“Here Comes The Judge” S4 / E8
- C+ Community Grade
It’s clear that The Good Wife is in a transitional moment in its fourth season, trying to move on from its most problematic season arc (Kalinda and Nick’s “romance”) while not really knowing what to do about another big one (the Governor’s race, which has become a dull distraction). Gardner/Lockhart’s financial struggles, such a dominant part of every episode so far, are suddenly on the brink of turnaround if the firm just wins one weird case. I don’t think this show is in some epic slide, but it’s obviously casting about for a new direction as the first third of season four wraps up, and that’s probably a good thing.
Easily the most jarring part of the episode was Diane and Will’s pronouncement that a lurid case of a rich husband who may have been offed by his cheating wife for the cash would be enough for the firm to buy back the 27th floor and get out of the red. Maybe this was just bluster to give the case some stakes, which it desperately needed, and we’ll have Clarke back next week tutting and secretly plotting to financially take the firm apart. But if not, then just what the hell is going on? Are the writers just bored of this bankruptcy plot, and want Will and Diane swigging whiskey and sitting pretty once again? If so, please try to build up to it a little more smoothly next time, folks.
One place where the show is obviously trying to wrap things up is the Kalinda/Nick love triangle. It’s a love triangle with whomever Kalinda is interacting with in any given episode, and this week, it’s poor Cary, whose friendly banter with Kalinda is observed through a window by a seething Nick, who then asks Cary if he’s gay and gets one of his heavies to beat down in a parking lot. As usual, everything involving this character is utterly absurd. His chat with Cary about Cary’s taste in suits had to be the worst pretend come-on of all time. Kalinda’s chat with Will about “jealousy” would have made more sense if she was talking about a relationship the audience had any stakes in. But at this point, we really do not.
Now, I’ll admit some of my swagger about this comes from reading interviews with Michelle and Robert King where they admit how badly this storyline has been received and acknowledge it’ll be shut down more quickly than planned. I can only presume that’s why Nick’s aggression towards Cary is so sudden and brutal. Until now, he’s mostly been worked up about Kalinda’s female companions, particularly the federal agent, which looked like it was going to get woven into a wider storyline.
But now Nick has noticed that Kalinda may have eyes for Cary too. Now, those two haven’t really gotten up to anything recently, but her smiling at him is enough for Nick to resort to assaulting his own lawyer, which even though he gets a proxy to do it for him, has to be one of the stupidest things he’s done on this show. And we’re talking about a character who basically cracked eggs on his wife’s boobs at one point. Anyway, Nick must be on the way out, and I just hope it gets wrapped up quickly, because this show has briefly given up on easing us into plot twists anyway.
I don’t have the same problem with the Governor’s race, which has at least given us some competent character development and a few interesting moments for Peter and Alicia. But I do think things are getting a little stale on this end too. Eli’s squawking and crisis management is necessary to keep things energetic, but he’s starting to feel a little incompetent. Peter’s dealing with variations of the same issues he dealt with in the State’s Attorney race—his infidelity, his wife and kids, whatever internet meme the writers can think of this week.
This is actually a Florrick kid-focused episode, with Grace finding herself strangely attracted to a handsome bad boy by the name of Connor whose ex-girlfriend, also called Grace, recently killed herself. The show hits home this symbolism as hard as possible—Grace, in her private school uniform, is such a good girl, and her deceased alter-ego was so very bad, having sex and doing drugs and cutting (a phenomenon Alicia is completely unfamiliar with). She’s not the same, of course, but she can’t help but be drawn in by Connor’s tractor beam of bad boy handsomeness, which is at least more interesting than her motivational Christian youth leader last year. Zach, meanwhile, has been helping at the Florrick campaign secretly, for some reason. That storyline makes a little less sense, but the overall point is that these kids are GROWING UP and Alicia has to DEAL WITH IT and sit on the couch with them silently like a bunch of grownups. The Good Wife is often heavy-handed when it comes to the Florrick kids, but even so, Grace’s material was pretty extreme.
There was also a case of the week surrounded by this nonsense, and a reasonably interesting one too, as Will and co. have to argue for a judge’s (Judd Hirsch) removal because he drunkenly alluded to bias against Will and his client in a bar one night. I liked the return of Kurt Fuller as Judge Dunaway, who’s never had much respect for Alicia or the rest of Lockhart/Gardner, but the stakes of this case were never really very high, and the whole thing seemed more geared to reminding us what cutthroat lawyers our heroes can be. They drag Hirsch through the mud to prove their point, bringing up his divorce and his alcoholism, and they win, but they win dirty, and Amanda Peet is there to look disapproving (though I like the idea of having her on the other side of the courtroom every so often). But because the audience is behind them every step of the way (Hirsch’s bias is clear to us), it never felt that harsh. Still the most compelling storyline of a weak episode, but this show can do better.
- Oh, the talk of tweeting in relation to the other Grace’s suicide was headache-inducing. Apparently she tweeted #YOLO at one point. YOLO indeed.
- Also, someone heard about her having an abortion. “Someone re-tweeted it.” Who? Horse_eBooks?
- Nice way, though, to bring back the ChumHum prank against Will, autocorrecting him as a disbarred lawyer.