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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Good Wife: "Great Firewall"

Illustration for article titled The Good Wife: "Great Firewall"
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Aw, yeah, that's how shit gets DONE on The Good Wife, folks. OK, so the central case wasn't perfect, as it was another vaguely-diverting bit of musing about social media and social justice and "things are uncool," but everything else was leg-breakingly, Sean Connery in The Untouchables "that's the Chicago way" good. Apologies if it seems like I'm rambling. After much tension and eyebrow-raising and secret deal-making and what have you, things finally got resolved on two fronts: Glenn Childs get booted out of the race, and Derrick Bond got booted out of the firm. Any episode that ends with Diane and Will drinking whiskey and dancing in their office basically gets an A in my book.

But I'm gonna probably have to bump it down just because the central case, despite featuring the return of Rita Wilson's feisty Viola Walsh (I knew she'd be back considering how little she did two episodes back) and Lost's Ken Leung, an actor I really adore, in the lead role as a Chinese dissident tortured for sending someone a pro-democracy message on "ChumHum" (I think I got that right?), some lame Facebook knockoff. Leung didn't really get the chance to shine, given that his character was rather taciturn and quietly sympathetic, and the case itself was just once again a little jarring and irritating, although at least the legal angle they took was more relevant than last time with the Zuckerberg rip-off suing the movie made about him. This time, the question was ChumHum giving up IP addresses and the like to the Chinese government, i.e. complying with the law of that country while breaking the laws of the country it was founded in.

It's an interesting question, and things got a lot more interesting once Alicia realized they weren't in the case for the money or for the social justice, but rather to clear out ChumHum so Patrick Edelstein (the Zuckerberg rip-off, although remember, in The Good Wife, Facebook exists as well) could move in and probably do the same bad things. Her confrontation with Will was an extremely effective moment, both in how it played into how the show never allows its characters an easy moral victory, as well as her relationship with Will. I'm no 'shipper (if I'm 'shipping for someone on this show, it's Cary and Kalinda! MAKE OUT MORE!), but their chemistry is always fun to watch. But it's never really been asked if Will and Alicia really make much sense together given how cutthroat he can be.

The question always seemed easy to answer because Peter had cheated on Alicia and he was in jail, which just gave Will an automatic leg up. But now that Peter's back home, in her bed, and on the road to legitimacy, that doesn't seem to matter as much, and I think the writers know that. Josh Charles played Will's poker face very well. He doesn't want to upset Alicia, but he doesn't want to lie to her either. "I just for one minute wanted to think we were doing the right thing," she says. Will says everything good is done for the wrong reason. "You really believe that?" "I do believe that, and if you thought about all you've learned this last year, you'd believe it too," he says. Not to sound like a 'shipper (again), but that's why his union with Tammy has made sense: They steer wide of the work talk. But Alicia's too steeped in all of that to avoid it.

The case didn't work because it felt a little rushed (it was unclear at times whether ChumHum was admitting that Leung's character had been tortured or not), and it subjected us to another ridiculous rant about the information world from a ChumHum CEO played by John Benjamin Hickey of The Big C. He's a good actor, but he's smug on the other show, and he was smug here, insufferably so considering he was just blathering on about North Korea's borders being a concept of the past and how "things are dead, things are uncool." There's usually a lot of nuance to everyone on The Good Wife, even the guys they're up against, but not this time.

OK, let's get to the good stuff. I groaned a bit at the return of Becca (even though it does bring out just a delightful side of Eli) but at least she accompanied the return of Zach who had been missing for quite a while. And she also facilitated the goodbye of Glenn Childs (although I doubt we've seen the last of him) by providing the evidence that he hired an illegal nanny like Wendy and, even worse, tried to cover it up when he realizes the Florrick campaign is onto him. A great final showdown doesn't really reveal much; Childs stays pious to the end, even after essentially breaking the law, telling Peter he "belongs in the trophy case of sons of bitches" and that he's in the job to do good. I was happy to see Peter just laugh this off (really, it's a weak argument), saying, "What, you think you're the only person who wants to do good? Get outta here."


The final verdict on just how good or bad Childs was remains unclear. He's a devious dude, and he's obviously bent the rules a number of times, and he obviously has a vendetta against Florrick, but it's never been obvious he's a real villain. More of a nemesis, one played by an actor so delightfully stony you love to see his face flicker when things go south for him. Like everyone else on this show, he's a supreme operator, seemingly one of the best, but here, he's revealed as an amateur when he takes the bait on the nanny thing. But Cary's conviction of the job has always felt real, and obviously the State's Attorney office of any municipality does a lot of good. Either way, I really don't think this is the end of Childs, and whatever reason The Good Wife can come up with to have him back every once in a while is fine by me. Now, I guess, we'll be in the Peter vs. Wendy race for the next few weeks, hopefully not to the end of the season, but maybe (we only have about six episodes left, by my count). My prediction on Peter losing may turn out to be wrong, but I wouldn't bet the house just yet.

The Lockhart/Gardner machinations were predictable to watch but just joyfully entertaining, as Will and Diane unleash their plan and it works splendidly, even if they have to essentially bribe a wily coot (played by the drunken master of wily coots, Jerry Adler of The Sopranos and Rescue Me among others) to come back to the firm and vote for them. The triple-agent turn of Julius Cain (Michael Boatman) was not surprising to me in the least, for a couple reasons. For one, Boatman's a good actor, he does a good job on the show, and they'd want to keep him around. For two, considering you've already got the story of Bond being tied up with DC gangsters, the message it'd send to have the two major black characters in the firm ganging up together is one you'd want to avoid.


The plan, obviously, included Cain's fake alliance with Bond, where he gets a promotion out of the deal and quells Bond's fears about a counter-coup being plotted against him. Now, once again, I'd be surprised if this is the last we hear of him. His ties with Will remain murky, and Blake's story doesn't feel wrapped up either (Kalinda is certainly still on edge). But it was just great to watch the whole deal go down, especially with David Lee cackling away and making sarcastic comments during the dramatic final vote: "And I get his office!" he reminds everybody. Obviously, this means Gardner/Lockhart is back on less-than-sound financial footing, and there'll be much more jockeying to come, but the whole thing was a very satisfying end to a very satisfying narrative arc.

Stray observations:

  • The four-person alliance forged by Will and Diane and their meetings by the exhaust vent were just great, especially Lee shouting at approaching smokers. "It's not exactly the Continental Congress," Will sighs.
  • Kalinda gives Alicia a change-of-address letter. "This is going in my copy of Eat Pray Love!"
  • Jerry Adler maybe played the cantankerousness a little too much with the "I SAID ICE CREAM, YOU STUPID BITCH" to a waitress.
  • Forgot to mention: Zach had a good week. Approval from dad and sex (or something like it) from blowjob-bracelet wearing Becca.
  • Glenn Childs' Swedish nanny "had to go home to swim in a fjord or something."
  • "We're the perfect couple!" "Yeah, everything but the sex." Diane/Will 'shippers, start your engines!