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The Good Wife Recap: Cary Rising

Cary, Cary, Cary. If there were any doubt that this is Matt Czuchry's year on the show, put it to rest. No more bitter, vengeful Cary. No more pining-for-Kalinda Cary. Hail the return of horny, human, hopefully-at-some-point-stoned Cary. Hail the arrival of the incorruptible, damn-good-at-his-job-and-finally-getting-recognized Cary.

Of course, both we the audience and Cary probably had the same thought upon seeing that giant office inscribed with the words "Cary Agos, Deputy State's Attorney": What is Peter up to? Cary is excellent at his job and he's proven he values justice above everything, but why this shady, sudden promotion? Is Peter trying to bring Cary in even closer as an extension of his previous plan to take down Lockhart Gardner by audit?

That Cary has finally found his footing was evident from the opening scene, a welcome flirtation with his gorgeous and sexy departing coworker Dana Lodge (Monica Raymund). We've never seen Dana around the office, but apparently she's an ace attorney and she and Cary have had a long-standing flirtation that we just haven't seen because the writers were too busy trying to figure out whether Czuchry worked better with Kelly Giddish or Nicole Beharie. (The answers are: Giddish is on SVU and Beharie will have to find some other make-out partner.) Dana is leaving the SA's office to be an overcompensated defense attorney, and she and Cary are having a final, blatant flirt over beers. Dana: "I hear defense attorneys have better sex." Cary: "Well, if you mean coming from behind ... "

Dana has a boyfriend, not that that matters. Cary tells her he has one, too, and playfully hints it's Matan, by answering the phone, "Hello, dear" when Matan calls. Matan and Cary have never been great friends, but this episode sets them up to be bitter rivals. First, Matan offloads an un-winnable case to Cary. Then, when Matan is put in charge of assigning Cary a new office, he gives him a cubicle. A middle cubicle. Was Peter's next move, to give Cary the promotion and that huge office, a direct result of seeing where Matan put Cary? Or did Peter order Matan to take Cary down a peg so he could then heroically pull him out of the mud? Either way, Matan can't be happy with the end result. He'll likely spend the rest of the season making his new boss's life hell.

The lowest blow is when Matan warns Dana that Cary has "a thing for ethnic women," given the way he makes eyes at every black and Hispanic (don't forget Indian) female who comes through the office. The remark was a little desperate and bitter even for Matan; someone give that man something do other than be jealous and skulking. Maybe he can be Beharie's make-out partner? Matan surely meant the comment to spoil Cary's chances with Dana, but she doesn't have a problem with it, given that she has a thing for blond white guys, or at least this particular one. Have you ever seen two people unbuckle seat belts with as much sexual intent as they? That familiar click and swoosh of retracting nylon will never sound quite the same.

The un-winnable case involves two sons of diplomats/diplomatic workers, one Dutch, one Taiwanese, who may or may not have raped and murdered a college girl onboard a booze cruise. Dana, who knows everything, explains that's where you pay $50 for unlimited wine and beer. She also notices that the dead girl is missing one of her sea-sickness bands; they come in pairs. When a lawyer for the Dutch kid, Anders, arrives and demands the kids get released owing to diplomatic immunity (which kids of diplomats have until they're 23, as long as they're full-time students). Cary takes them into custody anyway. Caitlin, the very new, very blonde, hire, is the first Lockhart Gardner team member on the scene. LG represents the diplomatic-translator father of the Taiwanese kid, Chen Jin-Pyn, and it's clear Caitlin is massively green. She doesn't know how to do anything but record Cary on her iPhone, and then when Jin-Pyn is taken into the suspect exam, she doesn't know that it's his right to have her standing with him behind the curtain as he gets naked and has a single blond hair pulled off of him. Luckily, Saint Alicia shows up shortly and takes charge.

The judge who shows up at the hospital with a court order to stop the suspect exam is — you cheeky Good Wife writers, you! — none other than Peter Riegert, or Boon from Animal House. Who better to oversee the trial of a college party gone wrong? It's fitting that now he's gray-haired and grumpy about having been dragged out of bed at two in the morning for this. The Anders kid gets released but then Dana — she's so good! — points out that the SA can at least detain Jin-Pyn, since he's from Taiwan, and because of the One China policy, Taiwanese diplomats aren't officially recognized by the United Nations.

As the case progresses, Caitlin is, as Will predicted, surprising. Because she's young and hip, she knows that there's this thing called After Death Space where kids share pictures and thoughts while trying to deal with sudden death. And because she partied her way through law school, she knows that this was no ordinary booze cruise; it was a "stoplight" party. Our dead girl was drinking from a red cup to signal she was in a relationship at the start of a party, and from a green cup to signal she's open to advances later on. The green cup means that perhaps there was no rape involved; any sex might have been consensual. It's a red herring; the dead girl did indeed break up with her boyfriend by voice mail, but she wasn't consenting of Jin-Pyn's advances, and her boyfriend has a recording of her on his VM telling Jin-Pyn to stop touching her. In a rare moment for The Good Wife, the LG client turns out to be completely guilty; he breaks his home arrest and flees to the airport. But it's fun following the case even if it goes nowhere, especially when Kalinda gets to interrogate the dead girl's hunky, Speedo-wearing (and weirdly not grieving at all) swimmer ex-boyfriend, or when she goes to rifle through Anders's gym locker and the desk clerk very obviously checks out her ass.

This may be the show's absolute high on the youth-technology-awareness spectrum. We're introduced to a virtual rape-whistle app that lets you press a panic button on your iPhone and alerts people in your buddy system that you're distressed, and gives them GPS tracking of where you are. There's also a subplot involving Zach, the Lockhart Gardner IT guy, and "the cloud" that goes on far too long to be unimportant. Zach set up Alicia's home computer to save to the cloud so she can then access her files at work. It basically crashes the system, and Zach has to come in and restore it. In doing so, he finds out that the IT guy installed proprietary software on everyone's computers and is charging them to store files. Guess who's getting fired in some future episode? Yeah, the guy who has access to everything on their computers, including likely racy back-and-forths between Alicia and Will.

The cloud issue also puts Zach in the office so he can meet Will. Add their awkward first conversation to Josh Charles's Emmy clips. Will so clearly has no idea how to talk to teenagers. It's hard to believe he was ever a teenager himself. After like, the third bad attempt at conversation followed by a one-word response from Zach and then painful silence, all Will can do is say, "Keep on keepin' on" and throw up a Black Power fist. But that he walked in when he saw Zach in Alicia's office says a lot. He's trying. Later, he asks Alicia if he should meet the kids formally. She says she doesn't see the point, but he's crushed. If she doesn't want him to meet her kids, she's definitely not thinking about this as seriously as he is. How long can he keep things casual and wait for her to choose him before he moves on … to, I don't know, Catlin.

Some commenters speculated that Caitlin had been brought in as a love interest for Cary. As is clear from this episode, and all the others, she's not his type. Will, though, is apparently her type. He's the first person she talks to upon coming to the office on her first day. He was a judge in her moot court trial, she tells Alicia, as she leans against the frame of Will's door and imagines him naked and throwing her up against a wall. Um, what were you saying, Alicia? Tee-hee. At the end of the episode, Caitlin waits in the hall until Will leaves his office, just so she has a chance to talk to him. She'd mentioned that in the moot court trial, Will got dismissed as judge for some unmentioned bias, "and then," says Caitlin, "they brought in this, like, 60-year-old." Could he have been favoring Caitlin's side, and did it have anything to do with her being hot? Unlikely, but it seems Alicia now has a Megan Calvet on her hands, a bright young thing to compete with her hardened career woman who won't hesitate to be tender with him or sleep with him for a bit of a career boost.

It's in the chasing down of diplomatic immunity that we meet Eli's ex-wife, the perfectly cast Parker Posey as spitfire White House staffer Vanessa. It's so much more believable that Eli would have had a ten-year relationship ("eight medium years and two bad ones," as Vanessa says) with this salty babe than he'd develop a soft spot for America Ferrara's way younger econ student. Eli has been sent to D.C. to ask Vanessa for help in getting the State Department to grant Jin-Pyn (or "some poor, innocent kid [who has been] accused of something or other," as Eli puts it) immunity. Vanessa, whose actual job I never caught, says she'll do it if Eli will come with her to meet some guy named Kim Kesler who wants her to run for State Senate in California.

Oh, they are wonderful together. What banter! What hatred! Behold:

Eli: Oh my God. You have that wild look in your eye. Rahm gets in and everyone thinks they can.
Vanessa: It’s a good time for a woman.
Eli: Is that what Kim Kesler told you, the man with the woman’s name?

Best part: When Vanessa reaches out to touch Eli's shoulder and then assures him, "We're not having a moment."

Kesler is a joke; Vanessa really just wanted Eli to help her get started on her campaign. So he gets Kalinda to investigate. She finds out that Vanessa had an affair in Dubai in 2007 with a man named Omar Tate, who just happens to be a member of the Bin Laden family. It's bad enough to find out that your wife had an affair in one of the few years of your marriage you thought you were doing it right. It's quite another to find out that the guy she had an affair with was from an evil family of terrorists, even if he never got into the business. "The thought of my semen mixed with Bin Laden's … " Eli shudders. "Come on, Eli, you know how this works. The semen doesn't stay in us," Vanessa responds. It's a fascinating argument, though a bit, shall we say, graphic. Between that and the far less damning fund-raising she did for Rod Blagojevich, Vanessa doesn't have a shot of running for public office. That also probably means she won't have to call on Eli anymore, which is a shame, because any episode with Parker Posey is a good episode. She leaves a parting blow, essentially letting Eli know that his final, irreparable fuck-up was when he took off to do work right when her mother died, and no matter how good a job he did at being her husband in 2007, it was too late.

Unlike last week's episode, this one didn't feel momentous, but the show is back on the track of advancing plotlines instead of stirring the pot (with the thankfully absent Cuddy 2.0 whisk) and then letting them settle without forward movement. Cary's promotion seems to portend a bigger Peter plan to destroy Lockhart Gardner and Will in particular; there's no way that he doesn't suspect the affair by now. Caitlin is a far more appealing and more subtle pot-stirrer than Lisa Edelstein's Celeste ever could be, and her eventual attempts to seduce Will are going to be devastating, particularly since Alicia is clearly heading down the path of liking her a lot. In the meantime, Kalinda is still being underused as a character, though one suspects that she's going to respond in very Kalinda-like ways when Cary completely cuts off her access now that he has a new job and a new lady and doesn’t need her, even emotionally. It's Cary Rising all the way, pun fully intended.

Photo: Gabe Palacio/CBS