To me, there was a strong possibility that Alicia was going to remain in bed for this entire episode, watching Darkness at Noon marathons while everyone else did their best to give her her space while also covering for her. Add in the emotional fallout from her no-holds-barred kitchen conversation with Peter in "A Material World," and I wouldn't have been at all surprised if The Good Wife had opted to explore Alicia's grief just a little bit more. Alicia has more than earned that, and so has the show.
Except, no, that's not how The Good Wife functions, especially this season. This season is a damn shark: If it's not moving forward, it's dying. So even though Alicia wanted to stay in bed and watch Darkness at Noon, the world kept tugging her back. Finn needed her to represent him in the State's Attorney investigative/disciplinary board, and he needed BAMF Alicia, not Still Grieving Alicia. But Alicia's firm needed her too, as word of the merger between F/A and L/G spread (sorry, Will, but your L.G. experiment died with you), and it was not the happiest of news for Cary and Clarke. Basically, Alicia had to get back on the horse, and that's exactly what she did. All it took was finding out that the NSA was wiretapping her.
That it was the NSA that shook Alicia out of her funk shouldn't be a shock. Its three-hop tap threatened everything and everyone around her. It could've undone her firm and compromised her clients. It could've destroyed Peter's administration, causing political and professional havoc for them both. In short, if she didn't act, everything might've collapsed around her, and with her personal life in shambles, her professional life is truly all she has left. And just in case that wasn't clear enough, that last scene of the episode—with Alicia and Peter going through their calendars—drove it home for us: The professional is all she has, and she needs to protect it and be good in it if she wants to survive.
What made "All Tapped Out" really sing, however, was that it was legitimately fun in a way that The Good Wife has (understandably) pulled back from, to a certain extent, since the last time we visited with the NSA. By wrapping up the NSA story and allowing Alicia to move closer, hopefully, to a degree of acceptance—even if the pain will never go away—The Good Wife signaled that, like Alicia, it's ready to resume business. So we got cheeky bits like Alicia purposefully flagging Louis on her call ("What do you think about Al-Qaeda?") and brilliantly cutting off SA's Castro's knees in defending Finn ("By going down on him?"). As both Louis and Finn noted themselves, those instances showed that Alicia is a changed woman while also bringing The Good Wife's humor back into its fold.
It also gave Cary and Clarke some really nice moments—especially Cary, who was very firm with Diane about the very idea of a merger and then with Alicia about her absence from the firm. He needed to, as Clarke said, start behaving like a managing partner; his name is on the door, after all. At this point, it wouldn't feel all that organic for Cary and Alicia to be at odds with one another, even with Alicia starting merger talks behind his back and Cary's insistence on taking on Jeff the NSA contractor as a client. Their relationship is too strong, even if there are little hints of friction and the source of it is understandable to both parties.
Speaking of mergers and Lockhart/Gardner, that firm is now Lockhart/Gardner & Canning. As this storyline is only now revving up, I'm wanting another episode before I see where anything's going. The enjoyable trouble with Louis is that as an audience, we're very much like Diane and Kalinda in the situation: Louis plays angles with such a subtle touch that you often don't know he's doing it, and it leads to over-thinking things because we're all trying to get ahead of him. It's hard not to see him as playing a con when he launches into his explanation about this condition at a meeting, but then manages to alleviate some of the firm's extension issues that Will brought on in the expansion.
Likewise, his talk of wanting a home, and his belief that L/G & C is that home feels as genuine as when he kept offering Alicia a job offer over the years, which is to say that it seems completely genuine, but one still can't help but wonder if he was doing it just to throw Alicia off her game in the same way the "I want a home" stuff may be there to confuse and confound Diane and Kalinda. So I'm naturally super curious about how this is going to play out over the next few episodes.
– JULIUS CAIN LIVES! See! There he is! Photographic proof! Sure, he's been in New York since L/G starting expanding, but where was he before that?! I need an entire episode devoted to the life and times of Julius Cain since the tail end of Season 3, which was the last time we saw him. Also: This episode was a Spin City reunion!
– The highlight of the hour may have been the dubbing joke as Cary's voice came out of Jeff's mouth at one point. Loved it.
– Peter's takedown of the senator he knew was pretty awesome. He and Alicia are just so much alike in their tactical thinking that it's scary how unstoppable they are, even when things are as cold as Hoth at night between them.
– Louis Canning thinks Ayn Rand is an underrated writer. Just going to leave that there for you all to discuss.
– Jeff was wearing a Chummie T-shirt when he first met with Cary and Clarke, and while I normally don't engage in this sort of thing, you can totally buy that T-shirt for yourself if you want. I'm seriously considering it. In other Good Wife merchandising news, series composer David Buckley announced on his website that a soundtrack for the show is forthcoming, with tracks mainly from this season. That I won't even need to think about; I'll buy it the day it's released. (Thanks to @FlorrickAssoc for tipping me off about the soundtrack news.)
What did you think of "All Tapped Out"?
AIRED ON 11/23/2014
Season 6 : Episode 10