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Sucking it Up on The Good Wife

20 Oct

From Scorned Wife to State’s Attorney Candidate! The political press has been gifted a great fairy tale of sorts with Alicia’s announcement and it is not surprising to see direct callbacks to The Good Wife’s pilot this week; the media use the shot of Alicia standing by her man at the prostitute confession press conference to frame this narrative and the audience revisits the corridor of confrontation where Alicia slapped Peter in the very first episode and it acts as a Peter/Alicia showdown location once again.

This is a strong visual parallel and “Shiny Objects” is primarily concerned with the idea of compromise and while we’ve seen Alicia make a lot of sacrifices for Peter in the past, she’s no longer the meek looking woman standing beside him when he needs her to be the ‘good wife.’ If a relationship is all about the give and take, then Alicia is using this moment to show Peter how serious she was when she said their facade of a marriage would benefit them both.

The Good Wife 6.05 news coverageSince Will’s death Alicia has questioned her role in the legal world, wondering if she made a mistake becoming a lawyer and this crisis of faith (the faith being the law) was completely understandable given the personal trauma. A new fire has been lit inside her and despite all of Alicia’s persistent remarks that she wasn’t going to run, it was very clear from the first episode of season 6 that Alicia would enter the SA race. Flattery is a big part of her decision and who wouldn’t want to run after multiple people (including personal heroes) have said how good she would be. On this stage Alicia is the shiny object and Peter is the one dishing out all the compliments and no matter how much disdain she has for him earlier in the episode, Alicia can’t hide how much pleasure she derives from Peter showing up like a hero at the crucial moment.

Peter might come across as the good husband at the end of the episode, but it is only after he has acted like a spoiled brat not wanting to share the stage with a dude who he thinks Alicia is sleeping with. It’s all about pride of course and during this argument Peter isn’t willing to concede. Instead he resorts to pathetic innuendos when Alicia tells him to suck it up, suggesting this is what Alicia has been doing with Finn. No, nothing has happened between this pair beyond so much flirty banter on the phone and in bars (just kiss already please). Alicia is the one with the power in her personal relationship with Peter as she laid out the rules of their marriage and there has been no wiggle room for reconciliation; these are Alicia’s terms and she’s not letting him get close again. This is until he swoops in to offer his endorsement after Finn has delivered his; this is quite the master manipulation moment and I wonder if this action will open Alicia up to a more cordial and receptive relationship with her husband.

The marriage for show arrangement to help both their careers is going to get more difficult as the spotlight will be firmly back on their every move and they might have to spend more time together to sell the whole power couple thing to the public. Alicia brought up the prostitute scandal to emphasize why Peter was out of turn for objecting to Finn’s involvement and considering the location of the argument (the same corridor from the slap in the pilot) it isn’t surprising that Alicia’s mind went there. Plus it is her trump card in any given situation considering she “stood by you like a grinning fool” – sidenote there is no grinning on display when Alicia stood by his side 5 years ago – and he really does owe her for this. Peter tells her to “Let it go” (cue singing) and is he justified in this response?

Eli and Johnny are both concerned that if Peter is on stage when Alicia makes her speech it will recreate the scandal photo and Peter knowingly stays on stage despite this strong visual reminder. It looks like he is making a sacrifice for Alicia by doing this, but to me this is all about creating an image of humility and it also removes any kind of spotlight that might have been on Finn. Alicia tells Peter that Finn is sticking his neck out with his standing in the SA office and if he is indeed jeopardizing his already wobbly relationship with Castro then Peter is making sure Finn is doing it for no plaudits whatsoever. Finn claims he isn’t sacrificing anything when Alicia tries to bump him from saying a few words by using concern for his job when Peter is the actual reason. The scene in the bar points to a couple of things; it is another case of flattery convincing Alicia as his words prompt her defiance in the face of Peter’s petty objection and Finn is rather attuned to Alicia’s moods as he can tell she’s not giving him the real reason. This is something we have seen time and time again with this pairing (including earlier on the phone in this episode) and there’s a real sense of compatibility here beyond the crackling chemistry.

Other than the positioning of which side they are standing on the two photos from the scandal press conference to the endorsement couldn’t be more different and it is perfect fodder for the MSM (oh Eli). Alicia hasn’t worn red for quite some time now and it is significant that she chooses her power color in this moment. It projects strength and it is the polar opposite of her ‘wife of a politician’ houndstooth suit and pearls; there is no way she would wear something like the 2009 suit now (in my head she had a burning ritual of all her ‘good wife’ outfits, or at least gave them away). The 2009 shot shows a washed out, meek woman standing by her husband in this humiliating moment. Today she is standing strong, her hair looks fantastic and her husband is the one at her side and he is beaming with pride. Alicia is in command and she made this happen by not taking any of Peter’s macho BS earlier in the episode while pointing out how this works in his favor too. Peter’s pride is a big factor in his earlier ranting and rather than back down from her position, Alicia makes him see how his bullish behavior isn’t going to work and the compromise is going to work for him if he will let it.

There are other sacrifices made this week and after Diane clicks on a link that makes her look pretty naive it takes her back to her former firm and the position of asking David Lee for help. It’s not something Diane is all too happy about and she approaches her old office tentatively, before returning to a power walk when she is in view of her old office and David Lee’s new one. Diane’s return to her former workplace attire as is still Diane Lockhart levels of chic, but the Akris houndstooth coat is relatively understated.

The Good Wife 6.05 DianeParticularly when compared to the bold leopard jacquard Escada coat and chain statement necklace outfit she wore when she finished her last day at the firm. Same killer red lip color. Diane stalking the corridors of LG (or whatever its name is now) is always a joy to behold as she moves with such grace even when she is out of her comfort zone.

The Good Wife 6.02 DianeDiane has a pretty shitty week and the romanticism of a start-up firm is trumped by the less than perfect surroundings that she has become accustomed to and the cockroach in her drawer is the final straw. Diane reveals what David Lee told her about the LG lease that is still in her name and while he tried to use it to gain the upper hand he has given Diane the leverage to move her new firm back to the old one. To me this feels like regression and I can’t imagine Cary will be on board with this plan even if it does fuck over David Lee and Louis Canning. There are so many memories attached to their old offices and this power play could disrupt the already precarious workplace politics.

Meanwhile Kalinda continues to do what Kalinda does and use all of her sources to get the job done and this means no personal sharing even after the most intimate of acts. Kalinda has strong boundaries and she could end up pushing everyone away if she doesn’t learn to open up to those closest to her. Now that it has been announced that Archie Panjabi will exit by the end of the year I hope they will build upon these trust issues beyond just the rotation of former lovers in positions of power.

Returning to Alicia and the new phase this character is entering as we have already seen how much this decision has impacted those closest to her by essentially alienating her son and brother. Pushing people away is something Alicia is very good at as a form of self-protection – and it’s something she shares with Kalinda – and this campaign will test the limits of those closest to her.

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One Response to “Sucking it Up on The Good Wife”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Struggle is Politics: The Good Wife and Compromise | TV Ate My Wardrobe - October 27, 2014

    […] cared about who Alicia Florrick is. Now there is a new update to the Alicia Florrick story and the media went crazy for the next chapter in Alicia’s life as she takes a leap from lawyer to political […]

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