The Good Wife is one of the few shows on network TV that can still send an electric chill up your spine. Not because of shocking twists or luridness, just from throwing some straight up quality drama at you every week and nailing it over and over again. I’ve been breathlessly anticipating Alicia and Cary’s departure from the firm since this season started, squirming like Milhouse watching Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie. It’s been long enough that I was worried something would go wrong. But in “Outside The Bubble,” the house of cards starts to come down, and it’s mesmerizing. To make it even better, Diane is the focal point of this episode, and she is operating at the height of her powers.
Faced with the prospect of leaving the firm, Diane is examining her life and finding it quite satisfactory. Maybe she doesn’t need to run around all day and night glued to her cellphone, butting heads with Will and keeping her head above water. Maybe the 9-to-5 lifestyle of judgeship, mixed with her home life with Kurt McVeigh (Gary Cole, always welcome) will sustain her just as well as life in corporate law.
Maybe, maybe, maybe. It’s clear from this episode that while Diane is tempted by her new life and happy to be marrying Kurt despite their differences (and the new wrinkle that all of his best friends are apparently hot young women), she’s not done with life at the firm. In the case of the week, she is a mostly passive presence. The firm is sued by Chrissy, a disgruntled paralegal who spins somewhat wild, lurid tales of sexual harassment, a frivolous suit brought by Diane’s old rival Viola (Rita Wilson) to take down her judgeship.
Diane has to largely sit by as Elsbeth (Carrie Preston) defends the firm, in her inimitable style. It’s always nice to have Elsbeth on the show, and congratulations are in order on Preston’s Emmy win for Guest Actress this year. For this appearance, she has added maniacal walking to her repertoire, giving her even more of a kinetic feel. Otherwise, Elsbeth is the same old wackadoo, although she makes a new friend in David Lee who likes her cut-throat style. Diane manages to lend a hand too, with an arch deposition observation about a fashion designer client that sends Viola into a hole-digging frenzy, one of the episode’s best scenes. I would watch a YouTube supercut of Diane owning people on repeat for hours on end. She’s so good at it.
I enjoyed the case of the week, but it unfolded rather simply and had a twist ending that doesn’t really make sense when you think about it. Chrissy accuses everyone of some kind of impropriety, spinning things like Cary making a jerk-off motion into “Mr. Agos showed me how he masturbated.” The one guy at the firm who actually does sexually harass is Howard Lyman (Jerry Adler), which isn’t that shocking, although old men sure do like to take their pants off under any circumstances.
The twist ending is Kalinda revealing that she’s had plenty of sex with Chrissy herself, very consensual sex at that, all over the office. Knowing that, why would Chrissy ever dare launch this lawsuit? It makes for a cute final turn, but it’s really very silly otherwise.
But the suit itself doesn’t have to be that complicated, there’s plenty else to enjoy. Cary, Alicia et al’s efforts to leave the firm finally trigger some real attention, but it’s from Diane, who is freed from distraction and can pick up on things like Alicia snooping in her files and not decorating her office anymore. That slow walk to Will’s office at the end of the episode is everything Diane is about. She’s proving her invaluable worth, and I imagine that the subsequent battle is going to bring her and Will back together. It just has to. I can’t have them fighting anymore.
We also get a cute subplot of Eli fighting with Jackie over meaningless shit (how to decorate Peter’s office, where to hold his inaugural ball, etc.) and getting a lesson in what a master of manipulation Jackie is. Haven’t we seen this before? Like, this exact conflict? I mean, Jackie being a queen of mean is fun as balls, but there wasn’t a lot of new ground covered here.
Oh, I can’t wait to see what happens next, guys. It’s easy enough to figure that Will and Diane will form a united front again. But everything else is genuinely exciting. Where will Kalinda go? How much longer do we have to put up with the guy from Outsourced? Is Howard Lyman officially done? I’m kinda sick of him myself. Who is the mole leaking stuff to the other side? Was that ever resolved?
- The paralegal is called Chrissy Quinn. That’s very close to defeated NYC mayoral candidate Christine Quinn. If that’s an intentional reference, it’s a real weird one. Especially since Chrissy is eventually outed by Kalinda.
- David has the expected response to a sexual harassment lawsuit. “That bitch, I can’t believe it!”
- Diane’s awful liberal friends were so wonderfully awful and liberal. One says Sarah Palin is back on Fox News. “You don’t watch Fox.” “They show clips on Jon Stewart.”
- Peter supporting Scott Walker is completely implausible. No way that would happen. No way in hell.
- Oh, my God. I forgot to discuss Will and Alicia’s charged discussion of a past sexual encounter in his office. Damn, these two are still smokin’ together. Once Alicia is at another firm she can go for it, too, but Will is gonna feel so betrayed.
- “That’ll be in my mind for the rest of the day.” “Just the rest of the day?” AAAH