Another mediocre episode this week, which took only baby steps toward any larger plot points, but DID at least see the return of Gary Cole. I will always welcome that scamp with open arms. Sorry this is so tardy — between The Royals premiering and Fug Madness starting, The Good Wife got the short shrift this week. As did some of our favorite characters. Like so:
I choose to assume the show is biding its time until it can fire up a strong exit arc for Kalinda, and that’s why it only gave her three lines this week. I would hate for this to be a “thanks for the service, here is a meaningless paycheck while we shunt you off to the side” situation, although… meaningless paychecks are certainly not the worst things in the world. I would not kick a meaningless paycheck out of bed for giving me paper cuts.
Matt Czuchry got a nice vivid tie this week, but did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING except sit in on two legal meetings. I suppose he earned this vacation after his intense first-half storyline, but still, the show has chosen not to play ANY fallout from Cary being in prison. He’s having no difficulties being back in the world, presumably no trouble with clients, and we’ve heard nothing about him and Kalinda, nor Kalinda and Lana, nor how any one of the three of them feels about… well, anything. It’s disappointing when the show’s co-stars are treated as Alicia Florrick’s window dressing. There is story to be mined that would be a welcome break from Alicia’s election. Or frankly, could tie into it, if we had ANY sense of how Florrick Agos Lockhart — and specifically Agos and Lockhart — are coping with Alicia having one foot out the door.
However: Cary does get to be snarky at Finn [FINN WELCOME BACK FINN]. I guess Finn brought them a case for them to co-chair, and is in favor of accepting a small settlement offer; Cary accuses him of taking the money and running. “Still have some hard feelings, there, Cary?” Finn asks wisely, referring to his prosecution on those drug charges. So I guess… if you’re looking for how Cary is doing in a minute and immediate sense, the answer is, he went tie-shopping and is cranky at the sight of Matthew Goode, which makes him unrelatable to me on TWO fronts.
13. Mamie Gummer
She’s a good guest-star, but wasn’t used much in this episode . There was a moment where Finn got amused at her attempts to use Aw Shucks ignorance to coax information out of a witness, and I thought, “DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH HER, FINN.” But you know what? Maybe DO have sex with her, Finn. I don’t have to know about it. And Alicia is apparently not going to ride your train, so you might as well make money selling tickets to someone else.
Not that this was the point of Mamie’s cameo. She really just showed up to lose a case and wear a nice color. So I have to make my own fun.
12. Niles Crane
The Good Wife makes a weird flub here with him.
While he and Alicia prep to give competing speeches, he asks what she’d do differently. “I’d be more honest,” she says. Niles’s answer is, he wouldn’t have stopped the debate, and he’d have answered the charge that he never remarried because he’s secretly gay. Alicia tells him it’s not too late to admit it, but Niles confesses, “I’m not gay. I’m a Jesuit. I never remarried, because you only get married once. To remarry is to commit adultery.” Except I’m pretty sure that “Jesuit” by definition means he is a priest. Which Niles is not. He MAYBE could be a Jesuit brother, but even that is a more formal religious title within that order. What I think the show actually means is that he lives by the Jesuit beliefs and follows Ignatian Spirituality. I can’t find anything to suggest you can just walk down the street calling yourself a Jesuit the same way you could, say, call yourself a Unitarian or a Protestant. If you’re a Jesuit, you’re SPECIFICALLY a member of the Society of Jesus as a priest or a brother. I absolutely invite Fug Nation to correct me on this if need be, because it seems like a really lazy and strange mistake to make for this show — but maybe it’s just the first one I’ve even pretended to know anything about, so it’s possible they do this all the time.
Anyway, Niles the Attempted Jesuit didn’t want to throw away the gay vote, so he never denied the rumor. And he didn’t want to alienate people who think it’s crazy to adhere to a religion’s old views on divorce (so basically, he wants Henry VIII’s approval). Alicia conveniently never has to admit her sin, but she does acknowledge that Niles is a way better person than she is, although we’re left with the distinct feeling that the race is Alicia’s to lose and that the nice guy will finish second. Which, in this case, is also last.
Initially I had thought that conversation — which happened at the end of the episode — was Niles trying to draw information out of her. Because at the BEGINNING of the episode, we learn that when Alicia and Niles were competing for the editorial board nomination of the Chicago [Whichever Paper], Alicia got it. And openly lied and said she wasn’t knowingly taking money from Lemond Bishop. Niles’s campaign manager is annoyed that she got away with a falsehood, and points out that the paper probably knew it, too, and endorsed her anyway, because they WANTED her to lie: “People respect someone who’s willing to lie for what they believe in.” He adds that Niles’s nice guy stuff isn’t making anyone respect him, and suggests that he go after Alicia indirectly via Peter. He can list all the things wrong with Peter’s SA tenure as a way of discussing what he doesn’t want to do, thus keeping alive the connection between Peter and Alicia without smearing her in the process. It’s a good strategy, because if anyone deserves to get smeared, it’s someone as guilty of Douche in the First Degree as Peter is.
So, I thought for a second he was trying to trap Alicia into a truth later, but nothing comes of it. “Nothing Comes Of It” has been going around a lot lately.
11. 3D Printers
The Case of the Week involves a guy who got online plans for how to make a gun using a 3D Printer, and then took the weapon he made to a shooting range, where it fired weirdly and ended up paralyzing the guy next to him. It is obviously not ideal that any Tom, Dick, and Jackass can build a gun for the price of one of these gizmos, and the crux of the judgment at the end is that the printer can’t operate in the cold, thus the malfunction in the composition of the pistol. But there’s a LOT of googly eyed fetishizing of the political and freedom-fighting implications of such technology, and the other cool things it can do… and we also get to SEE the thing work, sort of, and frankly it does look awesome. So basically, my takeaway was, “I don’t particularly want anyone building weapons with this thing, but if someone could use it to build me a Finn…”
The Body Woman yet again does very little, but she gets off the best line of the episode. Elfman has a job waiting for him in Sacramento, and I think it’s implied that he feels like he needs to leave Chicago or else he’s going to seduce the hell out of Alicia as soon as possible. But Eli threatens to get that job yanked, because he gets wind that Elfman’s plan is to blunt Niles’s strategy by having Alicia attack Peter too. Elfman totally blinks and tells Alicia to back off. But Marissa figures out why, and spits with perfect derision, “Handsome men are so weak.” I love you, Marissa. You TOO could be put to better use.
I didn’t even bother to get a screen grab. He sputters a few paranoid things into the phone at Alicia, and then tries to blackmail Elfman. He comes off like he’s chasing his tail.
Well, Elfman evidently doesn’t have the clout to keep a job in Sacramento without Eli’s say-so, and that’s a bummer. But he DOES have the strength not to care about that. Marissa gets through to him, and he tells Alicia to proceed with slicing and dicing Peter, instructing a flabbergasted Eli to do his worst (which Eli does; he gets the job offer rescinded). Elfman doesn’t care. Elfman is in Alicia’s thrall, and this is the look on his face while he watches her deliver a speech about the many ways in which her corrupt husband screwed both hookers AND the pooch. He lands in ths portion of the rankings because, although he did what he wanted instead of obeying Eli, it might not have been the right professional OR personal choice. But his hormones don’t care. His hormones are Florricked.
He’s a LITTLE soft in this episode, but I don’t blame him for wanting to accept a $200,000 settlement offer for his client, who expected barely even half that. He had no idea the guy who sold the plans secretly had a mad-rich benefactor who would throw $5 million at the problem once Diane really made her case. But otherwise, his presence ignites nothing. The episode doesn’t use his particular being in any special way, other than it being a pleasure to hear things roll off his tongue. Alicia barely engages with him at all, even in their one scene. It’s as if they weren’t even friends, much less more. Whatever happened to not wanting to sacrifice that relationship? I miss their friendship. I loved how he accepted Alicia, warts and all. I enjoyed their intellectual sparring, and I think he looks less like he might also be a serial killer than Elfman does. I repeat: I don’t understand how this show is using people. What once felt like a richly woven tapestry now feels plug-and-play. Need a body? Does Matt Czuchry need a break? Great, throw Finn in court with Diane and have him say lines any old person could’ve. Sigh.
However, I do have a suggestion for Finn’s new best friend, and a future spinoff:
6. Finn and Diane
I mean, let’s do this thing. Diane and Finn, and Cary if he behaves, can take over the world but also be so dry and wry in the ways they do best. Get on it.
5. Gary Cole and Diane
Welcome back, you bouffanted, mustachioed gun-stroking vixen.
These two totally eye-bang each other in court, in a way that is amazing. Also, BREAKING NEWS: Is Diane entering a brooch phase? The only necklace she wears in this hour is well-hidden behind her high-necked suit:
It might as well not be there. I promise we will keep tabs on this situation as it develops.
Storywise: Gary — his real name is Kurt McVeigh, but he is forever Gary Cole to me — is Diane’s ballistics expert in The Case of the Plastic Gun. Which, of course, turns into people’s personal feelings about the availability of guns, and who should be responsible when, say, making one in your garage from a $25 downloadable Internet schematic doesn’t work out. Gary at first totally digs on being Diane’s expert, but when he’s exposed as perhaps not a modern enough expert, he runs some tests that… you know what, it’s all sort of boring. Basically, Diane might have the wrong defendant but she still wants to nail the guy who sold the plans to the wall. Gary doesn’t want to be a pawn in service of her political bias, so she subpoenas him, he testifies under duress and extremely crankily, but it ends up being moot because they win the case another way and these two make up.
This is actually a scene from early in the episode, where they are so hot for each other’s courtroom demeanor that they … manually explore… each other in the parking lot. But the reason I put them together is, I love them as a couple. He respects that she’s smart, so even when he got touchy with her for a second, ultimately he knows she has a job to do and she does it well. And yes, Diane apologized, but she wasn’t wrong to do so — it’s cold sauce indeed to subpoena your husband — and she also respects his mind and his skills and his mustache even when she opposes his views. It just seems like they have a healthy respect for the right things about each other, and they handled their argument calmly and logically and then probably with some real tomcat nooky. I approve of these messages.
4. David Lee
He rules just for the facial expressions he makes. David Lee is slimy and enlivens every scene he’s in, just by being a smarmy pig. And not for nothing, he also finagled himself this job, and has KEPT it, even though everyone there knows he’s been working with Louis Canning to undermine them. That takes skills.
3. Louis Canning
Well, he’s not dead. In fact, he got a kidney transplant, which he claims is from a 13-year old girl who cracked heads with another kid during a soccer game and dropped dead. THANKS, Good Wife, for giving me another thing about which to be completely terrified. Just what I needed.
Anyway, Louis wants to do something lovely for the girl’s family, so he tells Alicia he wants to liquidate his $18 million in stocks and give it to the family, but his lawyer — David Lee — won’t return his calls. David tells Alicia the family wants to give the money to a group that might support Palestine, and that doesn’t jibe with David Lee’s personal politics, so Alicia continues to investigate… which results in Eli getting calls from the justice department about whether Alicia is in cahoots with a pro-Hamas group. Eli concludes this was all just a prank between Louis and David, to smear Alicia since Louis’s lawsuit is on hold. “Canning’s not going to prank me from his deathbed,” Alicia insists, but she doesn’t believe it, so she goes back to the hospital. Where Louis insists he was groggy on pain and anti-seizure meds, and that he has no idea about any of this. “Where is my money?” he whines. I’m unclear whether or not it WAS a prank, but the fact that Louis can get Alicia to his hospital room to do his bidding even though he’s suing her… clearly he knows how to stroke both her ego and her guilt. He plays her like a violin. He even gets her to admit to his unconscious body that her daughter is praying for him, and she further admits, “I know you’re a bad man, but I sort of miss you.” Louis Canning: He’s still got it.
She isn’t as essential this week, professionally, although she does consent to underlining Peter’s misdeeds without too much hemming and hawing. He DESERVES no hemming and hawing, so well done there Alicia. I don’t know if this leads to any kind of official division of the Florricks, but I’m surprised she got as far as she did without addressing the accusations that Peter displayed racial bias in hiring, and also was generally scummy.
She DOES, however, stick Louis’s ringing cell phone across the hospital room, where he can’t get to it. So for all the power he has over her, she does at least assert that much over him.
She has SEXUAL LADYPOWER. The guy tossed a job for her, even though her campaign is almost over and there’s another one elsewhere that needs him. She essentially owns Elfman, and could probably own Finn. She stays near the top for her mojo alone.
That is, as ever, quite a face. And the alleged $10,000 wig they buy J.Margs each season has improved in quality. There were some years where they just LOOKED fake, but this one sits and moves and shines like it’s her own hair. It’s exceptional wiggery. It should win an Emmy even just for the fact that people are routinely surprised to learn it IS a wig.