Sunday, October 6, 2013

REVIEW: 'The Good Wife' is Taking on the NSA & the Prospects Are Great Even If the Episodic Stuff Is Not

CBS' The Good Wife - Episode 5.02 The Bit Bucket

Alicia and Cary sue the NSA on behalf of search engine Chumhum, unaware that Lockhart/Gardner's connection to a former client has resulted in the spy agency monitoring the firm's communications; Alicia's mom takes steps to support her daughter; and Eli works to secure Diane's Supreme Court nomination.

The Good Wife is taking on the NSA. Over its series run, the show has handled many important and timely current issues in our country. "The Bit Bucket" requires the audience to remember several things from the series' past. But knowing every detail about those past events does not inhibit the viewing experience of this episode. You are not required to remember the exact events of the case that ultimately led to the NSA wiretaps on Alicia and Diane. You just have to recall that it looks familiar. A "previously on" segment has never really been a part of this show but it helps a great deal this week. The show is setting up a long game with this hour. The NSA will be playing a major part in the episodes to come later this season and I'm at least intrigued to see how this show will tackle dealing with this major current issue over a multiple episode journey.

John Benjamin Hickey and Jack Carpenter as social media moguls Neil Gross and Patrick Edelstein have made multiple appearances on this show. Their rivalry almost always results in the case-of-the-week being about some technology issue. The Good Wife loves technology. They love technology-based legal cases. Those cases are hit or miss unfortunately simply because of the amount of exposition and the lack of personification they have. "The Bit Bucket" largely takes the technology stuff out. It still exists. But this case is about the firm battling against the NSA. It's a well structured case - and after the premiere's stellar legal troubles, this season is off to an excellent start in that regard. But the case is more about an idea rather than the twists and turns of handling this explicit case. It's about Chumhum going up against the NSA and winning. That's what is was at the beginning and what it succeeded at being by episode's end. Thusly, it wasn't the most exciting case. It was intriguing and relevant. But there was a lot else going on as well in the rest of the episode.

Peter and Eli are pushing for Diane to land the Supreme Court nomination and succeed at getting the Chief Justice to put aside his concerns. The hour concludes teasing the audience that Diane made the unfortunate chose to redo the interview to dis Will's past indiscretions. And I love how the camera frames Diane in the distance indicting how small she feels in that moment. That bit excites me by what it could mean for the show's most stable relationship - Will & Diane. This judgeship is something she really wants. Peter and Eli need her there to be in control of the state politically. But will she compromise her bond with Will to get there? The episode would suggest she did. The ramifications of that decision will be huge for the show. Thusly, I'm really looking forward to next week's episode. 

Some more thoughts:
  • Ummm, what was the point of the very small plot with the gavel and the return of Dreama Walker's character? It felt like it was going to be important but than did absolutely nothing. I liked Walker a lot in her previous appearances but she wasn't someone I really needed to see again.
  • The NSA also has wiretaps on Diane. They weren't shown a lot in this episode but they are likely to pop up as a little wrinkle in the future, right?
  • Whenever they share a scene, I always think the show will pair up Veronica and David Lee. They just are so amusing together.
  • I loved Jeffrey Tambor as the show's newest judge in last week's premiere and again in tonight's episode. But I hope the show waits a bit until his next appearance. Too much of a good thing could ruin it.
  • Did they really bring back Rachel Hilson (Nisa) just for to cry into her pillow for a second?
  • And whenever Miriam Shor pops up I'm reminded that Kristin Chenoweth was supposed to appear and then was unfortunately injured and couldn't.
  • I liked Tobias Segal and Zach Woods as the NSA employees. Their little interactions were fun but probably also very important to the story coming down the road.
  • Drunk Alicia & Drunk Veronica. Just so awesome.