Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Good Wife

The Good Wife
Episode 11: Boom De Ya Da
By: Carlos Uribe

The Good Wife is a show about Alicia Florrick and her career and scandalous personal life.

Spoilers Ahoy!

The weekly case for this episode is an interesting one because of the way it is executed. Alicia is separated from the firm when she's sent to Minnesota in order to depose a president of the bank they're suing. The bank president's lawyer is Canning and the two are trying their best to delay the deposition for as long as possible. This is a problem because the rest of the firm is having difficulty with the case. Will and Cary are trying their best in Chicago to try and get a settlement through their depositions but this keeps backfiring on them. They need the bank president to give them something so that they can get the money they need in order to get out of bankruptcy. Alicia is able to win the case when she manages to blackmail the bank's president with the cancer that he is keeping secret. She notes that it's against the law for the head of any company to keep any serious diseases from the shareholders and she threatens to put his cancer on the public record. This is a low blow that forces the bank to make the payment as they are in the middle of a merger. It's a cold-blooded move that desperate times forced Alicia to make. It used to be that television protagonists would have never been allowed to make that kind of blackmail as it puts them in a morally grey line. This hurts their likeability and in theory would lead to less ratings. The Good Wife is a very low-rated show for CBS so it makes sense that the series is given a leeway but it's still pretty surprising how low Alicia went in order to win the case.

The actual weekly case wasn't very interesting. It's largely about how a bank that foreclosed on property weren't properly taking care of it so a girl got sick. What has always made the Good Wife a great show is that it can take dull weekly cases and turn them into something interesting because of execution. Having Alicia go to a different state in order to depose someone is good. Having that someone do his best to stall is great. Having Canning be the lawyer that Alicia has to deal with is practically genius. Even the deposition scenes back at the firm were quite entertaining simply because of the sharp writing. This season might be having some problems plot-wise but at least the dialogue remains as excellent as it's always been. The weekly case is what helped make this episode as good as it was simply because it was well-written and it was presented in an interesting manner. It also helped give one great ending that promises more Canning when he reveals to Alicia that he just bought her firm's debt. This can't be a permanent change in the status quo, especially since Michael J. Fox is getting his own comedy series in the fall, but it should at least be fun to watch his interactions with the firm.

Talking about the firm, it was in trouble this week when Clarke decided to summon a mediation to get rid of Will Gardner and Diane Lockhart. He's angry that they killed his merger and he believes that their desire to win at any cost is stopping the firm from paying back the creditors. The mediator allows the law partners to come up with their own case in order to defend their actions. They are able to do this but they also try to drag Clarke's name through the mud to make him look bad. The two are able to keep their jobs and they won't have to worry about a merger until the deadline. The only thing is that they're not sure if they'll be able to pay off the debt by the time that day comes but their hope is that their new creditor will give them more time. I have a feeling that Canning might not be as obliging as they're hoping. The best part about this plot is that Clarke's character made a nice return. One of the biggest surprises of the season has how well Nathan Lane has managed to integrate himself into the Good Wife universe and I hope the show finds a way to keep him. It was also nice to see Cary actually doing something.

The campaign plot moves forward a tiny bit. The only consequence of the raid of the election headquarters so far has related to Eli's position. He's been running campaigns for a while now but it's known that this raid was targeted at him. The supporters of Peter are worried that Eli might be taken out of the equation which would leave Peter weak. The solution of the supporters is to bring in a second-in-command that will help Eli run the campaign and potentially take over if necessary. It's a good development but so far it really hasn't been that interesting. This plot has been running on fumes for a bit and it looks like forcing Eli to contend with another campaign manager hasn't brought it back to life yet. Still, this is just setting up the rest of the story and it might be able to do that in future episodes.

The Good Wife delivers a solid first return from it's mid-season hiatus but it's not the episode it needed. While the first half of the season hasn't been bad, it really wasn't to the standards that this series has set up for itself. This is largely because the political campaign plot started out strong but it has started to get stale while the Nick plot completely flopped. The firm's bankruptcy is only working because of Nathan Lane's character and his interactions with the cast. It's still a good show that is entertaning and well-written but it needs to sort out it's problems with the plot.

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