With all this upheaval and the turf wars between Lockhart/Gardner and Florrick/Agos, The Good Wife has put its challenging, politically topical cases of the week on the back-burner for the last three episodes. NO LONGER. We’re back to normal, or as normal as normal can be, and so far, The Good Wife is showing that it can continue to spin its many narratives even as it adds a new firm to the mix. We flit between the two firms, the Governor’s office, and a related Eli plot with ease this week, and we learn about how awful this country can be in dealing with undocumented immigrants. This show likes to show off, and it’s always at its best when it does.
The case of the week really was a fascinating one. I had no idea (not that I think/know enough about this stuff) that the federal government pressures undocumented immigrants into testifying against criminals in exchange for visas. I definitely didn’t know that Immigration routinely screws up the identities of said immigrants who have the same names, not having a social security number to distinguish things. Given how fucked things appear to be in this episode, it was almost ludicrous that Alicia and co. achieved their goal of rescuing an informant in 12 hours before he stepped off a bus into Mexico, but as usual, the case was well-illustrated and detailed, enough for me to buy it.
The immigration case brought the return of Natalie Flores (America Ferrera) who had a three-episode arc way back in the second season as an intern Eli Gold showed an interest in. She’s back working for a do-gooder organization that can send Florrick/Agos money and clients, but more importantly, she’s back as a love interest for Eli Gold, who finally seals the deal and embarks on something with her at the end of the episode.
Pairing Ferrera, who is 29, with Alan Cumming, who is 48, has always felt like a peculiar decision, but Eli Gold is a peculiar man, who usually spends his weeks looking nervous or annoyed about something Peter has done, so it was good for him to have something else to do. His overture to Natalie was blunt, simple and effective. After explaining he lies to everyone for a living, he says, “Lying to you gave me a stomachache. So.” So, indeed. Make out!
Florrick/Agos also finally moved into new office space this week, an underground former t-shirt factory with shades of the dingy basement of the first season of The Wire. I like it. It would have been dull to watch them move into offices with a similar mahogany fishbowl vibe as Lockhart/Gardner. Instead, they can be cool and cutting edge and come off like a startup. We’re still very much in startup, living on the edge mode (the mean lawyer who complains about the bonuses seems ready to jump ship back to Lockhart/Gardner). But this episode marked the firm’s very first new client. They’re on their way to normalcy.
The show is still wrestling with screen time issues, though. Kalinda is simply not going to be around as much under this new configuration. There isn’t the time to devote to her. Sure, she has one powerful scene where she tells Robyn to go out there and make herself indispensible, but that is not enough Kalinda for me. Please figure this out, writers. This character has essentially been fading off the screen since her horrible husband subplot.
The idea that the new firm would fire Robyn was silly (why would they fire their only investigator? They need an investigator!), but giving Robyn a showcase is wise, and Jess Weixler is up to the challenge. Now, the question before us is, does Robyn make the right call by planting fake evidence outside the family’s house? That strikes me as a massive federal crime. But you gotta do what you gotta do, right? Right? Robyn has always been a bit sloppy, and a bit of a loose cannon, which could hurt Florrick/Agos’ chances in the long term.
This was a great, compelling episode. A couple of complaints to round us off, though. One: Melissa George has got to go. Why she’s playing everything so breathily is beyond me, but making her pregnant has not made her character any more interesting. There’s no way this person would wield this much influence in a new Governor’s administration. It’s stretching credulity, but more importantly, it’s boring, and I want to be rid of it. And her.
Two, Will’s girlfriend Isabel, who has gotten wind of Alicia and is asking questions. Unfortunately, David Lee talks to her this week, which means she’s real and not a figment of Will’s imagination/a robot. This is unfortunate since it means this character is no longer interesting. Even though she delivers the line “I’m made of chocolate.” Note: if she were actually made of chocolate, I might be interested in her, but she’s not.
- Lockhart/Gardner has expanded to New York and is now called LG, even though that is the company that made my TV.
- Howard Lyman continues to cause trouble. Weren’t they going to remove him? What do they need him around for anymore? Except to be funny, which he is.
- James LeGros was a wonderful judge of the week, I wish we could see him again. The show cutting him off in the middle of a Bob Dylan lyric was a masterstroke.