“The Good Fight” Episode 105 Recap: The Return of Elsbeth!

Perhaps the best thing about recapping The Good Fight – besides getting to write about all these smart, complex women capable of crushing you with their knowledge of the penal code alone – is that this show hates Donald Trump. Like it really, really, really hates Donald Trump. And, as my slogan for the next four years goes, if you can’t say anything nice about Donald Trump, come sit next to me.

The partners of Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad are viewing an episode of something Law & Order-y online. Aw, high-priced lawyers, they’re just like us. They spend random Sunday afternoons eating Pringles and watching reruns of the seasons of Law & Order: SVU where Mariska has the really good hair. You know the seasons. Fine, maybe they aren’t covering themselves in chip dust. Instead they’re deciding whether they should take a case involving a TV writer who posted an anti-Trump episode of the series he works on to the internet. It was based on the child-rape lawsuit filed against our now 45th President of the United States, which was dropped just before the election. But wouldn’t you know it the network pulled the episode in question after he won/the apocalypse began. So now the network is suing the writer for a cool $12 million.

Hey, if Holland and Sarah can make May/December work, why can’t we?

Adrian lists all the reasons Trump is unacceptable as a human being, let alone a president as he argues his side. If I started to list them all, we’d be here for well into Kamala Harris’ second term as POTUS. Julius, the one person at the firm who voted for that Mango Mussolini, naturally argues against taking the writer’s case. Look, I know we’re supposed to feel empathy toward Trump voters. At least that’s what those six million think pieces about understanding white working class America keep telling me. And I know that we’ll need them to come back from the Orange Side in 2020 (not to mention 2018, local elections, etc. etc.). But, still, nah. Not today, Cheeto Satan voters, not today.

Diane pops into the bedlam and suggests “fair use” as their legal defense. Adrian likes it, but Barbara wants to know why they’re taking a case they can’t win. The answer is, duh, money. Adrian wants to expand into that pot of gold at the end of the Hollywood sign. At least the gold they send over to Chicago via their umpteen million shows based in the city.

Speaking of money, Barbara wants to know where Diane’s is. Her capital contribution has yet to materialize and the month grace period is over. Adrian passes the (in this case not metaphorical) buck and makes her to be bad cop. This proves once again women are the ones our society tasked with the most tireless, thankless work.

So as women get to the work of keeping our civilization humming, The Good Fight’s resident Trump stand-in strides back into the Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad offices. I appreciate how Matthew Perry has gone subtle with his homage. I mean, anyone can spray tan themselves to look like a rotting pumpkin. But it takes true commitment to go method with the neck wattle.

He has come to interrogate Maia with that FAKE NEWS! story. She tells him it’s not true. He says, but it has all these people quoted. She asks him if he called any of those people. He pulls out a dozen other “articles” aggregated on other sites about the same thing. See, now this is why aggregation is the devil. It’s just an echo chamber created for clicks with no regard for original reporting and/or facts.

While I could talk ad nauseam (or pretty close to as long as my Trump rant) about the current untenable state of the economics in online publishing, as a legal strategy this FAKE NEWS! strategy is severely stupid. Because the whole thing is too easy to disprove.

But, alas, Kresteva isn’t a total idiot. He’s a lying liar who lies, but not a total idiot. He segues from FAKE NEWS! to real news in a flash, asking Maia about her visits to her dad in prison. Oh, girl, I knew that was a bad idea. Also a bad idea? The whole business of her breaking into her possibly crooked uncle’s computer to retrieve the “The Schtup List” to help her possibly crooked father. Gosh, don’t you hate it when you possibly incriminate yourself in a possible criminal conspiracy?

Guys, seriously, who is a better TV lawyer? Me or Schwimmer with his Kardashian hair?

Diane sees Kresteva leaving and knows no good can come of this. But first she has to deal with her broke broke. Barbara says if they don’t get the contribution in a week they will make her “of counsel.” I don’t exactly know what that means, but I gather it is the law partner equivalent of a depantsing – deeply humiliating.

Before she leaves the office she drops a little advice on Barbara – the firm might need a lawyer. Oh, don’t worry, not from her. From Kresteva. Speaking of that guy, guess who shows up to see Papa Rindell in prison?

Diane is now desperate to raise some cash, so she calls about putting her apartment on the market. Her humbling call gets interrupted by a visitor; it’s her husband. He has come to ask her to help him with a talk he has to give. I get that he is a renowned ballistics expert and all, but is a gun ever a great present to give someone in the workplace?

So now it’s time for the TV lawsuit. Adrian says the network is trying to curry favor with the Trump administration. The writer is astounded that network executives “shit their pants over 3 a.m. drunk tweets.” The network attorney is offended by the use of profanity. Hey, is this like how conservative pundits got all offended when people repeated Trump’s “grab ‘em by the pussy” quote because of the language, instead of being offended that Trump actually bragged about grabbing women by the pussy? Yeah. It is.

There’s a rebuttal witness, some yelling about Princeton versus Yale. I even think Michelle Obama’s name gets dragged into this mess. But the judge ultimately calls it a loser case and that’s that, right? Come on, you’ve watched TV before. There’s like 35 minutes of this episode left. You know better.

The Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad partners are interviewing lawyers and their first interview is with some James Cagney-looking fellow who calls the law partners “my bros” and then raps at them. He. Raps. At. Them.

Oh, so your “All Lives Matter” T-shirt isn’t ironic then?

As she is leaving the disgusting debacle, Diane runs into Neil Gross – another The Good Wife holdover. He is the founder of Chumhum, the search engine you keep seeing on this show instead of Google. He seems impressed that Diane has joined an “all black firm” and then whispers that he isn’t happy with his own firm and wants to meet.

The firm is still lawyer-less, but Lucca has an unconventional idea. And, as the saying goes, if you need a lawyer, go to the dentist. Wait, that’s not right. Anyway there they find this episode’s third The Good Wife alumni guest star. Maybe they should have called this show Everyone But Alicia.

The lawyer/dental office denizen in question is Elsbeth Tascioni. A quick search of Chumhum tells me she is a very smart, very scattered lawyer. Adrian isn’t sure what to make of her and her recent release from the hospital where she was staying for disagreed upon reasons. But Lucca has remembered the advice Alicia gave her, which was, “When in trouble, hire Elsbeth.” Since Alicia has become the comedic Voldemort of this show, the mere mention of her name sends things haywire. In this case Elsbeth’s Alexa starts playing Alicia Keys music loudly.

Also, does anyone else think it’s creepy we’re purchasing these virtual assistants for our homes that essentially just listen to everything we say at all times? No, just me? Fine, but if Skynet starts selling one, do not buy it. Trust me on this.

So when you say repeal and replace, you mean repeal and redistribute the wealth to the wealthy. Got it.

She asks them to give her a day to find out what they don’t know they don’t know. Admit it, you kind of love her already. Sure, she is almost over the top kooky. But if watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer has taught me anything it’s this: Underestimate women at your own peril, monsters. Particularly the kind of women who are easy for society to underestimate.

Maia arrives at her parent’s place and her dad is there. You see, he is suddenly out on bail. She is so relieved, but we know better. We know this is all Kresteva and anything involving Kresteva is bad. I still can’t decide if her dad is bad yet. Or her mom. This isn’t exactly the kind of show you can just use the “the famous guest star did it” strategy on.

But it doesn’t sound good when her dad claims he “doesn’t know” why they decided to give him bail. Nor does it sound good that he is talking to the FBI tomorrow. Maia tries to warn him about her mom and Jax. But he reassures her in a way that leaves no one reassured. Mama Rindell says she and Amy should come to dinner tomorrow and for once I agree with something one of her parents’ said. Seriously, where is Amy? Three episodes in a row with no girlfriend? Any longer and I’m going to send out a search party.

With this kiss I crown thee Queen of the Gingers. Long may you reign.

While surfing Craigslist for apartments and daydreaming about her lost French villa, Diane decides to call her hubby again. The gunslinger arrives and she helps him with his speech over a couple of glasses of what I assume are a very nice red. Also, is drinking wine in the office normal at law firms? Is this why those billable hours are so expensive, cabernet allowances?

Kresteva is talking Papa Rindell’s cooperation and name giving while having a lunch alone lunch at a diner. But who should pop over the glass partition? Elsbeth! I feel like her name should always be said with an exclamation, don’t you? She slides over into his booth and starts chatting, casually dropping that she represents Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad. Kresteva responds with not-so-casual threats saying, “You go after me professionally, I’ll go after you personally.” Chandler Bing was never this mean. Sarcastic, yes. Mean, no.

Elsbeth! goes to see Maia at the firm afterward. They all rack their brains trying to figure out why he’d care about the Rindell Ponzi scheme. Oh, right, he doesn’t. All he cares about is the destruction of Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad and taking Maia down for criminal conspiracy would go a long way toward that goal. But he can’t do that unless Papa Rindell flips on his daughter. Better hope Maia always remembered to get her pops a nice card on Father’s Day.

When you’re still pissed they cancelled Go On.

So the Trump TV lawsuit is back in court. The network cut its ask to in half, but the firm counters with $0. Suddenly, the network attorney loves profanity. The team argues that the episode has no worth because it was never going to be aired. And they call a network executive to the stand who Lucca summarily humiliates while engaging in some light flirting with Colin. Afterward the network lawyer tells Adrian that embarrassing Hollywood honchos on the stand is a surefire way to make Hollywood enemies. So, goodbye, dollar signs. All of a sudden Adrian is less bullish on the case.

Mr. Chumhum comes to visit Diane, as promised. He is impressed by the “real African-American law firm” and seeing African-Americans “everywhere you look.” The racial politics of this are…weird. It’s all a little…uncomfortable. But then Marissa brings up the obvious. Everyone is black except them. Look, when there’s an elephant in the room there’s no use trying to hide it behind a couch.

But, good news, he is impressed by the firm for reasons other than just its racial makeup. In fact he is thinking of switching to them. He likes their fight in standing up to Trump and says they should do to him what Republicans did to Obama. Well, I mean I guess we could demand to see his birth certificate. But, really, I’d much rather see his taxes.

Kresteva is back on his cellphone talking about how Papa Rindell hasn’t given up Maia’s name yet – yet being the operative word. He arrives home, ready to relax after a busy day of witch hunting and personal assassination with his wife. But who is there becoming BFFs with her instead? Elsbeth! She has been drinking wine and eating ice cream and snooping through his study. An incredulous Kresteva walks her out and threatens to have her disbarred as a parting gift.

Oh, monsters, will you ever learn? She says she’d like a disbarment judge to hear him say, “You go after me professionally, I’ll go after you personally.” He says it’s a lie, he never said that. But, receipts, Elsbeth! has receipts. She pulls out a recording of him saying just that. He counters that it’s an illegal recording. She says it isn’t if it’s contradicting a lie. And BAM, he just got Elsbethed!

Never underestimate how deeply satisfying it is to see a woman vanquish a man who has underestimated her – on television or in real life.

Oh, nothing, just girl talk. You know, plotting how to smash the patriarchy and stuff.

So the Trump TV lawsuit is back in court. Adrian makes an impassioned speech about corporate media control and Tiananmen Square. The judge doesn’t entirely buy it, but then just as he is about to rule, “ding” goes Twitter. Our Rage Tweeter-in-Chief has commented on the case adding it is “time to look into who they hire to write.” Sad!

Lawsuit in the bag, Lucca goes off to her milkshake date with Colin. Flirting leads to kissing, kissing leads to shagging, shagging leads to confessing. Lucca says she doesn’t make friends easily because she is afraid of getting hurt. But she did have a friend, a female coworker. We won’t name her because we’ve already exhausted our one “Alicia” per episode. But the big takeaway from all of this is that Lucca doesn’t get hurt by boys. Ladies, start your femslash engines.

Looks like everyone is feeling the post-coital glow this episode (except for Maia, dammit, I’m thisclose to putting Amy on the side of a milk carton). Lucca and Colin. Diane and her sorta-ex hubby Kurt. He asks her to move in with him. She’s like, nah, I can solve my own problems, but thanks for the sex.

And solve them she does. Once in the office she goes to see the partners. Mr. Chumhum saw they won the case and has decided to switch to them. Forget Hollywood money, this means at least $58 million a year. But, the deal has a small, itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny caveat. You see, Diane can’t recommend the firm if she is only “of counsel.” Adrian assures her it can all get worked out later. But Diane knows the upper hand when she has it. And, boy, does she have it. So what does she want?

Alicia who?

She wants her capital contribution to come from the Chumhum retainer. And she wants to be made a named partner. And, BAM, they just got Lockharted.


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18 Comments

  1. 12

    omg I actually gay gasped when I saw Elsbeth Tascioni. What. A. Legend. I’m so excited for how she’s going to go up against Chandler. It was indeed a beautiful moment when he realized he’d greatly underestimated Elsbeth. I, uh, may have clapped…

    I love Lucca and Colin, their chemistry is great and they both making eating burgers and fries look hot so good job on that.

    We’re only five episodes in but I love how they continue to bring up race in the ways that they do. Oh and of course how hard this show continues to go in on Trump. Yes please.

  2. 12

    ELSBETHHHHHHHHH she is for sure in my redhead hall of fame.

    tbh the maia storyline is really starting to lose me? BRING BACK AMY TO MAKE HER LIKABLE AGAIN PLEASE like sorry ur parents are the worst maybe just listen to ur fucking lawyer bb?

    here for Lucca destroying men (but yeah, when she said “I don’t get hurt by boys” GAYYYYYYY)

  3. 9

    This isn’t airing in the UK yet so I’m neither watching it nor reading these recaps. What the hell am I doing down here taking up space..? WELL! The first recap title combined with the two naked ladies in the shower convinced me that I should really now get round to watching The Good Wife (sitting at the bottom of my Netflix queue for years, one of the stale looking ones I had no intention of ever actually watching) in preparation, and what I have learned about TGW is that it is a very easy show to accidentally watch four seasons of in three weeks IF you have the time and inclination. Also Kalinda.

    Anyway, I figured initially that I’d be grateful to be able to dig out these here recaps when I got round to watching TGF approximately seven years later than everyone else, but at this rate I’ll be good to go in a couple of weeks, probably even ahead of its UK airing date, and will be back here with you REAL TIME!

    (Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine my adulthood would look like this. The secret, if anyone is wondering, is to quit your job and neglect to find another one. Recommended.)

    I am excited about Elsbeth.

    Good day.

  4. 3

    If you want to make Steel Magnolia references all day, you can come sit by ME. I haven’t seen the Good Wife, so when Elspeth appeared, I was like, “oh, hi Arlene! How’s Bon Temps?” Still needs more girlfriend, but I’ll take invisible girlfriend over dead/deserted girlfriend (I guess… for now).

  5. 4

    Trump supporters can go fuck themselves. I don’t think that sentiment is ever going to change.They showed no empathy for anybody else when they voted for him. Still don’t care about others, just upset they might lose their Medicare and Social Security. Still ok to hate.

  6. 6

    I’m loving this show! It’s making me miss The Good Wife but in a really good way, I don’t know how to explain it.

    And finally they are giving some depth to Lucca! The Good Wife has always been too busy with Alicia and all the other characters to really get into her in the last season, so it’s really nice to finally get to know her on a more personal level.

    Last thing.. I don’t want to spread FAKE NEWS! – and if it’s true I don’t know if it counts as a spoiler so read at your own risk – but the imdb page of TGF says Amy is present only in two episodes. I’m hoping they are updating it as she shows up.. right? Right?

  7. 6

    Elsbeth was one of my favorite characters on The Good Wife. When I heard the Kings wanted to do a TGW spin-off, it was my sincerest hope that it’d feature Elsbeth and Kalinda in a “buddy cop” type of show. They were great opposite each other.

    Alas…

  8. 6

    “Lucca doesn’t get hurt by boys. Ladies, start your femslash engines.”

    EXACTLY, but WHERE are the fanfics?! (Ok ok, I’ll calm down; I realize the show is still “new”.)

    O/T, but what happened to Autostraddle’s “Fanfic Friday” column? Forever heartbroken.

  9. 2

    Interestingly the TV episode not being aired due to fears it would annoy Trump did happen. A Law and Order SVU ep got rescheduled and rescheduled then dropped.
    Also big plot hole. They basically won by arguing the writer could post the episode as freedom of speech to counter the president’s comments. The presidential tweet happened after the show was posted.
    All that aside, it was a great episode from a show that is becoming a favourite. I love Dorothy’s comment about AWOL Amy. 🙂

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