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The Good Wife Recap: The Seedy Underbelly of Internet Culture

We got some interesting insight into the history of the Florrick family and the future of Lockhart/Gardner. It seems Will and Diane are truly headed down a dark path. Will they be able to turn back time? As for Jackie Florrick and her philandering husband, well, there but for the grace of Cabernet goes Alicia. Fasten on your No. 1 Mom pin, here’s what we learned from this week’s episode of The Good Wife.

Not the Rainmaker I Was Looking For
The episode opens this week with a tidy little juxtaposition between the meager conditions at Florrick/Agos and the bounty at Lockhart/Gardner. The mandate from F/A is to get more clients while the mandate at L/G is to hire more lawyers to handle their caseload. This is where I had my fingers crossed a few weeks ago that someone like Louis Canning, Nancy Crozier, or Patti Nyholm would join the team. But, instead, we got a whole new morally ambiguous lawyer. This one has a jaunty accent! Enter Damian Boyle. And what a strange entrance it was. The camera lingered on the back of his head for such a long time that I expected the reveal to be a bit flashier. Who’s this famous face, I wondered? What is the show trying to get me to brace myself for? Turns out it’s just Jason O’Mara, whom you may recognize from a series of failed shows (Vegas, Terra Nova, Life on Mars, etc.). Will snaps up Boyle as a partner without even putting it to a vote. Ah, the old Jax Teller approach to leadership. How could that possibly go wrong?

High School Pranks
And how can we continue to support Will if he insists on surrounding himself with such undesirables? First the Yoga Blonde and now this guy? A “jovially” anti-Semitic mob lawyer? Sure his “aw shucks” speeches are charmingly transparent and his antics in Alicia’s office are amusing enough. But these are the actions we’re supposed to find sort of cute in a bad guy, not the actions of one of the good guys. Will makes himself fairly unsympathetic with this alliance, and I prefer my Lockharts and Gardners on the right side of the moral line.

The Better to Eye-Fuck You, My Dear
But if Will must be on the wrong side of the line, at least that puts him on the opposite side of the aisle from Alicia. The judge was right to call Alicia out on her smug expression each time she won a little victory, but there was no thrill greater in this episode than watching Alicia and Will trade looks. This whole schism has been the shot in the arm these two needed and their antagonistic relationship is just fueling the fire of their romantic one. This will end well for you Will and Alicia shippers, mark my words.

Towanda
The other big guest star this week was Mary Stuart Masterson as Rachel Kaiser, the replacement Illinois Supreme Court nominee. This plot was not only a great way to wrap Jackie into the larger plotline, but also shed a little light on both Peter and Jackie’s background. First of all, I’m sure it’s been mentioned before, but I like the detail of Peter’s father being referred to as just “the Judge” — makes him loom large. You can practically feel the chill his shadow casts over Peter. Secondly, it makes Jackie at once more sympathetic and inscrutable. More on that later.

“Female Investigators Just Aren’t Thorough”
Oh, kid, you’re new, so we’ll give you a pass on this one, but you never, ever underestimate Kalinda. Cary did just that a few weeks ago and look what that got him. I’m still trying to figure out just what purpose Damian is going to serve in the larger story line. Is he just there to make Will look bad? Or is he there to provide Kalinda with another grinning antagonist? Didn’t we go through this with Scott Porter in season two? I suppose if it means Kalinda will be breaking out the baseball bat again, I’m all for it.

No. 1 Mom
At the very least, Damian got right under Alicia’s skin. That move with the No. 1 Mom pin was killer psychological warfare. Boyle might just be the one to win ChumHum back for L/G. All this bullying and dirty pool has put Alicia squarely in the underdog category. How can we not root for her there?

The First Mom of Illinois
That brings us right back to Jackie and the parallels this episode highlights between the two. It’s amazing to reflect on the way Jackie has treated Alicia over the years in light of what we now know about her past. Could she really not muster more sympathy for Alicia? Do we think that Jackie’s thought process goes something like, “I stood by my man, so should she.” It’s also interesting to look at the person Alicia could have become if she followed a different definition of “good wife.” She, too, could be roiling over with bitterness and frustration. She could have carried that grudge against Kalinda well into her golden years as Jackie did with Rachel Kaiser. But thanks to her career, kids, and oh so many glasses of Cabernet, Alicia chose a different path.

Cases of the Week That Don’t Carry Over
I find that there’s been a recent trend toward non-resolution with the cases of the week. It’s possible that the show will revisit these matters later on in the season, but that’s also unlike them. Perhaps the showrunners are trying to shake up the procedural feeling of the show by leaving some legal issues unresolved, but a few weeks ago with Hunter Parrish’s Jeffery Grant and this week with Haaz Sleiman’s Zayeed Shaheed, we’re far from resolution. I enjoyed the Case of the Week and the incisive look at Reddit counterpart Scabbit and the mob mentality of Internet users. The show didn’t have to draw a direct parallel between this fictional Milwaukee Food Festival bombing and the Boston Marathon. I think we would have understood and remembered the Internet’s role in tracking down the Tsarnaev brothers. The circled baseball caps and backpacks were eerily reminiscent. Though most people remember the Boston manhunt as successful, many may have forgotten the dozens of people who were dragged through the Internet mud as suspects before the Tsarnaev brothers were found. This episode puts a face to those people. While I’m ready to believe Shaheed when he tells Alicia he’s innocent, I still find it odd that we didn’t get a conclusion to his case. Do we really think it’s something the show will revisit, or is it more sophisticated storytelling to allow us to fill in the gaps?

Judges of the Week That Do
The real cliff-hanger of the week was not, surprisingly, Shaheed’s case but rather Judge Kluger’s coffee date. I suspect, given his interest in Alicia’s new firm, that he will be expressing a desire to join her. Maybe give up his judge’s robes? Tambor would be a pretty fun addition to the cast and to the team and F/A. Maybe he can suggest they not all leave the office at the same time for lunch anymore. Either way, I’m sure this is not the last we’ve seen of him, and I hope it’s not the last we’ve seen of Mary Stuart Masterson.