I see what you’re doing The Good Wife and I don’t care for it.
See, way back before I was a completely unknown television critic, back when I was still putting off bedtimes by sitting quietly and reading a book in the hopes that my exhausted parents would mistake me for a particularly lumpy throw pillow, I would use my couch camouflage skills to stay up to watch any number of TV dramas. Among the series was Moonlighting, which I didn’t understand a lick of but appreciated for the fast talking, sexy grown-up chemistry, and best theme song this side of Growing Pains. However, even as a child, I was irritated by how much time the show spent with the zany secretary and her even zanier love interest. What I was picking up on in those episodes is the fact that the show was choosing to focus on those characters with growing frequency because of off-camera problems with the leads filming schedules.
So what does that have to do with The Good Wife? Well, as we talked about in previous reviews, Archie Panjabi is moving on to greener pastures when the season concludes and, also, she and Julianna Marguilies haven’t physically been in the same room on the show for dozens upon dozens of episodes. While no one is completely sure why any of this is happening and while the story supports the divide to a certain extent, there’s plenty of rumors about certain actors being difficult to work with and longstanding feuds and it’s enough to make a person wonder if maybe with an episode like the one that aired this week, The Good Wife producers trying to buy themselves time to get their ducks in a row by writing elaborate side stories for tertiary characters. Which is all a really elaborate way of saying that I don’t care about Elsbeth’s romance with Twin Peaks. Er, Kyle MacLachlan. Um, Assistant US Attorney Josh Perotti.
It’s possible, nay likely, that there’s really no drama brewing behind the scenes at Good Wife headquarters and that the real reason we got this dud of a storyline arc is that the producers are anxious (rightly so) to utilize the talents of both Carrie Preston and MacLachlan. However, it’s just a complete non-starter and weird for weird’s sake. Increasingly this season, it seems as though the show doesn’t quite remember how to calibrate Elsbeth’s energy and it reads as her a lot more dopey than the unconventional genius we know her to be.
This isn’t the only plot that fumbled tonight, just the one that grated the most. Also on the docket were the continued trials of Cary Agos. This week he got really drunk at a Harvard mixer and flirted with a blonde and a brunette. He ends up taking the brunette home but after her come-on line about gang rape, who could blame him? (I mean, other than everyone.) As though Cary hadn’t exhibited enough poor decision making skills in one evening, he also went home through Indiana. INDIANA. Which, as it turns out, was a violation of his parole and nearly resulted in him getting thrown back into prison. As if it weren’t bad enough he went to Indiana.
More on point this week was Alicia’s latest foray into the minefield that is openly discussing religion. She again called on the services of the (apparently) only Christian she knows (Grace) in order to try to lawyer her way through her televised interview. Grace still serves as the model Christian, even as it appears her relationship with her mother has devolved to the point where their only conversations are impromptu Sunday School lessons. A fact she seems to realize towards the episode’s end when she’s being praised for bringing her mother closer to Christ when she knows that all she really did was give her mom enough information to muddy the theological waters.
Increasingly the most interesting aspect of the show is how little self-awareness Alicia is moving through this political transition with. In a conversation with her new body woman, Eli’s daughter Marissa (played by the fantastic and always underused Sarah Steele), this exchange takes place:
“I don’t like pretending I’m someone I’m not when I’m being interviewed.” “Really? You’re good at it.”
Marissa says this to Alicia with no malice in her voice whatsoever. She’s matter-of-fact. She sees what Alicia can’t: Alicia is a natural when it comes to duplicity. The reason for this is that she really believes her lies. Near the end of the episode, when talking to Cary about his bail trouble and his potential leave of absence, Alicia reassures him by telling him, “We do this together.” This may be the biggest lie she’s ever told. The new firm does nothing together. Cary’s been an outsider since he got arrested. Diane was brought in against his will. They’re moving to new offices against his will. Hell, Howard Lyman was hired this episode without anyone’s approval just to screw over the remains of Lockhart/Gardner/Canning. And more than all of that, we’ve yet to see Alicia have a single conversation about the fact that she’s running for office with ANYONE in the office. There’s certainly a lot going on in the busy world of Florrick, Agos & Lockhart but the bottom line is that none of it is happening together. It’s every woman, man, lawyer, felon, and politician for themselves.
- There was also a court case this week that was a carry over from last week that will probably carry over to next week but it’s very convoluted and just not as interesting as all of the interpersonal stuff lately.
- Now that Kalinda has been forbidden from seeing Cary within the context of the story I’m just picturing Panjabi being forced to spend the rest of the season in an oversized hamster ball, so isolated is she from the rest of the cast.
- I’m very invested in the way Linda Lavin pronounces Lemond. “Lemon-d.”
- Alicia/Grace : God :: Me/The internet : Taylor Swift “I can’t believe in Taylor Swift, the internet.” “I know. *beat* Why not?” “I don’t feel it the way you do. I don’t feel the need.”
- Opening credit appearance: 9:54