Sunday, November 4, 2012

'The Good Wife' Review - 4.06 The Art of War

        On the newest episode of CBS' The Good Wife, a female military officer (Amanda Peet) accuses a civilian contractor of attempting to rape her in Afghanistan and Alicia tries to prove that he is not protected by a law keeping servicemen from suing the military; and a surprising new obstacle appears in Peter's quest for the governorship.

        Tonight's episode was guest stars galore - with appearances from Amanda Peet, Denis O'Hare, Maura Tierney, Kristin Chenoweth, Miriam Shor, Brian Dennehy, Nathan Lane and Marc Warren. In the past, some episodes filled to the brim with major guest stars like this one haven't been fantastic simply due to the show trying to fill everyone in at the same time. That didn't really take effect in this episode as I was able to appreciate the show's ever-growing recurring cast as well as the emotion and story weight that each one brought with them.
        I was able to connect to the main case of this episode because of the performances of its main characters. They may not have actually won but the final line of doing better than what they planned on achieving felt like a victory. Many law-based shows suffer from always having the main lawyers win their cases. After awhile, things become too predictable and the suspense has been taking out of the hour. But this show has mostly been able to overcome that by crafting up numerous new ways to not make winning or losing so cut and dry to the overall case. I know for a fact that Amanda Peet is scheduled to appear in the next few episodes as well and I'm left question what her purpose we'll be moving forward. This hour did a nice job of wrapping everything up nicely so I'm curious on how she'll be used in any of the current plots.
        The newest development in Peter's quest for the governorship is that his biggest financer, Maddie, has decided to enter the ring herself. The roots of this plot twist were planted in the past episode when someone mentioned the fact that no women were in the race. But, the reveal of her candidacy was well thought-out and played because it is very unclear if her decision was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing after the whole Indiria Star debacle or if she had very calculative and planted her way into Alicia's heart to gain inside information before announcing. She should make for a very entertaining opponent for the show throughout these next few weeks as long as they keep that level of ambiguity up.
        The episode also offered some brief dalliance with the Nick-Kalinda subplot. It mostly pertained to Alicia and Cary receiving information and asking what to do with it. It allowed Alicia to ask the ever-growing question of why Kalinda stays with the man. However, because of time, we are just given a brief response and we live another day to ponder why this plot is happening. The hour also had many moments for many percolating C-stories: Cary using Diane to get better cases, Peter hiring a new caretaker for Jackie and Kalinda asking Eli if he's being investigated by the feds. None are given a substantial amount of time to develop but they are setting the stage for something more grand in the future.
        I guess it is also fitting of me to mention that this episode was directed by series star Josh Charles. Because of that, I did pay more attention to the direction of the hour and I was mostly pleased with his creative decisions. I especially applaud his use of the reaction shot. They were heavily prevalent throughout the episode and allowed us in to the emotional depths of each of these characters as they worked through the intricate details of this case.

So what did everyone think of the episode? Was Maddie playing Alicia this whole time? Should Josh Charles direct again? Happy that Kristin Chenoweth was able to make a return appearance after her on-set accident? Share your thoughts in the comments.