The Good Wife: 3x07 Executive Order 13224.
My government tortured me, and they won't even acknowledge that they did this to me. I don't want this to happen to anyone else. This isn't about the money.
This was certainly an unusually funny episode of The Good Wife, especially considering that it was all about a guy who was tortured by his own government and then prevented from seeking justice by the very system meant to protect his freedom and security. Even more frustratingly, the way in which Lockhart/Gardner (and especially Diane, who is fighting the case because it is close to her heart) eventually manage to win seems like the kind of unlikely fairytale that shows like CSI sometimes tell (where people are always magically killed somewhere with completely unique soil properties or rare insects or whatever). A mountain of redacted documents with barely any hope of discovering relevant information? Never mind, here's a potential witness with an unusually long name, and here, another whose surname is also an adjective (this reminded me of that one House episode when someone said to him, verbatim, your name seems familiar. Heh.) that was accidentally redacted in the document because computers, and stuff. Not that I'm complaining, because The Good Wife just isn't the dark, horrible place where the bad guys always win and the good guys have to cross over to the dark side, becoming what they despise most (that would be Damages and Breaking Bad). In The Good Wife, fortune sometimes favours the... good, or at least those with good intentions.
The things Alicia and Diane found themselves up against were unusually depressing, though. The piles of redacted documents weren't a big surprise, but Alicia also found herself as the liaison of a Treasury department monitor who tried to find proof that her client was, indeed, involved with terrorists, which put her in the impossible position of defending a client and collecting evidence against him (the titular executive order is a real thing, by the way - "We're in a strange new post-9/11 world. None of the rules apply."). But, never mind, here's the magical unicorn lawyer Elsbeth Tascioni (a brilliant Carrie Preston), who previously got Peter out of prison and while weird and technologically challenged (to the extent that maybe even Alicia might be able to help her, which is saying something), is a genius when it comes to fracking with authority.
- In a show that has been all about keeping secrets and trying to keep certain people in the dark about certain things, it was sort of great to have an episode that toyed with the very idea of not being allowed to share information and desperately trying not to find out (Badula Qulp: TWO WORDS THAT CAN LAND YOU IN PRISON FOR EIGHT YEARS.)
- "Unfortunately the US will just have to stand tall in the face of their meals being exposed."
- Also on the monitor's (played by Bob Balaban) hit list of potentially dangerous people - Kalinda Sharma! Because an Indian name is close enough to being of Middle-Eastern descent, apparently.
- Apart from being a funny episode, Executive Order also completely changed my perception of Will Gardner. Maybe it's just a hiccup and things will return to normal next week, but usually, when it comes to Peter-Will, I find myself on Will's side purely because Peter is not a sympathetic character in any way. Not this week though. First, Will essentially defended what had happened to Diane's client because he was in Washington on 9/11 (?!) and "our government took steps to prevent another 9/11" and now he's free so all is well, and then he came off as a complete idiot in his confrontation with Peter (talk about "poking the bear" - the argument he used against Diane's case, which he then promptly completely disregarded in how he dealt with the State Attorney - and we KNOW that they have a case because this is the tiny bit of "you don't really know Will" information Celeste shared with Alicia. I think dancing around someone and basically saying "I am sleeping with your wife, doesn't that make you want to hit me in the face?" is the definition of poking the bear. ).
- Will and Alicia are so hilariously terrible at covering up their affair: in the lol-moment of the week, Grace called Alicia while Will was on the phone with Diane (setting: an anonymous hotel room somewhere in Chicago, presumably not the Presidential suite...). And thusly, MOM PICK UP THE PHONE clues in another person that should definitely not know about this, to Kalinda's adorable concern. People who now know about them: Kalinda, probably Eli, Diane, maybe Zach, Owen, Peter. People who don't know yet: Cary and Grace. Grace better never find out because she already thinks her parents are doomed if they ever get divorced, so her opinions on adultery are probably more severe.
- Diane's reaction to finding out: looking angrily at both of them, not speaking a word about it, getting their insurance guy to make them attend a sexual harassment class.
- Will: I think I trust your judgment, Diane, as you trust mine.
- I'm conflicted about Peter. He seemed to honestly dislike the idea of going after Will (I expected him to embrace the opportunity, considering how much they dislike each other?), and only did so reluctantly and after coming to the conclusion that the opportunity to charge Lamont Bishop (remember him? He's like a very lucrative Achille's Heel) was too great to pass up. He told Cary to go for it (and that he wouldn't be part of the investigation himself) after talking to Grace, but how exactly his insight that he just "wants to be happy" and "to do the right thing" affected his decision remains unclear.
- Also notable: the person who brought the information about Will's fifteen-year-old misdeed to Peter wasn't Celeste, but our old and disappeared friend Blake Calamar, who presumably has an interest in seeing Lamont in prison because Kalinda got rid of Blake by making Lamont think he had an affair with his wife.
Will: Okay, so you didn't ask Alicia to step outside.Diane: I did, but then I thought better of it.Will: O...kay.
- I wonder if Alicia's decision to get an outside lawyer to defend her against the treasury department is going to be relevant in the future: after all, Diane did announce that she would fire her if she ever became a liability.
Monitor: Is she bringing charges?Elsbeth: No, she is much too nice for that. That's why she has me.
- I'M SWAMPED. LOOK AT ALL THIS PAPER. Hand-movements! I always forget to mention that Julianna Margulies has incredible comic timing and this episode showcased it well.
- I'm really glad that Monica Raymund's Dana is sticking around. "I'm staying, and I'm pissed".
- So in the end, Alicia and Will sit side-by-side through a hilarious educational tape that is basically mean to tell them that their entire relationship is the WORST IDEA EVER and also Will can't tell Alicia about this really big important change in his life now that he is being investigated even though she already knows about that thing. Once again, The Good Wife is all about how damaging secrets can become.
- My favourite part is when the music carries over into the credits.