Tuesday 6 November 2012

Reaction Post - What are you doing, when it's all over?

The Good Wife: 4x06 The Art of War.

Sometimes, the cases on this show leave me so exhausted that it's hard to focus on the parts of the show that are more relevant for the actual characters is them, even though the case this week also provided a lot of insight into who Alicia Florrick has become over the past four years or so. L&G is approached by Judge Kuhn (aka the very stuff Will's worst nightmares are made of, good thing he wasn't much in the episode - also Josh Charles directed) about bringing a civil suit against a military contractor who allegedly raped Captain Hellinger (played by Amanda Peet, who is great in the episode). Alicia, or "the new Alicia", a glorious (and occasionally slightly scary) thing, see last episode, sort of really grows into herself throughout the trial, first really enjoying how good she is at all of it when she shows Hellinger (who's with JAG and has to be convinced that she doesn't know the ins and outs of Chicago's civil courts well enough to represent herself) how everything works, and then, as the case progresses grows increasingly frustrated by all of it, which mirrors the viewers grossed-out-ness with how much the sysem is geared against women in the military. First, it takes them a long time to argue that military contractors aren't privy to the same kind of privileges members of the military enjoy (which are only hinted at in the episode but seem pretty inherently gross?), then they struggle to produce a vital witness (which they only get because Corporal Judge Kuhn helps them out the only way she can), and just as they are about to win, are dealt a vital blow when it turns out that fifteen minutes before attempting to rape (because they manage to prove the attempted rape, it's that gross), the rapist was called up for active duty and therefore can't be judged in a civil court. And if that final moment of his own lawyer not wanting to shake his hand was supposed to help - at least he is no longer the respectable member of the community he was when he took the stand, with his very respectable and very common "she was tipsy, if anything she was asking for it" demeanour - it really, really didn't. A tour de force of a case, both for the viewers and Alicia Florrick. 

  • Nick lost his bid, asked L&G to investigate the bidder who won, Cary found a hole, except they both in an awesome conversation wondered if they really wanted Nick to stay in Chicago, both for the sake of their shared ideal about what L&G should be and KALINDA. Pretty good stuff. It's also always good to see Cary and Alicia work on things together, because they usually don't. 
  • Alicia FINALLY had drinks with Kalinda, after getting fucked over majorly by Maddie Hayward, but the whole thing was painfully cut short. They did talk about Nick though, and Kalinda both tried to explain her very complicated relationship (I'm still not fond of the addiction metaphor, it rarely ever works, and it's a good thing this will be cut short) and went back on her answer to "is he dangerous?".

  • Alicia: Thanks for doing this
    Kalinda: Having a drink? Why not?
    Kalinda: So. He'll win the bid?
    Alicia: Only if he knows about it.
    Alicia: Do you love him?
    Kalinda: No.
    Alicia: Then...
    Kalinda: I... I have difficulty being away from him.
    Alicia: Is he dangerous?
    Kalinda: Sometimes.
    Alicia: Shouldn't you stay away then?
    Kalinda: Yeah.
    This scene was great for a number of reasons (one of them being that the subtext is Alicia's "I've tried dating other people but failed miserably" after the Maddie disaster), but there is also the question of whether Alicia will ever be able to understand that particular aspect of Kalinda's character, and I can't decide if the show is doing a good job at tackling that question, because their interactions are always cut short by something going up in flames. 
  • Judge Kuhn's "To court-martial you" (answering Will's panicky "Why are you here") was THE GREATEST deadpan joke in the history of television. Fantastic delivery. And then she proceeded to send him away like a little boy. "I know. I don't need you. Thank you." (and Will actually stuttered on the "You're welcome"). 
  • "Consultation's over. Am I hired?" MEET THE NEW ALICIA. There were so many small moments throughout the episode that were such a clear reminder of how far Alicia has come, and how proud she is of her achievements. She is GOOD. 
  • Amanda Peet does a better death glare than pretty much anyone ever. 
  • One of the most devastating moments in the whole trial: when the Sergeant gave his testimony about the attempted rape and admitted to not coming forward before because the military contractor was "basically" his boss (and the subtle hints that he is safe from prosecution in part because he is friends with male military officials, that this is patriarchy at its worst). 
  • Diane - because Alicia takes it to Diane when she realizes that they're about to lose - tells Laura to disregard the truth for a moment and to imagine being a woman, not a lawyer, because when the fucking system is geared against you you have every right to play the fucking system. "Laura, you need to stop thinking as a lwayer. We are your lawyers. Experience it as a woman." The gross thing is the mere fact that these two things should be mutually exclusive, that the Captain has to take this step to maybe be granted her rights. 
  • Meanwhile in the "Eli battles the new realities of the blogosphere" storyline that's been going on forever, Eli totally gets Mandy Post fired by indicating to a returned Kristin Chenoweth (who apparently brought her disdain for almost being killed on set to her role, which totally works for the scene) that she was following her own private agenda against Peter for sending her cousin to jail for child molestation. Eli was having a bad day but he still knows how to play the game. 
  • Also Kalinda approached him about the picture Nick stole from Lana's apartment and he had a kind of weird reaction to her "are you being investigated by the FBI" question that was hard to read? Either he thought it was perfectly in the realm of possibilities, or he was having such a clusterfucked day that it just seemed like the topping on the cake, or something real is going on. We still don't know what that is about but wouldn't it be great if Lana stumbled over Peter's involvement in The Creation of Kalinda Sharma? IS this photo about her or Eli?
  • "Global warming one, sceptics zero." 
  • Alicia, when asked if everything alright, says "I don't know, but I have given up on caring". Which isn't true at all, as the episode shows, both in regards to the case and Maddie's decision to run against Peter. 
  • Maddie Hayward. This is so complicated. In part it's complicated because whatever happens, I always find it hard to root for Peter in any given situation. Maddie decides to run against Peter in the democratic primary and the first person she approaches about this is Alicia Florrick ("I know this will probably affect our friendship") and it doesn't even take Alicia a second to realize what this means. Because she and Maddie have had friendly conversations, they've talked about Alicia's marriage and her issues with being in the public eye and the things that Peter is weak on in terms of policy. Alicia feels used. Maddie Hayward argues that she didn't mean to use Alicia, that the private and the public are entirely separated things (but she should know better!). And in part this isn't even a question of betrayal, there is just an inherent impossibility to be true and honest when you are a political animal of the kind that Maddie is (Peter is the same way. That's the great thing about this episode - that Maddie and Peter are so similar). So far, The Good Wife has always argued that Alicia's thing is that she is not that way. This fit in so well with the rest of the episode because the reason why the Colonel approached them is OF COURSE because she cares so much about this issue, gender mainstreaming which is the useless buzzword but a system that is geared against female soldiers, that is so brutal and unforgiving and unfair towards women, to the point that someone like Judge Kuhn goes out of her way to try and give the Captain her day in court, to the extent that she uses that system to make a witness available to Alicia that she would never have access to otherwise (the scene was played for comedic relief, but how great was that moment?). You could never directly ask Kuhn if she does it because she is a woman in the military, so she looks out for others, she would never NAME that struggle as what it is (that's what her "don't try to appeal to my feelings" or whatever she said exactly was). Peter accuses Maddie that the feminism thing is nothing but a cover for her, that she is as power-driven as he is. Maddie asks him to run as her Lieutenant Governor, since she is perfectly able to outspend him (a great reminder of the role money plays in politics!). 

  • Peter: You used my wife. You befriended her and used her.
    Maddie: I didn't use her. I befriended her. I didn't know I was going to do this.
    Peter: You know, I can trust a cynic and a con-man, but I can't trust a hypricrite. Because the hypocrite doesn't know when she's lying, and that's the most dangerous liar of them all.
    Maddie: So that's a no?
    Peter: That's more than a no. That's a never.
  • IT'S STILL CRAP! Also just the general awesomeness of Cary finally figuring out how to play this in a way that helps him succeed (handling Hayden for Diane and getting criminal cases again, which he thinks he hasn't been in the past because of Will's resentment against him). And we aren't even supposed to root for Cary I think, because the entire system is geared towards his advantage anyway.
  • Cristian / Jackie Florrick new OTP. In part because it causes Peter so much pain, and that's never a bad thing.  "Don't talk so loudly when you gossip!"
  • The answer to the question is of course, YOU START UP AGAIN. You try, over and over again, until things slowly start to get better. The biggest lie is assuming that they will get better all by themselves. 

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