Fans of Cary (Matt Czuchry) must be loving this new season of The Good Wife as the young partner once again takes front and center stage.
Let’s bitch it out…
‘Dear God’ once again focuses on Cary’s continuing legal woes while also offering up a patented case of the week. Unfortunately the case of the week, involving rival farming neighbours looking to settle a seed dispute, is less engaging than usual, despite the expected Good Wife legal maneuverings and the joy of see familiar faces such as Christian Borle’s Carter Schmidt and Robert Sean Leonard’s Dell. Obviously there’s value in seeing how only Cary understands how to resolve his client Mr Pratt’s case, but overall the seed patent conflict feels more like a hollow excuse to have Alicia (Julianna Margulies) work with Dean (Taye Diggs) and awkwardly throw Grace (Makenzie Vega) some screen time.
Thankfully ‘Dear God’ has a great deal more to offer in the Cary bail developments. All of the scenes involving Cary’s pre-trial service officer Joy Grubick (Linda Lavin) are highly enjoyable. It doesn’t hurt that Lavin brings wit and levity to her small role as the decider of Cary’s fate. Each of the three interviews she conducts to evaluate his bond suitability reveals another side to the proceedings and the reactions – Cary’s bemused patronizing, Alicia’s frustrated condescension and Diane’s (Christine Baranski) guarded professionalism – very nearly spell disaster when Grubick is called upon to take the stand and pass judgment on Cary’s character (Side Note: I’m kind of surprised Cary doesn’t get more angry at Archie Panjabi’s Kalinda considering her thoughtless decision to warn Bishop’s CI nearly lands him back in jail).
One intriguing aspect of the episode is the introduction of brief flashbacks into each interview. It’s an incredibly effective way of parsing out information in a condensed amount of time, enabling us to learn about the continuing conflict surrounding the integration of the new partners into Florrick Agos, including Diane and Dean’s decision to personally help finance a dramatic sounding office expansion. It’s a clever structural device that catches us up on influential events without the need to dedicate substantial narrative time to them, making it both effective and practical. As it stands, these three interviews end up being the cornerstone of an otherwise okay episode that dedicates too much time to Alicia’s denials that she’s running for States Attorney (which has always been a bit of a foregone conclusion).
As it stands, there is still comedy to be mined from Alicia’s exasperation, even though this is now week three of the same kind of joke. Her denials come to a head on two different occasions: once comedically when she meets and is encouraged to run by Gloria Steinem (which feels oddly forced coming on the heels of last week‘s Valerie Jarrett cameo) and once dramatically when she finally goes toe to toe with Castro (Michael Cerveris). His admission that he thinks she’s running for the purpose of retribution for Will’s death is just one of many completely offensive statements he makes to her. It’s been obvious since the issue was introduced that it is just a matter of time until Alicia finally caves and submits to Eli’s (Alan Cumming) tactics and although Eli doesn’t exactly conjole her, it appears that by sparking enough conflict between Castro and Alicia (and Peter), Eli has produced the spark required to ignite Alicia’s anger. Now it’s time to see her run…
- Alicia acts far less kind this episode (perhaps because a great deal of the episode is positioned more from Cary’s point of view), but her interaction with Joy and her narcissistic ego-boosting visions of Steinem conflicts with the idea of Alicia that I have in my mind.
- I quite liked how Alicia and Cary remember the conversation about what Diane and Dean bring to the firm slightly differently. In each of their own minds, they are the more level-headed contributor to the conversation, which reinforces not only how they see the other, but how selective their memories are.
- Let’s talk about that Cary/Kalinda scene: hot or ick? My notes read “hello casual nudity!” so I guess I’m leaning towards the former? I honestly can’t tell.
- Alicia and Cary’s faces when Dell opens with a prayer = priceless.
- Joy (telling Cary to change his life): “I know it doesn’t sound like it, but this is just the way I talk.”
- Eli (chastising his assistant for announcing Alicia after she’s already in the office): “Thank you Nora, your precognitive ability is astounding.”
- Dell (when Alicia, Dean and Carter Schmidt quote scripture to him): “It’s good to see you’ve all become biblical scholars overnight.”
Your turn: did the case of the week feel lukewarm? Did you enjoy Lavin’s turn as Joy? Were you as taken as me by the flashbacks within the interviews? Are you happy that Alicia finally seems ready to embrace the race for States Attorney? Are is it dirty pool of Castro to reference Will? Sound off below
The Good Wife airs Sundays at ~9pm EST on CBS