27 January, 2013

The Good Wife: "The Seven Day Rule" aka The Devil Wears Plaid

Season 4, Episode 13 | Original Air Date: Sunday, January 27, 2013
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This episode changes everything.

I’ve been sitting here, trying to come up with a better opening line, but I can’t, no matter how hard I try.  Why?  Because tonight, four amazing things happened:

1) I discovered the devil wears plaid 
2) For the first time in four years was truly disappointed in Will 
3) I became part of the game Alicia faces every day, and 
4) I finally realized that I don’t blame her for any of it
This week I’m going to explore why “The Seven Day Rule” is the episode that, in my opinion, has changed the course of The Good Wife forever. 



The Call
If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that I wouldn't want Alicia Florrick’s life.  Do I admire her legal acumen and compassionate nature?  Yes.  Do I adore her wardrobe and take notes when it comes to her home d├ęcor?  Who doesn't  (Right?!)  These things, and countless others (her moxie, her wit, her laugh – to name three) are all qualities and characteristics to love. 

But, at the end of the day, I think there’s one thing on which we can all agree: Alicia’s life is a hot mess. 

Her personal life is a disaster and her children have (on more than 12 occasions) made me want to go the way of Silvia Plath. Work is complicated, her friendships are intermittent and the only thing she can count on is the hope that one day things will get better.

And then, they did.  They got better for 18 seconds. 

Here’s how it went:

Alicia, walking down the hall hears a beckoning call from Diane and Will.

“Why don’t you go ahead and sit down” says Diane.

Alicia slowly takes a seat, her eyes pacing between the two named partners.  Sitting with baited breath, Alicia listens to Diane’s speech which includes a flashback to Jonas Stern (whose family, I fear, is still eating potato salad from his wake), a nod to hard work and then the offer every associate dreams of: the invitation to join the firm as an Equity Partner. 

Alicia’s thrilled, I’m thrilled and the world is a happy place.  Before Alicia trips on her chair (an action which elicits an adorable smile from Will and a squeal of appreciation from me), Diane passes along some famed words of wisdom: Go home, take the phone of the hook and think about the offer.  Then go to the track, smoke a cigar or go windsurfing as Will did (apparently unsuccessfully, which, strangely, adds to his charm and mystique).

Alicia leaves Diane’s office and heads for the elevator.  As the doors close, we can almost hear her scream with joy. Next stop?  Campaign headquarters.  With no Peter to be found and the topic of religion killing her buzz, Alicia has no choice but to go shopping over lunch.  Then it’s back to the office to meet with the David Lee because, the hoodie-wearing Chum Hum exec, Neil Gross, is back and debating a pre-nup.  Everything’s coming up roses until David Lee drops his first bomb of the episode:  Buying into the equity partnership is going to cost (and not in a Debbie Allen “this is where you start paying… in sweat” kind of way).  Equity Partnership = $600,000.    

Ba-da-bum.


Partnership Popsicles

Panic stricken, Alicia rushes to return her shopping purchases and gets on the phone with her banker in the hopes of securing a loan.  All we hear is “blah, blah, blah, co-signer, blah, blah, blah, Mr. Florrick.”  Click.  Peter has suddenly become Alicia’s gateway to the legal fast-track. 

Before long, Alicia’s at the campaign bus spreading the good news (and hopefully nothing else).   Yes, I just went there because, quite frankly, I’m tired of what the bus and all bathrooms have come to represent recently.  But I digress.  While aboard the bus, Alicia mentions Peter co-signing on her loan.  His response?  “How about I just give you the money?  It’s a business decision.” 

I’m sorry, what?  Now I have 58 questions, the most important being: How does Peter have $600,000?  He’s the one who had to borrow money from Cosco pre-season one to buy Alicia a diamond tennis bracelet and then he went to prison… which isn't particularly lucrative unless you’re somehow smuggling contraband.  Since he was friends-off with Kalinda at that time, that theory’s out.  Next, we know he spent all his money on his season two campaign (flashback to the jokes about making photocopies at Kinkos).    He’s the State’s Attorney, not Midas.  Color me confused.  Also, who does he think he’s fooling when he throws out phrases like ‘it’s business.’  It’s not business.  He wants another tie to Alicia.  Case closed.

Now it’s not just Alicia’s life that’s a hot mess – it’s mine, too.  Oy vey.  I’m exhausted. 

Good thing The Good Wife writers know how to throw a glass of cold water in the viewers’ face.  The next big surprise?  Cary was also asked to be an Equity Partner.  It seems they've been handing out these invites like popsicles on a playground. 


Alicia Florrick: Mother, Lawyer, Pawn.

It’s at this point I know something is up.  Even though Alicia being invited into the partnership as a fourth year was a surprising choice, I understand it from a strategic perspective.  She’s the State’s Attorney’s wife, she has strong billable hours, she politically connected – she’s the ace up their sleeve.  While Cary is a great lawyer, his firm offering is different.  The decision to ask Alicia makes sense.  To ask Cary?  I’m starting to question motives.  To find out they've extended the offer to three more associates?  We’re suddenly swimming in a pit of murky water that’s 50 shades of grey.

The worst part is that Alicia seems to have become a pawn in the game of debt repayment, and what’s even more heartbreaking, is that Will is partially to blame.  To add salt to the wound:  Louis Canning is the one who pointed it out to Alicia.  Even though Canning (who could certainly star in his own feature film: The Devil Wears Plaid) exposed the truth, he’s sadly not the one who orchestrated the grand ‘Equity Partner pyramid scheme plan.’  Alicia  knows she’s being played, not only by her mentor, but by one of her best friends.

I haven’t felt this terrible about Team Gardner since “Parenting Made Easy.”  Will is supposed to be Alicia’s friend, and, to be honest, we all know he’s more.  Or, at least he used to be.  Lockhart Gardner has become so desperate to dig their way out of debt, they’ll do anything to make that happen.  Will knows he’s hurt Alicia and it’s the first time we've seen it.  Him standing up to offer her a chair was a feeble attempt to mend a fence that’s beginning to crumble in the eye of the storm. 

While Alicia has a strong ability to weather inclement tides, there’s only so far a person can be pushed.  I know down the road she’ll forgive Will for using her to save the firm (if she can forgive Peter and Kalinda, she can forgive Will (and so can I) – of that I have no fear), but now it’s about something more.  It’s about whether or not she wants to be a part of Lockhart Gardner at all.  Canning has dropped a ‘get out of jail free’ card (aka yet another business card) on Alicia’s desk, and while he’s conniving in the courtroom, he has a side that’s alluringly caring.  It’s not an entirely terrible option to consider, if you ask me.


“I don’t know if I’ll miss it, but I’ll…no, I won’t miss it”

The firm has been granted another five months to pay back the remainder of their debt – $29 million to be exact.  If everyone agrees to their Equity Partner offers, it will be down to $26 million. With the train chugging merrily along, it’s time we say goodbye to the most level-headed occupier of Lockhart Gardner space we've ever known: Clarke Hayden.  While he won’t miss the drama of the firm, I know well miss him.  The good news is he’s off to write the bar next week, so it’s quite possible we could see him again in court.

Before boarding the elevator, Clarke stops in at the Lockhart Gardner celebration, where champagne flows and glasses clink happily.  Although Diane and Clarke have butted heads since their initial meeting in September, in “The Seven Day Rule” they now part as friends.  Why?  Because, as Clarke so humbly notes: “You paid me the compliment of assuming I’m not for sale.” It’s just a shame Diane thought Alicia was...


Taking the Carrots You’re Given

And then there is Alicia… tucked in her office while the rest of the firm celebrates.  Noting her absence, Diane enters with an attitude that’s entirely unbecoming of the sophistication and polish for which she’s known.  But there’s reason.  In finding out she’s but a piece in the firm’s game of chess, Alicia is understandably peeved… and Diane calls her on it.  “You’re pouting. It’s unbecoming” notes Diane, “No one is here to appreciate your moping.”  Diane’s advice?  Suck it up and get out to the party and thank the Equity Partners for their invitation.  The road is bumpy – Diane’s offer came because Stern was being accused of sexual harassment – but none of it matters as long as you take the carrots you’re given and never look back.

So that’s what she does.  Sort of.  Alicia puts on a smile and starts making the rounds to thank everyone (with the exception of Julius, because apparently he has gone the way of Nick… whatever way that is), but while actions are one thing, meaning is another.  You see, Diane was wrong about one key thing.  One person was there to appreciate Alicia’s moping.  Louis Canning.  As Alicia makes the rounds, Diane suddenly realizes Alicia's answer might not be yes.


Other Notables

1) Maddie Hayward is back and the question this time is around religion.  She’s an Atheist and apparently that’s a problem for voters.  Too bad Alicia told the press she is, too (wink, wink, Eli). 


Side note: Alicia's dress in this scene? Amazing.

2) Jordan Karahalios (whose name, I recently found out, means ‘bird of prey’ in Greek) continues to lurk in the wings and I’m left scratching my head as to why I don’t care.  Is it just me, or is Jordan not adding much (if anything) to the campaign storyline?  While characters on The Good Wife seem to be well-defined and purpose-driven, Jordan (who dresses like Andrew Wiley but is trying to be like Eli Gold) is simply window dressing on campaign headquarters.  Perhaps when Eli’s judgment day surfaces Jordan’s role will become clear as mud.  Or, it will become irrelevant because we’ll all be cheering the praises of Elsbeth and forget Jordan is trying to get Peter elected.  Unless he’s not… and that’s why he’s a bird of prey?  Could he be a plant from anther campaign?  Oh. Wow. Is that what I've been missing?


The Big Questions: What Do You Think?
  • Should Alicia accept the offer to join the firm as an Equity Partner?
  • Should Alicia leave Lockhart Gardner to join Louis Canning?
  • How is Peter affording the $600,000 loan?
  • Would you like to see Clarke working for Canning?
  • Do you trust Jordan?
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12 comments:

  1. OMG! Love the insights. I was upset to Diane and Will, but I realise it's because they want to save the company for the long run. The emotional me wants Alicia to leave Lockhart&Gardner. Maybe the named partners should be 'reminded' of how valuable Alicia is :P I don't think Alicia should join Canning. I love seeing Canning's ass kicked in the court room! :D Although I can't contemn my 'warning radar' whenever I see Canning involves. Something's fishy about that man! I would love to see Clarke in the court room :) The only thing I am not worried about is having Elsbeth Tascioni in our side. She is awesomesauce. Oh, I need more Kalinda and Alicia moments! Her role in tonight's episode is not really significant :( Keep on writing, I'll keep on reading! :D

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  2. I think Alicia should leave Lockhart for Canning. She doesn't have to lie for anyone and can blaze her own path. She would probably pick up that billionaires account and would create lots of drama.

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    1. It would be interesting, wouldn't it? I'm not sure Canning is the answer... and, let's face it, he doesn't run his firm entirely above-board either. I agree though - something needs to change so that Alicia isn't always painted as the pawn. She might be in the market for a 'Get out of jail free' card, I'm just not sure Canning isn't more the snake rather than the ladder.

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  3. I saw that they only offered her partnership when David Lee told her the buy in was $600,000, I'm surprised Alicia didn't see that too.
    I was disappointed that this will only push Alicia further away from Will but at this point what can we expect. Will and Alicia dont seem to have any kind of relationship anymore (fond memories of him coming to her office to share a pizza and after hours laughs). There doesn't seem to even be a friendship left, we get little hints of affection from him but nothing from her so it seems that she has made it clear that they are on professional terms only. Oh and PS I got the impression that she did "spread something else" on the bus with Peter, when she was getting off the bus she fixed her lipstick and had a bottle of water in her hand just like she did last time...:(

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  4. Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, Christine Baranski, Matt Czuchry, etc., have signed legal contracts with the tv series. If someone were privy to these legal documents, then you'd be able to see which way the plot line will go. It's all about what the actors' contracts say, dontcha think?

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  5. WOW Pink, I must tell you AGAIN, how much I enjoy your recaps! Your unwavering loyalty and support for TGW as not gone unnoticed by me.
    Because I have almost given up on it. BUT just as I read somewhere today, as DIANE TOLD ALICA "pouting is so unbecoming"! It's time for ME to put my BIG GIRL pants on and get with the program and appreciate the show for what it is....and NOT what I WANT it to be!! :)

    You are so right, WHAT A MESS ALICIA'S LIFE HAS BECOME...
    Personally and professionally, it was nice to see her really happy for a change when they told her about the partnership. Only to see her really hurt by it on the witness stand when Canning told her she was just one of five others...L/G pyramid scheme to make money. She recounted all the hard work to deserve the offer she had done at L/G, you could see she was almost in tears. By poor sweet Will was apart of it, he had to know this would hurt her. As a friend he should have given her a head-up! Oh, Will, Will, Will!!!

    Canning and the disability lines....ENOUGH ALREADY!

    One thing for sure Hayden is so right "the law is messy". Watching David Lee working his wicked charm on that unsuspecting woman was painful.

    I'm with you, HOW IN THE HELL GET THAT KIND OF MONEY!!!! 2 years ago Alicia was his sole support, now he rolling in the chips!!!

    I like Maddie, she is what she is and the voters will decide!

    I think Jordan is up to no good too! Elsbeth will fish him out for Eli!

    The ending was priceless...phony Alicia and suspicious Diane. LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

    *Alicia 1 and Diane 1

    *She played it good the get the raise, so this time she got...got!

    Pam in Dallas

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  6. I didn't understand what you meant when you said you didn't blame Alicia for any of it.
    On a side note, I was surprised Alicia didn't know she had to pay that kind of money to be a partner.
    Now to the more important things. I think Alicia was so upset about the situation because more than the position, she wanted the aknowledgement of her work. Especially her, who started over after 13 years away, as a junior associate, with a complicated background and situation. She did even get emotional when they asked her. She was proud of herself, glad to have her hard work recognized and happy that something in her life was going right - like she told Will in 'Heart', she saw her work life as one part of her life that wasn't a mess - only to have all that taken away from her.

    I was dissapointed in Will and Diane. Although, I do believe that Will was truly happy for Alicia when they asked her (I don't see him being that giddy while telling Cary LOL) and that he felt bad afterwards (the "chair" scene). I just wished he had talked to Alicia afterwards. If nothing else, for their friendship.
    Speaking of friendships, everytime Alicia and Diane seem to be on friendly terms, something happens (Diane's suspicions of A/W; their "fight" about Alicia's raise...). I hope they can get over this as well. And even though Alicia had good reasons to be pissed, her pouting was unbecomming and I love that Diane confronted her about it.

    Despite all this, I don't see going to Canning's as the solution. I don't think he has Alicia's best interest and I don't trust him - I can't really be blamed.

    I was surprised, too, as Peter ofered to lend Alicia the money. Where did that come from?! Last season David Lee advised Alicia to wait to file for a divorce because she was earning more money than he was. And let's not forget he just recently bought a house. Maybe he has a scheme in the State's Attorney's office and that's what the FBI is really after with the investigation into Eli.

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  7. Hey Pink, it seems that my post didn't reach you. Let me rewrite.

    Although this this ep didn't really surprise me much, it may indeed change the TGW storyline. I felt that the promotion was deserved but not well executed by the Partners making Alicia feel like a pawn. But nevertheless, Alicia should accept IMO and stay at LG. I don't see anything productive when working for Canning. Although I can see Clarke working for Louis and see future episodes of them together against LG.

    The current Cook County DA makes almost $130K a year. Peter's been the SA for almost 2 years and has been running a Governorship campaign for almost a year where he gets campaign donations. It's possible that with all these going on, he could possibly really obtain $600K easily.

    As for Jordan, he has so far not hinted anything worth losing his trust. The writers need to improve his character to make it more interesting. So far, he seems to me like a character that will eventually be gone after a few episodes and be instantly forgotten. And that's kind of dull. Well, let's see where this takes us. Next ep is in two weeks, can't wait. Haha.

    Great post as always.

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    1. Hi Josh - thanks for rewriting your thoughts!

      Like you, I had a feeling an offer of partnership was coming. The promotion was well deserved - we know it, and Alicia does, too, - however, the way they went about offering it was nothing short of smarmy. When Alicia found out not only Cary, but others had been offered the same role, it instantly diminished all of her hard work, no matter how excellent. It's most unfortunate because while she is certainly one of the most important associates at the firm (her name, history, strong litigation skills and political connections cannot be ignored), they've used her.

      As for her leaving Lockhart Gardner, I don't see that happening either; Partially because Michael J Fox is getting his own show so we wouldn't ever see him at Canning and Meyers (which makes me think, "what's the point?") and partially because Diane was right: Sometimes you have to take opportunities for what they are as she did with Stern. That said, Alicia's relationship with Diane and Will has definitely been damaged.

      When it comes to Peter, I'm still uncertain about the money he's willing to lend. A) It's going to come with strings and B) Even with his salary, he has more expenses than most. Though... he does live with his Mother, so...

      Anyways, technically Alicia only needs to front the $300,000, but even so, I think it's a bit far-fetched that Peter has the money so readily available. I don't think he's allowed to use campaign donations for external investments (must look up the law on this one), but even so, he's in a pretty epic battle against Maddie and oft-mentioned but never seen Kresteva.

      As for Jordan, I'm hoping he'll turn into a character I care about or love to hate (Wendy Scott-Carr or Andrew Wiley-style), however, we're definitely not there yet. I agree with you - the writers need to focus on the bones of that character if we're ever going care about his antics.

      I think what makes this episode such a game-changer is that Alicia sees that while so much in her life has changed, the one thing that hasn't is that people are playing her. Will and Diane. Eli. Jordan. Maddie. Aside from Kalinda, and maybe Cary, she has no respite.

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  8. Wow have you seen the preview for this sunday's episode. Im so excited!!!!!
    http://www.cbs.com/shows/the_good_wife/video/H4JH_iuAFygljAcjJYUrWjI3RtccJuT0/the-good-wife-red-team-blue-team-preview-/

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    1. I have been swooning over this preview for the last four days. To say I'm losing my mind over it could be the understatement of the year! All I can think about is how much it looks like we're going to get a little Team Gardner reunion. Pass me a paper bag... I sense some hyperventilation in my future!

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  9. I don't know if Canning was offering her job so much as a partnership to take over the firm. I'd like that way more because:
    - that would create delicious conflict
    - Alicia needs to stop being so bambiesque and cut her teeth!
    - if Alicia leaves the firm, considering she barely interacts with anyone these days already, it would kill the show.

    As for Peter suddenly being a millionaire (he also bought the house that was out of Alicia's price range), I believe it's one of those "uh?!" inconsistencies that I'm not going to spend a lot of time on. They needed him to be a pauper before to put pressure on Alicia financially. Now they need us to believe he made millions working as an SA in what? a year? So he did.
    Same as Cary wearing custom made 20,000 dollars suits in the pilot (and Will saying it every 10 seconds) but then claiming he needed the L&G job to pay his debts.

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