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Bull - The Ground Beneath Their Feet - Review

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Directed by Bethany Rooney
Written by Glenn Gordon Caron

When we last left off, Bull was having a heart attack, alone, on the courthouse steps. In order to recuperate from surgery and learn to make better life choices, he spent his recovery in Arizona, but now, 3 months later, it’s his first day back. He returns to applause but also changes. Marissa is now married, Cable is missing, and Bull has a hefty new contract with EquiSafe, an insurance company - to the tune of a 2 million dollar per month retainer. That’s some significant money and like Bull explains, it is very good for their company, especially after they went through financial problems last season. Unfortunately, their first case is to defend their client from a lawsuit brought by a dying mother of two after the company refuses her request for a liver transplant. Needless to say, Benny, Chunk and the others are less than excited. Who wouldn’t want to be on the mother’s side?

What I loved most about this episode was how well it looked at all the aspects of the issue. It would have been very easy to make the insurance company out to be the Big Bad, and both Bull and the client address it head on. However, it isn’t just a money issue. If it was, then a company that can spend 2 million a month on trial science could surely fork over half a million to a mother dying through no fault of her own. However, they address cost-benefit analysis from an organ transplant view too. Healthy organs that are viable for transplanting are too rare for the number of people who need them. Should one be given to a woman who would only live for another 3 years with it when 17,000 people, most with a much better shot at longer lives, have been waiting for a lot longer? By representing the insurance company, it opens the show and the audience up to bigger questions than usual since TAC is normally on the more sympathetic side.

The team decides that parading in a bunch of other people waiting for a liver transplant is the best way to get the jury on their side. They also bring up several people who died while waiting for a new liver. It is successful for the trial, which they win, but less successful in the office. When Bull tries to use the greater good argument on Marissa, saying that “everyone can’t get everything," she makes a great counterpoint. Bull is rich, but the rest of them and the dying woman are not. Everyone can’t get everything but it seems like the rich get more than their share. Resources aren’t equitable and to make this argument as if they are is the real myopic view.

Meanwhile, as the team works the case, they are also desperately trying to figure out what happened to Cable. They call, e-mail, and text to no avail so Danny hunts her apartment for clues. Cable’s passport and luggage are still there but she is gone. Danny gets her on the FBI’s missing persons list, but that is of little help. While getting Cable’s laptop from her apartment to look for more clues, Danny gets a call from Cable’s mom. Cable was just identified as one of the victims of a bridge collapse earlier in the episode. Devastated, Danny breaks down in front of the apartment super. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see anyone else’s reaction except for Bull. Everyone else has left to grieve, leaving Chunk to break the bad news of Cable’s death to the boss.

This shakes Bull to his core and while the CEO of EquiSafe is thrilled with the victory and wants to keep TAC on retainer, Bull politely refuses. In fact, he gives the 2 million dollar check to the dying woman so she can pay for the transplant herself. It is by far the cheesiest, most predictable, and treacly scene in the episode. While I expected for Bull to pay the medical costs, giving her the whole amount was eye-roll worthy. It leaves the episode on a feel good note, which is not a bad thing, but by ending the contract with the insurance company, the show is back in its rut. I wish they could have balanced the insurance side with their usual clients throughout this season because it would have made the show deeper and required the team to work harder to share multiple sides of issues. Even having a few more episodes of working for the other side would have been interesting.

Grade: B+

Episode Awards:

Best Reason to Watch - it raises some great questions about health care
Best Scene - Marissa calls Bull out on the inequity of health care
Best Employee - Chunk, who stays to give Bull the horrible news
Best Plan - getting in a taxi to just drive around when tempted to drink
Best Change - Bull is wearing less formal attire in parts of the episode
Worst Change - Cable's death
Worst Scene - Bull gives the mother 2 million
Most Emotional Scene - Danny finds out Cable is dead
Most Demanding - Bull, who seems to think Marissa should be at his beck and call at all times
Most Needed - Bull tells Benny that the losses while he was gone were not Benny's fault, but the judges'
Biggest Mistake - not filming the whole staff reaction to Cable’s death
Biggest Doppelganger - Tara Summers, who at first glance I thought was Mayim Bialik

1. Bull: “The simple fact is that everyone can’t have everything. I know ‘cause I just went through…” Marissa: “I know what you went through. I cried for weeks. I prayed for weeks, but Jason, what happened to you has nothing to do with the rest of us.” Bull: “How could you say that?” Marissa: “Cause you’re rich, and yes, everybody gets it. Everybody can’t have everything, but it sure seems like people like you, people like Mr. Hitchcock, always manage to get theirs.”
2. Benny: “Well, I guess I owe you an apology. I said we couldn’t do this and I was wrong.” Bull: “No, I think you said we shouldn’t do this and you were right.”
3. Benny: “This isn’t gonna end well, is it?”

Final Words:  I'll miss you Cable.

Screencaps from TV InsiderDeadline, YouTube, CBS, MRC, Sueboohs Corner, and TellTale TV.

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