Sometimes what a flagging quality show needs is a good, healthy dose of something completely different — and that’s exactly what The Good Wife got this week with “Open Source.” While the show is still hopelessly mired in the swamp that is the State’s Attorney race for a few more weeks, this week’s episode at least had the courtesy to sideline the plot to the B-story, turning the spotlight over to the team at Florrick, Agos, and Lockhart.
More importantly, the episode centers around Diane, a character that’s been particularly ill-served in this sixth season, someone who has seemed particularly adrift without Will Gardner to bounce off of. The firm is suing the designer of a gun whose specs are available for production on a 3D printer. Their client was injured by an individual who printed the product in question and was accidentally injured when the weapon misfired. Given that it’s a gun case, that means that Diane’s husband, ballistics expert Kurt McVeigh, is acting as expert witness, and when the case begins to spiral out of control, things between the lovebirds get particularly tense.
The episode feels like a throwback to the classic case-of-the-week episodes from the show’s heyday, when stakes were lower and the audience was able to revel in some good, old-fashioned lawyering. Even Alicia’s adventures seemed less dour than usual, a somewhat shocking development given the fact that they include trying to follow through with the wishes of a potentially dying man and deciding whether she should turn against her husband in order to win the election. Actually, that’s not an entirely accurate statement. While Alicia does spend a good chunk of the episode trying to make good on the instructions that Canning gives her regarding the family responsible for donating his new kidney, she actually has no say in whether her campaign throws Peter under the bus or not. For all of the moral struggle we’ve seen in her for who knows how many episodes, it would appear at this point that she’s completely comfortable with doing whatever she has to do to win this election. It’s a choice perhaps best underlined by the clip aired early in the episode of her denying any knowledge that Lemond Bishop donated money to her PAC, a lie that won her the endorsement of the newspaper she’d been battling for last week.
Alicia’s acquiescence to her moral ambiguity is honestly the most refreshing thing the show could have done at this point. Instead of belaboring the process any more with painful hemming and hawing, I fully support the all-in Alicia Florrick who has finally come to terms with what she has become, maybe what she’s always been, while pursuing election. It’s this acceptance that makes the later scene between Alicia and Frank Prady so intriguing. She truly admires Prady for what she sees as his moral superiority, because she always thought herself to be that person. When he confides in her that he’s not gay, that he hasn’t remarried because he’s a Jesuit, it’s a fascinating reveal, as it shows that even if he isn’t being as morally repugnant as Alicia, he’s still playing the game just as much. It also sets up a final showdown between the two that leaves the audience in a much more precarious place. Do you root for the protagonist because they’re the protagonist, or do you root for the individual who is not just a better person, but may actually be better for the job? Whatever way you choose, it still makes for a far more interesting dynamic than one could expect from this interminable election, even as recently as last week.
But back to the thrust of the episode, which had not only Diane back in the courtroom, but Finn working by her side, having brought the client to the firm in the first place. It’s nice to see these characters, both of whom have been painfully MIA in recent weeks, and even more interesting to see them working together, as their most consistent interactions this season were on opposite sides of the aisle working Cary’s case. Diane’s struggle with balancing the relationship with her husband with the importance of her political beliefs has always been a fundamental part of their dynamic and while it’s a bit of a letdown to see the show falling back on this conflict yet again, as though they have no idea what else to do with the character, it’s better than not seeing her at all.
Ultimately, everything works out in the end. Sort of. The case is settled, though with a non-disclosure agreement, meaning that the political implications of printing your own weaponry won’t get a foothold with this particular case; Diane and her husband make up; the injured man gets more money than he ever imagined; and Alicia goes for Peter’s jugular. It was a solid episode, if not one for the ages. It’s just a little sad that merely solid serves as so much of a relief at this point in the season.
- Kalinda shows up for roughly 60 seconds to completely fix the case because what else does she have to do at this point?
- Marisa Gold continues to be the MVP of every episode. This week has her trying to distract her rampaging father with, “I’m thinking about getting a tramp stamp. What do you think?” as well as doing a little rampaging of her own, yelling at John, “God, handsome men are so weak!”
- Kurt and Diane have the best foreplay.
- Also, The Good Wife continues to be the best show on TV when it comes to women being the primary recipients of sexual pleasure and I, for one, appreciate it.
- Mamie Gummer is back as Nancy Crozier and is, as usual, amazing.
- Kurt and Diane are going deer hunting in Wyoming because Diane was bad and she must be punished for her sins.
- The episode has Alicia placing a phone out of reach of a deathly ill man so I’m not entirely sure what’s not to love about it.
- Also, the episode ends with smooching and John and Alicia are increasingly something I’m coming around on because, hey, it’s better than nothing.
- It would still be better with Finn, though.
- What do you think Cary does with all of his free time now that he’s not in prison? Do you think he just sits around and thinks about prison? Probably.
- Opening credit appearance: 11:46