The Good Wife recap: "The Death Zone"
In a libel case that reaches all the way to the U.K., Alicia and Will declare war against the Brits and their tiny cucumber sandwiches
Tally-ho, Good Wife fans! As longtime Lockhart Gardner associate Paul Revere once warned us: The British are coming! The British are coming!
And not just the British, but Eddie Flippin’ Izzard, everyone’s favorite cross-dressing history buff. Yes, the same comedian who once pointed out the fundamental differences between Americans and their U.K. brethren (hint: it has something to do with the way we pronounce the word herbs) is now playing Queen’s Counsel James Thrush, a man who delivers excellent quips like this one: “God, I do love you Yanks. You’re so easy to distract, with our accents and our periwigs and our tea and crumpets.”
At least, that’s what we think he said. Someone flashed a shiny British coin at us while we were watching, and we got distracted.
Anyway! It’s the Patriots vs. the Redcoats all over again in the courtroom, as Alicia and Thrush go head to head (bonce to bonce?) on The Case of the Left-For-Dead Mountaineer. See, there’s this author, Danny Lambros, whose brother Robert died on Everest. Danny wrote a book suggesting that fellow climber Oliver Cardiff stole Robert’s oxygen and stepped over his body on the way up. In turn, Cardiff’s suing Danny for libel. (And, somewhere, Rupert Murdoch’s probably listening in on Alicia’s steamy voice mails from Will, just for giggles.) In the end, Alicia’s able to get the case dismissed, due to the “death zone” clause: At an altitude of 26,000 feet, climbers suffer from oxygen deprivation and hallucinations, so their testimonies can’t be trusted. As Alicia puts it, “This is a case built on perception, and the death zone makes those perceptions essentially suspect.”
Which explains so much! Why has Alicia been getting all shallow-breathy around Will? Lack of oxygen. Why do we get the feeling that every time Will looks at Alicia, he’s picturing her in sexy Betsy Ross petticoats? Hallucinations. Someone send in the sherpas! There’s a death zone at Lockhart Gardner.
Or maybe it just feels that way because the firm might be in danger. When Peter approaches Diane to see if Lockhart Gardner can provide outside council, he demands that they open themselves up to a voluntary audit first, which might put a giant bullseye on their backs for the IRS. Suddenly, Diane’s red flags are all a-hoisting. “Is there something I should know?” she asks Will, wondering if Alicia’s relationship with her estranged husband might cause trouble for the firm. “I just don’t want to be blindsided.”
“Have you noticed you’re turning into me?” Will replies. “All those sports metaphors?” Still, Diane’s on to Will, who’s not so secretly playing a little touch football with Alicia, and possibly running a naked bootleg play with her, if you know what we mean. (No? Sorry. We don’t either. Sports metaphors are beyond us.)
While Diane and Will are hashing out their game time strategy, Eli’s meeting with Mickey Gunn, a political strategist who’s looking for some crisis management for a client. He needs Eli’s help, but he can’t tell Eli whom the help is for, or why he needs it. “It’s like a bake-off without any ingredients,” sighs Eli.
Nevertheless, he calls in Kalinda to investigate a scandal before it happens. (“Do you want to sit down?” he asks her. “No,” says Kalinda, who sits down so seldom on this show, you’d think she was born without a lap.) Hunting down a guy who hasn’t been identified? To gather evidence for an unknown scandal? Not to worry. Kalinda soon discovers that Mickey’s actually joining the Republican presidential campaign, and he’s just using Eli for research purposes. She’s solved this case before it’s time to administer her mid-afternoon tequila shot.
NEXT: “Intimidation is not a sonnet,” quoth William Gardner Shakespeare.
Back in Legalshire (isn’t that what they call lawyerly places in Britain?), Thrush is busy fighting back. Turns out, libel laws are different in the U.K.: burden of proof is reversed there, so it’s up to Danny to prove what he said in his book is true. And because Danny sold a dozen books in England through Amazon.com (that weasel Cardiff bought them), Thrush dramatically unrolls a new writ of proceedings for libel. Apparently, that’s how it’s done in the U.K.: lawyers make their cases with a swooping flip of the wrist, which causes a great scroll of legalese to unfold. And then everyone celebrates by feasting on bacon and kippers. (We assume that part took place off-screen.)
Luckily, Alicia has some help in the form of Timothy Ash Brannon, a Sudoku-playing, anagram-loving Irish-born lawyer who can’t always pronounce the letter “r.” (“Flah-rick, is it?” he asks. Spelled with “two ahs”?) Is he a barrister? “Actually, no, a solicit-ah. Not as posh as a bah-rist-ah, but we try hah-dah!” He laughs. “Sorry, I’m a bit punchy. First trip to the States. Just off the plane. Where are the Olsen twins?” Oh, that Brannon. Always the joke-stah!
So an Irishman, an Englishman, and two Americans who are secretly snogging walk into a courtroom… and if that sounds like the setup to some kind of wisecrack, well, that’s because the next scene is a great comedy of errors. There’s great confusion for Brits and Yanks alike. Must the Americans call the British judge, who’s beamed in via satellite, “your lordship” instead of “your honor”? Did Will just upset Your Honor His Lordship by turning his back to him? And what time of day is it anyway, morning or evening? “I think it might be more appropriate to respond, ‘Good morning,'” Judge Mowbray tells the court. “I understand the arguments for ‘Good evening,’ but the court of record is in London, not in the United States, and as you can see, it is morning here.” And by the time that argument’s over, it’s probably evening. In which case, good morning!
Much later, or earlier—or whatever, we’re still confused about the time of day!—Will and Alicia get the chance to play Robert’s final voice mail, made from atop Everest to his wife, who’s openly weeping while she testifies. Home run! Afterward, believing that he’s won the case, Will starts his own personal Revolutionary War with Thrush. His first salvo? Taunting his homeland for watching Benny Hill.
Clearly offended, Thrush gives a monologue that ranks high on our personal list of Great Speeches Delivered on Behalf of Great Empires: “I am not the England of Big Ben and bobbies,” he proclaims. “I am not the England of doilies and cucumber sandwiches. I’m the England of football hooligans and Jack the Ripper. And this England don’t play nice. And they don’t play fair. And they don’t ever stop.”
To which Will replies, “Here’s some advice, Mr. Thrush. When you want to intimidate someone, don’t use so many words. Intimidation isn’t a sonnet.” Yes, William Gardner Shakespeare speaketh the truth! Except, by our count, that’s eighteen words too many. Couldn’t he just say, “Sod off”?
NEXT: What happens in Will’s office bathroom stays in Will’s office bathroom.
Is it just us, or is Will always saying a little too much? When Diane asks if he thinks they should let themselves get audited, he answers, “Let’s not expose ourselves on a subway platform if we don’t have to.” Hmmm… is that how the old cliche goes? (“It’s the Brits,” Will says, by way of an excuse, “I think I’m picking up on their accents.” “I’ve noticed,” muses Diane. “It really classes up the joint.”) And when Alicia sticks up for American justice against the British judge, he admits, “I think I’m having American Revolution fantasies.” Then he suggests that he and Alicia act them out in his office bathroom, just like George and Martha Washington used to. If only Diane wasn’t watching them through the window, they could’ve reenacted the Battle of Lexington in there.
In fact, there’s a whole lot of role-playing going on between Will and Alicia these days. After Thrush bullies Brannon for pulling a “potato famine immigration,” Brannon confesses that “there’s this inbred deference I have to greater rank.” “Yeah I know,” admits Alicia. “Me too.” Nudge, nudge! Because she’s dating her boss. If she’s got an inbred deference to anything, it’s hotness.
And that’s…uh… what were we saying again? Sorry! As Thrush said, we keep getting distracted… by hotness!
To proceed: this super attractive A&R rep testifies that Cardiff wouldn’t have stolen Robert’s oxygen because he let her borrow his sherpas while she was climbing Everest. (Hot girls, always busy climbing mountains!) But her Lasik eye surgery complicates her testimony (it’s a long, science-y story), and after a team of Japanese internet trolls intervenes, Cardiff confesses to taking the goods from Robert: “He was dying!”
So! Will and Alicia win the case. Brannon hugs Danny. Congratulations are exchanged. Fingers are seductively brushed against other fingers. America wins! And all’s well except one thing. Diane’s still worried that Peter’s out to get Lockhart Gardner, perhaps because he wants revenge on Alicia. “If she works against us, we are letting her go,” Diane promises Will. “I am holding you to that.”
Will Alicia’s relationship with Will threaten the firm? Could it get her fired? We’ll find out next week. Until then, we’ll be practicing our British vernacu-lah. Though we fear Diane’s wrong about that accent: it only classes up the joint if you’re actually British.
NEXT: Will and Alicia: hot or not?
Okay, readers, your turn:
What did you think of that office bathroom proposal: Hot? Not?
Does Peter win any points for telling his son that he hurt Alicia, and that’s why she kicked him out?
What did you think of the episode? How do you like this season so far?
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