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The Good Fight - Henceforth Known as Property - Review: "That's Fake News!"

1.04 - "Henceforth Known as Property"

In this week's installment, The Good Fight introduces a villain into the mix, Maia faces manufactured libelous posts by a twitter bot, and the firm represents a client in a complicated contract law case with personally dire stakes. 

"Why is everybody so suspicious of me?"

Early in the episode, Diane locates and discerns that Mike Kresteva (Matthew Perry) has stopped by to speak to Adrian in his office. Any Good Wife fan knows that this is bad news, as does Diane. She immediately panics and attempts to figure out his intentions.

Story time:
Historically, The Kings and the writers of this series have done exceptional work with creating "villain-esque" figures in characters like Wendy Scott-Carr, and Michael J Fox's Louis Canning. However, in his limited time early-to-mid original series, Matthew Perry's Mike Kresteva was starkly immoral, and made up whatever reality or facts he needed just to spin his narrative to whoever would listen. Smarmy, condescending, two-faced, Mike really got under Alicia Florrick's skin in The Good Wife. He would create stories about what she had said to him, in order to make the Florricks look untrustworthy... He would play up the illness of his own son to have people garner trust in his arguments. In the end, Alicia couldn't handle his lies, and it took her husband Peter stooping to Mike's level to fabricate a story that Mike had fallen off the wagon so-to-speak, and framed him in an embarrassing moment during the 2012 gubernatorial race to get him out of the running.

Ok, Back to 1.04:
So, what was he up to? After paying Adrian a visit to talk about his newly-appointed position on a task force to lower Police Brutality, he also visits Diane. She is rightfully remiss with him, and does her best not to say anything to him that he could use. However, he claims he's a changed man, after the loss of his son. She feels as though her cynicism has caused her to be too brash in assuming his intentions.

She is proven wrong, however, when each of the partners as well as Lucca is served a subpoena to speak in front of a Grand Jury.

Could I be more smug?
While we don't get to see any of the other characters speak in front of the grand jury (which is a shame, because I really would like to see how each of them would react?), Diane attends the Grand Jury hearing, as the subpoena mandates. Mike starts with a few softballs about whether or not the two met the day before, to discuss his appointment to the task force on Police brutality. She states immediately that she was remiss due to her knowing that he is a known liar. He shakes the accusation off, and immediately asks her a damning, false question. He asserts that he previously asked her while in her office why there was such a high density of police brutality in Chicago (a topic they never even brought up) and then even worse, her supposed answer, which was that people of Cook County typically dislike/go out of their way to hurt people of color.

In the most loathsome and tense scene of the episode he asserts this, and Diane does her best to remain stern to refute his claims. However, her incredulity at his question ends up making her look possibly worse to the eyes of the jury, as if she's embarrassed for being called out on it, instead of the reality of Kresteva lying to the entire room. She immediately rushes to the others to state they're being set up, and that Kresteva's only intention is to artificially lower "police brutality rates" by removing legal avenues for people to file cases against police brutality. Truly despicable, and yet totally believable for his character as well as his backing management.

Sidebar:
The Kings really have a way of writing characters/interactions to just make you hate someone, don't they? I still get that blood-boiling sensation upon thinking about Kresteva's stupid smirk. Of course, Matthew Perry is fantastic in his role of making me want to choke out middle-aged Chandler Bing.

Anyway,
In an attempt to stop Kresteva's falsehoods, Lucca gets Colin Morello to speak to Kresteva's boss about how it seems like Kresteva is improperly poking an All-Black firm (or mostly black at this point with Diane, Marissa, and Maia working there now) about police brutality cases. Instead of removing Kresteva as a legal obstacle, however, he starts to focus on the firm itself even further deepening his investigation into them specifically. Yay.



"It's not your twitter feed, is it?"


In the relatively lighthearted subplot of the episode, Maia is faced with a twitter bot that blows up and spreads false intimate details of her life with the internet. She enlists Marissa's help to figure out who the culprit is, only to find that it's a long-dormant program one of her ex's wrote after they had a falling out.

After a few different attempts at stifling the bot through contacting Twitter, attempting to use a temporary restraining order, and also slapping him in the face for what he did, Maia and Marissa have to resort to other measures to finally get the twitter bot taken down: they generate their own false stories about her photographer ex-boyfriend to land him in hot water. Within one day, he's looking at having to speak with the police, probably losing his girlfriend, and his job as well for a story breaking about him being a producer of illegal pornography.

However, this does not solve the issue completely. By that point there had been irreparable damage done, as the bot was then the source for multiple fake news sites that spread generated clickbait headlines to an audience ripe for outrage at the Rindells. This also led to someone bringing in said false articles for Kresteva's investigations into Maia's firm, Reddick, Boseman, & Kolstad. We're not likely going to enjoy where that is brought up...

Also, there was a small interaction with her father about the Schtup list, but other than that, it seems like this episode for her was dealing with other kinds of ramifications from the public outrage that can happen, rather than dealing with the issues that face the Rindells on the legal front.


"Prepare for our filing..."


Somehow, even with a conniving Mike Kresteva poking around, and a spate of fake news plaguing Maia, they fit what I'd say is the strongest case of the week so far into this episode. In a typically strange turn of events for cases on this show, what starts as a client attempting to claim her remaining eggs due to a clause in a contract with a Fertilization clinic turns into a legal brawl between two "legal owners" of the last remaining egg from the contract.

Client Laura Salano (Prema Cruz) is introduced as one of the original clients of Reddick, Boseman, & Kolstad, and she seems to be very well-acquainted/possibly good friends with Barbara Kolstad. She's decided to stake her claim on the remaining eggs that she had previously sold to a Fertilization clinic because she's ready to raise a child, shortly after recuperating from a cancer scare. It turns out however, that through a clerical error of sorts (a.k.a. the really shady lab manager might have cooked the books and disregarded existing contracts) the only egg that she had left was already fertilized and was to be used as a sort of "stock" for another couple's child.

The Haights intended to use Laura's egg's contents to "make their egg whole" in a sense, as Mrs. Haight was -- to summarize -- genetically predisposed to only be able to give birth to children with very little chance to survive.

Laura was by far the best client that's been on a case in The Good Fight, as she was well-acted and believable. She was steadfast in her claim for her last remaining chance at being a mother, but she was also thoughtful and aware of what kind of trauma the Haights might have gone through in their own search for a chance at a viable child. The case itself, after many arguments and twists, went against Laura. However, Diane ruined the Haights' chance at the fertilization procedure that they sought by alerting the British authorities to a technicality that made it illegal for them to proceed with their own fertilization.

Judge Stanek then decided that the "property" belonged to Laura, as the Haights sought only to destroy it since they could not use it. Laura approached the opposing couple and graciously offered to have them included in her child's life, with tears welling in her eyes. Mr. Haight (who was visibly nervous and awkward-looking, not to mention seemingly older) told her to her face "Fuck you."

Nice.




Notes:

- Still not 100% sold on Colin, he's kind of meh. But Justin Bartha plays him pretty well. It seemed like genuinely wanted to help the firm, but I'm not sure it was anything more than to get closer to Lucca. However, she has no problem with shacking up with men and dropping them, so I wonder what she sees in Colin at the moment? (Especially what she sees in him that she didn't see in Cary Agos, which she basically led around and then forgot about in season 7 of The Good Wife. I'm not bitter, you're bitter!)

- I love that the subpoena server dude was brought back again for this show. He's one of the best unnamed recurring characters from The Good Wife.

- Peter Gerety's Hon. Tim Stanek made his re-introduction this episode. His hatred for electronics in the courtroom isn't a new joke, unless you're a new viewer, but it's just as funny/satisfying as it was in the original series. Glad he was included. (Judges often shape the way the trial goes in this show, as they're as much an aspect of the story as the case itself)

- Next week, Elsbeth Tascioni will make her triumphant (and likely off-putting) debut in The Good Fight. I couldn't be more excited. If there's anyone with the gall to take on Mike Kresteva, it's Elsbeth. "Slime them before they slime you!" as she might say.


Screenshot(s): The Good Fight (there was only 1 promotional video used on The Good Fight's channel for me to pick what I wanted from, so all you get is Matthew Perry trying his hardest to make you want to punch him in the face.

Alright, now it's your turn. What did you think? Join the discussion in the comments section below.

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