The Good Wife recap: 'Get a Room'
It’s not love, is it?
Well, Owen, it is and it isn’t. Once, The Good Wife was all about the strange intimacy of work relationships, the kind that drew Will to Alicia, Alicia to Kalinda, and Kalinda to… Cary, Sophia, and probably half of Chicago. And it’s always been easy to understand why those bonds are so intense. Clocking 80-hour workweeks, Lockhart Gardner lawyers spend more time with their colleagues than they do with their own families.
And yet, lately, it’s easy to wonder: Is the honeymoon period over already? Cary’s accusing Kalinda’s of using his feelings to further her investigations. Eli and Diane are already fighting over how to best represent their clients. And no matter how much Owen jokes that her nights are hot, “steaming, sultry with a scent of jasmine, forbidden love,” Alicia still insists that she’s not in love with Will. Sure they’re holed up in a hotel room together, but that’s not as sexy as it sounds—unless you have a weird thing for spinal chord stimulators.
The title of this week’s episode, “Get a Room,” is a cheat for those fans who keep waiting (and waiting) to see Alicia and Will get more quality time outside the courthouse. This particular hotel room is reserved for a court-ordered mediation: Lockhart Gardner’s client Maggie Reeves, who’s suffering from degenerative disc disorder, claims that her doctor, Dr. Farland, implanted his own spinal chord stimulator (SCS) into her without FDA approval, leaving her in a lot of pain. Was this fraud, or a simple mistake? Running back and forth between opposing councils’ hotel rooms, the mediator tries to lure both sides toward a settlement, but it’s going to be tougher than he thinks. A reporter tells Maggie that the FDA is siding with Dr. Farland, though his attorney could’ve started that rumor. Also, Dr. Farland’s attorney happens to be Will’s former girlfriend Celeste, a woman who refuses to give up until she follows Will back to his hotel room, gives him her phone number, and aggressively offers to “settle things” over a bottle of wine.
Does The Good Wife really need a crazy ex-girlfriend sub-plot? It’s hard to believe that, ten years after their break-up, an attractive, successful lawyer like Celeste would still be so obsessed with Will that she feels compelled to tell him not once, but twice, that she misses him. (Stop saying that out loud!) Granted, she provides some interesting prospective on the ever-inscrutable Will, revealing that he has a “tell”: when he thinks he’s in trouble, he doubles down. But it’s a stretch to think that a lawyer who’s good enough to be a potential Lockhart Gardner hire would gamble away her client’s bottom line so easily, and so literally, over a card game. Once Kalinda finds Mr. Farland’s patent for the SCS, which proves that it needed FDA approval, it’s all over for Celeste.
Still, Celeste serves her purpose. Now that nothing’s preventing Will and Alicia from being together, they could use some tension in their relationship. Back in the chaste flirtation days, just a single I-need-to-see-you-in-my-office glance was all Alicia needed to daydream over a magazine spread of Chicago’s 16th Most Eligible Bachelor, and that sexy scene in the season premiere suggested that they might be able to keep this up forever. But in just two episodes, it seems like Will and Alicia already skipped need help from the Keeping the Spark Alive handbook. (And judging by Owen’s budding interest in tantric sex, he’s reading it, too.) What’s with all the silly role-playing? Last week, Alicia joked about playing dress-up in American Revolution garb for Will. This week, their hotel-room romp doesn’t really get started until Alicia offers to play the jealous girlfriend. Just once, can’t Will and Alicia play Will and Alicia, and enjoy it?
NEXT: Eli and the Case of the No-Good Very Bad Cheese
While those two play Lawyers in Love, Eli’s quickly becoming the most entertaining part of this show. The only thing funnier than watching him get outraged is knowing that he’s outraged about cheese. And the news footage that shows the grade schoolers getting sick, allegedly on bacteria-infected cheddar, is the best kiddie zombie movie ever. One little girl slides down the wall with such perfectly blank eyes, she should earn a role on The Walking Dead. Watching each child go down in a blaze of Technicolor vomit, the Wisconsin State Dairy Guild rep says, “I’m worried this is going to keep people from purchasing cheese.” Eli’s wide-eyed response is perfect: “Ya think?”
If Eli’s chemistry with Kalinda last week was great (Him: “How have I not met you yet? Her: “We… move in different circles”), his bickering with everyone else is almost as good. When Diane fights him on the legal language of the apology he’s written for the cheese execs, he snaps, “Diane, you’re only here as window dressing!” When news footage surfaces of the Heather Farms cheese CEO carrying a garbage bag, Eli snarls, “Who are you, Chico and the Man?” Later, he relishes the moment when the poor guy gets a pie in the face. And now that Eli’s involvement with the cheese scandal has leaked to the press, tarnishing Peter’s reputation by association, he’s going to come after Will, who may or may not have tipped off the reporter. Things are about to get complicated.
Good thing Owen’s there to make everything a little easier for the kids—and for Alicia. Folding the laundry, watching daytime television, listening to Zach’s revelation about his dad’s other affair, and trying in earnest to understand the weird “freestyle street dance” videos that Grace watches with her tutor, he’s like a younger, more freewheeling version of Jackie. Right now, his conversations with Alicia—that mix of inside jokes and blunt honesty that only siblings can get away with—are the most real moments on the show. He’s a good armchair psychologist, telling Alicia, “Work is like this new avoidance tactic for you,” and urging her to talk to her kids more often. And his protectiveness of his sister is touching. Owen: “Are you gonna get hurt by this guy? Alicia: “I don’t know. I have no perspective.” Owen: “You should’ve rebelled in high school so you don’t have to do it now.”
As mothers go, Owen’s a great one, and Alicia needs him more than ever. I’m betting that Will and Diane will hire Celeste. And you know what happens with work relationships at Lockhart Gardner. Let’s just hope that Will doesn’t double down.
Your turn: What did you think of this episode? Are you still rooting for Alicia to stay with Will? Was Celeste believable as his ex, or did her neediness seem overblown?
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Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, and Chris Noth star in the legal/family drama.