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The Good Fight's Season 4 premiere imagining a Hillary Clinton presidential victory is its most bonkers episode yet

  • "The Good Wife was chock full of quirky characters, but with its spinoff, creators Michelle and Robert King and Phil Alden Robinson have given themselves license to indulge their wildest impulses," says Inkoo Kang. "That's likely the key ingredient in The Good Fight's magic sauce: It manages to out-crazy the Trump years — an era during which many cultural critics, at least during the #Resistance, deemed political satire dead, because no caricature of Trump was more ridiculous than the man himself. The Kings, long praised for the topical freshness of The Good Wife's storylines, seemed to take out-surrealizing our surreal times as a personal challenge. The result, happily, is the most bonkers TV show this side of Atlanta. Last season alone, The Good Fight killed off a Stephen Miller stand-in via swatting; featured a potential client who may or may not be a Melania Trump ready to flee the White House; and introduced a Roy Cohn acolyte munching on crackers while injecting his forehead with Botox…and receiving a blowjob...And yet the show's season four premiere might be its most bonkers episode yet, as well as one of its funniest and most introspective." Kang adds: "The episode's biggest challenge to its anti-Trump audience is in asking if a symbolic feminist victory like Clinton's election to the White House would give even more cover to the kind of aspirational, corporate-friendly feminism that has little to no impact on the lives of ordinary or vulnerable women — and has no use for righteous female rage."


    • The Good Fight has come into its own in Season 4 and feels chaotic -- just like the real world: "It’s official! CBS All Access’ The Good Fight — the spinoff of CBS’s vaunted The Good Wife — has fully come into its own for Season 4, with its sometimes jarring medley of tones and moods and speculative forms resisting straightforward classification," says Tambay Obenson. "It’s actually one its key strengths — yes, the series has a ripped-from-the-headlines quality about it, and it goes all in on what’s happening presently, maybe like no other drama currently on air — but it feels like the most vibrant, innovative response that TV has offered to the pandemonium unleashed on public life by President Donald J. Trump and his administration. Formulaic legal drama, The Good Fight definitely is not."
    • The Season 4 premiere plays out like a political Twilight Zone: "The premiere achieves varying degrees of cogent commentary," says Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya. "At times, it just seems too much like a warped thought experiment to make any real conclusions—especially ones rooted in character. The Good Fight’s absurdism is part of its charm, but this presidency funhouse teeters too close to the edge of gimmicky. It’s funny, and it dispenses a fair amount of cultural commentary, but it’s not quite satire. There are opportunities to dig deeper that go missed, especially when it comes to Diane’s processing of this world."
    • The alternate reality episode starts off shaky before delving into its dark consequences: "Fantasizing about what might have happened if Trump had lost is a parlor game that has long since outlived its usefulness; it’s a sedative in a moment when we need to be more alert than ever," says Sam Adams. "No amount of binge-watching West Wing reruns is going to make sense of the United States as it is now, and the idea that ideologues will slink back into the shadows if their hypocrisies are uncovered in a sufficiently punchy monologue is not only fanciful but, at this point, outright dangerous. The fantasy starts to turn, though, when Diane realizes that Hillary’s victory has some unwanted consequences."
    • Christine Baranski considers the Season 4 premiere her favorite Good Fight episode: "The first episode exists almost on its own," she tells Variety. "It’s like a little prologue, and it doesn’t necessarily launch the whole season or all of the characters, but you could say it launches Diane in another direction. Although I would argue Diane has always been a fighter, it’s the nature of the fight that changes every year with where she puts her energy and how she focuses her intellect and her anger. I really do think there are some marvelous surprises in store for the audience — maybe more than any other season that we’ve had. We’ve never had an episode such as the first episode of the fourth season. When I read it, I said to the Kings, 'This is my favorite episode you’ve ever written for me in the 11 years I’ve played the character.'"
    • Why Robert and Michelle King wanted to envision a world with Hillary Clinton as president and Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein still in their jobs: “We wanted to be a little bit logical about it," says Michelle King. "Of course initially it seemed like nirvana that Hillary won the election, but then we wanted to think through, logically, what would the negative consequences have been — and there would have been a lot of vile men still doing vile things. Don’t kid yourselves that things would have been perfect another way.”
    • Robert King says "CBS was willing to let us run with it": "When we get an itch, we get to scratch it," he says. "Christine Baranski is one of the great comic actresses working today, and she really leans into it with this episode."

    TOPICS: The Good Fight, CBS All Access, Christine Baranski, Hillary Clinton, Michelle King, Robert King, Trump Presidency