The Good Wife Recap- “Getting Off”
Okay Good Wife writers: you just started an episode entitled “Getting Off” with the line “Okay…this will mostly be about sex.” You do realize that you’re on CBS, right? Further, you had Meryl Streep’s daughter say the line, and then mention how her mother said that talking about sex made her feel “wiggly.” First of all, we all know that Meryl Streep sat her daughter down and gave her what for when the time came. Further, I don’t believe that Meryl Streep participates in the messy smashing together of bodies that we normal mortals call sex; as for how she had a daughter, I assume Mamie Gummer sprang from her head fully formed, like Athena leaping out of Zeus’ skull.
But I digress.
The show that always regrets it’s title right now is Cougar Town. They regret it so much they make a joke about it in the opening credits every single week. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go watch Cougar Town. Seriously, it’s hilarious. Anyway, I’m starting to think that The Good Wife is approaching a title issue; for it’s two season run, the title has referred to Alicia staying in her marriage and standing by her cheating husband. After tonight’s episode it’s quite apparent that muttering “he’s a good man” over and over in her head is no longer going to be the character’s inner monologue. Now, obviously, there isn’t really going to be a title change, and the “good” in the title can refer to any number of qualities that Alicia possesses outside of her respect for her marriage vows; her brother routinely referred to her as prim and proper, and it’s also interesting to watch her try to reconcile her obviously very rigid moral code with the seedier aspects of her job. But still, tonight’s episode might have been better titled as The Royally and Righteously Pissed Off Wife Who You Better Not Cross or She Will END YOU.
The cases on The Good Wife tend to have something to do with the serial storyline, and this one was more over than most. Sarah Silverman guest starred (I always forget that she’s actually a decent actress) as Stephanie Engler, the web master of SideEncounters.com, a site devoted to helping married people have affairs. She was being sued in a civil case by the wife of a man who used her site, and wound up bound, castrated and quite dead in a hotel. By the end of the 45 minutes, it was revealed that actually Stephanie’s husband was the murderer, as he was jealous of an encounter Stephanie had with the man previously. The case was helped by Silverman’s enjoyable performance, as well as Gummer reprising her role as Nancy Crozier, the fresh-off-the-boat lawyer who likes to pretend naivete for the benefit of her clients.
However, the real pay off for the entire set up came when Alicia, who had been made first chair on the case sat down with Stephanie and started to probe her about how she manages to maintain an open relationship. Stephanie passionately defends her marriage, and when Alicia wonders openly why they got married at all, Stephanie replies “I love him. When you love someone don’t you set them free?” It’s interesting to see Alicia confronted with someone reveling in the very behavior that is currently destroying her life.
But enough about the case. Let’s get back to the wide swath of ass-kicking that Alicia is currently leaving in her wake all over Chicago. Jackie gets another healthy dose after she visits Alicia’s apartment uninvited and tries to pump Zach and Grace for information/sympathy for her son. My notes on this scene amount to “A finds J at a lunch and DAYYUUMMM!” Alicia played fairly nice with Jackie last week, but this week has clearly gone scorched earth with her mother-in-law. Almost every line that Alicia says is deliciously quotable, but I’ll go with “[He's the State's Attorney] who banged a hooker 18 times. Let’s see where that ends up.” when Jackie claims Peter will win custody.
However, Alicia’s most vicious encounters are saved for her former best friend Kalinda. I give the producers credit for not sitting on the confrontation; the heavily promo-ed scene of a teary eyed Alicia gasping “I will scream at the top of my lungs if you don’t get out of my office right now” happened before the opening credits rolled. The two former friends had two big scenes together tonight: the reveal that Alicia knew what happened and Kalinda’s attempt to explain herself. Neither made much progress towards repairing the relationship, and that’s as it should be; the eventual return to form for these two is something seasons are made of.
It’s interesting to watch these two excellent actresses tear into material after watching them spend two seasons trying to see who could show less on her face and remain interesting to watch (I’d say Kalinda won, but she had bisexuality, a fluid accent and some awesome f*ck-me boots helping her). Margulies has spent the last three episodes finally getting to show range and being a real pro about underplaying every moment perfectly. Tonight, Archie Panjabi got her chance; she wept in elevators, snapped at secretaries, flung papers off of desks and ultimately collapsed in a fit of uncontrollable FML giggles when she realized that the job she was fleeing to was sending her to the State’s Attorney’s Office to assist…Peter Florrick.
Where does this relationship go from here? Kalinda is, for all intents and purposes, Alicia’s only friend. Will is too fraught with tension, the relationship with Diane is friendly but professional and Zach and Grace are children. I’d love for the estrangement to bring Owen back more as a confidante but I doubt that’s going to happen, and her budding friendship with Eli is something that Peter is also entangled in. Kalinda was hers and hers alone, and now she sees that Peter has ruined that too. In the scenes with Kalinda, her pain seems even greater and her anger deeper than it did with Peter. She makes spiteful comments (“So you want me to get someone else to brief you?” “You mean someone who hasn’t slept with my husband?), furious that she has been a pity friend, someone Kalinda spoke to out of guilt. If there is one thing Alicia Florrick does not want it’s someone’s pity. And when Kalinda echoes Peter from the week before, saying “Okay, Alicia, you’re hurting. Would you like to know the facts now?” it’s all over. When Kalinda tells her that she’s found another job, Alicia hisses “Good.” It’s hateful and fantastic at the same time.
If the relationship is to be prepared, Alicia has to realize what Kalinda and Peter have been telling her: she can’t always be the wronged party. What Kalinda did was wrong, yes, but if Alicia really thought about it would she have been surprised that Kalinda has slept with a married man? And if she realized that she had slept with a married man, is it that much of a jump to think she slept with Peter, who apparently boned half of Chicago? I’m not saying she isn’t right to be furious, and I’m not saying I want the fight to be over quickly…but the only way out of it is for Alicia to realize that Peter and Kalinda didn’t destroy her marriage. Peter and Alicia did.
And some final thoughts:
-SideEncounters.com isn’t a real website (at least I don’t think it is) but AshleyMadison.com is. And people say that gays are ruining marriage?
-I’m not sure how I feel about the button on the story, with Stephanie passionately making out with her murdering husband. It seemed to be a bit of a character assassination, making her a joke and completely undermining the speech she gave earlier about the joys of an open relationship. I’m not interested in having one, but there are people that passionately defend theirs, and I somewhat doubt that they would be aroused by suddenly finding out that their boyfriend or girlfriend horribly murdered someone. Allow me to rephrase the first sentence…I definitely did not like the button.
-”You know there’s a porn movie about you?” Well, that’s not something you hear every day.
-As per usual, Zach Grenier was absolutely fantastic in his brief scenes as divorce lawyer David Lee. Best line this week was “No, no ‘thanks.’ You’re paying me now. That’s one billable hour…I round up.”
-”You have three kids? I can build on that.” “Really? One of ‘em has a buck tooth, it’s adorable!”
-No one, in the history of time, has ever left a room after being told there are pictures of a strong sexual nature about to be shown.
-Did anyone get what Jackie was referring to when she said “I know what happened in your house!”? Am I missing something?
-Seriously, post your favorite Alicia smack down line of the night in the comments. I can’t transcribe them all.
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