Monday, November 19, 2012

'The Good Wife,' Season 4, Episode 8 Recap

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 12:07 PM


This has been another transitional season for "The Good Wife," but despite some starts and stops it really has remained a great show. "Here Comes the Judge" again married the Case of the Week closely with Lockhart Gardner, to its benefit. And though there were some lagging sidebar plots (hmmm who could that be ... Nick maybe? You got it!), overall it was a pretty engaging episode that raised some interesting questions.

The main one for me is: how are we supposed to feel about the firm these days and their ruthless pursuit of their own interests? I really like Diane and I'm OK with Will, but the way they have plotted against and alienated Hayden in the past and dragged Judge Creary in this episode (and they way they did it) just feels slimy. I would be surprised if viewers disagreed with Judge Dunaway's final thoughts on the matter: yes, Lockhart Gardner proved their point, but at what moral and ethical cost?

I was slightly disappointed, speaking of the Case of the Week that wasn't, that there wasn't more time spent on the Andrea Sneiderman-inspired case (I mean that was clearly the "ripped from the headlines" story it was cobbled from, right?) It was certainly riveting in real life, and I think that the show could have done more with it. Still, the direction things ended up going was something most legal shows don't focus on: the judges. "The Good Wife" has always given them a lot of consideration, from their quirks and biases to their friendship with attorneys that lead more or less to Will's disbarment.

Cary got his ethical hands dirty, too, by playing one of his buddies, who happens to be Creary's clerk, into taking the stand. Will did his part in the muck to re-seduce a friend of Creary's, but I thought her take on the matter was the most truthful of all. Will's feathers were ruffled because of Creary's comments about him being disbarred and being a liar, but he awarded points to both sides the day before in the actual courtroom. Yes he did seem biased against Will, but not enough that Will, being the smart lawyer he is, couldn't have still proven his point. Anyway, as it turned out, he'll likely lose anyway.

Only Alicia stayed above the moral fray. I've been harsh on Alicia in the past, calling her a Mary Sue and also saying that she's just kind of, well, boring. But in this fourth season, though she often takes a backseat, she has grown to be more personable, even funny and engaging. In short, she's loosened up. The world isn't against her anymore.

Ignoring the Nick plot (as I often do), the other weak spot is usually the inclusion of the Florrick kids. I can only imagine that most writers on adult shows wish that none of their characters ever had to have kids, because it's hard to include them sometimes in any meaningful way unless they're in trouble. The show's best scenes with Grace and Zach (another issue: sometimes kids aren't always the best actors. At least, not yet) are the ones where the family is just hanging out and playing off of one another, and not necessarily when they are just used to explain technology and pop culture. Oh, Alicia needs to learn about viral videos? Or YouTube? Or about high schoolers cutting themselves? Bring in the Florrick children!

Though I like the idea of Zach as a whiz kid who's secretly running the IT of Peter's campaign, we haven't really seen enough of him lately to even get a sense other than that of who he is or what he offers besides being a whiz (and what exactly was he doing that no other IT person could?) Grace has gone through some strange developments of her own, from her uber Christianity for a minute (which lead to her "kidnapping" ... but not really) to Jackie thinking she was a lesbian for holding a girl's hand, to having a really creepy homework helper who introduced her to viral videos. Now she's in her own spin-off version of "The O.C." or something, where a kid (with her name... ) has overdosed on pills and she becomes obsessed with the story, going so far as to befriend (or more) the good-looking, brooding bad boy scholarship kid.

The idea of "trackers" existing and following kids to school, hiding in the bushes, at the behest of politicians is creepy, and I'm presuming that Grace's story will have campaign implications at some point. How the show portrays death in the cyber age (people IMing the person "r u dead" or posting memorials on their Facebook wall) rang out as really being true, but the show skimmed over it so quickly it just felt like a way for the writers to prove they were hip to the young folks. Still, as far as Grace's stories go, this one isn't so bad.

After quite a bit of questioning, I'm really liking where "The Good Wife" is headed these days. Don't let us down, guys!

Next Week: Stockard Channing guest stars (guest stars galore!) as Alicia's many-times-divorced mother ("they bore me or they die!"), who David Lee seems to love. I don't like the implications of the speech she gives to Peter though about him letting [Alicia] go? Maybe it's a bait and switch (I hope so).

Musings and Miscellanea:

- Hellinger can hold her own! I like it.

- Some of you may remember Judge Dunaway as the one who was Facebook friended by a juror in Season Three that lead Alicia to having him recused (or a mistrial, I can't remember exactly), which is why when she saw he was handling the Creary case she was concerned. He was fair, though.

- "If you're going to go nuclear, don't leave missiles in your silo" - Diane

- I wondered about where AA's confidentiality held up ... not in court, apparently!

- Not here for the plot where Will is chasing a Deus ex Machina where one divorce case will get them out of debt. Too easy.

- "My daughter is two steps away from dating Keith Moon" - Alicia

- Nick is so creepy.

- I really love Will and Kalinda together, I would like more scenes with them drinking.

- I laughed out loud at Alicia's face at the end when regarding her grown-up kids.

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