THE ELECTION IS OVER, Finn appears, Diane kills, we have a West Wing cameo and related gaffe, and Lemond Bishop plummets in the standings. It’s been a lackluster season of The Good Wife, and this episode wasn’t much better, but at least it gave me Diane and Kurt and Finn whispering into Alicia’s ear. Sort of. Not enough. NEVER ENOUGH.
12. Cary and David and Missing Taye Diggs and Everyone Else At Florrick Agos Lockhart
This week David Lee ate a sandwich that didn’t agree with him, and Cary bought some end tables online that he isn’t sure he’s going to like, and then the entire office went to dinner at Ruth’s Chris and it turned into an orgy — a giant medium-rare meatfest. By which I mean: I DON’T EVEN KNOW what any of them did because the writers don’t care right now. Basically, they Googled some stuff for Diane and then moved folders around their desks. What a waste.
11. Melissa Fitzgerald
You might remember this lady as CJ’s secretary on The West Wing. She comes into play here because Alicia’s campaign needs to throw a Hail Mary, and wants a celebrity to record a Robo Call. The show makes what COULD have been a funny joke, except it turns into an obnoxious gaffe by the persistent refusal to do any research: The gag is that Martin Sheen doesn’t want to do it, so he suggests they get “the actress who played the secretary who died,” which is Mrs. Landingham (Kathryn Joosten), and instead they accidentally get this lady, and keep calling her Mrs. Landingham even though she corrects them. It’s an admirably egoless cameo by this woman, who is essentially agreeing to play herself as the bottom of the celebrity barrel, but the problem is that by flippantly talking about Mrs. Landingham and “the dead secretary” and whatnot, they are not taking into account that Kathryn Joosten IS ACTUALLY DEAD, and passed away very sadly of lung cancer in 2012. So, it’s not really very cute to pretend Martin Sheen is calling her “the secretary who died” and suggesting her for a Robo Call. Maybe check IMDb, guys? Check SOMETHING resembling ANYTHING?
He’s become Peter’s conscience, a little, and Peter rarely has any patience or use for such a thing. Peter goes rogue on him in this hour, and although Eli scolds him into coming to heel, that’s really all he does. Maybe he and Cary went bowling.
9. David Krumholtz and Johnny Elfman
The first thing we should set straight is that Alicia wins the election. The second thing is, it has nothing to with ANY of the gameday strategy from these two nutbags.
These two spend the hour FREAKING OUT. Alicia begins the day ahead in the polls, but because of some Peter-related shenanigans, her voter turnout is really low. This is David Krumholtz trying to pantomime “Wilford Brimley” — STILL ALIVE, by the way, so we’re clear there — who was his first suggestion for the celebrity who should tape the Robo Call. Which, amusingly, they decided to make about parking meters, because they felt pretending that measure was imperiled was the only way to inspire lazy rich voters to get out and vote at which time they would also casually tick a box for Alicia.
But the Robo Call, as you heard, turns into a big ol’ disaster. Melissa Fitzgerald doesn’t even drive. “I take Ubers,” she says, happily, apparently never having read that the company sounds like it’s run by a jackwad. So Last Ditch Robo Call isn’t happening. (They should have just asked RoboCop to do it, right?)
It has never been immediately clear what D.Krum’s precise function is other than to panic, and he does that ably. It’s Elfman, though, in the end, who really takes a tire iron to his own ankles.
We open the episode with him and Alicia riding in a car, to a spot where they will pull up next to Peter’s limo and hustle her in — in aid of keeping Peter and Alicia apart as long as possible, and yet maintaining the pretense of togetherness. The two of them can barely look at each other, making election small talk, until Alicia is finally compelled to ask if they’re okay. He’s all, “YEAH SURE ROCK THE VOTE GOTTA GO.” What’s frustrating is, these two have had a moment TWICE now, and yet NEVER had a conversation about those moments that didn’t hinge on the avoidance-laden, “Are we good here?” “Yeah, we’re good.” So… I mean, I assume they slept together because they are consenting and horny adults, but Grace might also have been home so maybe they just broke liplock and then he hightailed it down the stairs. Not that it’s important.
Except for how it’s TOTALLY IMPORTANT. I get that it’s a distinct narrative choice and everything, but this show isn’t someone’s private diary. What happened does deeply affect the main character of the show, and therefore our viewership of it. She’s only ever fully stepped out on Peter with Will Gardner. Did she do it again here? If so, why? What does it mean for her burgeoning feelings for Finn? What does it mean to her failing marriage? Does she still feel like she has to be yoked to Peter? Does she resent that, or regret it? It MATTERS. Stop playing coy, Good Wife. We’re all adults.
So, Elfman loses on the power ranking for the simple fact that the show itself didn’t care enough about him to make their kisses anything but cheap cut-to-black moments.
This shot is maybe the most handsome Steven Pasquale has ever looked on this show. He’s almost radiant. And of course, the person he’s smiling at is Alicia. Shortly thereafter, he sees Alicia greet Peter “warmly” and realizes that whatever it is that he wants, he can’t have, because the dog-and-pony-show has to come first. So he SKIPS TOWN. Just like that. Marissa totally gets it — she reads right into every situation, and usually correctly — as she says, “Take care of her,” with a nod at Alicia, and then leaves. Or rather, runs away. Like Brave Sir Robin before him, except without joyously critical minstrels.
Goodbye, Elfman. You tried to be a character, but you were just a piece of plot paste, gluing two halves of the season together.
Not only is she wise in the ways of Elfman’s heart…
… but she brings DONUTS. She is my kind of woman. She actually also ably wrangles Alicia in this hour. Anytime Elfman and Krumholtz get caught up in some strategic agonies about which Alicia can do nothing, but over which she will fret, Marissa steers her out of the room and tells them to leave her alone until they have something productive to discuss. She’s got moxie.
Lemond Bishop still has her driving Dylan to school, and now orders her to be his go-between with Alicia. She’s essentially his errand girl. Kalinda deserves so much better. However, she is starting to inch back into the action: Remember the car that was tailing her and Dylan? Well, Lemond figures out that it was tailing KALINDA, not Dylan, at the behest of A.S.A. Geneva Pine. She’s now therefore a pawn in everyone’s game, and no longer then queen of her own.
6. Lemond Bishop
What is the king of the standings doing down in THIS neighborhood? Well, he gets sort of careless: His trick to nab the drivers of the tail car — he traps it between his car and Kalinda’s, then drags them away — is witnessed by a mother at school who then gets Dylan expelled. This is roughly the umpteenth time that’s happened to poor Dylan, and Lemond knows it’s basically ruining his son’s life. And so he decides to QUIT THE TRADE. He believes himself to have purchased Alicia’s loyalties, but she’s SUPER cagey on the phone with him and actually hangs it up; although Lemond understands she needs the pretense of distance, he correctly interprets this as something else, and explains to Kalinda that retiring means he needs a guarantee of freedom from Alicia. Retired dealers, he says, always end up in jail — where they are vulnerable because they are no longer powerful nor fearsome. Ergo, Lemond, for all his dapper menswear, REALLY REALLY REALLY depends on Alicia pulling some strings for him. It’s the first time he’s been in this naked a position of need, and while I may wish it were more naked in the LITERAL sense as WELL… it still drops him down the list. Bishop to Queen Four… your move, Alicia.
5. News Anchor Rob Johnson
This dude is an actual newsreader in Chicago, and he gets to do ALL the election reporting — including a winking bit of comedy in which he says CBS is ready to project a winner in the State’s Attorney’s race… and will do so after the break, at which point the show itself cuts to commercial. Well played, you scamps.
You might be surprised that, given her victory in the election, I didn’t rank Alicia higher. But here’s why: She had to sit around at home all day waiting on other people to get it done for her, like Peter. That’s not necessarily her fault, but it’s what happened. She is stuck in the charade of her loveless and respect-free marriage, which gets ever frostier by the day, AND ultimately people needed to cheat to ensure her victory. Not great, Bob.
She does get off a good line, though. When she finally gets in the car with Peter, he pokes at her about attacking him in her speech to Chicago’s African-American business leaders, and gets her to admit she doesn’t necessarily believe he’s racist in his hiring practices (although her answers are very calculated non-committals). He accuses her of using him politically. “Let’s just get through this, and then we can get back to you using me politically,” she snarks. ZING.
And the worst part:
FINN IS SEEING SOMEONE ELSE. This is Alicia’s face when she lets that sink in, and it is the face of a lady who either fears she let a hot opportunity slip through her fingers, or didn’t realize how badly she counted on it until it was gone. Which only underscores how very little control she has over her own life, especially now that she got elected partly on the back of her political connections. REGRETS.
Also… I’m sorry, but this show has done some hot sex scenes. If she actually did nail Elfman, WHERE IS THE CATHARTIC BONK SCENE? BOO.
We pick up with her hunting excursion on Gary Cole’s arm, with his absurdly rich deer-shooting friends (at least they eat their kills?). And let the record show that Diane Lockhart ROCKS the HELL out of her camo hunting wear.
She even pulls it off with just a cardigan and the trousers:
Naturally, this entire thing is oozing with examples of how she and Gary Cole are flagrantly politically different (“If I were to set off a bomb in this room, we’d have Democratic presidents for the next thirty years,” she whispers) and yet respect the hell out of each other’s brains, as well as wanting to rip off each other’s clothes. I love that they can have a spirited debate, stand on opposite poles, and yet come together equally in all the saucy ways. It only underscores the dysfunction of Scandal.
Diane gets stuck with the womenfolk at a spa day, which Gary Cole knows disappoints her, because she likes to test out the action AND she wanted to try and hook a young tech entrepreneur whom she recognized as being in need of new representation. Gary, because he’s the best, tries to pull some strings so she can woo the guy, but it doesn’t work and she’s stuck talking to Oliver Platt instead and they have a two-hour debate about women’s rights verses fetal rights as it pertains to abortion. Then Diane shoots a deer, gets a charge from it, is so disturbed by the charge from it that she can’t eat the meat, and then comes around and takes a bite — with a frisson of pleasure — when she learns that the fourth-richest man in the world is:
And he really dug Diane for her brains AND her balls, so he might hire Florrick Agos Lockhart. Which I nearly just called Flockhart Gardner, as if Will faked his death and ran off to start a company with Ally McBeal.
(By the by: I’m not sure what it means, if anything, that Diane enjoyed her excellent shot that took down the deer. She wrestles with that, too. I suspect it’s just that Diane is someone who really digs the thrill of the kill in the corporate world and this is just another way to channel that and/or underscore it. I am not a huntress, but since it wasn’t an endangered species AND she didn’t just shoot it and waltz away — but in fact it fed a room full of people that would’ve just gotten their rare meat another way — then whatever. I can deal with Diane being a crack shot in nature as well as in a courtroom.)
My beloved has returned, and he brought gifts.
Specifically, he brought Alicia a copy of Halo, so she could distract herself all day playing a first-person shooter game with Marissa and taking out her stress and aggression on fake people. There’s a symmetry to Diane putting a bullet in a living thing and Alicia spraying them at avatars, because in the end they both win — but Diane’s is on her own terms, as herself, and Alicia’s is on someone else’s terms as a version of herself that’s as carefully created as one you’d make on your XBox.
Anyway, Alicia is TICKLED to see Finn, although he clearly seemed to think he should avoid her, as he was going to leave Halo on her doorstep.
He also comes on later at work to play with her, and chats with her over the magic headset — I don’t play Halo, so I don’t understand its mysterious ways — and the two of them have an awesome time. He is there for her when she finds out she will probably lose, because of Peter’s shenanigans — more on that in a second — and he listens when she talks about how that makes her feel. (For the record, a) she claims she wrote her concession speech the second she announced she was running, and I hope she updates it, because she’s got an entirely different opponent than she did then; and b) she decides she’s relieved and that the right person is winning.) Finn tells her to make plans to go out and do something fun and not marinate in it, so she grins and asks if he would go to dinner with her. And THAT is when Finn sits back and says he’s got plans, and has started seeing someone.
Except, good for you, Finn. Go see someone. You DESERVE to be seeing someone. You maybe should be seeing EVERYONE. This prime piece of flesh can’t just hang around aging on a hook until Alicia is ready for a bite. Get out there and unpack your junk, sir.
However, this is Finn’s face when they hang up the phone (Alicia handles it gracefully, which is good, because she has no right to handle it any other way). So either he is realizing Alicia is still the one he pines for, OR he made up the person he’s seeing, because he knows if he spends lots of time with an unattainable person it’s going to end in disaster. (Which would be underscored by him trying to drop off the bag and dash — he did ring the bell, but he also didn’t wait to see if anyone answered before hightailing it back down the hallway.) Until The Good Wife decides to throw us another scrap, we can chew on this any which way we please.
Still, because he delivered “the best election night gift ever” to Alicia, and made her smile and relax and be normal for the first time in eons, he lands nice and high this week.
Chris Noth is so good at making Peter a smarmy doucheface.
After his pow-wow in the car with Alicia, Peter goes to a scheduled public appearance and waxes poetic about how Alicia’s victory is a sure thing. He virtually guarantees it. Says she’s a lock. Eli, Elfman, and everyone else all realize that he’s sabotaging her — because voters, especially those in her districts, won’t go out of their way to the polls for an election they assume is already in the bag. He has gone on TV and essentially told her base of support that it’s okay not to bother. Advantage: Niles. You SLIMY TURD SNAKE.
Peter blithely (and Noth, expertly) plays confidently dumb about all that, though, until Alicia finally looks at him and breathes, “You don’t want me to win. You want to be the only winner in the family.” Peter pretends this isn’t true, but when she brings up how he slept with Ramona against her express wishes, Peter rolls his eyes and then finally spits, “If you don’t like what I’m saying, then don’t come to me with all your problems to fix.”
So, obviously, he’s an ass. But he also swings the election with just a few words. His ploy works, and Alicia’s ensuing poor voter turnout erases the five-point advantage she had in the polls. She’s now projected to lose. All because of one interview Peter did.
At the eleventh hour, though, Eli makes Peter realize that was a dick move. So Peter pulls another magic trick and stages an impromptu speech right in the middle of downtown Chicago, creating MASSIVE, monstrous traffic jams and making it basically impossible for anyone in Niles’s districts to vote. So essentially, Alicia will never know if she’d have won fair and square, because she suffered at the hands of Peter’s malice and then he had to use chicanery to pull her level again. Has to be hard to feel good about that — like you really won — if you’re Alicia. But it gives Peter one more thing he can hold over her head: He giveth, and he can taketh away. I hate him. But I love hating him. He’s SUCH an enjoyably infuriating skeeze.
1. Niles Crane
Niles loses with a tremendous amount of dignity. So even though he’s on the wrong end of the polling, I love him anyway — even more so because Alicia tries to hire him as his second in command, and he politely declines because he doesn’t believe in any of her policies and thinks she’s going about things all wrong. He says this as pleasantly and supportively as one can. It’s really great. I would have voted for him. He is the only person who gets to leave this thing with his head held high, and if there’s a recount or allegations of fraud stemming from Peter’s EXTREMELY CONVENIENT choice of election night pulpit, hopefully he’ll emerge properly victorious. Because the thing is, I’m not sure I want to see Alicia entangled in this political web anymore. I’d rather see her dealing with the ramifications of these choices. I’d rather see her dealing with LIFE.