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Monday, January 14, 2013

'The Good Wife' Season 4, Episode 12 Recap

When the law is an ass, somebody has to kick it!
  • CBS
  • When the law is an ass, somebody has to kick it!

"The Good Wife" saved their best guest star for last. After last week's glut of guest stars, this week had only one, but she was a good one: Elsbeth Tascioni, played by Carrie Preston. Elsbeth has an amazing combination of qualities, from excessive exuberance to sharp mental acuity to extreme good nature. In fact, everything about Elsbeth is extreme, but in all of the best possible ways. She may be overwhelming, but she gets things done. And are we meant to take away from Will and Diane's interest in her that they are hoping to collect her into their fold? (I feel the topic has been broached before, but that she prefers to work on her own. Building up good will though would be a good start to winning her over).

Overall, it was another great week for "The Good Wife," with an entertaining Case of the Week in which the snooty French are undone by Rambo! America! Somehow, the show actually managed to pull that off without it seeming purposefully obtuse about world culture and America's reluctance to really be a part of it in any meaningful way. When Will admits he can't speak French (the first time he's been likable in awhile, because he couldn't be arrogant), his opponent sneers something about the American school system. A dig, but also a fair point, because I also took many years of French and only caught a few passing phrases last night.

Of course, the tricks didn't end there, since it turns out Diane is fluent in la langue française (of course she is - I also loved how she kept an accent even when speaking English). And while the case seemed very straight-forward to start (the athlete was being set up by the athletic company so they wouldn't have to pay out her fee), it turns out that her proof of innocence made her feel exceptionally guilty, and asked Will and Diane to win without it.

Again this touches on the strange morality of Lockhart Gardner's practices, but even though Will said "you want us to win on a lie?" they didn't have to, which I think was good. It felt good, frankly, to be 100% on the firm's side on this, although maybe it's not surprising that the case was so straight forward because it originally (and ultimately) belonged to Elsbeth. Her scheme to "Rambo" the judges against each other based on national bias was brilliantly played and fun to watch.

Still, the show does love the highlight the absurdities of the legal process, which they did not only with the international court but also with Alicia's emergency hearing about constitutional rights violations, which both Geneva and the Judge openly thought was stupid. The thing is, it was stupid, but that was half the point. It was entertaining to watch unfold though, especially because it ended with the line, "when the law is an ass, somebody has to kick it." American justice!

It was also nice that the suggestion came from Peter, but for once he didn't have to make any calls. Even nicer, Alicia didn't ask for him to - she called just to say hello. Even though their relationship status is still in question, it seems almost needlessly so. Still, there's no real need to rush things, and Alicia is the happiest (and the best character) that she has been since then show began.

Speaking of Peter, the show excelled itself with its politics this week. Peter had a really great, sincere talk with Geneva about racial bias. It's interesting to look at from both of their perspectives, though. Peter was not being specifically racially biased, I think we can agree on that. But from Geneva's perspective, how could it look like anything different? I think Peter may be gender biased, which should also have been addressed, but still. I liked what Geneva said about it's about who Peter listens to, because that also came into play regarding Eli and Jordan.

Peter gave a strange speech at the minority group, but it turned out to be a great one after it was picked up by the major media. Inspired by Geneva, Peter did some truth telling. And like his reaction to Geneva's version, a lot of people weren't ready or willing to hear it. But it doesn't make it untrue. It's complicated ideas like this that make "The Good Wife" the exceptional series that it is.

"Je Ne Sais What?" was one of the best episodes of the season, thanks in part to its depth, but also because of Elsbeth. Please, Will and Diane, hire Elsbeth. Although perhaps, like Kalinda, she's best in small doses (how perfect was Kalinda tonight? And yet she barely spoke or had any story of her own. Much better). For now at least we have her representing Eli, which will be a treat.

Next Week: The Grammys take over, so the show won't be back until the following week. No preview to see what's in store, sadly.

Musings and Miscellanea:

- "This isn't 'Law and Order'!" - the French judge. I really loved their digs like that. Hilarious.

- Speaking of hilarious, ELSBETH. She's so well written and so perfectly performed.

- I really liked Alicia's line to Eli when she came out of the rockin' trailer: "it's just the wife."

- I have always like Geneva, and while being passed over time and again has made her much harder and snarkier than before, she's still likable. Hopefully she just doesn't turn into the Terminator like Wendy Scott-Carr.

- The Florrick family time to start the episode was very cute, particularly the bit where Zach had to put Eli on hold. And poor Grace! Forever alone.

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