12 December, 2011

"What Went Wrong"

Episode Title: "What Went Wrong"
Season 3, Episode 11 | Original Air Date: Sunday, December 11, 2011

If I had to pick just one thing I love most about The Good Wife, it would have to be the element of surprise.  It’s the over-arching trait that makes this show tick.  In “What Went Wrong” we were treated to more than a few of these delicious moments – those times that make me, personally, sit up a little taller, or even stand-up and exclaim, “Well, I didn’t see that coming!” This week, I had three of these moments.  Let's call them huge storyline developments and further nods to the Emmy-winning potential of The Good Wife.

In my Opinion – Episode Commentary
This week, the episode unfolded in a dramatic way when a jury reached a guilty verdict despite the defense, prosecution and judge believing in the accused’s relative innocence.  Unfortunately, this meant a loss for Lockhart Gardner and something they weren’t ready to accept.  Taking a cue from Diane, the team was tasked to find out “what went wrong” and secure a piece of evidence solid enough to provide grounds for a reversal. 

Of course, finding the golden ticket – that one piece of key evidence – isn’t as easy as it should be, but that’s what made this episode especially interesting.   The first order of business?  Securing the jury’s old garbage.  Luckily, Justin found the janitor and smoothly handed over a token of gratitude in the form of a pristinely folded $5, $10 or $20 (I’m guessing $20 – surely Diane would have splurged for this ripe refuse).  Upon digging in, Alicia and Justin were interested to find layers of ‘guilty’ and ‘not guilty’ verdicts sandwiched between meal remnants.  At lunch – the Chinese food layer – the jury was leaning towards ‘not guilty,’ but by their pizza dinner everyone was unanimous with a “guilty” verdict.  What happened in between?  Flash to Kalinda who tracked down juror number five, a blogger named Lisa who was openly passionate about writing twice-daily on the subject of buttons.  Yes, you read that correctly, buttons.  It seems that while sitting on the jury, Lisa had to take time away from her button-based adventures and later reported some jury frustration out to her readers. Not to dismiss the practicality or usefulness of buttons, but who would read a blog devoted to the subject?  The answer?  Apparently 45,000 people.  Only Diane Lockhart could deliver that statistic and have me believe it.

With a sympathetic judge presiding, we watched as Lockhart Gardner made three attempts to have the verdict reversed: 1) Throw Lisa under the bus – “improper contact between a juror and a non-participant.”  Good try (and kudos on all the blog hits)… but denied; 2) Back to the garbage – try to make juror 12 feel threatened by a letter found torn up next to discarded coffee cups… too bad he admitted he didn’t really care.  Solid attempt… but back to square one; 3) Social media “friending” – the undoing of all great cases.  As luck would have it, the judge accepted a friend request on "FaceBranch" by our social butterfly button-lover during the trail – just the ethical breech Lockhart Gardner was after.  Signed, sealed, delivered. Case over.

The Art of Friendship
If the case had been any different this week – that is to say, if Diane hadn’t uttered the words, “what went wrong” – I’m convinced the episode would have been entitled “The Art of Friendship.”  Everything tying this episode together was based on this one thing we’ve seen Alicia struggle with for the last three years: having friends.  Perhaps this is why she and Eli actually get along so well?  As we’ve seen, Eli isn’t so good at that whole ‘friends’ thing either.

Alicia and Kalinda
I never would have imagined handcuffs and Internet Jesus would have brought Alicia and Kalinda back together.  I also never imagined I would write that sentence… which makes the whole situation the perfect way to start my I didn’t see that coming listThat said, all things being equal, I’ve taken to working under the assumption that any storyline needs at least seven degrees of separation from Grace to succeed.  How Alicia tracked down Internet Jesus at his day job – a skateboard shop – is uncertain, but I’m glad she did.  Do I care about the fact Alicia doesn’t want Grace to hang out with this guy anymore?  Not really, but that could be more because I was rooting for her to be kidnapped.  I was, however, thrilled when he explained the details of Grace being found and returned home.  Even better was Kalinda’s threat to him, which clearly made her name stick in his memory.

Then, of course, an integral part of the storyline I have yet to tackle: Cary arresting Kalinda.  Getting too close to jurors was a risk K was willing to take for this case; Cary took exception and had her handcuffed and carted off to prison.  While she didn’t have enough time to make a shiv from her trusty notebook binding, she did get moved around the system until Alicia, after having found out Kalinda rescued Grace, decided to return the favor, yell at Cary and get her released from jail.  The moment tens of thousands of The Good Wife fans have been waiting for finally arrived – Alicia and Kalinda had a civil conversation.  "Alicia, I haven't changed.  I'm the same person.  I knew I could help, so I helped, that's all." It’s not full-fledged friendship yet, but it doesn’t have to be.  The subtext said it all – these two will be reconciled before too long.

Alicia and Owen
Thank goodness for brothers!  Owen is definitely Alicia’s best friend these days - he is the one and only person she can confide in about every aspect of her life, without judgment.  Okay, so maybe she didn’t tell him she tuned into a hot and heavy made-for-TV movie about Joan of Arc before they met for drinks, but otherwise, he’s pretty in the know.

Alicia and Will
After the heartbreak of last week’s episode, a trauma I’m not sure I’ll recover from until at least season 17, Will and Alicia had one exchange that both softened the edge of awkward encounters and complicated their future dealings simultaneously.

Will: “I don’t want things to be awkward.” 
Alicia: “I so don’t want things to be awkward.” 
Will: “Good. Then they won’t be” 
Alicia: “So that’s it then, isn’t it? 
Will: “What?” 
Alicia: “We just decide it and it’s so?” 
Will: “Yep, we’re adults” 
Alicia: “Thank you” 
Will: “You have no reason to thank me Alicia, no reason at all.”

Well, what does that mean?  Alicia looked as puzzled as I felt.  I’m sure things will become clear later in the season, likely when it comes out that Will is in professional trouble but didn’t tell Alicia.  For now, I foresee a dwindling friendship between these two.  It makes sense the writers put some distance in this storyline, at least for the immediate future.

Alicia and Diane
Not only did Diane do a literal dance of joy with Justin at the beginning of the show (see photo below), she performed admirably in her metaphorical dance around Alicia.  Wanting to discuss Alicia’s potential path to partnership, Diane eloquently touched on the dangers of office romances and how distractions could be Alicia’s one and only downfall.  In the end, Diane made a proclamation of friendship, something we know Diane is careful not to offer to just anyone.  In fact, like Alicia, we don’t see Diane with friends.  As of season one, we knew she had a dog named Justice, but even he seems to have been missing for the last two and a half years.  Not knowing where any of this was going, my list of I didn't see that coming items quickly grew when Diane and Alicia met for drinks after work.  Pass the Scotch – these women mean business.

Down at the Gym
Whenever Wendy Scott-Carr shows up, two things immediately cross my mind: 1) Why can’t I, or anyone else, call her “Wendy” instead of “Wendy Scott-Carr” and 2) Why does she remind me so much of the Dark Lord?  The first question I pose could be a mystery from now until eternity, but the second answer is quite simply: because she’s evil.  First she was Peter’s opponent in the race to become State’s Attorney.  Next, Peter hired her to go after Lemond Bishop.  Not liking that track, she decided she wanted to go after Will under the guise of judicial corruption.  When she finally approached Will this week (if I’m not mistaken, this is the first time they’ve met), she arrived on the scene almost as a shadowed silhouette.  The only thing that could have made her entrance more sinister would have been her first lurking behind the bleachers watching Will play basketball by himself.  Knowing the details on the investigation, Will was quick to brush her off until she dropped the ultimate bomb: She’s not actually investigating him - she’s trying to bring down Peter.  What can I say?  I didn't see that coming, take three.

Quotes of the Week:
Alicia: “I had friends… Where are they all?”
Owen: “Probably on Facebook”

“I have to go yell at someone now. Talk to you later.” – Alicia to Owen, just before meeting Internet Jesus

“Oh good, more from the trash.” – Diane to Justin, when he delivers evidence to her desk that he has found in the garbage

Wendy Scott-Carr: “The next we talk, it will be in front of a grand jury.”
Will: "Okay. So be it."

What’s next?
Will is off to hire a lawyer with all of this whole 'judicial bribery' investigation going down.  Word on the street is that Elsbeth Tascioni is going to be just the woman for the job.  I can only image the level of frustration Wendy Scott-Carr will have with Elsbeth.  It’s going to be worth the price of admission.

Grace and Zach are off to private school.  I hope this doesn’t mean Jennifer, Grace’s tutor, will be unceremoniously ousted.  Quite frankly, she’s the best part of Grace right now.

The Good Wife is officially on hiatus until the New Year… but that doesn't mean I am.  Next week I’m planning a special feature on ‘top scenes we would have liked to witness.'  If there's one scene you've been imagining (Just think - what was the conversation Will and Alicia had when that elevator kept closing during the finale?) please post a reply and let me know.  Anything goes!

Related to this Post:


  1. Thanks again for a wonderful insight of this weeks perfect episode :-). I had to watch it twice.

    I am 100% with you on "I didn´t see that coming"! And let me say - although being a TV junkie there is not much surprise in for me these days. Even more good reason for "The Good Wife" being my favorite show!

    I also with you on "The Dark Lord" and the quotes of the week. "I have to go yell at someone now." was THE one :-)

    Although I also need at least until season 17 (love that one!!!) to recover from last weeks events, I am glad to have more Alicia & Diane time.
    By the way I loved the dress Alicia´s was wearing when being in the principal´s office.

  2. Fabulous! This is your best one to date.
    Also, I couldn't agree more about WSC. She joins the ranks of SJP and NPH with 3 names.

  3. Thanks for the note, Birgit - your now weekly commentary on my blog puts a huge smile on my face every Monday. Thank you!

    This episode was definitely worthy of a re-watch... two, three maybe eight times. Quite frankly, by the time we get a new episode in January, I probably will have watched it a solid dozen times. One of my favourite things about this week's episode that I didn't really touch on: the fact that while I'm still heart broken over the break up of Team Gardner last week, I didn't truly miss them as a couple in "What What Wrong," which I thought I would. The writers played everything out perfectly. Alicia's new relationships might just fill our Team Gardner void until we can get that show back on the road. For now, I'm thrilled to be supporting Team Kalinda!

    Stay tuned to my blog next week - I'm cooking up some fun!

  4. Thank you, JS! Four hours of sleep and plenty of The Good Wife adrenaline fueled some inspiration this week! I loved your WSC/SJP/NPH comparison - so true. I suppose I fit in there now, too, come to think of it... KPM.

    Even with all of the sinister characters they have had over the last two and a half seasons (hello, season two's Derek Bond!), WSC is surely the most driven. I have a feeling Dana is going to get swallowed up in the drama of trying to get ahead, leaving Cary spinning on his ethical compass. I think he's going to end up in a very difficult spot before too long - if Peter goes down, even though Cary doesn't always agree with his decisions, what happens? Cary isn't tight with WSC, he just had Kalinda arrested which means their friendship is dicey, Alicia has 'lawyered' him and we all know there's no love lost there... so what's left? Cary, like Alicia, Kalinda and Will, is quickly becoming an island, despite his best efforts. Hmm... all of this makes me wonder - why don't any of these characters actually have friends? No one on this show can afford to burn bridges. There will be no one to go drinking with before too long.

  5. Not interested in buttons! What New York do you live in? ;-)
    M&J Trimming, Joyce Trimming, on 38th St. between 6th and Broadway a number of places, all interesting. M&J around the corner between 37 and 38 on 6th Avenue.

  6. Too funny, Lora! Okay, okay, I'm interested "in" buttons, just not sure I'm interested in reading a blog devoted them. I do like crafting and notions though - I'm definitely going to check out your suggestions. Perhaps I'll even write about them? ;) Who knows, 45,000 blog hits could be in my future if I do?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...