The Good Wife "Goliath and David" Review: Illegally Yours
After reading the episode description for "Goliath David," and watching the promo for it, I was totally prepared to rake The Good Wife over some coals. Will going after Alicia in court? Again? And in a case that he wasn't not originally involved with? "Let us move on," I was ready to whine over and over, "Let's have Alicia and Cary face down someone who's not from L.G., and everything will be okay! The narrative world will continue to spin!"
Then the episode happened, and there were a number of delightful, fun, playful moments, and the "Will versus Alicia" aspect faded into the background and it stopped mattering as much (I'm still going to talk about it, though). Instead, there was Matthew Lillard having far too much fun, and that out-of-left-field celebrity cameo that resolved the Marilyn baby plot in a way that almost made me okay with all the baby silliness we had to endure in the earlier episodes.
Oh, and there was also some Kalinda/Damian/Jenna stuff, and I'm totally inves— Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
So the case-of-the-week was a riff on the whole Jonathan Coulton/Glee tiff from very early last year in which a popular TV show—in this case, Drama Camp, about "a summer camp talent show"—appropriated a musical duo's melody of a cover of a rap song in both the show and in the iTunes version. Thus we were treated to the myriad copyright entanglements involved in that, complete with derivative copyrights, transformative work arguments, a Ryan Murphy stand-in (who wasn't as much fun as The Good Wife's Aaron Sorkin stand-in from Season 2), and two musicologists fighting in court. It was all a lot of fun. The case certainly didn't have particularly high stakes, but it moved along at a brisk-enough pace, and featured enough clever legal strategy, that it was entertaining, and after weeks of next to nothing on TV, I don't mind something being just entertaining. Hell, any week I don't mind that.
The Good Wife has been a series that has, in the past, managed to absorb criticisms and make them a part of the show, like the whole bribing-judges arc as a way to make hay out of the "Wow, Lockhart/Gardner wins an awful lot of cases" observation. I feel like the show is acknowledging that the two firms always being in court against each other is becoming forced—"It's just coincidence that we keep opposing each other on cases?"—but the next question will be whether or not the show moves away from this structure going forward. Certainly it's providing a dramatic purpose, as Will and Alicia's private war in court feeds the notion of the hurt/revenge Will is going through, but did the instances in this episode, apart from providing some great burns on Will and showing how Alicia can be flustered in court, really do anything to change or enhance what we already experienced in "The Decision Tree"? I don't think so, and as such, they felt like gentle—but extraneous—reminders.
On the law firm front, Diane was attempting to pump the brakes on the expansion plans as Will, emboldened by the (apparent) success of the opening of the New York branch, wanted to expand to Los Angeles as well. Will's been using Damian to sway votes, and so Will is very much running Lockhart/Gardner less like the family the firm has often been described as and more like The Family. It's typical of Will's commando attitude, but the show may be pushing it too hard and too fast, or maybe it's just the association of Damian doing his enforcer thing that I'm having a negative response to. Maybe both.
Diane is backed into something of a corner here, since, as Will pointed out, she "walked away" from the firm, and Will had to step up. It's still something Will can use to outflank her, but only for so long, since Diane is still a name partner and has a number of partners who are loyal to her. Her side-eye and unwilling support of Will lifting the client solicitation ban spoke volumes, however, and so I won't be at all surprised if she goes looking for a home elsewhere before the season is finished.
Meanwhile, since the episode picked up right where "The Decision Tree" left off, Eli sent Kalinda off to find out who the father of Marilyn's baby is in an effort to make sure that it wasn't Peter Florrick, and just some other, random Peter. It was a nice plot for a couple of reasons. The first was that Kalinda got to do something resembling what she normally does: investigate things. So even though it was interrupted by Jenna a few times (she is the least busy cop/detective ever), it was good to see Kalinda out in the world, lying to people and getting information.
The other reason was that it lacked the drawn-out timeline that I was half-expecting the show to give to the paternity issue. I figured it would take a couple of episodes for this arc to be resolved, but Eli behaved exactly as Eli would: He confronted Marilyn very aggressively and it hurried things along, which I'm very happy about. That the baby's daddy was Peter Bogdanovich, well, that was just icing on the cake. I honestly don't remember the last time I let out such a loud laugh in the middle of an incredibly devastating moment for a show.
That moment, of course, was the reveal that the surveillance footage of stuffed ballot boxes being carried into a polling place from "What's in the Box?" has been obtained by a newspaper reporter, and the paper is about to post it online, with or without a comment from Eli. So the hunt is on for who leaked it. Will has a copy. Kalinda has a copy. But who else? And who would leak it? It's for sure not Kalinda, but it doesn't seem like it would be Will either, because frankly, it's too covert an action for a guy who's fonder of blowing things up to make sure you know it was him. Am I missing someone?
– I enjoyed Cary's little pep talk to Alicia after Will knocked her off her game in the first round of testimony. I need Cary do more things on this show.
– Silent Musician awkwardly attempting to hug Cary at the end? I died.
– "I'm getting so sick of this song." IT'S STILL IN MY HEAD. Club-hopping, booty-popping, drama-making...
– "Into what I wore the night you banged me the first time." "I was less discriminating then." Alicia is harsh.
– "Can I just say that I love this stuff? I mean, I don't understand a word you guys are saying, but this is awesome!" Later: "It's like legal jazz!" Lillard kind of deserves an Emmy for this performance.
– I'm really glad that Robyn got a "Kalinda moment" and saved the case.
– After Bogdanovich's cameo, I'm half-expecting Godard to show up as Damian the old mob boss in the season finale, just because.
– Jonathan Coulton was apparently watching the episode, and even tweeted about it. I'm sure he's joking.
Sigh. Now I have to sue The Good Wife AND @MatthewLillard I guess?— Jonathan Coulton (@jonathancoulton) January 6, 2014
– Judge Marx is my second favorite judge after Abernathy, so I'm always happy to see him.
– I know I made light of the Kalinda plot above, but once again it feels like she's in another show-within-a-show situation, and once again, I'm struggling to really care. That being said, I have no problem believing that Kalinda has absolutely no idea who Katy Perry is.
What'd you think of "Goliath and David"?
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