You have conspiracy theories, and then you have conspiracy theories.
Leave it to The Good Fight to tackle the most outrageous conspiracy you've never heard of.
The Good Fight Season 4 Episode 7 was such a fun and flamboyant hour on its own but struggled a little bit as the ersatz season finale.
Despite this, the Powers That Be did rebound pretty decently, especially when compared to many of the other makeshift season finales due to the widespread production shutdown prompted by the spread of the novel coronavirus.
At the forefront of the episode was, as the title implies, the mystery of who killed Jeffrey Epstein.
While the episode started as a "whodunit," it slowly morphed into one heck of a twisted ride with one curveball after another.
It was one of the most grandiose things the series has ever done, becoming even more nonsensical by the minute, and yet somehow it worked.
Sure, it was crazy, but The Good Fight has continuously pushed the envelope for four seasons now, somehow managing to balance satire and modern-day political commentary in the same breath.
For the most part, it's able to gracefully toe the line, while still finding poignant ways to discuss uncomfortable topics, such as racism, sexism, power dynamics, and income inequality.
So, if there were any show that could pull off this madness, it would be this one.
Lucca: We do think we’ve deciphered the numbers in the envelope.
Diane: Really? What?
Jay: We think Lady M.S. refers to Lady Morgan Sidney in a sci-fi novel about sex slaves called “Space Relations.”
Of course, the series took some liberties when it came to constructing the plot.
However, I was surprised to learn that some of the more outrageous elements were grounded in facts.
U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr's father Donald Barr did write a space opera novel in 1973 about sex slaves titled "Space Relations: A Slightly Gothic Interplanetary Tale."
While I didn't verify that the book cipher from the novel read, "Call Bill. He will have 12 hours," I'm going to go out on a limb and assume the writers did their homework.
In addition, Epstein apparently did have aspirations about using his ranch in New Mexico -- where multiple women said they were recruited and sexually abused by Epstein and others as part of his alleged sex trafficking operation -- as a base where he would impregnate women, according to the New York Times.
And if that weren't crazy enough, the New York Times also reported that Epstein wanted to, yes, freeze his head and penis, or BUD as it's referred to in the episode.
So the writers' insane conspiracy theory about Epstein ensuring that his brain and BUD would be frozen following his death so he could fulfill his very deeply disturbing goal of fathering superior offspring is surprisingly rooted in actual events.
Fortunately, the New York Times says he never got around to that, so let's keep our fingers crossed that it's true.
There is another way to look at this. Everybody loves a puzzle – I get that. Everybody loves the secret word that solves everything, but let’s not call conspiracy something that could just as easily be described as incompetence. Look, I had workers come to my house every week, every damn week, to fix a broken faucet. They said they fixed it. About a week goes by, and I have to call somebody else to fix their work. That’s not a conspiracy; that is incompetence. People do just enough work to get by. So the camera was broken out of Epstein’s cell, incompetence. The guards were surfing the web and then fell asleep, incompetence. The prison didn’t secure the crime scene, incompetence. I mean that is America.Adrian
However, for all its inventiveness, this installment never got around to answering the question of who killed Jeffrey Epstein.
That seems to have been intentional of the writers' part, as Marissa's very meta dialogue applies to the larger audience as a whole.
As Marissa told Jay, the lawyers at Reddick, Boseman, & Lockhart got so bogged down in chasing this conspiracy theory that they forget who the real story was about: the underage girls.
Similarly, we, as a society, were so focused on the circumstances behind Epstein's death that we lost track of who was at the heart of this tragedy -- not Epstein but those he sexually abused and trafficked.
In hindsight, it's a simple realization, but at the time when all of this was breaking news in the real world, people didn't pay much attention to the horrific acts Epstein did; they just focused on whether he committed suicide or someone murdered him.
This, of course, should be lesson for all as we move forward and something to keep in mind during the next breaking news cycle.
Elsewhere, the episode finally brought two of the season-long plots to a head, one of which ended in a masterful showdown while the other limped along.
Ever since the show first introduced Firth, viewers have been waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Adrian: You’re dictating our staffing methods.
Firth: I don’t consider it dictating.
Diane: What do you consider it?
Firth: Stewardship, which by the way, significantly increases all our income.
Diane: Except for the people who are fired.
No matter how supportive and nurturing Firth seemed to be, there was always the hint of something nefarious.
Maybe, it's because Adrian and Liz explicitly told Diane it would be a bad thing if Firth summoned her, or because he had Caleb be a spy.
Or maybe, it's simply the matter that he seemed too good to be true.
Whatever the case may be, the audience knew Firth would screw Reddick, Boseman, & Lockhart over at some point; we just didn't know how until now.
As despicable as his underhandedness was, Firth's ingenuity should at least be acknowledged.
He figured out a way to ensure Reddick, Boseman, & Lockhart couldn't leave from a financial standpoint without the name partners even realizing what he was up to.
Making Diane head of pro bono was a double-edged sword, and it sealed the firm's fate.
What isn't clear, though, is why Firth went to all that trouble.
It seems like a bit of stretch that he only did this to prevent Reddick, Boseman, & Lockhart from merely leaving because he didn't want to see them go.
Diane: You gave me pro bono cases to keep my billable hours low.
Firth: I also knew you’d be good at it too.
Diane: You fucker.
Firth: Diane, name calling? We’re all on the same side.
Diane: You set me up just to keep us from leaving.
Firth: I’m a jealous boss. I don’t want you to leave; I want to cling close to you like a vine. Also, I kind of like the look on your face that you were outplayed. The Zen master said that in every experience there is a lesson. And the lesson here is that you three are fucked.
Was he worried how the firm leaving would look to other top-tier clients?
Or was Adrian right in that Firth only wanted them for their diversity in photos?
Whatever the reason, he was uncharacteristically possessive during that scene, and his desire to "cling close to [them] like a vine" was a weird way to phrase things.
If anything, that exchange made him seem more unhinged and maniacal, meaning he could very well have screwed them over just for fun.
He could just be that sadistic.
With no seeming way out, the name partners will most likely be scrambling next season to find a way to dissolve their partnership with STR Laurie.
Well, it will be Diane and Liz who -- excuse my pun -- take up the good fight, as Delroy Lindo, who plays Adrian, will not be returning as a series regular.
Given that production was cut short, there's the possibility that Lindo could appear in the season premiere of the fifth season to give his character a fitting sendoff.
Diane: Past performance does not predict future results.
Liz: Especially with us. I mean we lost ChumHum, we had the fallout from my dad. Let us not forget why we joined STR Laurie in the first place.
Adrian: Liz, it’s our only move. Now, we are building revenue every day. Now, you say you got Dincon engaged. If we don’t get out from STR Laurie, ain’t no telling what’s next. They don’t value our work, our employees, our history, or our culture. They want us for their black faces on their diversity reports.
While his exit may not facilitate a way for Reddick, Boseman, & Lockhart to leave STR Laurie, Adrian leaving the firm could solve the name partners' more immediate issue of reducing payroll by 20 percent.
As a name partner, Adrian makes one of the highest salaries, so his departure would greatly reduce the number of employees that would need to be laid off to achieve that goal.
Lastly, the resolution to the Memo 618 storyline fell somewhat flat, which is most likely due to the shutdown of production.
If the Kings had known this would be the final episode, Julius' arrest probably would have been a bigger deal, or at least there would have been some bigger stakes, as the federal judge's arrest on bribery charges was rather lackluster.
This could be due, in part, to Julius' scenario playing out exactly how the former federal judge told him it would.
He ignored the instructions given to him, like the former judge, and was charged with bribery, like the former judge.
Nothing very new or unpredictable about that.
It's also possible that after the reveal on The Good Fight Season 4 Episode 6 that Memo 618 has been around since at least the 1940s, viewers expected some bigger show of force.
If such a writ has been in play for almost 80 years, then shouldn't the government have more creative ways to silence those who oppose this cabal than simply framing them for crimes they didn't commit?
Julius: If that’s so, what do I do?
Maybe, framing the opposition is the quickest way to get the message across and settle things.
Regardless, the legal proceedings surrounding Julius' case most likely would have played out in the three final episodes, leading to a more satisfying conclusion, whatever that may be.
Hopefully, the writers will continue this storyline in the fifth season in a meaningful way.
It'd be a shame if this storyline was shoved aside, and everything was wrapped up in a neat bow.
While Memo 618 wasn't always my favorite, it was a huge part of this season and very representative of what's happening in the country off-screen.
Some stray thoughts:
Given that Diane took a nine-month sabbatical, wouldn’t her salary have still be less than the previous year, even if she wasn’t made head of pro Bono?
Or, would she still have time to get her billable hours up depending on when the nine-month sabbatical occurred, if she, for instance, only missed two to three months during 2020?
Where has Caleb been? With so many life-changing things happening at work, you’d think the guy would show his face at least once this episode. I would have liked to hear his take on the forced layoffs.
I know the U.S. Department of Justice gave Reddick, Boseman, & Lockhart a rather large budget to work the Jeffrey Epstein case, but I wonder if they'll cover the expensive last-minute flight to the U.S. Virgin Islands. That's not cheap.
So what did you think The Good Fight fanatics?
How did the episode work as a season finale?
Did the show go too far this time?
Was the resolution of Memo 618 disappointing?
Don't forget to hit the comments to let me know what you thought. If you happened to miss the season finale, remember you can watch The Good Fight online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.