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Tuesday, 2 of March of 2021

The Good Wife – “Red Team / Blue Team”

“I think I was just mugged.”

The Good Wife Title Card s3Maybe I’m just feeling off, but this episode certainly felt a bit messy. But then maybe it was that out out of left field kiss and the Elsbeth and Eli subplot that ended up distracting me from the otherwise solid core of the episode.

Which I feel bad about because the on-going L-G stuff was not only interesting but pushed characters in new directions, and the case of the week, while having a couple of missteps, allows the L-G stuff to have a bit more room to breathe than it might otherwise have had.

And the episode continued CBS shows not only having Kyle MacLachlan show up, but a show including the phrase “Red Team” in an episode title.

L-G is out of the financial problems, rather easily all told. They were so worried about cutting costs and overhead that they ended up over $100 million in the black, and that’s without the equity investments from the fourth year associates being factored into the equation. I figured the firm would be all tidied up financially after Clarke left (someone give Nathan Lane a guest star Emmy, please), but I didn’t assume the leaking boat would be that plugged up so quickly. In any case, now that there’s a very sizable pot to split, the equity partners have decided to reconsider their offers to the fourth years, by which they mean “Oh, no, we have money now, you don’t need to bail us out.  Also: We don’t want to divide this very sizable and delicious pie any more than we have to. Now get back to work, peons.”

Mmmm….capitalism pie.

Understandably, Alicia and Cary are all sorts of upset about this, and I really enjoyed the clandestine meeting of them and the other fourth years (WHO DO ACTUALLY EXIST!), plotting a small insurgency (to borrow David Lee’s terrorism metaphor) to make sure that the partners are unaware of how happy they are about this. I’ve not always been thrilled with how The Good Wife has handled economic turmoils, but I was very pleased with how the show went about this, from the fourth year meeting to the equity partners war-rooming it up in Diane’s office after the fourth years all took the big clients out to lunch. So to solve the problem, the partners decide to divide and conquer by offering a partnership to one of the associates (though this wouldn’t necessarily stop the others from splitting off, but they would be less united and less solvent in the end).

Like Cary must have felt, I understood Alicia taking the offer (her quick look at Zach and Grace’s backs was a nice bit of foreshadowing by the end), even if I hated her for caving and leaving Cary and the other fourth years behind. She can talk all she wants about “changing things” from the inside, but money and power changes dynamics, and I suspect we’ll see that play out for the rest of the season. I mean, Alicia has to get a new office, right? An equity partner, an “equal” of Diane’s, surely wouldn’t share an office with a lowly fourth year?

But I love the move as a plot complication for Cary. After being kicked around L-G in season 1 (where he lost to Alicia after he brought in Eli) and now this season as well as the SA’s office, I do believe that Cary’s idea of  Florrick, Agos, and Associates was a genuine offer, and it’s something he’ll likely be thinking about more and more. That last shot with Kalinda and Cary talking was a nice button on the issue as they both are people who have needed promotions and recognition from the firm at one point or another and have struggled to get that from the partners.

The mock trial, over an energy drink-related death (very timely, again, show), allowed the embittered fourth year leaders to stick it to the two name partners, completely demolishing their case (not that Will and Diane’s case seemed to get much airtime), while also facing issues of  possible discrimination by “judge” and equity partner Howard Lyman (why in the world they chose him I don’t know). It allowed all that resentment of the rescinded partnership offers to bleed through, and drove Alicia and Cary to really be at the top of their game. Any other case of the week would’ve kept that stuff just the firm, so it was great to have all that happen within this context as it allowed that anger to be channeled into other big moments.

Except that one of those big moments is a yelling match smooch between Alicia and Will. I don’t know what the hell that was, but I didn’t really buy into it. It didn’t feel earned, it felt sitcom-esque (Slap-Slap-Kiss!). I get that emotions were running high, and both feel betrayed by the other for respective actions this week, but it just seemed so very forced that I couldn’t believe it happened. Yes, there’s that glorious tracking shot of Alicia rushing out of her own office and to the elevator, all the while muttering to herself — and I loved it — but it wasn’t worth that loopy moment.

But speaking of loopy sitcoms, that’s what Eli’s DOJ investigation has been reduced to. Dear readers, you know I love Eli and Elsbeth together. I sort of ship them in the limited way I ship any characters, and so I was thrilled with them teaming up to take on this investigation. And while I was looking forward to Elsbeth taking on Wendy Scott-Carr again (despite it making ZERO SENSE for her to be heading up that investigation), she’s been replaced by Kyle MacLachlan’s Josh, another quirky, biscotti-offering cad who is happy to tear up documents and forge things in an effort to get things done.

It’s just such a damn mess. I get the quirk love connection between Josh and Elsbeth, but I don’t get his motivation behind lying and forging documents. Why does he do this? I have no idea, and the show doesn’t care. Faced with the prospect of dealing with underhanded tactics from a perceived honest man in Chicago, Eli and Elsbeth get David on a wire admitting they didn’t have the necessary calls for the wiretap stuff, and everything seems resolved…? This DOJ investigation plot never seemed particularly well-mapped out, and perhaps the show is putting the kabosh on this as unceremoniously as they put the kabosh on Nick. Or else it was just intended to fill the gaps for the campaign stuff when guest stars weren’t available, which is my guess, hence the half-baked feeling this entire thing had.

But I could be wrong. Critical reception to this episode has been great (even if the ratings were awful this week at a series low). So tell me what you thought.

Final Thoughts

  • Man. I miss Michael Boatman’s Julius Cain. Where did he get off to? He would’ve been a way better judge than that kook Lyman.
  • A town hall debate sounds like a horrible idea for both candidates. Maddie’s not super-personable, and it allows off-the-wall questions for Peter.
  • Jordan continues to be a complete cipher for me.
  • No new episode next week. Back on March 3.

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