8
Oct
2012
The Good Wife: Season 4, Episode 2
And the Law Won
Jordan
When The Good Wife is on, it hums along with barely a misstep, allowing for forward movement on all of its ongoing stories, a case-of-the-week, and some nice character moments along the way. "And the Law Won" is more of a facsimile of a great episode than a major accomplishment for the show in its own right, but this is a busy episode that never feels cluttered, and that has a few nice moments for most of the characters, even those trapped over in Kalinda Sharma's 100% Natural Good Time Family Band Solution.

The case-of-the-week focuses on a young boy who had a really bad day, getting left by his fiance during a protest and then being pepper sprayed and tazed to death by an overzealous riot squad officer. The courtroom scenes are full of the usual fun asides, as we see Will's return to the courtroom complicated by an activist jury and a Harvard-obsessed judge. The case itself doesn't have the twists or the verve of the show's best, hinging as it does on a smiley face pin, but after waiting for so long to see Will back in the courtroom, this is a fine enough outing. Suspense is built when Clarke (Nathan Lane) the trustee urges Will to accept a settlement and he refuses, only to see the jury turn against him. This sort of thing happens every few weeks on The Good Wife, so it isn't all that surprising when Will pulls it out and ends up with a $3.5 million settlement, but it is a lot of fun to get there.

Over in the dark mirror that is Kalinda's plot line, things continue to be fairly useless. I'm starting to think the writers are just curious how much they can get away with on CBS, and if that's the case, the ice-cream scene serves a clear purpose. This is one of the raciest scenes I have ever seen on network television, and it is pure Kalinda seduction, but I don't see any plot relevance or even much thematically at play here. There's just a lot of emoting, and a lot of tension that feels more tied to the quality of the performers than it is earned on a character level. Kalinda is best as a character when she is brutally, brilliantly effective as an investigator, to the point where it hurt to watch Will chew her out this week, and I'm all for throwing a character off their game just to see how they react, but so far this reaction is not worth the screen-time the story is being given.

Finally, there's Maura Tierney, whose Maddie is an Emily's List member who becomes impressed with Alicia for no apparent reason, other than that this is clearly going somewhere. Tierney is usually a fun presence, and she does well here, though this is clearly set up to a longer arc. Maddie owns the building where Lockhart Gardner is housed now, and Diane tasks Alicia with convincing her to give them preferable treatment. This goes over poorly, but Maddie does decide to support Peter and to ask Alicia out for a drink. Anyone watching this who doesn't immediately guess that Maddie wants Alicia to run for office should watch again, and while that is a potentially interesting story, I hope there's a little more to it than that. The show has hinted before that those around Alicia have political ambitions for her, but Alicia herself has never seemed all that interested in being a politician, and I prefer the way she straddles the show's legal and political storylines, being awesome all over both of them, and don't really see the show taking her in a political direction. The Good Wife does interesting things with the procedural format, but this is still, ultimately, a procedural, and somebody has to be doing the litigatin' around these parts. While I would happily watch Diane, Will, and Cary keep taking names while Alicia went on to be a Senator or something, but I don't think that's likely to happen, at least not during the show's run. For now, though, I am interested to see where Tierney's character will go in weeks to come.

On the political side, Peter and Eli have a light week, basically just getting super excited to get money from Maddie, and having a nice moment on Peter's campaign bus near the episode's end. The show has done a good job of turning Peter into a viable love-interest for Alicia again, and seeing as Will seems as far from a possibility as ever at the moment, I guess this is the way the show is headed, for the moment at least. If the romantic arc of The Good Wife follows the estrangement and slow, tentative reunion of the Floricks, I could see finding that interesting (though I always hoped Alicia would kick Peter to the curb for forgetting, even for a brief period, how bad ass his wife was). In any case, Chris Noth continues to play Peter well, as a Chicago politician who has legitimately evolved, even if he keeps finding himself pulled back down into the muck. Peter Florick is nothing if not a fascinating character, and while I may not be ecstatic at the idea of a reunion between he and Alicia, I am certainly willing to be convinced.

This wasn't a stellar episode of The Good Wife, but it was a solid one. The case of the week had its fun moments, and all of our ongoing plotlines got some movement, or at least an ice cream cone with a novel flavor. If the show can continue to pull off its trademark mixture of procedural and serialized elements, season four should be a pleasure to behold.

Grade: B+

Notes:

-Edward Herrmann is always a lot of fun as Lionel Deerfield, a welcome addition to the show's stable of recurring adversaries. And the Harvard-obsessed judge was played by James Urbaniak. The character was a bit one-note, but it was a funny note, and Urbaniak played it well.

-"You gotta love the jury system."

-"King Lear's fool, that's me."
Tags: The Good Wife
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