asked; the way he does so strains all common sense. The things he thinks he hears bear no resemblance to what was said, and make no sense in the middle of the conversation he clearly knows they're having. Cut it out, TV writers.
Twitter And Our Intelligence Some More
Ted claims he can't shut down the bot because "it'll just duplicate itself." I don't claim to know much about this, but I'm pretty confident that Twitter bots aren't Skynet? We're also meant to believe that Maia's friend would have an alert set up for a clearly fake news site (in 2017?) and that Diane would call Kurt by scrolling through her iPhone's Recents instead of her Favorites. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this on a show that called its Google stand-in ChumHum, but while it may have gotten by on CBS, they can't expect their audience to navigate the All Access website and also be this clueless about tech.