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The Good Wife: “The Seven Day Rule”

Illustration for article titled The Good Wife: “The Seven Day Rule”
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When I saw John Benjamin Hickey’s face in that first shot, I audibly groaned. Another ChumHum episode? With much discussion of search engine optimization and formulas and cartoon beavers? Spare me. But “The Seven Day Rule” was just having some fun at my expense. This was actually quite a raucous, energetic episode that juggled a bunch of stuff beautifully, gave us a sort-of conclusion to the bankruptcy storyline (there’s more to come, but a lot of things came to a head) and saw Julianna Margulies having the most fun she’s had as Alicia in quite a while.

Things start out very well for Alicia this episode. Seemingly out of nowhere, she’s offered a partnership by Will and Diane—a surprise for a fourth-year associate, but it makes sense to us, because she’s the lead character of the show and thus seems to be involved with every case. Sure, she has to pony up $600,000, but that’s a minor concern—she can borrow the money, or (as she quickly finds out) just get it from her proud husband.

The episode does well to conceal the twist. It’s just about plausible that Alicia would get this opportunity, since she’s the firm’s unusual superstar, and she’s so close to Will (and, to a lesser extent, Diane). There’s been no foreshadowing, but you’re so thrilled for Alicia, it doesn’t even matter. I figured the other shoe dropping would just be the firm’s financial concerns—they’re in bankruptcy court, after all, and Louis Canning is piling on the pressure to collect the money he’s now owed as creditor.

But there’s a little more to it that that, which comes out in court (the closest thing this episode has to a case of the week). While Alicia’s on the stand, Canning drops the bomb—the firm has offered five four-year associates partnerships, in a desperate attempt to raise money as it tries to scramble out of bankruptcy. Canning compares it to a pyramid scheme, and while Clarke says that’s a little rough, it’s basically true. Sure seems that way to me.

This twist was a little implausible. There’s no way Alicia wouldn’t have heard about this before she went on the stand—be it from Will and Diane who would want to prepare her for the truth, or from Cary or any other lawyer who got offered a partnership. But I was surprised and pleased with the aftermath. Alicia storms out of the hearing in a huff and sits in her office, pouting, while the firm celebrates its bankruptcy extension, and Diane pays her a visit and tells her to appreciate the offer, even if the circumstances are unfortunate (she was a diversity hire, many years prior).

This is a cynical show, and it’s a cynical message, but with a hopeful, tough lining, and that just felt very in keeping with what The Good Wife is all about. Alicia realizes Diane’s right and goes out with a smile fixed on her face, shaking hands with all the partners. It’s a slightly depressing sight, and a slightly triumphant one—what other network show nails tone that well?


This was a very cynical episode in general. David, Alicia and Cary’s maneuvering over the ChumHum pre-nup was particularly nasty, but very fun to watch. Sure, who cares about Neil Gross and his lady love, but still, it was hilarious to see them break up and get back together and fight, mostly because of the legal wrangling spurred by David and his team. The whole thing was very over-the-top, and the final twist a little ridiculous (Gross has a lovechild that somehow no one knows about, and they use that to blackmail him into getting their preferred terms), but any David Lee plot always ends up being similarly caustic.

Meanwhile, Alicia is encouraged to keep things cynical when it comes to the campaign, as the religious issue comes up for Maddie Heyward. While Peter’s religious beliefs have been explored, Alicia has always kept her general disinterest in church on the down-low, and so Eli needs to prepare her for the pending religion question. The scene where he convinces her that she’s a seeker (she admits she would accept Jesus’ divinity if he walked into her office) is brilliant, but even better is her ultimate turnaround, the one non-cynical moment of the whole episode.


Standing by as Maddie proudly professes her atheism to a reporter, Alicia is still in a pretty bad mood (she’s mad about the partner thing, a couple drinks deep, and whispering sexual nothings in Peter’s ear), but something about Maddie’s candid honesty means she just can’t help but mirror it. “I’m an atheist,” she smiles into the reporter’s dictaphone. You go, Alicia.

Stray observations:

  • Diane went to the track when she made partner. “I went windsurfing. Unsuccessfully,” Will remembers.
  • This is the end for Nathan Lane, I imagine—he’s been a great guest star.
  • Gross and fiancée have only 48 hours to hammer out pre-nup terms. “God made plants and animals in 48 hours,” David quips.
  • Canning is defeated very soundly in this episode, but of course, he can’t be gone for good—he leaves his card on Alicia’s desk, calling it a “get out of jail free” card.