What do you do when those in power hold all the cards?
It was a question The Good Fight Season 4 Episode 2 attempted to explore in both the workplace and the courthouse.
And while the episode dragged a bit toward the end, it was a solid setup for the rest of the season.
The biggest questions after this episode are, of course, surrounding Memo 618?
The mysterious memorandum was first mentioned in the trailer for The Good Fight Season 4 where Diane can be heard telling Adrian that it "seems to allow rich and powerful people not to comply with judicial rulings."
Well, that explanation certainly fits this installment's events to a tee.
Nevertheless, with that answer comes dozens of more questions.
Who knows about Memo 618? Who is the architect behind it? Who or what even has that much power to pull something like this off?
With a conspiracy that imbedded into the judicial system to frame a federal judge, someone pretty high up has to be pulling the strings.
Julius: You were…
Uber driver: A federal judge, Judge Itzelitz.
Julius: Oh my god. I have an appeal in front of you.
Uber driver: Three years ago, right?
Julius: Yes. You ruled against me. What happened?
Uber driver: You mean why am I an Uber driver?
Julius: Yes… Memo 618.
Uber driver: I was in the middle of an appeal, a pharmaceutical case, fairly easy, opioids. I was about to rule against them when I got the memo. Pretty clear they wanted me to rule the other way, but I wasn’t going to do it.
Julius: They, meaning who?
Uber driver: No idea. Then in two weeks another judge filed a complaint of misconduct with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Said I took bribes, a dozen witnesses, all lying, but there was evidence. I was given the chance to walk away without a scandal but also without a pension, so I signed, I took it; they had me. I stood by my ideals and here I am. $45,000 per year, pre-tax. That’s working 60 hours a week. Tips are good. Sometimes I can go out to dinner with my wife. If I had to do it over again… whatever memo they send you, do it.
Given the show's continued satirization of the Trump administration, the apparent answer behind some of these questions is the president of the United States.
Certainly, the presumed most powerful man in the country has the cache and influence to be the mastermind behind Memo 618, or at the very least, someone in Trump's inner circle.
And as much fun as it is watching the series repeatedly poke fun at Trump, having him be the Wizard of Oz would be very predictable.
It'd be more interesting if the person or entity behind Memo 618 were a little closer to the characters, such as someone already established in The Good Wife universe.
Heck, I'd settle for a character introduced this season, just as long as the eventual reveal doesn't feel like a cop-out.
The Kings are better than that, so let's hope our faith is not misplaced.
Regardless of the brainchild behind this operation, the series seems to be setting up a timely message for the season that the rule of law no longer exists.
Those in power are barely held accountable for their actions unless it's something the masses find so abhorrent that people can no longer turn a blind eye to.
Julius: How can they just say no? Not just the witness, the marshals.
Charlotte: Because the whole thing isn’t real. What we do, what we rule, it’s just shadow play. We say, ‘You go to jail. You don’t.’ Then we count on other people making it happen, and if they don’t want to, they don’t have to.
Julius: That’s insane. When I was a lawyer…
Charlotte: Yes, you thought we meant something. That’s why we wear the robes. If we didn’t, we’d just be the schmucks that sit a little higher than anyone else.
Then everyone feels good and pats themselves on the back for taking action, and they just go back to business as usual.
It's a reprehensible cycle that will just continue until someone finally takes a stand.
In the real world, this is harder, but within the confines of fictional television, we have heroes to look toward.
As someone who witnessed the power of Memo 618 firsthand, Diane will most likely to be the first to take up the crusade.
Along with wanting answers, she won't stop until she gets justice for her client.
Like Mr. Firth said, Diane does her best work when she has a cause she's passionate about.
The other members of Reddick, Boseman, & Lockhart will rally around her, but it's unclear where the law firm's new overlords and Julius stand.
Mr. Firth seemed receptive of the lawyers' requests and feelings, but there has to be a catch somewhere.
What sort of wide-reaching law firm would give Diane free rein of the firm's financial resources just to help her win pro bono cases?
Firth: So what do you want to do now Diane?
Diane: Get back to work.
Firth: What work?
Diane: My clients, my old cases. My partners picked up the slack while I was recovering, but now I’m back.
Firth: Ever heard of Ryōkan, the Zen master?
Firth: He lived a simple life in a hut at the foot of a hill. One evening a thief broke in only to discover there was nothing to steal. Ryōkan surrendered his clothes to him as a gift. After the thief ran away Ryōkan was left sitting naked watching the moon. And he thought, ‘Poor fellow. I wish I could him this beautiful moon.’
Diane: I don’t think I understand.
It doesn't take someone with a business degree to figure out that's economically stupid and not financially sustainable.
There has to be more at play, as no doubt STR Laurie has its own agenda, which may or may not conflict with Diane's pursuit for the truth.
Then there's Julius who wants to do the right thing, but instead he finds himself stuck in the middle of a mess.
All the newly appointed federal judge wants to do is his job, but how can he do that if he has no job afterward?
It's a tough position he finds himself in, and after hearing from the Uber driver, Julius seems to have chosen a side.
However, it's likely he'll at least question his allegiance to this cabal, if not do the right thing in the end.
Elsewhere, the series focused on a far less compelling subplot involving Lucca and The Good Wife's David Lee as they tackled a high-profile divorce.
It came off like The Powers That Be didn't know what to do with either character, so they decided to kill two birds with one stone by having them team up.
Bianca: Our numbers seem to be growing here.
David Lee: The firm thought you would be more comfortable with someone closer to your age.
Bianca: I didn’t know this firm had any black lawyers.
Lucca: Oh, they hide us.
While it makes sense from a logistical viewpoint, it felt forced at times.
Thankfully, the banter between the pair was spot on, and their back-and-forth was fun to watch, to a degree.
Things became a little bit uncomfortable, though, when David Lee inserted some insensitive comments about race.
David Lee has always been a bit of a condescending asshole, but he reached new heights this episode, making him more irritating than annoyingly charming.
Maybe it's because The Powers That Be can take more liberties with the show airing on CBS All Access -- and thus they've upped the asshole factor -- but it just didn't feel quite right.
Fortunately, Lucca was able to hold her own and go toe-to-toe with David Lee. If not, that would have made the situation untenable.
It also didn't help this subplot that their client Biance Skye came off as somewhat unlikable.
It was hard to get behind her whole "woe is me" attitude toward life when she decided to hop on a jet to Saint Lucia just for guava.
Julius: Just so I’m clear, your client has now provided documentary evidence for his contempt of this court. Is that right?
Canning: I’ll stipulate that he’s provided something, but Your Honor, I take issue with the court’s characterization.
Julius: He told me to go fuck myself.
Canning: I believe he was taking except to overreaching judicial authority rather than stating a personal directive.
Like if you have the money and time to do that at a moment's notice, you don't get to complain about how hard your life is.
What did humanize Bianca was the interest she took in Lucca.
Those moments of scrolling through Lucca's phone, gushing over the baby and swiping left on Tinder showed she had a compassionate side.
If viewers had seen more of that side, it would have gone a long way toward bettering the subplot.
After all, it's hard to justify spending precious screen time on an unwatchable subplot or character.
Lastly, as much as things had changed over the nine-month time jump, it was comforting to know something things never will.
This, of course, is about Louis Canning, as I'd remiss if I didn't gush over Michael J. Fox's return to The Good Wife universe.
Julius: The court is being asked to issue a temporary restraining order…
Canning: Your Honor, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Louis Canning.
Julius: Yes, hello Mr. Canning.
Canning: I just wanted to explain some of these awkward movements you may see…
Canning: I’m sorry. I didn’t know my condition was a source of amusement to you, Mrs. Lockhart.
Diane: The amusement is how you use it, Mr. Canning.
Canning: My goodness, hate comes in many forms.
Fox is an absolute delight to watch in the role, and Canning hasn't changed at all.
He's still using his disability to earn favor with the judge and pulling off some pretty dirty tricks to make sure he and his client end up on the winning side.
It was a true joy to see this character again, and with the season arc unfolding, I'm hopeful we'll see more of Canning in the eight remaining episodes.
Some stray thoughts:
Now that Julius knows about Adrian and Charlotte, it's only a matter of time before everyone else does. There's only so long you can keep things a secret once someone else learns of it.
That should make for an interesting storyline about the ethics of lawyers and judges dating, as it'll go beyond the simple subordinate dating their boss-type storyline.
How has Lucca never seen or read Harry Potter? That is completely unacceptable.
Tucker Nugent was a real piece of work. Let's hope he gets what's coming to him at some point.
So what did you think The Good Fight Fanatics?
Who's behind Memo 618?
What's the deal with STR Laurie?
What are your thoughts on David Lee and Lucca's partnership?
Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the latest episode, remember you can watch The Good Fight online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.