A very plot-heavy Good Wife this week ended up moving things forward only a little bit. Even what felt like a real final showdown between Kalinda and Blake ended up being more teasing, with one big hint of information dropped in the middle to keep us satisfied. Couple that with a ripped-from-the-headlines case that was hardly thrilling (and a little TOO on the nose), and it was a weaker effort, but still a perfectly watchable one.
All the ads for this episode (and there did seem to be even more than usual, but networks tend to like playing up romance arcs in their ads) promised things moving forward on the Alicia/Will front, which I could care less about, really, so I was happy to see that plot nipped in the bud for now. There are so many balls being juggled on The Good Wife, that it'd just be headache-inducing to ingnite a workplace affair right now, not that I ever thought that would happen. Will, either because he's happy with Tammy, or he realizes he can't start something with Alicia and wreck her career, or a combination of those and other factors, lies and says his second phone call was just to say they shouldn't do anything; so that's probably that for now, until the next time sweeps rolls around. Next week's ad focused on another network favorite for sweeps month: lots of guest stars! Woo! As anyone who reads my Seinfeld recaps will know, I'm excited to see Jerry Stiller appear.
Anyway, how Alicia arrived to the decision to ask Will about the phone message felt like one of those plots that sounded like a better idea than it actually was. Her road tripping with Owen gave Dallas Roberts plenty of cute lines and knowing smiles to dish out, and he performs his task well. Hopefully he'll be more of a presence on the show now that Rubicon is gone (sob). But since we all knew exactly where everything was going, Owen and Alicia just ran out the clock, being alternately cute and serious.
They're a good match as brother and sister and they have an easy chemistry I enjoy watching, but we've seen the softer side of Alicia before, so their scenes in the motel were hardly a revelation (honestly, she gave away almost nothing about what she thinks about Will, mostly sighs and I don't knows). Thankfully, however, the writers stayed away from the "Alicia gets high!" plot that they dangled. I'm sure Margulies would knock it out of the park and god knows they might do it in the future, but we've seen that on TV a hundred times before (like that episode where Cary was on acid or ecstacy or something last year).
The main legal plotline felt like a missed opportunity too. I'm not talking about the Social Network, concept where a Zuckerberg type sues the movie studio for defemation. There's no way to make that less than a spoof, which is essentially what it was. No, I'm talking about F. Murray Abraham. To quote Homer Simpson: "F. MURRAY. ABRAHAM!" As one of the many New York-based stars The Good Wife can take advantage of, he did a wonderful job, especially in his lighter scenes with Will. Please don't let that be his only appearance! I know he was playing some L.A.-based lawyer, but let's have him back, because you don't waste F. Murray Abraham on one lighthearted plot. I especially liked his droll "We're sorry" to Edelstein in private, which was so deadpan, even Diane and Will had to laugh.
The legal case itself was interesting from the perspective of how such a public figure could make an end-run around the First Amendment and sue a studio for making an unflattering movie about him. But the performance of Jack Carpenter as Edelstein was so specifically tuned as a spoof of Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg (but nice!) it was almost hard to watch without being taken out of the scene. Similarly, the winking references to the Aaron Sorkin-esque screenwriter (but even more flamboyant!) who is mad at the Internet because they mocked his drug use, or the somewhat jaw-dropping reference to the actual Social Network (it's like when Dante's Peak and Volcanco came out in the same year: two movies about antisocial Jewish tech nerds!) just made the whole thing a little too obviously ripped from the headlines. I will say I enjoyed Rita Wilson in her brief role as a melting-down L.A. lawyer who mocks a steely Diane and is promptly fired by Edelstein for it. Diane may be the ice queen, but what a queen she is.
Finally, the Kalinda/Blake stuff. OK. All the tiptoeing around who knows what, who did what was mostly dispensed with in their sexy shirtless (and pantsless) hotel conversation: Kalinda had a past life and a husband. Will owes Blake a favor for some shady dealings in Baltimore (which means, btw, that we're supposed to believe Blake is roughly the same age as Will, which, no). The D.C. gang MS13 or whatever they're called is going to merge with Booth in Chicago, and Bond has something to do with it. That's all fine. It's also stated, definitively for the record in case anyone's still confused, that Kalinda is bisexual, although how much of the sex is purely for her own power plays remains mysterious. Her re-dalliance with the FBI agent definitely seemed to be more about covering her ass and less about actual passion.
But Kalinda's confrontation with Blake was just a little too ridiculous for me, as this whole plot has been, and we're 14 episodes into this nonsense now. Blake is a remarkably stupid man — obviously. But he's REALLY stupid for giving Kalinda a baseball bat after taking off all his clothes and not expecting her to whack him with it. She knows he's a violent jerkface who's trying to get her arrested. Why would she suddenly leap into bed with him? I'm sure some people will praise the steaminess and the sexiness, and Archie Panjabi and Scott Porter are obviously both very nice to look at and so on. But there's no romantic chemistry between them, and there never will be. So, I was certainly relieved that Kalinda gave his ribs a big ol' whack with the bat. But I was rolling my eyes even at the suggestion of real intimacy between them. Sadly this dance was a bit of a tease too: Despite the info dropped, I think we'll be riding this plot for a few more episodes at least, if not til the end of the season. Oh well. Next week, I think we're back to the politics. Here's to that.
- "Why is it that all your music has gospel?"
- Nice that Andrew the baby-toting investigator is still around. I like him.
- Man, F. Murray Abraham just rocks. "I want to be your friend!" I believe Will is looking for a FAT friend, Mr. Abraham. To get DRUNK with.
- "My phone gobbles things." "It doesn't gobble things. What are you, 4?"
- "It's Alicia time!"
- The hotel Kalinda was in was a pretty sexy-ass hotel. I wonder where it was? (NYC has plenty of them.)