Technology with attitude

The Good Wife- "Feeding the Rat"


Now that’s more like it.

I must admit, after the middling first few episodes of The Good Wife’s third season, I was slightly concerned about the show; it showed glimmers of it’s old self, but was swinging dangerously close to losing the gripping tension of the first two seasons.  Not so this episode, which accelerated existing story-lines while introducing even more season long arcs to excellent results.

The episode was marked with characters stating what they don’t want.  Diane doesn’t want to be careful anymore, she wants to do the right thing and not worry about the consequences.  Eli doesn’t want to compete for Alicia and Kalinda’s time with the legal side of the firm.  Will doesn’t want to leave what he loves to take up with a new firm for the vague promise of becoming Baseball Commissioner.  What he loves is currently up for debate.  The wife of the accused guest star doesn’t want to sit around and wait for bad things to happen, a statement that gives Alicia pause.  And Alicia, well, Alicia does not want to talk with Will about their relationship.  At. All.

Diane’s conscience rears it’s head after she heads to Legal Aid to withdraw Lockhart Gardner’s support on pro bono cases.  Add Romany Malco to the roster of large stars doing a small role on The Good Wife that will probably spin into a recurring character.  Malco plays the head of Legal Aid who incites Diane’s guilt when he informs her that the not-for-profit might shudder after losing their government support.  Diane winds up helping Alicia on her current case and ultimately tells Will that she wants to offer the support of Lockhart Gardner and bring Legal Aid in house.  Oddly, for the person who just a few episodes ago was talking to Kalinda about how he doesn’t feel emotions like a normal person, Will is swayed by Diane’s honest plea for his agreement and okays her plan.  Bringing Legal Aid on as a major part of the show runs the slight risk of over-crowding the plot, but I doubt Malco will be around every week and the writers can use their presence when and where they wish.  It also gives Diane an excellent plot, possibly sets up conflict between her and Eli (as she deposits them next to his offices) and puts Lockhart Gardner back into financial risk.

Eli was more on the sidelines in this episode, which turned out to be a good thing; he’s a breakout character on the show, but needs to be used judiciously.  One of the great pleasures of this outing was watching him try to pump Kalinda for information.  These two are wonderful together, at least partially because they have opposite tactics for this kind of thing: Eli pounces aggressively and tries to shake the information out of his target.  Kalinda is no one’s easy mark and simply speaks more and more calmly, quietly and circumspectly as Eli pulls his hair out trying to get her to give up information on the politics of Lockhart Gardner.  Ultimately, however, she gives him a very interesting opinion of the firm hierarchy: “If you want to persuade Diane, persuade David Lee.  If you want to persuade Will, persuade Alicia.”  Diane is always concerned with the bottom line and purse strings and David Lee’s Family division is the biggest money-maker; of course, at the end of this episode it seems like Diane might be breaking free of that mold.  Eli, of course, is the only one who heard the infamous voice-mail so he’s quite aware of the tension between Alicia and Will, but for Kalinda to so bluntly tell him that Alicia’s opinion will sway her boss is another clue to Eli that perhaps all is not well in the Florrick household.  When is that bomb going to drop I wonder?

Will, meanwhile, has been dispatched by Diane to try to woo Celeste over to their firm, as they’ve discovered that if they bring her on she will provide them with an already built bankruptcy department.  As this is the department that they consider recession-proof, if they manage to get them in-house they will be far less dependent on Eli’s client base and not be beholden to his whims.  Unfortunately, it turns out that Celeste is actually starting her own firm and wants Will to come join her which puts Mr. Gardner back on his heels.  Celeste, despite her slightly irritating insistence on speaking about everything in poker metaphors, was an excellent foil for Will this episode.  She embarassed him in front of Peter, she dangled a new job in his face and forced him to say that he didn’t want to be the shark any longer, and instead just wanted to work.  She also rattled him enough that at the end of his conversation with Alicia he tossed off a quick “Love you” as an after thought.  Those two words hit the episode like a ton of bricks, with both Will and Alicia stammering how they didn’t really mean anything; yet, just a few scenes later, Will turns Celeste down because he doesn’t want to leave what he loves.  He protests to Celeste that he loves his work; she, and the entire viewing audience, doesn’t believe him.

Will waits for Alicia in her office and brings up his slip of the tongue; Alicia does not want to talk about it, and says so clearly.  Just last week she told Owen that she was categorically not in love Will.  Just a few moments earlier, we saw her consider the words of a wife waiting for her husband to be freed from prison that she didn’t want to sit around and wait for bad things to happen any longer.  Alicia is tired of worrying.  Alicia does not want to talk about their relationship.  Alicia wants to sit back and have fun with Will; she is not interested in figuring out their future together.  To have these two switch roles and have Will be pressing for something permanent and the usual prim Alicia be the one to want to keep things light is not something that I anticipated happening.  Yet it makes perfect sense, as Will already confessed his love for Alicia to her on the  voice-mail she never heard(is that ever going to come up again?  I’ve gotta think the writers are sitting on that one until we all forget about it) and Alicia has been enjoying her new freedom more with every episode.  I didn’t know how invested I was going to remain in this relationship if it became Meredith and McDreamy Part Deux, but an invisible hat tip to the writers…if they keep this up, I’m in.

Some final thoughts:

-I thought for a moment this would be a Cary-heavy episode when he was first main character we saw.  Unfortunately, he wound up in the background again; I understand why this happens, but I really miss the character.  I wonder if he could wind up at Legal Aid somehow…last season he really seemed to be discovering his conscience and I could see him winding up wanting to not work for Peter, who might not remain as dedicated to running a clean office once he gets comfortable again.  That being said, it seemed like the Assistant US Attorney introduced here might wind up being a romantic interest for Cary which I assume would cause him to be forward more.

-While we’re talking about the AUSA, her speech to the judge was really heavy-handed.  Not a rip on the actress, I just think it was treacly and kind of and obvious ploy.

-While we’re talking about the judge, hey Harvey Fierstein!  Good to see you as always!

-While we’re talking about guest stars, Lutz from 30 Rock was on The Good Wife.  Worlds collided.

-<sigh> Major bangs on that wig again this week.

-Hey Michael Boatman’s still around!  Hey Julius!  However, I need the writers to not mention David Lee and if they’re not going to give me a little Zach Grenier.  He’s always missed.

-The title of the episode is helpfully defined by Celeste thusly “You can live your domesticated life, but eventually you have to return to the wild.”  When she says it to Will, he rejects it; he wants to stay domesticated.  Alicia, on the other hand, seems to be about to regress all the way to Amazonian.

-“My first threesome was with Will.”

-“Alicia Florrick.  She works with Will, she’s married to you.  Must be quite an arrangement!  Discuss.”

-“You’re not helping much.” “Darn.”