The Good Fight 6×06 “The End of a Saturday” is easily the most fun episode of the series’ final season to date. Which, honestly, is odd to say…A kid’s life hangs in the balance, with all sorts of personal and legal hoops for everyone to jump through to save him, after all.
But, somehow, it just works. There’s something about poking a little bit of fun at our botched healthcare system, while creating this great sense of family — of everyone working together to do some good — that gives the episode its heart. And that heart is something that hasn’t necessarily been missing this season. Or, well, not exactly missing, at least. It’s just at its best and brightest here.
Maybe it’s seeing Marissa and Carmen’s friendship rekindled after some…interesting, yet super awkward, moments. Or. Perhaps, it’s just that Diane Lockhart is more a part of the group in “The End of a Saturday” than apart from it. (Side note, kiddos: There’s your grammar lesson on “a part” versus “apart.”) The magical formula could just be seeing everyone give up everything from Krav Maga, to a camping trip, to hookups, to “treatments,” and everything in between to save Dustin’s life. Whatever it is, The Good Fight 6×06 reminds us of everything that made us fall in love in the first place.
“I am inspired…and depressed by what it takes to stay alive.”
The Good Fight 6×06 really packs a lot of material in. Even so, “The End of a Saturday” makes it very clear that the episode could’ve been named “The End of Healthcare.” Or, well. You could call it the end if it was ever truly “care” in the United States to begin with…which is debatable.
Ri’Chard’s nephew, Dustin, is dying. Without a bone marrow transplant, he might not last a week. (Or so the family says — that courtroom “performance” leaves some parts of this story a little fuzzy. But sickle cell is serious enough that I don’t even care what the performance meant.) And yet…
It takes a favor from a friend of…a something…of a coworker of the kid’s uncle to even make him aware of a gene therapy trial for the disease’s cure.
But he’s a whopping three months too young. So, insert a lawsuit against the FDA here. Wackiness, including visiting a judge’s home — where his Saturday includes bubbles, bounce houses, and God knows what else with his grandkids — somehow manages to ensue.
Diane & Friends win that trial, but the FDA plays petty and won’t fund the very expensive treatment. Soooo, on to litigation against Medicaid — a joke in and of itself. Dustin’s single mother has to prove she makes less than $1481 a month to qualify. Which, y’all…You can’t even pay rent for that in most of the country, especially when you need at least two bedrooms.
Add up the medical bills, and literally, WTF are we doing here??? So, if The Good Fight wants to throw in comedy up to our ears to present this us damning information, good.
Because it’s all a joke…and we’re just getting started.
Ri’Chard finds an article about the NIH’s racist underfunding of sickle cell research on his phone — while he’s literally in the judge’s backyard with all the aforementioned good kids’ time. Which, yes, it’s disgustingly easy to find plenty of sources on racism in healthcare. Google is your friend.
So, he and Liz work together on suing the NIH. But they find out that the doctor who wrote the damning article is currently in treatment for alcoholism…
…and all of this is happening while Marissa and Carmen are working their magic to get a new donor. Honestly, we’re kind of begging for a whiteboard for the whole case that clearly explains it all the way their final presentation did for the donors themselves. Because, uh. It’s a lot.
And that is, of course, the point. “The End of a Saturday” is the type of episode of The Good Fight that does pretty much everything the Kings have done best for years. It’s fast paced, with all the legal back-and-forth almost making your head spin, but it also deals with very serious subject matter in a very absurd way.
Because — just to hammer the point home here — it is absurd that so much needs to happen to save a kid’s life. And we barely even mentioned the part where Dustin had these people to fight for him, whereas most kids — especially most Black kids in America — don’t.
Typically, it’s easy to pull apart very particular reactions from very particular actors and say, “wow.” Or “[insert actor X here] killed that.” But, with this episode, everyone gives just a masterclass in reacting. The Zoom call where Carmen describes the donor fetishists is probably the best example. But it’s really all over the place. And it’s just so damned good.
The Ri’Chard Lane Brand™
It’s a testament to both Braugher and the writing that Lane is brand new in the series’ final season and still basically it. He’s just so damned good, and I love that! But it’s also just…kinda rude. Have I said this before? Probably. Do I care? Probably not.
“This is not a toy. It’s a medical device. You see, you put all your hurt in this end.”
“The End of a Saturday” makes an already-fascinating character even moreso by putting every single known layer on full display and adding even more. Ri’Chard is so good with his nephew, even poking fun at himself for treating Dustin like he’s still five and giving him that toy dinosaur to make his surgery “suck less.”
And there’s genuine concern, and fear, desperation, and everything in between as the team jumps through all those hoops to save his nephew’s life. If we’re keeping in the theme using Zoom calls as examples of particularly good work here, that first one speaks volumes. He’s always putting on a show, which we already knew. But he goes kind of in and out of that “mode,” so to speak, during the call — and continues that through the whole episode. It’s when he’s out of it the first time, though — just head in hands, even where everyone can see — that’s really most striking.
…that is, before we get the camera’s point of view after the call ends. With Ri’Chard all on his own…It’s like he’s so defeated, which is not at all what we’re used to. The performance is second to none, but the way it’s shot just multiplies the effect. In short, we’re nerding out over here.
Equally interesting, he’s also excellent with Liz’s son, who gets dragged along on the whole journey. We could relate it back to the “good with kids” characterization, which we already saw earlier this season and had reinforced in the hospital scene with Dustin.
But this is Liz‘s kid. And, knowing what we do about his history with her dad, that makes every second Ri’Chard and Malcolm are together priceless in its own, unique way.
Which, of course, in all the subtlest ways from Audra McDonald, we know their interactions touch and annoy Liz in equal measure. That almost-instant connection also clearly gets Liz back to wondering about Ri’Chard’s endgame
After all, this is Ri’Chard Lane. He’s also a Brand™, and even in some of his more personal moments, it’s obvious that bit doesn’t completely leave him. He even teaches Malcolm (Mallllll’COMMMMM!!!) why that’s so important to him.
“I’m going to tell you the most important thing that you’ll ever be taught, ok?.
“Draw attention to yourself. Dress, to draw attention to yourself. Speak, to draw attention. Excel to draw attention. Make yourself a brand. It’s the only way to make a place for yourself in a world not built for you.”
Knowing what we know about how and when Richard became Ri’Chard, it’s certainly advice he wishes someone had given him. And he’s bestowing it upon…
Which, again: The fact that he has this conversation — this moment — with this specific kid makes it all the more powerful. Between who Malcolm is, and how that plays to all sides of Ri’Chard’s character, it’s just a lot to unpack. The contrast, between how adorable this character is with kids, and how BIG AND BOLD AND BRANDED he is, is so huge that it should be impossible to pull off. It should feel “off,” but it never does.
Again, kudos to the writing and especially to Braugher.
Well. Braugher and McDonald, actually. Which, of course, brings us to…hm.
The End of a Saturday, The Beginning of a War?
Speaking of huge contrasts…and brands…and everything else: That big confrontation at the end of the episode is obviously setting up whatever war is coming. But, like. How are we going to see Liz and Ri’Chard get rid of STR Laurie, and go to war with each other with so little time left?
It’s not fair. This is me, whining.
Liz’s first attempt at getting to the bottom of Ri’Chard’s motives with her firm was…not great. I’d go so far as to say it was an incredibly low blow, and the pain coming off of Braugher when Ri’Chard refuses to get into it, mixed with that powerful defiance, is impossible to miss. You can see that he goes through an emotional journey, in mere seconds, as he realizes what Liz is actually asking him about.
Then again, if you’re used to living in a world where everything seems to be won via low blows, it’s certainly a great opportunity to strike and get the upper hand. Not a fan. But it’s admirable, in its own way. Basically, you have to admire the chutzpah.
Then, there’s the celebration once Dustin finally gets his miracle. It’s not really in doubt that Ri’Chard really is in awe of everyone and sees them as the family they are now. But he still has that Brand™ he wants to build and that revenge he can’t help himself from seeking. And Liz still wants — needs — the details on what that entails.
It’s so incredibly entertaining to see Braugher proudly selling Ri’Chard’s brand, and his plan, all while McDonald just reacts. That smirk before they toast, having agreed to get rid of the corporate mess before really duking it out, had better be on every gif set, ever, after this. She’s so wonderfully confrontational and full of disbelief, and I can’t wait to see these two really go at each other’s throats.
But there’s also a lot of kind of unexpected emotion tied up in the scene, especially with how quietly Ri’Chard agrees to “have it out now” in the first place. It’s bittersweet, in all the best ways and all the worst ones. Because, after all, I’m going to point out again that we just don’t have enough time with them.
“Damn right. And that’s how you get things done. One name, and an army behind it. It’d be your name. Except…Reddick is over. My name…is the next revelation.”
Next spinoff, The Good Brand????
The Good Fight 6×06 also delivers on some really sweet, yet sometimes deeply uncomfortable, moments between Marissa and Carmen. While we understood why Carmen set the boundaries she did earlier this season, it still hurt. Thankfully, this series isn’t ending with these two friends, who really worked well together in the past and were a highlight when they did, at odds.
The path back to being on good terms was, however, complicated. To say the least.
There’s something very shy coming from both actors, as well as something almost flirtatious — especially from Sarah Steele as Marissa — when the two characters finally confront the Marissa-lookalike elephant in the room before finally making up. Which, part of that is just clearly two friends who aren’t always the greatest at interacting with others — much less doing the work to fix a broken relationship — wanting to fix things but struggling through.
“Are we not friends because of that?”
But…are we supposed to get a vibe? If so, that does kind of make me feel like the whole situation with, as Marissa puts it, “fucking [her] doppelgänger” kinda…might not play well. Actually very interested to see what people think here.
What I will say — what I’m sure works for me, personally — is the halting way these two friends reconcile. Because it’s hard. Sometimes, you want to make those amends more than anything but can’t make yourself take the first step because you’re awkward and, quite frankly, terrified of rejection. Especially when it’s someone you thought you were close with, especially if you don’t get that closeness a lot.
“I was short with you that time because I was frustrated. I…can’t show weakness in my job. And, when I’m around you I tend to be…nicer.”
“I make you nicer?”
“No, that is not what…Ok! You do, ok?”
And the fact that Marissa hears Carmen and asks her how she’s been after all of that is vital. That’s friendship.
Now, don’t get me started on the rain that wound up on my face with the whole hug thing. As a person who is…not usually a hugger…the way Marissa asked if it would be weird — it wasn’t here, not at all — was so appreciated. And, to use the word far too often, it was sweet.
As a much-needed bonus to make this scene’s appearance in “The End of a Saturday,” specifically, make sense: No, Marissa. You don’t work better apart. Y’all are the dream team and could never have cracked this case wide open separately.
And that dream team does, in fact, include Jay — who absolutely deserved that shoutout from Carmen. It’s a dream team of three, even if Jay somehow manages to stick to his own thing. Three. A dream trio, if you will.
More on The Good Fight 6×06
- Ok but, like. Last episode ended with Jay getting involved in…something…and it’s left out of this episode? Why. Like, y’all have four episodes left???
- Speaking of: There are only four episodes left. How — how — are we wrapping this up??? And while we’re at it: Do we really have to end it?
- “יפה מאוד”
- Ok but that previous line can be transliterated to “yafeh m’od,” which means “very beautiful” or “very pretty” in Hebrew. And I damned near jumped out of my chair when I heard that during Marissa’s (interrupted) Krav Maga scene. Could I understand much of the rest of what the instructor was saying? Nope. But also: !!!!!! HEBREW ON MAINSTREAM MURRICAN TV. !!!!!! MY PEOPLE.
- “We’re lawyers. There’s always a Plan B.” Aaaaaand there’s the Ri’Chard Lane we’ve been obsessed with all season.
- “The cameras were off? What the fuck?!” Jay is me, and I am Jay.
- “Are you kidding me?! The one day some white supremacist puts ‘Blood and Soil’ stickers all over our elevators, and our surveillance cameras are off?” I remain Jay.
- Another whole mood: Ri’Chard’s “oh! Come onnnn!!!!” in the judge’s backyard.
- “They don’t know you’re gay, do they?” “They don’t know I’m anything.” So, that’d be a no.
- “Marissa, you are defying the laws of Physics right now!!!” Jay Dipersia, comedian.
- Another moment involving priceless reactions: Michael Boatman’s look and Charmaine Bingwa’s subtle head tilt after Marissa says it’s better if she and Carmen work separately. Whew.
- It’s also really nice to see Julius working with the team, rather than not.
- “Now, I’m embarrassed.” “What for?” “I need to ask another favor.” I have become Diane. Asking for help sucks.
- Blink and you’ll miss it: But let’s talk about that little shake of the head from McDonald that we catch in the rearview mirror as Braugher’s singing in that car.
- “…was that a large chicken?” I can’t.
- “I brought us some crabcakes and grits.” What are the odds the crabs were done correctly (like a Marylander, obvs.), though?
- Bingwa was practically vibrating with Carmen’s nerves when Marissa was talking to her girl.
- “Oh. Yeah. Luckily, she’s one of the 35% that didn’t lose her hair…except on her genitalia?” I—. And did Carmen want to reach through the computer and choke that dude, or was that just me projecting?
- “How do you think we make a difference? By screaming and waving our arms? No. By falling in behind one name, one man, on parade. Ri’Chard.” Worked for that one guy whose name Stephen Colbert won’t say anymore. Ri’Chard is a much better name to get behind, though.
- “We want to make a difference, not sell t-shirts.” Um. Why not both?
- “Here. Why not? The halls of justice, indeed.” I mean…
- “Although, to be clear, I am not an alcoholic. But my wife disagrees.” Narrator: The wife was right. That whole “just to get some gum” scene was, in The Good Fight‘s own particular brand of poking fun at reality, spot on.
- “Oh, my God. We’re going to hell.” And the look on her face when she puts both hands on the side of her head. A comedy!
- The frustrated way Carmen closes her laptop when gross fetish boy’s mommy stops the conversation is me after reading work emails before bed.
- “He’ll probably drag me back to a kibbutz and have 12 children…” Ok but will it be Yotvata? Because, if so, have those 12 kids find a way to bring me back some mocha milk.
- “Overruled. Seems pretty racist to me.” More of these judges, please.
- Coffee really fixes everything, huh?
- “So, what’ve we got?” “Carmen and Marissa.” And also Jay. You remember Jay, right????
- “But we warned them that the mother will either be Black or Jewish. So. Either one half of America will hate their child, or the other half will.” “Why stop there? Maybe both halves will.” Not sure if I should laugh or break something. probably also both.
- “Uncle Rich. You are the best thing that happened to me. And I’m going to spend my life making you proud.” Ok but who else got weepy?
- “Who wants to camp?! Camp here! We have pizza!” He gets me.
- What even was that ending???? That…was definitely not one of the cute and funny bird splats. Guess it’s time to be haunted by that final shot of Christine Baranski until we fire up the ol’ account for the next episode.
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