A middle of the road episode of The Good Wife brings back a fan favourite and slowly advances a few lingering storylines.
Let’s bitch it out…
‘Shiny Objects’ features the return of Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston), but unlike her previous appearances, for the first time we get insight into the way her mind works. It’s an inherently visual depiction: using a soundtrack piped in via earplugs, Elsbeth constructs her out of this world arguments via a scattered, distracted, reactionary collection of scenes and characters that bear a passing resemblance to children’s morning television. It’s both fascinating and revealing for the way it explains her unique methodology. Unfortunately the “Elsbeth showcase” only carries ‘Shiny Objects’ so far; the case of the week she’s deconstructing isn’t worthy of her talent. The case of a female CEO who has been fired for being a bitch is neither topical, nor revolutionary. In fact it doesn’t even offer the satisfaction of a resolution because before either side can rest their case, Josh Perotti (Kyle MacLachlan) swoops in and lays federal charges against JServe. There’s a suggestion that Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Dean (Taye Diggs) may revisit the case with Elsbeth and Rayna (Jill Hennessy) in the future, so perhaps the payoff is yet to come. For now, however, this feels a little lackluster.
More entertaining is the TrojanLock storyline. While I am extremely skeptical that Diane (Christine Baranski) would be so obtuse as to click the malware, the result proves to be a worthwhile story. Ransoming Florrick Agos Lockhart property propels a number of lingering plot threads, including a prominent role for Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) and a continuation of Diane’s rocky transition to the less than extravagant elements of the start-up.
The Kalinda stuff proves to be fairly routine: she investigates, uses her sexuality to open whatever doors she requires, and achieves her objectives by being a general badass. Considering the recent news that Panjabi is leaving the series at the end of the current season, it’s hard not to view these scenes, which have a been-there-done-that feel, as an argument for her departure.
The Diane scenes carry more promise. It’s difficult not to feel for her as she adapts to the less than charming aspects of the low-rent building, including the dripping pipe, the flickering light and the cockroaches. In comparison, you can practically feel the wealth and opulence in the newly remodeled Lockhart Gardiner (I particularly enjoyed the lingering point of view shots of the office space). It’s hardly surprising that Diane ultimately opts to renege on her agreement with David Lee (Zach Grenier) and pursue the high end office space. A chance to get back to the good life and stick it to David Lee and Louis Canning (an unseen Michael J. Fox)? Who wouldn’t jump at that?
- ‘Shiny Objects’ makes it tough to cheer on Kalinda’s behaviour: she’s perfectly comfortable trading sex for favours with Lana (Jill Flint), but the moment it turns personal, she breaks it off. One could argue that she’s doing it for Cary (Matt Czuchry), but for my money it’s simply another sign of her reluctance to forge personal connections. This is clearly evidenced by her automatic assumption that Lana would betray her in a fashion similar to those she uses.
- Side Note: it’ll be interesting to see if Cary continues to pursue Kalinda. He clearly has a sense, if not a full blown awareness, of her extracurricular activities with Lana after seeing them leave together. Of course, her “work” is the same as his “lunch” so maybe he won’t be too judgey.
- In Alicia campaign news: Finn (Matthew Goode) flirts/argues his way into endorsing her, despite protests from both Eli (Alan Cumming) and Peter (Chris Noth). This advances two storylines at once – 1) the potential romance between Alicia and Finn and 2) the grievances between Alicia and Peter come to a head. Their fantastic verbal confrontation finally gives both parties an opportunity to call the other out on the scandal, the adultery and the fibs. It’s quite the sight to behold, especially after these two have been so damn civil (read: fake) to each other for so long.
- I wholeheartedly admit that I didn’t care for the final scene because I hate the way that Alicia looks at Peter when he appears to introduce her from out of nowhere. The “before/after” pictures in the resulting press coverage are startling for revealing how far Alicia has come, but ultimately they still align her – politically, romantically and emotionally – with Peter. Boo.
- Finally, I did not care for Alicia’s black desk and giant bronze earrings – it looks like she’s going out to a fancy party, not arguing in court.
- Alicia (when Dean asks what Elsbeth will raise during questioning): “I can’t even begin to guess”
- Eli (surveying Florrick Agos Lockhart’s office): “Why are all of the computers counting down? I feel like I’m in a Bruckheimer movie.”
- Diane (calling David Lee’s bluff): “Go ahead, David, it’s a copy of an email.”
Your turn: was this a weaker episode of The Good Wife than previous outings? Were you happy to have more insight into Elsbeth’s unique way of processing the world? Do you want to see a continuation of the JServe case? Is Diane opening up a can of worms by pursuing the business with the lease? Did you salivate over the juiciness of the Peter/Alicia verbal spat? And what were your thoughts on the final scene at the press conference? Sound off below
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm EST on CBS