Monday, October 22, 2012

'The Good Wife' Season 4, Episode 4 Recap

Posted By on Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Alicias wig is so much better this season
  • CBS
  • Alicia's wig is so much better this season

Just going to jump right in, here: I have been critical of this season's Cases of the Week, because they've seemed ill-considered. If your COTW is going to be filler, at least make it have some dramatic weight or make it funny (to be fair, this week's COTW did have some quirky bits although nothing particularly memorable). But the episode could have been called "Grasping at Straws," because that's exactly what both the defense attorney and the tabloid media were doing throughout.

It's good that the show is steering itself back towards its roots — Alicia is standing by Peter again, but this time because it's in the service of truth. Peter did not have an affair (or so it would seem), but that doesn't really matter to a vindictive press. This is one of those storylines that make "The Good Wife" so perceptive about politics and the way that we consume media (and how, thanks to the new way press operates, strategists and press coordinators cannot keep a lid on stories in traditional outlets because bloggers will deciminate the information far more quickly, and are much more difficult to control). Was it Jon Stewart or David Simon who once made the comment that a politician is more likely to get on the news for falling off the podium and ripping his pants than because he said anything important? It's a bleak suggestion about what we consider "news," and how our hunger for that is fed by muckraking pseudo-journalists like Eli's nemesis Mandy. But enough preaching, I need some Wheaties! Hit the jump the find out why rich people get free things (PoorAnarchy.com should cover this!)

A major point in "Don't Haze Me Bro" seemed to be about Diane getting fired up and positive again about Lockhart Gardner's future, but when has she not been? What really has changed here? Diane goes after the money in the COTW, not a policy change or anything larger, she just has her eye on a $6 million settlement. Is it greed, is it manipulation, or is it just good business sense? Quietly, Hayden has placed Cary and Alicia together to get on each others' nerves enough to complain to Hayden that something should be done about space in the firm. He knows that both are respected enough and honest enough to be listened to, even by a skeptical Diane. It was nice to finally see a result of the firm's cutbacks (with Cary and Alicia sharing an office) as it has helped raised the stakes on the matter (a bunch of people getting laid off who we never met doesn't have the same impact).

As for that lucrative COTW, the mounting absurdity and twisting around that the defense attorney desperately attempted bordered on the surreal by the end of things. "Swishy"? Black on black hate crime? A potentially gay judge masking as straight, with a picture of an unexplained woman who's not his wife on his desk? It was a strange day in court where nothing really seemed to be solved or gained except money for the firm, leaving things feeling empty, even despite Diane and her Wheaties.

Speaking of surreal, it looks like Jackie's stroke has left her a little more incapacitated than she thought. Jackie being back and messing things up for Peter's campaign in a way that Eli can't control was fun, but it looks like she will be moving into the house and needing more constant care, and it will be interesting to see where the series goes with that, given her animosity with Alicia (although she seemed to genuinely mean what she said to her at the end about being grateful Alicia was standing by Peter, and that she had underestimated her).

And what exactly is going on between Alicia and Mattie? Does Mattie want to be Alicia's friend, or is she just using her to get inside information about the stability of Peter's campaign? It's unclear, because while she seemed to be prodding Alicia to talk about the suppressed affair story, she called Alicia out on telling it only under Eli's direction. Once that was out in the open, she flashed her credit card and Girl Time was officially over.

The most interesting part of the hour happened in the last minute, when Eli received the call from blogger Jimmy V about publishing the story about the affair (or the fact that it wasn't being published). I am eager for the fallout from this, and really hope that Eli starts getting some of his swag and power back (right now he can't seem to control anybody). He may need to channel some Malcolm Tucker.

Next Week: "The Good Wife" briefly turns into "The Wire" and we revisit the Lemond Bishop issue, which looks like some real shit is about to go down around it!

Musings and Miscellanea:

— It was an interesting moment when Alicia said that she's not very interesting. I would have to agree.

— I don't think I've ever said Pedro Almodovar's name out loud, either ...

— Frankly I find the flippant title "Don't Haze Me Bro" in poor taste given that the COTW was indeed ripped from very recent headlines.

— "You made me break my paper weight!" - Judge Brochard

— Apparently PoorAnarchy.com doesn't exist, which is strange because the show has definitely made some fake websites in the past to correspond with the onscreen action (like campaign pages or blogs).

— "She won't listen to me, she knows I lie for a living!" - Eli

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