For anyone who loved Alan Cumming as Eli Gold on The Good Wife, or is a sucker for father/daughter relationships, The Good Fight 6×02 is about as much of a highlight episode as it gets. And well. We’d like to plead guilty, Your Honors.
But there’s more to “The End of the Yips” than that.
Interestingly enough, that “more” is both deeply troubling and really fascinating. The Lila Royce case raises all sorts of issues, delivers them in a way that shows just how empty the usual discourse on those issues is, and then takes kind of a potentially problematic swerve.
Then, there’s the very real conflict that Liz has with documentarian Deandra Minton, who claims to be seeking the “truth” but is really…not. At the same time, while so many very big things are happening at the firm, and while protests raging outside get more and more violent, Diane is…somewhere and something else entirely. This is the type of episode that will, at the very least, make viewers think.
So, let’s take a deep dive into The Good Fight 6×02 “The End of the Yips” and see if we manage not to drown while we do.
“No one wins by talking about Israeli politics.”
If I’m being perfectly honest, the first time I watched “The End of the Yips,” I was like, “ok but yikes on this case.” The second time, I had the opposite take. Were I to repeat the experiment many times, I’d probably discover I’m at an even 50-50 split on it. That is not a bad thing, though. An episode of television that makes you constantly reframe where it sits in your mind is a powerful one.
It’s both perfectly fitting, and anything but, that the two Jewish characters — though not played by Jewish actors, which is its own can of worms — defended a client who canceled Israeli tour dates for political reasons.
So, let’s start with the “why it fits” part. Certainly, it’s believable — for a number of reasons. First, a client is a client. You do your job. Second, and as a deeper point: Yes! There are plenty of Jews, across plenty of organizations, who are not 100% all-in on Israel. “Wherever we stand…” (some of y’all know the slogan, right?) doesn’t work for us. In fact, assuming that all Jews are in lockstep with a particular government’s actions, regardless of whether they live there, furthers this idea of dual loyalty or “otherness.”
So, uh. No thanks.
Case in point: For my part, I’m not exactly down with a “homeland” that exists for my safety if it means other people’s homes are destroyed. Sure, I loved so many things about my “Birthright” trip and the beautiful country I visited as an undergrad. But I’m not so much a fan of the propaganda, my racist as fuck tour guide, or the horrible things I’ve heard about the conditions in Gaza from close friends who’ve seen them with their own eyes.
At the same time, there are so many Jewish organizations—and so many Jewish people—who automatically label anyone, Jewish or otherwise, who speaks out as antisemitic. Imagine being Jewish, disliking Israeli politics, and having both Jews and non-Jews hate you for it. It’s fun…if by “fun,” you mean absolutely horrible.
So, it kind of hurts to watch The Good Fight 6×02 and see the Golds put in that position. At the same time, seeing them argue some of the points against each other in preparation for the trial puts both sides (I hate that phrase, but here we are) in Jewish characters’ mouths. Which is exactly how to represent “the Jewish view” on this, even if it’s not really the Jews sharing their own views so much as it is them trying to weed out all possibilities. (And again, even if — regrettably — The Jews™ on the series are not, in fact, Jews in real life.)
Hell, Eli playing both plaintiff and judge even nails the “two Jews, three opinions” adage.
No matter what, though, there’s no way for them to come out of this as winners. (See also: Jon Stewart’s segment on this, from years ago.) In fact, there’s no way for anyone to win in this never-ending cycle.
Marissa and Eli’s trial prep and all the courtroom drama in The Good Fight 6×02, though, really do somehow manage to pack a lot of the talking points in. And they even do it in a way that doesn’t demonize Jews…for the most part. There are a couple of borderline antisemitic comments made during the bullpen scene — most notably the whole “Jews have a lot of power” and “money and power in this country” comments. But they’re clearly played and presented as lacking in nuance, which they are.
…especially considering a lot of the “money and power” in the U.S. that funds Israel…is from evangelical Christians.
Which, The Good Fight 6×02 is kinda brilliant in sneaking that in, in its own way. The judge knows nothing about the rockets and has a bias about how beautiful the country is (the land is, sure), even though his church group has been there. And, of course, both sets of lawyers play on that church connection and commentary about Jesus returning to the Holy Land.
But what about China?
Bringing the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims, as well as the authoritarian control over the media, into this is…certainly thought-provoking.
Certainly, for the sake of the case, there’s logic here. After all, if Lila canceled her tour dates in one country due to supposed concerns over human rights abuses, it is hypocritical to then schedule dates in another country with its own. But. “How can you be opposed to X and not Y” is, sometimes, not the best argument.
People might not know; they’re constantly learning. And some of us are more well read on one issue than another, just either by exposure or — hi — because of a personal connection.
There’s a gross over-simplification of the many issues at play in this Lila’s case. But that is probably the point that The Good Fight 6×02 intends to make. And, honestly, the back-and forth between the associates, with everything from the Crown Heights riots, to the slave trade, to this problem in China and everything I’m probably missing in between…is exactly what it’s like to try to talk through any of this! You know something — or you think you do. But then, a colleague or friend brings up something “worse.” And maybe there’s some misinformation mixed in there. (Jews didn’t exactly fund the slave trade, but we’re certainly not innocent either.)
But back to really problematic issue, in terms of including China in this is…The episode really goes hard, in its concluding moments, on that country in particular. China is presented as the undisputed all-powerful demon. Lila does what her label demands, and her label just cares about China’s money and power. We’re led to believe they’re the worst, to the point where neither the U.S. nor Israel can compete.
And even then, if we were like “look how terrible the view on China is,” that’d be one thing. But, given the very real way China was blamed for COVID-19, sparking so much anti-Asian violence, something feels…not great here.
But, again. I’m not as well-read on this one as I am on other issues. So, intelligent viewers who know more and are capable of having a real conversation, please weigh in.
Probably zero of the things above make sense. So, there’s that. Let’s just hand-wave it all away and talk about how fantastic Alan Cumming and Sarah Steele are together? Why not.
“There is right and wrong. And there is truth.”
As if The Good Fight 6×02 didn’t already give us a lot of things to think about, there’s still Liz’s situation to discuss. Which, first of all, if I’m going to comment on how great it is to see Cumming back, or how fantastic his daddy/daughter dynamic is with Steele, we really need to talk about Audra McDonald. Whatever the situation, she nails it.
Excited to be featured in a documentary about Black female attorneys? Brilliant. That growing sense of unease as Deandra starts to question Liz? Even better. The strength of her convictions, or the take-charge attitude when she confronts Ri’Chard? Iconic. The conflicted feelings, trying to parse out whether or not she did something wrong years ago? Also just…beyond.
Even if she hadn’t been mentioned by name, it would’ve been obvious that Liz Reddick was, in a sense, a stand-in for Vice President Kamala Harris. Many people have attacked her over her past as a prosecutor, and those attacks have not always been in good faith.
Although, with that being said, our criminal justice system is lacking in justice in many ways. The main way? Cops. And who was the weak link in Liz Reddick’s case? A cop.
“What if I brushed it all off because I needed the police to do their job so that I could succeed in mine?”
Letting Liz question whether or not, despite her evidence being solid, she allowed herself to overlook police corruption was probably my favorite aspect of this. It really makes the way Liz and Julius shut Deandra down matter. It’s not just presented as “I was right. This was an open and shut case. So there.” (Obviously paraphrased.) Instead, Liz is really in the right place. She knows she’s imperfect and wants to make sure she did the right thing, but she also knows her case was solid.
In allowing her to possibly have done something reproachful and then learn how to be and do better later, The Good Fight 6×02 keeps our hero an actual hero. Far too many series would present her in a way that’s pure propaganda, rather than letting her be real, thus negating anything remotely heroic about them.
But oh, is she a delight when she takes charge and tells the person who’s trying to get a “gotcha” on her, while claiming to want to honor her, to read the damned case file and get back to her.
The second best part of Liz’s storyline in “The End of the Yips” is getting to see her work together with Jay and Julius. Julius is part of Liz’s team in this episode, whereas he has, far too often, not quite fit. (His Trumper days sure the hell didn’t help.) And Jay’s not just investigating; he’s also giving really good advice that sets the rest in motion.
And, as a close third…Liz versus Ri’Chard. On most series, this would be the highlight of the episode. And, in some ways, seeing Liz tell the new guy not to fuck with her is the highlight. But the way The Good Fight 6×02 really makes people think, makes characters like Liz examine their own potential missteps, is what makes it so good. Because, honestly, so many shows want to spoon-feed us a false “good guys good, bad guys bad” dichotomy.
It’s just a breath of fresh air, as audience members, to actually be treated like we have some brain cells to rub together and make real, complex thoughts. Especially when we can conclude that justice was served…in a still-gray manner.
More thoughts on The Good Fight 6×02
- “I suppose it’s appropriate that a case involving Israel ended in a settlement.” I mean…
- No but when Marissa hugs her daddy and cries about how hard it all is…oof. And that little smile from Eli before he reminds her he told her in third grade that “life is hard. Because people are assholes”? Fuck me up.
- “And people doing good…is not a story.” I hate it here. I mean, this is true. But I hate it here.
- Liz: “Do not let the shiny objects distract you from the truth.” Diane: Sunflower! Shiny!!!!
- Hearing Eli Gold yell about a motherfucker, as his very first line back, is such a delight. Could do without him calling the defund movement moronic, though.
- But. “You’ve never heard me swear before? Well, aren’t you in for a treat? Fuck you, and fuck your mother, too!” Can’t argue. And he’s looking directly at the audience when he asks that, while pretending to be on the phone so as not to break the fourth wall. Love.
- It’s the way Diane just…is not at all present for any of these big issues for me. Privilege is such a powerful drug. Much more powerful than that shit Lyle has her on.
- But we love Christine Baranski, playing “high AF Diane.” Just…pure joy. Inject it in my veins.
- And yes. When you have Christine Baranski, you get her to sing before the series ends. EXACTLY.
- Honestly, the image of her just swanning her way through that protest crowd. Powerful. It says so much without saying a word.
- “The NRA wants to take advantage of Ukraine.” The reviewer wants to vomit. She also wants Diane to leave her trash fire of a man already.
- Carmen turning down Ri’Chard’s special treatment is so real. Have I mentioned enough times that I’d die for her? Because I would.
- “I don’t like having to explain myself.”
- “Oh, my God! Suspicious much? What I’m after is proximity to you.” “I don’t believe it.” “Well, believe it. It’s what a father does. So I’ve read.” They.
- “I just realized that I just may have the most power because…I don’t have any power.” Workers, use this.
- “Power is all a game of numbers.” Siri, play “The Numbers” by Rise Against.
- The spitballs!
- “Music is my life, and for a long time, I tried to keep politics out of it. But that was naive. I have a platform, and a platform is a gift.” Just putting this out there as a “fuck you” to the crowd that thinks creatives shouldn’t talk politics.
- So, I can now say this: I know some folks were talking a big deal about the “shockers” around the Florricks in The Good Fight 6×02 prior to air. But…really? Peter’s trash. The only “shock” is that he actually faced consequences. And Alicia starting a firm in New York isn’t such a far stretch when you think about her ambition and talent. And no, it “didn’t end well” between her and Diane, but like. It’s been years. Is it really such a stretch to think Diane would sound regretful after all this time and *gestures wildly* all the big world stuff that’s happened since?
- …was the whole “that didn’t end well” thing shade at my lifelong fave, though?
- “Where are artists supposed to perform? Not in Florida.” I mean…Correct.
- “Don’t get me started on Black/Jewish relations…” That part. We like to boast about being part of the Civil Rights movement…but uh. As I’ve highlighted before, we…do not treat Jews of color, in particular, well.
- “Life is filled with irrelevant shit.”
- The way Liz stalks out of that meeting and right into Ri’Chard’s office…10/10, no notes.
- “I am officially backing the fuck off.” Smart.
- Liz: “Now, don’t fuck with me.” Me: Yes, ma’am.
- “My little girl. Counselor of record.” Not me crying.
- Can we talk about how interesting the placement of all the outside interruptions was? Because interesting. Ok, ok.
- Diane Lockhart, levitating to end the episode? Sounds about right!
Thoughts on The Good Fight 6×02 “The End of the Yips”? Drop us a comment!
The Good Fight‘s final season is now streaming exclusively on Paramount+, with new episodes releasing every Thursday.