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Wednesday, 3 of March of 2021

The Good Wife – “Boom De Ya Da”

“No one disappears. They all come back. Like zombies.”

The Good Wife Title Card s3

First: I want to apologize for the lack of The Good Wife posts as the season wound down. Sundays and Mondays just got hectic for me, TV writing-wise, and it just receded as the week went on. Those issues have been removed from the time equation, so I should be back with the show for the time being. Know that I generally liked each episode, though I feel like the series is starting to gorge  itself on guest stars (“A Defense of Marriage” was practically bursting at the gills). I have nothing to say about the “resolution” of the Kalinda and Nick storyline since, well, without seeing Nick’s body being dumped into a plastic barrel of hydrofluoric acid, Breaking Bad-style, I refuse to believe that he’s really gone.

Second: All of the feelings about this episode. And all of the thoughts. And all of the thoughts and all of the feelings are in serious conflict with one another.

Let’s start with the return of Wendy and Louis, each in turn. I reeeeeeaaaaaaaaally don’t know why Wendy is back, and working for the Department of Justice now. Like with Eli and Diane, I see it as a blatant conflict of interest within the story, but outside the the story, I have to wonder why anyone would hire her after she got her butt handed to her in a major grand jury investigation. I mean, HANDED. TO. HER. “I have the emails right here…” and “I believe kids in Uganda should be immunized.” handed to her. If she can’t even score what probably should have been a slam dunk there, how in the world is she going to properly investigate political corruption…in Chicago?!

Of course, Diane launching that little shot across Wendy’s bow by talking to the latter’s old campaign manager likewise seemed a touch forced, and felt more like a contrivance to make sure that the firm was more heavily involved in the campaign plotline so everyone wouldn’t have to ping-pong back-and-forth as much. I understand that impulse, but with everything that’s already going on at L/G, did they really need to be this involved? Pass Eli off to a different lawyer (Elsbeth!) and call it a day.

But then there’s sneaky sneaky sneaky Louis. One of the things I think we’ve all enjoyed about Louis is that it’s very hard to know where he’s coming from, and to guess his motivations. He’s clever and he’s always speaking half-truths (was his mention of the dying friend an attempt to tip off Alicia about the bank president’s illness or was he really outright lying about it?), but I really don’t understand why he became one of the creditors/stakeholders/whatever in L/G’s debt. What’s his play here? When he teamed up Nyholm in the season 3 finale, it was all a ruse to poach the Mark Zuckerberg stand-in, but I don’t see what he has to gain from buying a stake in this debt, unless he’s looking to actually destroy the firm this time. So while Louis’s action right there at the end elicited a squee of excitement and had me chomping at the bit to see what he had in store for L/G, upon reflection, I just don’t know why he did it, and it sort of bugs me.

I think both Wendy and Louis coming back in such big ways, however, demonstrates something about the show as it enters the back half of its fourth season, and some of this speaks to the problems they had with Blake and Nick, Celeste last season, and Bond in season 2: They struggle to set up tough, new antagonists for the characters, and return to established foes, no matter how much sense it makes for those foes to be there or to do those things.  It’s tough to buy Wendy as a threat since she’s been so easily beaten before, and while Louis is tougher nut to crack than Wendy, his move here just doesn’t seem to make sense.

Which isn’t to say that they can’t always do set up a good antagonist. Clarke’s presence as been a delight, but he’s also never been overtly antagonistic toward the firm until this week as he sought mediation claims to force out Will and Diane after they sabotaged that merger he set up. It’s a tense series of scenes here, especially as we find out that Cary has been tutoring Clarke to help him pass the bar exam, and watching it demolish Clarke (how good is Nathan Lane here? Answer: So. Good.) is sort of gut-wrenching. It’s the kind of emotional reversal — he wants to take the rug out from under our protagonists and it’s him we end up feeling sorry for — that I always relish from a drama.

There’s other stuff in the episode, like the case of the week (which had amusing turns) and the arrival of a new campaign manager in the form of T.R. Knight, and that scene with Kalinda and Alicia in the hotel, but I want to hear thoughts about those things from you, dear readers.

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