Amazon TV’s Goliath is back for a third instalment and after the two previous diverse offerings, no-one knew what to expect in Season 3. When Billy McBride in Season 1 said, “Ever since I took this case, weird shit is happening to me…”, well, that kind of weird has nothing on this.
In 2016, we saw Billy Bob Thornton’s washed up but tenacious lawyer Billy McBride taking on the corporate goliath Borns Tech in Season 1 of this courtroom drama. Then in 2018, we saw dark and disturbing goings-on with Marisol aka Claudia, her brother Gabriel and the depraved Tom and friends in Season 2. So what, I wondered, would be in store for us in Season 3?
According to an interview with Billy Bob Thornton in Hollywood Life, Goliath would have some courtroom drama this season. This news was welcomed by many fans since Season 2’s offering was more of a gruesome organised crime drama than the lengthy legal struggle that some had hoped for after McBride’s triumphant legal victory in Season 1.
Fast forward to 4 October, 2019 and eight episodes of Season 3 dropped on Amazon promising diehard Goliath fans a lost weekend. After eagerly watching the series through twice, this article gives my two pennies’ worth. You can skip to a step-by-step of the legal case here.
Links to commentary on Goliath:
Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Recap | Season 4
OK, let’s get the comparisons over and done with right now and move on…
Not far into Episode 1, as Billy McBride unsuccessfully tries to elicit information about local water distribution from the County Water Board, we are reminded of the movie Chinatown (1974).
In Chinatown, Jack Nicholson plays a private investigator who uncovers a plot, involving the Los Angeles Water Department, to deprive landowners in the Northwest Valley of water and then clandestinely to repurchase the dried up land at a lower price. That movie was inspired by the real California Water Wars in the early 20th century when water was diverted away from farmers and ranchers in Eastern California to feed the rapidly growing city of Los Angeles.
In Goliath Season 3, Billy McBride is investigating who runs California’s Blackwood County Water Board, an organisation that controls the distribution of water in the Central Valley. In this story, a small group of wealthy corporate farmers and ranchers, including those who run the Blackwood Almond Company and Tallgrass Farms, are found to be depriving local businesses and residents of water. As a direct result of this, one resident dies — and as a result of that, McBride brings a class action against one of the wealthy almond farmers.
At this point, some may experience brief flashbacks to the movie Erin Brockovich (2000), as McBride’s colleague Patty (with an unpronounceable surname) teeters around the desert in mini skirt and heels in search of the County Water Board.
In Erin Brockovich, a class action is brought against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company for leaking a toxic form of chromium into the ground water of Hinckley, California, which had serious consequences on the health of many of the town’s population (all based on a true story).
There are also undercurrents of Twin Peaks in this season’s Goliath — and not just because Sherilyn Fenn and Ana de la Reguera are in the cast of both, with the latter resurrecting her role of Marisol Silva from Goliath Season 2 and still controlling more than she should as Mayor of LA.
Twenty-four hour party people
Expect hallucinations, symbolism and MacGuffins.
Near the start of Goliath Season 3, we witness some weird goings on inside and outside the Rising Sun Casino in the middle of the desert, not limited to clandestine night time drilling operations and a woman in white flowing robes seemingly disappearing down a manhole in the middle of a field.
All this is taking place while the big four local ranchers are being served up mind-bending substances in the high stakes room at the back of the casino.
The resulting hallucinations lead us to an auditorium full of hundreds of spangly-clad Dennis Quaids (as Wade Blackwood) each serenading his on-screen sister Diana (Amy Brenneman) who looks down adoringly at him from the balcony.
More trippiness is experienced by another of the big four corporate farmers, Roy Wheeler (Beau Bridges) who is Wade and Diana’s uncle, who we see taking part in a Regency-styled dance presided over by Billy Bob Thornton looking not unlike Adam Ant.
It’s all too much for Wheeler whose heart gives out before the end of the dance. And it was also almost too much for me as I became disheartened at the Twin Peaks-styled direction that Season 3 seemed to be taking, but I didn’t lose hope.
Season 3 is not short of the odd MacGuffin, for example when McBride comes face-to-face with his doppelgänger at the casino bar — is this why people are telling McBride they’ve seen him there before, because he can’t remember. Or has he really been there before?
As is the nature of a MacGuffin, the lookalike leads nowhere, but it does reinforce that nothing here is what it seems — a common theme running throughout the story.
It also turns out this is not McBride’s first visit to the casino, as we find out in Episode 4, Full Circle.
Mind-bending substances feature heavily throughout the story, the effects of which almost jeopardise McBride’s first courtroom appearance in Episode 5, Battledome, when a seemingly innocent sip of orange juice for breakfast at the casino’s hotel sends him on an inconvenient hallucinatory trip in the courtroom just as he tries to get his class action case certified by the judge.
There are also rumours being spread by Rita (Illeana Douglas) — a self-confessed carny whore at the casino who seems to have no other function in the story other than to drink with McBride — that the casino’s manager, Joe Little Crow (Graham Greene) turns into a crow at night and flies around spying on the locals. McBride clearly puts her suspicions down to alcohol consumption (and let’s face it, he should know), although by this point in the story the viewer may well believe there could be something in what she is saying.
With a crow, a goat, an owl and a tortoise in the cast, Goliath Season 3 is not short on symbolism, from the creatures that brand the illicit substances, to those that greet McBride in the most unexpected of places.
Twin Peaks has a lot to answer for; at one point I thought things couldn’t have become any more bizarre even if Laura, Leland and Lynch turned up speaking backwards.
Whatever Season 3 holds for you in terms of love or hate, rest assured that visually it is nothing short of stunning. Every shot is framed to perfection and the editing is glorious.
The aerial scenes shot by drone camera are super-smooth, unlike in previous years (a tad jumpy in Season 1). The shots charting McBride’s journey to Blackwood County in Episode 1, The Subsidence Adventure, really do (to quote the Blackwood Almond Company’s tagline) give me happiness from the ground up, especially when accompanied by the country soundtrack, “Hello trouble, come on in… ”. Oh Billy McBride, you have no idea what awaits you….
The colouring throughout is also superb, with what appear to be definite colour motifs. But if you don’t like yellow and blue, this season isn’t for you, because hefty use is made of the combination of these two colours in terms of lighting and placements throughout.
As I see it in this story, the blue signifies trust and authority (and it’s the colour used in some countries to repel evil) and the yellow signifies happiness and good fortune.
Then there are the pale pastels and white that colour the semi-virginal and demurely influential Diana Blackwood’s activities and the questionable relationship with her brother Wade.
Red provides us with warnings of trouble head, not limited to what goes on in the backroom of the casino — and let us not underestimate the trouble McBride is about to unleash on the corporate farmers of Blackwood County as he rides into town in his red Ford Mustang.
The more subdued hues of orange and brown are reserved for scenes which depict the legal aspects of the story. These autumnal shades colour the courtroom scenes and those that involve harvesting evidence for the case.
Then we have names like Violet Webster and Rochelle Purple; the colour violet has overtones of blue (that fits, we can trust her); the colour purple has overtones of red (and Rochelle is one angry lady after what ultimately happens to her and she undoubtedly gets her revenge on those who dared to cross her).
Post-production had played with colour in previous seasons of Goliath, although I don’t recall it being particularly successful. Some standalone shots in Season 1 were sickly oversaturated in greens and yellows. But they certainly got it right this time round.
On with the story…
Me and Mrs Jones
Let us start with a game of charades: one word, two syllables, starts with ‘in‘, sounds like ‘obsessed‘.
Wade Blackwood is a billionaire corporate farmer and almond grower, as well as the self-appointed president of the Blackwood County Water Board. His twisted, entrepreneurial sister Diana Blackwood has him under her emotional control. Or is it the other way round? Or both?
“It’s always maybe with you,” says Wade to Diana as she teases him again, this time over a business matter.
It’s an uncomfortably intimate relationship we see between these siblings, with undertones not unlike what we saw in Season 2 between the characters Marisol Silva/Claudia Quintero and her brother Gabriel Ortega (although those two siblings were only related by adoption).
And Diana, we soon find out, is thick as thieves with the duplicitous Marisol (who after Season 2 is now Mayor of LA) which gives us some idea as to what to expect from Diana.
Diana’s easy smile and apparent empathy, all wrapped up in delicately pale flowing robes, belie her true colours. Her extreme mood swings, although blamed on a history of anxiety and depression, appear to the viewer to be more sinister in nature. Certain events lead us to question whether there is something not too far back in her family history that has shaped her current behaviour.
We are also left to wonder whether the spikes in her personality are being controlled by the potions she produces for her new lifestyle brand Soop — substances which she also uses to tap into her inner creativity. Or are the substances themselves to blame for her mood swings?
This brother and sister duo are not shy about playing games and taking risks. They almost play at being a couple. “No-one understands us, except us…” she says, then he purrs like a panther as she draws pleasure from some seriously sadistic role play. They both have a mutual fetish for some dangerous toast-making activities. Let’s hope that bath is properly earth-bonded.
Aside from hallucinatory drugs, Season 3 is all about water. Or lack of it…
The background to the story is that 11 years ago, in 2008, Wade Blackwood agreed terms in a secret deal with the California State Water Department for him and a small group of farmers and business associates to control the distribution of the State’s entire surplus water reserve in Blackwood County.
The deal was signed off by a public official at the State Water Department in return for Wade agreeing to drop his lawsuit against them for diverting the water allocation for his land to the residents of Los Angeles during an extended drought.
We find out that when Wade had considered his 2008 lawsuit a lost cause, his sister Diana had persuaded him to pursue it. And it was also Diana’s idea to take control of the Blackwood County water reserve in 2019, something she thought up one night in the backroom of the casino when they were both under the influence. It was all a means to an end.
Diana used her connections to get the Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District on side by bringing in Marisol Silva (who was then a member of the Los Angeles City Council) and Tom Wyatt (a depraved billionaire property developer from Season 2), although we are never expressly told what Wyatt’s involvement was in the deal, if any, and he is never mentioned in the court case that follows.
Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements were signed by six participants at a secret meeting at Big Sur to ensure that details of the deal would never be leaked: Wade Blackwood, Roy Wheeler, Gerry Keenan and Warren Hebb — the big four corporate farmers — plus Spencer Jackson, the deputy director at the State Water Department, and Marisol Silva. Another NDA was signed by Delores Summers, Wade’s secretary who was coordinating the signing of the NDAs at the meeting.
The big four farmers then went on to use Blackwood County’s water reserve to maintain their own farms and other businesses in which they had an interest, causing the majority of residential properties in the county to run dry when individual allocations were used up during the drought. The Big Sur deal effectively meant that Wade and his associates had privatised a public water resource for their own financial gain.
According to Wade, the deal was signed off by the State Water Department because they saw the “economic benefit of the Central Valley agricultural industry to the whole of California”, but later in court Wade admits that in order to sign off the deal Spencer was given a lot of money in “political donations”. No, definitely not bribes.
We also learn that Wade’s almond growing business uses more than two thirds of the total amount of water used by the whole of the city of Los Angeles. In fact, every single almond he grows consumes a gallon of water — and he grows about ten million almond trees.
So much water was sucked out of some part of Blackwood County that a giant sinkhole opens up on Eugene and Bobbi Bennett’s land, into which Bobbi (Sherilyn Fenn), an old college flame of McBride it turns out, falls to her death at the start of Episode 1, The Subsidence Adventure.
Bobbi’s death is the reason McBride gets involved in the first place, although he had been approached by Bobbi some months earlier when she suspected something was wrong with the land. McBride had declined her request for him to get involved back then, saying he had no expertise in property and water rights. Now he is motivated to learn and takes on the case, partly out of guilt.
Bobbi returns in a few flashbacks later on, but only briefly and certainly with no time for Sherilyn to show us that trick she does with the cherry stalk.
In pursuit of what caused the sinkhole on the Bennett’s land, McBride visits the offices of the Blackwood County Water Board to try and find out how the water is being distributed. The Water Board is under the same roof as Wade Blackwood’s Central Valley Tallgrass Farming Company. The on-site secretary, Delores (played by Delanna Studi), is reluctant to assist him, so there’s no information from that source flowing his way about where the water goes.
Something just like that
In competition with her brother, Diana Blackwood has been undertaking her own water redirection project, tunnelling beneath Blackwood County, but she’s gone rogue and is now drilling into Federal land.
Diana is also giving Gwyneth Paltrow a run for her money by setting up her own all natural, non-toxic, age-defying, happiness-inducing, almond-based skincare range as part of her Soop lifestyle brand, with products heavy on the CBD oil.
Unfortunately, everything turns sour when Wade and Diana fall out over funding in Episode 7, Conscious Uncoupling.
A means to an end
Now for a step-by-step of the legal case.
Step 1 – Wrongful death lawsuit
Patty “with the unpronounceable surname” Solis Papagian (played by Nina Arianda) is drafted in from McBride’s office in Los Angeles to help gather evidence for the wrongful death lawsuit that McBride has agreed with Eugene Bennett to file on behalf of Bobbi. (Let us just recall for a moment that in Season 1 McBride agreed a settlement of $50 million in damages in the wrongful death lawsuit brought against the Borns Tech giant on behalf of Ryan Larson.)
Reluctantly, Patty takes on the dusty desert highway in her skinny dress and blue suede heels to try and extract information from the Blackwood County Water Board. After her yellow Mini bursts a tyre swerving to miss a tortoise, she is picked up by Violet (Marisa Echeverria) who drives around delivering bottles of water to the residents who have had no water, in some cases for years, since the corporate farmers took control of the water supply.
When Patty reports back to McBride that the water problem is affecting almost all residential properties in Blackwood County, McBride decides that a class action lawsuit would have a greater chance of success than the single wrongful death claim for Bobbi.
Step 2 – Class action
So McBride plans to file a class action lawsuit against the Blackwood County Water Board — meaning Wade Blackwood — with Eugene Bennett as lead plaintiff on behalf of the other residents. McBride plans to get all the residents their water back plus some form of compensation each for the hardship they have suffered.
McBride and Patty, now joined by longstanding colleagues, paralegal Brittany (Tania Raymonde) and secretary Marva (Julie Brister), hold a town meeting to try and get as many as possible of the residents of Blackwood on side and things are going well until a heavily pregnant lawyer from McBride’s old firm, Cooperman’s, shows up representing Wade Blackwood.
The lawyer, Sumi Sen (played by Shelby Rabara), throws a spanner in the works by informing the residents that if they join the class action they will be suing their own boss, seeing as most of them work for The Blackwood Almond Company or else for Tallgrass Farms, both of which are owned by Wade Blackwood.
Needless to say there is little interest from the residents to join the class action. Then Eugene drops out after Diana Blackwood gets to him. As a result, Violet is convinced by Patty to become the lead plaintiff, which helps others come around.
Step 3 – Class certification
A court hearing takes place to get the class action certified to proceed, but the Judge seemingly blocks McBride at every turn and we wonder whether he is under Wade Blackman’s control in some way.
Patty is accused by Sumi of soliciting litigation for the class action by asking Violet to replace Eugene, effectively violating the rules of professional conduct, and as a result the Judge grants a motion to dismiss the case.
Meanwhile, throughout the hearing, McBride has been struggling with hallucinations of owls and crows and wriggly pens following a sip of tainted orange juice earlier in the day and he is briefly visited by Bobbi Bennett who prompts him to remember that there’s no rule against soliciting litigation in pro bono. In a moment of lucidity, McBride offers to take the class action case for free — and let’s face it, he can afford to do so after his substantial win fee from Season 1.
On a no-fee basis, the Judge has no option but to allow the class action to proceed.
Step 4 – Depositions
Deposition meetings take place separately with Wade and then Diana. Ultimately McBride needs four things: (#1) Wade and Diana to turn on each other, (#2) Wade to tell them who was at the Big Sur meeting, (#3) the names of who signed the NDAs, and (#4) what the parties received in return.
Wade dutifully provides all the information he is legally obliged to divulge, protecting his sister at every turn, until he learns that Diana had set up a clandestine company, Fer-de-Lance Inc., through which she has been channelling funds for her illegal tunnelling project. Wade is informed that Diana had structured the company in such a way that the funding, all provided by Wade, cannot be traced back to her.
Look up the name Fer-de-Lance online and you’ll read that it’s the common name of a deadly viper that can lie camouflaged and nearly undetectable for extended periods of time and strike with high speed when agitated. That should give you some idea of what will soon be unleashed as the story unfolds.
McBride and Patty sit back and watch as Wade and Diana consciously uncouple. Wade freezes Diana’s bank accounts just as she is about to launch Soop with a lavish press party laid out like a Mad Hatter’s tea party in an almond orchard — and when her request to Joe Little Crow at the casino to step in with funding is turned down, she loses her temper and kills him.
To make matters worse, a trademark lawsuit is then brought by Goop, which ultimately seals the lid on Soop. As a result, Diana sacks her business manager Rochelle Purple (played by Leslie Grossman) who is seen off with the help of an almond tree shaking machine. It’s more than a little gruesome.
Meanwhile, back in the deposition meetings, Wade is advised by his lawyer Sumi not to answer any questions that violate the NDA, the privilege to which is held by him, or rather by The Central Valley Tallgrass Farming Company. McBride points out that holding the privilege to the NDAs does not prohibit Wade from answering questions about the NDAs, and that he is, in fact, legally obliged to answer any question asked of him at the deposition. But Sumi advises Wade not to answer any more questions until a Judge orders him to.
So McBride seeks a hearing with the Judge.
Step 5 – Court hearings
McBride and Patty attend a closed court session seeking access to the information about the water deal contained in the NDAs. Sumi informs the Judge that the NDAs only cover what happened at the Big Sur meeting, not details of the deal, which McBride disputes and wants the court to grant him access to the documents. Note, though, that McBride has already seen the NDAs, courtesy of secretary Delores, but he can’t admit to having seen them. But he is able to use the information to his advantage in the way he structures his questions.
McBride requests an evidentiary meeting to gain access to the details in the NDAs. If denied, he plans to seek a continuance, which the Judge doesn’t want and so agrees to an evidentiary meeting for the next day.
At the start of the second closed court hearing, the Judge makes a point of reminding Wade that he can plead the Fifth Amendment at any time to avoid implicating himself in a crime. The way this message is delivered, we again get the impression that there may be a conflict of interest concerning this judge.
During the hearing, Wade confirms the names of the seven individuals who each signed an NDA at the Big Sur meeting and that Marisol Silva was there representing the LA Metropolitan Water District. But there is no official record of Marisol’s involvement in that entity, so who was she working with? Although it is never said, this may have been the link to Tom Wyatt’s corporation.
McBride produces a photo taken at Big Sur of the big four farmers after the NDAs were signed and questions Wade about who took the photo. After eliminating the seven people who signed the NDAs, and with very little persuasion thereafter, Wade admits the photo was taken by Diana. And…Bingo!
Because Diana did not sign an NDA and can be shown to have been at the meeting, she can be put on the stand to testify to everything that occurred at the Big Sur meeting. Now, in my humble opinion, this is Billy McBride’s (and Billy Bob Thornton’s) best moment this season. Watch the scene from 18:40 to 21:10 (Episode 7). Billy, you’ve got a lot of technique.
Step 6 – Court Ruling
Unfortunately for McBride, the judge ultimately rules that how Wade got control of Blackwood County’s water resource is not relevant to the way it was later mismanaged, meaning that what happened at Big Sur, stays at Big Sur. The judge also agrees to Sumi’s request for the transcript of the case to be sealed preventing any further disclosure under the NDA at a later date. Furthermore, the judge rules that McBride should pay the opposing counsel’s legal fees.
McBride is given two weeks to come up with more evidence, otherwise the Judge will rule in favour of the defense.
A seemingly promising piece of evidence then comes McBride’s way after Joe Little Crow’s stunt woman stepdaughter Stephanie (played by Julia Jones) inherits her real father Roy Wheeler’s estate. Stephanie discovers Diana’s secret tunnelling route map on Roy’s desk and after agreeing a deal with McBride to keep her inheritance out of the class action, she hands over the map showing the region of Federal land that is being illegally drilled.
Step 7 – Deal or no deal
After going and checking out the tunnel himself, and surviving after one of Diana’s sons deliberately floods it (in a scene wholly reminiscent of what happened to Jack Nicholson in Chinatown), McBride approaches Wade to make a deal or else have a Federal lawsuit brought against him. But Wade refuses a deal believing nothing can link him to Diana’s illegal project or the Fer-De-Lance company.
When McBride tries to file the Federal case the next day, he finds Wade in a cosy meeting with the judge, who brushes off McBride’s request stating that not only is he not a Federal Judge and his court is not a US District Court, but that this particular tunnelling project has nothing whatsoever to do with the class action.
At this point in time, we are even more convinced that the judge is in Wade’s pocket. But it seems to be just another MacGuffin.
It also looks like the case is dead in the wilderness.
Before continuing with how McBride might save the case, let us run through a few other familiar faces that pop up briefly in Season 3.
McBride’s arch-enemy Donald Cooperman (William Hurt) appears in half a dozen brief scenes and his capacity for deep hate seems as strong as it was when he confessed to just that in Season 1.
We first find out that Cooperman is good friends with Wade Blackwood when lawyer Sumi reports back to them after the town meeting. Later we are also left questioning just how close the relationship is between Cooperman and Marisol.
In terms of input, Cooperman’s exceedingly slow-paced dialogue during his scattered apparitions is largely limited to speaking in analogies — mostly faunal.
There is a fleeting appearance by Tom Wyatt (Mark Duplass) in a lovely yellow blazer, in a flashback scene where we find out that Diana was responsible for introducing him to Marisol.
Wyatt has only a few lines, but they’re good. “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” he says to Marisol as he introduces himself. “If you can handle it,” she replies. “With both arms tied behind my back, my dear,” is his pertinent response. You’ll need to have watched Season 2 to appreciate the meaning.
We also see Peter “the broker” Oakland again. Remember him? He was Wyatt’s buddy from Season 2 and was last seen packing his metal band’s Pöyzyn-branded gong into his car as he tries to make a quick getaway from what could have been a gruesome fate.
This time round, Oakland is performing with his new band Nöt Pöyzyn at the Rising Sun Casino during McBride’s initial trippy trip. Still sporting his over-sized seventies’ spectacles, as soon as he spots McBride at the bar, he cuts his set short and scurries off like a weasel, although McBride is too out of it fully to recollect their past meeting, perhaps.
There’s also a storyline re-introducing Janet (played by Lauren Tom, Ross’s girlfriend from Friends) who is McBride’s co-hostage from Season 2. Janet is the reason McBride visits the casino for the first time (the visit he can’t remember). She is also responsible for reminding McBride that they met Spencer Jackson (the corrupt official who brokered the secret water deal) at an all-night party during their casino trip.
McBride’s former colleague J.T. (played by Paul Williams) who works mostly in isolation now, returns in his Winnebago, busying around in the shadows and tracking people down like no-one else can. His insight leads him rightly to point out that “nothing here is what it seems”.
J.T.’s time is taken up tracking down secretary Delores after she suddenly disappears from the Water Board office, turning up as a waitress at a remote aerodrome. With the promise of anonymity, she hands over copies of the Big Sur NDAs to J.T. and McBride.
Other key characters in the story include Diana’s two adopted sons, Anton and Dario (both played by Shamier Anderson) who fulfil the role of her henchmen, like Odd Jobs to her Bond villain. They are extremely loyal despite the horrible punishments they endure when things don’t go the way Diana wants.
Nowhere though is the question addressed as to why Anton and Dario’s surname is…Jones. Presumably they would have taken their new family’s name when they were adopted. So was Diana Wade previously married and, if so, where is Mr Jones? We never hear of a husband (ex or otherwise), not even during a flashback to one of Wade and Diana’s late night, alcohol-fuelled conversations during which they they discuss his two marriages and their respective messed-up lives. However, the undertones always remind us that he and Mrs Jones may have a thing going on.
Love will tear us apart
In the final episode entitled Joy Division, Wade and Diana’s relationship comes apart in another close-to-frazzling encounter. Wade tries to make a truce with Diana, which she refuses, and we endure another scene with the bathroom toaster, this time with Wade holding the cord.
To try and save herself from the risk of jail because of the Federal lawsuit that McBride may now pursue against her and Fer-de-Lance, Diana approaches Patty to make a deal, which Patty refuses as she plans to subpoena Diana to answer questions in court.
McBride and Patty then manage to track down Rochelle Purple, now in hospital after the tree-shaking machine episode, and threaten to subpoena her unless she provides information about Fer-de-Lance. So Rochelle produces a recording of a past phone conversation with Wade, which nicely implicates him and shows he did know about the company and the illegal tunnelling after all.
Now it is Wade’s turn to try and save himself from a Federal lawsuit, so he agrees a deal with McBride to settle the class action in return for all copies of the phone recording being turned over to him.
A swift settlement by Wade sees the residents collectively receive $500 million in compensation. Having taken the case pro bono, McBride and his team get nothing.
As part of the settlement, McBride and his team and the class of plaintiffs are all bound by the terms of a new NDA preventing them from divulging details of the case to anyone. Although that doesn’t stop McBride passing Marisol’s Big Sur NDA to his daughter Denise (played by Diana Hopper) who has just started at the same university in Los Angeles as Brittany. Denise doesn’t hesitate in passing the information in the NDA on to the press, forcing Marisol to resign from her post of Mayor of Los Angeles.
Speaking of giving up, Brittany decides to leave town having been turned down for graduate law school. Her downfall is that the sex tape she tried to bribe the police officer with back in Season 1, has come back to bite her. Meanwhile Billy bears his heart and soul and declares his love for her (just as he did in Season 1) or is it just the drugs and alcohol talking this time? I hope so, because that storyline doesn’t work for me — neither for his character or hers. I think it was thrown in by the writers to test the water. They also had Brittany playing surrogate mom to Denise at university, which didn’t work either. You see, it’s all too normal for Brittany — I mean, remember her and Tom Wyatt in Season 2?
After losing Wade’s case, lawyer Sumi feels the wrath of Cooperman and is sacked, just like poor Lucy Kittridge and others before her. It’s surprising there’s anyone left at Cooperman’s firm. Still, Sumi should have known what to expect of the firm, having effectively been blackmailed by Lucy into helping her prepare all the discovery responses for the Borns Tech case back in Season 1 — and Sumi saw how disposable Lucy was then.
It only struck me after the event that the heavily pregnant Sumi may have been Cooperman’s current conquest.
We also find out that Patty is pregnant and presumably this is why we saw her staking out the house of Jeff, the FBI Agent with whom she became romantically involved in Season 2.
Patty also comes face to face with her birth mother for the first time, courtesy of some seemingly well-intentioned meddling by Diana. The interaction between Patty and her mother Christina is really quite moving and played astonishingly well with very few words by Monica Potter — an actress who, like the fictitious Diana and real-life Gwyneth, runs her own natural skincare company, which is presumably the reason why her talents have not been seen on screen more over the years.
She’s lost control again
Once Billy McBride’s class action case closes, the heavens open and the curse of Blackwood County’s drought is lifted. Staggering out of his house into the deluge, Wade collapses on his porch under suspicious circumstances, seemingly inflicted by suspicious substances.
But that’s not all…
In a further fit of frenzy, Diana tracks down Billy McBride and shoots him point-blank.
McBride is left lying in the road as the rain pours down. The last thing we see is him looking down at his reflection in a puddle. He recalls what Joe Little Crow said to him at the casino and the writing on the wall he found (wrote) hidden behind the bathroom mirror: “The last person you’ll see before you die is you.”
Driving away, Diana is run off the road by stunt woman Stephanie to meet what appears to be her own end.
So is Goliath Season 3 a piece of class action or just a slice of soggy toast?
Once I adjusted to the weirdness, I enjoyed the cleverly-interweaving story with all the little pieces coming together like a satisfying jigsaw puzzle. Once complete, you can then peel off layer after layer of the story’s construction back to Seasons 1 and 2 and link some seemingly unconnected past events.
And there is no wastage of screen time either because almost every scene contains something relevant (save for the odd MacGuffin), although I did need a second watch-through to understand the flow of legal events and to pick up on the subtleties missed first time round.
Who knows, even the MacGuffins might be seeds for something sinister next season.
But if nothing whatsoever about the story knocks you out, at least visually it is to die for.
And who did die?
Well, that is not at all clear — with all the cliffhangers in Season 3 and the vastly different styles of each season so far, Goliath Season 4 could go absolutely anywhere.
From safety to where…?
Finally, riddle me this: Why did the tortoise cross the road?
Answer: So that stunt woman Stephanie could help it to the other side, of course.
Stephanie’s lifting of a tortoise from its slow crawl across the road to the safety of the other side is more than just a tortoise surviving in arid conditions, creeping along on its seemingly impossible journey to find water in a desert wilderness.
The scene takes up less than a minute but it feels much longer and may leave you wondering why it was not cut shorter. But the tortoise may be a key symbol of the story, encapsulating the whole legal case in one clever scene.
Without the tortoise, Patty wouldn’t have swerved and burst a tyre, wouldn’t have met Violet delivering bottled water to the residents, might not have found out that the water problem affected all the residents, and Billy wouldn’t have had his class action.
Without Stephanie’s help, there is a risk the tortoise could have been squashed by the next vehicle careering down the road, just like McBride’s case was at risk of being quashed at the hands of the Blackwoods and the judge at every opportunity.
Stephanie also speeds up the progress of the case. Without her help, McBride would not have the map that provides the key to finding the illegal tunnel through Federal land. Without that evidence, McBride could not threaten to file a Federal case, which was one of key pieces of evidence that encouraged Wade to settle.
Of course it’s also clear that tortoise sounds like tortus, which is Latin for twisted or crooked, which is what this season’s offering is all about — and, of course, the law of Tort.
Goliath is on Amazon.
Now read Goliath Season 4: It’s Time Transfixed.
Fair Use Notice: All images from Goliath Season 3 shown in this article are credited to Amazon Studios. The images have been carefully chosen to support the commentary of the plot by identifying key scenes. I believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material. But if you would prefer me to take them down, just ask.
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