"Guest stars galore!" they said. And so it was - the entire episode was so jammed-packed with guest stars that there was even a completely unnecessary appearance by Kristin Chenowith (even though it's good to see her) squeezed in just because they could. "We're overflowing with stars!"
I cringe at guest star appearances in almost every case on any show, because the desperation for ratings reeks. But "The Good Wife," despite having too many characters to know what to do with in the first place, actually finds nice little arcs for them that aren't so terribly self-aware. Still, because of the fact that the cast has expanded exponentially, even those guest stars got, at best, only a few moments on screen (Nathan Lane's Hayden was reduced to saying "this is crap! It's all crap!" twice, followed by a silent scene of him reading, apparently, Steve Jobs' biography).
On the plus side, like last week, "The Art of War" (which is what I thought it would turn out Hayden was reading) had a pretty straight-forward Case of the Week (an incredibly straight-forward one, by "Good Wife" standards) that Lockhart Gardner actually lost, but was engaging to watch thanks to a very well-cast guest star in Amanda Peet.
Almost everyone was geared up for some kind of warfare this week, on the legal, emotional and political fronts.
In the plot everyone wants to forget, Nick is angry about losing his bid, and readies himself for battle against the corrupt bid while Kalinda decides whether wrestling with Nick is worth it (something she hopefully muses about off-screen like this week). The major Peter story from the last few weeks, i.e. the Magazine Story That Wasn't, came to an abrupt and convenient halt when the slimy Mandy Post is fired thanks to the suggestion that her piece was a conflict of interest (nevermind a lie), a seed planted by Eli to the journalist Peggy Burn (Kristin Chenowith).
Peter, meanwhile, readies to slay Mattie (Maura Tierney) and her backstabbing, robotic ways (she is weirdly non-emotional, isn't she?) in the election, money or no money, and had a funny side-story this week observing with intense confusion the interactions between Jackie and her new male nurse Christian. I like that Jackie finally has something to do besides irritate Peter and Alicia. Although, it was still quite satisfying to see her put in her place with such pizzazz.
As mentioned above, the ins and outs of the Case of the Week were pretty straight-forward and not particularly new ground, but Amanda Peet gave a great performance as the victim of assault who wants to fight back on her own. The little moments like the return of very liberal Judge Abernathy (Denis O'Hare, a.k.a. Russell Edgington from "True Blood") as well as military Judge Kuhn's reinstatement of her committee on gender for a single question just to get a witness back in the country for Alicia and Captain Hellinger's case were great. There was a nice comment too about private contracting companies and the military, and the fine line sometimes separating them. "The Good Wife" didn't go too deep into the matter, but it skimming the surface was enough to make its point.
For once as well, not only did Lockhart Gardner lose (a rarity! Although the "alleged" rapist's reputation was rightfully tarnished regardless), but they were also on the side of right. Still, Diane and Alicia pushed Hellinger to do something she wasn't comfortable with, which was fudge the timeline of the assault in order to catch Weeks on the wrong side of it, something that came back to bite her (although she would have lost either way). The rationalization — which Alicia assured her it wasn't — of "better remembering" (which seems an awful lot like the infamous "mis-remembered" Roger Clemens line) seemed weak, and another strange morally gray area for the firm to muck around in. Lawyers, huh?
Still, a quietly good episode this week, setting up good things to come. I believe we're two weeks out before a long winter hiatus, so quite close to the mid-season finale and probably some juicy tidbits to keep us hanging on through the holidays.
Next Week: A funny episode to balance out some of the seriousness of the last few weeks.
Musings and Miscellanea:
— So is Eli being investigated, or is it Kalinda? Kalinda would more likely have dirt, but what has Eli done that's illegal that I'm forgetting about?
— I like that Diane confronted Cary right away about his friendship with Hayden, and that Cary smoothly assuaged her fears about his being tough on them. Cary makes for a good double agent.
— "I know what LMAO means ... LOL" - Judge Abernathy
— Josh Charles directed the episode, well done!
— I love Christian and need more of him and Jackie together, even though I think she's headed for an exit this season ...
— Nick works in Chicago, Nick doesn't, who cares?
— Really nice to see Mandy Post get her comeuppance.
— "Global Warming: 1, Skeptics: 0!" - Judge Abernathy
— Mattie is a real rat.
— "I can trust a cynic and a con man, but not a hypocrite because she doesn't know when she's lying." - Peter
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