The Good Fight 6×10 “The End of Everything” is a touching, bittersweet, hilarious, tense, thought-provoking, surprising, fitting goodbye to six seasons of excellence. And it’s a heartbreaking hour that, no matter how well-loved, might just be easy to hate. Because a series finale is, in fact, the end of everything. And that “everything” includes 13 seasons with Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart, the first seven of which were already hard enough to leave behind.
But nothing lasts forever, not even in fiction — and especially not in a fictional landscape that’s so thoughtfully based on reality. So many real world events went into this series, especially during this last season, which means it’d be a great disservice to the characters to drag their stories on forever. Luckily, though, even as they leave us, there’s still work for these characters to do.
Somewhere out there, Jay is with The Collective, and Carmen is still working with the law. Liz and Ri’Chard are at-odds, yet perfectly matched, as they try to balance out the concept of a “brand” with the need for truth and justice. And Diane…is…who knows where? Maybe she got away from it all, or maybe she’s our next President.
Then again, she’s probably in DC, finally running her all-female firm. It’s just who she is, and whether she wants to say goodbye or not, her ending is beautifully left open in a way that suggests she could be doing anything, anywhere — but we know what, and where, if we’re really honest with ourselves.
My advance review of the season left the verdict open. If I could go back, I wouldn’t change that assessment. Would I change the reasons for my lack of a final word? For the most part, sure, now that I know how it all ends and have put aside some of my initial discomfort as part of the bigger picture. But. I…Well. Let’s be fully transparent, one last time…
As much as I’ve loved so much about this season and basically every minute of the finale — even parts that, had you told me about them mere days ago, I would’ve sworn I’d hate — I still have no desire to deliver a final verdict on this season. Because that would mean it’s really over. And I don’t know about anyone else, but goodbyes are my least favorite thing. So, no thanks. They live on. We can’t reach a verdict until they’re done.
As an episode, sure. I’ll weigh in. Let’s discuss The Good Fight 6×10 in one
last more episodic review.
The Good Fight series finale’s many goodbyes
Is it really a series finale if it’s not filled with emotional goodbyes? At The Good Fight, the answer is a resounding no. Thankfully, despite so much violence and even that terrifying lockdown, these goodbyes are more of a “see you later.” It’s horrible to have to point out that a finale need not kill anyone off to be effective, that the choice here to avoid just that is refreshing. But here we are. Leave a little light on, TV people. It eases the pain.
…doesn’t mean all these goodbyes don’t still hurt, though.
This work family deserves all the praise in the world for the heart it’s brought to the table. And it’s fascinating to see just how far all of its members have come, regardless of how long they’ve been with us. I honestly don’t even know where to start.
With Jay, begging Carmen to join him at The Collective? All that desperation pouring off Nyambi Nyambi as his character tries, so hard, to break through? And to just keep highlighting how fantastic this cast remains: The quiet “don’t get yourself killed out there” from Charmaine Bingwa‘s Carmen is so loaded with emotion, even if it’s not as overt as Jay’s pleas.
Or, should we spend more time on the pure fun Jay has with Marissa at the beginning, that kind of sibling-like sniping at each other? It’s such a delight, but even this pulls at the heartstrings. Because, sure, it’s a blast to watch. But it’s all ending.
Should we instead gush over Carmen and Marissa’s friendship, which got itself back on track just in time for them to (probably) separate? What about bringing up how much Carmen herself has grown, even in just this season?
That goodbye…it’s difficult for her to spit it out, that shy smile and halting vulnerability. But she does it, when she probably wouldn’t have before. And she admits, simply, “I’m going to miss you.” The Carmen we first met, even the one from just a few episodes ago, would have never.
That line probably hurts the most of all we’ve listed so far, actually — because it’s so simple, yet shows so incredibly much. All the emotion, and all the growth. Other indicators of growth from Carmen: Her whole speech to Diane about love.
“We were in the elevator, and a grenade was thrown in. We thought we had seconds to live. And you said one word. Kurt. I thought it was a great thing to know: when you’re about to die, who you’re thinking about.”
And, really, the entire scene of her, Marissa, and Diane…basically talking about boys.
Which…brings us to that goodbye with Lyle. “Maybe in another lifetime,” indeed. And…then…
…a renewed beginning?
How is it that I’ve been begging for Kurt to be over for so long, yet I couldn’t help but root for him? What in the knife to the chest, feelings all over the place…?
Maybe it’s just the way this series finale sets up Kurt’s big moment of truth. After all, the second he sees Diane in trouble on the news, he’s like “fuck you, bye” to the NRA. Though, maybe not in those words.
Which…isn’t that what we’ve wanted him to say and do for Diane all along? But then, there’s her phone call with him, telling him they’re too different — that it’s too little, too late.
“Kurt, listen to me: If you’re doing any of this heroic work for me, stop. You can’t correct a decade of disagreements with one grand gesture. Am I glad you quit the NRA? Yes. I never wanted them to benefit from your expertise. But our argument wasn’t just about that. Politics is also about…how we view the world. You keep talking about love, but love…Love has to be…about trust. And I just don’t trust that what you believe in is good for the world.”
Diane’s right about all of it, of course. And she’s saying everything I’ve felt for a long time…But. Love really refuses to be denied, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s what makes this reconciliation after one of TV’s briefest splits so meaningful. Perhaps it’s just nice to believe all that sappy stuff about the heart wanting what it wants and love prevailing.
The thing is, Diane and Kurt know what their struggles are. But he shows up, he tries to break through the barricades to be her knight in shining armor…even if he can’t even tell her, over the phone, that he’s even there. Weirdly, it’s Lyle who lets Diane know. Which, maybe that contributes to how well this works in the end, too.
Lyle might be a better communicator and have much better values — if we ever get yet another spinoff or some kind of reboot, we really do need some real change for Kurt. Or else, it’s right back to being like, “throw out the whole man.” — But Kurt’s still there, even after he’s been set aside. Even when he sees the “competition.”
It’s not about pressuring Diane or refusing to accept being told no, though. It’s her reflex, of sorts, to call Kurt. All he’s doing is answering, especially after knowing she could be in trouble. He’s so clearly upset, but he lets Diane choose. Doesn’t pressure her, even after rushing across town and ditching his garbage employer. Just…shows up, even has Lyle come along with him to try to get into the firm.
No super macho fight, just “trying to be heroes” for Diane, while still realizing she doesn’t actually need rescuing (as a general rule). That’s it.
There are plenty of entertainingly awkward moments between the two guys. But the way this finale frames it as Diane’s choice, with maybe just the slightest bit of growth from Kurt, makes even this emotional. Maybe we just need some hope that people can change, can get out of that awful organization and do the right thing. Somehow, as perhaps the biggest surprise of this entire finale, this winds up feeling right.
And if it means Diane Lockhart gets to follow her heart, here at the end of everything, who are we to complain?
Grappling with a difficult legacy
You can’t move on without passing the torch, and The Good Fight 6×10 is a great reminder that sometimes, that means more than just handing down the things we want to leave behind. In some ways, we’ve been here before. (Just like with a lot of parts of this frustrating, genius final season.) Liz has already had to grapple with her civil rights hero of a father’s terrible history of sexual abuse. Has had to, somehow, figure out how to let the good exist along with this damnable bad.
Now, in the middle of a crisis situation, she has to find a way to explain it all to her son. But how is she supposed to do that, when it’s clear that a few years have not been enough for her to make it make sense for herself?
It’s remarkable, how Mal’com’s (going with Ri’Chard’s version of the name here, of course) terrible awakening comes about. We start with one last “Schoolhouse Rock” spoof for the road, wade through Liz’s concerns about her dad’s legacy being disparaged through gimmicks and commercialization. There’s even a disturbing first-person shooter video game that educates kids on civil rights leaders by encouraging them to click on Wikipedia links.
…which is where the real problem comes up. The game works — it gets young Mal’com clicking those links and engaged with educational material in a way he might not otherwise have been.
“I wish he were alive.” “Why?” “So I could ask him why.”
…but he learns a little bit too much about his own grandfather. And the moment where he asks his mother about it is one of many, many heartbreaking scenes in this finale.
As no surprise here, I can’t praise Audra McDonald and Andre Braugher enough. It doesn’t matter whether it’s reacting to the absurdity of it all, or participating in that ever-fiery debate about branding. But the absolute best part is during that somehow slower moment, as Liz, Ri’Chard and Mal’com are hiding under that desk during the terrifying attack on the firm.
There’s so much quiet, understated emotion here. And, given what we know about Ri’Chard’s past with Carl Reddick and his initial plans for the firm, his gentleness and thoughtfulness in answering Mal’com’s questions is such evidence of character growth and depth. Of an arc well-written and well-completed. (Even if I’ll — again — say it’s a crime we only had the one season with this character. When do we get the spinoff????)
There’s also a thought-provoking, yet not preachy, lesson here. No, Ri’Chard didn’t like Carl Reddick. And it’s commendable that he didn’t lie to Mal’com or sugarcoat that.
“But I thought he was great. Your grandaddy was a legend. And, uh, sometimes…We don’t need to like legends.”
No one’s saying we have to separate the activist from his actions, so to speak. It’s just…We can’t leave behind the activism because of the actions. It’s complicated, and messy, and overall impossible to reconcile one with the other.
Ri’Chard talks to this young boy like he’s another adult — he doesn’t lie or shy away from the truth. And it’s what Mal’com needs, which his own mom maybe can’t figure out right away. Sometimes, our parents are too close to a situation to discuss it with us. A good partner goes a long way.
But, even if not all of Ri’Chard’s answers are palatable, it’s clear he’s trying very hard to get it right. To exercise caution and handle the situation with care without actually treating the kid with kid gloves. It’s beautiful delivery from Braugher. And watching McDonald’s reactions, her journey from discomfort to that pleased little smile, is a whole episode of television of its own.
With all that being said, Che Tafari is just as good as, if not better than, the adults in this scene. The next generation looks very promising indeed.
Speaking of difficult…
Where do we even begin with Liz and Diane? With saying goodbye to a partnership that wasn’t always easy, yet was certainly always entertaining and meaningful? Maybe it’s best to just start by saying tears were shed.
A lot. Constantly, for what it’s worth.
On the fun side, The Good Fight 6×10 sees Diane and Liz share all sorts of knowing (and exasperated) looks about Felix Staples. He’s part of their history as lawyers, and it’s something they share that we get to see them be unfazed by as Ri’Chard is constantly like “what is with this guy.” But, of course. That’s just it. Staples is a sideshow, one last nuts case to end all nuts cases — but he’s also a reminder that these women do have history.
And that’s what makes their scenes so special, even beyond every other aspect of this series and its finale that makes it special.
So, we witness Diane just wistfully daydreaming about purchasing a villa. But as she tells Liz and Ri’Chard that what she wants to do with her life is “no longer this” (practicing the law), Liz can’t accept it. McDonald’s performance makes it clear that she wants to — wants to support whatever Diane chooses — but she, like us, can’t see this without Diane.
So, she still gives Diane the idea of that all-female law firm one more time. Liz is so full of emotion, and passion, and energy when she does it, too. It’s, truly, one of the best scenes I’ve seen Baranski and McDonald do together. The contrast in their demeanor, even as they both share that same devotion and need for a better future — that dream — is stunning.
But Diane’s exhausted, and so much happens in this finale, she never quite makes a definitive statement on what’s next. She seems so very resigned to retiring. (Diane Lockhart is not a quitter, so we’re not going there.) And she raises very good points about her terrible experiences just that day.
In the end, though, in a series finale moment that had me ugly crying to the point of a dehydration risk, Liz reminds Diane of all the good she’s done. And can still do. It’s the answer to her very big question of why.
That list of so many individual clients, with shots of everyone, that ends with Jay is such a tribute to the stories this series has told. The lives, both fictional and real, those stories have touched, and the reason even the most exhausted of us keep fighting.
We can’t fix everything, especially not in only six years. But we can, and should, keep trying. All those small victories (even the absurd ones!) add up to something. And that something could become everything.
It’s when we give up completely that we have truly lost.
…but, of course, all the ugly crying had to be interrupted by a “OH DEAR GOD NOT THIS” moment. Did we really need That Fuckin’ Guy “dancing” (no) to YMCA? No, we did not. But with reactions like that from these two incredible actresses, who took us from emotionally gutting to “lol WTF” in the blink of an eye one
final more time, it’s hard to complain too much. At the end of everything, there is yet one more beginning. Or maybe it’s a reminder we can always, with a beloved series, go back to the start.
(Scarred for life, though.)
Tons of final The Good Fight 6×10 thoughts
- Honestly thought the opening scene was yet another one of Diane’s “treatment” dreams. So much color, so perfect — too perfect, really — and relaxing. But then, it just…fell apart.
- “Sad. But it was probably inevitable.” CORRECT “I suspect Kurt feels the same way.” Apparently not!
- “I know you.” Not Jay making me cry in the middle of a random chat about zombie movies.
- “I can feel brain cells leaking out my ears right now with this argument.” Literally me with at least 90% of online fandom drama and at least 99.9% of televised debates.
- “Liz, they are not the enemy. Politics today is just as much about branding as about being right. You’ve got fifty thousand white supremacists down on the street there because they think it’s cool to wear scary masks and carry guns.” It’s the mocking way Braugher peps up on “cool” and the derision on “carry guns” for me. Just superb work.
- My notes literally say “HOLY FUCK” next to the “did Grandpa rape people” line. In case anyone was wondering about my reaction in the moment…
- Another gem from said notes: Aaaaaand we’re crying for at least the fifth time, folks.
- “Every time you get a text, you tense up.” Hi. It’s me.
- “I don’t think your work brings you peace.” “I don’t think it’s supposed to.” “Then, why do it?” For Diane, there’s meaning to the work. With most of us, it’s either that or wind up starving on the street.
- “Oh. Hello, Diane.” Exactly. And the twirling!!!
- “I’m done with the hate.” If only it were that simple.
- “But I’m exhausted.” Aren’t we all? And isn’t that what the other side wants?
- “I need Moyo you.” This is the most cringe but also yes. We all do.
- Sarah Steele, thank you for the humor in all the right places. The sassing back with Staples. Marissa telling Diane she’s hers and not sharing. All of it. Thank you.
- The entire sequence of Diane, in her brilliant white suit, in the middle of that dark, violent crowd…and Jay knowing exactly how to take care of her after the tear gas…Easily would’ve been the highlight on any other series. But this The Good Fight. So, it’s somehow…normal. Expected, even.
- Diane admiring herself in that mirror wearing those borrowed clothes. AS SHE SHOULD.
- The iconic Diane Lockhart chuckle when Staples says he interned with DeathSantis, though.
- Absolutely loathe Felix Staples and the guy he’s a stand-in for. Fully love how nuts and over-the-top John Cameron Mitchell in this role and the way, even in background, Braugher, McDonald, and Baranski just kill it with their reactions.
- “No. It’s like…shouting into a room full of shouting people.” And then, that bittersweet smile. Art.
- “But when you see people from this far up, you want to hurt them.” Privilege, in a nutshell.
- Diane? Congratulating Marissa on her wedding? Crying fit #23987232.
- The countdowns…are…ominous…AF.
- “Felix Staples is a Republican. What if he’s telling the truth?” Ri’Chard, bff, they don’t.
- “And like any good liar, he’s using a grain of truth.”
- “I can’t believe I’m suddenly channeling my dad, but…If you destroy Ron DeSantis, doesn’t that give new momentum to Donald Trump?” Why not destroy them both? Problem solved.
- “No. But that’s what’s so weird. We’ve all gotten so used to it.” America’s gun violence problem, explained.
- I’m very glad Jay is going to do something meaningful. But um. With the way Randy talked about “no time” and hesitated before finally saying they’d help Jay — when he was literally trapped in the firm and about to be attacked — still has me like NO on that whole group.
- “Because you seem like someone who might know when someone was in danger.” Yeah. He would. Grudging respect on that point all along.
- The music stopping and Baranski becoming perfectly still when Diane hears that Kurt quit his job…A. Moment.
- “Well, I’m not good at explaining. Myself, or the world.” Not The Good Fight making me relate to this man in its finale. WTF.
- Did Baranski need surgery to put her eyeballs back in her head after filming Diane’s reaction to hearing Kurt was also in the stairwell or.
- That shot from the darkened street, with the red lights in the office. Wow.
- “Legends get old. They lose their fight.”
- Diane, Marissa, and Carmen all leaning to look at the awkward situation with the men. A comedy!
- “That generation is super weird.” TRULY.
- Diane’s laugh after Kurt asks her how her day was. Let me live.
- “Nothing happens here. What we build up one day gets knocked down the next.” Everywhere, Jay. Everywhere.
- The wave with the shot from far away as Jay gets in the elevator. Maximum pain!
- “I’m going to miss you bad.” “I’ll be there in spirit. Or on Zoom.” Can I join the call?
- Biggest flex of the finale: EVERY. SINGLE. ITEM. FROM. THE. CREDITS. GETTING. EXPLODED. THE. SAME. WAY. GENIUSES.
- (Yes, all caps, bold, and italics were all required. Thanks for asking!)
Thoughts on The Good Fight 6×10? Did we miss anything from the series finale that needs commentary? Leave a comment!
The Good Fight is now streaming in its entirety on Paramount+.