Technology with attitude

The Good Wife Recap-"Parenting Made Easy"

I knew they had to put them in the same room again eventually.

For an episode of The Good Wife that was advertising as a “Grace gets kidnapped!” nail-biter, the actual kidnapping scare doesn’t happen until 40 minutes in which pretty much guarantees us two things as an audience.  One, the kidnapping is a misunderstanding and not really a case of actual abduction and two, that it’s going to drive home the point the rest of the episode has been making.  The point of this episode, helpfully stated for us by Michael J Fox as Louis Canning, is that Alicia is overworked at Lockhart Gardner and isn’t able to spend as much time with her children as she’d like.  Canning does this as part of his multi-season arc towards getting Alicia to come work for his firm, but is has much more immediate consequences for our titular wife as she sees her work and other distractions from her children as the reason she spends half a day thinking her daughter was kidnapped.  The result is an angry flinging of an innocent negligee and a sad break-up with Will.

I don’t think this will go down as the most subtle episode The Good Wife has ever produced; while it was fun bringing back Martha from “Marthas and Caitlins” to go toe-to-toe with her rival, I can’t say it didn’t seem a bit too on-the-nose.  Still, I’m slowly warming to Anna Camp’s Caitlin, if only because for the first time she actually seemed to be improving as a lawyer as opposed to working overtime to appear a bumbling idiot.  Grace Rex, as the slighted Martha, got a few good shots in on both Alicia and Caitlin, but then was side-lined for the back half of the episode to make room for Louis and Alicia to go a few more rounds with each other.  Ultimately, the arbitration case existed to give John Michael Higgens a chance to come play his trademarked jolly optimist and to get Louis in the same room as Alicia to give him a chance to pitch his firm to her and mention that he’s home to see his kids every night.  It also had Jennifer Carpenter on, who’s a really big name for the show to hire to come on and play what essentially amounts to a despicable person who doesn’t say much.  Although I guess that despicable person comment really is dependent on your view; you might think she was playing a criminally under-represented figure from the silent majority.  Agree to disagree.

The investigation of Will Gardner continues to move forward, when Wendy Scott-Carr (I really have to type her full name every time) decides to hire PI Andrew Wiley to help her uncover evidence.  Andrew, you’ll remember, is the PI who ultimately ferreted out Kalinda’s dalliance with Peter last season and unwittingly revealed it to Alicia; I’m not sure how that little tidbit is going to figure into all of this, but I’m sure it will.  And in his corner, Will enlists Eli to look into why Peter has started the investigation in the first place.  Diane has told Eli that he needs to make friends if he wants the other members of the firm to funnel him business and his first attempt gives Will the opening he needs to ask for his help.

All of this happens around the kidnapping centerpiece which again, only took up about 15 minutes in total.  After a series of missed calls from Grace, and an unfortunate series of miscommunications, Alicia winds up believing that her daughter was kidnapped.  I hand it to the writers for managing to give a believable build to Alicia’s growing worry in such a short time; I never thought the show would actually kill off the character (I think that would be too dark, even for this series), but they managed to make me believe that Alicia was truly worried for her daughter’s safety and not because she was jumping to conclusions.  Ultimately, as Zach tells her immediately, it turns out that Grace butt-dialed her mother while on the way to getting baptized by her old YouTube obsession.  It’s Kalinda who finds her, and I think I most enjoyed the episode for the way it showed Kalinda still looking out for Alicia even when the two are on the outs.  Eventually, those two are going to have to reunite.  The fact that they have kept them apart this long is to be applauded, but they can’t keep the chemistry those two share off the screen forever.  Laying the first bit of groundwork for the making-up is good to see.

Seeing the Alicia-Kalinda relationship taking it’s first tentative steps towards reconciliation is especially welcome since the end is her for Alicia and Will.  After the kidnap scare, Will reaches out to Alicia and even goes to her house; he gets there just in time to see her hug Grace while Peter looks on.  Will later muses to Kalinda that he doesn’t know what he wants, but he knows he wants more than just work.  He also doesn’t know what Alicia wants and resolves to ask her.  Unfortunately, before he even gets the chance, Alicia ends it with “Will…I can’t…it’s too much…I’m sorry.  I’m gonna miss you.”  As she has been hinting at for weeks, Alicia is not in love with Will and she promises Grace that she is going to get rid of distractions and spend more time with her children.  Diane sees the break-up and assumes that Will was the dumper not the dumpee; she brings him a drink and assures him Alicia will get over it.  “Yeah,” he agrees “she will.”

And some final thoughts:

-“Want me to give you some privacy?”

-I know Alicia is doing the whole “good parents allow their children to explore” thing with Grace’s religion, but I think we’re getting to the point where a little more hands on parenting might be in order.  If she doesn’t want to do it, maybe she could have Owen come back and Grace could explain to him her confusion about Leviticus.  That should be fun.

-“Like everything else in your firm, it’s who you know not what you do.”  Canning nailed that one.

-It’s nice to see someone on the show reference just how often the firm wins; 80% in the last few years, apparently.

-The picture above shows the at least physical reunion of our two female leads.  Alicia, upon seeing Kalinda, says “Do you need something?”  There was a world of ice queen in that sentence.

-“When I flirt, I follow through.”  All the weird sexual tension between Dana and Kalinda was almost worth it for that line.

-Is Zach now Lockhart Gardner’s entire IT Department?  How often is he over there?