The Good Wife
Besieged on All Sides
Let’s start this week by looking at all the ways in which Diane Lockhart is attacked this episode. She continues to be pushed out by her own firm, is pursued by a former classmate and nemesis (Rita Wilson), sued by an employee, lovingly pressured by her friends to drop her engagement, threatened by a pack of twentysomething ballistic experts, and, worst of all, completely betrayed by her protégée, Alicia. A lesser woman might have crumbled or even shown some weakness, but Diane Lockhart emerged this episode more powerful than she’s been all season. It’s almost as if the attacks give her strength. She trounces said nemesis and employee, ignores her friends and her insecurities and marries the man who makes her happy. Logic and outside pressure be damned. But the episode doesn’t end with a wedding. That wouldn’t be the right finish to Diane Lockhart’s story. The episode ends with her marshaling her forces against the worst betrayal. I wouldn’t want to be in Alicia’s stylish yet unaffordable pumps.
The Worst Kind of Liberals
Before we go into the case of the week and the further intrigues at Lockhart/Gardner, can we take a second to note that Diane’s best friends are essentially the worst kind of liberals? We know Diane is a vociferous left-winger and her meet-cute with the hyperconservative Kurt McVeigh was peppered with heated political discussions and Sarah Palin slams. But I’d like to think that even Diane wouldn’t bring up Sandy Hook to someone they’ve just met in a restaurant. Even if it’s tangentially related to an afternoon at the shooting range. Those two are absolutely the worst.
They Really Should Just Make It Lockhart, Gardner & Tascioni
We’ll marvel every week at the caliber of guest stars The Good Wife manages to wrangle, but no guest ever brings quite as much joy as Carrie Preston’s Elsbeth Tascioni. Between her treadmill desk, her hair non-sequiturs, and her deliciously vague and descriptive hand gestures during Cary’s testimony, is it any wonder even David Lee is a fan? I lobby every season for more Elsbeth, but I also wonder if Preston’s delightfully quirky performance isn’t better in small doses. The show has done a brilliant job bringing the right part-time characters up (Eli Gold, David Lee), but is Elsbeth the right fit to be a more permanent fixture on the show? If so, would you rather have her at Lockhart/Garder or Florrick/Agos?
Oh Look, a New Least Favorite Fourth Year
Speaking of Florrick/Agos, they really need to be more selective about these Fourth Years. I pretty much only like Original Cary. I thought they were setting up Cary 2.0 as the villain of the group, but this week it was Bhavesh Patel’s Anthony Wright Edelman who came out of nowhere to steal the Most Unlikable Crown. He saw it as his mission to help paralegal Chrissy in her case against Lockhart/Gardner (unethical, disloyal) and, when he got caught, tried to extort the other Fourth Years for an unearned share of their bonuses. I like that Cary 2.0’s argument wasn’t “you shouldn’t have done this” but “you shouldn’t have gotten caught.” Just what kind of idiots has Alicia hopped into bed with?
Good Old Jackie O
Between Elsbeth, Viola, Alicia, Kalinda, Sonya Rucker, and Diane, this episode was crowded with powerful women doing things for themselves. In fact, with the exception of Diane’s new husband, the men were largely absent or emasculated in this episode. (And even Kurt was made to wait, pace, and worriedly clutch a bouquet at the altar.) Eli’s anger at being indebted to Jackie was made all the more delicious by the fact that he had to do so during Elder Aerobics. But the heart wants what the heart wants and even gruff, union leaders (Dan Lauria, Kevin’s dad on The Wonder Years, alive and well!) have a weakness for Jackie Florrick. Can you blame him?
Oh, Kima, No
There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the hows and whys of exposing Alicia’s coup. (If you watch the “This Season On The Good Wife” previews, you know there’s a particularly uncomfortable scene coming up next episode.) I never suspected it would come from Sonya Rucker, whom we last saw in season one. But actress Sonja Sohn (who will always be Kima from the The Wire to me) let the cat right out of the bag. But, really, it was Diane’s Nancy Drew–ing that brought the betrayal to light.
Are We Defining Sex More Restrictively?
As I mentioned earlier, this was sort of a bye week for the men on the show. The new governor of Illinois got exactly zero airtime, and though Will was involved in the sexual harassment suit, he wasn’t prominent. Until this scene where Alicia and Will try to nail down the legal ramifications of what went on between them in his office. Technically, his bathroom. What purpose does this scene serve other than to send a little thrill through all the Will and Alicia shippers out there? First of all, it reminds me how grateful I am that the never-ending love triangle plot is largely off the table this season and secondly it sets up Will’s anger for Alicia’s betrayal. This was a sort of an “in case you forgot, gentle viewer” moment to establish just how high the stakes are for Will and Alicia.
I’d Like Kalinda Late at Night in the Bullpen Too, Please
I think all sexual harassment cases should be resolved with a testimony from Kalinda. Did Chrissy Quinn have an actual, legitimate case and complaint against Lockhart/Gardner? I’d argue she did against Howard Lyman and, tangentially, against Cary and Carey, frat boys extraordinaire. Was her mistake casting too wide a net? If she and Viola had narrowed in on Lyman and left Cary’s hand gestures and Saint Alicia out of it, would her case have stood? Or would her weakness for Kalina have been her undoing anyway?
But a Whimper
There’s a moment, earlier in the episode, when Diane, quoting from T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men” mutters quietly to herself “not with a bang.” The complete closing line is, of course, “This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper.” In that moment, Diane was admitting defeat. She had given Will her terms and was ready to leave the firm she built and the world she loved. But that was before she found out about Alicia. How much trouble is Alicia in? Which laws and which aspects of her contract has she broken? She’s brought that contract up every time the Fourth Years push her. I think Alicia is well on her way to being sued by Lockhart/Gardner for breach of contract. Oh, this is going to end with a whimper, all right. But it won’t be Diane’s.