Once again The Good Wife rips from the headlines. This time it’s the very timely religious freedom vs gay rights debate. Let the battle begin.
Let’s bitch it out…
Credit the fortune tellers working in The Good Wife‘s writing room for the cultural relevancy: they struck (timeliness) gold with ‘Loser Edit.’ As Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act makes waves and headlines across North America and the owners of Memories Pizza become extremely wealthy for voicing their opposition to catering a gay wedding no one asked them to, The Good Wife wades into the controversy with a think-tank/mock-trial that examines the pro and con arguments from top to bottom.
Now, I may have promised on FB to keep my personal political views to myself in this review, but as Diane (Christine Baranski) explains near the end of the episode, you can’t remove the personal element of the law…or this particular issue. It’s difficult to hear arguments that oppose your point of view when your stance is so firmly planted, so instead of debating the merits or weaknesses of any particular point of view, I’ll simply say that from my perspective ‘Loser Edit’ does a fair job at presenting both sides of the issue.
Watching Diane spar with RD’s (Oliver Platt) lawyers for the better part of an episode makes for a nice alternative to the case of the week format and highlights The Good Wife‘s dedication to exploring the law in a variety of facets. Still, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the writers and series creators the Kings anticipated that this would be a controversial / lightning rod topic and decided to use Platt’s recently introduced Conservative/Republican character to raise it. I’m curious to hear if anyone watching changed their mind (or encountered arguments that they were unaware of) as a result of the various arguments espoused.
The other A-plot explores the trickle down effect from Alicia’s (Julianna Margulies) election win with a puff piece news story featuring the return of nice/nasty reporter Petra Moritz (Lily Rabe). The story is fairly light weight until the hackers from last week provide Petra with some damning ammunition to make it salacious: emails between Alicia and Will concerning their affair. Suddenly Eli (Alan Cumming) and Josh (David Krumholtz) are involved, trying to do damage control and spin the story into an “office flirtation”, much to Alicia’s displeasure. It’s interesting that all it takes to bring Alicia around to the lie is a civil chat with Peter (Chris Noth) over wine (let’s not forget that we last saw the pair screaming at each other as he torpedoed the election and then played last minute saviour in 6×16 ‘Red Meat’). Of course, there’s always more going on than meets the eye whenever Alicia and Peter interact (up to and including suggestions of sex), so it’s no surprise that they have this effect on each other. Even though I really dislike Peter, it’s nice to see him play nice with Alicia long enough to undercut Petra’s take-down interview. Alas it opens up a whole new can of worms when Petra seeks revenge by suggesting election rigging in the closing scene.
Ah The Good Wife: never a dull moment.
- My favourite moment of Diane’s storyline occurs when she uses RD’s gay nephew, Tom Keppler (Smash‘s Wesley Taylor) to make the case more personal to him. Not only is this a savvy strategic tactic, but I’ve often wondered how many businesses/individuals actually know personally the people/groups that they oppose. Being able to make a personal connection can make a big difference in how people feel.
- Between Josh and Elfman cutting Alicia’s attack ads during the campaign and Petra’s use of still photos, editing and colour in her story, The Good Wife loves to take us into the editing bay to show us how easily the “story” can be manipulated.
- Good to see Looking‘s Frankie J. Alvarez as Petra’s editor, Steven Mund. I’m still in mourning for the show.
- The B plot is also potentially quite juicy. Tim Guinee returns as haggard father / investigator Andrew Wiley, who is investigating the Prima metadata email that got Cary (Matt Czuchry) off the hook in 6×11 ‘Hail Mary.’ Kalinda enlists Finn’s (Matthew Goode) help and after sussing out her role in the cover-up, he takes her on as a client. Unfortunately Finn and Kalinda are too late to get to Howell (Jason Babinsky) before he tries to spin a lie to Wiley, believing that he can fool the investigator with a yarn about fixing Kalinda’s parking tickets. The Good Wife loves to punish those who underestimate an underdog, so naturally Wiley sees right through the tall tale, advising Kalinda to come clean asap before the story comes out.
- Sidebar: Did we know that Geneva Pine was sleeping with Prima? Gossip!
- Sarah Steele’s Marissa (when Eli announces a two-pronged strategy session): “Oh I love the two-pronged attack. Even as a child I-” Love the father/daughter banter.
- Alicia (reminding Peter keeping her affair with Will quiet is in his interest, too): “And you. You’ll be the cuckold.”
- Alicia (refusing Peter’s sexual advances): “You’re like an 18 year old. You’re only interested in where you can stick it!”
Your turn: did you feel that both sides of the religious freedom vs gay rights case were advocated for? Did you hear any new arguments or change your mind? Were you surprised that Peter came to Alicia’s rescue? Are you at all enthused by the idea of election issues in the SA race? And how screwed is Kalinda? Sound off below.
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm EST on CBS