I never thought I would say this in a Good Wife recap, but: Stay tuned for the penguin in a top hat. (Scandal, though… I mean, aren’t we ALL just waiting for one to turn up there?)
14. Cary and Taye Diggs
Presumably they’re resting Matt Czurchy because of all the criminal trial stuff he has coming up, so to make up for all that future frowning, they let Kalinda spend a lot of time on-camera worshiping his male form with her mouth.
The only other thing he does is get suspicious of her commitment to him, which is correct. As for Taye:
He is Alicia’s co-counsel, and I think he’s JUST bored enough that he’s messing with us by wearing the grey suit with a black vest and a yellow tie, like a bumblebee in a winter coat.
But then he serves up some soothing lavender. It’s probably overkill, frankly — we are already looking, I promise; our eyes don’t need HELP moving toward him, and that’s a lot of Stuff. But on the other hand, if you aren’t giving Taye Diggs anything interesting to do, then I’m not going to get mad at the show for essentially highlighting him and then circling him in red pen and drawing arrows at his chest.
13. Rayna Hecht
Rayna, played by Jill Hennessy, is the lawyer Alicia was courting at one point, who decided to start her own firm with my favorite person in the world (Elsbeth Tascioni).
And maybe you can’t tell from this, but she is WAY TOO TAN right now. She and Elsbeth go up against Alicia and Taye in court, arguing on behalf of the defendant, a company that’s being accused of sexism for firing a particular female executive. ALL she does is attempt to say things before Elsbeth smartly overrules her, and Elsbeth has all the ideas; Jill boringly wants to boringly settle and boringly never comes up with anything but a boring approach. This is, presumably, why she aligned herself with a law partner who is allergic to being boring. Rayna also has no personality. She’s so far one of the few tertiary-character misfires, where it feels like all casting and no substance. NEXT.
12. David Lee
This man is a national treasure. In two scenes, he is so perfectly slimy and supercilious, and then neatly defeated. Here, he is tearing up an e-mail that Diane mistakenly had sent to her old Lockhart Gardner e-mail account, which David is holding hostage. He wants her to sign over the lease on the office space to him, and she is telling him to get stuffed. During this pathetic attempt to look threatening when she calls his bluff, Diane reminds him that ripping up a printout of an e-mail has no effect on anything at all, ever, and his nostrils nearly explode off his face. I LOVE it when David Lee is beaten.
11. Elfy and Eli
Johnny Elfman and Eli scurry around trying to shore up Alicia’s campaign supporters for her big announcement. Eli wants Peter; Elfman thought Finn would be a nice addition, also, because he works for Alicia’s opponent and yet is willing to endorse Alicia. But for some reason they have Peter slated to introduce Alicia first and then Finn. And… there are a lot of arguments about this, and hurt egos and whatnot, and I never quite understood why they EVER planned it that way. I think Peter has sometihng to get to after, but they were always planning on having him stay for the duration ANYWAY, so… there’s a reason boxing has undercards. You start with the little guy and work up to the one everyone wants to see. I was confused. So anyway, these two just fret a lot and then nobody really listens to their opinions.
10. The Russians!!!!!!!!!!!
Florrick Agos Lockhart gets hit with “ransomware,” in which their files are taken hostage until they pay $50,000, a scheme masterminded by a Russian hacker. There is an amusing Help Desk hotline and then a trick wherein paying the ransom only speeds up the countdown clock. It’s Hack for Red October up in here. This guy must have been REALLY mad about how much we all ragged on Sochi.
9. Carey Zepps
Little does Crapkolnikov know, but Carey Zepps speaks Russian, because his mother told him it was either learn a language or the piano and he thought this choice was cooler. Because people who play the piano NEVER bag anyone hot EVER, as John Legend and Lady Gaga and Tom Hanks in Big can attest. Oh, Carey. You lack foresight — between piano and language, choose BOTH, fool — although at least it affords him a chance to bark Russian things at Duncetoyevsky through his commandeered webcam. This helps Kalinda bring down Turdstoy. You have earned your kicky striped tie, sir. Thank you for bringing a taste of Lemond Bishop to the proceedings with that.
Jessica and I both yelled — independently — “JUST MAKE OUT WITH EACH OTHER” during this scene. Finn pledges allegiance to Alicia by agreeing to betray Castro and endorse her. But Peter doesn’t want to share the stage with a meager ASA, much less be the opening act for one (seriously, WHY was it essential to lead with Peter and follow with Finn? MANAGE THINGS, Campaign Managers), so Peter is threatening not to come. Peter is SO FULL OF TANTRUMS. More on that later. Alicia realizes she has to rescind the invitation to Finn, and tries to frame it as, “You can’t do this because it will make your life so impossible.” And he refuses to refuse to endorse her. Much like Elizabeth Bennet refuses to refuse to marry Mr. Darcy when confronted by Lady Catherine De Bourgh. BECAUSE HE IS INTO YOU ALICIA. HAVE SEX WITH HIM. HAVE SO MUCH SEX WITH HIM.
I was really not into Finn last season, but right from the get-go this season, I have been so on board. And I think it’s because we knew he was being served up as the replacement dish for Will Gardner, and we were not yet ready. But now we are. Now we are hungry. FEED, ALICIA. FEED.
Finn therefore is awesome and supportive and gives a nice speech. Middling power for you, Dearest Dreamboat.
Kalinda must be really, really, really fabulous in bed. She ROUTINELY nails people just for sport and they always jump to do her bidding again and again. Here, it’s Lana, the FBI agent who always wants more from Kalinda and somehow manages never to be dating anyone else even though she’s very pretty and seemingly rather eligible. Kalinda finesses her for help in all kinds of illicit information-tracing to bust Mr. Pratsternak…
… and when Lana says sadly, “Next time you come see me, come see me,” Kalinda catches the elevator door and leans in and purrs, “When?” Then Cary sees them leave together, and in bed, later, he calls and Kalinda lies to him about where she is and what she’s doing. Lana then tries for a relationship bonding moment about their coming-out moments, and Kalinda won’t give it to her. So Kalinda thwarts Dr. Zhivagoat AND thinks she holds the upper hand with Lana… until the feds intervene in Alicia’s and Taye’s case, and Kalinda suspects Lana stole information about it from Kalinda’s desk and passed it to her bosses. Lana is all hurt and offended and storms off and doesn’t let Kalinda kiss it better. So Kalinda is still a-roil with confusion, still using people, still not as much in control as she would always like to believe. She did, however, wear that hot blue and black dress.
6. Kyle MacLachlan
He’s a fed who has serious hots for Elsbeth, and can get in her head even when she’s at her most Zen. For his hold on her AND the fact that he stops this case in its tracks — the feds have frozen the company’s assets, so even if a settlement is paid to Alicia’s client, she won’t get it unless both sides join forces to fight the government’s case against it — give him a high debut in the Power Suit Rankings, although he’s got a lot of wardrobe work to do to keep up here. Whither the kilts, Trey?
She is hella peeved for much of the hour. She is the one who downloads the virus that bones their computer system. She is the one stuck on hold while she waits for customer service to help her pay the ransom. She accidentally has them send the key to the wrong e-mail address. AND there is a leak and a cockroach in her office. This blouse is the pattern of her mental state right now: muddy and kind of Not Happening Right Now.
At least she does look slammin’ while she’s on hold, though.
And Everyone Looks Hotter In Sunglasses, even when they are perched atop your head. Here, she is laughing at David Lee’s attempts at blackmail, right before telling him to shove it because she will never sign over that lease. “I might even kick you out,” she teases. OR DOES SHE.
Because she inches back to fabness when she finds the roach and, in a fit of inspiration, realizes she can evict Lockhart Gardner and give the new firm its old office space. Which means they can save money on sets by striking this one and keeping that one, rather than having to hang onto both. It’s brilliant on every level and evil besides. DO IT DIANE. Make David Lee weep. Or, force him to move into this warehouse.
4. Elsbeth Tascioni
I have some thoughts about the weirdo things they did with Elsbeth in this hour, which are coming up next. Suffice to say that Elsbeth does her usual genius strategizing in this case, occasionally thwarted by Alicia’s ability to distract her. But they costume her really, really smartly for it all. We begin with her in a pink velour-looking tracksuit, staring at the wallpaper, which has ice cream and a clown on it. I am not sure why she has a child’s wallpaper in her room — this, frankly, is actually a mildly DISTURBING detail to me about my beloved brilliant Elsbeth — but she is a few vowels short of a name, so I suppose it ought not surprise me. ANYWAY. She is walking here while thinking, and having some trouble focusing until the very nice xylophonist in her hallucinations (we’ll get to that, I promise) hands her a phantom shattered iPhone.
So she’s costumed VERY staidly for this moment of clarity: She connects the smashed phone to the fact that the woman who got fired was actually just a rotten person and a horrible, abusive boss. Point to Elsbeth.
But then Alicia finds a way to mess with her by leaving brochures on her table in court that are things Elsbeth will get distracted by, like a cruise ship brochure and an ad for a penguin exhibit, or, best of all, Kitten Quarterly.
Thus, when Taye and Alicia counter-argue that the woman’s predecessor was ALSO abusive but got promoted for it, Elsbeth is way too discombobulated to formulate a counter-argument. And indeed, she is even DRESSED like a confused clown.
Then she gets all Eye of the Tiger on her treadmill…
… dons another staid outfit, and argues that the woman was fired because one of the firm’s CLIENTS was sexist, in China, and the client having a problem with her was justifiable cause for axing her– so, “the client made a decision based on the sexism of its outside business partner.” Another round for Elsbeth.
Then they put her in a bright and yet conservatively cut outfit for her bit-of-both scene: Just as she’s finishing her arguments, Kyle MacLachlan shows up in court and makes her brain melt, and also — temporarily — the case. It was an interesting costume progression.
But let’s talk about the next thing.
3. Elsbeth’s Brain
Elsbeth is one of my very, very favorite characters. So I’m not ENTIRELY sure how I feel, long-term, about what they did with her in this episode. One thing I’ve loved about her is that, until now, they never tried to explain her quirky genius. It just was. It was innate in her, and we were outside of it, the same as everyone else in her life. We never understood HOW the wheels turned; we just appreciated that they did.
But this week, the show took us behind the curtain and made it all about how she sees things and it turns into INSANE hallucinatoins. Like her wallpaper became a melange of Halloween scenes and other weird imagery that may or may not be from her life, and a man playing a xylophone that clearly is NOT from her life (but I wish were):
The cruise ship brochure leads to flashes of a cruise ship sailing into view, puffing away merrily:
And the penguin poster begat this:
I’m surprised it didn’t do the Charleston, or deliver the Gettyburg address. “Four score and seven ice floes ago…”
Okay: At all this, I laughed out loud. I did. It’s random and weird and it was a VERY strange start to the episode. Carrie Preston sold the HELL out of it. Especially the part where she reacted to he penguins by saying, in court, “I don’t even LIKE penguins!” Or the one where she tried to control her brain…
… and had a hallucination of a clown saying, “Here I am, the clown in your mind!” It’s all super silly and random, but it was comedic, and well done, and I laughed, and Carrie Preston sold it all as only she can.
BUT. I also maybe hated it. I’m a little protective of Elsbeth, and I think not understanding how her mind works makes her seem more formidable, even if she’s being insane and weird and distracted. THIS, however, made her absurd. It made her silly. It almost felt condescending, of the show AND of Alicia, and we’ve seen PLENTY of people look down on or dismiss Elsbeth as simply insane, but Alicia and the show itself were never among them. This shifted that for me a little. So… again. I laughed. But I didn’t necessarily like myself for it, or like it, period.
Having said that… her brain is a potent thing, even when it’s derailing her. Maybe especially.
Ol’ Snitballs here is SO chapped that Alicia wants Finn to be part of her announcement that she’s running. He thought he and Eli had put their feet down about it, and are also now being jerks by insisting that Peter will introduce Alicia but watch the speech from the wings rather than by her side because it’ll put him in “a weaker spousal position.” Apparently, a Chicago Sun-Times poll came out that showed Alicia as more popular even than Peter, and so he’s strapping on his Pampers. But Finn’s loyalty swayed Alicia, so when she swans in and is asked how she feels about Peter not being on stage, she calmly says it’s fine as long as Finn introduces her also. There is an EPIC argument that Alicia eventually wins, but not without Peter cleverly strategizing a way to both save the day and still look spousally powerful AND earn Alicia’s gratitude. He comes off like a weak, arrogant bastard, but then also like a hero, and that’s what stick with Alicia, so… well played, Peter. That’s some serious wield there.
Seriously, only Julianna Margulies could look that gorgeous up next to a cement block wall. A hundred thousand power points to that alone, although her gold-ish and black jacket is also hot.
She gets big power points for figuring out how to weasel into Elsbeth’s mind, and having it work almost every time. She also calls out Elsbeth on tacitly admitting the sexism of the firing — Elsbeth said it was “facially sexist” but also a business decision — and might have won, if not for Kyle MacLachlan derailing it all.
But her big moment is this argument with Peter. He can’t figure out why Alicia wants Finn’s endorsement so badly — clearly, he suspects Feelings — and threatens not to endorse Alicia at ALL if she goes through with this. She gets her Iron Face on and verbally slaps him with, “You went off banging prostitutes two at a time and I stood beside you like a grinning fool!” Peter spits things like, “Don’t go there,” and “Let it go,” because he has no other argument, because she’s right and he’s being petty. And she never threw that back at him as much as she could have, so BOOM, Peter, here’s a whole fistful of your past. It’s raining bodily fluids on memory lane.
Then Alicia stresses that this isn’t him doing HER a favor. She saw the poll, and she knows opinion of him will sag if he is perceived as being unsupportive of her. Alicia is being as cunning as Eli would have dreamed, and she tells Peter he WILL endorse her, and so will Finn. “Suck it up,” she snaps at Peter. “Who’s the one sucking it up?” Peter sneers. It’s SO SPECTACULARLY BITCHY of him. I’m weirdly proud of her, even if I’m afraid at all the dents piling up in Saint Alicia’s halo. Then again, it’s the dents that make her interesting. She is, in fact, perhaps as cunning as Will Gardner would have dreamed.
I think that jacket was tan leather. Alicia Florrick should NEVER look like the interior of a sedan.
Those earrings, though, are divine. She rarely gets so much flash. Enjoy it while it lasts, Alicia, because it’s probably all modesty and power suits from here on out (good for the ranking, not as fun for the soul).
At the end, Peter seems to be a no-show, but he swoops in right AFTER Finn’s speech, just as Alicia is coming on-stage. So Peter — this is a credit in HIS Power Bank — manages to upstage Finn AND steal Alicia’s first moment in front of the cameras as a candidate, by placing himself front-and-center. This way, when he steps to the back for her to make her speech, it will look like he’s ALLOWING it to happen rather than making way for it somehow. Alicia seems super happy and grateful for this, and she’s not WRONG to be, because it was a good save even if it was also, I suspect, heavily calculated to put more optics in Peter’s favor.
But at the end of the day, the juxtaposition of these two moments says it all. Alicia looks hotter, smarter, more confident. She’s come along way. She gets the boost she needed. She got Finn AND Peter, just as she wanted it. And she’s running. Right now, the stroke is all hers.
However… I know nobody but me reads prop news stories, but this one is SO BORING AND SO BADLY DONE. I figured The Good Wife, of all shows, would nail one of these. Instead it’s like, “Alicia is running. Peter endorsed her. She used to be defined by his actions but now she is running.Hey, remember the scandal? Yeah.” Next time just put it on a website called Political Haiku and do it that way: Alicia Florrick // For a greater tomorrow. // No prostitutes, please. Or: Peter picks his wife // He used to pick ripe hookers. // Too little too late?