19
Nov
2012
The Good Wife: Season 4, Episode 8
Here Comes the Judge
Jordan
Here Comes the Judge had some problems. A piece setting episode that didn't seem to have any pieces to set, a lot of its plotlines stalled out for the entire run-time, allowing a case of the week the writers tried to make interesting by complicating to float aimlessly at the center of an episode where a lot of people did some things, and none of those things seemed to matter all that much. This wasn't an awful episode of The Good Wife, just a largely pointless one, and one of the episodes that has frustrated me more the more I've thought about it.

Let's start, as we inevitably must, with When Nick Met Kalinda and shat all over the middle of The Good Wife, where this week, Nick is...jealous of Cary, I guess? It seems like he and Kalinda are entirely back together at this point, which is fine, I guess, so long as I never have to lay eyes on him again, but the show isn't satisfied with that. Instead, Nick must immediately become paranoid that Cary and Kalinda have a thing, apropos of nothing. Though Cary has openly had a thing for Kalinda before, that doesn't even come up tonight. Nick just sees Kalinda talking to Cary and becomes so randomly furious that he resorts to having his own lawyer beaten, perhaps the nadir for the character's being pointlessly ludicrous. Also, the big redial scene, when Nick reaches Cary even though Kalinda was talking to Alicia, was flat-out infuriating. He knows the two share an office, and he's supposed to be some sort of criminal mastermind, right? Or is he just kind of a thug? But if so, then why is badass Kalinda so afraid of him? Is he some sort of sexual hypnotist? You know what? I just don't care. Really. Nick could be a real life Jedi who rides a dragon to fight terrorists by night and performs magic for kids with cancer by day, and I would still wish he would be gone. I know the writers have announced they know the story isn't working and are wrapping it up, but I hope that happens sooner rather than later, because this has stopped being annoying at this point and started being pointlessly infuriating. I don't like feeling goaded into anger by my television shows, and this feels too much like The Good Wife playing chicken with my patience, and at the moment, it is winning.

Then there is the Grace storyline, where the littlest Florrick has a new tingly feeling for a bad boy. I will freely admit I have always found it difficult to care about plots surrounding the Florrick children, but this one is especially bad. Grace falls for Connor a "bad boy" (we know because he smokes and cuts class, like every stereotype of a high school rebel ever) whose ex-girlfriend, also named Grace, just killed herself. The show bends over backwards to symbolically link the two--dead Grace drank, did drugs, had sex and cut herself (sidebar: How has Alicia never heard of cutting?). Our Grace isn't too drawn in to his "bad boy" habits yet, but I imagine this will be a story for a little bit, and I am none too excited to watch it play out. I bet Grace gets mad at Alicia for not understanding four to seven times before we move on from this and onto more interesting ground.

Zach has been secretly working for his Dad's campaign, and is really good with computers! See, because he's a kid, and kids are into the technology, what with the tweets and the interwebs. The Good Wife's efforts to incorporate technology are often awkward, but this sort of comes out of nowhere and sort of makes no sense. It isn't clear what Zach does, but it makes IT run so much smoother the campaign cannot survive without him, which unless the show really didn't mean IT, or unless EVERY computer on the campaign breaks four times a day, is a little strange. But let's just pretend Zach was doing internet fundraising, and that he is so essential that Eli, the campaign manager, has nothing better to do than spend an entire day manipulating Alicia to get Zach back to work. Even if that was the case, this is a boring development, and the episode spends far too much time on it.

Then there's the case of the week, which the show attempts to give stakes by claiming it will get the firm out of bankruptcy, in perhaps the most ludicrous development in an episode where Nick has Cary beaten for literally existing. I understand the client (does she even have a name?) inherited her husband's vast wealth when he was killed, but unless she agreed to pay them in the neighborhood of $40 million to get her acquitted (a rate that would guarantee both Will and Diane were disbarred), this single case won't save the firm. Even if she has pledged to bring all of her husband's business to the firm (business we are told nothing about), this single case is unlikely to save the firm, and the implication that it will makes the whole story feel falsely inflated.

The case quickly comes down to a hearing to get the judge (Judd Hirsch) to recuse himself after he drunkenly tells Will the client is guilty and Will is a "disbarred attorney." The hearing itself is interesting, but Hirsch is too much of a mustache twirler from the start, which makes it difficult to feel too bad when his name gets dragged through the mud for a chance at the firm's victory. This could easily have been a great episode about the ethical boundaries in play at Lockhart Gardner and how far its attorneys are willing to go to win, but instead, it mostly becomes about how they win. The show keeps throwing in twists that feel like useless padding. First, Will fails to track down the woman with the judge at the bar, even though it is clear the case would be stronger with her there from the start. Then Cary is forced to ruin a relationship with a law clerk friend by subpoenaing him to testify against his boss, an Kalinda brings in a woman who goes to AA with the judge. Kurt Fuller's Judge Dunaway returns to look disapproving, and Amanda Peet is across the aisle to be disappointed, but because Hirsch is so transparently biased from the first, its hard not to be behind our guys from the get go. It was the best part of a bad episode, but looking at the detritus floating around it, that really isn't saying much. Do better next week, The Good Wife. Please.

Grade: C

Notes:

-"Everybody has a choice. Everybody."

-Nice call back to the ChumHum "Did you mean 'Will Gardner Disbarred Lawyer?'" result.

-"You go nuclear, don't leave missiles in your silo."

-"Want me to get a number for you?" Will and Kalinda scenes will always be awesome, so long as they remain platonic.
Tags: The Good Wife
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