'The Good Wife': Coming home and 'Going Rogue'
Let me just start by saying: It feels good to be home. After weeks of being lulled into a stupor watching Norwegian men in garish pants furiously Swiffering large sheets of ice, I for one was ready to get back to the world of scripted drama. I have a feeling my fellow “Good Wife” fans have been feeling the same way. Still, I am going to miss the ice dancing.
But back to the task at hand. After an Olympic-sized hiatus, “The Good Wife” returned triumphantly last night, and as usual, there were more suspicions raised than there were questions answered. There’s a lot of ground to cover -- and sexual tension to analyze -- so let’s get to it.
At work, Alicia is forced to stick up for herself when Diane takes her off the Broussard murder case. (Long story short: Alicia was defending a guy accused of killing someone who ran a Madoff feeder fund; that’s probably all I’m going to mention about this plot, so savor it.) At first, Alicia doesn’t openly question the move, but Kalinda calls her out for being a pushover. “Alicia, you’re a good lawyer, but you’re always waiting for people to give you things,” she tells her. Would that we all had a Kalinda in our lives.
When it turns out that Will, not Diane, requested Alicia's transfer, we are treated to a rather tense and -- dare I say -- sexy confrontation between the two. Will assumes that Alicia would want to spend more time at home now that Peter's out of prison, but nope. "I want to be here," she tells Will. "I want you to be here," he responds. "Then ... I'm here," she says, rather sassily. I'm pretty sure Alicia is daring Will to make a move, but instead of pouncing on each other, they stand there for about an hour, trying to figure out what, exactly, they just said to each other. The writers were laying it on pretty thick -- Will and Alicia were practically standing on top of each other -- but whatever, it was awesome. I wish they would just make like normal co-workers everywhere and hook up after a few too many frozen margaritas at happy hour.
Speaking of romance, the mystery of Kalinda's sexuality intensified this week. She has a covert meeting with FBI agent Lana Davenport (Jill Flint) to discuss the Broussard case and to maybe, just maybe, find out who's been spying on the Florricks. But nope, Lana won't give an inch. In yet another moment of serious double entendre, Lana tells Kalinda, "I want you to work under me, feed me random things that you come by." Kalinda responds sheepishly, "I'm happy where I am." She seems put off by the whole thing and, for the first time maybe ever, even a little shy. I can't tell if that's because Kalinda doesn't like being hit on, doesn't want to rat out Peter, is frustrated that Lana is immune to her flirting ploy or all of the above. Holy ambiguity, Batman!
But by far the most amusing plot line on this episode was Diane’s “Northern Exposure”-style flirtation with a ballistics expert (played with aplomb by Gary Cole, a.k.a. Lumberg) He’s a proud gun owner who lives far from the city in what looks like an extremely awesome ski lodge/bunker outfitted for the apocalypse, and his last name is (gulp) McVeigh. Again, no points for subtlety this week, but hey, it was funny. Plus there was some genuine chemistry between Diane and the charming gun nut. When he tells her she reminds him of Sarah Palin, something that would usually make Diane upchuck her latte, she instead finds herself charmed. And she is downright smitten when McVeigh sends her a copy of “Going Rogue” as a gift. In return, she sends him a copy of the parody “Going Rouge: A Candid Look Inside the Mind of Political Conservative Sarah Palin,” which it turns out, is a blank book. It's cute but almost annoyingly timely -- sometimes you don't want to be reminded of things like Sarah Palin (or Bernie Madoff) when you're watching TV, even if it's in the service of some convincing love-hate banter. But mostly I was just shocked that there were not one but two books called “Going Rouge” out there.
Maybe it's because Cole and Baranski are both so adept at comedy, but the whole plot teetered on the brink of being a sitcom, and I mean that in a good way. I had a fleeting moment last night when I hoped the crazy writers were laying the groundwork for a spinoff. Here's how it will go: Diane, ousted by Will and fed up with the venal life of the big-city lawyer, goes to live with her man McVeigh in the wilderness just outside Chicago. She burns the moose burgers, he uses her copies of “The New York Times” to start campfires. He writes 30,000 anti-government manifestos, she vets them for legal concerns. It will be a beautiful but unexpected partnership. The show will be called “Lone Wolf.” Um … anyway … the point is, it’s nice to have some levity to balance out all the fast-paced legal drama, and I hope that Mr. McVeigh makes it into some future episodes. You hear me, team of writers?
Speaking of politics, Alan Cumming also made a riveting guest appearance as Eli Gold, a Machiavellian operative who, I’m fairly certain, was modeled after none other than White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. There was bullying, foul language and Chicago origins. Gold is even a classically trained pianist, and Emanuel a classically trained ballet dancer (don’t ask me how I know these things, but I do). It was a pretty clear homage, and Cumming was -- no surprise here -- fantastic. Sure, he’s a creep, but Gold seems to know about everything -- federal investigations as well as broken dishwashers. If Peter wants to stay out of prison, much less revive his career, he's going to need Mr. Gold.
This is Peter’s first week home, and within about 40 seconds, he's bored with watching cable television (apparently there isn't any ice dancing on). In yet another entertaining comedic aside, Peter turns off the TV rather than watch a show called “Gorilla Boy” (I'm guessing it was on TLC) and which I am now frantically Googling because if that's real, I am setting my DVR. In any case, it's clear Peter is not going to be happy sitting around the house playing Mr. Mom for very long. He's already trying to revive his political career, so I'm sure he'll be butting heads with Alicia over domestic duties in no time flat. And just when Alicia is starting to love her job ...
What we learned: Peter likes pineapple upside-down cake, he definitely hasn't given up on his political aspirations, and whether the pictures of him and the floozie are fake, they certainly freaked him out.
New questions: Why are the feds investigating Peter? Just what was going on with Kalinda and that FBI chick? Is she selling Peter out to the feds? And did Kalinda just say "you're cute" or was it "thank you"? Will Diane and McVeigh take it to the next level? And are Diane and Will going to split up the firm?
What did you think of all the sexual tension this week?
-- Meredith Blake
(Follow me on Twitter @MeredithBlake)
Photos: Listen, you do not want to mess with Eli Gold (Alan Cumming). Or Alicia (Julianna Margulies), for that matter. Credit: Jeffrey Neira / CBS