26 March, 2012

"Blue Ribbon Panel," Gold Medal Performance

Episode Title: Blue Ribbon Panel (yields Gold Medal Performance for Julianna Margulies)
Season 3, Episode 19 | Original Air Date: March 25, 2012
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Rarely am I at a loss for words.  This blog is clear proof of that fact.  There’s little I can write that would be more accurate or succinct than this: If ever there was an episode for Julianna Margulies to shine as Alicia Florrick, “Blue Ribbon Panel” would be it.

In fact, I loved Alicia *so* much in this episode, I’m going to forego a standard recap and instead take a closer look at scenes from this week that made me say, “Just when I thought I couldn’t love this show any more they went and [insert awe-inspiring moment that made me laugh, cry or cheer].”

Now, where to begin?   


The Honesty Policy 
The scene: Alicia staring at Kalinda staring at Alicia.  Silence. 

Kalinda broke the stillness by saying, “I’m not sure.”  You see, Kalinda feels she has an obligation to keep secret the names of those who employed her for freelance work.  The IRS has a different opinion on these matters and now it’s Alicia’s job to invoke the honesty policy she put in place last week and get Kalinda to disclose her income sources.  The first cheque in question came in the amount of $2,460 for three days work (which amounts to $102.50/hour for anyone who’s counting) but right off the top Kalinda was guarded.  Why?  Well, someone Alicia knows paid Kalinda for her time.  

Oh no.  

When it comes to Kalinda, the who and the why could be anything, so Alicia is left to shoot K an oh god, what did Peter pay you for now? look but before she could answer, Kalinda jumped from her chair in order to pay Diane a quick visit.  Returning with a bounce in her step, Kalinda shared with Alicia that Diane contracted her for… firearms lessons.  At this point, Alicia’s expression said, I’m simultaneously relieved, impressed and glad I asked Diane for the raise before her marksmanship skills were revealed, while Kalinda’s expression said, I could give you firearms lessons, too… and it wouldn’t cost you $102.50/hour.  This was the best three minute opening of The Good Wife maybe ever.

Side note: What is this mystery account from which Diane is writing cheques?  I have a feeling there could be a good backstory lurking in, say, season five?

Alicia Florrick's "Firearms" face
Live from the IRS
The scene: Kalinda is busy getting to know the IRS officials when Alicia rushes in. 

Alicia: I am so sorry. I was held up.  Sorry Ms. Sharma.
Kalinda: That’s quite alright, Ms. Florrick. It gave us time to get acquainted.

When it comes to Kalinda, the IRS is after one thing: getting down to the brass tacks surrounding her mysterious income… or at least that’s the façade they are using.  Apparently they aren’t satisfied knowing she has been hired in the past to perform research and background checks, they also want to know who has hired her and exactly what the projects entailed.  From the perspective of the IRS, this is like catching Al Capone on tax evasion.

Unfortunately, that’s not Kalinda’s biggest problem.  It seems this IRS “negotiation session” was being secretly recorded by a laptop webcam, an observation Kalinda shared with Alicia as they were leaving.  Having had a rough day already, Alicia stormed back into the room, approached the camera and exclaimed, “If you want something from us, call my office.  Stop playing through intermediaries!”  Pa chow, Alicia Florrick!  


It wasn't long before Kalinda's old friend, Lana Delaney (Jill Flint), appeared in Alicia's office with questions surrounding not only the IRS issue but for details surrounding Kalinda's potential connection to the oft-mentioned but rarely seen, Lemond Bishop.  As far as we know, Kalinda hasn't done any work for Bishop (remember, this was Blake's beat, not hers), but, let's be honest: anything can happen on The Good Wife.

Dear Gilda
The scene:  Having had her initial offer on the Highland Park house refused, Alicia's Realtor suggests a personal note of interest might sway the sellers in their decision. 

I’m the first to admit I’m completely against Alicia moving back to Highland Park (you can check out the top reasons why I think she shouldn't go back by clicking here), but that doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting rollercoaster.  Pulling out her “from the desk of Alicia Florrick” cherry blossom stationery, we watched Alicia struggle to put into words why she wanted the house again.  As an audience, we felt the exact same way.  The good memories were plentiful – Grace’s first steps, playing at bath time, installing a front yard mailbox and even playful moments with Peter; but the bad memories continue to be so haunting – news trucks parked on the driveway, Grace coming home crying, Alicia having to explain to both kids why their lives would forever be changed.  In the end I wasn’t sure Alicia would send the letter, but she did and Gilda responded.  While touched by Alicia’s words, her offer still wasn't enough.


Flash forward with a call from the Realtor, congratulating Alicia on figuring out a way to secure the house.  The problem?   It wasn’t Alicia.  That left two other Florricks and after a brief confrontation with Peter, the truth revealed itself: Jackie purchased the Highland Park home.

Peter: “Where are you going?”
Alicia: “To buy a gun.”

As though my love for Alicia wasn’t sealed years ago, and more recently in the opening scene of “Blue Ribbon Panel,” this quote was the icing on the cake.  First Jackie was coming to the apartment uninvited, then she was riffling through Alicia’s fine washables and now she’s buying Alicia’s old house?  I’d be enraged, too.  Also, now Alicia knows Kalinda can train her in firearm operation, the idea of purchasing a gun probably isn’t entirely unappealing.  

Now, I can’t say I didn’t see that coming, but it was surprising nonetheless.  I have a feeling Jackie bought the old Florrick homestead so Peter can move in and give off the impression that all is well in Pleasantville before election season.   Whatever the reason, Alicia tracked down Jackie in the hair salon to have a little chat.  And curtain.  All I can say?  I hope Alicia pulls out her you’re out of control face and gets her yell on.  


Blue Ribbon Panel
The scene: Diane, busy dealing with the ever-present inter-office bickering that has taken over Lockhart Gardner, asked Alicia to take her place on a Blue Ribbon Panel investigation surrounding a police shooting.  Alicia accepted and headed off to a location that can only be described as an old boy’s club.

This particular panel was made up of a few new faces paired alongside some familiar ones.  Two of the three judges in question from “Another Ham Sandwich” – Judge Winter (Peter Riegert) and Judge Dunaway (Kurt Fuller) – were both present, as were a few fresh characters, including Pastor Yarrow (Charles Dutton) and Mike Kresteva (Matthew Perry).    

Now, I don’t know much about Blue Ribbon Panels – only that they are independent investigations that can pull in field experts to analyze information and study a specific question.  In this case, that question had to do with an undercover police shooting involving a civilian and a dropped gun.   Sitting in a semi-circle, everyone on the panel had five minutes to question each of the witnesses; however, Alicia was the only person to use their time, which quickly forced her to be reprimanded by the other panelists.  After having been warned that she could be making quick enemies, Alicia never wavered in her resolve to get to the bottom of the shooting, that was, until Kresteva started to make things about Peter.


Ultimately being forced to recuse herself from the panel based on a conflict of interest, Alicia stood up to the challenge like a seasoned pro and was ultimately granted the respect she fully deserved by the likes of Winter and Yarrow.  As for Mike Kresteva?  He enjoyed putting Alicia between a rock and a hard place, making the police shooting about Peter and forcing Alicia off the panel.  For Alicia, this kind of pressure showed her strength as a lawyer and as a woman, but also highlighted her passion for justice and her desire to believe that not all verdicts in Chicago can be bought.

Bits and Bites - Flip you for it
If there’s one thing that can bring Eli, Julius and David together, it’s a good bout of verbal sparring.  Diane must be counting down the days until Will can return to work instead of throwing his baseball in the air and rearranging office supplies.  


This week, everything came to a head between the equity partners – Eli and Julius teamed up (okay, flipped a coin and Julius won) to go up against David Lee.  The only problem?  Neither David nor Julius has ultimate seniority.  No, that falls to the beloved Howard Lyman (Jerry Adler), who we last saw in season two’s “Great Firewall.”  Remember when everyone was trying to oust Bond and they had to call in all of the old equity partners (who hadn't died) to make it happen?  Yes, Lyman is the only one who seems to have survived and he’s looking for an office close to the bathroom… and Will’s inside scoop on nefarious websites.   He’s in, Julius and David are out.  Lockhart Lyman it is – let’s get some stationery ordered!

What’s next?
With just three episodes left this season, what’s in store is anyone’s guess.  While we have to endure a mini-hiatus (to ponder what will become of Jackie and her wet hair), The Good Wife will go out with a marathon of new episodes, April 15, 22 and 29. Until then, here’s something to think about: In April 15th’s “No Ordinary Lie,” Alicia finds herself working on a plea deal while juggling life back in the public spotlight thanks to Peter’s latest political rival.  Who could this adversary be?  My money is on Mike Kresteva (Matthew Perry).  With all of the mentions of Peter during the Blue Ribbon Panel and Mike fully willing to pin the whole “mishandled gun” incident on the State’s Attorney, I can’t help but think we’ve been set up. 

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24 March, 2012

The Good Wife: Why Alicia Shouldn't Return to Highland Park

Eight Reasons Why Alicia Shouldn't Return to Highland Park
Season 3 | Original Post Date: March 23, 2012
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It’s a question everyone has contemplated at some point in life: Once you leave, can you ever really go home? Lately, we’ve seen Alicia Florrick crunch the numbers and toy with the idea of purchasing her old house in Highland Park.  It’s large, it’s beautiful but it’s also a reminder of everything she once had, good and bad.  While yelling at my television doesn’t seem to be helping her make the decision any faster (“Please don’t do it, Alicia – I’ll give you a list as to why this is all a very, very bad idea!”), the next best thing is actually compiling a record of the most important reasons she shouldn't go back.


1) Price – This is the most obvious reason, but something that cannot go unmentioned.  The Highland Park house is $1.9 million.  I don’t care what kind of bonus Diane approved, Alicia is still a third-year associate with two kids, both of whom she presumably wants to send to college.  Let’s look at the numbers:


First off, wow.  At first glance it almost looks like Alicia is making $40,000 a year... which is clearly ridiculous (and would mean things at Lockhart Gardner are tighter than I had imagined!).  Yes, it could be her expense budget... or, perhaps the director just didn't realize we'd be looking so closely at Alicia's math.  Where is this $5,200/month coming from?  In any case, the list seems to be missing a few critical line-items, including payments for Zach’s new car and a budget for Alicia’s ever-growing wardrobe of beautiful designer suits, shoes and blazers. 

2) Grace’s Swing – Sure, I’m still holding a grudge against Grace for that whole being “kidnapped” by Internet Jesus thing, not to mention the “Mom, pick up the phone” ringtone incident, but the fact of the matter is, Grace broke her arm on that swing.  Clearly it holds bad karma (or, Grace forgot to hang onto the swing’s ropes).  Either way, the result is the same: the swing is just another strike against the Highland Park house.  


3) College – Zach is going to be thinking about College sooner rather than later (with Grace not far behind) and with mortgage payments on the Highland Park home, Alicia’s ability to help with those costs will be increasingly limited.  Also, it is unlikely Zach will have Neesa as a study partner if he moves – scholarships could be in jeopardy. 

4) Yard work – A house means one thing: yard work.  Does Alicia really have time to mow the lawn, rake the leaves and cultivate a practical yet attractive seasonal garden?  I think not.  This means Zach and Grace will have to pitch in, or Alicia will have to hire someone.  Alternatively, she’ll be spending her weekends mowing the lawn unless she can convince Owen into coming over and helping out.  I’ll be the first to admit a scene of this nature would be entertaining (it’s like picturing Diane on a fishing boat dressed in Burberry), but, logistically, it’s not the right decision.

5) Grass Maintenance – If there’s one thing we learned from the season one episode, “Home,” it’s that Highland Park has strict rules about grass length and watering protocol.  Sure, those rules helped Alicia win that case, but having to adhere to such stringent regulations once getting to a condo/apartment setting is sure to be a shock to the system.  Owen will have to move in just for foliage observation and maintenance alone.

6) Commute Time – Admittedly, we don’t know much about the distance between the office and Highland Park, but we do know that Alicia’s current apartment is reasonably close to Lockhart Gardner.  More time in the car means less time on cases and more opportunities to spill coffee.  Also, this could mean she won’t be able to give Louis Canning as many rides because she won’t be “going his way” as often and, let’s be honest, The Good Wife wouldn’t be the same without those awkward car conversations that begin with, “my driver is at the dentist… would you mind giving me a ride?”


7) Fair Weather Friends and Neighbours – I feel like Alicia should be listening to Johnny Cash’s song, “Fair Weather Friends” on a daily basis so she can remember the fact that all of her former cohorts abandoned her when news of Peter’s scandal surfaced.  Alicia moved and no one called or visited.  Where did everyone go?  As Owen has noted, probably Facebook… but that’s of little consolation.  What Alicia needs is a sit-down with Kalinda, with these lyrics playing in the background:
Fair weather friends, fair weather sailors 
Will leave you stranded on life’s shore 
But one true friend, who really loves you 
Is worth the pain your heart endures
Of course, the irony of it all is that Kalinda is the one true friend who really loves Alicia…

8) Memories: Like price, the rationale behind this “reason not to go back to Highland Park” is obvious – everything about Alicia’s old life is represented in this house.  She will never be able to escape her history if she’s back living right in the middle of everything.  She can repaint the bedroom, remodel the kitchen, get new doorknobs and take down the swing, but these renovations won’t change anything.  Alicia 2.0 is about moving forward – the memories in Highland Park are too powerful for her to ever escape.


Now it’s your turn!  Sound-off in the comments section below: Do you think Alicia should or shouldn’t buy her old house?  Pro/Con lists are welcomed.

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19 March, 2012

"Gloves Come Off"

Episode Title: Gloves Come Off 
Season 3, Episode 18 | Original Air Date: March 18, 2012
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What happens when Will’s ex-girlfriend, a case about hockey, two warm beers, an Australian, a ballistics expert, a job offer and Louis Canning collide?   Sheer bliss, that’s what.  After this episode, I’ve come to an important conclusion: The Good Wife should come with a warning: “Likely to render speechless.”  Thank goodness they've been renewed for a fourth season!

This week, I’m going to skip the full episode rundown and try something different – character updates – followed up with a special feature: The Top Five Things We’ve Missed about Kalinda and Alicia.


In My Opinion – Episode Commentary

At the beginning of “Gloves Come Off” I would have been the first to say the return of Tammy (Elizabeth Reaser) was going to be the best part of the show.  Expecting the unexpected is a must when it comes to The Good Wife though, and while I sit here shaking my head at my own naiveté, I do so only because the wizards of commercial production crafted a “Tammy spectacle” worthy of my pre-episode adoration.  As my closest Good Wife friends can attest, I was losing my mind at the prospect of a showdown (more about my friends later), but where were the gloves really coming off?  The boardroom, the courtroom, the elevator bank… basically everywhere.  Spoiler alert: Tammy didn’t punch Alicia… and Alicia didn’t have Kalinda take a baseball bat to Tammy’s car.  If looks could kill though, these two would be casualties of the same war.

It’s Tammy Time

Tammy.  Will’s ex-girlfriend, best known for not wanting
Will to fall in love with her… which was exactly what happened.

When we last saw Tammy, she was heading to London for a dream job involving writing and the Olympics.  The truth be known, “Gloves Come Off” marks the first time we’ve ever seen Tammy actually working.  We’ve seen her run, dance, eat cake, roll around on the floor with Will and get frustrated when he would answer calls from Alicia, but it’s nice to see she has a viable career.  For some reason (and I can’t explain why), I actually really like her character.  She’s a little whimsical but she’s also kind.  Sure, I’m crazy for Alicia’s “three-pointer this and three pointer that” impression of her (and if Owen had been hanging around, I’m sure we would have heard it again), but Tammy brings with her a level of ease and sincerity.  Also, in this episode, she brought with her a dynamite wardrobe.  London may have been rainy, but at least the shopping was good.


This week, Tammy was back in Chicago to report on the Lockhart Gardner hockey case – could the firm really be taking on major league hockey?  Well sure, why not?  If they can tackle Lemond Bishop’s viable business, surely they can handle profession sports.  Enter Tammy with her tape recorder.  Interview one: Will.  It was as cordial as could be expected – like the singing of the national anthem in a gold medal hockey game.  Was there tension?  Sure,  but they could shake hands and be at peace with the results.  Interview two: Alicia. This went about as well as a shoot-out in game five of the Stanley Cup playoffs (okay, I’m done with hockey analogies – I do better with baseball… or wild animals).  What was great about this scene was that Tammy didn’t ask Alicia if she had slept with Will, she told her, as though she already knew… which of course, she did because of Will’s behaviour.  I had an early prediction that Alicia would play it cool, giving Tammy her patented “you’re out of control face.”  The only time Alicia has talked about her relationship with Will was when she was forced to at the grand jury.  Of course she wasn’t going to talk to Tammy, because she didn’t have to: The stare said it all.


Cary: The Extreme Packer

Cary.  While attempting to work his way to the top at the State’s
Attorney’s Office, he promptly found himself working his way down.

Last week we saw Cary confess to Peter that he’d had a sexual relationship with Dana Lodge and this week we saw the results.  Cary is back working out of a closet.  Gone are his etched glass doors and fancy wall art.  It appears as though Cary’s back where he started.  At least he has a job though, right?  He could be out with Will, playing bridge in the afternoon and sipping tea while gossiping about David Lee’s shocking lack of ability to match a shirt and tie.  With Alicia stopping by, she took note of his new digs.  Asking if he was alright, Cary had to confess he wasn’t sure.  The upside?  With the amount he moves, Cary must have packing down to a science.  If ever a show “Extreme Packing” was created, Cary would be a shoo-in to be their poster boy.  The downside?  Who knows where he’s going to end up next.



Diane’s World: Three’s a Party

Diane: The powerhouse, the matriarch, the ruler of
all that’s good.  Not only has she proven she can succeed in
a man’s world, she can run it, all while wearing
four-inch heels and juggling multiple dates.  Take notes, ladies.

If ever there was a doubt Diane was the brilliant mind behind most things at Lockhart Gardner, this episode proved it: She can defend Will, frighten Equity Partners into silence (which reminds me, what was Eli’s problem this episode?) and tread fine ethical lines like a master tightrope walker.  The best part?  She has recently found herself with two love interests.  Of course, she deserves some fun – she works harder than anyone. 

The scene:  After having been stood up because of “complications” by Jack (Bryan Brown) the process server, she called on the gone but not forgotten ballistics expert, Kurt (Gary Cole).  While arranging schedules and trying to manage call-waiting has already proven to be a bit of a challenge, Diane appears up for whatever comes her way.  In this case, that means dinner out with Jack on Friday and fishing with Kurt (yes, fishing) on Saturday.  I can’t even imagine what Diane would look like while fishing (what would she wear? How would she style her hair?) and though I know we won’t get to see her teetering in a boat, on a lake, batting at mosquitoes, we’re left to dream.   Are you picturing it now?  See – isn’t it fun?


Julius, Eli and David: The Boardroom Brawl

Everyone’s fighting.  Enough said.


Will Gardner, Consultant at Large

Will. Working his way through probation by kicking 
back in his office, Will is busy wearing jeans and 

blazers while “consulting” on cases.  Personally, I 

think he’s mainly concerned about guarding his office supplies.

This week, the developments surrounding Will were negligible.  He was around, he looked good kicking it casual, he conferred on the hockey case and he lurked in the courtroom to keep his toes wet.  At one point he attended a meeting with Alicia, and while I couldn’t help but hope they drove to said meeting together and shared a drink at the end of things, that was simply left as an unknown.  Pure wishful thinking on my part?  Probably.  I just can’t help but envision a world with Team Gardner – it’s a blight that follows me always.


Canning, Meyers and Florrick? 

Alicia. Trying to figure out a way to balance work
 and future mortgage payments, Alicia has found 
herself between a rock and a hard place, a.k.a. Diane and Louis Canning.

Last week Alicia asked Diane for a raise.  This week, Diane took it to the Equity Partners and was met with a variety of reactions.  Meanwhile, Alicia took the opportunity to see what Canning (Michael J. Fox) was willing to put on the table to secure her very astute legal mind.  We don’t know the specifics, but the offer was good enough for Alicia to put her career with Lockhart Gardner on the line.  Watching Alicia give Diane an ultimatum over salary was almost like being punched in the stomach.  It reminded me of Will and Alicia’s break-up – nothing about it felt right.  Lockhart Gardner gave Alicia a chance when other firms didn’t and now she has threatened them with leaving?  Although you could tell Alicia didn’t want to put Diane in a difficult spot, she still did.  It’s Alicia 2.0, remember?  Even Canning felt ripped off by the deal.

In the end, Diane approved the bonus, securing Alicia’s future at the firm, but at what cost?  Will this negotiation have changed their relationship going forward?


Two Cold Beers and a Box of Tissues

Kalinda. She's been busy trying to repair her relationship with 
Alicia while simultaneously tracking down her "unsubstantiated" 
income.  As usual, things are complicated.

Let's cut to the chase.  Kalinda was busy this episode – she was lurking around corners, following men in trench coats, making phone calls and secretly posting videos of hockey fights online – you know, the usual.  This week, none of these things really mattered (okay, Lockhart Gardner won the case, so they mattered a little), but that’s not the real story.  Kalinda finally took a big step towards repairing her relationship with Alicia.  She offered her a late night beer.  (Say what?!?!?  Did that just happen?!  Why did the commercial wizards not show this juicy morsel?  Where’s my paper bag?! ).

Going into Alicia’s office, Kalinda was hesitant, but for all of her trepidation, Alicia’s uncertainty surrounding K’s advance was palpable.  Of course, Alicia couldn’t accept the beer and while Kalinda was upset, she understood.


Flash forward.

After having had the face-off with Tammy (one more hockey reference, just for good measure), the show-down with Diane over salary and the on-paper number crunching over her finances, Alicia looked through the glass walls of her office and saw a friend… her old best friend.  Slowly, she approached Kalinda and proclaimed, “I’d like to try to make it work.”  Wait… what?  Did the dream of all Kalinda and Alicia fans just become a reality? Oh. Yes. It. Did. #LosingMyMind. 

A Pre-Countdown Note

I recently met another super fan of The Good Wife – the brilliant writer of The Oncoming Hope.  In a quote I must paraphrase, because its cleverness deserves repeating, she matches my irrational love of all things Gardner with an irrational love of all things Kalinda.  Together, we are a hot mess of excitement for The Good Wife, and alongside two other cohorts (M and E, you know who you are), we’ve turned into a dynamic group who support each other’s fandom quirks.   This top five list is for all of you – my dear friends of The Good Wife, with whom I would share a drink any time, circa Alicia and Kalinda season one, two... and now, maybe three.


The Top Five Things We've Missed about Kalinda and Alicia

Sidelong Glances – Oh how we've missed the looks between them – whether they are walking down the street, catching each other’s eye across the office or solving a case while sitting on Alicia’s bed – their non-verbal communication speaks volumes.  Despite the fact they are so different, they are drawn together by a sameness (and no, I don’t think that’s Peter).  We've seen glimpses into a new lease on friendship in season three, but so far, it has been largely one-sided: Kalinda retrieving Grace from internet Jesus, Kalinda peppering the grand jury file enough to keep Dana from accusing Alicia of forgery – you know, Kalinda being Kalinda.  This was the first time since season two that we’ve seen Alicia offer Kalinda much of anything (well, minus when Alicia bailed Kalinda out of jail – that was very friendly).  Sidelong glances, welcome home.


Best Friends at a Bar – Tequila, beer, wine… these ladies know how to celebrate with an after-hours beverage and it has typically been one of the best parts of their relationship.  Kalinda usually gets Alicia to admit something personal, Alicia usually concludes that Kalinda is as mysterious as ever, but somehow it works.  With their new friendship brewing, Alicia has put in a caveat that Kalinda has to be honest, upfront and spill on details more often.   For the audience, this is great news.  For Kalinda… I’m not so sure.  Her lips said she could accept that offer, but her face screamed “Wait, what?!”  Kalinda’s closet is stacked to the rafters with leather jackets, short skirts and a mountain of secrets.  Pass the tequila; this is going to be good.

Revealed Details – Whenever Alicia and Kalinda get together during downtime, details of their lives are always revealed.  It’s like when Owen comes to town and gets Alicia to dish on what’s happening in her life… only with Kalinda, it happens much more frequently.  Or, at least, it did.  Season four prediction?  Things are going to get very personal.  Now, if only they would hug.
Team Gardner Bandwagon – Admittedly, one of my favourite things about Kalinda is how she’s secretly a Team Gardner supporter.  Will and Alicia are two of Kalinda’s best friends (Are? Were? Tomato, tomatoe) and she wants to see them both happy.  Of course, this makes me love Kalinda even more, as if that was even possible. 

WWKD? – When making an important life decision, it’s essential to ask yourself: What Would Kalinda Do (WWKD)?  Shouldn’t all of us be using Kalinda as our inspiration?  Okay, okay, she’s made some bad decisions… but she’s loyal to a fault if you’re part of her inner circle, she’ll do anything she can to either protect you or make things right.  With Alicia and Kalinda back together, I have a feeling we’re going to get a deeper insight into her soul (and her past)… and even more opportunities to ask ourselves, WWKD?  Side note: Why isn’t there merchandise with this phrase written all over it?  I need a mug, STAT!

Quotes of the Week:
Will: “Who leaked it?” 
Diane: “Could be any of them.” 
Will: “It’s a good thing they don’t like each other, or I’d be dead.”

Diane: "Was it Louis Canning who gave you a chance after 13 years away from the law?" 
Alicia: “This is his offer.  If I stay at the firm, it has to be more.” 
Diane: “You’ll give me until the end of the week." 
Alicia: “No.  I can’t.” 
Diane: “Yep. Everybody changes. End of the week, Alicia, or you can clean out your desk right now.”

David: “We must have missed the memo. We’re now Stalin and Associates.”

Alicia “… I’d like to try to make it work.  It’s just that everything, it has to be on the table.  I can’t be the only one being forthcoming. I can’t be the only one being honest. Can you do that?” 
Kalinda: “Yah.” 
Alicia: “Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

What's Next?

Matthew Perry arrives next week as a new lawyer, Mike Kresteva, for episode 19, "Blue Ribbon Panel."  It seems that a group has been called together to investigate a police shooting but Alicia and Mike don't really see eye-to-eye.  Also, if there's one thing I've learned, it's that when a commercial focuses solely on a case, it usually means there's some good personal story lines brewing in the background.  Perhaps we'll get a full-fledged attempt at friendship for Kalinda and Alicia?  With March quickly coming to a close, we're left to hope!

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12 March, 2012

"Long Way Home"

Episode Title: Long Way Home aka Three Cheers for Colin Sweeney
Season 3, Episode 17 | Original Air Date: March 11, 2012
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Four words: Colin Sweeney Turkey Baster.  Enough introduction?  I think so.

In My Opinion – Episode Commentary
When I heard Colin Sweeney (Dylan Baker) was coming back to The Good Wife I was elated – what other character on television can play creepy and sinister while also being audacious and mesmerizing?   It’s such a strange blend of contradictions, I almost feel wrong for loving him so much… but I just can’t help it.  He brings out the best in all of the characters who cross his path.  That’s the brilliance of Colin Sweeney.  As an audience, we’re willing to buy into his story because he paints such bizarrely vivid pictures.  We know enough to be curious but not enough to be terrified, which is probably what we should be more than anything else.  In the end, all we’re left with is the likelihood that he’ll be in legal trouble again and, just as he would, we’re cheering for his eventual reappearance back in court, because that inevitably means more Sweeney/Florrick time and as we’ve come to realize, that’s never a bad thing.


Perjury for Lunch, Chicken Coq au Vin for Dinner
Off the top, we find out Colin Sweeney has landed in hot water.  The trouble?  Sexual misconduct in the workplace.  Was anyone surprised?  No.  Also, this indiscretion really set theme for the entire episode (which also could have been entitled, “You did what on my couch?” but we’d have to wait until season six for such a descriptive title).  In any case, Sweeney’s former company, Herald Equity (a business focused on biotechnology, stem cells… maybe even widgets) experienced a 30%  loss of stock price, a fact which Sweeney had hoped to capitalize on in order to gain back control (flash to season one when we saw him originally lose his company).  There is nothing Sweeney would like more than to be on top of the world again, but before long a former employee, Isobel Swift (Morena Baccarin) emerged from the crowd, took to the microphone and accused Sweeney of fathering her child.  As Sweeney’s new crisis manager (likely by default of working at Lockhart and Associates), Eli had his this is worse than kids vomiting cheese on television face and covered it poorly.  Alicia probably should have warned him, but, in situations like these it’s impossible to know what to say.  “Sweeney gave me some creepy art once” is, admittedly, an awkward conversation starter.  “I once found him handcuffed to a body after he murdered his dog” isn’t great either.  Just saying.


Now, if there’s one thing we know about Sweeney, it’s that he’s into “unconventional” practices, so when he says he didn’t sleep with Swift, it’s not the same thing as saying he didn’t father her child.  Everyone is skeptical of everything Sweeney says – it could be because it’s widely believed he killed his wife, or it could be because he is the king of manipulating details so as to appear innocent.  Either way, best practice states one should believe the exact opposite of what Sweeney says if one wants the truth.  The only exception to this rule is when he declares his adoration for Alicia – this is the one thing he never jokes about… ever.


Before long we find ourselves in the midst of courtroom drama, in what can only be called a classic “he said, she said” argument.  Sweeney says they didn’t have sex, Swift says they did.  Flash to Sweeney who confessed to Alicia and Kalinda only moments after being accused that he did in fact have sex… but not in a way that could have yielded spawn *Insert look of horror on Alicia’s face.* There was a lot of back and forth, a lot of perjury and a lot of looks of disgust from both sides of the courtroom, as well as from new Judge, Claudia Friend (Bebe Neuwirth).  Swift was accused of contraceptive fraud (let’s just say she used a “gift” from Sweeney, momentarily stored it and repurposed it… with a turkey baster) and that ultimately led to Sweeney Junior.  In the midst of all of this, we also learn Sweeney liked the Coq au Vin from a restaurant 20 miles from his office (a fact that strangely adds to his mystique, though no one was surprised his list of eccentricities continued to grow). The only thing that could have made this case any more entertaining would have been if Nancy Crozier had been in court instead of Victoria Adler – the innocence of Michigan would have been forever tarnished.

In the end, Sweeney seemed content, if not simply impressed, by Swift’s deception and decided to get on the fatherly bandwagon and jump into action.  Yes, Colin Sweeney is now a father.  Look out world…


The Caitlin Conundrum
I’ll admit, I’ve been waffling on my opinion of Caitlin for months now.  Anytime she’s appeared on screen I’ve felt a teeter-totter of emotions: I like her, I don’t trust her, I think she’s competent, I sense she’s manipulative, I think she’s smart, I believe her to be conniving.  Basically I’m a hot mess of uncertainty in all matters involving Caitlin, especially after last week when she “told” Alicia she had got underneath Crozier’s skin (as if that wasn’t Alicia’s plan anyways).  This week, my flip-flopping was further heightened when, in a Sweeney strategy meeting, Caitlin announced to the boardroom full of associates that she was going to court.  Enter Will in a Team Gardner moment for the record books.  Will stepped up and said, “Actually, you’re going to court today, aren’t you Alicia?” As if this valiant moment wasn’t clap/gasp/shriek-worthy enough, on the way out of the room Alicia walked past Will and whispered “thank you” in his ear.  Are you kidding me?!  Could that have been any hotter/more adorable?  This moment almost made up for the entire Team Gardner breakup seven episodes ago.  Of course, nothing but another tequila/elevator scene could truly do that, but this… this helps… I’ll take it.  Pass me a paper bag – I need to hyperventilate a little.


Meanwhile, Kalinda was busy filling a notebook on Caitlin’s sketchy behaviour (okay, not literally putting pen to paper, although one never knows what K is doing in the background), and taking note that secrets are laying just beneath the surface.  If anyone can smell a weasel, it’s Kalinda.  Unfortunately for Alicia, she also became aware of Caitlin’s desire to climb the corporate ladder and was forced to have a conversation, mentor to mentee.  The topic?  Don’t undermine me again.  Enough said?  Yes. Let’s move on. 

The next thing we know, Caitlin gives notice and David Lee blames Alicia for the whole mess.  Really, David continues to be angry that Alicia fired him last week and all of this Caitlin business seemed to be the last straw.  In point of fact, we found out Alicia’s conversation with Caitlin had nothing to do with her leaving.  Caitlin is pregnant and getting married.  Her sly behaviour around the office?  She has been busy addressing wedding invitations during work hours.  Wow.  I didn’t see that coming.  Caitlin truly is Alicia, 15 years ago, only Caitlin doesn’t seem conflicted about giving up her career.  She wants to be a Mom and a homemaker, two things I’m not sure Alicia ever truly wanted, but ended up with after she married Peter.


Like Salmon, Swimming up Stream
As though Alicia didn’t have enough on her plate, what with keeping up with Colin Sweeney and trying not to get thrown under the bus by Caitlin, word came that Alicia and the kids could be evicted from their apartment in 90 days.  This has put Alicia in a tight spot.  She can’t necessarily afford the $1.2 million (plus $35,000 parking spot, plus $2,000 monthly building fees) but she also doesn’t want to have to downsize.  Fortunately, Alicia’s realtor has a solution: the old Florrick house in Highland Park is back on the market.  Of course, if Alicia can’t afford the apartment on her own, she can’t afford the house, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit.


Stepping on the front lawn, Alicia was instantly transported to her old life and we were treated to an emotional rollercoaster worthy of another Emmy for Julianna Margulies.  As Alicia moved through the house, each room brought with it a special moment.  The door knob in Grace’s old room was still loose, the master bedroom evoked the sentiment of betrayal and the kitchen pantry featured a family growth chart that made everything else fall away except for the happiness Alicia’s 15 years at home had given her.  The real question though: can you ever go home?  In my opinion, Alicia needed this closure – she needed to walk around the house and have time to think about her own evolution.  Like the growth chart etched on the pantry wall, she has changed over time – she’s not the same woman she was in Highland Park and I don’t think she could ever go back.


Bits and Bites: 
Over at the State’s Attorney’s office, Cary found himself digging yet another trench outlining both his career and Peter’s political agenda.  To say things are getting messy would be an understatement.  This week, a blog reported that two ASAs had sex on Peter’s office couch.  Cary was tasked on the case and ultimately uncovered the culprit: An ASA named Jeremy, who confessed the canoodling.  Unfortunately, this meant the end of Jeremy’s career, at least for now, as Peter fired him upon hearing of his indiscretion.  Feeling guilty about his own actions, Cary then came forward to Peter and disclosed his relationship with Dana.  While we don’t know where this is going, Cary has asked to be put on temporary leave.  Maybe he wants to go on lunch dates with Will, whose mid-day schedule is also free… or maybe he’s looking for some extra time to find a new job that will get him out of the lion’s den.


Lionel Deerfield (aka, Richard Gilmore, aka Edward Herrmann) was back this week, instructing Will on “suspension protocol.”  The rules, as they are, see Will able to consult on Eli’s business, but not on legal cases.  Of course, hypothetical questions about the law are always allowed, and Alicia was able to secure some good insight on the Colin Sweeney case.  Hypothetically.  This dance around the law should be interesting over the next few weeks, especially if it means Will playfully throwing his baseball around the office while waiting to be consulted. Side note: I'm thrilled to see Julius and/or Eli and/or David have kept their hands off of Will's beloved baseball - clearly they haven't divvied up everything in Will's office... yet.


Quotes of the Week:
Eli (to Alicia re: Colin): He’s weird with you. 
Alicia (sighing): Yup.

Diane: “And so it devolves – from hopes, ideals, dreams… the glory of the law… to a turkey baster.”
Judge Friend: “I’m intrigued enough to allow plaintiff to argue contraceptive fraud. Disgusted, but intrigued.”

Colin: “Being a Dad?  How hard can it be?  I’ll call if I need any child rearing advice… Mmmmmm”

Cary: “I want to be clear we [Dana and I] did not have sex in your office.” 
Peter: “Well I’m relieved to hear that.”

David (to Alicia): "You don't make enemies... that's what you don't do."
What’s next?
It’s Tammy time! The moment I’ve been waiting for since I heard it was coming… Tammy returns.  Unlike many fans of The Good Wife (and, strangely, counter to my Team Gardner instincts), I don’t despise this character, and frankly, I’m rather looking forward to her arrival.  Maybe it’s because I don’t feel threatened by what she brings to Will’s table (or bedroom, or bathroom, or…), or maybe it’s just because I love hearing Alicia do her “Tammy” impression (flash to season two’s “Net Worth” aka “Road Trip”)… but whatever it is, I’m excited.  The fact she calls Alicia out on sleeping with Will is just a fringe benefit.  Could I be any more enthusiastic for next week?  Probably not… though it is difficult to top any episode with Colin Sweeney, but I’m willing to take a chance.  Here’s to the last five episodes of season three being just as good as the last five episodes of season two.

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05 March, 2012

"After the Fall"

Episode Title: After the Fall
Season 3, Episode 16 | Original Air Date: March 4, 2012
______________________________________________________________

Some of my favourite moments from The Good Wife happen when the characters make me laugh, clap and cover my face while shrieking.  I give extra points when they do all three, especially when they do so simultaneously.  Welcome to the wonderful world of meeting Will’s sisters, Aubrey and Sara.  Did I clap?  Oh sure.  Did I proclaim my love of this new story line development?  I think probably six times in less than an hour.  Did I cover my face?  Well, yes… didn’t you?  Sure, Will is suspended for six months, but if that means we get to see him kicking back, writing the next great American legal novel, playing guitar and sipping a mid-day beer while clad in boot cut jeans and an unbuttoned button-up shirt as one of his many clothing layers, I’m game.  Who said this was going to be a bad thing?


Let me cut to the chase.  I would love to dedicate this entire post to Will, his sisters and his apartment (which, by the way, is completely amazing.  Did we know Will had so much interior design style sense?)… but I won’t, because that wouldn’t be fair to the other outstanding developments in “After the Fall.” 


In My Opinion – Episode Commentary
Will is gone, which means everyone wants a piece of what he left behind: his office, his clients, his place on the stationery.  No one mentioned it, but I’m pretty sure someone wants that beloved baseball he throws around when he’s working late and trying to get to the bottom of a case.  While Diane is working to balance the management re-org, she’s also fending off a group of hungry and ambitious equity partners:  Julius, David and Eli.  It seems to me there’s a metaphor about wildebeest, lions and a waterhole hiding somewhere within this story arc, but I’m not going there.  Oh wait.  In any case, as it turns out, with Will gone, everyone wants the same things from Diane but for different reasons.  Let’s break it down: 

Julius Cain
Julius is after the brand.  He wants name recognition because he thinks Will’s character is so tarnished the firm will suffer.  In point of fact, we learn that none of Will’s clients jumped ship because of the suspension, but Julius needs an angle and this seems like his best shot at getting on the stationery.   As head of litigation, Julius certainly has a prestigious place in the firm and while Diane knows he’s less of a loose cannon than, say, David Lee, he’s no Will Gardner.  When we look at the facts, it seems Julius is most concerned about his reputation: If the firm looks bad, he looks bad.  Getting rid of Will’s name equals getting rid of the dirty laundry.


David Lee
David is after named partnership, but only until Will returns and only because he doesn’t want anyone else to have it.  Let’s face it: David only gets along with a handful of people at the firm and it’s not because he can’t be friendly, it’s simply because doesn’t like to and he thinks it’s a waste of time.  That is, until he needs or wants something.  With Will’s recent departure David is after anything that will keep other people off of the stationery.  He doesn’t want the role of named partner – that would mean dealing with messy things like salaries and middle management – but he needs the role, just to ensure no one else gets ahead.  I do have more than a few reservations about his alleged commitment to getting all of the benefits of named partnership and then giving them back when Will returns.  David is sly and his word is more than a little unreliable… in my opinion.


Eli Gold
Eli is after a full-time job and heightened status.  With Peter’s campaign more uncertain than ever, Eli is looking for something bigger on which to hang his hat.  Or, at least I think that’s what he’s after.  In some ways, I think Eli just wants to get all of the equity partners together to vote on things (For example: Who should fill the vacuum Will has left behind?  Who gets his parking spot? Should the office invest in flavoured coffee?).  Now Eli has a few allies in the office (note: Julius) he thinks he can overthrow Diane whenever the going gets tough.  I tend to think Diane has a greater band of followers than Eli could possibly have, but with everything in a state of flux, the forecast for Lockhart and Associates is uncertain.


Meanwhile, over at the State’s Attorney’s Office, Peter is getting schooled by Eli on how to make friends and influence people (a lesson, strangely, he learned from Diane who he is now trying to throw under the bus).  It seems the friends Peter had during his campaign are disappointed in his lack of commitment to giving them jobs when he took office.  Feeling pressure to secure the keynote address at the Democratic Convention, Peter succumbs to his former ways and hires on an old friend.  Unfortunately, the task falls to Cary to tell hardworking Geneva Pine that she’s being moved around the department.  This was a particularly interesting turn of events, as now Cary now sees the darker, more sinister side of Peter.  When Cary asked Peter about his decision, Peter retorted by saying, “No, I don’t want any consultation, I just want you to do it.”  I can’t help but think that Cary is feeling just as Alicia did in her marriage.  Some very interesting parallels are being written and I have a feeling Cary will come to the same breaking point as Alicia before too long.


Oh for the Love of Sisters
Will is lucky to have some incredible women in his life and after this week, I can’t help but think he’s so good with the opposite sex because of how he grew up: With two sisters surrounding him with love, while simultaneously being at his throat and nipping at his heels, Will’s suave nature is something that was likely born out of survival more than anything else.  Enter Aubrey, Will’s younger sister who heard about his situation and arrived from who knows where, with a suitcase in her hand and a guitar on her back, to spend some quality time in Will’s impeccably stylish apartment. Before long, Alicia phoned Will to catch up on a case and from the background, Aubrey quickly called Will out on using his “sweet voice” with the woman on the other end of the phone.  It’s official.  Aubrey is Will’s version of Alicia's Owen.  At this point, I had to exclaim, “Of course it’s his sweet voice, he’s talking to Alicia.  Team Gardner!”  *Sigh*


Before long, the next bombshell in Will’s personal life exploded: Sweet, good natured Aubrey called in backup with Will’s other sister, Sara.  Together they are a whirlwind of hilarity and embarrassment… especially when Kalinda came over and they mistook her for Will’s girlfriend (thinking she was the one he was using his “sweet voice” on earlier).  Riffling through yearbooks and the internet to track down Will’s past girlfriends, they also reorganized his kitchen and tried convincing him that in five years he won’t be so cute anymore, so he better settle down and get serious.


The insanity of Will’s sisters push him out the door (but only because Kalinda couldn’t have them arrested as Will had hoped) and so he headed to the place he’s most comfortable: the office.  Diane welcomed him with open arms while Eli and Julius lurked outside watching the reunion…

Farm Girls from Michigan
Oh yes, let’s not forget this is a legal drama, so there was a case this week (though it was probably the least important part of the entire show).  Nancy Crozier was back in full force, using her I’m so innocent because I’m just a farm girl from Michigan moves until Alicia “out blonded” her and put the similarly faux-innocent, Caitlin, in as a true testament to her astute reading of Judge Serena.  The case had to do with a documentary film maker (played by The Ice Truck Killer from Dexter) who was being accused of romanticizing suicide and encouraging people to pitch themselves off local bridges.  Lockhart and Associates set out to prove that while cameras were set up on the bridge, capturing suicides had to do with bringing awareness to a bigger issue and didn’t have anything to do with turning his film into the next Titanic.  Alicia did the smartest thing she could: she put Caitlin in against Nancy in order to the play to the judge: yes, it was a battle of the blondes.  Fortunately for Alicia, the plan worked beautifully and Caitlin excelled at playing fresh and naïve… unfortunately it backfired in some ways as Diane then gave Caitlin a promotion and told Alicia she had to share her assistant.  Sure, Alicia earned points for being a good mentor, but with Caitlin moving up the ranks, Alicia senses trouble.  I have a feeling she’s longing for the days when she was up against Cary Agos (and in many ways, with what’s happening at the State’s Attorney’s Office, I have a feeling he wishes he was simply up against Alicia, too).


Quotes of the Week:
Kalinda: "Will, when I leave, you aren’t going to curl up in a little ball and cry, are you?”

Aubrey: "Who's that? You've got your sweet voice on." 
Will: "Ssshhhh. I do not." 
Aubrey: "Yes you do."

Will: "Okay, I'm going to go over here and... talk to myself." 
Sara: "Wait. What about a girlfriend? Why aren't you seeing someone?" 
Aubrey: "He is! The woman on the phone."  
Sara: "Who's she?" 
Aubrey: "Some lawyer. Makes him upset when we talk about it."  
Sara: "Does it Will?  Who is she?" 
Will: "How long are you two staying?" 
Sara: "Where's your year book?  There was some girls in high school, remember?" 
Aubrey: "No. He likes younger women."


David Lee: “I don’t hate people… I hate some people.”

Eli: “We can out vote you.” 
Diane: “We?”
Eli: “Me and my fostered relationships.” 
Diane: “So you’re no longer the last kid picked for the mutiny. Congratulations.”

Diane: “You lasted a full week. I’m impressed.” 
Will: “Could have lasted longer. You have my sisters to thank for that.” 
Diane: “I’ll send flowers.”

What’s next?
Things are heating up next week, and I, for one, can’t wait.  Colin Sweeney returns (which must make Alicia want to lose her mind) and he is being accused of fathering a former employee’s child.  It’s a case of sexual misconduct and it could impact Sweeney’s plans to secure control of his company once more.  As a simple observation, I have to say that Colin Sweeney gets more time in the courtroom than most lawyers do.  He can’t stay out of trouble.  It’s a good thing there is a rule about Double Jeopardy, otherwise Sweeney would have a case to set up a Murphy bed in the janitor’s closet for a quick commute every morning.  Bebe Neuwirth also guest stars as a new judge.

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