20 February, 2012

"Live from Damascus"

Episode Title: Live from Damascus aka The Last at Bat
Season 3, Episode 15 | Original Air Date: February 19, 2012

With baseball references being bandied about like homeruns at an All-Star game, The Good Wife was back in full swing with episode 15, “Live from Damascus.”  Sure we had to wait three weeks for this episode, but in the end, sometimes it takes a while to get to the much touted seventh-inning stretch.  The result?  A bitter sweet episode that had me exclaiming, “Why can’t they just hug it out?” and “Wow, Will has the best female friends… ever.”

In My Opinion – Episode Commentary
Picking up right where we left off, Audra Mae’s "Here I Go Again" played gleefully in the background as Peter dismissed Wendy Scott-Carr from his office (take a hint WSC – your parking has been validated), while across the city, Will and Diane twirled in the hallways of Lockhart Gardner.  To be perfectly candid, I always know it’s going to be a great hour of television when I’m clapping in the first 36 seconds.  Oh how I clapped.  Unfortunately all of that was cut short when Will got word Lionel Deerfield had called and left an important message.  Side note: If you don’t remember Lionel, he was one of the lawyers Will considered hiring before he met Elsbeth.  Also, he’s played by Edward Herrmann, aka, Richard Gilmore.  Much like when you hear the names “Andrew Wiley,” “Dana Lodge” and in some cases, “Peter Florrick,” when Lionel Deerfield enters the picture, it’s rarely about anything good.   

The really bad news?  Not only did Lionel call, he showed up the party.  Fortunately, so did Alicia. More about that later.

With an ever-expanding guest list, it only seemed fitting to add another couple of hitters into the batter’s box: Enter Viola Walsh (Rita Wilson) and Neil Gross (John Benjamin Hickey) in, as Will playfully noted, “in his patented hoodie.”  The collision of Walsh and Gross could only mean one thing: the imminent appearance of Patric Edelstien (Jack Carpenter), The Good Wife’s very own Mark Zuckerberg.  If anyone else was having flashbacks to season two’s episodes “Net Worth” and “Great Firewall” you weren’t alone.  I couldn’t help but think, haven’t we been here before?  Here we have all of the same players in “the same but different” situation.

With Kalinda video chatting with her friend, Samir, in Syria (a situation, by the way, that made me think, yet again, if ever I’m lost or kidnapped, I want this woman on my side… she knows people everywhere!), we were given an inside view of the Lockhart Gardner class action suit.  You see, they are going up against Gross for knowingly selling software to the Syrian government that was ultimately used to capture and kill prisoners.  Flash to court, where we found one my favourite judges in the Cook County system: Judge Abernathy.  He’s quirky, smart and if you know him well enough (as we’ve come to), he’s also a bit calculated. This week, he was caught in the Occupy Wall Street protests, which found him on the bench battling the aftereffects of a run-in with pepper spray.   For Lockhart Gardner, Abernathy’s support of the 99% become critical to their case, a fact that eventually help them hit the class action out of the park.

I’ll be honest in admitting the case this week didn't thoroughly inspire me, but perhaps that’s because I was more than a little preoccupied with wrapping my mind around the fact the grand jury, the party and the final preparations for the big Damascus case all happened, apparently, on the same day.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Diane had the opportunity to wear that stunning eggplant blazer a few more hours and that Alicia did manage to make it to the office to see the festivities, but still.  While the timeline was, admittedly, a little far-fetched, it was all forgiven when Will bounded, with boyish vigor, into a dimly lit office to chat with Alicia.  As they looked at each other and expressed their relief over the dropped indictment charges, the palpable feeling reverberating through the room said, give this man a hug already! And yet… just like Will, we were left hanging with ball four… walking to first.  Still, their friendship is stronger than ever, and for fans of Team Gardner, a little goes a long way.

Three Strikes, You’re Out
They say the first cut is the deepest, but for Will Gardner, it looks as though it’s about the seventh or eighth cut that’s tearing into the heart of the matter.  When Lionel came to talk to Will, it was to give him the heads up that The Attorney Compliance and Disciplinary Board was pursing his disbarment.  Honestly, this man could not be having a worse year.  Hearing the news, Diane set out to talk to Lionel herself, an altruistic act, we would later learn, where she told Lionel that Will was actually the one who pushed to elevate the importance of pro-bono in the firm.  Of course, we know that’s not true, but that’s hardly important.  The facts are these: Diane was willing to do everything she could to ensure Will’s legal future.  This adds to a long line of women in Will’s life who are willing to bend over backwards for him – Whether it’s Alicia, Kalinda or Diane, Will has some of the best female friends ever.

Diane’s valiant efforts didn’t go unrecognized and Will was offered six months probation, an opportunity  he took because the alternative could see him never practicing law again.  What does all of this mean?  Firstly, another law firm name change.  That’s four name variations in the last three years, for those of you keeping track.  Those companies holding the contracts for stationary printing or office glass etching must make a killing doing business with this firm.  The new name?  Lockhart & Associates.  Secondly, it means Will cannot enter the offices unless it’s related to a case.  Thirdly, it seems as though we’ll be getting to see a different side of Will Gardner.   We know his sisters come to town in the next episode, “After the Fall” and their minds are set on finding Will a suitable love interest.  Also, we learn that Will can play the guitar.  What else will we find out over the next six months?  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to expect the unexpected, but I’ll confess to having a purse full of predictions standing by…

Eli, Vanessa and Stacie, oh my!
Meanwhile, things are kicking into high gear in the campaign for State Senate.  Eli is losing his mind about Stacie working with his ex-wife, Vanessa, so much so, he barely seemed to care that Kalinda hung up on him for more important matters.  Stacie, on the other hand, is playing Eli like a pawn in an intricate and passionate game of chess.  Vanessa, one would think, seems caught in the middle, but in fact, Eli is the one who can’t get enough of this proverbial sandwich.  The truth is, Eli still cares about Vanessa and he truly wants the best for her.  Does this mean Stacie is the right choice?  In Eli’s mind, no… but that isn’t stopping him from getting involved in the campaign.  Over the coming months we’re going to be seeing a lot more of Eli, Vanessa and Stacie.  Where it will lead, I don’t know, but it makes me wonder… what other projects does Eli have on his docket?

Bits and Bites: A Few More Things to Mention
  • With Will kicked out of the game for six months, Alicia has been called in to handle a very sensitive case: the tax files of one Kalinda Sharma.  We have no idea what’s inside said file, but it has been touted as “sensitive.”  It stands to reason Kalinda has some baggage (and, let’s face it, she doesn't really seem like someone who rushes out to H & R Block to file her return each year), so, what could be contained inside?  Despite being a third-year associate, Alicia is quickly becoming more linked-in than almost anyone else in the firm. 
  • Over at the State’s Attorney’s Office, Cary was tasked with a bit his own “restructuring.”  I saw this one coming from a mile away, but it became official: Dana hitched her wagon to the wrong star in Wendy Scott-Carr and now she’s back to square one.  The game of Snakes and Ladders is a slippery one, isn’t it Dana?

  • I would probably be remiss if I didn't at least mention Johnathon Groff's guest-starring role in this episode.  He was solely involved in the case surrounding the use of software to used to kill captured prisoners, as his sister was one of the alleged victims.  Full props to Groff for being able to cry on cue - I thought he did a stand-up job, if only the case had been slightly more alluring.

Quotes of the Week:
Neil: “So, this is where creativity goes to die?” 
Alicia: “Oh no, that’s the next floor.” 
Neil: “Is that supposed to be funny?" 
Alicia: “It is.” 
Neil: “Well I didn’t think it was funny” 
Alicia: “It must have been my delivery…”

Viola: “We seem to be catching you in the middle of a party” 
Will: “Casual Wednesdays.”

Diane to Will: “You’re trying to hit a home run with your last at bat. I’d love nothing more than to be proven wrong.”

Eli to Vanessa: “First lesson about being an elected official?  When you get what you want, shut up!”

What’s next?
For what seems like the fourth time this season, it’s a new day over on The Good Wife.  We get to see Will begin his six-month hiatus from law with a visit from his sisters.  Meanwhile, Julius isn’t waiting two minutes before the dust settles to see if he can get his name on the new stationary.  How does Lockhart Cain sound?  While I’m not sure Diane will be so receptive, it does bring up a few interesting questions.  (Where will the firm be in six months?  Is it possible Will and Diane could split up and have opposing firms?  Just think: Diane could bring back Cary; Will could have Alicia and Kalinda…).  Before any of that happens though, we have to deal with the matter at hand, and in two weeks, that seems to involve Caitlin.  Kalinda smells trouble and warns Alicia that this peppy first-year might be more of a piranha than anything else.

Upcoming Schedule
We’re on another two-week break *sigh,* but according to imdb.com, March is fully stocked with new episodes!  Stay tuned March 4, 11, 18 and 25.

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06 February, 2012

Closing Arguments - January 2012

Alicia's iPod Playlist & January's Top Five Scenes
Season 3, February Hiatus | Post Date: February 6, 2012

Between the Super Bowl and the Grammy’s, February is turning out to be “the great waiting game” for fans of The Good Wife.  Of course, we know that it will return with a vengeance on February 19, but what are we supposed to do until then?

Fortunately, I have more than a few ideas… so let’s get started!

Of course, Alicia's iPod would have Mika's "Any Other World"
filed in "Favorites" and playing on repeat, but there are plenty of new songs to add to that list!

Alicia's iPod Playlist
When it comes to music, new episodes of The Good Wife can only mean one thing:  It’s time to update current playlists!  Here are some of the most notable songs from January 2012’s episodes:

Here I Go Again | Audra Mae (2009) 
The scene: Will’s indictment falls through, so there’s nothing left to do but celebrate with drinks and dancing over Lockhart Gardner (and really, could there have been a better song for Will and Diane?  I think not).  Perfection!  Note: I recommend this song in large doses and on frequent replay. 
Set Us Free | Black Mountain (2005) 
The scene:  Wendy Scott-Carr introduces herself and the indictment process to the grand jury for Will Gardner.  While she talks, we see jurors doodling everything from pirates to wagon wheels.  Set us free, indeed!

Magic Arrow | Timber Timbre (2009) 
The scene: Guest star, Jason Biggs, enters the lobby at Lockhart Gardner looking for Alicia, while being tracked by Federal Agents representing the Treasury.  He may be in trouble, but this song has both a serious and playful quality to it – much like the case surrounding Mr. Bitcoin.
Walk Like an Egyptian | The Bangles (1986) 
The scene: Kalinda heads to Decode-A-Con to get to track down the mysterious Mr. Bitcoin.  Why there are Egyptian goddesses dancing at Decode-A-Con is something that’s explained only in passing – it’s because hieroglyphics were the first cryptograms and therefore Egyptian-inspired dancers are the perfect tradeshow booth d├ęcor.  Well, now that’s all cleared up… 
I Like to Boogie | Lightnin’ Hopkins (1964) 
The scene: Kalinda meets Dana at a bar to discuss some paperwork surrounding Will’s indictment… and Alicia’s potential forgery of a document from an earlier case.   It’s only appropriate this classic Blues song plays in the background: no one wants to boogie with someone who’s trying to blackmail someone else’s best friend.

String Quintet in D Major, No. 6, Op. 30 (part five, Passa calle) | Luigi Boccherini
The scene: Diane stands in a museum gallery, admiring the works of Harry Borgman (opening credits).  The song plays again at the end of the episode when the truth about the couple suing Lockhart Gardner comes out and when Will is served with papers pertaining to his indictment.  Crescendo!  And Scene. 

January's Top Five Scenes

Let's face it, January was an epic month for The Good Wife: Will dodged charges surrounding felony bribery (but not before a grand jury was impanelled), Kalinda worked her behind-the-scenes ninja-style magic to ensure the future careers of both Will and Alicia, Diane met a potential love interest, Wendy Scott-Carr was sent packing, Alicia walked out of a courtroom despite the threat of arrest… and that’s just the beginning!  January was oh-so-sweet… so let’s take a look at the top five best scenes of the month:

5) Clash in the Kitchen – Things had been going swimmingly for Alicia and Peter – As State’s Attorney, Peter used his pull to get Zach and Grace into private school and Jackie was no longer hacking Alicia’s computer – all signs pointed to “stalemate.”  Of course, that was before Alicia asked Peter to stop the investigation into Will.  With accusations flying around Alicia’s pristinely kept kitchen, Peter snapped and confessed to Alicia the grand jury was being impaneled because of her relationship with Will.  With cooler heads prevailing, Alicia admitted there was no relationship Peter had to worry about, but if there’s one subject on which Peter is an expert, it’s walking the tightrope of semantics related to truth.  In this battle of “who can rub the most salt in the deepest wound” I don’t think anyone came out the victor (though I will admit this argument had a hint of sweetness for Team Gardner as Alicia fought for Will).

4) Welcome to the asbestos office… are those dancing bears? – When Wendy Scott-Carr arrived at Elsbeth’s asbestos-filled office with Cary and Dana in tow, I couldn’t help but think, this scene is going to change everything… and it did.  Sitting in a stripped, concrete room with workmen roaming about in steel-toed boots and hardhats, it took everything Wendy Scott-Carr had to keep her cool.  Unfortunately, with Elsbeth, all bets are off.  Between offering up breakfast smoothies and apologizing for the exposed beams, she managed to get Wendy Scott-Carr to spill the beans on the judges Will was being accused of bribing.  It’s as though WSC forgot about Elsbeth buying a ticket to the Dancing Bear Jamboree just days before when it became all too obvious this case was going to be anything but ordinary.  The second best part of this scene?  Cary’s coy smirk hidden from Wendy Scott-Carr when he astutely pointed out: “She played you.”  What would I have said? “You’ve been Tascionied.”

3) Save the last dance for me – It wouldn’t be a true celebration at Lockhart Gardner without the free-flow of libations and a great soundtrack playing in the background (seriously, Audra Mae’s version  of Here I Go Again is getting non-stop play from this writer!).  Enter Will and Diane locking eyes from across the party and before long, creating their own dance floor in the hall.  This scene was absolutely priceless and confirmed the one thing we’ve come know with absolute certainty: Will and Diane are a match made in heaven.

2) The questioning of Cary Agos – In "Alienation of Affection," Cary was called back to Lockhart Gardner to comment on some of the firm’s paperwork with a mysterious background.  While he was able to answer honestly in saying he didn’t believe any nefarious dealings were afoot (though, if he had seen David Lee in his HMS Pinafore getup, that might have changed), Cary simultaneously pulled Alicia out of the fire.  After the questioning, Alicia and Cary made amends and locked eyes with an unspoken understanding of friendship.   It’s too bad this new bond got tested so soon, for when Alicia took the stand and had to confess to having had a relationship with Will, Cary could do nothing to stop it, despite his best efforts. 

1) “The witness has not been excused” – It wouldn’t be a “best of” list without highlighting this scene: Alicia walking out on Wendy Scott-Carr during questioning in front of the grand jury.  We’re now seeing the new and improved Alicia – she’s full of moxie and she’s not afraid to show it.  Putting WSC in her place by coldly saying, “You’re out of control,” Alicia walked out of the courtroom with a refreshing blend of strength and grace.  I’ll have what she’s having – because Alicia Florrick season three is full of gumption and dressed to kill.  I can only imagine what will happen when she and Kalinda team up and take to the streets again… but for that we’ll have to wait.

I don’t know about you, but personally, February 19 can’t come soon enough!

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