Tag Archives: 7.07

Degrees of Caring on The Good Wife

16 Nov

Alicia Florrick has got her groove back and her DGAF attitude is aided by how well she knows the political game. The line between public and private life was shattered long ago when she stood behind Peter during THAT press conference and everything since has been a navigation of this moment. Now Peter is running for president there is a renewed and deeper level of scrutiny of their relationship including their living arrangement – thanks Vice – but there are ways of pretending. In the past Alicia would have been frustrated by this turn of events; now she is the embodiment of a shoulder shrug even though her apartment has been taken over by Peter’s campaign.

Her home life isn’t the only thing being invaded by faces from the past and the case of the week sees a return to Lockhart, Agos (and Lee). Louis Canning is the opposing council and he is the one who sent the client to Alicia making this a threeway of sorts with a whole lot of history. Alicia doesn’t let this fluster her and it isn’t like the time she returned to the office after her last split from the firm (cue memories of Will and all the sadness). There are no bad feelings on Alicia’s end even if Diane recently visited her apartment and accused her of sabotage. In fact Alicia has fun with this case and doesn’t go easy on either side much to the chagrin/amusement of the opposing counsel.

The Good Wife 7.07 Alicia and LuccaIt is Lucca Quinn’s first trip to Alicia’s old stomping ground and she envisions Alicia as the “Queen Bee Bitch” and rather than taking offense to this, Alicia laughs at this notion remarking that she is a “much calmer person now.” I’m not sure I would call Alicia a “Queen Bee Bitch” and to borrow a phrase from Donna on Parks and Recreation she is more often a Boss Bitch over a Bitch Boss.

The look on Cary and Diane’s face when Alicia walks into the deposition is priceless; almost as spectacular as Diane’s colorful jacket and gold necklace combo.

The Good Wife 7.07 Cary and DianeWhat they are up against is a confident Alicia and part of this comes from a renewed sense of control now she is her own boss once again. Yes she is getting clients courtesy of Louis Canning, but she isn’t letting this sway how she proceeds with a case and she goes just as hard against Canning as she ever has. These are no longer the things that fluster her and she’s over caring about her old firm. In a way I do wish there had been some interactions between Alicia and Diane/Cary outside of the deposition because I am always here for those and yet it was probably more effective having her come in and leave in a purely professional capacity.

There is an edginess to her costuming this week and I appreciate that she was already in the leather accented ensemble before she got the case. She didn’t just pick this because she was returning to her old workplace and it also works incredibly well for all the eye rolls and exasperated facial expressions at Eli’s campaign calls.

The Good Wife 7.07 Alicia FlorrickYou know what it also works for? Homemade margarita infused contract signings. The Alicia/Jason relationship edges toward something more and Alicia’s desire to talk is clearly a desire to do something else. And I’m not just talking tacos (her reaction to them being in date was almost as good as her uncontrollable laughter when Jackie announces her engagement to Howard). Alicia loses the jacket and the leather sheath Narciso Rodriguez dress is the perfect seduction outfit.

The Good Wife 7.07 Alicia and JasonThis is classic Alicia when it comes to a guy that isn’t Peter as she tiptoes around the inevitable. We saw it on many occasions with Will where things almost happened and even if they did she had a habit of finding a reason to stop (okay still being married is a good reason I guess). She didn’t even go beyond a chaste hand touching moment with Finn and there was plenty of opportunity for that to move from flirty drinks to more. Johnny happened but that was a snoozer. And now we have Jason.

This week the cockblock comes courtesy of Vice and their comments about Alicia and Peter’s living situation. Cue an extended stay from Peter and a taco party interruption. Alicia’s DGAF attitude extends to this arrangement and after a particularly good cross she propositions her husband. Peter is also feeling pretty fucking great as he’s just secured a $1 million donation and this is an ideal time for no strings sex. When Alicia and Peter have hooked up in the past it has sometimes been in reaction to outward influences such as parents or Alicia denying her Will feelings; this time it is simply a case of feeling horny and Peter is the uncomplicated choice. There’s no awkward fumbling and they pretty much get down to it in a very matter of fact way. It is notable that it happens in the spare room and not Alicia’s bed further adding to this not caring attitude. If it was in her bed it would mean something.

Alicia also wields her power by getting Peter to not pick up his phone. Yes there might be another $1 million donation on the other end, but a moment like this is fleeting. Post hook up it is pretty chill even with Eli banging on the door and she points out that she was the one who initiated it saying that it is always sexier not to care and that sex is sexier without love. I’m not sure Alicia actually believes the latter because Will, but I think she wants to believe and does so in this moment. She is very good at protecting her heart. And also this reaction to Eli’s judgmental face is my favorite.

The Good Wife 7.07 Alicia bed headLater on when Eli tries to get a rise out of her she tells him that the old Alicia would have been bothered, but not now as the “new me just doesn’t care.” Control plays an important role in this change of attitude; “Bad things happen or they don’t. But there’s just too much craziness in the world.” This also goes back to what happened to Will and his presence is still subtly felt two years later. Eli is the one who worries too much and it is maybe time for him to take a page from the Alicia Florrick way of thinking. It also looks like Eli is taking a break from Operation Destroy Ruth (and Peter) as he has his wooing cap on for Vanessa Williams’ Courtney Page. Another excellent guest star to add to the already long list of excellent Good Wife guest stars.

It isn’t all smooth sailing for Alicia this week and Frank Landau continues to be the angry controlling thorn in her side. He’s all blustery faced threats and the challenge is to find a way to nail him to the wall without implicating anyone else. Inner conflict turns outward with this graphic print jacket from Lafayette 148.

The Good Wife 7.07 that lookThere’s no easy fix to this and I wonder if our friends at the NSA will prove useful when it comes to sorting the Frank problem out. For now Alicia finds herself in a difficult position and it is one area where her level of control is severely reduced and her ability to not care isn’t going to work here.

Peggy Olson, Don Draper and the Shared Experience on Mad Men

26 May

Television has the ability to stir an emotional response in us and it’s one reason why so many of us write about it, whether on a blog like this one which talks equal parts style and plot, or with the plethora of excellent sites that produce astounding work on a daily basis. Mad Men has explored notions of shared experience and isolation for seven seasons now and as we reach the break this comes into focus through Don and Peggy. It is significant they made such inroads on their formally fractured relationship last week, followed by a passing of the baton of sorts in “Waterloo” just as mankind took a giant leap (sorry I couldn’t resist).

Mad Men 7.07 hotel roomThe build up to the moon landing plays a significant role in this episode and it hinges on the excitement of a potentially grand achievement rather than the previous shared experience TV has delivered of death; the JFK assassination being the defining first televised moment like this. There are daily death notices as the Vietnam War ticks on in the background (according to a Gallop Poll in 1969 52% of Americans personally knew someone who had been killed/wounded in Vietnam) and there’s a general atmosphere of uncertainty hanging over the nation. The moon landing is a joyous moment anticipated by many; however fear and cynicism still hang in the air. Fear they might not make it and another tragedy will play out in front of the world (it will also impact their pitch if something horrible happens). The cynicism angle is voiced by the disaffected youth with Sean – the son of Betty’s friend – referencing how much this mission is costing and the problems back on Earth. Sally mimics this later to her father, but hope is not something you can put a price tag on (even if Sean has a point).

Everyone is doing the same thing as they sit with their family – or in the case of Pete, Peggy, Don and Harry their work family – glued to the screen together; cynics and believers as one. Let’s take a moment to marvel at Sean’s pants in this scene. They look like they come from Felix’s closet on Orphan Black.

Mad Men 7.07 the Francis FamilyDon rings the family Francis to experience this with his kids and it’s significant that we only see him interact with Sally because by this point that’s the only relationship we’ve seen cultivated. Though I would have loved to see his chat with Gene, just to see this kid talk and Bobby’s also become somewhat endearing thanks to his bad bartering and stress stomachaches. However, Sally’s sass complete with her scarily accurate Betty smoking posture is what we’re really here for. Plus she kisses the boy least expected and is doing her civic duty by being a lifeguard. For all my worries about Sally, I think she’s going to be ok in the end.

Mad Men 7.07 Peggy and DonLast week Anne Helen Petersen wrote a terrific and terrifyingly accurate essay entitled “What Peggy Olson has Taught me About Doing it My Way” and like both Petersen and Peggy, I am in this same age bracket (I turn 32 in September *shudder*). Both this essay and Peggy’s sentiments rang true (so much so that even thinking about that scene makes me teary) demonstrating how TV can be a shared experience on a whole other level. Watching Peggy struggle and flounder in her interactions with others this season (the Shirley/Valentine’s Day mix-up is the lowest Peggy got for me) has been hard because Peggy for me has always been the one I want to succeed the most.

In “Waterloo” we get our Peggy victory as she pushes past her insecurities and uses the huge event from the night before to forge an association going way beyond the “voice of moms.” It’s an incredible performance from Peggy as she taps into the hope from the night before and spins it in a way to sell burgers through togetherness. For Don to finally understand Peggy’s worth he had to be reduced to a position of nothing. By handing over the pitching reins Don is giving Peggy the one thing she has always desired; his approval and confidence in her abilities. So while she panics and laments the lack of liquor, this fear also gives her strength.

Don uses his personal life to inform his pitch and Peggy does the same as she discusses the 10-year-old at home. At no point does she refer to Julio as her son, even if he has become a surrogate of the child she has given up and Pete visibly flinches at this reference (their child would be slightly younger). Earlier in the episode when Julio tells Peggy he is moving, she weeps silently as she will lose one of the few real bonds she currently has (which is depressing in itself) and if anyone is starved of human contact on this show it is Peggy.

Mad Men 7.07 Peggy and Don hotelIgnoring Harry – which is on point – in the hotel room is a trio who have deep insight into each other thanks to the secrets they share. Family is a vague term that Pete doesn’t like; Pete’s real family is a closed off dysfunctional mess so it’s no wonder he’s not too fond of this concept. There is another family and this one has been just as complicated (if not more so), however they’ve also been a lot more accepting of his flaws and often undesirable personality traits.

Pete is the one with the most information as he knows about Don’s past and that he is the father of the baby Peggy gave up, Don knows about the baby, but not Pete’s involvement (I doubt he would be as favorable to Pete if he knew) and well, Peggy of course is aware of her baby secret and is in the dark about Dick Whitman. The connection between these three characters exists not just because of these secrets, but it certainly adds subtext and a bond that doesn’t exist with anyone else at SC&P as Bert was the only other person to know about Dick and now he’s dead. So long Bert and your no shoe wearing policy, I’m glad you got to see the moon landing even if I wish you weren’t such a horrific racist. Cool song and dance number too. Bravo.

Mad Men 7.07 BertYeah this happened. It was delightful and bonkers. Plus it fits in with Don seeing the ghosts of those who know about his past. This is the first time singing and dancing was part of it, but hey it is 1969 and everything is a little off-kilter.

Mad Men 7.07 hugBack to Peggy and she lands the account; there’s little fanfare as everyone is busy with multimillion dollar making (and Don Draper saving) business deals and saying farewell to Bert Cooper. There will be celebrations and these will come off camera as I’m sure time will have passed when we return next year, instead we get this moment instead and it feels just as good. Peggy did it and the relationship she has with Don is the closest either of them have. This might sound depressing, but remember where they both were at the end of last season. Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss continue to deliver exceptional performances revealing the pain and potential happiness these characters can achieve and both have a place on the ultimate glassy eyed Olympics team I am forging (see also Aaron Paul, Julianna Margulies and Caroline Dhavernas).

Don appears to have lost Megan for good this time as his suggestion of moving to LA was met with silence and then a sigh; it’s been a facade for a long time as they’ve essentially been playing husband and wife, rather than living it. Instead Don now has a confidant again – yes he has always had Roger, but their friendship is something else all together – and for Peggy it is important that she is no longer adrift either. Who knows what they can achieve together and like the moon landing there is now hope for a happy ending.

Julie Hammerle

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