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Friday, June 22, 2018

Goliath 2: Truly Surprising Ending

Goliath 2, which I just finished binging on Amazon Prime, is even rougher, tougher, and more no-holds-barred than the first season, and [spoilers follow]

[I'm not kidding, serious spoilers follow, read no further if you don't want to know what happened.]

[Last warning ...]

The bad guys win!  I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this in a TV series of any kind, anywhere.  But at the end of the concluding episode, Marisol (not really her name) is on her way to become Mayor of Los Angeles, and her brother Gabriel is doing just fine a ruthless, megalomaniacal cartel jefe.  Not only that - Marisol was responsible for the murder of a kid whom Billy was giving his all to protect, and she's all but gotten Billy to fall in love with her.   And just in case we didn't get the depth of her evil, she tells Billy she was lying when she told him a little earlier that she loved him, after sweetly asking him to tell her he felt the same about her.

And her brother Gabriel (not her biological brother, but they we raised together) is even worse, taking the crown as one of the most despicable villains we've seen on a screen in a long time.  His avocation is surgery, and he metes out punishment by cutting off parts of his victim's limbs (not their sex organs, because, as he tells someone who has lost both feet and hands to Gabriel's punitive knife, he's not "a monster").   Meanwhile, his henchman, a character right out of James Bond with a pincer for one of his hands (I assume courtesy of Gabriel), kills at least half a dozen semi-major and major characters, including the wife and two kids of one of his targets, a slightly crooked cop.

The cruel success of the villains is so complete that's it's not clear who the Goliath or the David is in this story.  Certainly not Billy, who, although he's pretty close to the top of his game, is no match for the forces arrayed against him.  I was glad to see, at least, that he was alive at the end.

The acting was outstanding - Billy Bob Thornton was again just right as Billy McBride - and even the slightly secondary roles were unforgettable.  I especially liked Matthew Del Negro and Dominic Fumusa as two cops going through self-inflicted hell, caught up in the evil.  It was great to see Paul Williams as a attorney even more burnt out than Billy but, like Billy, still wanting to do some good. Ana de la Reguera was superb as Marisol (a leading role), Nina Arianda was again always welcome with her blend of humor and tough assedness, and Steven Bauer, whose total appearance were a few scenes in one episode, was in prime semi-comedic form (this episode felt like an homage to Pulp Fiction).  The acting was so good throughout this season by everyone,  I'd say it was best acted series I've seen in a while, and that's high praise indeed.

The cinematography was beautiful and striking, and the narrative brilliantly told, with my favorite hour being the one in which Billy with the help of a Chinese American woman escape from sure death against all odds (that's the one with Steven Bauer).  By all means see this - but gird yourself for more than one kick to the stomach.

See also Goliath 1 on Amazon: Law Drama as Its Meant to Be Seen

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