Recap: The Good Wife – “Foreign Affairs”

Recap: The Good Wife – “Foreign Affairs”

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Welcome back Wives!  I’ve missed discussing the last few months of twists and turns with you, but I’m sure we can pick up where we left off.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first: The Good Wife‘s loyalty to it’s procedural side did it no favors this week.  The case dealt with an oil company in Venezuela that was refusing to pay-oh honestly, who cares?  I completely checked out as soon as President Hugo Chavez’  body, conveniently cut off at the shoulders by the frame, showed up on closed circuit TV spouting Spanish and claiming that Courtney Love should have won an Oscar by this time.  If he had said that Annette Bening should have won an Oscar by this time I may have been able to take him somewhat seriously, but really.  The Good Wife is better than this entire plot which seemed like someone told the writer’s the day before shooting that, no, really, they had to come up with a case-of-the-week.  This is CBS after all.

Moving on…after a season of build-up, almost all the boiling serial plot-lines came to head this episode (and we’ve got three left to go!).  The show opens with Alicia looking at a possible house to move to after the election; I’m sure I’m not the only viewer who felt a pang at the thought of the Florricks moving out of the apartment that we’ve known them in for two seasons.  As she tries to get a feel for the house, Alicia is treated to the first of many interruptions from Andrew Wylie, who is trying to get to the bottom of Blake’s final interview at the State’s Attorney’s.  She blows him off and returns to work, only to be greeted by Eli who is breaking their agreement and asking her to do a television interview.  Wendy Scott-Carr’s husband has gone to bat for his wife and hit a media home run.  The Florrick camp has only one trump card left and it’s Alicia.  She rebuffs Eli saying that even if she wanted to give the interview she has to work, and turns around to find Wylie has come to her office to follow up on their phone call (can you say dog with a bone?).  She again brushes him off.

Meanwhile, Fred Landau (the “amateur” that Eli so memorably almost throttled last week and head of the Democratic Committee) has been to visit Diane.  Diane falls in line with her party affiliation and forcibly suggests that Alicia take the afternoon off.  Alicia, leaping to a not unreasonable conclusion, blames Eli and for the first time in the episode, the mask slips.  She rips into him with gusto and swears that she won’t do the interview he’s maneuvering for.  However, she then spots Landau talking with Diane and puts two and two together.  Realizing that she blamed the wrong politico, she asks Diane point blank if Landau was behind it; Diane nods.  Alicia goes to Eli, apologizes and…agrees to do the interview.

Why?  Why does she agree to campaign for her husband after refusing to for so long?  I rather think it’s because Eli didn’t try to play her.  Eli didn’t use his influence with Diane to get Alicia off work, and there is no doubt that he could have.  Eli played by her rules, and when she refused to break them, he didn’t try to manipulate her.  The friendship between Eli and Alicia is one of the best slow-burns going on right now in TV, and I think the validation of that made Alicia take pity. This, of course, raises the idea that Alicia didn’t do the interview to help Peter. Chris Noth doesn’t even appear in the episode; everything on the surface may have been about him, but it’s clear something deeper is going on.  All the more painful when the fact that Eli erased the famous voice-mail finally surfaces.

Eli preps Alicia for the interview, and the scene is so wonderfully written and acted it’s almost enough to clear the bad-taste of Chavez from the whole hour.  As Eli peppers Alicia with prep questions, he brings up Grace and Zach and for the second time in the episode the mask slips.

“They’re the best people I know.  I love them more-…I would do anything to see them not hurt.  They love their father, and they’ve stood by him the whole time.”

I think we just got the definitive answer as to why Alicia stayed with Peter after the scandal.

The episode moves quickly now.  Alicia is again interrupted by a phone call from Wylie, who she harshly rebuffs and threatens with a harassment suit if he doesn’t leave her alone.  She nails her interview; after all, Eli’s advice was to just stay calm.  Alicia’s good at that.  Will and Kalinda watch her interview from the office, and Will says that he thinks Alicia is fantastic.  Kalinda tells him that he should share that opinion with Alicia, and comments that she thinks the interview will win the race for Peter.

At the Election Night, Alicia is enjoying a quiet moment alone with her wine.  She has won the election for her husband.  She has publicly forgiven him.  Her children are happy and her life is in order.  Wylie enters.  He apologizes for bothering her, and tells her it turns out that Blake’s interview turns out to be an accusation that Peter slept with a co-worker years ago, only it’s not true.  There was no one in the department with that name.  Alicia turns to leave, vindicated in her trust.

“Leela.”

And it all crashes down.  Alicia flees the apartment.  The mask slips again, and this time does not return, as the tears flow down her face.

And some closing arguments:

– I’m glad I don’t work for a site where I’m required to grade the episode, because I would be at a loss.  Everything but the case, I think I could happily give an A.  That case, however, was the single worst thing this show has ever done, and I’d probably want to give it a C- at best.  Do I average them?  Why am I wasting time thinking of things that I don’t have to do?

– America Ferrara’s arc appeared to come to an end in this episode when she winds up with a translator job in DC.  This character never went far enough for me; for one thing no one in The Good Wife is pure anything, and yet Natalie just seemed to be a good person through and through.  I was hoping for there to wind up being some twist to give Ferrara something to play besides nervous and/or grateful.  Further, she was for some reason treated as if she was the key to Lockhart Gardner winning the case when it appeared to me that the only thing she did was translate the ramblings of “Chavez.”  I mean, good for her for being bilingual, but Diane and Will could have gotten someone in there.  The odd romantic tension between her and Eli didn’t bother me all that much, mostly because the characters openly acknowledged that it was odd.  I’m not sure how I feel about her departure though.  I think perhaps, that since I’m a fan of the actress, I want her to return and be given something to do.

– Spinning off of that, just when you thought no one could be less threatening than Blake…meet Natalie’s boyfriend Andre.

-“Thank you, Rosetta Stone.  What do you have?”  The best part of the whole Chavez debacle was that line.

-Fred Dalton Thompson playing himself was…odd.  And seriously, I know Law & Order is a beloved show, but did it really inspire anyone?

– “Is that true?” “Did it sound true?”

– Cary claims that he wants to stay in the State’s Attorney’s office.  I always assumed he would wind up back at Lockhart Gardner, but now that Peter has officially won…maybe not.

– “Grandma’s drunk.” “I think that’s just her.”

– “Leela.”  It bears repeating.