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Saturday, 17 of April of 2021

The Good Wife – “After The Fall”

Nature abhors a vacuum.

The Good Wife Title Card s3Are we still doing place setting? “After The Fall” feels very much like we’re still organizing the chairs on the deck before we set sail for the concluding episodes of the season. It’s not that “After The Fall” is a bad episode, but it’s just also kind of there, an episode that doesn’t feel completely essential apart from a few specific beats.

But thank goodness for those specific beats as they helped salvaged what might’ve been a truly lackluster episode. Between the (sadly) unengaging case and the fact that Will’s sisters, while amusing and helped fill in Will’s life a bit, didn’t feel themselves filled in. 

The case appealed to the film nerd in me (I have Bachelor’s in film studies) as the role of the documentarian is a fun issue to discuss. What role, if any, does the documentarian have in their work? Who are they responsible to? Should they intervene in the course of their project? What are their ethical obligations? And the episode dances around these issues, but never fully addresses them in a satisfying way. And while I always enjoy Gummer’s Crozier, the case doesn’t give her a great deal to do, other than be a blonde lawyer for Caitlin to be in competition against for the judge’s attention.

And I think that may be where I found fault with the case. The case is largely inconsequential to the actual narrative needs of the episode, which is to show how Caitlin has developed as a lawyer: It could’ve been done with any case, which is probably why this case feels particularly underdeveloped, and as such, this case doesn’t matter.

Which leads into the introduction, I guess?, of the idea that Caitlin is some sort of rival for Alicia. I’m not sure I buy this in any way, shape, or form. Sure, there’s that idea of attraction to Will, but I kind of refuse to believe that Will, given his current state, would get involved with her, and that her as a romantic rival for Alicia feels even less compelling than the idea of her as a professional rival for Alicia.

Certainly she’s competent, and like Alicia, she was tossed into the deep end rather quickly, but I’m not sure I believe Caitlin as a professional threat, especially given Diane’s interest in furthering Alicia’s career (despite the latter’s commitment to her family; no way a FIRST YEAR ASSOCIATE would take Alicia’s spot as an apple of Diane’s eye).

I enjoyed seeing Will at his apartment (which is as nice as I expected), and the arrival of Sara and Aubrey has a similar effect that Owen has on Alicia, which is humanizing Will, introducing a character that understand the person beneath the mask they wear. But where Owen felt well-realized and grounded, both Sara and Aubrey are broad and meddling stereotypes, not as fully developed as I feel either of them could have been. But the subplot is still funny and enjoyable, but like the case of the week, it’s less developed than it could have been.

Peter and Eli’s plot (which belongs a little bit to Cary as well) isn’t as well-developed as I would have liked, and I’m a little frustrated by the quickness of how it was resolved. I get the idea that Peter’s supporters would be put out by the lack of patronage BUT after Peter makes one favoritism hire, suddenly everyone is singing his praises? Yeah, no. I understand the need for narrative expediency, but this was far too expedient.

I did, however, like how Cary is increasingly finding himself unable to operate according to the ethical code he clearly carries with him. Between the completely botched grand jury and investigation and now having to scoot aside the very talented Geneva for Peter’s patronage hire. He takes full responsibility, like his role would most likely require, but this situation is clearly not to his liking, and I like to think that his casual glance at Eli is not only the notion of knowing something is afoot, but that maybe, just maybe, we’ll have Candidate Argos at some point.

So while those have been the problems with the episodes, what worked in the episode? Certainly, as always, the inter-office politics are always a treat, and I welcome any opportunity for Michael Boatman and Zach Grenier to show up and strut their respective stuff, and the episodes doesn’t disappointed. Julius makes a really compelling argument for why not only should someone else appear on the letterhead, but why it should probably be him. David Lee’s argument (I’ll leave as soon as Will gets back!) is a fun one, but is largely motivated out of loathing for Julius (and later Eli).

The pleasure of this particular plot comes from the notion that either of them, given the show’s potential budget, could expand to make one of them a regular. While I’d prefer Julius since it would create a very exciting dynamic (more so than David Lee would, I think), I like the notion that it could actually happen.

I am, however, hopeful about next week’s episode, if only for the sheer insanity promised by the return of Colin Sweeney. (AND BEBE NEUWIRTH!) And while a nice, splashy episode like that could help pull the spotlight away from this middling episode, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • “You look pretty good for an out-of-work loser.”
  • Donna Brazile is a real treat.
  • “I’m going to sit over here, talking to myself.”
  • “It’s not unclean to offer patronage. It’s the way things are done, it’s the way things have always been done.”
  • “You want a magazine or something?”
  • “She’s cute.” “Go for it. I promise not to tell your husband.”
  • “We were just getting acquainted with KA-linda.”

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