Divided Attention on The Good Wife

13 Jan

For the first few episodes of The Good Wife this season Eli spent most of his energy convincing Alicia she would be the ideal State’s Attorney candidate. A few things pushed Alicia into this campaign with Castro provoking her and Gloria Steinem’s words of encouragement hitting the ego sweet spot. Now we are fully into the campaign and Alicia shared the stage with opponent Frank Prady to debate the issues and sell themselves to the voters. Alicia took her time to get there but “The Debate” goes all in with how much Alicia wants to win. She really wants it and she will challenge you if you question why.

The Good WifeUp to this point there has been very little to suggest Alicia’s partners are unhappy with her absence and the main focus has been on Cary’s trial. Now Cary has been exonerated it is back to business as usual for the firm, but Alicia is still running for State’s Attorney. The Good Wife is generally very good at handling an array of storylines with ripped from the headlines moments weaving into the overall narrative; however on this occasion the writers appear to have attempted too much. There’s the debate followed by the free flowing kitchen version, which addressed the position of privilege of the two candidates but still fell short. Peter is meanwhile dealing with a Ferguson like incident (a disclaimer at the start tells us this episode was written/filmed prior to the real life grand jury decisions in both the Ferguson and Staten Island cases) while also finally zipping up his pants. This latter gesture still does not endear him to me and it makes me feel uneasy seeing Peter as some kind of hero in all of this when the politics are the concern.

There are a lot of huh moments this week and some of this stems from the Neil Gross divorce settlement, which I thought had already been sorted. Apparently not and through a series of events he ends up having to pay his ex-wife $60 million more than he wanted. So he fires his lawyers. This is where the absence of Alicia comes into play and this is not the first time Eli has insisted she doesn’t take calls. Alicia tends to ignore Eli on this one but her focus is divided and this is why incidents such as the Cary slip last week occur. It is also why big decisions get made while she is out of contact. In the same way Alicia went over Cary’s head to get Diane on board, so now are Cary and Diane doing the same to Alicia.

Cary and Diane have at times had a contentious relationship, however it is also important to remember how close the pair has been in the past and this bond will no doubt have grown as they have recently been working in close tandem. It is only natural for Alicia to feel out in the cold and this is emphasized in the final scene of the episode. The argument itself comes out of nowhere and it would have felt more organic if Diane and Cary had aired any negative feeling about the SA race prior to this moment. Also Alicia coming at Diane with the ‘If I were a man you would never ask me that’ comeback feels like a weird way to tackle the “Why are you still running?” question. In this moment I am very much with Diane when she argues that this is “about two people trying to run a law firm. It has nothing to do with sexism.” It is an ugly scene because the past few weeks have been about the three of them sharing hugs and tears while fighting for Cary’s freedom and just like that it is gone.

The head tilt of ‘well why?’ from Cary causes Alicia to turn and leave, but she’s been debating all day and this arguing frame of mind causes her to go back for more. While this “how dare you” rage works when being questioned about Peter’s inability to keep it in his pants and of course she’s going to be pissed off that they’ve hired David Lee without consulting her, Alicia also has to understand that she has to pick a lane and the firm is not her priority at the moment.

We go into the hiatus with a distracted and isolated Alicia as she’s not really listening to anything Johnny is saying and instead her focus is on the two people in the office opposite her as they work on things she has no involvement in. Ending on such a moment of disharmony in an episode that comes across as so disjointed gives me unsettled feelings; as this is The Good Wife and they love to throw curve balls it is hard to picture exactly what the working environment will look like when the show returns.

8 Responses to “Divided Attention on The Good Wife”

  1. Cathy January 13, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

    The last scenes in this episode felt like they were changed at the last minute. It is as if the show got word that someone is leaving, the show was not going to be renewed or something unexpected, so they decided the firm would hire David Lee and to create a sudden tiff between Alicia and her partners. The sexism comment was odd, and the whole scene felt off.

    Also, it appears that Diane and Cary understood why Alicia decided to run. Although those reasons are not gone, would they really expect her to just drop out? Is that realistic?


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