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Friday, 16 of April of 2021

The Good Wife – “Long Way Home”

I don’t have to prove anything. Or, if I have to, I don’t want to.

The Good Wife Title Card s3There seemed to be a good bit going on in this episode, but this could’ve been my sinuses/cold from a couple of weeks ago trying to stage a comeback influencing my perception of things. Said blahness is still trying to worm its way in today, so this will be a bit briefer than usual, even though there’s lots of good stuff happening in the episode. I’ll direct you to a couple of links at the end of the post for you to read to make up for it.

So, after the jump, I’ll address the two things that I really latched onto in the episode, which were the resolution of the Caitlin arc and Cary’s on-going struggles in the SA’s office.

Cary first. I don’t think it’s any secret that I find Cary to be one of the show’s most fascinating characters, and I while I’ve missed Cary being in court this season, I love how the show has decided to use Cary to show us the problems that plague the legal profession. I’ve maintained that Cary is the last honest man in Chicago, and he’s been thwarted before, working harder and longer than Alicia only to be undercut by Alicia bringing in Eli and losing his plum spot at a firm.

And now he’s seeing that the government side isn’t much better for him, between the misguided witch hunt of a grand jury investigation to Peter’s refusal to punish him for having an affair with Dana despite the fact that Peter just fired a gay black man for having sex on a couch. This is then piled on with the undercurrent of racism within Peter’s office.

I don’t think that Peter is necessarily racist, but he could very well be acting that way without realizing it. Like with the investigation in in why Lockhart-Gardner kept winning cases, I like how the show’s marginalization of minority characters is now being addressed within the show itself.

One thing I do think Cary needs to address is why he accepted this job, happily skipping the line ahead of others who had far more experience. Peter can talk about cleaning house all he wants, but Cary still said “Yes” when offered a promotion he hadn’t completely earned.

I’ve struggled a bit with Caitlin’s presence in the show, even as she’s been positioned as a parallel/rival for Alicia. Her rapid rise through the ranks in the firm, through both nepotism and being in the right place at the right time in this episode has irked in that just seems too rapid. But I think we can all agree that this pay off, with Caitlin deciding to scuttle her law career to become a stay-at-home mom, more than makes up for it because it tosses the show’s feminist politics on its head.

Through Diane and Alicia and now Caitlin, we get three generations of women and workplace ideologies. There’s the  activist and liberal Diane doing all she could to make it to the top, sacrificing having a family and (until recently it seems) a personal life; Alicia’s struggle to balance both work, motherhood, friendship, and sexual fulfillment to prove that she can have it all; and now there’s Caitlin who, trying to convince Alicia that she’s perfectly happy with her decision, let’s loose the quote at the top of this post.

Caitlin’s decision, as Diane notes when she quips about the glass ceiling, is really only possible because of women like Diane and Alicia who have blazed that path. But how do Diane and Alicia feel about this? How should we feel about this? Caitlin’s making a deliberate choice, one that she feels is not only the right one for her, but one that doesn’t need to be judged by anyone else, because, for her, that’s where the world is now. For Caitlin’s generation (of which I’m fairly certain I fall into, age-wise), a woman deciding to stay at home isn’t something to be frowned upon.

And as Robert and Michelle King note in an interview I link to below, the show’s protagonists don’t know what to do against the sudden dual appearances of “traditionalism” that sprout up with Caitlin leaving the firm and Colin and Isobel becoming a (very) weird little nuclear family. It’s so so so wonderful that a show can do this, address these issues, and I would love some discussion in the comments about what people thought about Caitlin’s decision and how they feel it fits in the show’s politics (and even your own, if you’re willing).

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • Over at The Daily Beast, Jace Lacob interviews the Kings about this season so far, with very little in the way of spoilers, if any at all.
  • At Slate, the Double X blog also picked up on the Caitlin story. I obviously don’t care for the phrasing of Caitlin’s plot as “anti-feminist”, but that’s certainly one reading of Caitlin’s decision.
  • Finally, while I haven’t read it yet, David Sims’ reviews of the show  at The AV Club are always terrific, and I’m sure his piece on this week’s episode is no different.
  • “He’s weird with you.”
  • “If I had stock, I might even vote for him.”
  • “She is not to my taste. Far too obvious.”
  • “The law is an odd thing.” “Indeed it is. But then you’re getting advice from a suspended lawyer.”
  • “Telling the truth is so…tiring.”
  • “Unfortunately the court does not recognize the doctrine of immaculate conception.”
  • “It’s a bad economy for ideals.”

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