The Good Wife: Boom

E: Hurray!  Are you as thrilled as I am to see the best show on tv back on tv?  While not the most jaw dropping episode ever, this week’s effort was smart, well constructed, and featured family drama, courtroom drama, backroom political dealing and some nasty inter-office politics.  As usual, the title has multiple levels of meaning; a building goes boom, and more than one relationship.  Not to mention the return of Jackie, with a serious conversation that explains quite a bit about Peter.

The episode begins with a scratching pen, and ink curving over paper.  Lines curve and intersect.  Then there’s a face, hiding behind a counter. The scene quickly shifts to the conference room at Stern, Lockhart & Gardener, where Julius, Alicia and Cary representing a newspaper under suit.  The plaintiff is a widow whose husband, Jeffrey Sanborn, died when the newsroom was bombed after the paper ran a cartoon featuring the prophet Mohammed being searched at the airport. Boom number one! Julius proffers the insurance company’s pay out – $350,000.  The widow, Mrs. Sanborn, says she just found the novel her husband had been writing.  It’s beautiful, and all they want to give her is $350,000?  Alicia gently interjects that no amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one, but money is what they deal in at law offices, and this is the best they can do.

Not so, thinks Mrs. Sanborn.  They say you should wait 6 months before making life changes after a significant death.  Well, today is six months.  She fires her attorneys.  And off the elevator comes her new attorneys – a phalanx lead by one swaggering Jonas Stern.

That same girl greets him with a leaping, squealing hug.  Why isn’t she working for him already?  He wonders the same thing aloud.  Humph. Maybe he left her there as a spy.  It’s all very dramatic and unsettling.  And clearly, Stern has planned this for maximum effect.

Stern waltzes into the conference room.  “I see you haven’t taken the S down yet,” he smirks.  “We’re still looking for a new Stern,” Julius counters calmly.  Nice.  Then Stern asks Alicia for coffee and starts taking orders from the rest of his team.  She asks him how he’s feeling, with false concern.  Diane slinks in and wonders aloud what sort of case Mrs. Sanborn thinks she has that’ll land her more money.  Stern’s basic argument seems to be that the newspaper was asking for it; knowing about the international furor over the Danish cartoons which used the image of Mohammed (a cardinal sin for Muslims) , the newspaper not only published an inflammatory cartoon but cut their security coverage at the same time.  The newspaper ought to be liable for punitive damages, to what Stern hopes is the tune of 25 million dollars. That number is provided by one of his wingmen, a perky sex bomb of a girl with a shag haircut who elicits an interesting nonverbal response out of Cary.

It’s about us, Diane tells Stern, cutting through the posturing.  Of course it’s about us, he replies, and Mrs Sanborn tells us just how fine she is being the instrument he uses to destroy his former firm.  Wow.  I know she’s legitimately angry about her husband’s death, but really? Why be angry at the lawyers?  They’re just the middle men. That’s a mite excessive.  Stern calls Alicia out in private for taunting him about his dementia; he’ll have her disbarred for breaking attorney client privilege if she ever lets on.  “Has your friend Will Gardner stabbed you in the back yet?” he wonders nastily.  Then he complains about her poker face, saying the CIA could take lessons from the suburban housewife. She stalks off, hoping to talk to Will, who’s closeted with one Gerald Kozko, who happens to be one of the allegedly crooked real estate moguls that Peter’s accused of colluding with. Kozko – played by a snub nosed, weaselly looking man I know I’ve seen before – leaves Will’s office and introduces himself.  (Ah.  It turns out to be Terry Kinney, who played Lisbon’s old CBI partner on The Mentalist and had a recurring role on Juliana Marguiles unsuccessful legal drama Canterbury’s Law.) He was looking for a new lawyer, but didn’t realize that there’d be a conflict of interest here (which is to say, Alicia).  Yeah, right.  He immediately makes a liar out of himself by asking Alicia to tell Peter he’s sorry.  “He’ll know why,” he says.

Oh, that cannot be good.  Not for anyone.

Mr Clay, the head of the family owned newspaper The Vindicator,  takes our team on a tour of his premises, which include printing presses, regales them of colorful stories of his great-grandfather’s editorials endorsing Abraham Lincoln,  and shows them the very dumb waiters used to help smuggle in moonshine during Prohibition.  I love dumb waiters.  Seriously.  I mean, not only are they full of dramatic possibilities, they’re just cool.  They’re like tiny, hand operated elevators.  Actually, that’s what we used to call them at the libraries I worked at – book elevators. Anyway, they certainly add to the charm and mystique of the brick and concrete basement printing room.

Our team wants to know how much of the decision to run the cartoon was freedom of the press, and how much was courting controversy to sell papers.  There’s a terrorist group claiming responsibility for the bombing, and Clay should have known that he’d be provoking them. They blew up a synagogue 6 months before that, after all.  Clay lets us know that the cartoon was the anonymous submission that won a political cartoon contest, and that deceased editor Sanborn had been on the committee that chose it.

After work, Cary makes his way to some sort of lounge, where Stern’s wing-girl is canoodling with a dark haired fellow on a sofa.  He accuses her of returning to the scene of the crime.  Oh, juicy.  “You’re not going to pout, are you?  I hate when men pout.” Stern-girl dismisses the other boy with a wave of her hand, and starts turning on the heat for Cary.  Turns out they went to college together, and just happened to run into each other the night before Stern’s dramatic little entrance.  Please, she says.  If I’d let slip that detail you’d have been on your phone to your bosses before our second drink. But there’s an upside. Stern wants you, she says.  Come work with us, and you won’t have to worry about the bake off.  You’ll be assured a job. She implies that Alicia is clearly the favorite and will beat him despite his vast pool of billable hours.  Lockhart and Gardner might want the name Florrick, but Stern wants Cary’s drive and ambition.  “Last night you wanted me, and now he wants me?”  Cary thinks it can’t be a coincidence.  Cary has to be right.

The scene shifts to Peter, Gold and Golden in the Florrick kitchen.  They’re talking about getting Peter time out to go to church, but Golden is unsettled about something else.  It’s probably nothing, he says (come on, you aren’t an idiot, it’s clearly not nothing) but Childs is dropping the sex angle from the retrial prosecution, and is rumored to have some fantastic witness.  Is there anyone out there who can hurt you, he wants to know? “If they’re going to lie, anyone can hurt me.”  Ah, so true – but do they really need lies to hurt you?  Alicia walks in about this time, and everyone falls into shamefaced silence.  “You’re standing in my kitchen,” she tells them, “whatever you were going to say you can say in front of me.” And then she tells them about her little “accidental” meeting with Kozko, and they know he’s Childs’ weapon of choice.

Stern fusses with a row of shiny new pencils, sharpened and perfect.  He’s looking nervous and sad and ill at ease.  We hear him cross-examine Mrs Sanborn, who tells us that her husband’s close relationship with his boss Clay had recently become strained, due to the financial stress all newspapers are now feeling.  He was depressed by the layoffs and cuts.  She also lets us know that the cartoon had originally depicted a sort of generic Muslim, but was changed late in the process to picture Mohammed – insuring (at least in her opinion) a dangerously high level of scrutiny and controversy. Clay wanted something like the fist-bumping cartoon Obamas on the cover of the New Yorker, she says.

Kalinda has gathered up a rotund geeky graphologist to help her track down the mystery cartoonist, in the hopes that he or she can explain why the drawing was changed. The submission was anonymous, and the artist was paid via pay pal, so there’s no tracking him or her through conventional means.  There’s stress and conflict in the drawing, as if the artist had internal qualms about the drawing.  Kalinda’s not having it. “You don’t respect my job, do you,” geek boy wonders.  She does in a minute, though, when he gets his fancy laptop to run a profile of the cartoon against everything published online, and finds a match for it.

Cary asks Will about a loan he’s looking into; the associates can borrow from the firm against their salary to make a major purchase.  He wants to buy a condo, he tells Will, but the accounting office won’t approve him.  Does that mean I’m not going to be hired, that I won’t be here long enough to pay it back? No, Will says, it’s just about our cash flow problems, but it makes you wonder.  It certainly is making Cary wonder.  I’m wondering whether the condo question is a cover or not, to test the waters about his job security.

Golden and Gold, clad in trench coats and green hard hats, travel through a construction site to see Kozko; they’re on a rooftop, with a wet concrete floor and a gorgeous view of brick city towers.    I’m so sorry, he says again. “I have a legacy to protect.”  He gestures to his son.  Looks like he’s shady enough to have a lot to lose, and he wants to cloak it in the veneer of paternal devotion.   Peter has religion, he tells the consigliere.  He’s off his game.  I’m in risk assessment, and Childs is the better risk.  Ouch.

Alicia and Kalinda pay a visit to the cartoonist’s address.  “We don’t threaten with a subpoena,” Kalinda says, “unless he refuses to testify.” “How about we don’t threaten at all,” Alicia counters.  A beautiful middle aged Middle Eastern woman answers the door.   It turns out the mystery cartoonist is her fifteen year old son, a  mildly punked out kid with tousled hair and a Joy Division t-shirt.   “Somebody had to do something or the fundies win,” he tells them.  He’s articulate, and bright, but maybe a little reckless; changing the generic Muslim to Mohammed was his idea.  His mother knows that the Danish cartoonist still lives in hiding, and she won’t risk her son, not even to testify to the judge alone or on camera.  Not that you can blame her.  The defense team is left thinking they’ll have to subpoena the mother and make her give up her son under oath, but Clay forbids them to do it.  They need to find another way to win. Perhaps the police or the feds have turned up something at the bombing site they can use.

Cary’s scoring a win on his own, using sex to get secrets out of Stern-girl.  I really wish they’d mentioned her name so I didn’t have to call her that.  Did they, and I missed it?  No. Anyway, she tells him he’d have lots of company coming over to Stern’s firm; 10 litigators are said to be making the move, and one equity partner.  He immediately knows it’s former Stern protege Julius.  Since he’s the only equity partner we’ve met, it’s not an unreasonable surmise.  I’m convinced that Stern-girl is playing him to spread disinformation and mistrust.  She seems too conniving to just give up the information as pillow talk. Isn’t that the smarter thing to do?  Wouldn’t that be what Stern would want her doing?  Otherwise, why is she giving away information Cary can take right to his bosses? Because that’s just what he does.  I think this is fantastic – they show him walk up to Diane’s door, turning, and smiling with a new idea.  Then we see him go directly to Will.  Smart, Cary, so smart, proving your loyalty to the partner who isn’t already in your camp.  “I don’t want you to think for one moment I was considering it.”  He isn’t very convincing (he’s trying too hard to look innocent) but he doesn’t need to be.  Will tells him that he can probably make the loan happen.  Score one for Cary.

Back in court we meet a new witness, one Mr. Thiessen, an editor and reporter recently downsized from The Vindicator.   He was part of the team that chose the cartoon, and says he was privy to Clay’s meeting with his lawyer assessing the risks of showing it.  He claims to have argued against the cartoon, out of sensitivity to the  Muslim religion, and that the lawyer thought it was too dangerous.  Diane objects to this bit of testimony , citing lawyer/client privilege, but the judge seems to think Stern’s made an end run against it.  That seems wrong to me.  If Thiessen was a Vindicator employee at the time, can’t he be considered one of the lawyer’s clients?  Shouldn’t he be?  This judge shrugs off every objection we see put before him.

When Diane cross examines the man, she attacks his so called sensitivity.  Where was that sensitivity, she wants to know, when you ran a photo of Piss Christ in a piece on controversial art?  Where’s the sensitivity to Christians?  Ah, but Christians aren’t likely to blow you up if you denigrate their God.  Alicia (sitting on defense table) cringes. I thought this was a little convenient.  How likely is it that someone who covers hard news – ie, the oft mentioned terrorist Synagogue bombing – is also going to be writing scholarly retrospectives on controversial art from the mid-80s?  Maybe that’s not such a hard sell if he’s an editor, or if the paper is on the smaller side.  I can’t say for sure.  So convenient seems like a good word for it.  Thiessen is eager to say that his downsizing has nothing to do with his present testimony.

And now my favorite plot thread begins.  Jackie meets Eli Gold.  “Who’re you,” she says when he greets her at the door. “The plumber,” he snarks, “who’re you?”  “I’m Jackie!” she states indignantly, pulling her coat collar close around her neck in outrage.  He belatedly attempts to be polite. She stalks into the apartment and greets Golden with a wave of her hand.  Where’s my son, she wants to know.  Gold and Golding start shuffling their feet and looking like guilty school boys again.  Meeting with his pastor, they say.  His what, asks Jackie dangerously.  His pastor, Gold says again dryly. I love the way they’re both choking on the word Pastor. Hilarious. “They’ve been  meeting once a week for prayer, spiritual guidance and the sharing of Jesus Christ.”  His face is hilarious.  Most of these people really think of religion as a disease.  What’s going on with that?  Jackie peeks down the hall for a glimpse of Pastor Isaiah and comes back indignant.  Where is his church, she wants to know?  Yes, it’s on the South Side.  Oh dear.  Is her objection racial or denominational or just snobbery?  It’s hard to say, but she’s practically quivering with indignation.  Perhaps all three?

Kalinda, meanwhile, has snagged a copy of the Federal investigation report.  They speculate that the bomb was thrown in a window, but since all the windows exploded outward, Kalinda thinks not.  She’s guessing that the bomb was sent up through one of the dumb waiters.  Aw, a role for the dumb waiters!  I love it.  But jeez, how dumb are the feds not to notice this?  She surmises that the bomb was probably mixed in the basement, which means it was an inside job.  Kalinda and Alicia explore the basement again, and find the site where a dumb waiter used to be, as well as residue from the bomb, where the ingredients must have been mixed on site.  Honestly, how bad are the FBI investigators if Kalinda can uses a few articles she read to arrive at the truth faster than they did?) Kalinda, Cary, Alicia, Diane and Will meet to discuss the ramification of the find – pointedly leaving Julius out.  We’re going to have to talk to the employees, they decide.  You mean racially profile them, Kalinda says bitterly.  Wasn’t this whole thing started by a desire to end racial profiling?  “We’re going to step nicely past the ironies,” Will tells her calmly, ” and defense out client.”  Grr.   Julius walks by, and Diane and Will leave abruptly, in perfect synch, to confront him. Cary claims not to know why.

I am honestly shocked to find that Julius really has been won over to Stern’s side.  I just wasn’t expecting that.  How dumb is Stern-girl, to let this happen?  I don’t care if she did go to college with Cary.  I suppose because Cary seems so patently untrustworthy to us in the audience, I’m astounded when anyone does trust him, but that might not be fair.  He’s smooth, and a pretty decent liar.  At any rate, Stern-girl messed up big time.  Julius explains that the firm is in trouble, that he considers Stern a mentor, and that he’s getting a big fat raise for making the switch.  Stern was my mentor too, Diane says, but Stern is all about Stern.  I’m betting on myself, not him.  Here you can be a star, as you never would with him around.  Diane then promises to match Stern’s offer, and to step up their diversity program (“I’m tired of being the poster boy for affirmative action,” Julius tells them – hee.  And, excellent. All the color besides Julius comes from Kalinda and the assistants, so it really is high time.)  and Julius accepts.  I’m glad, because I like him, and I’d rather see more of him than less. Once the deal is made, Will swoops in as the bad cop.  Now you need to do something for us, he says.  He wants the names of the 10 litigators who were going over with him.  Stern only wanted me, Julius counters, and he probably won’t take them otherwise.  All the more money for your diversity program then, Will responds, smooth and cold.  Write down the names.

Yikes.  That was kind of chilling. These are the kind of things that make Will such an interesting character.  Who is he?  Is he good or bad?  I suppose the question really ought to be whether he’s more good than he is bad.  And we don’t know the answer at all.

Kalinda turns up a photo of a graffiti’d threat – “jihad is the way”.  Apparently they know that Clay knew about the threat, and ignored it, and that makes Will wonder whether he really was courting controversy and readership so much that he’d deliberately risk his own people.   “That’s a happy thought,” Diane shudders. “That’s me, Mr. Cheer,” Will deadpans.  He and Diane decide they can’t let Julius question Clay because of the whole Stern conflict.  Should it be Cary?  No, Alicia, they decide, because she somehow gets under Stern’s skin.  Kalinda and Alicia walk, and Kalinda – perceptive as always – tells Alicia she’s got to use whatever she’s got on Stern.  I can’t use it, Alicia returns, frustrated, because it violates attorney/client privilege.  “It only violates that if you tell someone,” Kalinda instructs her (brilliantly insightful as always), “so don’t tell someone.”

And now we come to a scene so alarming I can’t even believe it.  Peter, Mommy Dearest, and all their issues.  I should say, I’ve missed Jackie.  I don’t like her, but she provides a lot of conflict.  And I like her more than Becca.  Or at least, I thought I did.  She tells Peter she wants him to meet with Bishop Grayson, a nice episcopal priest (oh, so they’re not Catholic after all – close, though, as well as waspy and buttoned up) who will help him put this “religious stuff” in perspective.  Peter thinks he’s gaining perspective.  “That’s not perspective,” his mother dismisses, waving off any thoughts of Baptists and their messy emotions and soul searching.  “This is about Alicia, isn’t it?”  Then they blow me away.

“No, no it’s not, it’s about me.  And I need to change.”

“No, you don’t, Peter.  You are a good man.  You want to blame yourself, but you apologized.  [!!!!!!]  You apologized again.  And again.  Anybody who wants another apology from you only wants to make you be weak.  So stop this.  Stop this now.  My son will not be made weak.”

Peter laughs cautiously, a bit stunned her ferocity, not entirely sure how seriously to take her.  “You’re one scary Mom.”

“Yes,” she says calmly, “and you are a good son.”

To which I can only reply, holy crap!  This explains a great deal about Peter, I think, and the lines he’s willing to cross, and the way he can divorce his concepts of duty and justice from his actions.  I would love to know what Jackie thinks the word “good” means.  Are there political ends she thinks Peter can use to justify his less savory actions?  Great deeds he can achieve for humanity?  Is he good because he’s ambitious and can hold power?  Is he a good son because he often does what she says, or because he cares about her?  Honestly, I’m at a loss here.  We’d certainly got the impression in the earliest episodes that Jackie didn’t understand why Alicia couldn’t just get over the infidelity, but it was stunning – and kind of terrifyingly awesome – to see the depth of her anger come out.    And dear God, but it’s no wonder Peter lacks a moral center.  Really alarming, well acted and well written.  Damn!

We shift back to the trial, where Clay is on the stand.  He believed the cartoon was newsworthy, not sensational.  “And this is America.  We can handle it.”  (You know, this interests me as an issue.  Newspapers are in trouble, and they’re trying to adapt to a sensationalistic market – though surely no more sensationalistic than in Civil War times. So, can a cartoon actually be newsworthy?  It’s a comment on a newsworthy subject, certainly. It deliberately provokes an emotional reaction in the hopes of – what, then making viewers think clinically on the topic?  That’s not usually the way it works.  Also, I don’t think we ever actually see the Mohamed portion of the cartoon, certainly not up close.  Having it both ways, are we?)  Stern brings up The Vindicator’s “Naked Columnist,” a silly entertainment bit that takes up more space than their Iraq coverage.  Alicia starts hitting every phrase that comes out of Stern’s mouth with an objection.  The judge shoots them down, as he always does.  He starts to wonder about them. Diane is puzzled, but we know better; Alicia’s using her knowledge of Stern’s mental condition to throw him off his stride, to break up his rhythm until he loses his cool.  Stern-girl tries to help, but it’s too late, and when he takes to long trying to compose himself, the judges calls him back, and he lashes out verbally.  The courtroom is stunned to silence.  He’s incredibly lucky not to be held in contempt.  He folds.

During the ten minute recess that follows Stern’s outburst, Cary pulls Kalinda aside.  If we think it’s an inside job, he says, why are we looking still for a jihad motive? Surely that can’t apply.  It’s got to be something else.  Right on, Cary.  But what, Kalinda asks.  “I didn’t say I was solving something,” Cary chuckles, “I just said I didn’t understand.” She stalks off, thoughtful.  “Whatever you get, I want credit for it!” he calls after her.  Of course he does.  He’ll at least deserve partial credit, I think.

Back in court, we see Thiessen back on the stand.  Cary rips into him with questions about the Synagogue bombing, and the specifics of each bomb, and how they were different – or not.  Thiessen sure knows an awful lot of bomb-making specifics. Maybe he did online research like Kalinda?  Nope, from his squirrelly reaction, it’s clear that they have Perry Masoned their way to the truth once again.  Disgruntled employee Thiessen is the bomber.  Stern starts passing notes to Diane with settlement offers.  Diane knocks the $350,ooo down to a quarter mill.  Guess that’s what you get for letting anger and grief overwhelm your judgment, Mrs. Sanborn. I think you’re lucky they’re willing to settle for anything at this point.  Looks like you should have waited a little longer than 6 months.  Or gotten more of your facts straight before you got your vigilante on.

Gospel music starts playing over the note-passing, and the scene shifts to a round concrete building which looks more like a sports arena than a church.  Inside it’s much more intimate; the church part has to be smallest section of this building. The Florricks (with the kids but minus Jackie) greet Pastor Isaiah, as the (mostly African American) churchgoers in their Sunday best fill in the pews and a red robed choir sways and sings.  Zach and Grace get to say hello.   I miss them!  Peter and the kids hunt for a seat, while Pastor Isaiah asks Alicia if she’s like to meet with him alone.  She smirks out a no.     “I’ve respected the way you’ve stood by your husband,” he says. “It’s a lesson in Christian forebearance.” “Well, it’s a lesson in something,” she says.

Cary shows up at Stern-girl’s apartment with coffee.  She’s furious.  Turns out she’s not Stern’s girl anymore; he fired her when he found out she leaked the info to Cary.  I know, he says, that’s why I brought you the coffee. Ah, Cary.  She rails at him for breaking her confidence, but what did she possibly expect?  Ridiculous, playing at interoffice intrigue and spying without thinking to protect yourself.  Funny, she says, “you don’t seem like the loyal type.”  There.  You did know better.  You just thought you were above it all.  Is there a job for me at Lockhart Gardner, she wonders?  Definitely not, he laughs. She dumps out her coffee in the sink to show him what she thinks of his peace offering, and fills the cup with water.  Why’d you do that, he wants to know.  Because the coffee’s too hot to throw at you, she growls, tossing the water in his face.

It was her own fault, but he does deserved that.  And you can see from the smile on his face that he knew it, at least a little.

“What does Christian forebearance mean,” Pastor Isaiah wonders in his sermon.  Something to the effect of there are no time limits on forgiveness.  Oh, dude, that is so not cool.  Tailoring the homily to your new visitors?  Especially to Alicia, who he doesn’t know, rather than Peter?  That is seriously uncool.  Because she wasn’t hostile enough to you before?  Also not cool?  Peter sneaking out.  To meet Kozko in a concrete stairway.  Oh, dude.  You are your mother’s son.  Idiot.

The men hug each other, and Kozko goes into an elaborate apology for betraying his old friend to Childs.  “He has me in a corner, ” Kozko whines, “with stuff even you don’t know about.” If their association is so long-standing, why has Alicia never met him socially?  Odd.  The choir takes up the hymn “Down By the Riverside”; is the sermon over, or are there hymns interspersed with it?  Childs will make you lie, Peter says, pleading. “It won’t all be lies,” Kozko says with eyes downcast.  I have the videotape.  From the meeting in the hotel room.  Peter is stricken.  Then he leans in. “Do you believe in hell?”  “Sure, why,” says Kozko, befuddled.  “Do you believe you’ll have to answer for your sins?”    “I don’t have time for this,” Kozko squirms uncomfortably.  “Actually I do, yes.”

Peter leans in further and ferociously rips open his old friend’s clothes to reveal a wire. As Kozko sputters about the bind Childs has him in, Peter goes on a tear.  Let’s forget about what I have on you, he says, since that’s not likely to make a difference. “It’s what I have on your son Anthony.  Your married son.  That’s right, your beautiful legacy.”  He smashes the recording device against the concrete wall. “Peter, don’t – you told me you’re a Christian!” Kozko bleats.  “Damn right I am,” Peter stares him down. “Haven’t you read the Old Testament?”   Alicia leaves her pew just in time to see Kozko running out of the stairwell, clutching his shredded clothing to his chest, and get a look right in Peter’s guilty face.  Her trust is gone.  Boom.

The scene shifts with a look at the apartment door.  It’s fascinating how often that happens.  That door gets a lot of screen time.  Alicia is coldly livid; you can see it in her sharp, staccato movements and the way she’s trying not to meet his eyes.  She calls Will and asks if now is a good time to have that dinner they’ve been postponing.  Ouch.  Alicia, that’s not a good thing to do when you’re mad; remember Mrs. Sanborn!  She coolly gives Peter directions on feeding and caring for the kids in her absence.  “Am I not supposed to be jealous?” he wonders.  “I don’t care what you are,” she replies, letting her poker face crack a bit.  “I feel like you’re punishing me for something I didn’t do,” Peter complains.  Oh my God.  What the heck does he think he didn’t do?  Because it wasn’t sex, it’s automatically okay?  Is he going to pretend she didn’t catch him acting like a thug under the pretext of connecting with God? “I’m not punishing you, Peter,” she lies. “I’m going out to dinner with an old friend.”

“What you saw was me protecting our family.  The guy was wearing a wire.” Oh, for the love of God.  That’s what he was doing, protecting his family?  Like Kozko was protecting his son, huh?  She’s not buying it for a second – and of course she shouldn’t. “It’s over.” she says flatly. “What is?” he wonders. “Us,” she responds, “Me caring. Me actually thinking that you’re changing.” “I am changing,” he says, wounded.  “No, you’re not.  You want to think you are so you can go back to what you did before.”  She grabs her coat and keys and stalks out the door, hits the elevator button, practically taunting him as he stands in the doorway, unable to follow. “Then help,” he asks. “If you’re right, help me.”  “No,” she says, biting down on the word in her fury.  “We have to keep talking,” he pleads.  She doesn’t respond, of course. “So there’s nothing I can say?”  “That’s right,” she says, and she leaves.

He looks at the sensor near his threshold which will set off the screamer alarm if he crosses over.  He looks at his shiny leather shoes, toes balanced on the very edge.  His muscles tense.  I’m reminded of Eli Gold introducing himself to Alicia, saying that they’re going to get along because they’re both cautious, where Peter isn’t.  Peter is a risk taker.  So if there’s nothing he can say to Alicia, there’s another way he can prove his loyalty and the purity of his intent (not to mention distract her from her dinner plans).  He steps into the hall.  The alarm screams.  He pushes the elevator button.   He’s blown up his house arrest.  Boom.

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18 comments on “The Good Wife: Boom

  1. Liz says:

    I was looking forward to your thoughts on “Boom”.

    Will and Alicia shared a look. When he said we’ll look past the irony… they shared a look, though it was brief. The irony of their lives?

    I have so many questions about Peter. The Jackie scenes raised more questions, and when he crossed the the “border”…! made me question whether he loves Alicia; all this time I was pretty sure he was just using her… is there any purity left in him?

    Diane and Kalinda took the backseat this week, but I enjoyed Cary, Julius and Will. Each character has nuances, and I never know what to expect. That must be why I’m so hooked.

    So much to wonder about…

    This was a quietly loaded episode.

    • E says:

      Thank you! Sorry they took so long. And, ooh, I missed the look. I’ll have to go back and look for the look. I love their looks.

      I agree – the whole thing with Peter is just crazy. I think he loves Alicia, or believes he loves Alicia – but what does that actually mean? Would we consider it love – or love in action? He doesn’t seem to be a very self-aware person. Just like Jackie saying that her son the clearly corrupt politician is “good”. Good in what context? Really, the question with him seems to be where his boundaries are – how far over the line he’s willing to go. Is there anything about him that’s solid and authentic, or does it all change based on what seems most expedient at the moment?

      Really really well done.

      It was nice to get to know Julius a little, wasn’t it, and to see Cary in action again? They have so many great characters they can pull from – it’s an embarrassment of riches.

    • E says:

      I checked out that scene again, and I think you’re right – I think Will was certainly expecting Alicia to be with him on believing that the irony was irrelevant. I’m not sure she was; she’s much harder to read, which makes her so intriguing.

  2. music says:

    Your thinking and writing is just as well executed as this episode E. I am continuously impressed.
    I thought I was a bit of my rocker for missing Jackie, but after seeing Boom I understood why. She is the real villain of the show! Peter embodies all the qualities a Good Son should have, according to her set of values.
    He does have a moral center, his mother’s ideas of what a man should be. They may not be my ideas nor yours, but they do follow a code. His father was a judge, if I recall. How much choice do you think Peter had of choosing his career? Not much I would gather. He is doing what he was taught to do. And he does love Alicia according to his upside down concept of love.
    When he welcomed faith into his life I believed he meant it, he just couldn’t keep it up. When Jackie was admonishing him not to be weak he was mocking her a bit and when he saw she meant business his demeanor changed. Remember how the church scene happened right after? It’s as if the violence with which he ripped Kozko’s shirt came directly from her words. I really enjoyed how she owned Eli Gold, if Becca was gum on his shoe, then Gold was gum on Jackie’s shoe! “I’m Jackie” “That doesn’t mean anything to me” The look on her face when she had to explain she was Peter’s mother was fantastic. (:
    Boom shed more light into the Peter/Will choice for me. We know Peter has got a barracuda for a mother. So far we don’t have any knowledge of Will’s background. But I know this, Alicia being at Peter’s side for 13 years, plus the kids, provided him with a softer and kinder energy. Will doesn’t have that so everything in his life is competition and grabbing what he desires. And the way he handed Julius the paper and pen to rat on his colleagues? It was clearly not a question as much as an order. It reminded me of The Lives of Others, an amazing film in which the secret police is blackmailing civilians into giving names for arrest. Will even uses the same words: “Write down the names”. Smooth and cold. A very chilling Will Gardner indeed. A happy choice for a life partner?

    • E says:

      Ooooh, I love The Lives of Others. What a great thought. Will was really alarming in that scene, wasn’t he? Very Stazi. All of the people on this show are made complicated by their success and power. I read a great interview with Josh Charles where he talked about the fact that Will has spent his life thus far pursuing ambitious goals, and now he’s got his name above the door, and realizes that he’s missing some pretty important stuff. So for Alicia’s, its an interesting choice – Will seems attractive (as she said herself) because of the “what if”, because he’s an unknown. Will is a fresh slate (even more so because we don’t have a relationship baseline for him, and because there might not even be one) and Peter is written all over. That doesn’t mean that Will would actually be a better life partner, though.

      I loved the Jackie stuff so much. It was just hilarious to watch Eli scramble to make up his mistake, once he realized she was on the list of people he needed to be polite to. “What a lovely broach” – hee hee. And she just dismisses him like he really was the plumber. And yeah, you’re right, Peter probably didn’t have a lot of choice as to his career. There are some families where that’s just what you do. Perhaps it’s the same everywhere, but Chicago seems to be that kind of town.

      Thank you so much for your kind words!

    • E says:

      So I rewatched parts of the episode, and I can’t believe I missed the most hilarious bit of the Jackie/Eli exchange the first time: when she goes off to see Peter and his pastor, she gives Eli an assessing look and then picks her pocketbook up off the island countertop, and brings it with her, as if she couldn’t trust him not to steal it. Completely awesome.

  3. Kiki says:

    I alwasy enjoy reading your reviews!

    And great observation about Jackie, it really does explain alot about Peter and the man he is. I could believe she actually thought apologizing was enough.

    The episode was just great, I am so excited for next week! I am excited to see the children and have more family moments.

    I really think Peter does love Alicia and wants to change, however you cannot take the politician out of him. I believe that it was wrong of him to meet with Kozko in Church however I do believe that he was trying to protect both his family and his trial.

    Alicia was a total badass in this episode. It broke my hear when Peter asked her for help and she coldly said “No” Ouch!!

    Look forward to reading your thoughts for next week! 🙂

    • Kiki says:

      I could not*

    • E says:

      Thanks! 🙂 And oh my gosh, the apology thing – what kind of woman thinks like that? Definitely scary.

      I think Peter doesn’t necessarily know what it means to change. I think he wants to and he doesn’t. How much is lip service, and how much is genuine desire? I’ve no idea where that line is, and I suspect he doesn’t either, which is part of what makes him such a great character. I think Peter for the most part sees his family as an extension of his own desires. So protecting his political interests comes out to the same thing, in his mind, as protecting his family.

      What’s most interesting to me, in some ways, is how angry Alicia got. I didn’t think she was buying his whole “I’m going to change” thing, but now she clearly thinks it was a front. He claimed it was about her, the church stuff, being a better man for her, and it looks like she believed it – or wanted to believe it – more than she’d let on. I don’t think we’ve ever seen her so upset, have we?

      I can’t wait to see how the fall out from his crossing the line affects the kids. I miss them! There are too many great characters on this show.

  4. Susan says:

    I’m crazy about this show and I read as many reviews of each episode as I can find. Yours are always the best!

    I have some thoughts about Peter’s decision to “cross the line.” I think clearly he does love Alicia (in his own selfish, condescending way) and doesn’t want to lose her, but he also needs her if he is going to have any hope of winning reelection. All he wants in life is his family and his old job back, and Alicia walking out threatens both of those. I don’t think the voters will forgive him for the scandal if she divorces him.

    He rationally considers whether it’s worth spending two more months (the time left until his trial) in jail to have a chance to stop her and he decides it is. I think he made the right choice, for him. For Alicia, I think it’s going to come across like a big honking piece of emotional blackmail.

    I can’t wait for next Tuesday!

    • E says:

      Thank you so much! You guys are totally making my day.

      And oooh, I love your thought about Alicia thinking of it as emotional blackmail. That’s great. I’d be very surprised if she doesn’t think of it as manipulative. (Because, of course, it totally is!) Does he think he’s making a grand romantic gesture, or is it merely calculated to make her deal with the police and the fall out and derail her dinner with Will? That part I’m less sure of. You can say him thinking, well, if I can’t SAY anything, at least I can DO something to prove my loyalty. Of course, if he’s in jail for those two months, she can see Will for dinner every night and he wouldn’t know. Bet he didn’t think about that.

      I hate thinking about how mad at her the kids will be. (Well, Jackie will be mad at her too, but Jackie’s already mad so there’s no loss.)

  5. Rebecca says:

    Love the review E. Please keep up the good work. Not enough people are writing about this show. What is up with that?
    I’m at a loss. What was meant to be conveyed by the look that Will and Alicia shared while talking about looking past the ironies to defend the client? I can’t seem to tie it back to anything in the episode. Is it just that they are always smiling at each other, making eye contact(SEXY eye contact) and sharing looks? Or was Will getting a message across?

    • E says:

      Thanks, Rebecca!

      And, yarg. I need to rewatch that scene, stat! You’re the second person to mention it. Will write back when I’ve rewatched it. I’ve lots of thoughts of what it might be, but will need to see it first.

  6. […] don’t happen!  I also don’t know why they need to do this when they just fired those 10 litigators.  You’d think that would have freed up a little extra cash, […]

  7. […] have it’s customary, multilayered relevance.  Usually we have pretty simple words: Bang.  Boom.  Bad.  They don’t get much more complicated than Threesome (which, granted, is complicated […]

  8. […] than not a single syllable.  One little onomatopoetic burst of sound like“Bang” or “Boom” or “Mock.” An early episode was originally listed as “You Can’t Go Home […]

  9. […] my eyes,” Alicia tells him.  I’m a little amazed at how forbearing she’s being. Pastor Isaiah would approve.  Sure, he says, you have the kids, but don’t stay with him if you don’t love him.  […]

  10. […] in it; no, the lines on the screen aren’t inscribing another controversial cartoon (as in Boom); we’re looking at a deeply bored grand jury doodling eyes and stick figures and pirates.  […]

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