The Good Wife: An Irish Wake for Will Gardner

E: Nope, it’s not the title of the new episode. It’s merely a suggestion.  At 8:50, let’s have a little private celebration for the fans – an Irish wake, if you will.  For Will, for Josh Charles and the excellent work he did for us for so many years, for the show that was, for the show to come.

So pick your poison, Good Wife fans, and send up a toast to the universe.  Shots like Kalinda and Alicia?  Scotch like Will?  Red wine?  Or just toss around a baseball; it doesn’t have to be alcohol, just something that feels meaningful to the show.  Hoyas for the Georgetowners?  Maybe it’s a little waltz around the living room with your own version of Diane.  But before the show has us all sobbing like babies again, let’s take a little moment together.   I don’t know about you, but I think we’re going to need it.

The Good Wife: Dramatics, Your Honor – Take 2

E: No, it’s still not a recap.  I’m sorry about that, truly I am. But given that I’m not going to be writing a recap this week, I feel like I owe it to myself and to you guys to do more than (to borrow a phrase from Veronica Mars once more) flail my tiny effectual fists at the universe. It won’t be what you’re used to, but I hope you’ll be willing to bear with me to share some observations and anecdotes in a more conventional format.

So instead of going through every word in painstaking detail, I’d like to say a few things about my reaction to the episode.

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The Good Wife: A Few Words

E: Oh, you beautiful show.  You beautiful, beautiful show.

Some of my favorite returning characters showed up for an American Bar Association conference in New York City – at which Alicia is scheduled to give the keynote address about her personal experience as an “opt out” mom – and they really delivered.  This was one of the funniest episodes in ages, which is a pretty welcome relief after the impending doom of the previous (outstanding) episode.  Oh, not that it’s all fun, games, and drunken duets; we have various forms of entrapment, stage fright, and a very serious walk through memory lane, with a very nasty pop up demon/guilt complex in the form of  – well, we’ll get to that later.

The whole idea of opting in and opting out is a huge one for our society and for Alicia.  (And for me, too – anyone want to pay me to write these recaps?  Because it’s getting to be time for me to opt back in.)  Just like last week’s NSA eavesdropping episode, this one is ripped from the headlines. Now, okay. I can’t help feeling that the stunt casting of the very delightful Jill Hennessy moved against the storyline. Come on – did anyone really believe she’d end up at either Lockhart/Gardner or Florrick/Agos?  With a lesser known actress, there would have been doubt.   I’m absolutely thrilled, however, with the writer’s solution for her; that, my friends, is an odd couple spin-off I desperately wish someone would make possible.  (And hey, I am looking for a job…)

At any rate, instead of being a normal plot, Alicia’s vexing rhetorical issues forced her to face her strongly conflicted feelings about the help she got on the way to the top, and not merely the way that she repaid that help, but how comfortable she was with receiving it in the first place.  It wasn’t so much the stuff that happened, even though we did advance the “impending federal doom” plot.  No, this week was about Alicia’s feelings and thoughts, and how Alicia felt about having those feelings and thoughts.  In many ways, it’s her chance at a decision tree; her chance to go over not what will happen, but what has, and how its made her who she is. As for how that might determine her future, that we have yet to see.

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The Good Wife: Parallel Construction, Bitches

E: First, it makes me angry as an American.

Then there’s the English major in me, which appreciates the meta-levels on which Alicia’s NSA watchers engage in her personal story and develop theories about the “characters” in her life and the way it brings the audience into a sort of parallel construction with the government agents.

But mostly, it just taps into one of my most fundamental fears.  Not quite the stolen identity nightmare of North By Northwest or The Net, “Parallel Construction, Bitches” brings us Alicia once more as a pawn in someone else’s game, the victim of implacable enemy with vast powers and endless resources.  An enemy who doesn’t bother to look at her deeply, to tease out the true meaning and complexities, to mine her story for its truth.  Who doesn’t even bother to see her as human.

Which is to say, my darling show returns after a looooooooong break, and what I have in the pit of my stomach is dread and fear.  Yay?

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