The Good Wife recap: 'Oppo Research'
Before deciding if she wants to move forward with her state's attorney run, Alicia has to deal with the issues brought up in opposition research.
Note to self: Never run for political office. The skeletons in the closets of fictional characters are stressful enough! Case in point: Jaw-drop count for tonight’s episode = 2. So let’s get to it. Thanks to a run in with Gloria Steinem and a less-than-ideal James Castro conversation in last week’s episode, Alicia has finally agreed to seriously consider a run for state’s attorney. I think we knew from the get-go that she would at least entertain the idea of a campaign because that was the whole season 5 cliff-hanger. It would be a waste of a cliff-hanger to not have some sort of pay off. And then when season 6 returned, Alicia’s adamant protests against running just made it all the more inevitable that she’d change her tune. So am I surprised we’ve reached this point? Not at all. Am I happy about it? Ask again later, after we digest this week’s developments.
So there’s no case of the week as Alicia explores the possibilities of her campaign. The episode opens with Alicia pouring a glass of wine, and I choose to take that as a fully symbolic opening. The writers want you to drink while you watch this show! Savor it, folks. Anyway, Alicia is clearly nervous as she prepares food, cleans her apartment, and readies herself for what must be a dinner party of sorts, right? Wrong. It’s just Eli. The nerves are just taking over. We’ve lauded David Buckley for his brilliant scores for The Good Wife. It was a calculated decision to have this scene relatively silent. No music. Just nerves. (Am I the only one stressed? Don’t answer that.)
Also worth noting: An early highlight of this episode is the return of Darkness at Noon, the fake TV show within The Good Wife universe. And then, Talking at Noon, a talk show following Darkness. Guys, the writers are so clever. In what are seemingly throwaway scenes are mini-commentaries on the show itself. Exhibit A: “I was blown away. I mean, every assumption I had was turned upside down.” Exhibit B: “I just think she’s so repressed. She had to do something like this.” I love this kind of tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating humor. Somebody start the slow applause.
But I digress. Alicia and Eli begin to talk about the ins and outs of her potential campaign, the most pressing of which is that she has only four days to decide whether or not she wants to run. Enter Johnny (Steven Pasquale), Alicia’s potential campaign manager. Like Alicia, I assumed Eli would run her campaign, but he rightly points out he’s too busy being Peter’s chief of staff. Alicia’s not too thrilled about Mr. Elfman. Actually, the only person less excited than she is is probably Elfman himself. So they’re already off to a rocky start when they begin going through the skeletons in Alicia’s closet, a.k.a. the oppo research. Alicia takes a big sip of wine, and they dive right in.
Issue 1: Alicia’s clients at Florrick/Agos. Lemond Bishop, Colin Sweeney, and the Paisley Group are all troublesome. If she wants to run, she’s got to drop Bishop, and she’s got to do it before she makes her announcement.
Issue 2: And this one’s a doozy. Zach got Nisa pregnant last year, and they had an abortion!! To say Alicia is shocked would be an understatement. Since they were minors, Nisa’s parents were notified, but Alicia and Peter were totally left in the dark.
Issue 3: Owen, Alicia’s brother, is having an affair with a married Palestinian man who also participates in barebacked gay porn. When Alicia attempts to talk to Owen about this, he doesn’t take it well. He storms off before they even finish the conversation. And before he finishes his wine!
Issue 4: Alicia’s mother, Veronica, spanked a 5-year-old boy in a department store, and there’s videotape evidence. Veronica agrees to apologize to the mother of the aforementioned child to avoid a lawsuit. Unfortunately, the mother of the hellion tries to make a play for $50,000. But the videotape also shows the child kicking an elderly woman. So if Myra (Donna Lynne Champlin) doesn’t want to pay that lady’s medical bills, she’s going to have to let it go. She (wisely) does.
Issue 5: Alicia’s relationship with Will. Thankfully (??) he’s dead.
Issue 6: Alicia’s relationship with Finn Polmar. There’s that photo of him leaving her apartment early in the morning. It’s innocent enough, but the rest of the world doesn’t know that.
Issue 7: Peter and Kalinda slept together. Alicia is the one who tells Eli about this, so he met with Kalinda to put out another potential fire. But Kalinda reassures Eli that this is a non-issue. And honestly, she’s right. Kalinda’s not going to cause any more drama in her already-strained relationship with Alicia.
Issue 8: Peter’s questionable relationship with his intern, Lauren (Katie Paxton). But before they tell Alicia about this and make it more of an issue, Peter agrees to let Eli fire her. (Have we ever seen Eli so happy? Debatable.) Anyway, all seems to go as planned until it appears that Peter’s having a closed-door meeting with Lauren the Intern after her firing. But upon further investigation, Eli discovers that it’s Lauren’s mom that Peter is having a meeting with. He admits that Ramona (Connie Nielsen) is an old family friend, and that he was just helping her by hiring Lauren. (More thoughts on this later…)
Issue 9: Alicia’s drinking problem. Okay, so this is clearly a non-issue, but the opposition (presumably Castro) is trying to make it one. She gets pulled over after having one glass of wine. She immediately offers to take a Breathalyzer, but the officer insists on a roadside test. She’s photographed, naturally, and it appears as though Saint Alicia is Drunk Alicia. But it’s clear that this is a set up.
NEXT: Conflicts of Interest
Alongside potential Alicia-gates, we got updates on the hot mess that is Lemond Bishop and Cary’s trial: Bishop receives a subpoena for all of the records associated with his real estate holdings. This is a part of his legitimate businesses, so on a surface level, there’s no concern. But Florrick/Agos is worried that if they comply, the state’s attorney will use it as a precedent for Cary’s criminal case.
But because of Alicia’s potential state’s attorney campaign, she does as she’s told and tries to drop Bishop as a client. The firm is representing both Cary and Bishop, and that makes it particularly hard to represent both at the same time. So they suggest Bishop change representation, and they even give him a list of potential firms. But Bishop refuses to take his business elsewhere. Awkward. Bishop knows he’s not getting the full story, so he approaches Kalinda to figure out why Florrick/Agos might be dropping him. After some hemming and hawing, Kalinda admits that Alicia’s considering a state’s attorney run, and that’s probably why she wants to drop him.
In weird news, Grace informs Alicia about a PAC with $84,000 in funding (and counting) for Alicia’s not-even-announced campaign. Alicia’s shocked, and assumes Eli had something to do with it. He plays the innocent card, and surprisingly enough, he’s actually innocent this time. So where’s all that money coming from?
If you guessed Lemond Bishop, you’d be right. Bishop agrees to take his business to another firm, and he’s even going to say Alicia fired him as a client and that he’s very upset about it to make her look better. But is he really upset? Not at all. He’s the one responsible for the PAC money, which is now at $140,000 and counting. And apparently, there’s more money where that came from. Now obviously, this is a huge conflict of interest. Bishop assumes if he gets on Alicia’s good side now, she won’t come after him if and when she’s elected state’s attorney. But that’s the kind of trade-off that Alicia probably doesn’t want to make. How long before this blows up in her face? Only time will tell.
The best moments and lines from “Oppo Research”:
**Note: Apparently staying out of the court room means some extra great one-liners!
–Alicia’s frustration at overhearing Darkness at Noon spoilers while catching part of the aftershow, Talking at Noon
–Carmen Lynch and Joseph Weisberg as themselves on Talking at Noon
–Alicia: “I just don’t think it lasts. Good news tends not to last.”
Eli: “And that’s what I like about you. You’re always looking for the bad.”
–Eli: “You’re a brand now. Saint Alicia.”
Alicia: “Eli, I wish you would say that with at least a hint of irony.”
Eli: “No. Irony is dead now. You’re campaigning.”
–Grace’s choir singing in the background throughout the episode
–Alicia: “It doesn’t seem like there’s time to reserve judgment.”
Johnny Elfman: “And yet, here I am, reserving it.”
–”It’s like a Marx Brothers movie in here.” —Johnny Elfman
–”Okay. Talk to mom about hitting children. Next?” —Alicia
–Alicia: “What about Grace? What did she do? Turning tricks after school?”
Eli: “Well, actually…”
Alicia: Face of disbelief
Eli: “No. That was a joke. Grace is good.”
Alicia: “Christianity: 3. Atheism: 0.”
–”Well, I don’t like my kids seeing who I sleep with. How could they get out in time for their abortions?”
–Jonathan Elfman: “If it’s any consolation, Mrs. Florrick…”
Alicia: “Alicia. Anyone who’s pawed through my underwear drawer should really call me by my first name.”
–Owen laughing when he hears that Veronica spanked a child
–Veronica: “Wait, why does Owen get privacy and I didn’t?”
Owen: “Because mine’s way worse. They just discovered the body.”
–”I should’ve spanked you, you bitch.” —Veronica, to Myra
So it’s official! Alicia is running for state’s attorney. But is that really a smart move? I’m not surprised the writers went this route, and at the end of the day I’m going to put my trust in them. But why spend so much time making sure Alicia would create her own firm only to have her leave it? I suppose they could have her run and then lose to James Castro. No harm no foul, right? Except that would make me furious because James Castro is the worst! But if Alicia does win, it seems like Florrick/Agos would suffer the consequences.
And maybe I’m making a big assumption (and maybe this is just what the writers want us to assume), but if Peter isn’t having a relationship with Lauren the intern, isn’t it fairly evident that he’s having one with her mother? Or he at least had one with her at some point? And wouldn’t it be a pretty epic twist if Lauren is actually Peter’s daughter. I’m calling that one now. But for everyone’s sake, I hope I’m wrong. And finally, Elsbeth is returning!!! Get excited.