The Good Wife: 4x04 Don't Haze Me, Bro.
First rule of dealing with a potential political scandal: re-framing. Change the story. Never feed into the story, because in the end, it doesn't really come down to whether the story is true or not - it's whether the story is believable, if it fits in with a previously established perception of the candidate. Is the story of the campaign worker Kalinda is taking apart throughout the episode at any point believable? Not really. It doesn't take the final fact of the concierge card that she didn't have, her fumbling for words to explain that fact away, for us to realize that none of what she's said before was true. Does that change the fact that we sort of expect Peter to fuck up, that if anything, her story seemed so unbelievable because it was too sloppy and obvious - not like Peter to make so obvious a mistake? Also, not really. Eli knows that in the end, the important thing isn't the facts that Kalinda gathered, it's about whether or not the story is printed and feeds into the rumours that have been there from the beginning, rumours that are powerful enough to reach Maddie and other important donors. Of course Jackie Florrick doesn't get it, she's off her game and maybe the game has changed so much since she last played it that she doesn't know the rules anymore - so she thinks that telling an audience of people with doubts about how Peter was always chased by women (even in grade school!) and that she told him to "beat them off with a stick" is helping, when it's actually reason enough for Eli to kick a chair and threaten to have her tackled off the podium if she doesn't leave voluntarily. Eli has enough leverage with traditional media to argue that a story he can debunk easily would damage their reputation, but bloggers? One of them just took to the witness stand last week, arguing that he didn't need facts to publish an opinion.
Peter will always be the guy who cheated on his wife, the same way people will never stop asking Alicia why she didn't leave.
The way Maddie plays into all of this is great. Eli tells Alicia to tell Maddie that Peter didn't have an affair (and the sort-of awesomenest thing about this is that Maddie mostly cares because she's decided that she cares about Alicia, so she uses her donations as leverage against him to make sure he doesn't cheat), and Alicia doesn't want to, because she realizes that her entire relationship with Maddie is already pretty shaky, considering how much it is mixed up in Peter's career and The 27th Floor. They do well for a bit, until Alicia does bring it up (and I'd say it was both the fact that it's important for Peter AND that's this was the main thing on her mind in that particular moment, and she wanted to share with someone, and she obviously can't with Kalinda because Kalinda can't possibly tell her that she's been investigating Peter on Eli's behalf). Maddie feels used (and it's great how well Julianna Margulies and Maura Tierney play off each other, because all of this is non-verbal) and simply pays the bill, and we know that their attempt at friendship in the face of always suspecting selfish motives has failed, at least for now.
- Case of the week sort of fits into the "change the story" thing as well: Diane was suing a university for not taking steps to prevent hazing rituals that led to the death of a student, the defence argued that it was a hate-crime since the dead student was rumoured to be gay and that the university was not responsible, then there was a whole argument about whether proving that someone was gay/not gay was sufficient to prove a hate-crime had taken place (the answer obviously being nope), then the defence zagged and argued a racially motivated hate-crime, until finally Cary (he's growing on me) came in to remind everyone of the original story they were supposed to be telling here, liability. I think Cary deserves his own office, hilarity of Hayden getting him fifty (or a third, since Eli takes up some space there as well) percent of Alicia's aside.
- Did Hayden just decide that Cary was the weakest link because of his ambition? And WHAT does Hayden even want?
- Attempt at lightening the mood of the horrible politics surrounding the case via a judge who suddenly started mentioning he had a wife a whole lot once he realized that everyone was looking at him weirdly when arguing that being effeminate doen't necessarily mean that you're gay but it can be read that way and is therefore maybe enough to argue a hate crime. The whole case was terrible, I don't even know. ("A hate crime against swishy people")
- The look the victim's parents gave the girlfriend when she argued that their killed son never had sex with guys because he had all the sex with her and came from a religious background was great though.
- I'm guessing the props department specifically looked for a flip phone for the scene with Jackie ("the stroke has left you weak") just so she could aggressively smashshut it on Eli. Good job. Do people still have these?
- Diane specifically takes the elevator to the 27th floor (now Maddie's personal building site) to get herself riled up and win her case and deal with Hayden who wants to take away her office ("It's incumbent on leadership to sacrifice.")
- Maddie is the greatest. "No, they just bring them. They give rich people free things" (and she knows that it's wrong but she still drinks the free drinks) She is like the opposite of Diane, so what does it mean that she just wrecked one of the L&G floors?
Diane: We're gonna get our firm back, then we're go after Louis Canning's firm. Then we're gonna open up a branch in New York and DC.
Will: Feels pretty good, doesn't it?
Diane: What is that, winning?
Will: No. Nothing to lose. Welcome to the lifeboat.
- Jackie's lost her marbles but in a way that almost makes her more terrifying than she was before. Alicia tells Eli to give her something "that makes her feel valued, important, useful.", Eli responds that Jackie is none of these things (ouch), Alicia awesomely responds "A point you made clear to her. Now, unmake it."
- In other news, Kalinda had more chemistry with the random concierge than with the blissfully absent husband (who has more chemistry with mineral water and eggs than with Kalinda).
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