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CBS (ended 2016)

The Good Wife S05E21: "The One Percent"


Between "Tying the Knot," "The Deep Web," and this week's "The One Percent," it sort of feels like The Good Wife is spinning its wheels just a tiny bit before the finale. "The One Percent" was certainly the best episode of the three, but the bar wasn't set particularly high. Considering all the narrative that Season 5 has burned through with Florrick/Agos starting up, the conflict between the two firms, and then Will's death, I can almost excuse The Good Wife for wanting to do a few breather episodes. As the show's creative team itself has pointed out, it's tough to do 22 episodes a year.

This particular hour focused on a ripped-from-the-headlines story featuring returning business tycoon James Paisley (Tom Skerritt) saying really dumb things on television, Diane still wrestling for control of the firm with David Lee and Louis Canning, and Eli assessing the state of the Florricks' marriage. The case and the L/G&C stuff were sort of throwaways for me, but I did enjoy a good deal of Eli's plot this week.

I found the case to be a little light, because it followed the story it was inspired by a little too closely for me. Back in late January, real-life hedge fund manager Tom Perkins wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal that more or less did what Paisley did in his TV interview: compared the rich to Jews in Nazi Germany. Paisley appeared on television to apologize, just as Perkins did, and that just made things worse. Perkins also did a Fortune interview where he discussed the voting and taxes thing that Paisley also mentioned.

I love ripped-from-the-headlines storylines, and The Good Wife's gotten plenty of mileage of that sort of thing in the past; earlier this season, the show produced a great episode using the approach. Maybe it's because "The Once Percent" followed the real-life progression of events so closely that it wasn't all that engaging. I followed the Perkins story as it was happening because, really, I wanted to see how much of a wreck Perkins would become before some duct-taped his mouth shut. If you weren't aware of or didn't follow the Perkins story, then maybe this episode grabbed you a bit more? Let me know in the comments. 

Where "The Once Percent" offered a bit of a spin on its source material was in using Paisley's comments as a backdrop to frame the juror selection for a wrongful termination suit that Paisley's CFO had filed against his company. I'm a sucker for juror- and jury-related plots, and it was quite entertaining to see all the ways in which Alicia, Cary, and Louis tried to alter the appeal of a jury trial in order to affect the price of a settlement; I especially liked Cary making the witness appear biased in front of the judge, and Louis's use of Howard. On the whole, though, it seemed like the story didn't have much time to really be all that meaningful, or to yield more jury ridiculousness, which might've added a bit more energy to the proceedings.

In the land of Lockhart/Gardner & Canning, plot movements seemed a tad opaque to me, but maybe that's because I can't fully see how Louis's plan is working. He and David Lee are obviously trying to edge out Diane, but then Louis admitted as much last week, so no surprise there. I'm guessing that Louis was concerned about Rayna Hecht (Jill Hennessy) coming on board as Diane's probable ally, and that's why—to borrow Diane's turn of phrase—he "poisoned the well at his own firm." He also seemed to want his own signed clients, clients who were loyal to him, so that Diane would have very little to take with her should she be completely forced out.

Most of this seemed fairly repetitive as lot of this occurred as Alica and Cary left L/G and the others tried to stop them. Likewise, the subtle bad-mouthing of Diane was what we got last week. The only shift was that she thought it was Alicia and Cary who did it toward Rayna, instead of David Lee operating by proxy through Diane's assistant. If there was any really engaging thing out of this, it was the last bits with Diane as she stormed over to F/A to confront them. Alicia's immediately ready to spring to Diane's aid -- which I loved -- and Cary's all, "Err. Not our battle. Also, I still kind of hate them." Which I also loved. Instead of this becoming an immediate power struggle between the two of them, Diane steels herself up with "This is my fight" and Christine Baranski hits the game-face-on mark. Hopefully we get some real explosions from it next week in the finale.

Eli's felt a little adrift this season, but I sort of expected this to happen once Peter took office. He was saddled with the Marilyn ridiculousness -- I had almost forgotten about her! -- and then sort of faded in and out as the gears of the ethics investigation shifted over to Will, so I was happy to see him have some stuff going on as he worked to squash the potential Alicia and Finn romance that Castro alerted Peter to, and that, in turn, led him to finding out about the marriage-in-name-only status of Alicia and Peter's union.

When I did a big re-watch of the series last winter, it was startling to realize how much they've softened Eli over the years, and even within that first season they started to sand off some of the rougher spots. Sure, the Eli that demolishes young women with words is still there as he tells Lauren she's to stay 50 feet away from Peter, but there's that Eli that tells Alicia that he legitimately cares about her and Peter, beyond his cynical and political reasons. Given how Eli's always approached Alicia, generally with a great deal more respect than he shows anyone else, I do suspect it's true that he really does care and that's he's unhappy about this arrangement, even if it does also mean more political headaches for him.

Along this narrative thread, I liked the Peter stuff this week. Peter seemed genuinely upset by the idea that Alicia had already moved on, and I liked that he still has, inside of him, that overly-protective attitude toward her as he threw not one but two glasses of water into Castro's face when he presented Peter with that surveillance camera photo. This stuff made Eli's claim to Alicia that Peter still loves her not feel horribly hollow and just a way to get them to reconcile to avoid political fallout. The seed, however, has been planted, and there's a redheaded intern with not-too-red lipstick asking if he needs anything else.



SIDEBAR

– Finn got a haircut! Thank goodness. Also: Finn's divorced. That's...something. Apparently he hasn't worn a wedding ring since his first appearance back in "Dramatics, Your Honor." Should we go ahead and start preparing ourselves for an Alicia/Finn romance in Season 6, provided Matthew Goode is joining the cast for that season as well?

– I love how both Louis and Eli kept taking digs at the the Florrick/Agos offices. I rather like them...even if I do think they need doors for their conference room.

– Man. If Alicia ever runs for office, that interview with the financial show is going to ruin her campaign.

– Kalinda and Cary are still having sex, and Kalinda's still using her time with Cary  to gather information for her firm. Something's gotta give on this storyline next season, right?

– Paisley on Ayn Rand's novels: "They weren't made to be Moby-Dick; they were made to make you think." With all this Ayn Rand talk, Good Wife is reminding me that I need to watch Atlas Shrugged: Part 2 on Netflix with a bottle of wine. I made a pretty solid drinking game out of the first one.

– Rayna Hecht is finding working with Elsbeth "constricting." Not sure if it's a resources thing or what, but that just seems odd to me given Elsbeth's style.

– The mention of Neil Gross made me wonder if this plot was originally intended for him, but maybe John Benjamin Hickey was busy with another project? I know he's got that WGN show Manhattan coming soon, and maybe there was a filming overlap?


What did you think of "The One Percent"?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 4/24/2016

Season 7 : Episode 20

Next Episode

AIRS ON 5/1/2016

Season 7 : Episode 21

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The description of Rand's book was hilariously bad, apparently penned by someone who had not read it. The book never extols wealth, but productivity. Many of the worst villains in the novel are wealthy. That is such a basic error you have to wonder if it was ignorance or maliciousness.
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Finn's haircut made him look like a super-cute Clark Kent. Like it!

Also, I wish Diane and Cary had more scenes together.
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Yeah, Finn got a divorce after the miscarriage just as I speculated two episodes ago :-P
I also speculate that the only reason why the creators are stretching the endorsement plot is because they are that close to signing Matthew Goode on to Season 6 (if they hadn't already, public statement or not). That, and also because they abruptly put him in the spotlight with that campaign plot only to show so little of him in the past episodes. The writers MUST be cooking and saving more Finn plots for season 6, right?
I expect the season finale to be all about Diane fighting her fights and ultimately landing at Florick/Agos.
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Hahahaha I laughed out loud at that fool of a Castro trying to threaten Alicia in front of Peter. Really, haven't those idiots learned yet that that's the worst thing to do? :') I don't want them to stop though, Peter's awesome when he gets protective!
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Don't get me wrong, I love Diane, but I didn't like Alicia eagerly coming to Diane's aid in front of Cary. I still have a feeling these two women will be screwing Cary out of his position before it's all over. We barely get to see him as is unless Kalinda is trying to manipulate info from him. And for me Peter stopped being the "bad guy" along time ago. And it's obvious he still loves Alicia, but a guy like Peter needs companionship. I still don't see what the big deal would be if he and Alicia got a divorce. As of now, he still only a random player, so even if they're divorced he could still be tied into the show. This whole "fake" marriage bit is lame. And did I miss an eppy, I didn't realize Finn and his wife wasn't together anymore.
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Isn't Diane married now? What happened to her boyfriend/husband?

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She is married on the show. The actor who plays her husband was appearing in another series.
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He's on VEEP.
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I understood Hecht's comment about the partnership with Tascioni being too constricting to mean that the firm was too small, not that Tascioni herself was the problem. Hecht was forced to bring in co-counsel from another firm to pursue a class action, presumably because she lacked sufficient manpower at her fledgling firm. Hecht no doubt has to turn down a lot of work due to the limited size of her firm.
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Um, can we talk about Alicia's face when asked if she was sleeping with Finn? Highlight for me
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- Read Ayn Rand
- Oh, dear God. Have you read her books? They're awful.
- Well, they weren't meant to be Moby-Dick, they were meant to make you think.
- A guy bombs a building, the rich go out on strike... I-it's a 12-year-old's view of the world. It's like basing your philosophy on the books of John Grisham.

One of the best dialogues in the show's history! Kudos!! Kudos!!! ;)
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I still love this show but I'm ready for this season to end. It feels like we've easily covered enough stuff, it just needs a bow on the end. I'm ready for a break.
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"It's tough to do 22 episodes a year"? Fuck them, most folks work 50 weeks a year, and shows used to produce 26 episodes a season, goddamn Hollywood is soft. "Oh, it's hard to be a well-paid creative who works half the year." Cry me a fuckin' river.

I can't see Tom Skerritt on the screen anymore without thinking of him porkin' 17-year-old Drew Barrymore in Poison Ivy, ugh, so gross.

I really liked Diane's storyline, it was a quieter take on it but she had real fire in her belly only to have that ripped from her at the end. The Eli story was solid too but felt like it was a little simple. Honestly, Peter was the most interesting and compelling storyline here, but that ending made me sad.

I hadn't heard about the Perkins' gaffes, but I also found his storyline not that engaging, perhaps because everything felt so disconnected and they made him too interesting for the situations he was in, so there wasn't enough payoff or even follow-through. Everything seemed weightless, there wasn't enough setup for our heroes to have the loss mean much of anything.

Eli has continued to work for me throughout, but I also had forgotten about Marilyn, and now that you bring it up, it felt like this week's Peter escapades were paying off on that Marilyn stuff indirectly.

Finn and Alicia would be so very wrong, that would be the wrongest wrong turn.

Poor not-racist Alicia, that was messed up. Still, she got the awesome moment of tearing down Paisley's Ayn Rand platform, that was brilliant. You are a glutton for punishment watching that movie though, or apparently an alcoholic. ;-)

Elsbeth is a control freak, she likes to have things be her way, and she likes to be right, and she likes to do it in a very specific environment. I can see "constricting" being something a partner would say about working in her office.

I don't think Neil Gross would have made this plot work, it needed an older type to be believable, and an older company with less understanding of modern media to fall down those holes.
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To me, this was the weakest of the three episodes. I preferred The Deep Web and Tying the knot better. I feel TGW peak too early this season.

Perhaps the impact would be more if they had left Will's death to the end. Again this probably had to do with Josh Charles needing to leave 15 episodes into this season. I just hope next week's finale would be super.

If lawyers needed to pass an yearly exam, Howard would probably not be one. I like how TGW uses him for humor. The words out of his mouth is just so funny. The way he said "challenged" to Louis Canning was priceless.

The best thing about this episode is definitely Eli and I too think he cares about Peter and Alicia. Then the scene showed Eli's face and cuts to David Lee saying something about selling. That makes me feel that perhaps Eli was selling it a bit and Alicia is not buying it at all.

I would not really blame Peter if he does stray again. It seems their marriage is over this time for real this time.

Is Atlas Shrugged any good. It seems to have flop in the box office?
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What a great episode. I know a lot of people like to rag on Louis Canning but Michael J Fox was wonderful to watch this episode. He and Eli share MVP of the week for me. I'm still not sure what we're supposed to make of this Cary and Kalinda business. Like, where is it going?
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Meh episode.

I did like Tom Skerritts character before the interview - interesting, amusing and bit of a dick - but after the interview I just sighed. A wasted opportunity really.
A storyline involving the merger might have been more interesting, instead of being little more than a parody of some rich bitch in the news.
But his plot ended up being nothing more than an opportunity to again highlight the in-fighting at L&G, while not really going anywhere with it.

Diane came across as a bit naive for suspecting Alicia and co. not suspecting Louis in the first place. It would have been nice to see Diane putting some plans in place, rather than storming into Florrick / Agos, instead of cramming it into the finale.

I am expecting the finale to a good episode - they generally are - but they could have laid better ground work for it, because I'm assuming it will be mostly about Diane's position at L&G
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Also, I think it was a third episode with hate on Ayn Rand. Well, these are bad books, admittedly.

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Ugh, Peter. He cheats on his wife with prostitutes and other women, but when she tells him point blank that their marriage is not working for her he gets sulky and vindictive. Why won't he man up and try to win her back if she still means so much to him? (That desktop picture was a nice touch though.)
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Am i the only 1 that hates Michael J Fox on the Good Wife?
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He's the villain, I think he's supposed to be disliked. What would a narrative be without a problem to overcome? He gets in the way of the characters we like. But if he starts messing with Finn, I will have to put my hand through the tv and knock him down :-)
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I love MJ Fox. Lots of people dislike his character here which means he is doing a good job !
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LOVE him on this show. So nice to see him playing against type.
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No, unfortunately, you're not. Many people also hate him for reasons I'm not sure of.
He plays the character excellently, and he's no more of a snake than David Lee (who is also a great character). His reactions to Tom Skerritts' and Alicia's disastrous interviews were hilarious IMO.
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The difference with David Lee is that you know where you stand with him, which is nowhere unless you have something he wants. I don't think anyone understands what Louis is really up to, not even David. He could be getting played like Diane, Alicia, Cary, and (this week) Howard.
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Why is that a bad thing??
I agree his motives may not be as clear some of the other other characters (although this is the good wife, so no one's motives are really that clear), but that's not necessarily a problem in my book if handled properly on a drama. See: Oleg and Nina on the Americans.
Also, one could argue that Louis Canning just wants to make his money and make a mark with his career and because of how skeevy he is, he doesn't mind using inappropriate means and sympathies to achieve that.
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It's a bad thing because Louis basically is like a bee or hornet. No one is comfortable with one hovering around them because they don't know if their going to get stung or not. (The natural instinct is to swat at them, which is how I feel about him).
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Of course you're not. He's terrible.
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No, you are not. Lots of folks here have voiced their dislike/loathing/negative reception toward him on the show. I totally disagree, but eh, whatever.
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At least we saw MJF laugh this week. Granted, it was when Alicia's client was making inappropriate statements when being interviewed.
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Ugh with the shipping already. I honestly believe that if it were left up to Alicia, the only shipping that she'd be doing is watching the ships go by while she sips wine on a beach some where. Like she said, she's tired. I know the feeling sister.

I agree with McCovey on Kalinda's info gathering tactics - ICK! I've been watching reruns on the Hallmark channel, and I miss the days when she did actual investigative work. She was so good at it that Glenn Childs had her investigated. I'd really hate to see her go, but if they can't write better stories for her, then she should be written out. The old Kalinda would have known what Louis Canning was up to by now. And we wouldn't be sitting here confused about his whole purpose for existing on this show.

Noel, as I watched Paisley and Alicia have the conversation about literature (and felt a little lost), I thought to myself, "Noel will mention this in his review."

The Rayna Hecht thing has me a bit confused. How is one constricted by anything Elsbeth Tascioni does? Also, how could she take Louis Canning seriously? And how did Diane automatically assume Cary and/or Alicia bad-mouthed her when the rumors Rayna repeated to her were just a rehash of the lies David and Louis had already being spewing? Contrived drama...

I'm hoping for some serious payoff during the season finale.

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Ooh, sorry, I accidentally flagged your post. They need to move that button a little further from "reply". I'm sure Noel and the other editors will understand though.
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Yes, they do. I've done that myself a couple of times.
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While you wouldn't first think Elsbeth would be too constricting she could definitely be. Really outspoken people make things very difficult for soft spoken or well people to navigate. If you are a person who does not like to interrupt conversations and politely wait your turn, you don't get to have your points made while conversing with such an individual. And thus its taxing in all sorts of ways. Not to mention you just might not be able to stand the person.
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Did you need more Ayn Rand stuff? I'm not sure I can explain Ayn Rand without sounding like a horrible eye-rolling jackass, but Rand's fiction just brings that out in me (I never bothered with her non-fiction stuff).
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I got the gist from Alicia's John Grisham comparison. While I've heard of Ayn Rand, I was not familiar with her philosophy. And that you aren't able to explain her work without ripping it to shreds tells me a lot.
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I was happy they gave Eli something to do this week, even if the premise for it was rather silly. Having a photo of Finn outside Alicia's apartment building is really weak evidence for anything... especially considering the fact that Alicia was helping him keep his job. When Peter threw the glasses of water in Castro's face I was excited, I thought Peter knew it was bullshit, and I was happy, for once, with Peter. Then he did what he did and I was back to hating Peter, lol. Maybe he will get caught having an affair with the intern and Alicia can be done with him for good.

I really hope they give Diane a chance to kick some ass. I'm already tired of Canning's shenanigans.
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yeah but a pic is all you need to seed doubt. Especially with Alicia being dubbed "saint" and Finn as "hero".
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I'd need more than a picture of someone outside fully clothed to sow a seed of doubt.
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Its one thing if its someone you know and you want the moneyshot. Its another if its someone like a celeb or politician.
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I don't understand what you said, but alrighty then.
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This was one of the weakest episodes in a while. The plots were boring, and Eliot was the only character who had a good role to play. It's hard to put my finger on what made this episode so lacking in drama, but it seemed like a shell of the usual good fare the writers come up with.

Regarding the Louis Canning's chicanery, I have to say I just don't get it. If he is a dying man, what purpose would he gain through all this. So, in my estimation, this is a weak story line--very weak and pointless. Also, I think the writers had better come up with a better plot line for Kalinda or write her out of the show. Her character has been reduced to sleeping with the "enemy" for info--ick. She needs some dignity, and she sure doesn't have any right now.
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There are a lot of people of the mind that if they cant have it no one else can. There are also people who would never give up things that once belonged to them even if they have no use for it. There are also people who like to hurt people cause they either feel maligned or are jealous.

Some examples of this behavior:
---A robber comes into your house. He can't move some of your heavy or expensive items (e.g. marble statue, arcade machine) so he breaks them.
----- That steel mill (Detroit?) that the owners wanted to get rid of. Instead of letting the steel workers gather their money together and own the business together, the owners refused to sell it and happily accepted the huge loss.
-- Girlfriend breaks up with boyfriend. Boyfriend kills the girlfriend.

Its just really nasty behavior that unfortunately soooooo many people do.

And why not be bitter. Not only does he have a condition but now he is dying. Death looming certainly does not not make all people full of guilt or have epiphanies.
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Insightful. I would definitely not be surprised if he is actually this spiteful. I think many viewers like myself have been thinking that there is some deeper reasoning behind his actions, but he may just be mean and evil.
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Well we knew he wasn't all good and benevolent. And that is why I liked character, the way he used his condition repeatedly to gain sympathy and sway jurors.
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I enjoyed the episode but then again, TGW tends to deliver good writing and acting even in its weakest episodes. Howard did something for once although it is becoming increasingly unbelievable that such a guy would be kept around in a law firm in 2014 (his asking Louis if he was a cripple/challenged was just beyond uncomfortable). A few other annoying bits....
  • Kalinda once again putting work over a personal relationship with someone who is not just a f*** buddy but allegedly a friend was too much. Or at least too much for Cary not to tell her to go to hell. How many times does he need to catch her spying to figure out he can do better?
  • Now Finn is a divorcee? What? And we find out as Castro goes around spreading rumours? I hope this is a red herring...
  • A governor and an intern talking about shades of lipstick? Ugh that was painful... Poor Peter so cooped up... Again, if that is another Marilyn-like red herring is repetitive... And at least Marilyn seemed more appropriate age-wise...
  • I miss Will Gardner...
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And yeah since when is Finn divorced. I really want to hear more on how that happened. Last we knew things were good with his wife and kid. Did the shooting f-- things up at home? Are there other issues? I want to know. Also i had realy liked the idea of Finn being a happily married man that had no other romantic interests. It would have been fresh.
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They made it look like he was happily married (he certainly talked a lot about his wife) but maybe they're running out of reasons to keep him around without a more personal connection? I don't know, I liked when there was no suggestion of a love affair in the air.
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It could be that Finn is divorced from his first wife and it's the second one he talks about. If his first marriage fell apart in an ugly way, it's still politically usable no matter how solid his current marriage is.
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Hm, maybe. I didn't read it this way. I felt like they suddenly made a twist. Wouldn't he say something like "my first wife and I lost a baby" though? I don't know.
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Howard did something for once although it is becoming increasingly unbelievable that such a guy would be kept around in a law firm in 2014.

OH YES HE WOULD. Its called money, politics, and power.

The key is not to let him have free range of his mouth in front of clients or media but know how to use him to the best advantage.

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I actually enjoyed the humor in this episode, and Eli's life just got more difficult!! I really hope Peter files for divorce next week that would actually get Alicia to get it into gear. I can also say with certainty as a white person, that if I were doing an interview with 2 white men questioning me without a monitor to see them, I would easily get their voices confused too. I still think she could make a go of it in politics, but she understands the absurd hoops she would have to jump through.
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My family members can't tell me and my sisters apart over the telephone nor at times can we tell each other apart. So yeah, definately.

But peple like to quickly pull the Racist card or whatever card they can pull to serve their agenda.
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I actually thought Tying the Knot was the strongest episode of the recent ones, because it was so twisty with the Sweeney case, memory and the campaign developments. Also it was really freaky cosmic timing that the intern storyline happened the weekend after the Lewinsky story blew up again.
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I liked "Tying the Knot" as well, but it wasn't as well-received here in the comments, so was attempting to acknowledge the range of receptions here.
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I thought it was kind of stupid for Peter to be surprised at the photo when he was at the door when Finn left the apartment.
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I think it tells a lot about Peter that he immediately assumed Alicia was having an affair. There are tons of potential reasons for such a photo!
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That photo was taken only 2 weeks ago. Peter met Finn at Alicia's apartment 2 months ago. Alicia clarified with Eli why Finn was there though.
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