The Good Wife picked up right where it left off last week: Kalinda and Blake in that Underground Parking Lot of Secrets, with Kalinda showing one of the first signs of weakness we’ve ever seen from her — a feebly muttered “You’re wrong” in response to Blake’s assertion that she slept with Peter Florrick. A few minutes later, she’s with Alicia, asking whether Alicia is happy. Alicia’s ambivalent response, “When the storm is over, is it happiness or relief?” was perfectly written to leave us tingly with anticipation: If she only knew about the other storm a-brewin’…
The case this week was nicely creepy, almost Criminal Minds-y but more clever. Working on behalf of the victim’s daughter, Lockhart/Gardner sues a convicted killer over the royalties ($800,000-worth) he’s received for a song he wrote describing details of a crime (a horrific rape-torture-murder). The human monster, played by Gossip Girl‘s Sam Robards, was a dead-eyed sociopath, smugly superior. “I’m a fan,” he tells Alicia. Ugh and eek. This character, Jarvis Bowes, was a doozy; I loved the notion that he claimed to be influenced by both Elvis Costello and Gerard Manley Hopkins: Bowes was a newly freed jailbird admiring a master of sprung rhythm. I also admired the creation of the conscience-less British rocker who’d recorded Bowes’ lyrics: “Didn’t Norman Mailer kill someone or something?” Er, “something,” my dear fellow… And very nice twist at the end of the hour, about the additional Bowes murder.
America Ferrera returned as Natalie Flores, Wendy Scott-Carr’s ex-nanny about whom Eli Gold feels guilt mingled with affection. (I’ll be honest with you, the first time Natalie appeared on the show, I didn’t sense romantic-attraction on the part of Eli, I interpreted it as flattered egotism; my wife says I’m an idiot, but she says that a lot anyway. And no matter how the show spun it, I still think Eli wanting to be absolved of guilt and have his feelings reciprocated by Natalie is rather creepy, given the age difference, but that’s the way it goes in life sometimes…) Now it was Natalie’s father who was in trouble, in danger of being deported if he got put “into the system” under the excuse of a patently false arrest.
The way Eli used his influence as a Lockhart/Gardner client to get Diane scurrying for a bond hearing was delightful. And having that other wronged-wife scandal continue to make the TV news, playing out in front of many of our main characters, was also a fine detail that could, who knows, blossom into a full-fledged storyline.
Credit America Ferrera with another fine performance; she had to convey an awfully wide range of emotions regarding her father and Eli in the space of a subplot, and did it well. Credit, too, to Alan Cumming, for the way he communicated his excitement at seeing Natalie again (belittled by Eli’s daughter via his ex-wife as a post-campaign “palate-cleanser,” a “crush”), as well as Eli’s un-Eli-like effort to remain anonymous in his attempts to help her father.
But it did come down to the pay-off of the tense conversation between Kalinda and Peter, didn’t it? Here was where The Good Wife‘s sparing use of Peter really paid off; the first time you saw Chris Noth in this episode, it was electrifying, because we were looking at his character in a new way yet again. The killer line, “You said we’d never talk about this,” was off-set by the soppy but utterly believable, “I’ve fallen in love with my wife again.”
I admire any TV show that puts a main character, one for whom we’re supposed have sympathy if not outright admiration, in a morally untenable position. So it is now with Peter. How is this going to play out? (Call me amoral, but Peter being blackmailed by Matan Brody? Given the grief it’s going to cause, I’d consider a contract hit on him, Peter!) One thing’s for sure: Alicia is a different woman from the one who was cheated on at the start of this series, and her reactions, when she finds out (and she will find out), are going to be very different. Peter’s comment, “It would kill her to know this” — I’m not so sure, Peter.
Theories, analysis, and bursts of constructive emotion are encouraged, below; thanks.