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The Good Wife Recap: America the Beautiful

"The Next Month"--Marilyn is concerned about the ethical implications when Eli reconnects with Natalie Flores (guest star America Ferrera, right, with Julianna Margulies, left), on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, Nov 17 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Craig Blankenhornl/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved

Two fun new judges, some crack investigating, a flustered Eli, and a major Florrick/Agos victory? What a delightful episode. Load up on dried apricots and pumpkin Pop-Tarts, here’s what we learned from last night’s The Good Wife.

Do We Have a Yoko Ono Situation?
The episode opens with Will rallying the troops with, what else, a rebranding. How do we feel about the “LG” acronym? I think it sounds too “desperate to be hip.” Besides, isn’t that one already taken? Let’s just pretend he did it for us, the loyal recappers and commenters, so we won’t be burdened with typing out the whole name anymore. Will is interrupted in his plan for world domination by the Yoga Instructor. Don’t make me learn her name. The blonde who we all hoped was a one-episode fluke is sticking around for the time being. Hey, it’s either Yoga Ono here or a midlife-crisis car; either way, the message is clear. Will is trying to put some distance between World Domination Gardner and the lovesick puppy who followed Alicia around. Josh Charles directed this episode, so enjoy that sinking feeling about him directing his own sex scenes. By the way, is “I can’t find wireless anywhere else in Chicago” not the flimsiest excuse a girlfriend has ever given for dropping by her boyfriend’s office? Davd Lee tried his best to get rid of her for us. Bless his weaselly heart.

Eli’s Coming, Hide Your Heart, Girl
The more endearing love plot of the week, of course, was the return of Natalie Flores and the flustering effect she has on Eli. He’s not a “running after people” person! It was very slick the way they introduced Natalie not only into Eli’s plot but right smack dab in the center of the LG versus Florrick/Agos plot. More on the efficacy of those two firms later — both Alan Cumming and America Ferrera were absolutely charming in their enthusiasm for each other. The Natalie/Eli plot didn’t entirely make sense back in Season 2, and I like them much better here, on more equal footing. She’s more Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuit now and the way Eli struggled with and abandoned his usual MO for her was very endearing. I had been wanting more Alan Cumming and this was the perfect way to get it. 

Uno Mas Tomás
Natalie, of course, was the source of the Ticking-Clock Case Of The Week. This was an undeniably Virtuous Case (even if the underlying motivation was to court Joe Palata’s business). It was fun seeing Cary and Alicia working so well together and watching them jump through all the hoops in under twelve hours. We also got not one but two fun guest judges in the form of Jackie Hoffman (another musical actress) and a scruffy, Bob Dylan–quoting James Le Gros. In the end, though, the legal team was shown up by Robyn, who saved the day with a timely lie.

Robyn Rises
Not the investigator we were looking for, writers. I complained last week that we weren’t getting enough quality Kalinda time. Of course there’s never enough Kalinda, but this season has felt especially lacking. I did enjoy her one brief scene with Robyn and her advice on making yourself indispensable. Question: Kalinda mentions being let go from the District Attorney’s office five years ago? How does that fit in with the timeline of her sleeping with Peter? Do we think the two are related?

But Kalinda wasn’t the focus of this episode — Robyn was. Pro tip for Carey Zepps: Don’t talk about canning your investigator in the shared office with no real walls. She is an investigator. Anyway, she investigated the hell out of the fact that her head was on the chopping block, tried and failed at the whole turncoat thing, and so spent the rest of the episode kicking ass. I will always hold her up to Kalinda as a measure of how investigations should be conducted, so what do we think of her tactic? Kalinda lives comfortably in the moral gray area, but some of Robyn’s actions were pretty firmly in the black. Will that come back to bite Florrick/Agos?

Spare Me the Rigors of Pregnancy B.S.
Bless Eli for voicing my frustration with Marilyn’s pregnancy plot. I understand the actress is pregnant and the whole thing was kind of cute when she was genteelly puking in Alicia’s bathroom. But the Pop-Tart nonsense was bordering David E. Kelly–style quirkiness, and I like that the show usually restricts those kinds of antics to the judges. Marilyn continues to be the wettest blanket, raining on every parade that passes her by and is a very disappointing representation of pregnant women in the workplace.

LG
This episode was titled “The Next Month,” so we’re continuing to assess the viability of our main combatants. LG (I still hate it) was pretty weak in this episode. Why, exactly, does Howard Lyman still have a job? At least he kept his pants on this week. But the Lyman issue aside, we see David Lee trying to tear at Will’s happiness (for the greater good) and an all-around more feeble law firm. They’re going to need more than a rebranding to keep up.

FA
Because Florrick/Agos was sort of on fire this week. This is what we want to see from Alicia, Robyn, Cary, and Carey. Other than that Robyn blunder, Zepps was particularly helpful this week. Agos had one weird moment (the finger-wagging 1984 speech he gave), but was otherwise on the top of his game. They were all pretty endearing, planning out furniture placement and high-fiving each other at the prospect of their first client. What do we think of Peter’s confident assurance that this is where Alicia will take over the world? I like the sentiment.

Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/CBS