Saint Alicia is learning to get her hands dirty while Cary is trying to get himself killed.
Let’s bitch it out…
Alicia (Julianna Margulies) is learning the hard way just how political campaigning can be. She’s been through oppo research and focus groups and she’s still trying to do things her way, but it’s quickly becoming clear that her light touch approach isn’t going to get the job done.
With Castro officially out of the race and Frank Prady (David Hyde Pierce) 5 points ahead, it’s time for voters to get the know more about Alicia…through an impersonal, overly constructed introductory video. From the opening scene with Elfman (Steven Pasquale) and Josh Mariner (David Krumholtz), the “king of slice and dice” in the editing room, ‘Sticky Moments’ introduces a recurring theme of constructing reality. A man with a nervous tic can be turned into a nodding supporter. An elderly woman’s impromptu hug can be turned into a photo op. And the shooting death of Will Gardiner can become an emotional hook that explains why Alicia has entered the States Attorney race.
The scenes with Johnny, Josh and “body woman” Mallory (Sarah Steele) debating the potency of Alicia’s sob story, her doubled wardrobe with Prady’s mother, and the effectiveness of the DINO attack ad on Prady feel like another reality. They take place in a grey room with no contact to the outside (read: real) world. Later in the episode, after Alicia responds emotionally to the shoebox full of oppo research and decides to film a joint interview with Peter (Chris Noth), we see the unhappy married pair framed by the box of the television lens. When Alicia is pissed off after confronting Peter about his new affair with his lawyer Ramona (Connie Nielsen), there’s a horror movie-esque image as the camera pushes in threateningly. In every instance, these campaign interactions are occurring in a cold, sterile, artificially constructed and framed world.
No wonder, then, that Alicia responds so favourably to Prady’s suggestion to avoid negative campaigning. They meet in the real world (her office, a park bench) and their conversations feel natural – two people agreeing not to beat the crap out of each other on the public stage. The problem, of course, is that it is incredibly unlikely that Prady is being genuine. The attack ad we see featuring Alicia in bed with Colin Sweeny and Lemond Bishop (Mike Colter) may have been released by Prady’s pact, but everyone knows that spin doctors are the ones driving the behind the scenes decisions and Prady’s are likely just as ruthless as Elfman and Mariner . The simple fact, as Alicia notes to Peter when she confronts him with pictures of Ramona, is that they want to win. And winning comes at all costs. The question is whether Alicia is truly prepared to play in this dirty sandbox.
And then there’s Cary (Matt Czuchry). I’ve been hot and cold with this storyline, but the decision to up the ante by revealing that Bishop may have put a hit out on Cary definitely jacks up the tension. While I seriously doubt that The Good Wife would kill off the de facto male lead of the show so soon after Josh Charles’ departure last season, but we do know that Bishop isn’t beyond intimidation and murder. The cat and mouse game with hiring a bodyguard is an alternative version of Alicia’s “sticky” situation: what do the optics look like to others? Can Cary afford to look worried in front of Bishop and risk turning perception into reality?
The fact that Cary’s issues are forcing Kalinda’s (Archie Panjabi) intimacy with Lana Delaney (Jill Flint) to the forefront could be interesting, but I’ll admit that I’m not overly invested in this relationship. Delaney remains more of a foil for Cary & Kalinda than a legitimate character, and the end of the episode suggests that her time on the show may be coming to an end soon now that her supervisor has discovered that she “leaked” the wire tap to Kalinda. Something tells me that it may be Delaney who ends up dead, especially now that Bishop knows he’s being listened to. If it gives Mike Colter more opportunities to play threatening/nice, I’m all for it, because that scene in the kitchen when he exposes just how vulnerable Cary is was exceptionally well done!
- Oof, that scene on the couch between Alicia and Finn (Matthew Goode)? Dynamic! Despite wanting the pair to hit the sheets for weeks, Alicia’s appearance in his office is so obviously a response to Peter’s latest bout of infidelity that I initially didn’t want this to be their first time. But the framing is so suggestively close, and the intimacy and sexual tension between them is so palpable! It’s soooo good…so of course they don’t get together. Dammit, Good Wife!
- Comparably I almost believe it when Peter tells Alicia that he isn’t sleeping with Ramona. Which only makes it that much worse when we later see him reassure Ramona by eating the lower half of her jaw. Ugh. Peter – you are the worst.
- Can we talk about how terrible the attack ads are? I mean, the Prady pact ad is vaguely South Park/Terrence and Phillip-esque in its crude, but kinda clever way. Alicia’s DINO ad, however, looks and feels extremely cheap. I can’t imagine that turd swaying anyone‘s vote.
- Love how terrifying Cary’s long walk to his apartment is. Proof of just how effective lighting, music and framing can be.
- At some point all of Kalinda’s flagrant violations of the 30 ft court order are going to have to come back and bite them in the ass, no?
- Finally, I imagine that Alicia’s joke about child services requiring her to be at home with the kids would be far more damaging than some of the other oppo research. Hope she burned those disastrous interview tapes.
- Cary (to Agent Harper, about Delaney): “Next time you try to get me to do this don’t use the girl who is sleeping with my girlfriend.”
- Alicia (inferring Ramona is having an affair with Peter): “Yeah, a lot of late nights.”
- Elfman (after Alicia loudly counts down during the interview): “Okay. That’s a little loud, but good.”
- Alicia (giving Peter a mouthful): “You want to be reelected. You want me to get elected. Then zip up your pants, shut your mouth and stop banging the help.” Holy hell I love it when Alicia gets fired up.
Your turn: do you think Alicia will survive this race with her ideals intact? Is there any chance that Prady is being genuine? Do Elfman and Mariner “get” Alicia at all? Is Cary a grade-A moron for risking his life to reassure Bishop? Is Delaney going to end up dead? And when will Kalinda’s violations get noticed by the court? Sound off below.
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm EST on CBS