Monday, January 28, 2013

"The Good Wife" Season 4, Episode 13 Recap

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Your Honor I would like to present Exhibit A: my face
  • CBS
  • "Your Honor I would like to present Exhibit A: my face"

Another fantastic week for "The Good Wife." "The Seven Day Rule" was an episode that probably worked ok on its own, but seemed designed specifically to benefit long-time fans with a complex narrative (not seen all too often on network procedurals). It incorporated familiar aspects and faces (particularly the appearance of Neil Gross, the CEO of ChumHum, one of the show's favorite Google-esque targets), but it also played upon old rivalries and set up plenty to come.

The Case of the Week mostly took a back seat to the emotional arc, which dealt with Alicia's sudden promotion to equity partner. Alicia's feelings on the matter - from initial confusion, accepting revelry, further confusions, disappointment and eventual cynicism (ending with acceptance, if not revelry) - were felt alongside those watching. "A fourth year, made partner you say?" Well it is St. Alicia. But "The Good Wife" tends to not be so transparent in its fan service, so surely something was up? Oh, indeed.

The first blow came from David Lee, who loves to spoil a party, that the equity part of the partnership means that a $600,000 buy-in is required. Later, he slips in, in front of Alicia, that Cary was also made partner, truly souring her day (despite their alliance). Later, on the stand, she finds out that all five fourth-years were made partner. By the hammer of Thor! Pout time!

It was interesting that Cary approached the questionable partnership offer with far more pragmatism from the start than Alicia. Cary first sheepishly shrugs it off to Alicia, and later tells Kalinda that, assuming he can raise the capital, he's all for it. As Diane points out to Alicia later, it's not necessarily about why you are asked, but simply that you are.

That whole idea plays in nicely to the ethical undercurrent running through this season and last - is Lockhart Gardner always in the right? Did they pass the burden of their debt onto their clients to settle when they shouldn't have? Despite Diane's protestations, one wonders, and thinks back to those murky times when the firm was willing to do anything to get Hayden and the creditors off of their backs.

Two things remain consistent, though - Alicia will always tell the truth (perhaps selectively) and Hayden will always reward kindness, but puts good business sense above all. Those elements were important in "The Seven Day Rule," where Lockhart Gardner was victorious once again over its oppressors (for better or worse) when trust and loyalty were tested. And even Alicia, who pouted through most of the episode, found a way to soldier on.

What the firm - as in David Lee, with Cary and Alicia watching - did regarding Gross and his fiancée, though, was pretty unconscionable. For them to want to do right by their client is one thing, but to create arbitrary parameters - to lie, simply put - in order to strain their relationship? David Lee's philosophy is to rile them up enough to get the concessions you want, but not enough to end the relationship. It's cold, it's a sad commentary ... and evidently it works. But is it right?

"The Good Wife" has never held the legal profession or politics in a very high regard, which is one thing that makes it such an honest show - it doesn't sugar-coat. Things aren't always clear regarding right and wrong, and often the show doesn't really take a stance one way or another. Did Alicia believe that there wasn't a scheme at Lockhart Gardner to pretend to have an influx of cash by making fourth years partners? Evidently fed up with white lies for the day, Alicia also refused to kowtow to Eli's wish that she say she believes in God. Was that right?

So what makes St. Alicia a saint? (And can I just say that that as a meta moment about made me fall off of my chair). Is it that she is what people want her to be, or more that she can just be relied upon to speak truths? Though Maddie used her and abused their friendship, Alicia was still drawn to her initially as a strong woman who didn't stand down from making her beliefs known. While Alicia may not approve of the approach, she (even drunk!) seemed to admire the fact that Maddie was willing to speak out clearly, and not sidestep regarding her atheism. We'll find out next week how that played in the polls - for both Maddie and Alicia - but in the meantime it was an interesting commentary about St. Alicia making a stand, something Season One Alicia probably wouldn't have done. If Peter wants to be with her now, it's going to be honest and on her terms (which he, if not Eli, seems just fine with).

In the end, a really solid and complex episode from the show, in what has been a pretty exceptional season.

Musings and Miscellenea:

- This episode was great at peppering in a little of this and a little of that. Just the right amounts. And I'm always happy to see David Lee!

- "Live and learn, young protégé." - David Lee. I would love to see him actively mentor Cary. I think Cary would be great at what David Lee does.

- "Objection, as to shenanigans" - Diane.

- What was up with Diane's look at the end of the episode? Was it pleasure that Alicia decided to join forces with them, followed by suspicion at her fake thanks?

- Oh Canning, you just never stop using your disability in any way you can. And yet it's so brilliant and entertaining! Most of the time though, while it does buy sympathy, it does not always equal results.

- So will Alicia finally take Canning's job offer seriously?

- Oh Hayden attempting to reform the legal field one good heart at a time. Godspeed.

- Kalinda has been shunted off to the side recently, but it's not been bad. I felt like some scenes were cut out though re: her contract negotiations with Will.

- I love it when Alicia gets drunk, because it allows her to go up to Maddie, smile and say "Hello, have any friends?"

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