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'The Good Wife' recap: Baseball bats and ball gowns

On Tuesday night, "The Good Wife" revived one of its favorite themes: The ways in which being a woman can be a benefit, as well as a hindrance, in the workplace.   

Mamie Gummer returned as Nancy Crozier, the cunning, wide-eyed young lawyer we first met last season. Just to state the obvious, Alicia and Nancy are opposites. We've yet to see Alicia use her considerable physical beauty to her advantage in the courtroom. She does frequently use what we might call her "feminine intuition" to break a case open -- as in the show's pilot, in which she offered up a can of Diet Coke to a key witness, then buttered her up even more by asking her about her kids. One of the major lessons of the show's first season was how Alicia's 15 years as a wife and mother are an asset, and not a detriment, to her new job. Sure, she understands the law, but she also possesses an emotional acuity that no amount of courtroom experience can guarantee.  

Young Nancy, on the other hand, knows how to use her femininity, too -- only hers is an aw shucks version that has a particular appeal to middle-age male judges. She is the Jessica Simpson of the courtroom, only instead of asking about the origins of canned tuna, she's asking about the basics of this new-fangled raving business. (Apparently, she never saw this episode of  of "Beverly Hills, 90210" from 1991). Alicia bristles at having to wear skirts in court (can a judge even do that?), but Nancy is happy to exploit her youth and X chromosomes for all they're worth. After Alicia's and Nancy's brief truce, it was a pleasure to see the younger lawyer get her comeuppance. A season ago, there's no way Alicia would have duped a barely conscious man into signing away his client's defense. And maybe if Nancy hadn't been so manipulative, Alicia wouldn't have done it. But she did, and she won. Check out the devilish smile she gave Nancy once they wheeled in her star witness. Alicia may roll her eyes at Nancy's feigned naivete, but she wasn't the only Machiavellian in the courtroom in this episode.  

Kalinda's brief but highly memorable appearance in this episode was yet another moment of a woman ruthlessly exploiting her femininity -- or rather, her sexuality. Everything about the scene, from the choice of music ("Luv Song" by Jane Jensen) to the window-smashing to the lipstick traces on the rearview mirror, read like the revenge fantasy of a woman scorned. And it probably looked that way to the poor sap who happened upon Kalinda, mid-swing -- hell hath no fury, and what not. Kalinda doesn't stop with vandalizing Blake's car, she goes the extra mile (pardon the pun) and gropes the guy in the middle of the parking garage. It was all quite entertaining, but even for our Kalinda, it was, to borrow Blake's words, pretty "ham-fisted." The beauty of Kalinda is how she's eluded our understanding for so long. I know the writers are trying to heighten the suspense about Kalinda's past -- and to have some fun along the way -- but there's only so long they can do so before Kalinda will devolve into shtick. She's already destroyed Blake's car and sexually assaulted him (that counts, right?), all for calling her Leela. I am a little scared about what she might pull come sweeps. 

For me, the highlight of this episode was Alicia's deposition (relive it all in the clip above).  It was one of those irony-soaked scenes that "The Good Wife" does so well -- even Cary couldn't resist remarking on it. "This is funny all the connections, isn’t it?" he says. If anything, that was an understatement. Here was Will, in love with Alicia, helping her protect her husband, after specifically asking her not to cover for him. I have no idea what Will knows about Glenn, or if he knows anything at all; the whole gambit could have been an elaborate bluff. In any case, it was the kind of legal deus ex machina that qualifies as chivalry on "The Good Wife." Credit to Josh Charles, who does the insistent "No, no, really, it's cool" thing so well. When Alicia asks him if maybe she and Peter shouldn't come, Will tries admirably -- but unconvincingly -- to play it cool. "No, it’ll be fun. Go!" he says. Me thinks the gentleman doth protest too much. And "me knows it" the second Alicia walks into the gala wearing her dazzling red mermaid gown.  Will can't quite keep it together, and introduces his date, Tammy, as Tamra. Was he so flustered at the site of Alicia that he couldn't get it straight, or was he opting for the more sophisticated name in a bid to make her jealous? Who knows. Regardless, I'm looking forward to next week, when the partners return to the office for an all-nighter in their black-tie finery. Maybe all the" grown-up clothes" will encourage a little bit of grown-up conversation between these two.  

What we learned: Kalinda's story about being the child of immigrants from Menlo Park is not true. Blake keeps bullets for a very large gun in the backseat of his rental car (so maybe he's the Northbrook sniper after all?). Will knows something about Glenn -- either that or he's got a really good poker face. Derrick does not have a lady friend. Glenn and Peter have a new opponent in the race, and it's not Judge Adler.  

New questions: Seriously, what is going on with Kalinda? What does Will know about Glenn? Where does Will meet all these dates, anyway? Was Judge Adler ever planning on running, or was Wendy Carr always going to be the nominee?

What do you think?    

-- Meredith Blake




Complete Show Tracker coverage of 'The Good Wife'

'The Good Wife' recap: Meet the family

'The Good Wife' recap: Strange bedfellows

'The Good Wife' recap:  I just called to say I love you

'The Good Wife': Top 10 things I learned on set

Josh Charles talks about what's next for Will and Alicia

'The Good Wife': Coming home and 'Going Rogue'


Comments () | Archives (12)

Kalinda the mystery indeed! And I agree if this is her when he calls her Leela, I can just imagine how much work she can get! I love finding out stuff about her, and I love how tough she is. She definitely is one of the most interesting character the show has.

And the politics just keep getting messier! I like it!

I loved the episode but it was not the best they've done. Two things bugged me about it. The case of the week was one of the most boring. I'd like to see one episode where they win purely on the basis of their legal acumen rather than Kalinda sauntering onto information that seals the opponent's case every time. Speaking of Kalinda and her sauntering, sure she's easy on the eyes, but with getting people to open lockers for her by merely saying her name, walking on to an active SWAT scene without batting an eyelid and now vandalizing a co-worker's car and molesting him it is getting too comic book like for a show that usually gives us very nuanced characters. I want to think Kalinda is as human and as real as the other characters on the show, but all this superhero stuff is not helping. And did the show really need the music to complete the effect in the parking lot scene? Yeah she's badass, we get it, we got it a long time ago. Now could she have some other characteristics for a change? I fear her next big stunt is going to be jumping a shark. I know she's popular, but so was Fonzie before he went to Hollywood and sealed his own and the show's fate. When Blake revealed that her history is fake I was busy rolling my eyes and thinking to myself that it had to be because she obviously came from Krypton.
There was still a lot of room for things to love in the episode. Now Derrick is a character whom we don't know much about and he still manages to come across as a real human being. And it has only been four episodes. It is much more understandable to know so little about him. I'm interested to know what his deal is. I love the dynamic between the three partners.
All the Alicia/Will in this episode was great. How is Peter not picking up on all the non-verbal communication between these two? I did like Elizabeth Reaser and her character. Hope she sticks around for some time. It was nice to see how happy she was making Will. Till she stopped existing to him.
Briefly, if the show lays off the Kalinda antics it is doing great.

I haven't had a chance to watch last week's episode although my sister tried to fill me in but the Wendy Carr part puzzled me. Is she Childs' personal attorney or is she a prosecutor like Cary? Either way, how can she run against her client/boss?

Also, what did Kalinda tell Diane about Will and Derrick's relationship? Why is Derrick so obsessed with Peter and Alicia?

I was glad to see Alicia looking so fabulous in that red dress. Was Will's date the woman who had amnesia on Grey's Anatomy (who Alex liked)? She looked familiar. Meryl Streep's daughter is lovely but as you say it was great to see her get her comeuppance.

This show makes my imagination run wild! I am convinced there is something going on between the new partner and the third candidate - which can only mean trouble for Alicia. Derrick seeks Alicia out way too early and often for my liking.

One of the things I absolutely love about this show is how they write their female characters. These girls are not afraid of their sexuality or their intelligence. You know this show loves women when they have all female lawyers and a female judge in the courtroom, as in that one in military court. I can't wait for the next episode!

I hope the show doesn't lay off the Kalinda antics! they're as much a part of the show as Will's puppy love looks to Alicia. And I wish that went too so why not agree to disagree and everyone can enjoy the show? ;)

Kalinda is probably the most misunderstood characters of all. Most people just stop at the surface without realizing how complex she is underneath the cool facade. But I guess that's what decades of tv watching and no book reading will do to your brain. Formulaic she is not. So yeah she's hard to figure out. But isn't that more interesting that "what is Cary going to do next to try and get Alicia?" or "who is Will going to sleep with next week?"?

1st: This is by far the best recap/site/blog on TGW. I love love your recap (especially your titles) and actually look forward to it almost as much as I look forward to the show!
2nd: This was a fantastic episode. So much went on in such a short amount of time. The Kalinda story is gonna be good when everything shakes out! I love that she's a little bit crazy and very tough. She's an awesome character.
3rd: was great to see Alicia push back on the young upstart lawyer. Loved it. Alicia usually turns the other cheek, so this episode was satisfying finally!
4th: When oh when will Alicia and Will get together???!!! AND you're right how does Will find all these dates anyway?!

I absolutely loved the subtlety between Alicia and Will throughout this episode-- even if it pains me so much. The fact that he came to her rescue (and then pretended like it wasn't a big deal) at the deposition, to him being hesitant in inviting her and Peter to the gala (knowing that it would be painful for him to see her with Peter), and to the hurt looks on both their faces seeing the other with someone else at the gala.

On a side note, both of them looked absolutely stunning and I have never been more personally excited in seeing a show's cast go to a ballroom event and then have to run to a case (I love that on legal and crime shows). I was just thinking, Alicia was breathtaking in that red dress (Red seems to be her choice color these days, an empowering bold color if I do say so myself), is Alicia dressing up in a beautiful dress all for Peter? Or Will?

What I love most about this new season is that Alicia--unlike Will-- seems to be the one that is nervous and the one who wants to say something about their relationship but is unable too (unlike last season). I actually kinda liked Tammy, it makes me happy to see Will have fun and be all handsome (and not all puppy-eyed which I love and am not complaining about) with another woman.

As for Kalinda major bad-ass behavior this week. I actually loved it. I cant wait for the tension between her and Blake to turn sexual, which you know it will. How can you resist Scott Porter? Or Archie?

The third candidate is a really exciting plot twist that can definitely change the course of the show. What if Peter and Childs team up to take her down? What if she wins (with the help of the elusive Derrick Bond I am guessing)? What becomes of Peter if he loses? What if he wins? Does Alicia need another person who wants to destroy her career? Sooooo many good questions!

Also, why is Will punching someone next week? I cannot wait to see Will get physical.

Really enjoy the shows.
A question if I may. In the previews for next week,did I see two men swinging at each other and if so who were they?
It was shown very very fast.

Love your recaps! And agree with the other review, I look forward to it as much s I do the new episodes!

The deposition scenes were amazing. And Cary, god! Taking a sip of coffee with his pinky extended and the going on about all the connections. And poor Will! Having his toes most definitely stepped on by Diane and Derrick to having Alicia telling him she got help from Peter for that first case. And wasn't it interesting to say the least that Derrick suggested the idea of inviting the Florricks to the event to Diane, but looked at Will to gauge his reaction on the matter? So even he knows...I guess Alicia is the only one oblivious to his feelings for her. Aw.

Kalinda is an integral part of the show and I don't want her to be written out of the show.Just written, you know, better. The car smashing scene from the last episode seems more like something out of Nikita and not TGW. My stating my opinion on the show will not take away anyone's enjoyment of the show. I don't think the writers are taking note of what every viewer has to say and acting accordingly.
Kalinda's character reminds me of nothing but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as far as books are concerned which is not exactly high literature. I don't know how many layers the show expects the viewers to peel off of a character whose pull on the audience is supposedly her mysteriousness and is basically a cipher 27 episodes in.
And if the decades of television watching comment by Carla is directed at me then let me clarify that I never saw Happy Days. But I didn't have to see it to know its ignoble place in pop culture.

Kalinda had already devolved into schtick; with this episode she jumped the shark. If she widens her eyes and gets within 1/16th of an inch from the face of one more character, I'm switching channels on one of the otherwise best shows to come along in a long time.


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