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The Good Wife Recap – ‘In Sickness’


After a too long break, The Good Wife returned tonight with the fall-out the last episodes revelations: Peter’s election win and his past with Kalinda.  Along with plots that have been simmering all season boiling over, the writers also turned out one of the best case-of-the-weeks I’ve seen; I will welcome Martha Plimpton any time I see her, and her Patti Nyholm character is one of the best of Wife’s excellent bench of recurring characters.

The case involved Lockhart Gardner pleading for a potential organ donee, Marjorie Garnett, who had been removed from the top of the recipient’s list under suspicious circumstances.  While it was an intriguing enough case on the surface, this one spun much deeper; before the opening credits, Patti (who was representing the hospital) is fired from her firm.  She goes immediately to Lockhart Gardner and asks them to represent her in a suit against her former employers for wrongful termination, as she believes she was fired for being pregnant.  Patti is such an unapologetic shark, and Martha Plimpton takes such glee in playing her, it’s hard to feel sympathy for her as an audience member.  This is mirrored in Alicia and Will’s mistrust of her motives, until she gives them a key piece of information about a potential witness that her former firm is keeping from the stand.

As the case continues, the tactics Patti employs become more and more creative.  To avoid openly sharing privileged information, she relays a story to her baby about doctors who test patients too often for suspicious reasons, as Alicia and Will listen over the baby monitor.  She shamelessly uses her child to curry favor with the mediator.  When warned by the judge to not share information with Lockhart Gardner she promises not to, and then is promptly accused by opposing counsel of “grinning and winking” while she said it, to which she deadpans “I did not.  I don’t wink.”

By the end of the episode, Lockhart and Gardner have won the day, and Marjorie is back on the list for the organ donation.  As they gloat over their win, they start to move in on the hospital for a bigger class action suit.  As they trade barbs, Patti walks in, and triumphantly announces that she’s been re-hired by her former firm…with better benefits.  As Diane sputters that she can’t use anything that she may have learned while in their offices against them, Patti smugly reminds her that she couldn’t have learned anything since they all swore under oath that the two cases would be strictly separated.  It’s a fantastic twist to the episode that I completely did not see coming, although perhaps I should have.  Even Will wears a look of grudging respect for Patti’s manipulations; if the writer’s decide to set up a rival firm for Lockhart Gardner I would suggest Patti and Michael J. Fox’s Louis Canning as the heads.  They’re the only two lawyers who seem to regularly get the better of Alicia and company.

On the serial side of the episode, things were decidedly less humorous.  We pick up precisely where we left off, as Alicia stumbles out of Peter’s victory party in shock and heads to her apartment.  The show has done such a good job of making Alicia a passive character that what happens next is as surprising as it is satisfying; she packs up Peter’s things, calls her real estate agent and some movers and gets his things out of her house into a new apartment.  The actual logistics of this are pushing the boundaries of believability, but it made for such good drama that I’m willing to suspend my disbelief.  Seeing Alicia take action, decisive action, is intoxicating.  She is no longer taking a back seat in her life, she is no longer someone that things simply happen to.  She calls Peter to the new apartment and informs him that it’s his new home.  She chokes out “You slept with Kalinda…you slept with my best friend,” returns home and finally let’s herself cry and rage against her husband.  Then she breathes, sits down and puts on her make-up and clothes to go to work; somethings will never change.

Slowly word trickles down through the ranks that Alicia has kicked Peter out of the house.  First Jackie shows up at her work demanding an explanation.  In a truly poisonous confrontation, two seasons worth of thinly veiled dislike boils up as Jackie hisses out “damn you to hell.”  One would expect Alicia to attempt to mend bridges with her mother-in-law; instead, she considers Jackie a moment…then simply walks out of her office.

Eli goes to see Alicia at Jackie’s urging, but it appears to be more out of concern for Alicia’s well being than Peter’s.  He gently suggests couple’s counseling to Alicia, but doesn’t press it when she stonewalls him.  Much less understanding are Zach and Grace, who are understandably confused at the turn of events; having just seen their mother publicly forgive their cheating father on TV the night before, they are now confronted with her kicking him out of the house.  Alicia refuses to give them specifics, even when Grace cries “Mom, you need to protect us more!”  I don’t know that there has ever been a more protective mother on TV than Alicia Florrick.

Finally, Peter shows up at Alicia’s apartment.  Peter clearly tries to use tactics that he’s employed throughout their relationship to get Alicia to reconsider her decision, and gets harshly rejected.  “No, Peter.” she spits ” It’s a no. Everything.  Counseling.  An explanation.  Anything you ask, anything you say.”  And that’s when the fight finally starts.  Peter accuses Alicia of sleeping with Will.  Alicia states that she’ll be divorcing him and Kalinda.  Peter pities her for always playing the victim.  And as the elevator door closes, he says goodbye.  “You got that right!” she fires back.

All in all, a good first step in the fall out.  During Alicia’s only brief run in with Kalinda, she smiles at her friend and forces a cheery hello, so I look forward to the second step.  According to the previews, it’s coming up next week!

And some stray points:

-Some kind of Diane vs. Patti showdown would be really downright fun.  Not necessarily in the courtroom…I’m thinking more bar fight.

-Aaron Staton guest starring on things just makes me mad that Mad Men won’t be back this summer.

-The nurse asking Kalinda out on a date seemed a little out of the blue.  I’m willing to see where it goes, but I’m not sure where that could lead at this point.

-Two points about the Alicia scene as she puts her face on for work. 1) Completely reminded me of the opening of Dangerous Liaisons when Glenn Close and John Malkovich put on their “armor.” 2) Great choice of song with the opening line “I thought I was a victim.”  She sure isn’t anymore.

-“Jackie, it isn’t the 50’s.”

-“I’m about to argue for a woman’s life, is it more important than that?” “Okay, I thought I could top that…no”

-I didn’t touch on Cary in the write-up, but he started moves to obtain his job back at Lockhart Gardner, only to be dissatisfied with the offer of starting as a 2nd year associate while Alicia is a 3rd year.  He retreats back to the State’s Attorney’s Office to plead his case to Peter, directly after Peter’s confrontation with Alicia.  When Peter hears that he spent time at Lockhart Gardner his interest is piqued.  I’ve been expecting Cary to return to the fold this year, but if he remains at the SA’s office with Peter as the new antagonist…well, that’ll be interesting.