Sometimes "The Good Wife" doesn't do a proper mid-season finale and straggles on through the holidays, but this year it looks like (according to the last schedule I saw) that there's been a clean break and the series will return at the first of January. I think this was the right choice to keep the show's drama taught, and "Battle of the Proxies" left us with plenty to look forward to in 2013.
It seemed from the promos that "Battle of the Proxies" would focus on the ethical issue of trying a client who is known to be guilty and, beyond that, simultaneously working to convict an innocent man of the same crime. Strangely, that turned out to be more a footnote, with the courtroom circus in Minooka being the main focus (presided over by Stephen Root, a favorite of mine). It made the Case of the Week a lot more interesting, but the shrugging dismissal of the fact that two cases could be tried for the same crime at the same time (which I didn't know was possible) and that "well it's ok that we helped convict the innocent one on false information, we'll just slip them a note for appeal!" was unsatisfactory.
There was plenty to unpack though in "Battle of the Proxies," and much of it focused on a far more interesting and engaging Alicia (her character has really, really flourished without the Will and Peter baggage this year, proving the "Alicia/independence" pairing may indeed be the best one). Her unilaterally deciding to no longer support Nick at the firm without consulting the partners was something that Alicia would not have found the courage to do before. Her standing up to him was not necessarily new, but the way she did it without hesitation was a fierce move for her. Her protection of Kalinda, too (and dropping the information about the drugs like it was Known Information) and her kicking Nick to the curb partially on Kalinda's behalf seemed to spur Kalinda herself into action.
Kalinda, one of the best/worst characters on the show (to quote an old rhyme, "and when she was good she was very good, and when she was bad she was horrid") has a more clear arc now than ever before. No longer on the run, she seems to want to fight for normalcy with the roots she's laid down, without meaning to perhaps, in Chicago. Where did that ultimate lead, though?
Did she threaten Nick to leave or did she kill him? More interesting, did anyone even care? The morality of seeing a killer go free in the COTW was important, yet the idea of Kalinda burying Nick somewhere seemed natural and welcomed (although it could be I've just been watching too many violent shows and this "out" seems like a viable option now for TV characters ...)
Alicia and Kalinda's renewed friendship has felt a lot like fan service, but at the same time that may not be a bad thing. Alicia needs someone to confide in and she really has no one else. Though she can't talk to Kalinda about Zach and Grace's ChumHum searches (more like Jackie's search though!) she can unwind with her and be completely honest, something that she's not able to do otherwise.
Speaking of friendships, what's brewing in the Will / Laura camp? The two seem primed for some kind of romance, and while I know the initial reaction from many has been aversion (for many reasons: Laura is too good for Will's philandering ways, a friendship between them would be a stronger device, Laura needs to have less screentime anyway because she doesn't add as much as, say, Eli or David Lee or Diane), I disagree. I think the show is setting Laura up as a kind of Alicia 2.0, a smart and capable and, yes, very attractive woman who is ethical but also will do what needs to be done for her case.
For fans of Alicia and Will as a couple this won't be good news, but for those of us who were never much of a fan of that, Will and Laura could be a nice opportunity for Will to really move past The Alicia Issue and power-couple it up with someone he really cares about and respects. If it's a just a fling though, forget it. "The Good Wife" has always been good about creating strong female characters, and to make Laura little more than a device for us to refocus on Will's sex life would be a shame.
Elsewhere, Eli wrangled with the Department of Justice in a storyline that has been brewing quietly for awhile but came to the forefront all at once in "Battle of the Proxies" as the show's only serious mid-season cliffhanger (besides why Jackie was searching for information about condoms). It looks to be a promising story moving forward, with the way the show always handles politics so well, but hopefully as it relates to Peter and Alicia it won't bring them any more relationship drama. Instead, it would be nice to focus outward on taking down Maddie and Kristeva ...
Overall a really strong start to "The Good Wife's" fourth season, far more so than Season Three. See you in 2013!
Musings and Miscellanea:
- How many computers does one family need?? I think the Florricks basically all have laptops and desktops. Loved Zach saying he knew how to clear a cache though, and Grace not being interested in sex until her mother brought it up. The dramatic zoom on her typing in the X though had me laughing.
- "Big leagues? Seems bush league to me" - Laura to Will
- So yes, my picture up there is not totally random - Cary did have scenes this week with Andrew Wiley (Tim Guinee) that were cut, apparently. Shame! Wiley's character doesn't bother me, just because I like Tim Guinee so much, but the fact that his babies never grow up is kind of annoying.
- "I am aglow with anticipation" - Judge (played by Stephen Root, master of Southern drawls)
- Regarding Jackie's condom search (Cuban related? Hmmmm) - Alicia: "We will never speak of this again." Zach: "I'm good with that."
- I think Jackie's dementia symptoms are going to be a major storyline in the back half of this season.
- I loved Will getting fined $20k for impertinence.
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