The Good Wife recap: Turning Tables
Alicia may not like complications, but it’s a good thing Good Wife fans do, because in the last original ep of 2011 — the next new one airs Jan. 8 — the show got so much messier. Wendy is after Peter? Diane is Alicia’s new mentor? Cary and Dana are playing dirty? Instead of a straight recap this week, let’s focus on the five questions we’ll be debating with friends over dinner (or scotch) during the next month:
• Are we supposed to be rooting for Peter or not? Seeing Peter want to attend the meeting with the private school he and Alicia are hoping will make an exception and accept Grace and Zach midterm made me think yes. He wants to be a real partner to Alicia when it comes to raising the kids and isn’t pressuring her for more at this point. But then, when his charm failed to secure their admission, he resorted to throwing the weight of his title around: He’d done thorough background checks on the teachers — as a concerned parent — and found felony DUI, check hiding, and drug charges. “I’m the state’s attorney. You don’t say no to me. And you especially don’t say no to me when it concerns my children. Do you understand? I think the word you’re looking for is yes…. Good. So, we’ll be hearing from you,” he said.
Abusing his power to get the police looking for Grace last week before she’d been missing 24 hours was one thing. But blackmailing the kids’ way into school was another. It made you wonder what else he was capable of. Is he just desperate to get Grace and Zach back into private school because then Alicia will stop thinking he ruined the children’s lives by condemning them to public school (which can’t keep as close an eye on Grace, who’s lost her TV, computer, and phone privileges save for homework and the family plan)? Or are we supposed to think Peter’s God complex is returning? Do you think Alicia knows what Peter did when he went back to the school? She’s been getting her hands dirty this season, and she’s also desperate to feel as though her behavior isn’t hurting her kids, so how much would she mind?
• What’s the motivation behind Diane’s offer to mentor Alicia? Making the “smart move” is a very big thing on The Good Wife. So why did Diane choose now to call Alicia in and remind her that women have to help women because while being associated with a powerful man can be useful, it also means people deny you the credit you deserve? Is it because she feels bad about making Will end things with Alicia (I believe Diane would have even more respect for Alicia if she knew she was the one who called it off)? Because Diane wants to keep Alicia close and give Peter one less reason to come after the firm? Or because Diane truly believes Alicia is partner material and knows she’s in need of a new mentor since losing Will? Diane told Alicia that at this point in her career, she has two possible paths: She can either continue to rise at the firm on the partner track or fall back to Earth? Ouch. Alicia didn’t like the phrasing of that either, and for a moment, when Diane talked about Alicia needing to not be distracted by family or (hint) office friendships, I thought Lewis’ firm was probably looking pretty good to her. But Alicia took a beat, and by the end of the episode, was sitting at a bar about to have a drink with Diane and accept her friendship and advice.
I think Alicia learned something from her client, a cop who was convicted of murdering her husband for the insurance money and thought she’d had a lot of friends until none visited her in jail: It’s better to have people in your life who tell it to you like it is and show up, than people who take the time to phrase things nicely but don’t mean what they say or follow through. Will told Alicia things wouldn’t be awkward between them because they’re adults. “You have no reason to thank me, Alicia. No reason at all.” That seemed to confuse her, but I couldn’t tell why: Was that because she thought it was him putting on a brave face when he didn’t actually mean it, or her wondering why he was so okay with the break up (she doesn’t know he thought it might help cool the heat the state’s attorney’s office is putting on him)? Regardless, I’m thinking Alicia looked at her options as a secretly separated single mom who can’t date, can’t stand staying at home alone cleaning or watching what sounded like the soft core porn telling of Joan of Arc, can’t count on her brother Owen always being free for a drink, or can’t enjoy the company of old tennis buddies, and decided she had to make new friends. Since Alicia can’t be honest about or make changes in her personal life now, the easiest thing to do is focus on work and spend time with the people who know enough not to ask about her personal life and have her back when she needs them — Diane and Kalinda. At the very least, befriending Diane is the “smart move.”
NEXT: I’m over Dana
• How big of bastards are Cary and Dana? Here’s what I don’t understand: If Cary and Dana admitted they didn’t do enough to prove first degree murder — which is why they offered a deal for second degree, which the innocent cop declined — why was Dana so quick to assume Judge Peter Dunaway (guest star Kurt Fuller) was in Lockhart/Gardner’s pocket for hoping Diane, Alicia, and Justin Coyne would give him a solid reason to overturn the jury’s unjust guilty verdict before sentencing? Dana going to Wendy with that theory made her seem like a cry baby, but at least it produced that great scene between Dunaway, who used to play ball with Will, and Wendy when he called her out on trying to intimidate him into siding with the prosecution on the ongoing case, and she reminded him that there is no “ongoing case” — the verdict is in. Well played, Wendy, only Dunaway should have been rooting for the defense no matter who the attorneys were.
As soon as that verdict came in, Alicia and Kalinda had started gathering license plate/contact info for the jurors so they could find out what had happened during deliberations, and Justin went through the garbage to piece together the vote timeline: In one round of voting, just after lunch, it went from nine people thinking the cop wasn’t guilty to 10 people thinking she was. Dana had warned Kalinda that she’d be arrested if any of the jurors felt harassed, but it was Cary who showed up when Kalinda was asking the jury foreman why he had the jury hear the transcript of the cop’s partner/alibi again after lunch. Cary said it didn’t matter if the man himself felt harassed, he was a public employee whose supervisor said Kalinda was preventing him from executing his duties. Kalinda knew it was a bogus charge, but Cary said it would keep her out of circulation for a day or two. Bastard.
Again, his douchiness had one benefit: It helped set Kalinda and Alicia on the road to mending their friendship. Alicia had gone to see Grace’s Internet spiritual leader Jimmy Patrick to tell him not to contact Grace again, and he said he wasn’t planning on it because Alicia’s “assistant” Kalinda had made it clear she would hurt him if he did. Alicia got the story of how Kalinda found Grace from Zach, and when she heard Kalinda was arrested, she went to get her out. Dana had decided Kalinda looked pale and needed to be transferred to a hospital so Lockhart/Gardner couldn’t find her. How quickly I’ve turned on Dana. Honestly, I’m ready for her to take a bullet during February sweeps. Is that wrong? Alicia was told Kalinda was getting treatment, and she stormed into Cary’s office to let him have it. She threatened to bring a lawsuit, naming him personally, if he didn’t produce Kalinda at once because she has three pro bono clients who have suffered the same transferring of relatives and loved ones. If she could prove it was a systematic effort to elude arraignment and bail hearings, they were talking about damages in the millions. Cut to Kalinda being freed and her and Alicia not saying a word to each other until they got to Alicia’s car. They each said thank you, and Alicia meant it — Kalinda hadn’t had to help find Grace. That wasn’t part of her job. Alicia did need to get Kalinda out because they needed her to do more snooping.
Nothing they’d been trying had worked. The button enthusiast juror blogging about how long and boring the deliberations were during the trial wasn’t bad enough to be jury misconduct. Neither was juror No. 12 receiving a threat from the foreman (“Change your vote or you’ll be sorry!”) since the juror admitted he hadn’t taken it seriously enough to change the way he was going to vote. They needed to know why the foreman not only changed his vote from not-guilty to guilty after lunch, but also tried bullying others into following suit. He’d told Kalinda pre-arrest that he’d wanted the partner/alibi’s testimony read because the cop uniform keeps people from judging words objectively. When you don’t see the uniform, you begin to see holes in his story. Button lady said that on that last day, the foreman had left the group to use the computer at an Internet cafe. Kalinda figured out what he’d been looking up — articles on the alibi witness. The cop had shot an unarmed Hispanic youth in 2002, and though he had been cleared of charges, some questioned whether he should have been. The foreman had just made the connection before lunch, confirmed it was the same cop during his excursion, and decided he couldn’t be trusted. Diane and Justin knew the judge, now nervous about Wendy, would need more. Alicia offered to help Kalinda, which made both Kalinda and viewers smile. They went back to button lady — “I always liked what you were wearing,” she told Alicia (brilliant!) — to get the contact info. for other jurors who could say the foreman had brought in outside evidence. When button lady went to her Facebook page, Alicia saw she had friended the judge — during the trial.
I assume we were all like, Why would a judge be friending people he doesn’t know on Facebook? He explained that he was running for reelection, so he just assumed anyone with a Friend request was a supporter. That was judicial misconduct. He had to declare a mistrial.
NEXT: I can’t tell who Wendy is screwing, which suddenly makes her interesting
• So Wendy’s really after Peter? Wendy showed up to see Will, who was alone on the basketball court. Apparently word has gotten around and no one wants to play with him. (But Alicia still hasn’t heard about the investigation? Weird.) Wendy told Will she wasn’t after him, she was after someone who used to be involved in his games years ago — Peter. [Insert record scratch.] In case you missed it, Will recapped for us: Only in Cook County could Peter appoint Wendy to investigate Will and Wendy turn it back on Peter. Will was otherwise speechless. Wendy said Peter may be clean this term, but he wasn’t during his first one. She thinks Will knows Peter’s weaknesses, and she wanted to talk. It’s the “smart move.” Will said no. He’s hiring a lawyer, then they can talk. “The next we talk, it will be in front of a grand jury,” Wendy said. “Okay, so be it,” Will answered. He dropped the ball and walked off. So what does that mean? Wendy will take Will down on her way to get to Peter if he doesn’t cooperate? Or is she tricking him into opening up so she can actually get something on him? I wouldn’t put anything past these people now.
• What does this all mean for Will and Alicia? During her bored night out drinking with Owen, Alicia insisted she wasn’t in love with Will. She loved the attention and the raw animalistic sex and hated the lying and that he was her boss. Owen suggested she leave the firm, but that’s too messy for Alicia too. She doesn’t like complications. Do you believe she was just using Will for a long overdue thrill (then poor him!), or do you think she’s trying to talk herself out of something she’s decided she can’t have (then poor her!)? Will Will tell her that Wendy said she’s coming for Peter? Are we looking at a February or May sweeps episode in which Peter will have to decide whether to try to discredit Will by asking whether he was sleeping with his wife, or will hurt Will have to decide whether to unleash hell on Peter if it means burning Alicia? Or is either scenario too melodramatic for this show?
Your turn. How do you think the latest twists will play out in the new year? Is Alicia boxing herself in only to get hurt by Peter’s past again? Does Will have an obligation to tell his new buddy Eli what Wendy said about Peter? Are Cary and Dana just doing their jobs, or are they crossing some lines? (And shouldn’t Alicia be pursuing that lawsuit on behalf of her three pro bono clients, or are they not as important as an innocent cop accused of murder?)
Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, and Chris Noth star in the legal/family drama.