‘The Good Wife’ 6.11 or Hickory Dickory Dock, Kalinda and the Ticking Clock

Good Wife 6.11

Sunday night’s mid-season premiere of The Good Wife was brought to you by composer David Buckley‘s love for cellists on Redbull, and other auditory devices. Honestly, nothing from last night’s fast-paced, Alicia-lite episode stands out to me more than its incessant musical anxiety. It works, I’ll give it that, but they really need to tone it down and let the writing and performances build the bulk of the suspense more often than not. “Hail Mary” was not The Good Wife at it’s finest, and particularly weak for a mid-season return, but even the most mediocre episode proves better than 80% of network television, so I’ll take it.

Let’s cut to the chase here. In Sunday’s thematically sporadic episode, Diane was the hero of our story, working against three levels of corruption: 1) the Police’s set-up Cary; 2) Kalinda’s false Brady evidence; 3) Peter’s botched attempt to delay Cuesta under false pretenses.  It’s truly a miracle that Cary is not in prison. No really, it’s a miracle. I’m not buying the nick-of-time deus ex machina there. So what exactly happened in Alicia’s faux debate storyline again? What did the Herc prison consultant scenes really do? Why did Alicia kiss Elfman the hottie campaign manager? And will we have to hear the words “body woman” for comic effect in every Marisa scene? Answers (sort of) below the cut.

Alicia’s debate prep was… 1 blah, 2 blah, 3 blah. First, Chris Elliot’s character gets so high he can’t debate and, in what was surely meant to serve as some comic relief, fails in that I was only about as amused as everyone else in that room. I’m going to sound very Eli here but: C’mon Alicia is trying to win an election here! Let’s get this show on the road! And to add insult to injury, Finn walks in and out of there quicker than you can say Lincoln-Douglas. We waited all winter break for  this anti-climactic encounter? What exactly did we accomplish there? There wasn’t even any worthwhile rivalry between Finn and Peter — just a pissy Peter — likely because Finn is so chill that he’s just above it all. I see what the writers did (i.e. were trying to do) by having Alicia finally “graduate” to master-debater (heh) via channeling her contempt for Peter, and I am glad that Elfman was there to applaud it, but the chemistry and passion between Alicia and Peter just wasn’t there. When Alicia approaches Peter about getting Cary into a better prison, there was just something very flat about the conversation, as well as its terrible timing. She is going to debate Peter (i.e. Governor Florrick) in a room full of people and decides that making a highly unethical request of him 30 seconds prior is wise? Unless she had been purposely trying to get a rise out of him, Alicia is smarter than that. Likely, it was just a way for the writers to up the ante and effectively have her pummel him in the debate in which, at least, that much was accomplished. All in all though, we could have completely done without this debate prep scenario from start to finish and The Good Wife would have remained exactly the same.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only throwaway factor in the episode. Cary’s prison training session revealed nothing nor accomplished anything considering Cary gets off scott-free in the end. For a moment I considered that it may have pulled at Kalinda’s heart strings and egged her on to make the questionable decision to falsify the email metadata. Of course, Kalinda is not one to ever make a bad decision based on emotions — I mean does she even have feelings for Cary aside from guilt over the fact that she doesn’t? But back to the prison training, Cary’s conversations with the consultant were barely comical, and as much as I absolutely adore Cary I just couldn’t handle his puppy dog eyes for another episode, much less mentions of him puking in the bathroom from the nerves. Man up. The whole will-he-or-won’t-he-go-to-prison scenario has been dragged out for half a season already, and tacking this on to the tail end of it was pointless and, at least for me, crossed the threshold of vulnerability into cowardice. It’s clear now, and was pretty obvious as I was watching as well, that the scenario was meant to serve the sole narrative purpose of building suspense via ticking time clock. Yes, that’s right, an actual clock was ticking so as to remind us, too, in case it wasn’t already glaringly obvious. Overkill.

As for Kalinda and Diane’s race towards the Brady violation, that was essentially the episode. Their’s was the only story which moved any characters forward. In typical Kalinda fashion she breaks all the rules to get the victory, but the strongest point in the way it unfolded was in how Kalinda’s actions unjustly implicated that Artie Bucco Detective Prima broke the law. One thing is doing the wrong thing for the right reason and another is doing that thing and creating a secondary problem. The way it played out with Prima being in the room and attempting to defend himself, as well as the prosecution recognizing where it was at fault, and even Cuesta — in spite of his rage — apologizing to Cary, was fantastic in establishing a sense of guilt and an overall ugliness with Kalinda’s actions.

Final thought, what is Peter up to? He tried to help Alicia without letting her know that he is helping her? Why wouldn’t he have mentioned this when he shut down her request at the mock debate? Am I confused here or isn’t it unclear how Peter even knew about the race against the clock over Cary? Unless… Peter really is trying to vet Cuesta for Illinois Supreme Court…

On that note, let’s just hope that Scoobies Esq. are back in the same room next week, churning it out as a team, and weaving multiple and pertinent stories together and away from one another in the best The Good Wife fashion. [P.S. I naturally assume that “the kiss” was just a kiss, and we should not get our panties up in a bunch about it. Well, maybe there’s sex coming, but there has been no romantic chemistry between Elfman and Alicia before this and I don’t think this would be the time to start what with everything else going on for Alicia — including and excluding Finn.]

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