‘The Good Wife’ Season 6 Episode 8 Recap: “Red Zone”


There are few shows on television that I enjoy in the moment as much as The Good Wife and fewer still where after a perfectly enjoyable episode I’ll stop and wonder to myself, “Wait. What the hell did I just watch?” It’s not that the show is particularly dense, but rather that it has so many entertaining moving parts that it’s difficult to see it as a whole until after the fact and in that light, much easier to be a little underwhelmed.

The good news about this week’s episode is that it seems to speak volumes to some of the issues we discussed last week. The nugget that much of the episode revolves around spawns from Alicia overhearing what a single member of her focus group thinks of her. She hears words like “entitled” and “selfish” and “obsessive” and begins, naturally, obsessing about this negative perception of her, even going so far as to ask Finn about it in their weekly “drink but don’t smooch” non-date. Finn brushes it off, saying that his ex-wife used to lob the same insults at him and suggests Alicia might feel better if she gave back to the community, a suggestion she takes in, but hedges on. That single scene may be the most revealing of the episode, not because Alicia doesn’t immediately jump on the suggestion of volunteering but in how the show portrays how Alicia and Finn react to the same criticism. Finn mentions his ex-wife’s accusations as a throwaway, with the attitude that he never gave it a second thought, whereas Alicia is consumed with this idea that someone might think her selfish. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

In fact, there are a few things that Alicia does in this episode that are selfish. She doesn’t agree to help Owen’s student out with her rape hearing because she knows it’s the right thing to do but must be cajoled with the promise that it wouldn’t take too long, she shows up at the shelter to volunteer as a way to make herself feel like she wasn’t so self-involved, and she even keeps Diane from suggesting Cary take a plea bargain despite it likely being in his best interest. What it comes down to is a simple fact: Hell yes, Alicia is entitled. And selfish. And obsessive. But what is that really? These are all merely adjectives that don’t make up the whole of a person and don’t speak to whether or not they’re a good person. Everyone has foibles and flaws (and lets not even get into how much of these criticisms are likely gendered in nature) and negative attributes. Whether or not Alicia is entitled really has very little to do with whether or not she’d make a good State’s Attorney.

Yet what we return to, what this season always returns to, is the idea that no matter the attributes or the accomplishments, the only way to win the election is to play the game the way it’s always played and seeing if Alicia finds playing the good candidate any more palatable than she found playing the good wife.

Meanwhile, on the other two shows currently mashed into Season 6 of The Good Wife: Cary, at Kalinda’s urging has opted to testify in his own defense at his trial in two weeks and has to undergo rigorous witness prep sessions which he, naturally, fails miserably. Though it’s repeatedly remarked upon that lawyers make the worst witnesses, it’s clear that Cary’s more distracted by the distance between he and Kalinda than by anything to do with his looming trial. Kalinda, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be as concerned with the Cary-shaped hole in her life because she’s so busy trying to shove Dana into it.

I just don’t understand what the show is trying to do with Kalinda anymore. She’s always been a very sexual being, obviously, but that’s the only note they care to play these days with an actress who I think is capable of more. Kalinda has always been a shifty character, impossible to pin down, but she is truly opaque these days. Is she loyal to anyone? No one? Everyone? Does she care about anyone? No one? Everyone? It’s one thing to want your character to be largely unreadable but something else entirely when it seems like you have no idea who she is from week to week.

So it comes to some relief that Kalinda and Cary have finally hit the skids, as perhaps it will free both characters up to do something a little more engrossing in the coming episodes. Kalinda also goes against Lemond Bishop’s orders with regards to Dana and, at this point, just seems to be begging to get knocked off. The sad fact of the matter is that it would come as a significant source of relief to have her freed from the Sisyphean loop she’s been trapped in for the last few seasons.

Or perhaps I’m just desperate for anything to shake up this season’s fractured status quo. A throw-away scene in each episode that manages to get Cary, Diane, and Alicia in the same room just isn’t cutting it for me anymore. It’s time to blow up this business and get the band back together. Thankfully, it’s sweeps month and anything can happen and with the Kings writing next week’s episode anything probably will.

Quick Hits:

  • I liked the campus rape storyline in the episode but was disappointed the show wasn’t able to dig into it more. The trials of having to run an A, B, and C story every episode, I guess.
  • This episode featured Grace literally laying around waiting to be useful, getting a ChumHum alert, reporting it to her mother, and then flying off to her home planet, I assume.
  • Confetti Brothers. That is all.
  • “We need to stop working so hard.” The only thing you two did this entire episode was fuck. Seriously.
  • Lemond Bishop and Hannibal Lecter pretty clearly have the same tailor.
  • “Thank you and go to hell.”
  • Opening credit appearance: 12:45 (With a scroll in. That was weird.)