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The Good Wife S05E20: "The Deep Web"

If the memory games and rapid pace of last week's episode resulted in a scattered mess—as many of you seemed to think (along with being tired of Colin Sweeney)—then "The Deep Web" was organized within an inch of its life. Each story revolved around issues of deception, be they legal, professional, political, or personal. And since I've been writing for TV.com for nearly two years, many of you may already know how much I enjoy such a unified narrative. However, I didn't really find much pleasure out of it.

That's not to say the episode was bad. I reserve the "bad" label for episodes that offend my sensibilities in some way, and they tend to be "know it when I see it"-type deals. No, "The Deep Web" was simply dull. Even Veronica and Darkness at Noon couldn't inject a little looseness into the proceedings, and when that happens, you know things have taken a turn. Perhaps it's because everything was too tidy and too just so that there wasn't any room for air. 

Finn drew the short narrative straw this week, and for that I'm sort of sorry. I've been enjoying the character and Matthew Goode's work on the show so far (I have not been enjoying Finn's hair, though; it's like The Good Wife's stylists have no idea what to do with it), and "The Deep Web" had a couple of tasks to complete with Finn this week. First, it needed to show him doing prosecutor-y things, like pressuring a kid to give up the names of the top dogs of the Silk Road, visiting crime scenes, and talking to other potential suspects. It's important for us to see Finn doing this kind of stuff; should he stick around for Season 6, The Good Wife will need us to view him as someone who's at least good at his job. Second, the episode needed to get his campaign moving, which meant a local news interview and some coaching from Eli.

While the case of the week wasn't all that exciting (we'll get to that in just a second), Finn's involvement wasn't the most important aspect of it, so it felt more like the show was just going through the motions than anything else. The campaign stuff was slightly more interesting, as Eli molded this poor, generally decent-seeming human being into a person who could win and survive Cook County politics. Eli is working with completely unformed clay here, as Finn's handling of Mandy Post's surprise question about his sister's suicide played really well. He is, as Eli noted, a true politician now, and Finn didn't seem all too pleased with this new development in his life. He did only get into it, after all, to save his job.

Diane and the case of the week sat right in the middle of things, as Lyle Pollard's grandson—one of Diane's old-school liberal friends who objected to her marriage to Kurt way back at the start of the season—was picked up for being associated with the Silk Road. As the show explained, the Silk Road is a black-market Amazon of sorts that provides all sorts of illegal and illicit wares and services. The plot avoided court, instead becoming a game of lies and finger-pointings that reminded me of both the Season 2 episode "VIP Treatment" and the show's Bitcoin episode "Bitcoin for Dummies," which may explain why this aspect of Diane's plot never really took hold for me. It felt like a rehash of ideas and plot beats, but without its predecessors' sense of urgency or style. That Robbie was setting up Corsica for ordering the murder of some other Silk Road member should've been exciting or even somewhat interesting, but it fell flat.

Louis Canning and David Lee's shenanigans were just that, but at least they ended with Diane shooting Louis Canning a massive doom stare. The fact that Louis is still trying to mess with Diane's personal life even though he's dying is exactly what we'd expect from him, as he's a guy who plays all the angles. Hopefully things on this front will come to a head soon, though I would've liked to have seen them as allies in court just once, as I loved Diane prompting Louis to do his shtick to explain tardive dyskinesia to Finn. The two of them might have made for great partners if Louis wasn't such a bastard.

The episode's only legitimately good and interesting story focused on Alicia. After being excused from jury duty and making small talk with a handsome designer of batteries named Daniel (Nestor Carbonell, cranking up the charm), Alicia found herself with the day off after Cary told her to just blow off work. This led to a number of things, including Alicia not being able to work a smart TV to agreeing to have lunch with Veronica to then ditching that lunch and getting food with Daniel and being asked out for drinks by Daniel for the same night.

Despite getting her groove back a couple of weeks ago, Alicia's been going to work, even though she no longer enjoys it or sees the point in it. She expressed similar concerns earlier when she ran into Grace's YouTube dancing tutor, but those thoughts are still lingering, causing her to question her entire life. Couple that with her hesitancy to have drinks with a nice, charming man because she's not sure who she's being faithful to, Peter or Will, and Alicia is nowhere near out of her spiral.

But I'm glad she's not. I'm also glad she's still able to don her mask of kick-ass determination—but without any reason to put it on, and with a TV that confounds her at every move, she has some serious thinking to do. Ever since we met Alicia, she's worn a mask and been portrayed as a saint. She got back into law because she had to, not necessarily because she wanted to. She split from L/G because of her feelings for Will (and to achieve some degree of autonomy as well), but with Will's death—not to mention the strain her departure had caused between them—what's the point of it now? Her marriage is reduced to scheduled events, and her law firm seems to be running okay without her. Does she actually need any of this? For the first time since The Good Wife began, Alicia is free to do whatever she wants, and she has no idea what to do because for five years, that's never really been an option. Her affair with Will was a brief and passionate blip on the radar, but it was still just a blip.

And all of this has to be scary and worrisome for her. She's looking for reasons to avoid making decisions, to maintain the life that's generally worked for her—including the idea that she has to be faithful to a man she's not sure she loves any longer or to a man who's dead—but she's now starting to realize that it's not, perhaps, what she wanted. It could just be the sadness and depression over Will's death (and it probably is, on some level), but it's also a catalyst for re-thinking everything, even if she's not expressing it out loud.


– I loved that Lyle is still convinced the cops are after him for his "work at the '68 convention." So great.

– "Sex... is a chimera. I saw a crack whore eat her own arm. I saw a baby drowned in a car. Sex... just keeps us occupied. Because reality can’t be endured. Even this will end in smoke." Never change, Darkness at Noon. Never change.

– Hey, look at that! Mandy Post moved from a magazine to local news! Good for her!

– Oh, and Eli's hair is now a different color! I'm assuming Alan Cumming was preparing for his return to Cabaret on Broadway at this point in the production schedule?

– "If society valued kindness and a good haircut, I'd establish that."

What did you think of "The Deep Web"?

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