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The Good Wife-”Death Row Tip”

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I must apologize loyal readers; last week I was indisposed on Sunday night and was unable to recap the excellent “Executive Order 13224.”  So, quickly, some thoughts on last weeks outing:

-Carrie Preston and Bob Balaban…yesmoreplease.

-So Dana’s actually sticking around, despite spending two episodes telling us she was leaving.  I get giving Cary an ally in the “I Hate Big Law Firms Because They Screwed Me Over” Club, but I still don’t like the way she’s been forced down our throats for two episodes.  That being said, fine, the forcing is over and I survived, so let’s see if the character is a good one.  I think Monica Raymund has done well so far, so I have hope.

-Alicia’s realization that Diane and Will place the good of the law firm above her personal good is yet another thing pulling Alicia away from her new romance.

-So good to see Titus Welliver again.

-Still not sure what’s going on with Grace’s on-again-off-again Christianity.

-I still don’t love Anna Camp’s Caitlin; she still just rings false and loud to me.  However, I’m going to try to give her a shot since it appears she’s going to be around for a while.

Moving on, it’s really something when The Good Wife can startle me with how dark it is.  This is a show that trades in amorality and backroom deals, about a law firm that will happily defend the guilty for a big pay-day; however, the final moments with death row inmate Ricky Packer, as he hisses at his mother and brother that they can burn in hell and he hopes they suffer every day thinking about him actually made me jump.  Further, the scene where Ricky’s mother and local priest try to take the blame for his actions and take responsibility, simply to gain him an appeal hearing so Alicia and Diane can get information from him before he’s executed was…icky.  Congratulations to Michael Irby for crafting a character that, for some reason, I expected to find a small bit of redemption in the final moments, even as the show leading up to it repeatedly told me he didn’t deserve it.  The writers layered in many points that told us that he was simply an evil man, from ignoring his loving mother’s letters to his local priest saying that he had a vicious mean streak even as a child to even Alicia (who, we must remember, can stare down wife-killers) being deeply unsettled by his presence.  Yet when he laughed at and scorned his grieving family, I was shocked.  Maybe I’m just not used to network dramas “going there,” but no matter the reason, congratulations to The Good Wife for a truly chilling moment.

Backing up, Packer was the key to Alicia’s case this week, as he possessed crucial information involving a double-homicide that she believed could clear her client.  Truly, the case really took a back seat to Alicia and Diane’s desperate attempts to get access to Packer and then to get him to help them and Kalinda’s intrusions into the State’s Attorney’s Office to try to convince them that they arrested the wrong man.  Her adventures led her into a head on collision with Dana; their interactions were fun to watch, though if they had actually tried to follow through on their flirtations I think I might have had a bad case of the eye-rolls.  Instead, Dana cheerfully deals with Kalinda by helping her in exchange for information on the continuing investigation into Will while Cary jealously fumes in the corner.  Dana happily tells Cary that she is “not a lesbian,” and then teases him that he needs to figure out what he wants from Kalinda. Cary angrily denies interest, but then winds up having a heart-to-heart with Kalinda in his office which results in them kissing.

The question this raises, and the question which is obviously first in Cary’s mind, is what is Kalinda’s angle here?  Is she cozying up to Cary to help Will, after she informed him that Dana was pumping her for information and offered her assistance if he only asked?  Is she genuinely interested in Cary, as he seems to be in her?  Or is she simply an opportunist, who likes Cary and is simply going to take the path of least resistance?  Ultimately, I think Kalinda is still stinging from Alicia’s absence and is desperate to make contact with someone again.  Hence, her new closeness with Will and her truly offended “go to hell, Cary!” when he claims that he mistrusts her; eventually, the writers are going to have to put Alicia and Kalinda in a room together again, and I look forward to that day with ever-growing anticipation.  They haven’t over-played their hand yet, as I completely buy Alicia as a “you are DEAD TO ME” kind of person, but the two are inextricably linked.  It will be a good Sunday when those two crazy kids get back together.

Meanwhile, Eli’s back this week and still working for Mickey Gunn’s candidate, Robert Mulvey.  This subplot was a nice, funny break from the bleak landscape of the A story-line, and basically spun around a photo surfacing of Mulvey in college pretending to orally service a statue of Santa Claus; it gave Eli some really nice moments, but mostly seemed like filler.  That is, until the final moments, when Gunn reveals that he wants Mulvey to run for State Senate which would put him in opposition with Eli’s ex Vanessa, who has decided to run against Eli’s advice.  I’m still not sure how much attention I should be paying this story arc…are we really going to become embroiled in another campaign?  I wouldn’t mind one if it directly involved Peter, but I’m not sure if I’ll be as interested if it doesn’t.  That being said, if it’s just going to be there to provide Alan Cumming the opportunity to lose his mind once a week, I’ll take it.

Meanwhile, the family Florrick’s plot continues to thicken, as Zach meets Eli’s daughter Marissa and the two start to have a flirtation.  I’m not sure what happened to Zach’s girlfriend from last season, but even if she’s still around, the two had a fun chemistry and it might be interesting to see at least a friendship develop there.   Further, Jackie’s back!  This time she’s snooping through Alicia’s apartment when she’s supposed to be picking up her grandchildren, and finding lingerie as well as a laptop computer that she can’t seem to turn on.  The show doesn’t show us the end of that scene, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Jackie has a part to play next week involving some ill-gotten information.

This was the second excellent episode in a row…I hope The Good Wife can maintain this pace and soon those uneven opening episodes of the season will be a distant memory.

And some final thoughts:

-The adoption of ‘”St. Alicia” by almost all political operatives on this show is an enjoyable, constant reminder of how much power Alicia has over Peter’s professional future.

-The arrest of that Tom LeVere in the background by a horde of police, while Alicia and Eli assure Mickey that the firm is not under investigation was the best dumb show this side of Miss Blankenship’s body being removed on Mad Men.

-Julianna Margulies’s thinly disguised look of disgust at Andre when the film-maker makes a comment about the inmates liking “pretty women” was a work of art.

-Welcome back Romany Malco and Legal Aid!  Are you in-house at Lockhart Gardner now?

-”It’s getting complicated, isn’t it?”  Very little on Alicia and Will’s romance this week, but Alicia sure seemed eager to push the pause button, didn’t she?

-”Here. Comes. Santa.”

-What’s up with that computer virus?  Is it really just an excuse to get Zach into the office, or is something more sinister at work?

-In keeping with the pitch black tone of this outing, was this episode extra graphic?  Decomposing bodies and the corpses of 14 year-old girls with slit throats…it was a lot.

-Grace’s tutor showing up in full body paint at the door to be greeted by Jackie may have been a cheap gag, but I loved it.