The Good Wife: “Two Girls, One Code”
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The Good Wife: “Two Girls, One Code”

Okay, I’m calling it. Three episodes into The Good Wife’s fourth season, I am officially done with Kalinda and Nick’s “marriage.” Whatever you want to call it. It’s time for this storyline to end. I’ve always thought that it’s worth giving anything on TV three episodes to prove itself, but I think the straw that broke the camel’s back this time was the scene where he demands she make him an omelet, which led to him cracking an egg in his hands and wiping it on her breasts. And then they drew knives on each other.

Just what the hell is going on? I understand that a key component of Kalinda’s character is how mysterious she is, but as they’ve done in the past (particularly with the Blake storyline), the writers have overplayed the mystery this time around. Why is Kalinda behaving this way around Nick? He seems to hold some crazy sexual power over her, but at the same time, she keeps reminding him that things have changed, and acts out by sleeping with Lana (her first appearance this season) and, well, punching him in the face when he calls her a dyke.

Who holds the balance of power here? Do they enjoy the whole fighting/fucking dynamic they have going on? But much more importantly: Why the hell should we care? This dumb shit is robbing us of awesome Kalinda, it’s choking up the show with its meaninglessness, and it’s also shown no sign of progressing for three episodes. If it doesn’t come to a head by next week, I’m going to Greenpoint and protesting at the studio in person. Just you wait! Marc Warren will be smearing eggs across my boobs before the day is done.

“Two Girls, One Code” was fine aside from Kalinda’s nonsense, but it did have a little too much fun with a tech storyline. These storylines always have that barely-restrained nerdy glee that can be difficult to take, and as usual, the writers make it difficult to find the tech world in which the storyline operates believable. So there’s ChumHum, the search engine/tech conglomerate headed by Neil Gross (John Benjamin Hickey) that’s obviously supposed to be a surrogate for Google. Yet at the same time, a case against Google is cited as case law. Much like the dual existence of Patrick Edelstein’s Facebook-esque company and Facebook, the whole thing comes off as extremely silly, especially since Gross’ evil company is called “ChumHum.”

There actually are not a lot of balls in the air, plot-wise, this week. The ChumHum case soaks up most of the show’s minutes, and it’s perfectly entertaining stuff, anchored by a wonderful new judge of the week, Judge Marx (played by Dominic Chianese), who looks like a batty deaf fool, but knows exactly what a search engine optimizer is, thank you very much. I’ll give The Good Wife credit—it takes a story about a search engine purposefully bumping down some voice recognition software company, and it makes it compelling. The legalese got very complicated this time around—struggling to avoid a subpoena, ChumHum claims its First Amendment rights, but Alicia and Will torpedo that by threatening to clog the witness stand with a million personal opinions by tech bloggers as part of the same rights. At least, I think that’s what happened. I’m not sure, really. Rita Wilson sure did get annoyed.

In any event, the whole thing is an audition for Gross, whom Will would like to poach as a client ever since he lost Edelstein. But Gross is having none of it, refusing to settle with the clients and instead hiring them, knowing that the firm gets nothing under that arrangement. Again, I think the show is a little over-confident about the audience’s interest in the fictional tech wars of its made-up companies, but as long as these storylines pop up two or three times a year, I’m okay with it.

I did enjoy the push and pull between Clarke and Diane where she finally understood that an uneasy alliance exists between them. Since we’ve too-often had the storyline of an interloper entering the firm and looking to sabotage everything about it, I much prefer seeing Clarke as a friendly, if persnickety, presence. My only big complaint about the legal stuff this season—not enough Cary. Where are you, Cary? We all miss you.

The other big component this week was a magazine threatening to blow a big story on Peter having an affair with a campaign worker (that turns out to be bogus). The revelation that Peter did nothing wrong is enough to nudge Alicia to make out with him, which is certainly where everything had been pointing thus far. Nothing wrong with that.

But the construction of this plot is very strange. The magazine initially seems to be poking at Will’s life, and Eli becomes convinced that they have something on Alicia sleeping with Will. Alan Cumming does his best work of the season confronting Alicia about it, something he clearly has no desire to do. Alicia is understandably frightened about the newest publicity bomb that could go off all over her life, but then it’s all swept under the rug—turns out the magazine was looking into Peter. Then why any interest in Will at all? I assume there’ll be more of this to come in future weeks; otherwise, the whole thing was a seriously silly red herring.

Anyway, I don’t want my somewhat negative grades misinterpreted. This show is still the same old Good Wife. We just need a few changes to really get things back on course. Particularly in one area. Come on, guys. Let’s get Nick out of the picture and Kalinda back on the job full-time.

Stray observations:

  • Kalinda and Peter have to rub shoulders in the campaign bus briefly. Awkward.
  • Will’s crusade against Gross gets him screwed on ChumHum: When he searches for his name, he gets the result, “Did you mean Will Gardner disbarred lawyer?”

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