How much do you want to bet that The Good Wife hopes Julianna Margulies will call her old pal Intern George and solicit a cameo from Amal Alamuddin? She and Alicia could powersuit the HELL out of it together.
13. Diane & Cary
This shot is apt for how these two functioned this week: largely in tandem, neither in stark relief. They’re here to give information only: The State’s Attorney’s office subpoenaed Lemond Bishop’s business records on some trumped-up tax charge — well, it IS the town that got Al Capone for something similar — and are hoping Florrick Agos Lockhart will comply, because it’ll set a precedent Daniel Castro and Finn can use against them in Cary’s criminal trial. They’re basically calling to ask Alicia for advice, even, as if she’s the big boss. Might as well write the word “Power” on a piece of paper, wrap it up in an old Marshall Fields box, and give it to her with a note that says, “Be my guest.”
“Mr. Bishop, I don’t have much to do this week, so excuse me if I forego the jewelry. It’s not worth it.”
This is from Diane’s and Cary’s other moment. They flank Alicia, putting her thusly front and center, during an awkward conversation in which she tells Lemond Bishop they need to stop representing him. I don’t think Alicia told them that it’s because she’s arranging deck chairs on the Titanic of her candidacy (in the sense that even if she wins, I Have Great Concerns); she’s pinning it on conflict of interest, which I’m sure Diane and Cary welcomed, because it means Daniel Castro can’t manipulate them as much. But in this chess game, right this second, they’re the pawns and Saint Alicia is the queen. And Bishop is the bishop, just for synergy purposes and because he’s really good at making diagonal moves that still keep him going forward.
Diane is all about the patterns this week. Maybe because she didn’t seem certain either way what to do — obey the subpoena, or fight it — and so the swirls reflect her roiling mental state. Or, she just thinks they’re pretty. Sometimes a pattern is just a pattern.
Things started out okay for Eli, because he showed up at Alicia’s apartment to discuss her potential candidacy. But he’s also going to farm out most of the campaign work to someone else, given that he’s currently in the Governor’s employ, and so he’s ceding whatever little control he thought he had here. He can’t even keep a tight lid on Alicia’s family, given that in the middle of this meeting — with a campaign manager who isn’t that into families — Grace walks in with her choir and they start singing hymns while her friend dressed as a fairy princess randomly pirouettes around. The whole thing feels like a Blind Melon video.
He also managed to do an entire research report on Alicia’s candidacy, which digs into EVERYONE’S backgrounds, and fails to turn up the information that Kalinda and Peter had an affair during his State’s Attorney days (when she was in his employ). Alicia trotted it out like Eli already knew, and he covered, but poorly. His reaction was as if she’d said, “Wine is devil juice.”
AND Eli basically had to trade one paranoia — Peter and Intern Lauren — for another, namely, Peter and Intern Lauren’s Hot Mother, who is super charming and is played by Connie Nielsen. Eli is extremely stressed about about Peter’s libido basically all the time. If he could put a tracker on Peter’s florrick, he would.
Peter this week bends to Eli’s will by firing Intern Lauren. He does manage to surprise Eli with a secret — that he wasn’t giving Lauren a job for sexy reasons; rather, he’s old friends with Lauren’s mother — but he still DOES axe her, even though he had nothing to hide by having her on staff. If you are invested in Intern Lauren, they got her a job at someone else’s office. I would hate for you to lose sleep over her professional fate. No word on whether we’re still at Panty Defcon 1.
Peter also is taken by surprise by the reveal — as part of Eli researching what dirt Castro can hurl at Alicia — that Zach’s girlfriend Nisa had an abortion. (Alicia also did not know, and I can’t recall if WE did, either.) And in a classic display of weakness, Peter’s first reaction when Alicia tells him is to hang up and call Eli and panic about what might be in the folder about HIM. He mentions Intern Lauren specifically at that time, so whether or not anything was happening, he is acting like a guilty man. Oh, Peter. Pantyless interns are a bad idea on multiple levels. Do you need a list taped to your desk?
Kalinda continues to be in sparse use. Mostly, she gets to promise Eli she won’t reveal her big Peter secret during the campaign, but also, Lemond Bishop has her under his thumb. I’m sure he’s keenly aware she warned off the confidential informant before Lemond could cut off his head and use it as a vase, so he doesn’t have to do much to get her to talk. She spills to Lemond that Alicia needs to fire him as a client because she’s going to run for State’s Attorney, and Bishop is surprised by this news. How is that possible? The show has stressed that rumors of her campaign are ALL over the news and talk radio, and Lemond Bishop would TOTALLY have ears on that shit. Even if they are not his own. Even if they are severed, and belonged to one of his enemies.
9. Owen and Rizzo
These two. I love them. Stockard Channing’s problematic secret is that she spanked a five-year old boy in a department store because he was misbehaving and raising holy hell. The mother is furious about it and wants to sue. Alicia asks her mother to apologize, but it’s divinely insincere as only Rizzo can do, and the mother attempts to extort $50k out of them for her silence. Her comeuppance is surveillance video showing that moments before the two-tap spanking, he clobbered an old woman in the knee, so they flip the bribery back on the source: Either the woman keeps quiet, or they give her name to the crone for the purposes of paying her medical bills.
Owen found all that hilarious, but he’s not as amused when Alicia privately explains what was uncovered about HIM: that he’s seeing a married Pakistani man who also does bareback gay porn under the name Phil, which made me laugh and laugh. “Phil” is the bestworst porn name. Phil is the Xerox repairman who shows up and tries to join in the fun while the star is ravaging the pizza delivery guy who got there five minutes earlier. Owen may not have been aware of Phil’s habits, because his face falls, and he dumps his wine — the act of which REALLY causes Alicia to become startled, because Every Shiraz Is Sacred — and leaves in a tizzy. These two hold a little power here because they are both verbal loose cannons who will almost certainly get mixed up in this shit when it’s Go Time, and who seem totally confused (verging on unsupportive) as to why Alicia is doing this: “Why not just take a trip? You’d love Bali,” Rizzo suggests.
Finn only has one scene, and also, is still wearing his too-short hair. I guess, sigh, it needs time to grow. He’s dragged into Alicia’s issues because there’s a photo of him leaving Alicia’s condo at 8 a.m., which was from when they were reviewing what he should say for a disciplinary hearing. But it looks sexy. And Finn, indeed, looks sexy when he hears there’s a photo and purrs, “Is it a good photo?” I’m putting him this high on the list because his power here is of the arousing variety. Their whole conversation oozes heat. His WORDS say that he’s relieved they’re still friends even though they’re opposing each other on Cary’s case, and his eyes say, “I’m sad you’re running because I would really like to take you to a hotel right now and ravage you and then be photographed leaving and know it was because we were found guilty of orgasms in the first degree.”
This week’s edition of the Blabernet Sauvignon podcast would be all about Olivia Pope complaining that her sex piece wants to be her boyfriend, and that she’s still in love with someone unavailable, and Alicia would slam her hands on the desk and say, “Get a grip. My sex piece is DEAD. GO GET SOME.” And then they’d discuss how Alicia is kind of like Mellie Grant in the whole I Can’t Act On Sexual Tension Anymore Because I’m Married To A Man Who Holds Office, and that they both wish Mellie would saddle up and ride her intellect to something better. Then Alicia would prank-call Gloria Steinem, and they’d both agree that Huck should work for Lemond Bishop.
7. Johnny Elfman
This actor, Steven Pasquale, was in last season’s fall TV dog Do No Harm. He has rebounded onto a great show. So as the Reverend Mother says, when the Lord closes a door, some way he opens a window. And that woman got Maria in Captain Von Trapp’s bed so she knows what she’s doing. Anyway, Steven plays Johnny Elfman, the campaign manager Eli picked for Alicia, and presumably also the brother of Jenna (who can then guest-star as herself). Naturally, he was not into the idea once he realized Alicia is a first-time candidate with a carnival of a family, but as we all knew he would, he fell for her spine and her sass and decided to take the gig. He’ll probably be fairly potent this season during her campaign — which, by the by, we can expect to last eight months in Good Wife time. There’s a debate in “six months” and then the election two months after that. Mark your calendars, if you can figure out how quickly they’ll blow through that.
6. Darkness at Noon
Darkness at Noon is a Walking Dead -type show. (* Actually per the comments it’s based on the not-at-all-watched Low Winter Sun with maybe a touch of True Detective, but because of the next bit, I”m just… leaving this all in here.) Its version of The Talking Dead is on at Alicia’s while she’s waiting for Eli, and he and then later Johnny both get sucked into it, and it sounds extremely special. For example, a synopsis involves the spoilers, “Miguel DID look at the flowers,” and, “The yellow arm WAS moved.” And one of the panelists appears to be the actual showrunner from The Americans, which is funny. The Good Wife is great at background noise. Wasn’t Alicia obsessed with a Law & Order ripoff last season? I hope at some point she has to represent one of the Darkness at Noon actors.
Folder does a lot of work this week. Eli calls it The Red Pill, like in The Matrix, and its secrets control a lot of the actions and reactions in this hour. It is color-coded and has loads of stern capital letters on the cover, and seems to spell everything correctly. Folder’s secrets will control whether Alicia thinks she can handle running — its photos of Finn, of Will Gardner… sadly, nothing scurrilous about Jackie Florrick, but you know that’s only a matter of time. Sweet Folder, you have fulfilled your purpose.
Alicia pours SO MUCH OF IT this week. The show, in fact, begins with a close-up of a wine glass, and a bottle, and then her pausing in the pour to add a second wine glass. She offers it to Eli, to her mother and brother, pours herself SEVERAL refills, and has a drink with Finn.
It is her Teacher, Mother, Secret Lover, the way TV was for Homer Simpson.
“I just picked you up and drank of your glories. How long before I can touch you again?!?”
Of course, Wine also betrays her. Sort of. A setup, likely engineered by Castro, means Alicia is pulled over after she has drinks with Finn. He had just warned her that he overheard Castro saying he’d hit her where she’s vulnerable, so I can’t imagine Finn was involved. But if he was, he is dead to me. DEAD.
Alicia wanted a breathalyzer from the cop, but he made her do a field sobriety test, which he prolonged JUST enough that people got pictures. Luckily, Alicia had only had one glass. But, man. Wine, you are a cruel mistress.
Solid points went to Alicia for resisting Wine after her DUI scare. That is Ultimate Power if ever I’ve seen it.
I read somewhere — I’m pretty sure it was Entertainment Weekly — a breakdown of the first page of the first script of this season, and the reason behind Alicia getting up to do dishes while Eli was talking to her about running. That slice of domesticity was a conscious character choice they made. I can’t entirely remember why, but it was either that her unconscious reaction to discussions of power is to reach for normalcy, or that it’s an equally unconscious control thing. Either way, the beginning of this episode mirrors that: Alicia starts with the wine, then pauses and does house chores — in this case, cleaning up for Eli’s visit, putting out crudite, etc. She even gets out an apron. She’s telling Eli something about herself. I think it’s that this side of her is inseparable from the other, and that he needs to recognize that. But it could be a dozen other more elegant things.
Alicia wears very buttoned-up clothes this week whenever she’s confronted with something difficult. Here, she is fresh off the phone with Zach. Her initial reaction to his girlfriend’s abortion was hard rage, and wanting to cut off his college money. It’s a very exaggerated reaction for Alicia, but what bothers her — we know this through how often it flashes through her head — is that he convinced her he was just taking a trip to see Boston College. She believed him when he told her he didn’t smoke weed, or any number of other things, and she feels betrayed. In the end, she coldly lectures him that when he’s asked, he will say that he talked to her about it because they’re extremely close, and that she counseled him on all his options and expressed the hope that they’d have the baby and she could help raise it, but that he made his own choice. She’s ENRAGED and I can’t tell if it’s just hurt coming out as anger, or what. Either way, she gives Zach a strong talking-to and then hangs up on him.
And while she’s having her family’s dirty laundry trotted before her, Alicia sells Johnny Elfman on herself with a number of detached, sarcastic zingers and also her general awesomeness. This includes:
– “I’m not your superhero. If you want someone to rebuild your faith in humanity, don’t waste my time. Or yours.” — to Johnny, about his reluctance to represent Just Anyone
– “Anyone who’s pawed through my underwear drawer should call me by my first name.” — to Johnny when he calls her Mrs. Florrick
– “Well, I don’t like my kids seeing who I sleep with. How could they get out in time for their abortions?” — to Johnny and Eli, on why Finn was leaving her place at 8 a.m.
Multiple people ask Alicia why she wants to run, and never once does she say, “Because I’m interested in the work,” or, “Because I want the job.” She tells Johnny she’s running because Castro is evil. She doesn’t really answer her mother and Owen. But she does decide to run. She takes all this in, and for reasons apparently unknown even to her — probably a mix of ego and hatred of Castro — she tells Johnny she’ll do it. So, she’s seizing the day. Again. It worked with Florrick Agos, but she loved that. I do not think she’ll love this. I don’t even think she’s CONSIDERED how it will feel going up against her old colleagues in the courtroom, picking them apart the way they’re being attacked now. Oh, ALICIA. I wish you’d seen a therapist first.
What pushed her over the edge?
A random PAC pops up and solicits donations for Alicia’s campaign, and Grace is blown away by how much it has raised so quickly. By the end of the episode, it has doubled, which is the last thing Alicia sees before she decides to run. It’s actually a little weird to me; it feels like Alicia is swayed by the sense of winning a popularity contest, which NEVER struck me as her personality at all. I hope we have in store a conversation with Diane about all this. I miss Alicia confronting any of her actual FRIENDS, whoever they are. Kalinda? Cary? Diane? I know they’re all tied to her firm, but seriously, Alicia, you need a little perspective.
But where there’s a PAC, there’s a PACman. Who might this one be?
1. Lemond Bishop
I almost kicked him down the list for this grievously unsuave, discordant ensemble. The tie looks like it’s blood-spattered. The pocket square is a clashing blue. He must be distracted, what with all the subpoenas and the MUUURDER and whatnot. Alicia tries to fire him as a client, and he refuses to listen, and is as close to a pouty child as he’s ever been…
… until Kalinda tells him that Alicia is running. And The Bishop gets an idea. An awful idea. The Bishop gets a horrible, awful idea. He cheerfully tells Alicia that he’s changed firms, and reveals to Alicia that he started the PAC. “It’s the least I could do,” he says. “And there’s more money where that came from.” He hands her a campaign button, and just like that, Lemond is BACK IN THE GAME, overcoming the pain of a poorly chosen outfit to once again sit on top of the power pack. Or the power PAC, as it were. Oh, Bishop, you evil-sexy mastermind, you.