The Good Fight 6×09 “The End of Democracy” makes yet another titular “end” into something almost…fun. But it’s hard to go beyond just “almost” there, considering — well. Considering everything, really. Even so, as we are painfully close to saying goodbye to this gem of a series, it’s impossible not to wonder how, exactly, we’re supposed to survive what very well could be the real end of democracy without it.
Then, there are the many possibilities for a future we know, as viewers, that this series doesn’t have. But it’s nice to think, this far down the road, that we might not end on too definitive a note. That these characters may live on, in their own universe, fighting the good fight. The big question that “The End of Democracy” both asks us and leaves us wondering, though, is how, exactly, is the best way for them to do that.
Kurt is over
Let’s get this one out of the way…
Even with the Lyle of it all, I’ve had this sinking fear in the back of my mind all season that, somehow, after everything, The Good Fight would end with Diane still with…this fuckin’ guy. Thank the TV gods I was wrong. Because, as I’ve said a countless times now, it’s impossible for Diane Lockhart to truly stand with her causes if she’s going to normalize everything she supposedly stands against by staying with Kurt.
There are so many places along the way where this relationship, with any rationality, would’ve ended. The biggest current issue is the fact that he works for the “thoughts and prayers” — or, “et cetera, et cetera” if you will — lobby instead of stepping outside of his selfish, privileged worldview and giving the least bit of a shit about mass shootings. But we’ve been over all this before.
“It is about politics, and it is about beliefs. And our beliefs…are seriously not aligned.”
What matters now is it’s ending, for mostly all the right reasons. So, we’d like to start celebrating. But we can’t. Because, oddly enough, as the world is falling apart, and the majority of the cast spends time at a funeral, it’s here where this episode delivers its biggest emotional punch. That’s all down to Christine Baranski, who was an absolute heartbreaker in the entirety of this episode but especially in the ending scene. And let’s not even start on the breakdown after Kurt got out of that car — that was an art form all its own.
Saying goodbye to someone we love is hard, even if they were never right for us in the first place. And connecting with a character — truly rooting for them like we have with Diane Lockhart, thanks to Baranski’s work and all these years we’ve spent with Diane — means feeling their pain, even when we’re getting the outcome we’ve been demanding, week after week.
The only problem with the how and when of it all — other than, again, it’s years too late — is that Diane didn’t make her choice until after the whole Neil Gross…thing. Sometimes, we do need a push to do the hard things we know we should do, yet can’t bring ourselves to. But it just felt like Gross’ offer and its related demands were what really made Diane finally decide today was the day. Or, even if that stupid form email about Kurt’s donation was Diane’s final straw, having that occur so close to Neil telling Diane to figure Kurt out is still kind of…unsettling, we’ll say.
To some extent, since Kurt goes with Diane to Frank Landau’s funeral in The Good Fight 6×09, it also almost feels a little bit like she finally decided to get rid of the dead weight because of optics. If that was going to be Diane’s reason in the end, she really should’ve dropped Kurt’s ass long ago.
…or never picked it up to begin with. It just always needed to be Diane’s choice — and hers alone.
But at least we’re here now. I’ll make l’chayims to that.
“The End of Democracy”
Democracy is not one person. So, if you think the title of The Good Fight 6×09 has anything, at all, to do with the fact that it’s the former DNC Chairman’s funeral, you’ve completely missed the point.
As we’ve seen throughout history — recently and otherwise — one vile excuse for human life can make a huge difference.
And so, here we are.
“Because let’s face it, folks! We’re FUCKED!”
This episode’s release could not have been at a more perfect time, just days before a midterm election that could very well, with the wrong results, lead to the actual end of democracy. “Oh, but Democrats say that about every election.” That’s correct. Because, as so many fail to heed the warnings, and so many others devolve into cheering fascism along, each election is more important than the last.
It’s very clear, even as we do it in a satirical way, that everyone involved in creating this series gets that. Diane Lockhart may be fed up, ranting about her anxieties and discussing just how much she’s ready to give up. She may even be sharing how frustrated she is with herself for still having “that most dangerous feeling…hope.” But it’s not really her speaking to us. It’s a creative team, using their platform through a beloved fictional character, to speak for us. For everyone who’s terrified right now. And for everyone who just doesn’t know how it will ever — can ever — get better. She is us, all of us, who can’t bear to see more freedoms lost. Everyone who is exhausted to death of fighting, just to keep seeing it all slip away.
But make no mistake: We’re all still here.
Even the arguments, first between Diane and Neil and later between Neil and Johnny Elfman, are us. Gross is right, that we have to do something different. But, then again, Elfman’s not exactly wrong in not wanting us to become just as bad as the other “side.”
There is no such thing as a good billionaire — read that line more than once — so, no, someone like Gross isn’t what the DNC needs. And no, running The Rock for President isn’t going to fix things either. It may even seem like, on the surface, these are good ideas. Even the great Diane Lockhart is won over by Gross here, after all.
….but in the end, this is what can really spend the end of democracy: a billionaire with all the answers, unqualified leaders, misinformation from Fox News or something like it — all while “legitimate” journalism devolves into more and more “both sides” nonsense and cowardice, extremism, and average people just…living their lives in the midst of it.
It’s all of the above. Everything we’ve seen play out, both in real life and in cartoonish, hilarious, and heartfelt display in this series.
What are you going to do about it?
In Carmen we trust
I am, once again, asking the universe to understand that Charmaine Bingwa is it.
While Neil Gross is plotting to buy out the Democratic Party, Carmen Moyo is busy taking over the world. There’s really no other way to put that.
It doesn’t matter whether she’s doing her actual job or posing as white supremacist scum Buck’s lawyer. Carmen will always, always rise to the occasion. And so will Bingwa. There is something utterly mind-boggling about the way she maintains the feel and essence of Carmen in that fake prison with Buck, all while ripping away everything we’ve known about the character’s hyper-professionalism and highly reserved nature. And let’s not get into the way she walked out of that meeting room the first time, much less the strut after a mission more than accomplished.
Carmen puts on such a good show, even Jay’s not sure how much of it is real. As a viewer, it’s hard not to think about Renatta’s line: “The real’s always better.”
In a lot of ways, though, it doesn’t even matter. Because, regardless, Carmen gets the job done. And regardless, she’s a young(er) adult who was, until now, not really involved much in anything other than her career. But now, she is. And she’s got to ask herself if this is the way or not.
The other very obvious thing that does, in fact, matter is that we’ve got ourselves both an organization that operates outside the law and a billionaire with an “only I can fix this mentality.” And lest we forget, there’s still unrest, all over, everywhere.
If we didn’t already know it based on the episode order, this would be the place where we’d want to shut up and listen to the warning bells. Because, most certainly, the end is nigh.
More on The Good Fight 6×09
- Ending Diane and Kurt’s marriage just as Marissa and Zev’s is beginning is…a choice. As in, what a powerful contrast. And also as in, damn, that hurt.
- When I first saw this thing was called “The End of Democracy,” I was like, “wow. Hell of a title there, gang.” I stand by that.
- No but the way Diane had to drop her voice on the “NRA” part of that eulogy she was preparing.
- I’m sure the crowd that never quite understood this series but was whining about Diane laughing too much/not getting a serious enough story is totally going to love the multiple Baranski masterclasses in this episode, right? (Just kidding: I’d be willing to bet Chumhum’s net worth that they’ll be even more triggered. Alas.)
- “No, I won’t! You fucking think I’m in fucking Baltimore! My Gooodd!!” First, yes, this is exactly how we respond to the GPS. Next, pronouncing the T in Baltimore is a crime against me, an Old-Bay-obsessed, born-and-raised Marylander. But finally, I still love Liz in spite of this.
- “What if we left?” “I mean, I made an appearance. People saw me.” I have never identified with Marissa more.
- “They probably blame me.” “Blame you…because an antisemite decided to murder a Jew?” “Who said it had to make sense?” Jewish guilt has entered the chat.
- Can we just…everything about every single second that Carmen and Marissa are together. That.
- “Do you find…swearing helps?” “All the fucking time.” Exactly, Liz. Exactly.
- “Time has not been very good to the Democratic party. The Supreme Court, Republican obstructionism, school shootings…There are more children killed every year from firearms than cancer. And the NRA still doesn’t care.”
- “There’s not enough whiskey in the world.” Also correct.
- If you’ve ever been to a dysfunctional family funeral, all those terrible speakers were for you. A personal favorite: “The best way to talk about Frank is to talk about myself.” Dead.
- Hey, you. Listen. That gay marriage news story? More likely than you want to let yourself think.
- “Burn it all the fuck down and start over. I can’t think of any other way.” No, but the whole thing is perfect.
- Not them dragging Elon’s Twitter takeover before it was ever finalized, only for it to be finalized and start ruining the site just in time for the episode to drop.
- “If it’s a fake police station, why not a fake lawyer?” I know just the guy.
- “Here’s my formalized proposal: Get some balls. Or get out.” He has a point. But I still don’t trust billionaires.
- So. Many. Good. Lines. “This country’s in real fucking trouble, and you want to play king for a day? Fuck off.”
- “Just tell him you can’t see another school shooting without shooting yourself. Tell him that his work with the NRA disgusts you.” I’ve been saying…
- “A private cell for white supremacists. Every day, they can look out on white.” Poetic justice, much?
- This didn’t feel like as big of an episode for Liz and Ri’Chard as some others have been, but that’s not to say that their reactions to pretty much everything weren’t comedy gold. Audra McDonald and Andre Braugher buddy comedy WHEN.
- “This is either the stupidest night of our lives…” “…or the best.” I got emo.
- “You seem so sane, and yet these people…” As long as he won’t get away from them, he is not, in fact, a good person. But we should stay away from “sane” vs. “insane” with this…because, uh. Plenty of mentally ill people aren’t fascist sympathizers who are fine with school shootings and the erosion of everybody else’s rights so.
- Blah, blah, stay away from “all that stuff.” The privilege jumped out. Go get run over, Kurt.
- “I’m tired of shutting off that part of myself.” Should’ve never had to.
- Boy, bye. I hope your Uber driver is the 1-star variety.
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