Sunday, December 4, 2011

'The Good Wife' Review - 3.10 Parenting Made Easy

        In the newest episode of CBS' The Good Wife, a routine arbitration, that Alicia first signed to Caitlin, turns into a battle of wills between Alicia and returning attorney, Louis Canning, but the pair make an unexpected connection when a personal crisis with Grace interrupts the proceedings.

        This episode was very well put together. Yes, there were some pretty dull, un-intriguing moments - i.e. Kalinda & Dana flirting some more & Wendy Scott-Carr hiring out-there investigator Andrew Wiley - but the majority of it was at a high caliber - especially Julianna Margulies.
        As stated above, this was the episode that cunning attorney, Louis Canning, special guest star Michael J. Fox, returned to the show. His character has so much depth and really does bring out the best in the other characters. However, this episode only gave him one purpose - to repeatedly ask Alicia to join his firm. I understand how big that question is weighing on Alicia's mind right now especially after the whole Grace fiasco. But, it just felt that Fox could have had more to do in this episode. The episode description said that Canning and Alicia would form a new bond because of Grace going missing but I didn't see that at all in this episode. Hopefully, Fox's next appearance on the program is a much better display for his talents as well as the entire cast.
        Speaking of Canning's firm, Lockhart/Gardneir's loss is Louis' gain as his firm hired Martha aka the girl who Alicia wanted to hire but was forced by David Lee to hire Caitlin. It was poignant to have Caitlin's first big case in court to be against the rival she didn't even know she had. The writers definately hit on that fact and it was fascinating to see both of them as both confident and trembling over what to do next. In episode 3.05 "Marthas and Caitlins," I enjoyed Martha far better as a character but in this episode I was much more so in Caitlin's corner. Hopefully, as the season progresses, her confidence will grow so we won't have to see the frazzled, unsure state which is her worst character depiction.
        The promos made this episode to be an hour in which Grace goes missing and Alicia is shaken to her core. Instead we got an episode where two thirds focused on Caitlin vs. Martha, Alicia vs. Canning, the terribly underutilized Jennifer Carpenter, Eli trying to make friends at the firm, Wendy asking for a bigger budget, and Will at his basketball game and only the last third focused on Grace missing. Before the reveal that Grace was safe, this plot felt real and Julianna's performance as a concerned mother was amazingly compelling. It was also great to see Kalinda solve everything because it goes to show that she still truly cares for Alicia but not enough to make amends for everything that went down last season. When it was shown that Grace was fine and just being baptized, it felt like a total cop-out. Are we really suppose to believe that she would have just done this out of the blue and not tell anyone that she was going somewhere? The twelve butt-dialed phone calls were also unrealistic. The show could have actually given Grace a great, compelling storyline to follow this event instead of the religious and dancing stuff we have gotten for the past two seasons. It was just a missed opportunity in my mind.
        But the Grace story did actually do something great instead of just interrupting a great A-worthy legal case. It made Alicia contemplate her life and made her wonder if her dressing in black lingerie with Will was the best thing for her to be doing at this point in time. The Grace scare and Canning's job propositions made her realize how much she loves and values her family. Sure, Will is a great guy but he's just the guy that she sleeps with and not that person she can settle down with without a squeak from the outside world. Her ignorance of his call during the Grace scare made the ending breakup much more forthcoming. True, the two of them just got together (and made many fans very happy) but it is nice to see that the creative forces behind the show are realistic when writing towards what Alicia would be feeling in that exact moment.
        As a brief concluding thought, Julianna Margulies sure does know how to do a great post-bad news, crying strut down a long hallway - that must be why the writers also put that in.