The Good Fight 6×03 “The End of Football” features some excellent courtroom scenes — as it should, considering this is a legal drama. But where the episode really shines is in every single moment that features Charmaine Bingwa as Carmen Moyo. There’s something particularly satisfying about seeing a character, with the odds stacked against her, outsmart and out-maneuver every single person who underestimates her. And that’s exactly what Carmen does throughout this episode. As she should, considering she is an absolute queen — same goes for Bingwa.
The football case that the episode’s title refers to is a little bit trickier. Even so, it still makes for very entertaining television, given Ri’Chard Lane’s…everything, really.
And then, Diane kind of works her way back to where she belongs through a process that has her support — not overshadow — Carmen. Basically, it all comes back to Carmen. It’s her world, and we’re just living in it.
Basically, she wins at life.
Around her very dangerous clients, Carmen does an almost superhuman job of showing calm, quiet strength. Not overt “tough guy” behavior or the typical “Strong Female Character” nonsense, no. She’s just…unfazed by even the most terrifying situations.
Or, rather, it’s not that nothing bothers her — she’s just very good at playing the game. She barely ever lets them see her sweat. I say “barely” because, if you’re paying attention, there are the tiniest of cracks in her facade. There’s a very quiet, subtle performance from Bingwa here, coupled with certain signs — like the gun in her new apartment — from Carmen’s surroundings that shows, while she knows she has to project strength, she still realizes just how easily these people could snuff her out. At some point, she even becomes openly afraid in that elevator with Ben-Baruch. But again, she’s clearly holding back — even here.
That unbothered sort of appearance is present in the way she calmly asks her clients to please do business at the office — even when they’ve already somehow managed to sneak in and grab her weapon in the middle of the night. Or when she speaks with Ben-Baruch about why she really shouldn’t represent Mr. Lester. And in the courtroom, when she even goes as far as to pretend to argue with Diane.
But, as Bingwa lets us know when the others aren’t looking, Carmen realizes her life is on the line. Because there are so many different dynamics at play, her conversation with Diane is one of the most interesting scenes in The Good Fight 6×03. She lets Diane know that she’s struggling…but doesn’t exactly unload. And she gives Diane just enough of the story to work through it…without providing too much detail.
But Diane gets it. And since, as she told Bettencourt earlier in the episode, nobody likes a savior, she also tries to avoid providing too much.
And even here, Carmen’s not quite asking for help but not quite not asking for help. It’s as close to vulnerable as we ever really see this character — again, right up until that elevator scene.
What’s really nice about that not-exactly advice session with Diane is that mutual understanding and support. And Diane’s not trampling over Carmen, though she does surprise her in the courtroom in a show of solidarity. It’s a brilliant plan for the “boss” to randomly decide to take over, pushing for the win while Carmen attempts to throw the case — or, at least, pretends that’s what she’s doing — as requested.
But it’s an act, and we know it. Again, the performance is incredible. Despite being legitimately worried, and regardless of her true surprise at seeing Diane, Carmen still has it covered. Her backup plan, to have basically an even bigger fish come and threaten Ben-Baruch without quite openly threatening him, is brilliant.
She might tell Diane she couldn’t have done it without her, and it is definitely a more genuine sentiment than her dripping sarcasm with Callas. But let’s not kid ourselves here: Carmen Moyo could absolutely have found a way out of the mess she was in with these two clients. It’s just pretty awesome that she had a support system in Diane and even Diane herself seemed to be impressed in the end.
“The End of Football”
Let’s start with the easy part about Liz and Ri’Chard’s case from The Good Fight 6×03: Ri’Chard’s “provoking” ways in that courtroom are an absolute delight. I continue to be completely incapable of stressing enough just how perfect Andre Braugher is for this role and for this series. He fits in…well. Perfectly. There’s also something particularly satisfying about seeing the almost shocked way Liz compliments Ri’Chard on his cross-examination early in the episode.
And while they certainly work incredibly well together in this episode and on this case, the “fantastic” scenes between Braugher and Audra McDonald that I referenced here have nothing to do with “The End of Football.” Again, this is good stuff…but the best is yet to come.
The case itself raises so, so many important points about racism in the NFL. Their client is pretty sure he didn’t get a job as head coach because he’s Black. The team hasn’t had a single Black head coach or Black quarterback in its entire 100-year history. And, when (expertly, obviously) cross-examined by Ri’Chard, the defendant describes the “Rooney Rule” as “I have to give due diligence to interviewing Black candidates for the coach position before hiring who I want.”
Right there, he’s openly implying that who he wants won’t be Black. And, as the case unfolds, we even hear about the very real — and, obviously, very racist — “race-norming” policies in the league that resulted in Black players receiving less treatment for traumatic brain injuries. Because, you know, they were assumed to have less intelligence, causing concussion protocol to…not exactly protect them in the least.
Adding a bit of icing to the cake, the team “our” client was suing…had the highest rate of CTE, as well as the highest rate of Black players, specifically with it, in the league. And, in the middle of all this, the client was even threatened with basically never working again, all because his case brought this to light in open court.
Where this gets “tricky,” for me, is this idea that the guy paying the firm to conduct this lawsuit only did it so he could drive down the team’s price before buying it. It makes the very real claim of racism look like a “playing the race card” situation. And, well. That’s kind of an uncomfortable moment to sit with.
But it was a successful day in court, even with a very white, very “rah-rah sportball” judge — who didn’t even know the difference between CTE and CRT. Which means that, regardless of why this racial discrimination case was tried at this time, all of those claims were legitimate. And not only were they legitimate claims, but they were undeniably so.
Nobody was playing any non-existent “race card” at all. And, honestly? Even if they were — even if that were a thing — it doesn’t matter. It’s not the point. The point is how everything, from the structure of a football team, to hiring practices, to even concussion protocols, winds up being stacked against people of color. If pointing that out happens to result in some job perks for those Black people who do so, then good.
More on The Good Fight 6×03
- Gonna make a lot of Evil references here, I’m afraid. In the first place, Diane’s whole “stop doomscrolling” homework assignment would’ve absolutely pissed off Sheryl and Leland. The wasted potential of not doing a Christine Baranski vs. Christine Lahti crossover here! Make the worlds collide, Kings! They’re both yours!
- I, too, swap from doomscrolling on my laptop to doomscrolling on my phone for extra funsies.
- And, of course, the other Evil reference: “I worked for Lemond Bishop, but I believe he accepted Jesus after he left prison and is no longer a drug dealer — if he ever was.” So true! And he even changed his name to David Acosta, became a priest, and works for a guy who looks mysteriously like Mr. Lester now that the Monsignor he was originally working under kicked the bucket. (For those of you who are like “wtf” here because you don’t watch that masterpiece, Bishop was played by Mike Colter, who is now Father David on Evil. Anyway.)
- Carmen trying to get some exercise while watching garbage TV is a whole mood.
- “Everything old is made new again if you put ‘crypto’ in front of it.” I am, again, asking why no Evil crossover. Makob coin!!!
- “This is my least favorite part of the job — socializing. I would so much rather be sitting at home, listening to old radio serials.” Mr. Lester gets me. My only change would be “emo music” or “’90s TV repeats” in place of “radio serials.”
- “Liz and Diane are lawyers. You’re the law.” Zero lies detected.
- “I’m good at sizing women.” Imma go barf now.
- “Curse of the progressive. If one person is suffering…you can’t enjoy your life.” It sure feels like that sometimes, Diane. Sure does.
- “I was always so good at homework.” Diane would’ve loved me in undergrad.
- “It’s not about race.” Sure, Jan.
- “Everything has a racial dimension.” That part.
- So. Many. Flowers. Diane, ma’am, chill. Or maybe chill less?
- “You were a wallflower; no one noticed. And you finally found the people who notice you.” I wish Callas a very fuck you.
- Also: If he really thought this shit about a student, he never should’ve been a professor. Jot that down. Just absolute garbage.
- “With more drinking comes more clarity.”
- “…it has a lot of conservatives in an uproar about what they’re teaching kids these days.” “Your Honor, I think you’re referring to CRT.” The conservatives are “in an uproar” about something at the college level because they’re racists and idiots. Next.
- “I can…but it’s so much more satisfying when you do.” I love him, Your Honor.
- To be clear: Jay proved the surveillance footage of Mr. Lester was fake and got all the CTE data we needed for the other case. Unsung hero.
- “Mr. Lester, I’d encourage you to find new friends.” Honestly. He doesn’t even realize his “buddy,” who he’s so happy to tell he’s a free man, wanted him to rot in prison for his crime.
- “It all came down to you, Professor.” Finish him.
- …and then, it quite literally ended with a bang.
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