Alright, so after the super-happenings last week The Good Wife took it down a notch so everyone could just relax a little and take stock of what's coming in the closing stretch. Kalinda does some internal damage control and talks to Peter (who's briefly back, for the first time in weeks!) about their one-night stand. Eli tries to help Natalie with her case out of guilt and gets sucked into a different case. And Will tries to feel better about himself by taking up one of Bond's old cases, about the daughter of a murdered woman suing the murderer to block him from getting any royalties from a murderous song he wrote.
OK, let's start there, because that was kind of a bizarre plot that required a few leaps of logic I just couldn't make. For one, there's no way a dreary rock song that's that explicitly about brutal murder would be number three in the Billboard 200. OK, I guess you never know, but come on, folks. We're not talking about Eminem's "Stan" or something similarly tinged with satire; this is just a straight-up song about a woman's murder. The killer Jarvis was played by Sam Robards as someone definitely off-kilter but just shy of truly scary, where you're supposed to wonder just how rehabilitated he actually is. But Robards didn't get the tone exactly right and just came off as so awful and creepy that there was no ambiguity to it. That's less the actor's fault and more that the script had him weirdly hitting on Alicia and painting things and just generally being a big scary freak.
That would have been fine on an episode of say, SVU, but it's a little too un-nuanced for The Good Wife. I guess the idea was that Will hasn't gotten a clean win in the courtroom in quite a while, and so the revelation that Jarvis wrote the song about another woman he murdered (which is just the stupidest fucking thing anyone would ever do) means we get a "booyah!" style final scene where Cary and the cops arrest the guy just as he walks free from the original murder he committed. Even though Lockhart/Gardner lose the case, it still feels like way too easy a win overall for them, and it just wasn't satisfying to watch. Also, the English rocker who Kalinda interviewed was right out of Driveshaft, except even worse. Please, let's stop dipping into the "bedraggled English rocker" bucket for a while, U.S. TV writers?
Everything else was better, although none of it top-tier. Eli swooping in to save the day for Natalie's father was a similar "booyah" moment that the show earned a lot more, simply because the case was much more interesting and felt like something that could happen in real life (unlike the murderin' songwriter). Watching Diane and Eli bend the law for good to rescue Natalie's dad from a routine processing (which would have exposed him to Immigration) was good to see after he was taken in by a cop who bend the law for EVIL (or, well, to fill an arrest quota or what have you).
Diane and Eli are also a team we've never seen together before but might see together again, as Eli got that glint in his eye discussing a future possible judgeship campaign in Diane's future. Honestly, that wouldn't be a bad thing for The Good Wife to pursue in the future, but only if they got really into it, either by continuing to give Judge Diane her own storylines or by just spinning her off entirely. Imagine a show of Good Wife caliber but about the life of a judge in Chicago? Played by Christine Baranski? Sounds pretty juicy to me.
Eli and Natalie's relationship remains a little more tricky (I don't know if this is the last we're seeing of America Ferrera). I admire that the show presented their obvious romantic attraction pretty straightforwardly and didn't worry too much about what the audience might think, because hey, this stuff happens. She's a sexy day trader, he's a leg-breaking political operative, and they'd have some cute-ass babies. But then again, by bringing back Eli's sarcastic teenage (or is she college-aged?) daughter, they are underlining the inappropriateness in a more subtle way, as well as pointing out what is likely one of the main causes for Eli's interest in Natalie in the first place. But Cumming always does well with the more serious material he gets on this show, and this was no exception.
I was of two minds about Kalinda's damage control. The scene I really loved was where Peter said he had fallen in love with his wife again, which is something the show's basically been advancing all season but was articulated well by Chris Noth, who didn't overplay the moment. That's why Peter is happy even if he loses; he's obviously as bewitched by Alicia's transformation from lame housewife to killer attorney/supermom as, say, Jarvis is. Peter's conversation with Kalinda doesn't completely shed light on whether their fling was motivated more by attraction or just as a business transaction, but it's easy to believe that back then Peter was fucking anything that moved, just as it's easy to believe that he's in a new mindset now.
But a lot of the Kalinda stuff was almost sitcommy, in the worst way possible. I'm talking about the endless scenes where Alicia makes her uncomfortable somehow by prodding at the Blake thing and Kalinda blows her off or distracts her somehow. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say the show did that like six times this episode, when we didn't even really need it done once, since obviously we understand the tension of them working together while Kalinda is keeping down this very big secret.
Her and Cary's attempts to ferret out who Blake spilled his secret to (it was Brody, one of the recurring ASAs) and Brody's subsequent attempt to use the info to leverage Peter into not firing him if he won was all fine and should make for some interesting plotting as we come into the home stretch. I just don't need another episode underlining Kalinda's tsuris and Alicia's wide-eyed ignorance of this issue. We get it, guys.
- Alicia doesn't know if she's happy in her life (unlike Peter). "Its like when a storm is over. We don't know whether to be happy or just relieved."
- "Tense place around here these days." "Yeah, Baghdad after Saddam."
- "Standing by your man, I wrote a song about it." "How gratifying." "I'll send it you." "Oh, goody."
- Eli's appeal to the cop was maybe a little too crass. "It would be appreciated; you can't find good gardeners these days, you know."