Sunday, November 3, 2013

REVIEW: 'The Good Wife' - Alicia and Cary Look for Office Space While Trying to Steal and Maintain a Client in 'The Next Day'

CBS' The Good Wife - Episode 5.06 The Next Day

When Alicia and Cary represent a client who has left Lockhart/Gardner to go to Florrick/Agos, Will and Diane intentionally delay turning over the case files to the new firm; Marilyn tries to give advice to Alicia; and Will's colleagues are surprised at the new intensity he displays in the wake of the upheaval at the firm.

After the brutal intensity of "Hitting the Fan," it should come as no surprise that the follow-up episode "The Next Day" is a much calmer episode. It still had big moments of excitement as the civil war between the two firms is still very fruitful material. But it was also very intriguing to see these characters react to what just happened once they have had the time to truly step back and look at everyone's actions.

So much of why this story works for The Good Wife right now is getting to see these characters lock horns with one another. It's deep personal stakes for everyone involved. The show presents strong cases for both sides throughout the entire episode. You essentially could be rooting for Florrick/Agos or just as equally for Lockhart/Gardner. Both firms are being overly ambitious right now and striving to be the absolute best and strongest firm they can be. And, at least, in the initial episodes in this split arc, the two are consistently in opposition to one another. That will change as the season develops but right now it is the absolute right thing to be doing.

And with the personal skates of Florrick/Agos vs. Lockhart/Gardner fueling most of the action in "The Next Day," it is very easy to forget about the personal stakes of the client, Heather. The lawyers all work under the idea of what's best for the client. But it's ultimately the client that turns the tables first on Diane and then on Alicia and Cary. Heather just wants to win and will side with whoever is more likely to make that outcome true. She is caught in the middle of this feud between the two firms when all she really cares about is making the gun manufactures pay for the defective gun.

Finally, the season of Diane Lockhart is still going strong. Her character arc in these first six episodes has been the strongest material of the fifth season - which is a very big deal considering the overall quality of this season. And Christine Baranski has been absolutely fantastic throughout. Just look at the scene where she runs to the bathroom and breaks down. It's very brief. And then, it quickly cuts to her proudly in the ACDB hearing. It's a strong moment of raw vulnerability paired with the confidence we've come to expect from the character. It's hard not to care for her immensely as the judgeship is pulled out from underneath her. But now, she's ready to stop being polite and that promises to be very exciting for her.

Some more thoughts:
  • I loved the new intensity and drive that is fueling Will right now. It's something that is propelling that character forward in a meaningful way. But I have no clue on why we needed so many sexual scenes with that new girl. Those scenes felt different from the show happening around them.
  • Speaking of awkwardness, Grace interacting with Alicia's co-workers is really a plot I don't understand at all. The Grace just wants to feel pretty story earlier this season was pleasant and watchable. But I have no clue how or why this story will inform us more about Grace or her relationship with her mom in a way I actually care about.
  • I do think they used Melissa George well in this episode - well, once you got past the awkwardness of the morning sickness bit. Before, she was simply only a sexual object in the way of Peter. Here, she was asked to be more that at all. She was asked to be friendly but antagonistic at the same time. That's a dichotomy that makes that character interesting and should be the path the show goes down with her. I'm just not sure if they will though.
  • I wonder if show wants to make the "someone made an anonymous tip about Peter's internet taxation speech turning Chumhum into Florrick/Agos' favor" plot point into something bigger. It felt important when Marilyn said it but then, poof, gone.
  • That was "Captain Sunshine" by Lucky Schwartz at the beginning and end of the hour. It was just odd, quirky and weird enough to feel unique to those moments.
  • And hey, "The Next Day" also featured the returns of Gary Cole, Mamie Gummer and Edward Herrmann. Also, why did I think Richard Kind had appeared on The Good Wife before? When I checked IMDB later, nope, this was his first episode.