Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Good Wife: “Marthas And Caitlins”

Illustration for article titled iThe Good Wife/i: “Marthas And Caitlins”
TV ReviewsAll of our TV reviews in one convenient place.

Ah, feel the cynicism, wafting over you finely in a way that only The Good Wife can provide, that wonderfully bitter outlook on how to get ahead in life. Just as Alicia is kicking ass in pretty much every sphere of her professional life, along comes Will to kneecap her with the news that she was basically a charity hire, brought on board (I would assume) for her name and because Will liked her/knew her. After a fun caper of an episode that brought back Mr. Hannibal Lecter lite, Colin Sweeney (Dylan Baker, who was in two great season one episodes), The Good Wife didn’t let Alicia savor her win for a moment.

The (cute) title “Marthas and Caitlins” referred to the hiring choice Alicia had to make between sunny, peppy Caitlin (Anna Camp, formerly of True Blood) and the better on-paper candidate Martha, who is holding off on accepting a job because she likes the “family atmosphere” of Lockhart/Gardner. I don’t know what the hell family atmosphere she was picking up on. Maybe all the romance and fighting? Anyway, Alicia wants Martha because she likes foreign films and Caitlin likes something called “trampboarding” that required me to rewind my DVR to make sure I was getting that right. But Caitlin gets the job because she’s David Lee’s niece. The whole thing was a little obvious: Anna Camp is a stereotypical annoying blonde, while the other one was as mousy as humanly possible. But it was worth it for the final moment (I’m less interested in Alicia mentoring Caitlin, but we may get some of that). Also, for the return of David Lee, sorely missed so far!


My one problem is that… surely Alicia knew she was hired through favoritism? I mean, she hadn’t worked in more than a decade, she knew Will in college, and it’s been a while since I saw the pilot, but I’m pretty sure he gets a big thank-you for hiring her there. Still, to hear it so clear-cut (Will needed David to approve the hire, which is why David gets his way in this episode) would be jarring under any circumstances, especially after the impressive maneuvering we see here, where Alicia (and Celeste) leverage Colin to get a white supremacist to confess on a wire so he can testify in HER case against a nasty airplane company. Ooh, the legal acrobatics were fierce, and everyone got involved, and all the stories tied together well. It was fun all around!

“But what about Celeste, whom you keep complaining about?” I hear you ask. Well, yes. Even Celeste wasn’t that bad this time around. Sure, she’s still being unnecessarily outrageous and tells Alicia that she wants to break her up with Will because she’s a miserable human being (to her credit, she is drunk). But at no point does she deal a round of poker or reference group sex in front of a lot of people. She does allude to a lesbian relationship between her and Alicia, but Colin’s too smart to believe that. Also, her drinking tequila with Alicia just had me longing for her relationship with Kalinda. Better days. I hope those kids patch things up soon.


But what I liked about this episode was how Colin’s scheming for release touched everyone. Alicia and Celeste have to scramble to cut him a deal; Cary has to leverage their desperation to nail the Aryan dude; Peter and Eli worry that it’ll impact his chances of being the DNC keynote speaker (that plot features a decent cameo by Donna Brazile). Sure, we had a decent subplot in the hiring dilemma and a brief family sojourn with Grace’s tutor, but it was mostly all tied into Colin, and the producers did it well.

Dylan Baker always has a heap of fun on this show, but Colin is the right amount of theatrical for me. You almost feel like he’s doing a Hannibal Lecter impression and he knows it, so the homage doesn’t bother you (Celeste name-checked it just in case). His smaller moments, like his efforts to bare his tattoo, his testing the microphone to torture the tech guy, or his wistful sigh of “…my company…” are what make him such a treat on the show. Good Wife should be careful not to overuse him, but since he wasn’t even in season two, I’m not too worried about that. I like the ongoing joke in Alicia’s life that the only people who understand her are weird misanthropes like Kalinda, and Colin’s just the most extreme version of that.


The Grace subplot was handled nicely as well. I still don’t know quite what they’re aiming for with this flash mob thing. Much like last year when Grace was taken with the YouTube Christian dude, sometimes, the show seems to be pointing itself at any Internet meme it stumbles across. But here, the lack of explanation for the videos from both Jennifer and Grace (who basically like to do it because it’s an unusual thing to do) served a purpose: We got to see Alicia make a puzzled face a lot. Which made me laugh. The resultant sad crying scene from Grace was top-notch, though. There was the right balance of Grace being upset because she’s a teenager and teenagers get upset, plus what felt like genuine angst over her alienation from her peers, which her parents’ celebrity undoubtedly has something to do with.

So, hey, I’m satisfied. An episode that works all that usual Good Wife magic and doesn’t irritate the hell out of me with Celeste is a solid B+ in my book. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention how much fun Cary was in this one! I loved his fake conversation with Amani. He’s best when he’s using his evil conniving powers for good.


Stray observations:

  • Colin wanted William Blake’s Ancient of Days as a tattoo but had to live with…whatever it was he had. Anyway, William Blake tattoo! Red Dragon/Manhunter reference!
  • “I like you, Alicia. Why don't you like me?” “You killed your wife.” “And I can't do anything about that?”
  • Kinda mean for Alicia to hate on Caitlin just cause she likes some dumb trampolining thing. I mean, you asked her for her hobby!
  • Will is subtly pushing for Caitlin the whole episode, which Alicia doesn’t pick up on at all.
  • Celeste alludes to some momentarily stolen $45,000 in Will’s past. Alicia laughs it off. It’s a good feeling to watch her laugh it off.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter