E: A transitional era ends, and a new one begins, not with a bang, but with a whimper. Oh – there were bangs (witness the red meat of the title) but they occurred mostly off screen. Kind of like the explosions going on in my head. What does all this mean for the future? Current guest characters make their exits, at least one new one arrives.
Check out the show’s Facebook page if you’re looking for a laugh. Their social media team put up a little “who would you vote for?” question. Guess who the vast and overwhelming majority wanted to win? Hint: it’s not the main character of the show.
E: It’s a funny thing. Based on last week’s brilliantly appalling episode, and the preview for this week’s, I really expected to hate Open Source; I’m not entirely sure how this happened, but I don’t think I did. I don’t know that I liked it, exactly, but I’m grateful for a few things, which I’m going to tell you up front.
First of all, there was actually interesting courtroom time, which was so very welcome. I missed caring about the case of the week! Next, this election plot is blessedly coming to an end. Whichever way the election lands, I’m going to be glad to be done hating Alicia in this way, even if I have to move on to new ways of being disappointed in her. Also, the ending was managed a bit better than I thought it would be. And that’s good? But there’s a lot of ground to cover before we get to that debate. So, no more waiting. Welcome to Open Source: Less Vomit-Inducing Than Expected!
E: First, we got a look inside Will Gardner’s consciousness in the masterpiece The Decision Tree. Then, we pinged around the inside of Elspeth Tascioni’s bouncy brain in Shiny Objects. Finally, our series of head trips takes us on a visit to Alicia Florrick’s mind. What we learn is in some ways impressive — she has a really fun work process — but in many others unpleasant, confused and controlled, thoughtful and self-serving. I can’t but admire the brilliance and subtlety of the episode’s structure and writing, but I also can’t help being sick to my stomach over where we seem to be going.
It’s often been said that The Good Wife is a show about the education of Alicia Florrick. I’m not sure it was until this episode that I realized that this is an education in the same sense that Breaking Bad‘s Walter White was “educated” into being a drug kingpin, willing to cross more lines and worse lines as his story continued. I’ve always assumed that the goal of the show was for Alicia to find her way through the competing roles she’s been assigned — wife, mother, lawyer, boss, candidate — and arrive at a place where she can truly be herself. That she would find a way to be more than society told her she could be, that she would make the roles bend to her. That she would not merely recover from the hurt done to her, but thrive. It wasn’t until this episode that I started to think she might never get there at all; that the person I grieved with and respected and cheered for all these years is in fact on the verge of disappearing altogether. That instead, she is literally and figuratively losing her voice. That she may end up a highly successful shell of a human being, a cautionary tale for women with ambition. And once again, we’re left to ponder whether we can still like her because she knows she’s making corrupt choices when she makes them. Continue reading
E: So, M, what was it that you were saying about a sea change in the studio release schedule? Let’s look at all March’s amazing offerings. Oh, wait.
M: Okay, look, the schedule for March was already lined up when American Sniper went and busted the block. Another plus, the February box office was up almost 10% over last year.
E: And considering the weather, which has been slamming the North East and dropping actual snow in the South, that’s pretty impressive.
C: People need some comfort! Plus, they can’t even use the sidewalks, and malls are one of the only places left in New England where you can park. But yeah, more good movies year round would be a good thing.
M: I’m still hopeful we don’t get as many months like this in future years. Continue reading
E: This show spoils me for everything else and even, ironically, itself; the bar has been set ridiculously high. When there’s an episode that’s just good instead of amazing, it’s hard to remember that we still get the usual tight plotting and investigation of Alicia’s nuanced moral world. This week the problem is two-fold: first, it’s not a game-changing episode like Hail Mary, and second, it’s just really depressing to see Alicia so compromised and so unhappy. Let’s all hope it’s building to something better.
Fun bits of the episode? A kind of meta-conundrum in which our team sues a television show with ripped-from-the-headlines plots for defamation. Ultimately, however, it’s not in TGW‘s best interest to actually prove the plausibility of defamation, is it? Because then who knows – Aaron Sorkin or Mark Zuckerberg or Ryan Murphy might send a few lawyers their way.