Welcome to our weekly round-up of The Good Wife, where your faithful reviewer takes a single exchange and completely blows it out of proportion for 800 or so words before finally giving in and gushing about who was/was not shirtless, who should/should not have been shirtless, and whose time in the episode could have been better spent smooching. But before we devolve into squee-ing about the Good Ship Carlinda (Kalary?), let’s take a leisurely stroll down early-20th century German literature lane.
About a third of the way through “Dear God,” Diane, in the midst of defending Cary at a hearing to decide if his bail should be revoked, remarks, “This is Kafka in action,” to which the judge dryly responds, “The longer I live the more I realize everything is Kafka in action.” A solid laugh line, clearly, but the exchange also provides an illustrative parallel to what Cary Agos has experienced thus far this season. As every high school sophomore knows (Thanks Common Core!), Gregor Samsa, the protagonist of Kafka’s most famous work, The Metamorphosis, awakens one day to find himself transformed from a hardworking everyman to a giant bug. It was a shock, to say the least. Not so unlike a successful lawyer, with a newborn law firm, suddenly being thrown in prison for drug trafficking and treated like the common criminal that he so often defends. (Though, not really. Cary’s clientele is much more of a white-collar resort prison type of crowd.)
Prison was not the crux of Cary’s transformation though, as being out on bail, while obviously preferable, doesn’t completely alleviate the haze of uncertainty and inconvenience that follows his every move. His clients are taken over by Alicia and Dean (Taye Diggs). Diane is busy defending him, which is no small task with the State’s Attorney shooting to kill. Kalinda is putting her neck on the line trying to manage the issue of the witnesses against him. Meanwhile, he’s resistant to the changes being made at Florrick/Agos, despite them being absolutely necessary for them to move forward as a solvent firm. He is a burden, just like Gregor, and his only hope is to clear his name before the generosity of his friends gives way to the crushing reality of the situation.
Enough about Cary, let’s check in on Alicia.
Alicia spent the episode teamed up with Dean as they took over a case from Cary involving a farmer, a manufacturer, $400 million seeds, and God, which is either the setup for the worst fairy tale or the best “walk into a bar” joke ever. As the case deteriorates in the courtroom, both the defendant and the plaintiff decide that it’s getting way too lawyer-y in there and the case would be better off settled with a come-to-Jesus meeting. Rather, with binding Christian arbitration, which Wilson from House (Robert Sean Leonard, if you’re a stickler for details) a pastor, assures everyone is a totally real thing, as if they knew this statement would send reviewers scurrying for their Google search bar. Things proceed apace, though sans objections (because Jesus just wants to hear the truth, you know?), it largely devolves into people shouting vaguely relevant Bible verses at each other.
Of course, you can’t mention God on The Good Wife without getting a big ol’ helping of Grace Florrick so Alicia eventually turns to her resident Christian for advice on how to pick and choose relevant quotes from the Bible in order to prove her point, while completely disregarding the rest which is almost certainly the first time this has ever happened in human history. She’s then shocked when Grace lays something akin to wisdom on her, talking about how something can still be true even if it’s not accurate. (Which I’m pretty sure she stole from Madeline L’Engle but, you know, steal from the best, I guess.) Grace is a little offended when her mom is shocked by her insight but, come on, Grace. Up until this point your defining characteristics have been “surprise Christian” and “attractive on the Internet.” How were any of us to know about your hidden depths?
Though I suppose it’s burying the lede to start with the case and not Alicia’s encounter with Gloria Steinem, feminist icon, who may have finally succeeded where Valerie Jarrett failed so spectacularly. Alicia was genuinely moved by the encounter (I mean, who wouldn’t be?) and seemed invigorated by the notion that someone she (it would appear) idolized pushing her to become something more and having faith that she could succeed. Steinem tells her, specifically, “We need more good women to run.” Contrast this with Alicia’s statement to Eli later, calling the State’s Attorney “a bad man” and the dichotomy is clear.
But what’s most interesting about the Alicia-running-for-office arc is looking at how far she’s traveled from the beginning of the series. While still being that eponymous good wife she started out as, each season she moves closer and closer to being the type of good woman who takes on the bad men of the world on an even playing field.
As for the rest of the episode? We got snippets of super hot Cary/Kalinda window sex, there were a ton of guest stars I didn’t mention — like Linda Lavin and Richard Thomas (between his presence and the Christian daughter subplot I ended up missing The Americans a lot) and the return of Christian Borle — Dean was a secret Christian all along, and Alicia ends the episode wanting to know what the plan is if she decides to run.
She better. My “Florrick for State’s Attorney” bumper stickers aren’t going to sell themselves.