“Another Ham Sandwich” S3 / E14
- A- Community Grade
Alicia’s signature on that forged document is still out there, and Wendy says she’s taking her evidence to the bar association. But it feels like we’re at the end of the big, fun Will bribery arc, with things ending in classic Good Wife style. Will and Kalinda pull off a daring double-cross that devastates Wendy’s case and puts Will one above a ham sandwich (in that the grand jury doesn’t indict him). Alicia gets to be all righteous fury and walk out of her testimony, leaving Wendy flapping in the wind. Best of all, we’re treated to what is universally the finest sight The Good Wife can give us: Will and Diane, dancing in triumph, the two baddest motherfuckers in town. Damn straight this episode gets an A.
There’s a lot to unpack here, but it was a very uncomplicated episode. There were two plots: the grand jury, where Wendy makes her big play against Will and comes up disastrously short; and a wacky B-plot where Eli butts heads with Stacie Hall (a returning Amy Sedaris) over representation of a GLAAD-type agency. If that wasn’t enough, Eli got to butt heads with David Lee as well and torment poor Caitlin, although she gets another chance to prove her worth.
I’m worried that the show is leaning a little too much on Eli to serve as comic relief by putting him in sillier plots, where he doesn’t need to be. Eli’s funny even if the situation is deadly serious, much like David Lee. Perhaps that’s why they’re such rivals. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed the Wisconsin cheese battles or the politician fellating a Santa statue. I’d just like him to get involved in the main plots a little bit more. But it looks like we’re in for more zaniness and more Stacie. That’s not a bad thing, as long as it doesn’t start to overwhelm the show.
Anyway, Stacie and Eli are jockeying to sign with GLAAD (it’s called GLAC, but whatever) to lobby Congress against the Defense of Marriage Act, and things quickly get hectic. Alicia is too busy to hang on Eli’s arm like the gay icon that she apparently (and plausibly) is, so Eli runs interference by playing a series of mind games with Stacie that ends up with them in bed together, which isn’t the worst twist. It means we get to see Eli sporting a floppier, more traditional Alan Cumming hairdo, and it also leads to the revelation that Stacie’s working on Eli’s ex-wife’s campaign. So we’ll have some more Sedaris in the future, this time partnered with Parker Posey, which I’m sure will be very intense.
Really, that whole plot is whipped cream on the mulled wine and brandy that was the main event, Will’s grand jury. As I predicted last episode, Kalinda had something up her sleeve when she gave Dana that file. She’s not gonna throw Will under the bus that easily, and the likelihood of Peter Florrick prosecuting his own wife over the forged document is pretty slim. Watching Will’s plan play out was just a blast, and what really made it work was that Will obviously wasn’t totally sure that it was going to work, since, as we are told many times (and have been told before; we already had an episode by this title), a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich.
Turns out the peanut oil case, which even Diane is momentarily alarmed by, was just bait tossed out by Will to distract Wendy from his real weakness, which I think we’re supposed to infer is Alicia. Who knows? Maybe Will’s done some other dark shit, but here, both he and Kalinda were trying to protect their lover/estranged buddy.
I was a little confused by how it all played out, because when Wendy gets foiled by Peter on the judge-bribing (turns out her killer e-mail evidence was sent to someone else and forged by Kalinda), she makes a last-gasp effort by summoning Alicia to the stand. So really, Will’s efforts to protect Alicia almost fail, although her testimony on the record about being in a sexual relationship is sealed because no indictment ever happens. Still, he came awful close there to a nasty bit of scandal.
Wendy’s move is even more illogical, though. I guess she’s trying to undercut Will’s credibility, but it’s obvious that she’s questioning Alicia out of malice more than anything else, and she earns both Cary and Peter’s scorn. Wendy has never been an entirely successful character, since she’s so poker-faced. Her motivations have always been dubious. She was presented pretty much as a saint in season two, with Eli repeatedly failing to paint her as a villain, but in season three, she’s been much more vicious. I guess you could argue that she was influenced by her loss to Peter, but I wish we could have gotten into her head a little more.
That didn’t make her defeat any less juicy and satisfying to watch. Everyone’s performance on the stand was great. Diane was super-chill and pointed out that she doesn’t like basketball. Will was sub-zero cool and that moment when he produced the emails was extremely baller. Alicia was best of all, of course, stalking out of the courtroom mid-testimony with the cred she knew she had. “You’re out of control,” she whispers to Wendy, then scoffs, “So arrest me” when she’s threatened with being in contempt of court.
Where does this leave us? Will is safe, and since he’s not sleeping with Alicia, he’s free to do whatever he wants. Alicia doesn’t tell her kids or Peter about her relationship with Will, but she comes close. In Peter’s case, she knocks him down when he says she’s manipulating the truth like a pro (“Well, you would know about pros!”), and when it comes to the kids, she offers to take them on vacation because she’s been a bad mom.
Alicia and Kalinda are obviously on the road to friendship; I’m worried about that cold glance she shot to Cary, but the two being buddies was more of a stretch, I suppose. Finally, Peter definitively says that part of the reason he went after Will was because Alicia was sleeping with him. He’s trying to be a better man, but he ain’t there yet. Still, his takedown of Wendy was also pretty epic.
I don’t know what the arc of the final episodes would be, since so much has been resolved, but I’d love to see something that ties Eli back into the firm’s business. Plus, I want to see Will and Diane working together again. I kinda just want everyone to team up and be awesome. Based on this episode, I think that’s not a far-fetched dream.
- Diane–master of the sardonic remark. “Oddly, it was because I didn’t play basketball.”
- Will was right behind her, though. “I think kids in Uganda should be immunized.”
- Eli did get the best, flirtiest line of the night in his takedown of Sun Tzu. “The only problem is that he never fought the Jews. We’re Masada, baby.”
- Stacie says “fish” a lot—she’s trying not to swear.
- The kids in their private school uniforms looked like they’d walked in off the Harry Potter set.