Elevators are such an interesting and unnatural condition of humanity. You’re all stuffed in an extremely small box together and willingly allow heavy metal doors to lock us in with blind trust that we can all get along for the finite amount of time it takes to hurdle us up or down through space. And while doing so our goal, more often than not, is simply to stand as still as possible without contemplating our own mortality until the metal doors release us to our fates.
This was a long and winding way of saying as Maia makes her way up to the Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad law offices, two women break the cardinal elevator rule and speak with her, a stranger, out of the blue. Granted, Maia was also breaking the code and paging through her ill-gotten Schtup List. Elevators are not for work and/or the casual thumbing-through of sensitive/possibly life-changing information. One woman leans over and tells her to “try a water-bath canner” in a helpful tone. Another tells her that woman is crazy, and to just “reduce the sugar content,” with an equally obliging tone.
Don’t worry, we’re just as confused as Maia is in this moment. Not only have these women broken the sacred elevator code, but they’ve done it to talk crazypants gibberish. What do you think this is? The subway?
Lucca comes up to Maia to tell her about a new frozen embryo case they’ve picked up and offer generalized support from idle gossip. Now Maia is even more paranoid and by the time she gets to her desk and Marissa asks her about Twitter, she is full-blown paranoid.
You see, someone has set up a fake Twitter account in Maia’s name and is tweeting out terrible things about her sex life and also questions about how to properly can peaches. So, those elevator transgressors were actually just overly helpful home cooks.
Hey, but no problem, we can clear this up no problem. Twitter has a sterling record when it comes to dealing with harassment and responding to women being victimized in particular. Wait, scratch that, reverse it. So here comes this week’s Timely! Important! Subplot!
Diane is brought in to lead the frozen embryos case. The firm’s first (and best) client wants hers back. She sold them when she first came to the area, but now as an ovarian cancer survivor she wants them back as a second shot at motherhood. The contract she signed says her eggs should revert back to her after five years, and it has been eight. So that’s that, right? Please, it’s like you’ve never watched a TV drama before.
While in Barbara’s office, Diane notices someone go into Adrian’s office. I will never understand why so many businesses insist on making office walls of glass. You know people can see you at all times, yes? Anyway, the guy looks familiar. I don’t know why, but I suddenly feel like singing The Rembrandts. He is, indeed, Chandler Bing/Matthew Perry/Mike Kresteva. The Good Wife fans will remember him — from what I gather — not that fondly. Diane warns Adrian about him and says he is not to be trusted; she even mentions Alicia by name. If she says it two more times will Alicia appear in a black-and-white wide-striped suit with crazy hair?
Kresteva has been appointed, and I want to get this right, as special counsel in charge of the Department of Justice Police Accountability in the 21st Century Task Force for Chicago. DOJPATCTF is seeking recommendations on how to curb police brutality in Chicago. Well, this seems promising enough. We know, thanks to a blistering pre-Jan. 20 Department of Justice report, that there’s a rampant problem with excessive force as well as other violations of civil rights. So let’s do something about this, right? Let’s task force this shit, right? Oh, kittens, sadly it’s now after Jan. 20th and The Good Fight exists in a world where that failed mail-order steak salesman is also the president.
Back to the Timely! Important! Subplot!, Maia’s Twitter impersonator responds to Marissa’s complimentary tweet with a speedy DM that says, “What do you look like? #WetlandSEX” So, right there you have your dead-to-rights proof whoever is tweeting as Maia is a dude. Because I don’t know a single woman – lesbian, straight, bi, trans, cis, queer, et al – whose first question to a stranger on Twitter is, “What do you look like?” Possibly, “What does your favorite fandom look like?” But not the former. And don’t get me started on #Wetlands. Come on, gay ladies are so much better at hashtags than that.
Marissa agrees to exchange photos with Fake Maia (from her stock photo stream, please, she’s no social media newbie), and Fake Maia sends some tasteful black-and-white nudes back. This makes Real Maia gasp because, holy shit, it’s really her. Look, Timely! Important! Subplot! Added another Timely! Important! Side-Subplot! So now she immediately knows who is behind Fake Maia.
Kresteva goes to see Diane and tells her he is on her side. Diane remains more than skeptical. But then he goes into a whole, “I’ve changed, I’m a new person” bit. Oh, and did we mention he has a dead son? Yeah, his son died of Leukemia. Terrible. (But, in all seriousness, cancer is terrible and not a joke and fuck fucking cancer).
Still – as any old reporter will tell you – trust, but verify. So Diane Googles (or ChumHums – I believe this is another inside The Good Wife joke which I don’t fully understand but appreciate) to make sure Kresteva is telling the truth. He is, at least about his son.
Back on the popsicle embryo case, the fertility clinic claims it doesn’t have a record of their client. They changed names (but not facilities or directors) two years ago. But after a little light legal threatening, the doc confesses they were given to Chicago Poly-Tech. And Poly-Tech used them for stem cell research and they’ve since been destroyed – at least 11 of them. The 12th embryo is marked “confidential” because it was transferred to a practicing doctor on staff who has already fertilized it for a couple seeking a child. Interspersed is a running joke about some old men who can’t hear. Admit it, jokes about old men who can’t hear are always comedy gold.
Maia goes to confront Fake Maia, who turns out to be a real photographer and her really ex-boyfriend, Ted. He feigns innocence, but Maia knows better. Also, can we talk about how gross it is for dudes like Ted to take something done in trust with an intimate partner and use it for revenge? Because we certainly aren’t going to blame Maia for being part of a photo shoot of her own damn body with someone who she was in a consensual adult relationship with. Also, dude, there are laws against that in Illinois, and many other states.
He continues to deny his involvement, but then Marissa brings the muscle (and when mistaken for Maia’s girlfriend she says she’s “not gay, but I could be”). So he relents and confesses it is a Twitter bot. He programmed it two years ago after they broke up and now he says he can’t take it down. So much is wrong with that. First, she broke up with him four years ago so you just sat and stewed for two years? Second, why on earth can’t you kill it – you made it, you can destroy it. And third, “just ignore it” is the shittiest advice possible when it comes to harassment both online and in real life.
Maia calls him an asshole and slaps him for good measure. Yes, I know, violence is not the answer, but it can be momentarily very satisfying. Marissa is impressed and says, “My girlfriend is pretty tough.” I know I shouldn’t be, but I would totally be OK if those two started a platonic flirting thing in the office.
As everyone converges back at the office, a process server pops up and hands them all a summons. They’re going before the grand jury courtesy of Kresteva. Hey, when women warn you about someone, please listen. Coretta Scott King, Elizabeth Warren, Sally Yates, Hillary Clinton. Listen. To. Women.
Because Lucca hasn’t been given nearly enough to do this episode, she gets proactive on their grand jury summons business. Colin, the handsome assistant U.S. attorney who likes extra peppers and onions on his burgers too, shows up at the pub that apparently every lawyer in Chicago goes to for lunch. Lucca has already arranged with Mike, the bartender/chef, to say there isn’t enough time to make him a burger. And, wouldn’t you know, Lucca already has a half to share primed and ready. I call this the new hamburger diplomacy.
They engage in some light-to-medium flirting, which includes Colin confessing he has been celibate for a year…from frozen custard milkshakes. And then they make a milkshake date, which is almost adorable. But ulterior motives aside, Lucca asks him to look into the grand jury summons and he says he will. I want him to be one of the good guys because he is growing on me, but mostly because of his forbidden love of milkshakes. I had a torrid affair with chocolate malts one summer. It ended badly.
All the big guns arrive in court for the frozen embryo case. Becky Ann Baker is back from The Good Wife as rival counsel. You may know her best as Hannah Horvath’s mom on Girls. The client anxiously waits to see what the father of her future child looks like. In walks a lady (hahaha, can’t be her – and queer moms grit their teeth a little and sigh at nature’s cruelty). Then in walks a nebbish little man with his wife. Lucca asks if she still wants to proceed with the case, and of course she does. Looks don’t matter, she isn’t some guy pretending to be a girl on Twitter.
While all this is happening Timely! Important! Subplot! with Timely! Important! Side-Subplot! Adds another layer. Yes, this episode has it all. Twitter harassment, revenge porn and now FAKE NEWS! Maia’s lawyer receives a breaking news alter saying Maia has been fired from the firm. She calls to check, and Maia checks with Adrian who is pretty sure he doesn’t even know her well enough to fire her. But, too late, another FAKE NEWS! alert is claiming she bought $350,000 in jewelry.
Please, her ex is an obvious amateur at this FAKE NEWS! business. Call me when he accuses the former president of illegally wiretapping Maia’s house. Then we’ll talk.
So now a very reluctant Diane is in front of the grand jury. Kresteva starts to question her. Yes, he met in her office yesterday. Yes, he asked for suggestions on how to address police brutality in Chicago. No, she never said the people of Cook County hated African-Americans and treated black lives carelessly. Wait, what? Whatwhatwhatwhat? I mean, I know she said he tends to lie. But this is just, what?
Diane storms out and back to her firm to warn them all they’re being railroaded by Kresteva. He isn’t going after police brutality. He is going after the law firm that has brought successful cases against the city for police brutality. Why go after the actual problem when you could go after one of the things fighting the problem? I think Kresteva is aiming too low with his new DOJPATCTF position. He sounds perfect to head the whole Department of Justice. And, who knows, there might be a vacancy soon. Call Kellyanne. You two would get along great.
Lucca springs back into action, checking with Colin who confirms that Kresteva is a lying liar who lies. God, why are there so many of those in positions of power these days? But now we have the show’s firmly established villain/perfect Trump surrogate. Hating Matthew Perry will be a relatively new emotion for me. I still miss seeing him from Go On, though not more than I miss Julie White as Anne. God, that was a good show.
Diane and Lucca are back in court on the frozen embryo case. The doctor who plans to fly with the couple to England to perform a procedure that is not allowed in the United States where he will remove healthy DNA from the embryo and implant it in the other woman’s egg. So, yeah, they’re just digging for spare parts. We’ve entered into some Clone Club territory here as well.
Colin talks with the deputy Attorney General about Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad being targeted by the task force. He agrees that it looks unseemly to target a predominantly black law firm for police brutality. Not that it is unseemly, mind you, but looks unseemly. So he tells Kresteva to target them for something other than police brutality cases. Wait, now I’m confused. Isn’t the whole damn point police accountability? How can he even target them for other things? It’s in the acronym. The “PA” of DOJPATCTF.
So now Maia is getting proactive about fighting the Timely! Important! Subplot! with Timely! Important! Side-Subplot! leading to FAKE NEWS! Her lawyer serves her ex with a temporary restraining order to stop his bots from fake tweet/newsing. But he smugly says she doesn’t have the jurisdiction because he bounces that shit to servers across 20 states, Mexico and Japan. Yes, but doesn’t it all originate in Chicago? Again, I know nothing about the law (though still more than Jon Snow), but that seems ridiculous.
So instead they fight FAKE NEWS! with FAKE NEWS! Kiddie porn arrests, butt plugs, leashes and BDSM are thrown into the mix. Wouldn’t kiddie porn be enough? Like the rest is no more mainstream salacious than Fifty Shades of Grey, which gets as much press as a Pixar movie these days. But it works because the exes friends and girlfriend and landlord all buy into the news and make his life not great. Geez, don’t tell hostile foreign governments about the persuasive power of FAKE NEWS! on the American public. They might try to sway a presidential election or something.
Ted charges into Maia’s firm calling her a bitch and generally being the worst. Adrian is leaving just then and steps in because at this firm they stand up for each other. Also, men need to stand up when they see other men being misogynistic assholes. Maia and Ted come to a détente and agree to stop FAKE NEWS!ing each other. And thus hopefully ends the storyline of yet another bad Ted. (for reference, please see Ted Bundy, Ted Kaczynski, Ted Cruz, Ted Buffy’s almost robot stepdad). So that’s that, right? Please, it’s like you’ve never been on the internet before.
As we chug into the unexplored areas of property law, the team ends up losing the frozen embryo case because of the Innocent Purchaser Doctrine. Everyone is very sad, but none more than the client who now has lost her last shot at having her own child. Look, I get it. But adoption is nothing to sneeze at, says this adoptee.
Diane and Barbara share a nice moment over what I’m assuming is some very nice scotch. The two women talk about children, specifically whether Diane regrets never having them. Women are given such a false and unfair choice in this country – have a successful career or have a successful home life. Only men are granted the ease of having both without sacrifice. And only women are burdened with the stigma of choosing the former over the latter.
As much as I have been enjoying the Alpha Female-Off between these two, there is something undeniably striking about watching two smart, accomplished, powerful women share such an intimate moment. The canards that the outward expression of emotions is a weakness when it comes to business or government or any position of authority is one created by men to subjugate women. The end.
Diane returns to her office, momentarily decides to drunk dial her ex (kidding, though she did down that scotch quickly), thinks better of it. Then she really thinks better and legal eagles the seemingly over frozen embryo case back into the win category. (Under British law the sale of the embryos was illegal and so they are barred from performing the procedure there.) Bottom line, it worked. Their client gets her “property” back.
Then she graciously reaches out to the other couple, since he did fertilize the damn thing, and tells them if he wants to be part of the child’s life she would welcome them with open arms. He tells her to go fuck herself. Well, let’s just hope the asshole gene isn’t passed down.
Hey remember when I said the Timely! Important! Subplot! with Timely! Important! Side-Subplot! leading to FAKE NEWS! thing wasn’t over? Guess what, it’s not over. Now Reddit has picked up the story and there will be no end to everyone’s misery because that’s Reddit’s raison d’être. Marissa and her lawyer say not to worry about it because Reddit is just the teeming masses and no one believes it anyway. Someone tell our Circus Peanut-in-Chief that, will ya?
And you might want to mention it to Kresteva, too. An assistant carries a file with the $350,000 jewelry purchase “story” to him. And, bingo, he has something other than police brutality to go after Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad for. Look, I get where they are going with this plotline, I really do. But this FAKE NEWS! article is so obviously fake, would they really be able to make hay with it with a grand jury? Oh, what the fuck am I saying? Some people actually believe Hillary Clinton is a demon who eats babies. Run with it, show. Why not. Crazier things have happened.