Sunday, November 15, 2015

REVIEW: 'The Good Wife' - Alicia & Lucca Take On a New Case that Pits Them Against Diane, Cary & Louis Canning in 'Driven'

CBS' The Good Wife - Episode 7.07 "Driven"

Alicia and Lucca join a case involving an automotive executive represent by Cary and Diane, and an employee represented by Louis Canning, who was involved in a crippling accident while test-driving a car operating in "driverless" mode. When Ruth and Eli pursue Courtney Page (Vanessa Williams), a potential campaign contributor, Peter moves back in with Alicia to present a united family image.

This season of The Good Wife has been very focused on Alicia starting over with this new firm. She is so happy to be out of that corporate environment. Now, she only needs to do what feels right for her. It's a small firm with just her, Lucca and Jason. But it's also one very effective team. This is exciting for her. She's doing what makes her happy. Sure, she is still struggling to make this a profitable business. But that's what makes it so interesting to watch. However, the two firms haven't spent a whole lot of time together this season. The focus has been so fixated on Alicia that the stuff going on with Cary, Diane, David Lee and Howard often felt like it's own show. The most recent episodes have smartly found ways to thematically connect the two stories. But there hasn't been a whole lot of crossover where the characters actually got to interact.

That does change in "Driven" when Alicia and Lucca join a three way case that involves Diane, Cary and Louis Canning. That's an ongoing conflict that has been brewing throughout the season. Canning wanted Alicia to come work for him so that they could take down Diane and Cary with the lawsuit filed by his wife for wrongful termination. Alicia declined that offer because she wanted to be her own woman. Louis has still been sending cases her way in order to stay in business. Alicia is very appreciative of that - even though it doesn't make her loyal to him. Meanwhile, tension has been continually maintained in Alicia's relationship with Lockhart, Agos and Lee. She still can reach out to Cary for favors from time to time. But her relationship with the firm is still very precarious. That comes out in full form during this case.

The case at the heart of "Driven" is the kind of technology spotlight that this show loves showcasing for a week. Self-driving cars are now within the realm of possibility. But being at the dawn of such new technologies makes it ripe to have lawsuits filed for complications that result. In this case, a woman was paralyzed because a self-driving car ran into her while she was stopped at a stop light. Louis represents the woman harmed in the accident. Alicia and Lucca argue for the man who was sitting in the driver's seat of the prototype car. And Diane and Cary provide counsel for the main executive of the car company. It's a very complicated case that properly explores the issue. So much of the tension between the three sides comes out during the case. They don't have much back-and-forth off the record. They are all doing their best to represent their clients. It often leads to two sides ganging up on one. All parties were blamed at some part during the proceedings. It showed just how specific this case can get while involving such a revolutionary piece of technology. In the end though, Alicia and Louis won. The car was hacked by another company employee and that's what led to the incident. Overall it was a very fun case to watch play out.

It was also a case that really got Alicia excited. These are cases she loves working on. She's so happy to be back representing a wronged party against a corporate entity. After one particularly great cross examination, she wants to celebrate by having sex. That's simply how she wants to do things now. When she returns home to Peter (who happens to be staying in the apartment all week long to avoid scandal), she asks him if he wants to get laid. It's very easy to get Peter to do anything when sex is involved. He'll choose that over getting another million dollars for his presidential campaign. This doesn't have anything to do with love. Alicia wanted to have sex to celebrate a win in court. Peter just happened to be there. If Jason had stuck around long enough, he could have been the person she had sex with. It's something that Alicia now feels very casual about. She does this because it's something she wants. It's not about having some bigger connection with the other person. She is control of her own life. And she wanted to have sex.

Seeing Alicia and Peter post-sex really throws Eli off. He chose not to scandalize Peter at the start of his campaign because he had too much respect for Alicia. He knows her feelings towards Peter. So, it's surprising to him to see them together in such a way. He gladly got the two to spend the week together in the apartment to avoid reporters saying the two no longer live together. But he never expected this to happen as a result of that. He just wants to impress businesswoman Courtney Page enough so she can back Peter in his presidential run. She wants to see the Florrick's as the happy couple they are suppose to be. Eli knows better and knows that the two of them can fake being happily married. But when he sees the two of them together, all he really wants to know is if Alicia is being smart. Sure, this could lead to a series of very reckless choices in the future now that the only person she wants to please is herself. That could be very damaging to the campaign. But for right now, Alicia is completely in control of her actions. She enjoys some sex. She does well in the deposition. And she is able to charm Courtney enough to get her money for Peter. She is enjoying life - to the point where she feels perfectly comfortable laughing out loud when she hears that Jackie and Howard have gotten engaged.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Driven" was written by Tyler Bensinger and directed by David Dworetzky.
  • Jackie and Howard seemed like such an odd pairing when they first got together. But this episode really does prove that they are perfect for each other. Jackie is able to find his racist qualities charming because she has a bias as well. That's made abundantly clear when the two of them talk with Courtney. It may be frightening to her and worrisome for Eli, but it still proves that this might be a good thing for Jackie and Howard.
  • All the drama that came from throwing Grace a birthday party in order to invite Courtney over was a bit contrived. I don't think there's a reality where Eli would have done something like that. But at least it turned out to be a good night for Grace.
  • Eli really does need to stop worrying so much. He has had a fantastic story so far this season. He's a much more active character as a result of him scheming about Peter's campaign. But he doesn't have to worry about everything potentially leading to disaster. Plus, it seems like he has some nice chemistry with Courtney.
  • Does Alicia even want to be First Lady? That's a thought that has crossed my mind a lot lately. She's committed to the campaign because she knows it's something Peter wants. But she would have to give up this new business she built for herself in order for him to have that. Is that something she even wants to do? Or does she believe he doesn't have a shot at all?
  • Because Eli chose not to scandalize Peter, Frank Landau still has a lot of power. And now, it's time for Alicia to deliver that vote that he asked of her when he put her on this election committee. But Alicia wants to know all the facts before she votes. She knows that the two sides both have their own interests with the companies providing the voting machines. The hour leaves it ambiguous as to which side she voted on. But she probably went with Frank considering the damage he could do to Peter. It's just a position she doesn't like currently being in.