More than any other season of The Good Wife, this year seems to be following a carefully plotted trajectory. Though this episode may not have had any gasp-worthy, desk-clearing moments, it did fulfill some long-cherished fan wishes and introduced a new wrinkle in the Lockhart Gardner–Florrick Agos rivalry. So fire up your burner phones and load up on Bisquick, here’s what we learned from last night’s episode of The Good Wife.
Getting the Band Back Together
Ever since the great schism back in episode five, we’ve had to watch Will, Diane, Cary, and Alicia at each other’s throats. The last episode before this two-month hiatus, “We the Juries,” was perhaps the most egregious example. The plot forced them to work on the same side of the aisle but at odds with each other. This week’s episode once again brings all four lawyers on the same side (they’re sharing representation of Lemond Bishop), but, for once, we got to skip the infighting. There’s still tension, but it’s much more relaxed. The plot does strain, sometimes, to keep Diane, Will, Alicia, and Cary together, but at least there was a winking reference to it this week when Alicia said, “We see more of them now.” The way this episode ended, I don’t think we’ll be seeing less of them anytime soon.
Low Winter Hanging Fruit
The Good Wife loves filling its universe with fictional properties (e.g., Chum Hum), but what was the deal with the Low Winter Sun rip-off Darkness at Noon? Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty cute to watch Alicia try to enjoy some TV with Grace, and the “I need more wine” joke was pretty killer, but it feels a little harsh to mock Low Winter Sun. Hasn’t that show been skewered enough? Sure, you could argue that the hackneyed dialogue on Darkness at Noon (“there’s crossing lines and then there’s crossing lines”) highlighted some of the moral quandaries facing our protagonists, but The Good Wife is usually a bit slicker than that.
Glenn Childs 2.0
Speaking of moral quandaries, the person applying pressure on the back half of this season is Nelson Dubeck (Eric Bogosian) from the Office of Public Integrity. With an assist from the NSA, he gets Marilyn Garbanza to hand over the Jim Moody election tampering video. He has less success with Alicia, but he’s also not done with her yet. Does Bogosian strike anyone else as very similar to Titus Welliver's character Glenn Childs, who made life very difficult for the Florricks in the earlier seasons? At any rate, Dubeck isn’t going anywhere and he and his henchmen (John, Ron, and Patrick) might be the force that drives Alicia and Will back together. More on that in a bit.
It’s interesting that so much time is spent nailing down the leak at Florrick Agos when it’s the leak in the governor’s office that’s really the problem. Though we suspected her of some shady behavior (all that eyeliner!), Marilyn Garbanza has always been shot through with moral fiber. So it’s unsurprising that she should bend to Dubeck’s will so easily.
A British United States Attorney
The other moral center of the episode is Jack Davenport’s USA Frank Asher, who claims to hold hands with justice. After watching Davenport in Smash and Coupling, it’s impossible not to giggle at his American accent. Nonetheless, his character is a straight arrow and resigns at the first indication of funny business. He and Garbanza are the only two on the straight and narrow this week.
The Kalinda Problem
Because whatever the opposite of straight and narrow is, that’s Kalinda. First of all, Cary-Kalinda shippers, you’re welcome! Maybe Kalinda, er, pumping Cary for information under the sheets is not exactly what you’ve been dreaming of, but it’s something! Why do we think Kalinda told Diane that Cary was lying? Is she unable to read him? Does she just not trust him? Or is she, once again, playing both sides against the middle?
The Cary Problem
Speaking of Mr. Agos, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Deus Ex Reuters discovery. Does it really make sense that Cary was the one to blow the NSA thing wide open? That seems like it should have been a Kalinda or Robyn moment.
I Think the NSA Guys Have Been Reading My Fan Fiction Again
I was delighted to see the return of the NSA guys. Though I was sad to see Zach Woods replaced with 30 Rock's Maulik Pancholy; Woods made that first NSA plot much more hilarious. But I’m delighted they circled back to these guys. It’s good comic relief while also posing a very serious threat to Alicia and Peter. As for my fan fiction, well, I’m certain I didn’t tell anyone else about my Will-Diane ship. So back off, NSA. That stuff is private.
We also returned to the dropped Kluger plot. (It’s been a long time since we saw him ask Alicia out to lunch.) The payoff is ... disappointing. That can’t be the entire thing, right? There has to be something more. Do we think he’s lying about writing a book? What other purpose could he have for wanting to be in touch with Alicia? And what made him change his mind?
But the best part of the episode had to be the final confrontation between Will and Dubeck. Both Alicia and Will are majorly flirting with the dark side of the moral line. But everyone seems to be closing ranks around Peter. What’s Will’s motivation for doing so? Will he be able to stand firm? Will this be what finally leads to an Alicia-Will reconciliation? Or will one of them break and drive the other further away? We’ll have to see!