Monday 1 October 2012

Reaction Post - I don't like people who quit.

The Good Wife: 4x01 I Fought the Law.

Seventeen minutes into the episodes, Alicia Florrick's life had already turned into a clusterfuck of things going wrong, and that was even before Kalinda showed up at the office like nothing had happened, like she didn't spend the first minutes of the episode beating up one of her husband's lackeys with a sledgehammer. 

There are three separate catastrophes and it doesn't even take The Good Wife a couple of weeks to bring everything together: Zach Florrick is driving Owen's car towards Chicago and gets stopped by a police officer who insists on searching the car for drugs; not only does the dog indicate that at some point in the past there may have been drugs in the car (I know the episode came to the conclusion that it was a trick to get money off drivers with out-of-state licence plates, but still: It is Owen's car, so who knows?), but Zach also makes the brilliant decision of filming everything with his iPhone, and then, when asked to delete the illegal recording, audibly sends a mail containing the recording, which results in an arrest. 
Then there's the firm, filing for bankrupcy (I think?) after the "losing your most valuable client right before a balloon payment" fuck-up that happened last year: David Lee is furious and leaving the firm, the judge appoints a trustee to help them deal with their "management issues", and the guy starts calculating the value of the artwork, pits Diane and Will against each other, and yet finally reveals himself to be even more of a player than David Lee is, when he basically blackmails him to stay in the firm (because partners get their money back, creditors don't). 
And of course, there's also Peter's campaign for governor: Mike Kresteva runs on "family values", Alicia, pissed off about the fact that her kid may have a permanent record, gives an angry interview about Peter sleepin with prostitutes and them "mending fences" (more on that later), and then has an awkward meeting about the state of their relationship in which Peter literally has to push Peter out of the room, which was a perfect metaphor for their very public, well, marriage (to the point where they talk about the state of their relationship and Alicia says "Just helps to know the truth.", because the entire negotiation about where they are as a couple is really about the campaign, and it's GREAT). 
The firm's bankrupcy means that they can't turn away clients, even if they are clearly shady guys with questionable pasts and British accents who really, really want to talk to the investigator in person. It was really great that Cary was the one pointing out that what they were doing for Nick wasn't strictly legal, to which Alicia basically responded, "yes but we need money" - a perfect moment, because that's Alicia Florrick playing devil's advocate for money beating morality and thereby opening the doors for the guy that Kalinda Sharma is afraid of! 
Zach's incident leads to internet research about loopholes (Alicia Florrick, outsmarted by a seventeen year old and the internet!), but also to Peter returning to his old ways when he threatens the family of the SA responsible for the county where Zach was arrested - which seems to work - until Alicia uses Zach's online findings in the court room, questions the SA's dedication to the war on drugs (which was ironic: her argument being that it's about the money, not the morals!), and unleashes, well, something. We don't know what it will be exactly, but it won't be good for Peter, and maybe Zach won't get off that easily. 
And Kalinda? (this feels like a spoiler but it's really just me guessing?) Well, let's just say that maybe, Nick didn't make that meeting, or will indeed never make any meetings again. 

Here's the Peggy-Alicia interview in its full glory (Kristin Chenoweth is a great addition to the cast, and a perfect foil for Eli!)
Peggy: Your husband has said that you are working on mending fences, is that true?
Alicia: It is.
Peggy: Can you expand on that?
Alicia: My husband has slept with prostitutes, that made our marriage difficult. But we have children together, and my husband apologized and I needed time to consider whether to accept that apology. During that time we separated.
Peggy: But now you're together?
Alicia: We're mending fences.
Peggy: Do you live in his house?
Alicia: I have my own apartment, but I also sometimes stay at his house.
Peggy: In the same room?
Alicia: That's none of your business.
Peggy: Why not?
Alicia: Because my life is mine.
Peggy: But you've made your life public, haven't you?
Alicia: No. My husband has.
Peggy: So, I'd like to ask you this, Alicia. Why do you stay with your husband? Why not divorce? Other wives who have been betrayed like you have divorced.
Alicia: Because I don't want to.
Peggy: Isn't that setting a bad example to women everwhere to be such a doormat?
Alicia: I like my husband. I respect him. He's flawed, but I've grown to accept that And I committed to a marriage. I don't like breaking commitments.
Peggy: Isn't that dragging women back to the fifties? Women have all the obligations, men have all the freedom.
Alicia: I don't know. This isn't about women or the fifties. This is about me. 

They played off each other so well, and I think this was maybe a bit of a meta moment for the show as well (because "Why didn't Alicia divorce Peter" can't be answered in one sentence, it's taken three seasons so far! And probably will take at least two or three more). The last bit is my favourite part. Remember Caitlin, who so insisted that this was her personal choice, to Diane's and Alicia's horror? 
  • That first scene really drove home the point that The Good Wife isn't a courtroom drama anymore. 
  • Your regularly scheduled passive aggressive flirting with this week's "random gorgeous woman Kalinda knows" will now be interrupted by... KALINDA AND NICK GETTING INTO A TERMINATOR-ELEVATOR FIGHT FOLLOWED BY ANGRY!SEX and then something that happened off screen that I think will be at the core of this season. Because when Nick interpreted Kalinda's decision to stay instead of running away as something that was about him, about her being ready to return with him... I thought, what happens when he figures out that Alicia was the reason?  And Kalinda would get there even quicker. The first time she sees him again is when he talks to Alicia. The episode asks: what can an angry David do? What can that random angry SA achieve? But more importantly: What does Kalinda do when she thinks Alicia's life is in danger AND the gun's already there?
  • One of the first things Alica says to Nick: No, don't tell us anything about your shady past that might prevent us from taking your money!! 
  • The traffic cop thing... Alicia tells her kids they should use the law, not Peter's name... only to call Cary for a favour a second later. So in a way, this felt like a morality tale because Alicia DIDN'T use the law, and the situation just ridiculously escalated more and more (to the point where it will directly affect Peter's campaign). I wasn't sure what was going on exactly: there was an indication that it's about the police being angry that Peter wants to (because he can't have already done this?) cut pensions, and Kresteva hasn't even come in yet, although a story about Zach Florrick, turning to drugs because his parents aren't living together anymore, is exactly the kind of thing Kresteva would use in his campaign. 
  • The video thing though... Zach manipulated the video to make it seem like he hadn't actually recorded sound (is that what happened? Or was the sound just missing from the mail he sent himself?), which gets him off these charges, and then he PUTS IT ON THE INTERNET with sound, and it goes viral? Is that what happened? (favourite thing to come out of this though was Alicia's face when she realized that she could play that ridiculous chicken rap in a courtroom). Someone pointed out that the video Zach put online was the recording from the police car, and I feel stupid for even raising the question. 
  • Zach's ambition is to eventually become Kalinda Sharma. Also, great transition from Zach, seeing his video has made the top spot (you idiot) - and then, TO THE PORN!
  • Clark Haden is great. Everyone else has a tendency to be really flashy about power and control, but he just quietly scribbles in his notebook and starts pulling strings. And that look on David's face was at the same time the creepiest (sorry Nick) and funniest thing about the episode. 
Diane: What did he say?
Will: I'm the true litigator, the firm has suffered through your leadership over the last six months, now it needs a man at the top.
Diane: He didn't say A MAN?!
Will: No, I added that to piss you off.  
  •  Nick goes through Kalinda's cupboards (empty) and asks her if she was robbed, she says she put all her stuff in storage when she realized he was coming to Chicago; except I'm pretty sure her apartment has always been like this. 
    Alicia: Kalinda, you okay? 
    Kalinda: Yeah, good. 
    • So the honesty thing isn't working out so well, considering that Kalinda is literally checking her wounds before Alicia asks her - and has a very ambivalent reaction when Alicia tells her that she is supposed to speak to their client Nick, except I have a feeling that the meeting never happened, considering we didn't see it. 
    • As if there weren't already enough anvils hanging over Alicia Florrick's head, Clark's final verdict after Diane insists on keeping Will around is that they need to cut thirty percent of their staff. Diane's right: they are heading towards an even odder year.  
    • I want to see The Good Wife get renewed for five more seasons just to see the nine-word episode titles they'd come up with. 


    seekingoutfriday said...

    "I thought, what happens when he figures out that Alicia was the reason?" I'm excited for that

    cathy leaves said...

    I still hope that this is going somewhere, because they've continually brought that up (with Kalinda only losing control over the situation when Alicia is involved). I'm also wondering if the fact that Peter was involved in giving Kalinda her new identity will eventually come up. It would be a major twist if Nick ever found out.