WARNING: This article contains spoilers about Goliath season 3. Read at your own risk!
In the final moments of the third season, which just debuted on Amazon Prime Video, Diana Blackwood (Amy Brenneman) shot McBride in a rain-soaked parking lot, leaving him conscious but for dead. And after multiple messages throughout the season (written on a wall behind a mirror) that “the last person you’ll see before you die is you,” McBride then sees his own reflection in a water puddle. So, does he really die, or is this just a metaphorical end to his life as he’s known it until that very moment?
“There are metaphorical things throughout the season, and I think, whether it’s literal or not, it’s definitely a death and rebirth for him,” he tells EW. “This season has a lot of him having to look at himself, his life, and where he wants to go. I’m more lost in this season as a person.”
It’s easy to understand why Thornton would feel more lost now than the first two seasons. For a second time, McBride has to face a nefarious brother and sister pair, but Wade (Dennis Quaid) and Diana are a great deal more wicked than Marisol Silva (Ana de la Reguera) and Gabriel Ortega (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) ever were. Even with all of their money and power (and hallucinogenics), they failed at beating McBride in court because of their own passionate internal struggle that prevented them from taking him on as a two-headed medusa monster — stronger together.
The siblings are at the center of a case in California’s Central Valley, where a drought brings to light the complexities of water ownership. What’s most depressing about the case, specifically, is the fact that this season was based on real events. Droughts have caused entire towns to sink due to over-pumping groundwater by farmers who need water for their crops and companies, which employ hundreds, if not thousands, of local residents.
“There are people who have said before that water will one day become as valuable as gold,” Thornton explains. “This is the story of the big farmer versus the little farmer, and it’s happening right now in our society and around the world. We’re looking at the rich versus the poor — even the middle class. Water is for everybody underneath the ground. There are no boundaries. So it’s legal to get water if you can drill for it and get it out of the ground. The problem is, the local farmer doesn’t have the money to drill for it. So if you have money, you can steal people’s water.”
Silva returned for season 3 as an ally of Diana’s, and McBride was yet again slapped in the face with just how devious his former lover really is. His daughter Denise (Diana Hopper) has had just about enough of the women she idolized in season 2, and is determined to make the now-mayor of Los Angeles pay for her sins.
“He’s obviously still carrying a torch for her, but also still pretty hurt over the whole thing,” says Thornton. “She’s not around much this season but we do get some things resolved between us. I know a lot of people last season people really wanted me to get revenge against her…. Denise is almost more pissed off at Marisol than even McBride is, so she was able to show some grit this season while sticking up for her old man and for herself.”
We also see McBride sticking up for escort-turned-legal-assistant Brittany (Tania Raymonde), both professionally and personally. And while, during a moment of vulnerability between them he confesses his love for her, Thornton says fans should not confuse this with romantic love.
“I think they both see each other as broken people, and so they have that connection because of it. They have a pretty heavy history together,” he confirms. “I think he was kind of lonely and it just came out. I think he really does love her. He sees her as a sort of female version of himself in a lot of ways. I really love this relationship on the show, I think it’s a good one.”
McBride also showed off his softer side when he found out his legal partner Patty Solis-Papagian (Nina Arianda) is pregnant — her season 2 love interest, FBI Special Agent Jeff Clayton (James Wolk), is the father, confirms Thornton. After being kept in the dark over the season’s eight episodes, he expressed genuinely hurt once she finally told him.
“I was sort of like, ‘Hey, wait a second! What am I, chopped liver? I can’t believe you didn’t tell me this. ‘ I think there was even a little bit of jealousy there,” he shares about his reaction to hearing the pregnancy news in the final episode. “I think Billy is the type of guy who wants all the women in his life to love him.”
If McBride survives being shot, it will be impossible for all the women in his life not to come back and really love on him. And Thornton wants to be clear, if Amazon should give the show another season, he is ready to tell more of his story.
“If they’re inclined to do another season, I think I would be inclined to. I think they would be because it’s been a successful show for them,” he says. “So if we can figure out a way to get me back out there, it could happen.”
Season 3 of Goliath is currently available for streaming via Amazon Prime Video.