Sunday, October 27, 2013

REVIEW: 'The Good Wife' Strives for Perfection & Achieves It With Such Ease in 'Hitting the Fan'

CBS' The Good Wife - Episode 5.05 Hitting the Fan

Alicia and Cary's plans to depart Lockhart/Gardner are suddenly exposed and a desperate battle to retain clients ensues.

Season five of The Good Wife is arguably the best thing currently happening on TV right now. The start of this season has been the strongest start of any The Good Wife season. The fact that a broadcast drama is so unabashedly confident in producing this huge shakeup in its fifth season is a very commanding trait. "Hitting the Fan" demands your respect. It is a strong hour television - easily one of my Top 10 episodes of 2013. Years after The Good Wife ends and we're looking at its legacy, "Hitting the Fan" will be viewed as a very pivotal episode - right up there with "Pilot," "In Sickness" & "Red Team/Blue Team." Perhaps even higher if that's even possible.

The season has been building to this moment - when Alicia, Cary and the other associates leave Lockhart/Gardner. They've been carefully planning it every step of the way - obtaining client's files, waiting until they get their bonuses, etc. But everything blows up immensely and without warning. Every single character is under duress in this hour and every reactionary moment that occurred felt like it came from a true, deep emotional place. Will, Diane and David Lee all feel a sense of betrayal and thusly throw every trick they know out to retain as much control as they possibly can. Alicia and Cary are in desperate panic mode. They need clients with money otherwise they're dead before they can start. And all the legal maneuvering throughout the episode was very clever as well - from Alicia distracting Will with the other deposition to the delivery of the restraining orders.

Perhaps what I'm most proud of is how well this hour balanced every single leading character so well. Alicia, Will, Diane, Kalinda, Cary and Peter all had great moments. And they all were moments of action. They all have personal stakes in this split and their actions here will reverberate throughout the rest of the season. These characters work wonderfully when in opposition and the fifth season is the season where that especially rings true.

Some more thoughts:
  • Kalinda's loyalty was the most mysterious aspect of the whole hour. She likely has more trust with Alicia and Cary but in the end is sticking by the side of Will. That intrigues me. And I really loved the scene where she plays Cary for information.
  • The only stuff I didn't think quite worked was the small snippets of the kids. But they literally were their for just seconds. However, Grace's phone call with Will was a great moment for Josh Charles - who just had an all around fantastic episode.
  • So, Diane won't be a judge after all. Who will get to break that news to her? And how warmly can or will she be welcomed back at Lockhart/Gardner?
  • I really love how Peter's actions in helping out his wife will bring his story back into the core orbit of the show. His "flirtation" with Melissa George was not all that great. But bringing it back to personal stakes with Alicia? That is compelling.