DAVID BIANCULLI

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ERIC GOULD

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LINDA DONOVAN

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ROGER CATLIN

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TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
Season 3 of 'Goliath' Arrives on Amazon
October 4, 2019  | By David Hinckley  | 2 comments
 

Billy McBride either didn't watch the movie Chinatown or trusts that history won't repeat itself.

The classic 1974 film, which revolved around the sometimes lethal battle over the rights to precious water in dry California, did not end well for some of the good guys.

Forty-five years later, Billy McBride is one of those good guys. Played by Billy Bob Thornton, brilliantly, he's the reluctant hero of Goliath, a legal/crime drama whose third season becomes available Friday on Amazon Prime.

As in the first two seasons, Billy would rather spend his days as a melancholy drunk than grind it out in the legal game where he starred for years.

But he's got a soft spot for his friends, or people who are being particularly screwed by the system, so he's saddling up again.

More specifically, he's hopping back into his 1966 Mustang convertible and cruising up into California's Central Valley, where three years of drought have left many farmers with acres of parched soil and withered vines.

Many farmers. But not all farmers.

As he cruises the 'hood with his old friend Gene (Griffin Dunne), Billy notices that while Gene's grapevines are shriveled and dead, a few large nearby tracts seem to be as green as Ireland.

Gene explains that one of those green fields is part of Tallgrass, the biggest ranch in the area and the property of Wade Blackwood (Dennis Quaid).

Wade also presides over the local Water Board, which controls distribution of such water as is still available.

Billy later has a chat with Wade, who explains that, shucks, running the water board is a public service, mostly just doing a lot of paperwork no one else wants to bother with.

The drought, Wade says, visits California regularly. It's just a matter of luck which farmers still can find some water to tap and which ones can't.

That would sound more reasonable if farmers with deep pockets couldn't also pay for deep wells, down to where water is still available.

And that would sound reasonable, too, except that all this digging can create or exacerbate giant sinkholes that can ruin the land and create dangers for unsuspecting people.

One of those unsuspecting people was Gene's wife Bobbi (Sherilyn Fenn), who was sucked into an imploding sinkhole and broke her neck.

Bobbi's death led Gene to call Billy, who has picked up some experience the last two seasons fighting huge, well-funded, well-insulated institutions. Despite knowing he could get threatened, beaten, and trashed, or maybe watch friends die, Billy starts poking around.

For the most part, this lets us viewers settle back and watch a complex and tense struggle unfold. In case it isn't clear by now, the Goliath of the show's title isn't Billy. Billy is David. Goliath is whom he's up against.

Our enjoyment of the new season isn't mitigated by the fact that Chinatown already dramatized the fight over California water rights. Goliath, we can be sure, won't be the last to tackle the subject, which may not sound sexy, but constitutes a real-life nightmare for much of California.

What does interrupt our viewing are some weird fantasy sequences. We won't spoil the big one involving Quaid's Wade Blackwood, but it is guaranteed to have most viewers looking at each other or just muttering, "Huh?"

To be honest, it's not necessary.

But maybe a show about a flawed lawyer can be excused for having a few small flaws of its own.

 
 
 
 
 
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2 Comments
 
 
Pat
error on GOLIATH -- the summary is right that it's Amazon, but heading on bigger write up still says Netflix
Oct 4, 2019   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Oops. My brain was elsewhere. Netflix, apparently. Thank you, Pat and Ken, and my apologies.
Oct 4, 2019
 
 
 
Ken
Goliath is NOT on Netflix. It only streams on Amazon Prime
Oct 4, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
 
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