It all comes down to perception.
That was the crux of The Good Fight Season 5 Episode 7 as all our characters found themselves battling perception, perception of others, perception of themselves, perception of what’s right and wrong.
In hindsight, it’s somewhat of a philosophical mindf*ck, but while watching, it’s one hell of a ride.
Remember when I got scared the bastardization of the 9¾ Circuit Court was coming? Well, it turns out my fears weren’t unfounded.
What began as some idealized reform for the justice system has become perverted in a way beyond our wildest imaginations.
Astute viewers will remember Liz casually relayed to Wackner on The Good Fight Season 5 Episode 6 that he, as an unofficial judge, doesn’t have the power to sentence people to prison, as she explained the difference between his makeshift courtroom and a real one.
And that’s exactly what happened when Wackner sentenced canceled comedian Joey Battle to three weeks in jail, which was unbelievable on so many levels.
First off, that’s illegal, and Wackner, David Cord, Del Cooper, and even Marissa could be facing criminal charges for false imprisonment.
This is something David Cord, as a lawyer, and Marissa, as a law student, should realize, making it even more baffling that they didn’t say anything.
Wackner: I understand you want your career back. You’re a funny man. It takes hard work to get funny. Maybe you think that’s enough, but you haven’t done anything for the women you hurt. You haven’t made amendments.
Joey Battle: Your Honor, I brought my checkbook.
Wackner: You’re a rich man, Joey. I think everyone here knows the minute you go back to work, you’ll learn back you’re fine.
David Cord: Your Honor, everybody deserves a second chance.
Wackner: You know the expression doing your time.
Joey Battle: Your Honor, I haven’t worked a major venue in over a year. How much time do you want me to take?
Wackner: Doing time means more than taking time. It means serving your sentence, going to prison. You want to come back? OK, first you got to do your time: three weeks sentence.
Marissa was mortified as she watched the events unfold before her, but she did little to stop Wackner, and if anyone could have gotten the false judge to reverse course or rethink his actions, it would have been her.
Even Del Cooper, who had a lot on the line, didn’t object to Wackner sentencing Joey Battle to prison; instead, he took issue with the duration of the sentence, wanting the comedian to spend only two weeks behind bars.
It’s utterly ludicrous that these were the only objections voiced against Wackner’s ruling and even more so that Joey Battle was taken to David Cord’s private prison, orange jumpsuit and all.
Like, why the f*ck didn’t anyone say something at the moment?
The argument can be made they were all too dumbfounded by Wackner’s decision to say or do much of anything other than stare open-mouthed at him, but that doesn’t make up for their silence once the reality of this new situation sunk in.
Surely, someone, anyone, would have said or done something as they transported Joey Battle to jail, right? There’s no way they could stay silent and watch this blatant abuse of power unfold, is there?
Unfortunately, of course, they could have. If we’ve learned anything from the past few years, it’s that it’s easy to keep quiet and look the other way, especially when said abuse of power doesn’t directly affect us.
Police brutality, systemic racism, gun control, access to affordable health care, ICE and border patrol abuses, and more: These are all issues facing vulnerable and minority populations in our country, but unless they’re mentioned in the 24-hour news cycle, we usually forget about them.
Marissa: Remember you told me how much you hate being Black-apedia for white people, explaining what is or isn’t offensive.
Marissa: I really need to ask you if something is or isn’t offensive.
Jay: We love playing this game with white allies.
Marissa: You can ask me about Jews anytime you want. I’m prosecuting someone in Wackner’s court who lost their professorship for saying a word.
Carmen: What word?
Carmen: As in stingy?
Marissa: Exactly. Is the word offensive?
Carmen: No, it means stingy.
Jay: Wait, it’s a medieval word that no one uses in casual conversation.
Carmen: You really think it’s offensive?
Jay: I think it’s a microaggression and microaggressions are like Pringles: You never have just one.
Because, yes, we have our own shit going on, but also, it’s easier to stick to the status quo. It’s a sad commentary on our lives, but it’s true.
So maybe watching Wackner’s clear — but fictional — abuse of power is the shock we need to get off our asses and do something. Who knows? Weirder things have happened after all.
Philosophical ramblings aside, Wackner’s actions are emblematic of how absolute power corrupts absolutely.
When he created his court, he had nothing but good intentions, but even the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say Wackner’s an egotistical megalomaniac.
However, he is exhibiting some delusions of grandeur, believing he’s a real judge, and therefore, has the same autonomy as them.
The success of his fake court and the good he’s done has gone to his head, emboldening him to push the boundaries of what’s possible — but not necessarily legal — at the 9¾ Circuit Court.
He’s like Icarus, who flew too close to the sun, and Wackner will soon find himself plummeting to his untimely death because of his hubris.
Marissa: Mr. Cooper, you hoped to rehabilitate Joey Battle’s career, isn’t that right, so you could put him back on your streaming site for a standup your recording in St. Louis in 14 days?
Del: No, I thought it would be good for this show.
Marissa: This show, this show meaning Wackner’s court?
Wackner: This is a mistake, Marissa.
Marissa: Is it? Aren’t we just here to discover the truth, your Honor?
Wackner: You have something to say to me, just say it.
Marissa: Have you prejudge this case?
Wackner: Are you questioning my integrity?
Marissa: I’m asking if you prejudged…
Wackner: No, goddammit. You will have to answer my question before you ask me yours.
Marissa: If you’ve already decided how this case will end, your Honor, if we’re here to give Del the ending he wants for his TV show, and to make you rich and famous, then yes, I am questioning your integrity.
Wackner: You pack up your things and you get the fuck out of here.
Marissa: The women who had trusted this court deserve representation.
Wackner: Well you should have thought of that before you ran off your fucking mouth. Now you get the hell out of my courtroom.
It’ll be hard to watch because he initially came off as such an affable and refreshing character.
However, at the same time, it’ll be impossible to look away because whatever happens to Wackner will make for great TV.
Elsewhere, Diane and Liz’s fight from the previous episode bled over into this one as the
pair closeted lesbian lovers name partners worked together on a case involving police brutality.
It was the expected ‘racially biased white police office fatally injuring or attacking an unarmed Black person’ storyline that’s frequently popped up across television over the past year and a half, but in a curveball, the series decided to upend the seemingly straightforward case of the week when said police officer was gunned down.
It was an interesting move, as the series explored how the officer’s death reshaped the narrative.
Suddenly, he was no longer the racist police officer with violent tendencies who fatally tased a Black teen, reverting to the 15-year veteran on the force and loving father of four.
The jury couldn’t help but be affected by the officer’s death, primarily since his demise resulted from the trial, someone wanting to get justice for the deceased Black teenage girl.
The series didn’t delve into this issue as thoroughly as it could have, instead choosing to spend the remaining time focusing on Diane and Liz’s efforts to call for a mistrial.
Judge Abernathy: Thank you for stopping by. I’ve been worried that I was insensitive, and I wanted to get a gut check from both of you.
Diane: Sure, Your Honor. What is it?
Judge Abernathy: I’ve been watching the two of you throughout the case, and I realized after what I heard last night that your discomfort made sense to me. If my wife and I ever tried to work together, our relationship wouldn’t last. So more power to you. I just… I’m a great friend of the LGBTQ community.
Diane: Thank you, Your Honor.
Liz: Yeah, actually you know what, Your Honor, there is, there is something that you could settle for us.
Judge Abernathy: Oh great, certainly.
Liz: One of the jurors, the one from the church, I think she’s noticed how close we are together. And I hope you don’t mind me saying it…
Diane: It’s been on my mind as well. She did see us out in the hall together.
Liz: And we’re just worried that our relationship may have played into her bias.
Diane: It would just be good to be certain, don’t you think, darling?
It’s somewhat of a missed opportunity, but the end result was so spectacular and unexpected that it’s easy to forgive.
The writers brilliantly employed a decade-old callback to The Good Wife that had me in stitches when they found a way to reintroduce a throwaway line from years ago.
It was a fun little scene, a blink-and-you-miss-it sort of thing that had no bearing on the rest of the series and the spinoff until now when FOX commentator Tim Willoughby posited that Diane and Liz were closeted lesbian lovers.
The pair used this “reveal” to their advantage, getting the always sympathetic and left-leaning Judge Abernathy to declare a mistrial, and if they had to sign a relationship form with HR in the process, then it was well worth it.
It was such an absurd turn of events but so humorous that it even managed to melt some of the tension between Diane and Liz.
Of course, there’s still a lot the “lovers” have to unpack — namely Diane’s backhanded manipulation to retain her name partnership — but their outing managed to thaw the ice.
Diane is still steadfast in her belief that she deserves to have her name on the door, but with time, hopefully, she’ll realize she handled things the wrong way.
Diane: Liz, less you’re shoving me out of my name partner position because of my race
Liz: I am doing nothing. You are the one who got our racist clients to whine to STR Laurie about us.
Diane: Those clients bring in a great deal of money, and they are not racist … They have been my clients for 15 years. That’s what it was about.
Liz: Are you saying that if you were being replaced by another white partner they would have the same objection?
Diane: I’m saying maybe they worry about racial grudges. I mean what do you call pushing me out of a name partnership that I worked for?
Liz: That you felt entitled to.
Diane: Excuse me? Really, That’s what you think?
Liz: Yeah, I think that Barbara Kolstad said was shoved out because you felt entitled to her position.
Diane: Fine, let’s just finish this case because here’s the problem: We can’t work together if you don’t respect me.
Liz: No, we can’t work together if you use race cynically.
Liz has always had her back, so Diane’s underhanded methods to keep her name partnership was a betrayal to their so-called friendship.
Right now, Diane can’t see that, but maybe with some perspective, she will.
Some stray thoughts:
It was interesting to watch Wackner adjudicate the ‘cancel culture’ cases. The fake judge was right in that people are canceled nowadays without the social media equivalent of a trial, so it was compelling to see the cases play out in court.
Joey Battle deserved to be canceled, but the fired professor had me on the fence until we learned she used “n-word-ly” even after being told it made some of her students uncomfortable. She apparently wanted to teach them about the realities of the cruel, cruel world, but news flash, they already know.
Was anyone else curious about Kurt’s take on Diane’s secret lesbian affair with Liz would have been? Just me?
So what did you think, Good Fight Fanatics?
What will be the reprecussions for Wackner’s actions?
Did you find the “reveal” of Diane and Liz’s secret affair as funny as me?
What crazy thing will the show do next?
Don’t forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.