30 April, 2012

"The Dream Team"

Episode Title: The Dream Team – Season Three's Brilliant Finale
Season 3, Episode 22 | Original Air Date: April 29, 2012

When a finale includes sledge hammers, elevators, fruit platters, menacing phone calls, tequila shots and 9mm ammunition, there’s really nothing more an audience could ask for.  In fact, this is the benchmark to which I’m going to hold all finales from now on.  There’s really only one word to describe The Good Wife’s season three capstone: Brilliant. 

In My Opinion – Episode Commentary
I hardly know where to start when it comes to this episode.  “The Dream Team” was everything of which dreams are made.  Now, I’ll admit, bittersweet finales are the crux of my television weakness.  I countdown, I plan and I’m ever-thankful for commercials that give me something to ponder while I prepare for the big event.  Then, when finale night comes, I’m exhilarated at the prospect of an epic episode while simultaneously cursing the four-month hiatus that inevitably follows.  While I’m sad The Good Wife’s third season has come to an end (with one fewer episode than last year), I’m thrilled it went out on a high note with the promise of a fourth season that could be their best yet.   

Side note: I apologize in advance for the length of this post.  I just couldn’t control myself!

The Art of Being Flexible
Kalinda.  Alicia. Side-by-side.  So much joy.

Everything about the opening scene of this episode made me want to scream and cry for sheer and utter joy.  If I had a confetti cannon, I would have set it off during this sequence.  Alicia and Kalinda are one of the show’s most important synergies.  If I didn’t think Will and Alicia belonged together, I would dare say Kalinda and Alicia would be the show’s best couple.  In a way, I think they are… and that’s why this was the moment we'd  all been waiting for.  While sipping tequila, Kalinda confessed to Alicia: “I’m not gay.  You asked whether I was gay…”
Alicia: “Yes, two years ago.” 
Kalinda: “I know.  I wanted to answer.  I’m not gay, I’m… flexible.” 
Alicia: “Okay… flexible.  Good.”
Squee!  I have no words, except to say: It’s a new day.

Bedside Bamboo
Eli. Jackie. Gunshots and a synagogue.

As it turns out, Jackie is still recovering from her stroke in the hospital.  As someone who is usually pristinely put together, seeing Jackie in such a vulnerable position, especially without her headband or pearls on which to rely, is a little sad.  Enter Eli with a bunch of bamboo.  He doesn’t seem at all worried about sending Jackie into cardiac arrest and gets quickly down to business.  He’s tired of hearing about real estate and this ridiculous Florrick homestead.  He warns Jackie that if she wants to see Peter win the election, she needs to apologize to Alicia and make this whole house debacle go away.  Before long, Jackie starts talk about religion and dying; Eli gets uncomfortable and has to leave.   This is the type of thing I love about Eli – he brought a gift, had a meltdown and left in under three minutes.  He’s meddling in all the right ways, unlike his thwarted plot to overthrow Diane.  Busy “campaign Eli” is better than “I lost my dairy account to a bunch of fruit fanatics Eli” any day. 

In Any Other World…
Will. Alicia.  An elevator.  Again.  At last. 

Will: "That was weird." 
Alicia: "What?  With Peter today?  (Pause) Yes it was." 
Will: "Do you think it was a mistake?" 
Alicia: "No." 
Will: "Goodnight, Alicia." 
Alicia: "Night, Will." 
No regrets, Team Gardner, no regrets.  This scene was delightful.  I love the way Will and Alicia talk to each other with such calm, cool and honest tones and express sincerity with every carefully chosen word.  They both know that circumstance is what’s keeping them apart and they translate that into an intense respect for each other.  Now, sure, I’ll confess: I was pulling for Will to reach out and touch Alicia’s hand in this scene, but there’s always next year and for that I’m grateful.   Thank you to The Good Wife writers for giving Team Gardner fans another elevator scene to watch for months to come.

Taking Care of Business
The IRS. A sledge hammer. $21,000 and a husband.

Taking a page out of Will’s “how to have a disastrous year” handbook, Kalinda is well on her way to ending up a casualty of her own past.  The IRS has agreed to a compromise on Kalinda’s tax file which is the good news… about the only good news (well, minus the shared tequila shots, of course!).  While going through K’s files, Alicia spotted some checks that hadn’t been cashed.  As her lawyer, Alicia thought she’d follow up to see if K’s past employers would re-issue payment (it would help with the IRS bills, after all).  The problem?  The checks hadn’t been cashed for a reason.  Take, for example, a check for $21,000 from F & E Construction based out of Toronto, Canada.   Let’s face it: F & E Construction is a front for some kind of shady operation.  The mystery construction man (who, by the way, sounds like he should be lurking in a back alley while carrying a mysterious duffle bag and eating a man-meat sandwich instead of operating heavy machinery and building luxury homes) tracked Alicia down at work and at her house.  This is a going to be a problem.

So, what’s this duffle bag-toting man’s deal?  He’s none other than Kalinda’s husband.

No.  What?! <insert confetti cannon>. Gasp!

Kalinda had nothing left to do but take matters into her own hands.  Of course, this meant proceeding to the hardware store to buy a sledge hammer.  Heading in her apartment (I know this is a serious story line, but I can stop for a moment and say how excited I was to finally see inside her home?  It’s so… so… white.  It was, quite frankly, just as awesome as the rest of Kalinda.  Sorry, back to business), Kalinda pulled down a mirror, lifted the sledge hammer and went straight through the drywall.  A few solid hits and a hole emerged that was just big enough for Kalinda to pull scads of money, guns and ammunition.  Getting out of town was the first thought that crossed her mind, but upon finding out Alicia could be in danger, Kalinda grabbed a chair and began a sit-in at her front door.  Knock, knock, knock…

As my father has astutely pointed out: “Whoever is on the other side of that door is going to end up with lead poisoning.”  Agreed.  Kalinda isn’t going to go down without a fight.  What’s next?  I have a theory.  It involves Kalinda, her husband, the alleged fire she set to her home, her faked death, her change of identity and the construction check.  Stay tuned in May for my special feature: “Kalinda Sharma: A Biography.”

A Surprise Party
Two is a party, three is a crowd… six is a hot mess of television gold

Arguably the best scene of the show: Will in the elevator with Peter… when the doors opened, Alicia was there to greet them both.  Enter Eli who was awkward because, well, he knows these three have some tension.  Before long, Cary gets added to the mix because it’s not only fun to see him with his banker’s box (because he has to work at a table instead of in an office), it’s amusing to see him deal with his ex-boss, Peter, and the secrets he knows about Will and Alicia.  The fuel to the fire?  The next elevator arrived and it was Kalinda.  Surprise! 

Gold.  Pure gold.  This scene sent my heart aflutter.   

The Dream Team
Patti Nyholm and Louis Canning are back.  They are calling themselves “The Dream Team” and anyone who knows anything about these two knows that title isn’t a euphemism for anything – it’s a reality.  Individually, these two are formidable opponents.  Together, they are like stealthy legal ninjas, always one step ahead with a plan that seeks to undermine their opposition.  When Nyholm high-kicks, Canning takes someone out at the knees.  When Canning pulls his sword, Nyholm launches a surprise attack from the back with a blindfold in one hand and a baby in the other.   It seems that Canning and Nyholm are sick of fighting class-action suits against Lockhart Gardner, so they’ve joined forces to sue for $50 million dollars, for fraud and malicious prosecution.  While Diane makes a fair point, “If your company doesn’t like being sued, stop making products that kill and maim people,” it only goes so far when the phrase “judicial bribery” gets bandied about again.  Sometimes I feel as though Diane must want to throw herself down the 28th floor elevator shaft, but, ever the professional, she grins and bears it.  Time for depositions… generally transcribed and only slightly embellished.

First up: Kalinda
Canning: Have you ever misrepresented your occupation in order to interview a witness?  
Kalinda: Can you be more specific?  
Canning:  You know, like when you came to my house and my wife offered you hummus?  You said you were a reporter.  Things like that. 
Cary:  Why does this matter?  She’s a little from column A, a little from column B.  She is, ummm... flexible.
Canning: Because it’s illegal… and she didn’t even try the hummus or the fresh pita which I made that morning.  So, Kalinda, is this how you get your information – do you lie about who you are? 
Kalinda: Can you repeat the question?
Okay, so this wasn't the exact dialogue that accompanied the scene, but you get the point. Kalinda gave Canning an epic run-around.  It's what she does best and it's one of the many reasons we love her.

Next on the chopping block: Will

This season, Will has become a pro at answering probing questions having to do with judges, basketball and grand juries.  I’m rather certain he also knows who serves the best early-bird breakfast in Chicago, but the only one asking him that is Howard.  Flash to the questioning:

Nyholm: You’re Kalinda’s boss, correct? 
Will: Could you control Kalinda?  I doubt it.  Kalinda doesn’t really have a boss per say... 
Nyholm: Okay.  Well did you tell her to investigate on the Veriscene case? 
Will: Define “investigate.”  
Nyholm:  Seriously?  Why must you waste my time.  Oh look – my baby is at the window.  Hi Bugaboo.  My apologies, you know, I’m now a mother of two. 
Diane: Define “wasting time.”  This conversation seems to be going swimmingly. 
Nyholm: Okay, well think about this: I’m not the one with a balloon payment on his office. 
Will and Diane: (hrm) 
Nyholm: Oops, was that the elephant in the room?  
Will and Diane: (hrm take two) 
Nyholm: Fine.  Will, did you hook up judges and bookies at Wednesday night hoops? 
Diane:  You can’t ask him that – this has to do with a sealed transcript that we hope to the high heavens you never get your hands on. 
Nyholm: Oh sure, but Will can still answer. 
Will: Can you repeat the question? 
Nyhom: Oh great, you’ve been taking lessons from Kalinda.  Fine.  Get Alicia Florrick in here.  I’ll play with my baby while I wait.

Alicia Florrick, reporting for duty

Alicia must be thinking this can’t be worse than the last time I was deposed… right?  Fingers crossed, Alicia.  Fingers crossed.

Nyholm: Do you know Judge Wynter (not to be confused with Judge Winter… which is, by the way, confusing). 
Alicia: No. 
Nyholm: So you didn’t chat with him about your case, under the cover of darkness, in a closed room? 
Alicia: No. 
Nyholm:  Did Peter? 
Alicia: Not that I know of, but he does like dark room conversations.  Sure, he knows Judge Wynter, but I wouldn’t say they were friends. 
Nyholm: Did you know Peter met with Judge Wynter three times before the verdict on your case came down? 
Alicia: No.  Really.  How many times can I say no?  Also, don’t you watch CNN?  I’m rarely the first person to find out about these back-room deals when they happen.  
Nyholm:  How don’t you know this?  You’re frustrating me.  Get Peter Florrick in here.

Peter Florrick: Off to the executioners

Canning: You met with Judge Wynter three times in the last week, right? 
Peter: Yes. 
Nyholm: Is that a lot for you? 
Peter: Yah. 
Nyholm: But you hadn’t met with him before.  In fact, you’d only met him at lunch once, right? 
Peter:  That sounds about right.  He’s nice though – I like him.  He reminds me a bit of Judge Winter. 
Nyholm:  Did the subject of your wife’s lawsuit ever come up? 
Peter: No. 
Nyholm:  Really?  Because your wife had a suit in front of him at the same time and the subject never came up? 
Peter: Right. 
Canning: So what about this grand jury about Will Gardner?  What happened there?  Why did you axe Wendy Scott-Carr and let those judges off? 
Peter: Wendy had to go – you should have seen how she handled things.  I validated her parking though, so don’t make me look like the bad guy here.  The whole thing was a bit showy and probably a bad decision in the first place, but, you know how these things go. 
Canning: Didn’t you ask Judge Wynter to decide this verdict for you wife as a quid pro quo for dropping this investigation? 
Peter: No. 
Nyholm: But isn’t that a fair conclusion? 
Peter: No. 
Nyholm: And how is that? 
Peter: Because my wife and I are separated. 
<Pa chow!> 
Nyholm and Canning: We didn’t see that coming. 
Peter: I know – I’m sneaky like that.  Also, I’m trying out a new policy.  It’s called “honesty.”  So far, so good.  In fact, if you want to know why I was meeting with Wynter, it’s because he’s going to be a campaign supporter.

Even the stealthy legal ninjas didn’t see that coming.  Unfortunately for Peter, the marital split is now in public record, but that seems like a problem to hand over to Eli another day.

All signs pointed to a win for Lockhart Gardner until The Dream Team dropped the bomb: This whole lawsuit was a sham to get them distracted from their prized client, Patric Edelstein.  In the words of Will: “Oops.”  Indeed.

What’s Next?
It’s hiatus time, which means we’re left to imagine who is on the other side of Kalinda’s door, whether or not Alicia will join Peter and the kids for pizza and if Cary will be carting around his office supplies in a banker’s box forever. We have an estimated 23 weeks until we get any answers we’re looking for, but I have plenty of original content planned for Lockhart Gardner: An Inside Look at The Good Wife throughout the summer.  Stay tuned and please sound off in the comments below.  Happy hiatus, friends and fans!

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  1. I'm so sad this season is over, is it September yet? In true Good Wife style, the season finished on a high note and left me wanting more, more, more. Brillant indeed.
    I'm eagerly anticipating your feature post on Kalinda. I just can't get enough of her. #girlcrush

    1. #GirlCrush, indeed! Me, too! :) I'm really excited to write a feature devoted entirely to Kalinda. I've already started and can't wait to have it fill some of the hiatus void. It has been great having you along on my Good Wife blogging journey this year - thank you!

  2. Excellent blog! Billable hours, I hope.

    Are you a first year associate with the firm? Former court reporter w/all that transcription of the scenes?

    1. Thank you so much! I like to think of myself as a first-year associate at Lockhart Gardner, working down the table from Cary Agos. If this blog linked to billable hours I would probably have a house in the tropics by now, or at least an office comparable to that of Alicia Florrick.

  3. Really love this blog,fantastic : )
    and cant wait for season4 :P


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