Welcome back to another episode of The Good Fight, where we see if lawyers feel like acting like lawyers today, or just careless toddlers. (I’m not talking about you, Christine Baranski; you are always a queen.)
This week the storyline focuses around the ChumHum equivalent of Reddit, called Scabbit, and some of their other social media sites, where Neil Gross is dismayed to find his users engaging in hate speech…because it’s scaring off his advertisers. There it is, knew he wouldn’t have an altruistic reason for trying to limit harassment. As a brand new baby client of Reddick, Boseman, and Kolstad, he wants the firm to come up with some kind of code or set of rules for identifying the users or posts he needs to block. Or more specifically, he wants Diane Lockhart to do it, apparently, as she’s the only person in the largely-black room he’s willing to interact with. Funny how that works. He needs this code right away, so everyone jumps right into it, and Diane recruits Maia, who hurriedly hangs up the phone with her dad, after accepting an invitation to come over for dinner tonight. She has her own thoughts and feelings about hate speech, seeing as she’s the recipient of pretty much nonstop rape threats and harassment, but her experience doesn’t carry much weight in the room. Julius Caine makes the point that intention is key when it comes to this type of online harassment, reminding his colleagues that “I am going to” is different than “I want to”; the former is actionable, but the second is protected speech.
Meanwhile, my dream of people acting like lawyers this week is immediately dashed by the phone call that Colin Morello makes from the busy halls of the courtroom, telling Lucca Quinn he wants — nay needs — to bone, as people pass within inches of him. This dude needs to bone so badly that he accidentally sent someone away for thirty years who presumably didn’t deserve it, because he was so distracted by the blood flow to his lawyer peen. That’s what you love to hear; this is the stuff sonnets are written on. After hanging up with Lucca, Morello takes his boner into the Assistant Attorney General’s office again, to ask him again to rein in Mike Kresteva. The AAG isn’t into it, saying he doesn’t mind if Kresteva makes an example out of RBK, but gives lip service to Morello’s issues, making him the head of an oversight committee that doesn’t even exist yet that will be in charge of supervising Kresteva’s investigation into RBK.
Back at the firm, Marissa Gold is thirsty to become an investigator, but apparently not to screen the people coming into the office, because Jax Rindell waltzes right in to meet up with Maia. Not realizing that he already has, Jax warns Maia that her father will likely ask her to meet up in the next couple days, just the two of them. He claims his brother will be wearing a wire, and will try to get Maia to say something incriminating. Oh damn! Maia doesn’t seem to take Jax seriously, but after he’s gone, she calls her dad to cancel, and he gets really insistent on the phone about meeting up, and refuses to tell her what’s up except in person, which appears to raise her suspicions even further.
Back in the censorship meeting, Julius is pushing to make the rules language-neutral, so they can’t be manipulated and used down the line for evil. He wants to come up with fair rules that can be applies in other situations, regardless of the context, but Lucca just got a sext and has no time for this nonsense, so she decides to end the meeting with a mic drop — the issue is context, after all, so what the firm actually needs to put in place is not a set of one-size-fits-all rules, but an appeals process. Now byeeeee, she’s off to get fucked.
Across town, in this bizarre doctor’s office arrangement that I don’t understand, Maia is meeting up with Elsbeth Tascioni to tell her about Jax’s warning. Elsbeth is understandably worried about a solo meeting between the father and daughter — love to see those lawyers acting like lawyers — so she suggests a way to manipulate the situation into their favor. She creates a shady business dealing to feed to Rindell, to see if he’s loyal to Kresteva or Maia. If her father keeps pushing Maia for information about her work, she’s to “let slip” that a real estate magnate named Travis Leopold, who does millions of dollars of business with her firm, received a favor from RBK. According to the story Elsbeth makes up, Adrian Boseman helped Leopold resolve an issue with his taxes by backdating them, and in return, Leopold made a charitable “gift” to the firm, in the form of $800,000. Basically, she’s describing a bribery situation, which Henry should be very interested in if he’s wearing a wire. And if he’s not, he’ll likely drop the questioning as soon as Maia says she can’t talk about it.
Elsewhere, behind a computer screen, the bizarro world version of Milo Yiannopoulos is one of the first to come up against the new Scabbit rules. His name is Felix Staples (John Cameron Mitchell), and he’s a real piece of work, as we’ll discover from his hearing in front of the censorship committee, which somehow consists of the majority of the name partners at RBK. Alright. He accuses them of bias, attempts to provoke them, and it all escalates to him paying a prostitute named Damian (Marco Palou) to come blow him in front of the panel. Because why not. Afterward, he specifically targets Diane, warning her about comments that might appear on Chummy sites the next day. And indeed, they start popping up almost immediately, discussing Diane, yes, but being very careful about their language, making sure everything is protected speech, and that no individual user is posting more than twelve times. And since that number happens to be, coincidentally, the limit they discussed in private sessions, this suggests that someone leaked. They grab the investigator, Jay Dipersia, and realizing that members of the alt-right will never talk to him, he grabs Marissa to come help him out.
But all this lawyering has to be canceled out somewhere, and luckily we still have Lucca in the series to behave in a manner completely inconsistent with a woman of her experience and intelligence. After turning down Morello for a date after their little afternoon delight session the other day, Lucca goes on a date with Zach, her personal trainer, at a place where Colin is sure to run into them. And indeed, he shows up, sees Lucca, and the three of them have a super weird interaction that I hated watching. Please wake me up when we figure out how to write this character.
And finally, we get back to the storyline that I’m the most interested in — Is Maia’s Dad Trying To Betray Her, Or Nah? She shows up at the house and starts recording, as Elsbeth requested her to, all amped up for this to be a one-on-one hang with her dad. But it’s actually a big old party, which puts her concerns to rest for a time. Until! The party is slowing down, and Henry takes advantage of some alone time to — you guessed it! — ask Maia about work. She tries to gently shut him down, but he’s pressing, just as Elsbeth warned he might, so Maia re-presses record, plants that Travis Leopold seed, and takes the recording to Elsbeth, one of only five or so adults on this series that I trust.
Elsewhere, Marissa and Jay go find one of the alt-right guys, a dude named Aaron Fowler (Noah Averbach-Katz) who has been following the less-than-thirteen rule, suggesting he knows something. Marissa pretends to be a fan of his, and he reveals that Felix has the transcripts of the censorship meeting, and that’s how he and the rest of the harassers have been getting around the rules they’ve set. That means we’re almost certainly talking about a leak, and Barbara Kolstad and Boseman assign Jay to check out Julius, just to confirm that it wasn’t him.
Meanwhile, the Scabbit world keeps spinning, and Felix is back for another meeting, this time about Delilah Mills, a pro-choice activist who’s been enduring abuse after Felix suggested she be “taken out”, and other accounts followed his lead and began threatening her. Felix demands that the firm prove he’s in charge of them, or even connected to him, and they reveal the information that Marissa got from Aaron Fowler. But ever the slippery spin artist, Felix acknowledges he has the transcripts, which is how he knows that alt-right posts are the only ones being targeted, putting the firm in the position of having to defend themselves to him. But it’s possible that Felix isn’t all bad, and more so just an agent of chaos, because on the way out, he again pulls Diane aside and invites her to consider why Neil Gross came aboard in the first place, and why he would’ve hired an all-black law firm to helm a censorship committee. Just a little food for thought that I’m sure we’ll cycle back to later.
Later, in the offices, Elsbeth delivers a progress report, revealing the fictitious story that she fed to Henry Rindell via Maia. So if they hear any whisper of the details involved, that means that Rindell is working against the firm and against his own daughter, and they can use that knowledge against him. So keep your damn ears out, everybody!
Speaking of keeping your ears out, Marissa and Jay are at new location, this time pretending to be a couple looking for an apartment in order to feel out Felix’s boyfriend Tab Bentley (Michael Cyril Creighton), who’s a broker. Posing as members of the alt-right, they quiz him on Felix and how he’s fighting his censorship, and their investigation leads them to an IP address that points to the leaker being…wait for it…ChumHum itself. They’re being set-up somehow, and it almost surely connects to what Felix was trying to tell Diane a couple scenes ago, but it’s hard to put this stuff together when new situations keep cropping up, like Chummy users’ decision to get around the ban of certain slurs by substituting “Neil Gross” for the n-word. Charming.
And I’d love to tell you about the next scene, where Lucca shows up at Morello’s office and says, “I hate games, so knock it the fuck off,” but my soul was busy leaving my body due to discomfort. I can’t tell you how she confronts Colin with the fact that she fucked that guy, and calls him out on pretending like he doesn’t care, and then he returns the favor by labeling the whole thing as a game Lucca is playing, thereby disarming her like the horny bomb she apparently is. I can’t tell you about that part, nor can I tell you about the part where they make out and get handsy behind the wheel of a moving car. Wish I could, but glad I can’t.
Meanwhile, while these two are playing grab-dick on the highway, other lawyers are lawyering, like Julius, who realizes he’s been investigated, and is rightfully very pissed. He realizes that since Diane and Lucca weren’t investigated, it’s because of his politics, so I can’t disagree with his decision to move over to Andrew Hart’s firm. Bye haters!
In another office, the panel overturns the ban on Felix Staples, because they can’t enforce it, but Diane does him one better, and tells him a thing or two about himself. She is queen, long may she reign. She also calls Neil Gross out on the firm and its involvement in the banning controversy as a set-up, a trial balloon. She accuses him of wanting to censor his sites, and making sure that in the test phase, he has someone to blame it on if it doesn’t work — a liberal, African-American law firm. That’s why he leaked info to Felix Staples, to keep himself looking good. Neil Gross gives Diane a death stare, and then asks to talk to Kolstad and Boseman solo about issues he’s having overseas, excluding Diane this time, so we’ll see how she likes it.
And finally, in the last scene of the episode, Morello shows up at RBK to stand way too close to the fellow lawyer he definitely should not be sleeping with, and warns her to stay clear of her firm’s finances because…dun dun dunnnnnnn…and he drops the planted Travis Leopold details. Which technically just means he heard about the story, not that he’s involved in the badness, right? It does mean that Maia’s dad is a little bad boy, and we’re going to have to delve deeper into that family, but that’s for next week, when hopefully everyone’s in the mood to act a little more professionally. Or, y’know, throw your non-boyfriend a quick handy because you’re in highschool and you both love drama. It’s your life, so do whatever you need to do, and I’ll just watch and sigh.