Tag Archives: 7.06

Serving Up Doubt on The Good Wife

9 Nov

The Good Wife goes all in this week with Peter’s campaign, a case that brings the NSA back into Alicia’s life – and some familiar faces – and an interesting discussion on diversity over at Lockhart, Agos and Lee. Eli’s schemes go full steam ahead until he realizes that his smoking gun will have a devastating impact on not just Peter, but Alicia too and Alicia gets in her own way when it comes to Jason Crouse. Like I said there is a lot going on in “Lies” and this forward momentum is what this season needs. Every week has been a case of “that was fun” and this is a vast improvement on last year, but we were nearing the point where it seemed unclear if it could be something more than that.

For all of the problems that followed the incredible strong season 5 one thing The Good Wife has is a very deep well of storylines and talent to pull from. There is still the matter of the election rigging which gave Peter the governorship that died along with Will (*sob*) and Alicia’s own voting scandal is very much at the forefront of Eli’s plot to ruin Ruth. This week also sees the return of the NSA dudes who are as much into the tangled love life of Alicia Florrick as we are (even if they can’t remember Will’s name) and never did I think I would laugh this much at goat videos.

It isn’t just that they have the best and longest guest star list on any TV show at the moment (maybe ever) or that their ability to rip from the headlines is incredibly strong (okay there was that one blip), but that they can weave the two together so seamlessly. The world the Kings have created is so rich and layered, which makes watching it such a pleasure.* Especially when the plot moves forward like this.

*Okay sometimes they drop plot points and characters in ways that are frustrating and you know what I’m going to yell, right?! WHERE DID ROBYN GO? 

The Good Wife 7.06 Lucca and AliciaLet’s start with Alicia and Lucca; the case of the week is a gift from Canning and involves a tech firm – Running Milk – a wrongful termination and the NSA. Polygraphs are at the center of the firing and for all of Jason Crouse’s how to mess with a polygraph techniques (he did not opt for The Americans squeeze your anus Oleg advice) they come up short as the new test is being administered by a computer. It is impossible to use Jason’s inconclusive tactics with something automated as doubt is all about the emotional (as we will see with Eli later on).

There are a lot of small victories, followed immediately by hitting another brick wall and it is a tricky case because of the NSA involvement and what can and can’t be said in court. Also who can and can’t appear in court with Zach Woods making a return as Jeff Dellinger or the “poor man’s Edward Snowden.” Dellinger is living what he thinks is the covert and high life in Iceland, but he doesn’t realize the NSA are still listening in even with his list of precautions. Alicia under a blanket making this initial burner phone call did make me laugh a bunch.

The Good Wife 7.06 blanketThis gets them back on the Alicia Florrick phone tap and thanks to her innocuous use of the name Edward Snowden, this means they can listen into her conversations again. Hitting the big time now that Peter has thrown his hat fully into the presidential race. 

Alicia has some other work concerns and when the question of insurance comes up she reveals her Jason related worries to Lucca regarding the judge punching incident. What this amounts to is classic self sabotaging Alicia; this is the woman who in part started her own firm as a way to cure her dizzying and mind clouding Will Gardner feelings. There is an obvious spark between Alicia and Jason and this could get complicated for a number of reasons such as her husband is running for president, they work together and well he might be unhinged. But right now all I want is for Alicia Florrick to get laid as it has been far too long. No I am not counting Johnny from last year and yes I am still mad about Finn. Just look at his mugshot. Even that is oozing so much grufty rugged charisma.

The Good wife 7.06 mugshotBad timing is what came between Alicia and Will, but really this is the excuse Alicia could use with any prospective beau. And Peter is the obstacle causing this. Now he is running for president and suddenly Alicia is potentially locked in for even more bad timing with anyone who might come her way. Switching out a goblet of wine for homemade no frills margaritas is meant to be a sign of Alicia’s reliance in booze, a warning sign of her impending despair if you will, but hitting the strong stuff makes sense when you factor in what the campaign trail now means for her.

This is a loss of freedom and privacy, which she has been trying to claw back since the pilot because the media is definitely going to bring up every single scandal they have been involved in. They may want to conjure up images of the Obamas, but they are far more Kennedy no matter how many matching outfits they wear.

The Good Wife 7.06 side by sideEli’s got a big decision to make and he’s got everything in place to humiliate Ruth and Peter. The problem with his Frank Landau plan is Alicia will get caught right in the middle and he clearly cares about her well being. Alicia knows he has something cooking so if this rigging scandal does come to light she will know he is the source. When Eli is watching the press conference he leans in and catches a glimmer of Alicia’s true feelings through her ‘good wife’ super smiles up on that podium. Yes she is baking in the outdoor attire while inside a sweltering gym, but that look is one of sadness that she is going through this public spectacle for Peter. Is this enough of a sign for Eli to go all steam ahead with this plot or did he misread this brief look?

Meanwhile over at Lockhart, Agos and Lee they have new summer interns to consider and the messy work politics takes a new direction this week. Work place diversity is on the docket and Cary wants to hire three dudes who look like him. He is not thrilled when Diane mentions this similarity to which Diane passionately rebukes him with “A lot of things that aren’t fair are true.” David Lee is all about getting the best and by best he means those who have been to Ivy League schools and Diane wants to mix things up and hire Monica. Monica doesn’t meet Cary and David Lee’s criteria and the discussion turns to diversity. Diane wants to challenge the usual hiring process and while Howard is Team Monica he doesn’t actually get a say because he isn’t a named partner. Ultimately Diane can’t get the guys to compromise and so Monica gets a friendly and patronizing ‘thanks, but no thanks.’

The Good Wife 7.06 diversityWhile Diane did fight for Monica, she doesn’t come across in an entirely positive light as she also talks to Monica in a way that would suggest that because she is black and from Baltimore she must have grown up in a bad neighborhood. The struggles that Diane and the others place on her are a stereotype and Monica is not here for Diane’s ‘understanding or advice’ and what she needs is a job. Diane loves to play the mentor and we have seen this time and time again using her experiences and placing it onto someone else. Sometimes this works, but in this situation it smacks of condescension. It is unnecessary for Diane to call Monica in to give her the kiss off, but this is Diane’s way of showing that she is the good guy here and alleviating her guilt. Monica sees through this bleeding heart routine and while Diane clearly means well the way she has gone about it is misguided.

In terms of Diane’s costuming her signature chain necklaces tell their own story:

The Good Wife 7.06 Diane Chain OneGoing for small and not so intimidating for the interviews and initial candidate discussion. Plus a huge chain link necklace would be too much with this amazing patterned jacket.

The Good Wife 7.06 Diane double chainPulling out the big guns when she goes to bat for Monica. This is the ultimate statement even if it doesn’t work.

The Good Wife 7.06 Diane Chain ThreeAnd finally this is halfway between; it’s not so big that it clashes with her jacket, but it is also more of statement piece than the first one.

While I’m on the subject of costuming here are Lucca’s best looks this week.

The Good Wife 7.06 Alicia, Lucca and JasonBest look also extends to facial expressions and Cush Jumbo gave great awkward face in this scene followed by a hilarious exit.

The Good Wife 7.06 Alicia and LuccaThis jacket is also a fabulous addition to her already amazing costume roll call. They’ve established what a good dresser and smart lawyer Lucca is and now I really want to learn more about who Lucca is; we need some backstory please.

The pieces are moving and the conflict is building; I think it is more than fine to declare that this isn’t just a fun hot streak, but The Good Wife is hitting those pre-season 6 levels.

Mad Men Music Monday: “I Know, They’re Playing it all the Time”

19 May

Just like that, Mad Men takes what could be considered a really obvious and cliched song choice and turn it into a moment that near on had me sobbing. It’s on the nose and yet like any classic/overplayed track, there is a reason why it has been played so much. In this scene it becomes about these two people who fear they have nothing and despite how out of sync they have become, they circle back to each other.

One of my recent complaints about relationships between men and women on TV is there is rarely a middle ground for friendship and there is always temptation to turn it into a “will they/won’t they.” Regular readers of this blog will also know how much I enjoy this storytelling device, but there are limits and I’m glad Mad Men understands these parameters when it comes to Don and Peggy.

Mad Men 7.06 Don and PeggyPeggy is struggling with the Burger Chef pitch and part of this is down to Don’s return as she’s now questioning her work against the Don Draper standard. There has also been a push/pull between these characters since he has come back to SC&P and conflict has always existed between them; it has just been magnified this year. Peggy’s confidence has been shaken and she’s been slipping all season and the promise of the plaid power pantsuit we saw her wearing at the end of last season feels like a distant memory. What transpires between Peggy and Don while they brainstorm in the same location as “The Suitcase” is another version of this episode and those conversations. This time Don isn’t screaming “That’s what the money is for” and instead he is actually actively helping Peggy with her problem.

Mad Men 7.06 My WayParallels exist between Peggy and Don from the secrets they harbor to the way they are both searching for a connection and the really special episodes of Mad Men are when they connect with each other. Pete thinks the word ‘family’ is vague, but so is the concept they are replicating and Peggy asks Don “Does this family exist anymore?” when the real question is whether it ever existed in the first place. Age and specific years are mentioned in “The Strategy” with Don and Peggy mentioning 1955 (a great year for Don) and 1965 (a great year for Peggy) and we are reminded of the first point of major upheaval on Mad Men with a newspaper from November, 1963. Peggy mentions that she just turned 30 and she kept it a secret; this age signifies her lack of achievements, despite her professional success story. From personal experience, I had the “shit, I’m turning 30” tremors and I can’t even imagine what it would have been like in 1969 with a whole other list of expectations focusing on family.

With Joan, Bob sites her age (nearly 40) as a reason to settle with him but she’s still after true love, no matter how fanciful and ridiculous that sounds. Bob mentions that GM expect a certain kind of executive and he is looking at things through the heartbreaking reality of this era. They would be the perfect family, except it would all be a lie.

Mad Men 7.06 Dancing“I worry about a lot of things, but I don’t worry about you.”

Offering Peggy a handkerchief is a kind gesture, offering her a hand and a dance is so much more and it’s one of the most intimate moments this show has produced. Peggy rests her head on Don’s chest, he kisses the top of her head and I sit here and get teary about how illuminating this exchange is. Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm are electrifying in these scenes and this could easily be an Emmy submission episode for either actor. For every awful and self-pitying Don Draper action, this makes me forget it all and by reinforcing this relationship gives me a reason to cheer for a Don success story instead of last year’s figure of loathing. Another show might have gone in for a kiss, this is not that show.

Peggy and Don to sing “My Way” at a karaoke bar in 15 years time, please.

 

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