13 November, 2011

"Executive Order 13224"

Episode Title: "Executive Order 13224"
Season 3, Episode 7 |Original Air Date: Sunday, November 6, 2011

I cheered. I gasped. Okay, I gasped three times in the first seven minutes. Fine, it was more probably more like four. I shrieked and I covered my face. “Executive Order 13224” was, in my opinion, the biggest ‘wow factor’ episode they have done since Bond was ousted in season two.  I didn’t know they could top this season’s episode four, “Feeding the Rat,” but they did.  The writers of The Good Wife are officially at the top of my Christmas card list.

In my opinion – episode commentary 
I think it’s only fit to begin this post with a mention of a scene that launched the episode: What can I say - the opening with Will on the phone to Diane and having Alicia's "Mom pick up the phone, Mom pick up the phone" ring throughout the room and across the telephone line was shocking. I had a feeling Will was with Alicia, but I didn't expect her phone to go off.  It was a great and yet terrible Team Gardner moment.    Oh – and let me just say this – how is it that Grace can manage to ruin almost every scene she is in? Where this bible study storyline is going is uncertain to me, but what I do know: if bible study is the undoing of Team Gardner, I’m going to be upset.

Flash to Diane
This was a great episode for Christine Baranski to tap into her comedic timing that has been well used for the show’s dramatic effect.  This was an episode for her (and her shoes!) to shine. It’s clear she definitely knows something is going on with Will and Alicia and is trying to figure out the best way to deal with it.  All I could think of when she brought in the insurance representative to discuss "harassment" and "appropriate behaviour" was, "Touche Diane, touche."  It was brilliant. 

Now we’re seeing a different side to Diane though – she is looking at Alicia through a different lens.  So, where will the passive aggression lead? I can’t help but flash back to “The Death Zone” when Diane had a sit-down with Will to discusses getting rid of Alicia if she becomes a liability.  Until things get sorted out, I think we can look forward to more clever nudges at the budding Team Gardner romance.  Diane is crafty and her sexual harassment video with bubble gum xylophone music is just the beginning.  Ping!

For the love of cupcakes, confidentiality, paper and freedom
Fortunately, Alicia is still excellent at her job and knows how to land on the side of integrity and justice.  This week, Alicia found herself in a storyline that had her reporting client information to a Treasury Secretary Monitor, a situation which made her “uncomfortable” (of course, Diane was exceptionally sympathetic to this statement… or not).  The penalty for not reporting back is stated to be a $250,000 fine and eight years in prison.  Enter Carrie Preston’s hard-hitting and yet whimsical character Elsbeth Tascioni, a lawyer who comes on the scene in some rather dire circumstances (season one’s “Mock” episode, for example).  Paired alongside the cupcake-loving Treasury Secretary Monitor, Mr. Gordon Higgs (played by Bob Balaban), it’s a wonder anything was accomplished, what with all of the delaying tactics and talk of frosting.  Of course, Elsbeth was brilliant and Alicia is free to walk to the streets of Chicago another day.  Or, at least until Diane can arrange otherwise.

Gardner vs. Florrick
Meanwhile, the Will/Peter dynamic is becoming increasingly more interesting as time goes on.  Will is rough around the edges – he’s not afraid to speak his mind and when push comes to shove, he will fight.  Let’s not forget season two’s episode, ‘VIP Treatment,’ when he ends up in an all-out brawl the evening of the gala dinner.  Peter is more refined.  He’s a politician at heart and with a religious ‘rebirth’ since being in prison he does seem to be approaching life in a more pragmatic fashion.  He’s not flying off the handle at the drop of a pin, but then again, he’s not in the throngs of passion with Alicia.  Peter knows that he needs to play it cool in order to take Will down.  As the audience, I feel like we’re being put in a very interesting position.  We are witness to Peter landing solely on the side of doing the right thing, while we're being positioned to see a less than squeaky clean image of Will.  

So, is Will really in trouble?  We heard about this $45,000 in stolen money when Celeste and Alicia bonded over a few shots of tequila, so we know there are people who are aware of the indiscretion.  That said, Alicia didn’t seem particularly concerned when she heard about it - Let’s not forget her quote: “If he hasn’t buried a hobo in the desert I’ll be unimpressed.”

For those Team Florrick fans, you can all celebrate because Peter is taking a step back from the Lockhart Gardner investigation due to too many conflicts of interest.  Point Peter.  When more information surfaces, Will is going to have a mad hate on for the State's Attorney and it’s going to be in Peter’s best interest to be standing in the wings.  How this all ties back to Lemond Bishop is off my radar right now – I’m not sure how Dana and Cary are going to tip Will to get information.   My question: Why would Blake have given up Will's secret?  Before this goes too far, Will is going to have to tell Alicia what’s happening so it doesn't end up being another 'betrayal of trust' situation for her.

Quotes of the week:
1) "I need your help on this insurance case because I'm swamped.  Look at all this paper. Whew! I need help." - Oh Elsbeth... she makes me smile.  
2)  "Get a pair of balls and throw a punch" - Pa Chow Will Gardner!  I like that he's not afraid of confrontation.  
3) Will: "How are you doing?"   Alicia: "Well, I'm not going to jail."  Will: "That's good."  Well, what else can you say? 

So, what’s next?
I think Kalinda is going to be able to use her new-found information to rekindle her friendship with Alicia.  Now that she's heard Alicia's cell phone ring on Will's call, she definitely knows what's going on... especially paired with her conversation with Will in the first episode of the season when he says he has somewhere to be at "8:45" and she says, "that's specific."  Anyways, I can see Diane asking Kalinda to investigate more deeply into the lives of Will and Alicia, but I can also see Kalinda telling Alicia and then holding information back from Diane to protect the Team Gardner relationship.  Thoughts?

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