The Good Wife Recap: Nine Hours
I’ll be completely honest, folks: I went back and re-watched the last episode to prepare for this one. Frankly, I knew there was no way I was going to be able to remember all the balls that were up in the air when that show signed off, so in hopes of not making any glaring omissions I did some homework. That being said, I was somewhat surprised at how little I apparently needed the extra viewing; I found this outing thoroughly enjoyable, but extremely focused on the case-of-the-week with just a sprinkling of the serial aspects for flavor.
The episode sets up a deadline for it’s lawyers right off the bat: they have nine hours to save a man’s life. Carter Wright has been on death row for 10 years and no appeal has worked; however, with the help of a sympathetic court clerk, Alicia and company manage to find some new theories that grant Wright a re-trial in his final moments. In the dark world of The Good Wife, it’s important to note that the man hasn’t been proven innocent (though the episode certainly paints him in a good light). However, it’s Alicia’s plea to the judge that she believes in his innocence that sways his ultimate decision. As Diane states earlier in the episode, “every time I’ve been 100% sure about something, I’ve been proven wrong.” Is Wright innocent? I’m not sure, but I know that I want him to be.
The case was, as per usual, quite enjoyable. I wonder, however, if The Good Wife writers simply wanted to do a good, old-fashioned “let’s get the gang together again!” kind of episode after all the schisms of the past season. Cary is brought into Lockhart, Gardner and Bond again as he possesses valuable information about the clerk that’s helping the appeal. Kalinda and Alicia get to have what seems like the first real talk they’ve indulged in all year. Diane and Will work together without any of the nastiness that Bond has brought with him (speaking of Bond, he’s absent this episode, so was the cease-fire between Will and Diane meant to be a direct result of that?). It brought a smile to my face to see all the old allies from last season realigned at least for one brief episode.
Even with the serial plot taking a back seat this week, we were peppered with a few advancements. After sitting out a lot of the earlier episodes, the Florrick children are back in a big way. It turns out that Grace’s religious friend Shannon from a few weeks ago wasn’t just a one-off character; she’s sticking around and influencing Grace. I can’t help but find the kind of blind faith this character possesses to be one of the sickest, most terrifying things that in this world. I won’t pursue this line of thought, but the whole character gives me the heebie-jeebies. Grace witnesses what Shannon would call the power of prayer, when her friend asks Jesus to save Alicia’s client from execution and it comes true. Before you know it, Grace is giving it a try which is how Alicia finds her at the end of the episode. Zach, meanwhile, is still spending time with his Somalian study-partner Nisa, and meeting Kalinda for the first time. Zach’s instantaneous crush on the PI was a nice little touch of humor that ran through the whole episode.
Peter, meanwhile, is being prepped for his debate and is warned to avoid the subject of his family as he loses control when questioned about them. Alas, it’s to no avail. He’s driven into a corner by the moderator with the question “Has your wife forgiven you for your infidelity?” Peter’s ultimate response? “My marriage is none of your f*cking business.” The writers are so smart to give Peter moments like this. The audience wants to hate him: he’s wronged Alicia and we want Alicia with Will anyway (or I at least assume most people do). However, moments like this, moments where he’s a real person that’s fighting for his wife make the triangle less lopsided.
The scene of the evening, for me, however was watching Kalinda and Alicia have a real talk in Alicia’s room as they try to stop an execution. The moment where Alicia and goes and gets them both a beer so they can continue was a wonderful character moment. Kalinda finally answers a question and confesses to Alicia that Blake is blackmailing her with information from her past. Apparently, Kalinda didn’t like her life, so she changed it. Archie Panjabi is so wonderful at taking these vague statements and imbuing them with such mystery and importance that I don’t even get annoyed at the slow dribble of information being released about the character, I just love being along for the ride. Alicia doesn’t go so far as to tell Kalinda about what she overheard on the wire-tap (we get a lot of scenes with Will and Alicia talking this episode, but the two aren’t never in the same actual place), but you can see her simmering with frustration. When Alicia’s poker-face suffers, you know things are tense.
Again, I truly enjoyed the episode, and yet I can’t help but feel slightly let down. After all the revelations of last episode, I was expecting this one (the mid-season finale no less) to keep them coming fast and furious. The detour into procedural-ville was, as always, well-executed and performed. It just didn’t grab me and sweep me away as I wanted it to.
And some last minute addendums to the brief:
- The opening dream sequence with the Will/Alicia hook-up. Cary’s joke about how Kalinda’s good at getting people off. Theory: The Good Wife has more sexuality packed into it than the rest of CBS’ lineup combined. Discuss.
- Alicia’s walk through her apartment with the beer was a wonderful moment character moment, particularly Julianna Margulies’ perfect reaction to Shannon’s “I’m praying for you.”
-”Okay. I’m gonna drink.”
- The natural censor of Grace yelling “Mom!” over Peter’s f-bomb was a nice touch.
- “Yup! It’s me!”
- No Eli this week? How could they? And where the hell is Lili Taylor?
- Roger Rees shows up and you only use him for one scene? Did this strike anyone else as odd?
- They spent a little time with some very minor characters this week. It seemed a waste to have a character we don’t know calling another character we don’t know to ask if he can borrow some barbituate, only to have the latter protest that he doesn’t have time to bring it because he’s going camping with his daughter. Seriously, who cares?
- And finally, what the hell is up with Cary’s cousin? “We’re only first cousins, it’s not incest”?!? Um…yes, yes it is.
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