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Friday, 5 of March of 2021

The Good Wife – “And the Law Won”

“What was that? Suddenly I’ve got Columbo on the jury?”

The Good Wife Title Card s3For the record, I had no idea that Maddie Hayward, Maura Tierney’s character who debuted in this episode, was going to just keep the feminist ball rolling this week, and make it even more explicit.

While last week’s review was a sort of a large, over-arching, “here’s an idea I’m having, let’s talk about it” sort of post, this week’s will be a bit more nuts-and-bolts, and more focus on the episode than the broad overview I gave the premiere. If anything, hopefully, this will convince people at Television Without Pity that my response to the Kalinda plot last week was not due to me hating her (which seemed to be common take-away, oddly, and ignoring the parallels I was attempting to draw).

But let’s talk about Kalinda and Nick some more. Perhaps the readers’ take-away was a matter of wording, and I should’ve specified that I like the idea of the plot more than the actual execution so far (and especially in this episode). I’m all for the notion that Kalinda remains drawn to Nick despite his obviously violent past (and love of sparkling water (good grief that was weird)), and that she may be trapped between not wanting to run but also not wanting to kill Nick (because that seems like the really easy to way to get out of this), but there’s some occasional sizzle, but there’s next to no steak.

The ice cream scene is pretty much the dullest fingering in an ice cream parlor ever, and while I had an easier time with the scene in the apartment, the series may be coasting on the chemistry between the two actors instead of any narrative foundation. But this is the problem you run into when you have a character like Kalinda who lacks, really, a solid narrative foundation. We’re frustrated by her opaque (non-existent?) reasons for staying with Nick (even while I’ll still groove on them thematically), but I don’t think anyone who really likes Kalinda wants a big exposition dump that explains this character. It’d be one thing for the show never to explain Kalinda, and it’d be just a minor nuisance to me in a show filled with well-sketched characters, but now that the show seems willing to flesh her out, they’ll have to really commit to that idea.

With the original Law & Order gone (sob), thank goodness there’s The Good Wife to tackle these big issues (in this case, the Pepper Spray Cop from last November). The case of the week, and Will’s return to practicing law, is one of those sort of cases that L&O would’ve made into a twisty, guest-star-studded November sweeps episode. Good Wife, instead, plays it cool and straight, but still compellingly. The legal maneuverings don’t reach for anything particularly twisty, and instead allow the show’s trademark bits — quirky judges and legal system quirks (that jury questioner thing is real, by the way) — to inform the case. Sure, the questioning juror angle gets dropped, but it’s a neat concept nonetheless (and I loved Judge Temple doing the questions like a wanna-be game show host).

Which leaves the firm’s financial troubles. Clarke continues to be completely inscrutable (I’ve never seen such a calm, contained Nathan Lane. It kind of freaks me out) but also very compelling. I do honestly think he has the firm’s best interests at heart, but he’s just going about them in a way that defies the tradition of Lockhart/Gardner (“This is how you got into this hole, placing passion over pragmatism.”). But it’s Maddie’s introduction that I kind of savored in this plot, and how it spilled over into other aspects of the show.

I love the silent, seething rage that Diane is barely holding at bay as she confronts Alicia about the failure to get the lease renegotiated but seems to have landed Peter a fat new contributor. I like to think that Diane knows better than to think Alicia would torpedo that, but it’s a nice signal that Alicia is sometimes a little too passive, and that it can bite her later. But it also rewards her as she’s suddenly made a new friend in Maddie, something she’s been left without since the whole Kalinda-and-Peter-slept-together-years-ago thing. While Kalinda and Alicia seem to be making strides forward, here’s a chance for a fresh start for Alicia.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • Barely any Cary this week. Sad face.
  • “1,400 volts. That’s…much better.”
  • “You’re hardly an arbiter of anything.”
  • I really liked the ease at which Alicia and Peter were on the campaign bus.

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