Sunday, October 26, 2014

REVIEW: 'The Good Wife' - Florrick/Agos/Lockhart Considers a Move While Alicia Teams Up with Elsbeth in Court in 'Old Spice'

CBS' The Good Wife - Episode 6.06 "Old Spice"

Alicia and Elsbeth put their legal battle on hold when the government brings an economic espionage charge against both of their clients. Meanwhile, Diane sets her sights on moving Florrick/Agos/Lockhart into the Lockhart/Gardner/Canning office space, leading to a battle with her former partners David Lee and Louis Canning.

The last scene in "Old Spice" - in which Alicia and Diane return to the Lockhart/Gardner/Canning loft space after successfully evicting them and decide who should take which of the partners' previous offices - is pretty brilliant. It's a wonderful sequence of the show respecting character dynamics and character history. Alicia and Diane respect each other so much as human beings. They are returning to these offices as different people than when they left. They hope to be a better firm than the one that they left before. Now that they are here again, the threat of becoming what they previously feared is even more at the forefront. But right now, they are remembering all the greatness that this setting once held. Will was very influential in both of their lives. They respect what he meant to the other. It's difficult for either to think that either one could sit in his office and do as great work as he did. He had his troubles but his office is the strongest metaphor for what his presence meant. It's a relationship neither will soon forget. And perhaps, the best way to honor his memory is to sit in that office and this loft space and do some greatness in the world. All of that is spoken between these two characters through very little actual dialogue. Six seasons in we don't need to be told and that's what makes a moment like this so rewarding.

The hour preceding that brilliant moment was a bit of hodgepodge of plots that didn't really connect to each other as organically or seamlessly as the show would have wanted them to. Alicia is focused on an interview concerning her relationship with religion while also working on a federal case with Elsbeth - although the great Carrie Preston and Kyle MacLachlan carry the bulk of that story. Diane and Kalinda visit David Lee and Louis Canning to battle over the office's lease. If that weren't enough, Cary also faces the threat of having his bail revoked and being sent back to prison. This is a very busy episode of The Good Wife - and that does take away from the overall effect.

Now, I was not really supportive of the direction the show was taking Elsbeth in during the previous episode. We got a peak into how her brain operates and frankly it probably would have been better if it was kept a mystery. That's part of her appeal. She's wacky but lovable. She is endearing. She uses Josh's infatuation with her to throw him off his game during court but she is also quite taken by him as well. That's interesting because it shows that even though she is a bit out there she is still capable of being desired. Their interactions are what saved this episodic plot - that also didn't offer a ton of resolution to the case from the previous episode. I have never been a huge fan of the song "Call Me, Maybe." But now, I'll forever see the two of them making out to the song whenever I hear it played.

Additionally, Alicia's interview about religion was given so much importance throughout the hour. But it never felt like it had enough time to grow into anything really substantial. It basically boiled down to Alicia admitting that she is listening. Everyone takes that as a win even though Alicia and Grace know the truth. I continually love how confident the show is at letting its lead character be an atheist. At one point, she says that she can't believe in God. And yet, it's also smart to recognize it's a hurdle she must deal with because of her running for office. That means she needs to create a narrative that sounds better to the voters. She is creating an image for herself that presents all of her best qualities - and the qualities that make her seem the most likable. It may not be who she truly is. But it's the version that will get her elected. She doesn't like that she has to do this. It's also evident that taking credit for this small spiritual enlightenment is weighing on Grace. But it's also what has to be done.

Lastly is the latest issues in Cary's ongoing legal battle. It's quickly becoming an isolated part of the show. Because of its existence, Cary cannot help the firm from a legal standpoint. He still has a voice as a partner. But it seems like a lot of changes are coming while he is sidelined in the process. Alicia still respects him and his voice in this situation. But the firm is quickly becoming an image of Alicia and Diane together. Cary is not really in the picture at all. During that last scene, Diane comments that Cary is comfortable taking David Lee's old office. At the old firm, Diane and Will were in charge and David was an underling. Right now, that same picture seems to be taking hold. And it's only going to get more severe. Now, he can't even interact with Kalinda due to an extension his pre-trial service office adds on following a check-in. How much further does he have to fall before this becomes one huge liability to everyone on the show?

Some more thoughts:
  • "Old Spice" was written by Leonard Dick and directed by James Whitmore.
  • It's wonderful every time Diane gets to laugh.
  • Howard Lyman is the latest person to join Florrick/Agos/Lockhart. Can't wait to see more awkward hilarity from him.
  • Marissa as Alicia's body woman is fantastic. 
  • Also great was Elsbeth avoiding walking on the sidewalk grates.
  • "In my opinion" judge has never been my favorite of the recurring judges largely just because it's the same thing over and over again in every episode Ana Gasteyer appears.
  • Elfman now seems to be effectively running Alicia's campaign. Eli isn't on his shoulder calling all the shots. And yet, he still doesn't seem to be adding a ton.
  • Alicia and Kalinda talked via the phone - along with Elsbeth. But they really need to be together side-by-side in a scene already.
  • Is Robyn still working as an investigator for the firm as well? Ever since Diane joined the firm, it's been Kalinda doing all the work. We haven't even seen Robyn. What's up with that?