Wednesday 28 November 2012

Reaction Post - I am here to win it all, everything, for all of us.

The Good Wife: 4x09 A Defense of Marriage.

Alicia: Where is it from? 
Owen: The Carribean. 
Alicia: Ugh, she's getting closer. 
I want to make this quick because I'm not really sure what to do with this episode. It's thematically about marriages, obviously, and the hypocrisy of defining marriage as this or that when it's a thing that happens between two people who shape it into whatever suits them best. The intimate aspect of marriage and the public (as so often happens on the show), in this case judicial, examining and judging of it don't mix well. Diane and Alicia are defending the CFO of a firm that allowed citizens to file tax returns online, except he also happened to facilitate tax fraud. The charges against a co-defendent are dropped because the main pieces of evidence are recordings of phone calls with his wife, and therefore privileged conversations. The CFO is legally married in Vermont, but not in Illinois, so the prosecution argues that DOMA explicitly forbids an equivalence between straight and same-sex marriages when it comes to privileged conversations. A famous liberal lawyer jumps the bandwagon and joins Alicia and Diane, seeing a chance to take the case to the supreme court (since the couple is handsome and "upper-middle class") and end DOMA. It turns into a messy discussion of doing the best for your client (Alicia and Diane) and battling against a heinous principle, even if it means personal sacrifice. It's messy and complicated, because naturally we are rooting for Diane and Alicia, once it turns into an ugly in-fight, and the super!lawyer of course has a massive ego, but the resolution isn't very satisfying. It's "It's not about you anymore, it's about the entire gay community. It's about you sacrificing so that we can overturn DOMA." vs. making sure that individual people are doing okay, and the main issue here is that this very conflict is already so divisive and horrible that it's not clear where progress can ever come in. Everybody has a point, nobody wins.

Meanwhile, Alicia's mother arrives in Chicago just in time for Thanksgiving to wreak personal and professional havoc, since she hasn't been around for two years and isn't enthusiastic that Alicia hasn't divorced Peter yet, and has just lost her husband but is battling against her stepson who argues that she cheated and that his dad changed the will before he died to exclude her. Morally grey David Lee to the rescue!
Owen is in a tricky position when his testimony decides whether or not his mother gets the money or not, but because they are family she lies for her and the way Alicia gets back at Veronica is to invite Jackie to the Thanksgiving dinner, which was a really nice touch and the funniest scene in the episode.

Veronica: I heard you nearly died, Jackie.
Jackie: A stroke from helping out with he kids, by myself.
Veronica: Well, at least you got a young companion out of it. How much does he charge?
Jackie: 40 dollars an hour, you should consider it. You won't have to go begging for male attention.
Veronica: Yes. Paying for it seems to run in your family.
At the end, there's a spiral of conversations that somehow lead to Alicia and Peter fucking in the bathroom (and a rumoured storyline that'll cover the next months I guess), in which once again more than one person has a point but neither of them is really winning. Veronica tells Alicia she should be with Will, not with Peter. Alicia tries to explain the entire complicated clusterfuck that is her emotional life to a mother who's been absent for two years. They'll never see eye-to-eye.

Veronica: And you want him, but you won't let yourself have him, because then you would be like me.
Alicia: I look at you sometimes, mom, and I am just amazed.
Veronica: I'm happy Alicia, I never do anything I don't wanna do. Are you happy? Can you say you are?
Alicia: I can say I am living the life I want. And I can say there are a lot bigger things.
Veronica: No, there aren't. The older you get, the more you realize: there is only one thing. Happiness. 
This is weirdly also what the case was about: happiness vs. the bigger things that are supposed to count more, but demand individual sacrifice. Veronica tells Peter he is being selfish by not divorcing Alicia (except this is completely wrong, Alicia's entire struggle was finally making this about her, not about everybody else, about owning this thing that happened to her marriage, and that exchange shows that Veronica doesn't know her own daughter at all).

  • Cary has a weird conversation with Nick, basically telling him he knows he had him beat up, but neither of them really acknowledges it, and it's at least as strange as the egg thing and the mineral water thing and like the eggs and the water, I'm pretty sure Cary wins (by threatening that he still has connections in the SA's office and knows every single bad thing Nick has ever done).
  • "It will impact the future of gay rights and all you have to do is say yes."
  • There is a funny sort of mirroring going on with Peter's absolute horror concerning Cristian and his mum and Alicia's increasing terror watching David Lee and her mother interact. 
  • I GUESS the episode also leaves you to make the comparison between all the messy marriages is portrays, and of course the question is why Alicia and Peter's should be more valid than the defendant's, because nobody asks straight people about Free Fridays, sexual politics are personal. 
  • "My mother remembers things creatively"
  • Owen tells his mum about Alicia and Will and barely escapes Alicia's wrath (best faces!). "I had to tell her something, she thought Will was gay and he was into me!"
  • Not enough drinking of tequila between Kalinda and Alicia. NEVER ENOUGH. She magically solved the entire case (two clicks!) but it's not really what these two should be doing at this point in the story, idk.

  • Cristian: She has extended my hours.
    Peter: What, is that necessary?
    Cristian: No.
  • Needs more Owen. 
  • Needs way, way more Kalinda.

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