Technology with attitude

The Good Wife Recap-“The Death Zone”


I really wish the NFL would stop running long and effing up my Sunday night viewing schedule.  Just had to get that off my chest.

In any case, The Good Wife returns for the second episode of it’s third season and it’s a doozy.  While I enjoyed last week, there was a feel of setting up the pieces and getting the audience back into the world; this week those pieces started to move around the chess board for our entertainment.

First up we have the meeting of Eli and Kalinda.  As Eli so succinctly put it “How is it we’ve never met before?”  I would imagine that sentiment was echoed by many a viewer as soon as Kalinda glided into Eli’s office, responding to his request for an investigator.  Their time was taken up investigating Mickey Gunn, a campaign manager who was considering bringing him on; the catch is that he can’t give Eli any information about his candidate.  Eli puts Kalinda on the case, and after a short misfire she ferrets out that Gunn is considering representing a Republican and was using their resources to vet his potential.  The story line is left open, and I’m not sure if this will be something revisited; what I am sure will be revisited is the tiny moment between the two when Eli wonders where he knows Kalinda from.  “I just have one of those faces,” she coolly replies.  After racking my brains, I’m fairly certain that the audience is not supposed to know where Eli knows Kalinda from so I’m very curious to find out where the writers will take that.  A season long mystery involving Kalinda that doesn’t include Blake would be very welcome.

Meanwhile, the family Florrick continues to slowly show signs of the separation.  Zach gets the screen time this week, and he uses it to quiz both his parents about why they’re splitting up after weathering a public scandal.  What’s not said in these scenes is a wonderful thing; both parents are trying so hard to not place their children in the middle of their issues, and yet their refusal to do so is leaving those children with unanswered questions.  Peter vaguely replies to his son that he “wasn’t always good [to Alicia]” and leaves it at that.  When Zach asks his mother if she thinks he’s like Peter, she responds that she doesn’t but offers him no further comfort in regards to his father being a good man.  As the family continues to come apart at the seams, it’s apparent that Zach and Grace are going to eventually have to be given more information but both Peter and Alicia put it off in an attempt to protect them. Eventually, that’s going to lead to a problem.

Finally, brilliantly, we have Diane being given something to sink her teeth into.  When Peter is looking for new outside counsel for the State’s Attorney’s Office on civil cases, he asks to meet with Lockhart Gardner and receive their pitch.  Will quickly declines the invitation on his personal behalf and encourages Diane to pitch the firm to Peter.  Peter asks Diane if she will voluntarily submit her firm to an audit by the Illinois government, and Diane immediately smells a rat.  She asks Will, who resists the idea.  She proposes an independent firm do the audit, but Peter refuses.  Frustrated, she winds up at Alicia’s apartment looking for Peter, after his office informed her that he was at home.  “He’s not here…” Alicia dodges and an avoidance that obvious does not get by Diane.  She sits with Alicia and asks her if she thinks that Diane should submit the firm to an audit; Alicia, cornered and knowing it, chokes out that she would advise against it.  When we next see Diane, she grills Will on the state of Alicia’s marriage and demands that he tell her what she already knows: are Peter and Alicia separated?  Will insists she ask Alicia, but Diane is having none of it.  If Alicia is a hindrance to the firm, then she must be removed.  “If she works against us, we’re letting her go” Diane intones, demanding agreement.  And Will has no choice but to answer “Yes.”

Does Diane know that Will and Alicia are carrying on a personal relationship?  I would say she must at least suspect, given his oblique answers.  But more importantly, this has amped up the stakes for the show and recreated the tension for Alicia’s romantic situation.  After the consummation last season, it seemed like the show’s central love triangle would lose steam; yet this plot development has injected it with new life.  Would Will really allow Diane to fire Alicia?  Is Peter attempting to get Alicia fired by causing her trouble at work?  Putting Alicia’s romantic and work situations back under fire brings the conflict of the show right back to it’s sweet spot and I applaud the writers for creating that tension without making the show feel like it was ret-conning past developments or simply trying to hit the reset button.  The show may be growing and changing, but it hasn’t lost it’s mojo.

And some final thoughts:

-Not much on the case of the week, which was much better than last week’s.  Eddie Izzard guest starred as a prick British lawyer who was defending a mountain climber accused of stealing supplies from a dying man; after the case is thrown out of American court, Izzard gets it tried in an English one.  The culture-clash humor was fun, if at times heavy-handed, and the case had enough twists to it to keep me invested.  Izzard did a good job, but if I’m going to see a shark lawyer on this show coming up against Alicia and the Superfriends, my vote still goes to Martha Plimpton’s Patty Nyholm.  No one does dead-inside with quite the same sort of vicious glee.

-“Nothing personal but I have to rip your friend apart.”

-Alicia and her Irish consultant have an interesting conversation about trying to change.  Alicia claims that she’s simply not very good at it, which is a statement that is certainly borne up by her past actions.  Knowing that she’s not good at it is what makes watching her explore her new-found freedom so much fun for the audience.

-“I could dress up.”

-“Coudn’t you have told me that over the phone?” “I could’ve but that would have taken up less of your time.”