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The Good Wife S05E12: "We, the Juries"


With "We, the Juries," I think we've reached the tipping point of the Lockhart/Gardner versus Florrick/Agos battle. I've been rolling with the rivalry so far; seeing it has been a good way to keep the stakes of the departure at the forefront, both professionally and personally. It's resulted in some very fine moments, and some great insight into Will's broken and obsessive emotional state, which itself is a departure for a show that's been largely locked into single character's perspective up to this point.

Much like Will's fixation, however, The Good Wife may have become too concerned with this single thing, and is losing the forest for the trees. That the two firms would have claims on cases that are just now going to trial is completely believable, and given Florrick/Agos's financial footing, they'll want every case they can get—so the idea of a joint trial, with two juries, was a fun idea in theory, filled with all sorts of ripe possibilities for shifting strategies and backstabbing. And maybe—just maybe, because we got hints of it!—of a détente between the firms, as they would have to work together to exonerate their clients. It would've counted as forward momentum in both plot and character, and you all know how much I love those things. I know how much you all love them, too!

Sadly, the double jury and the split-but-not-really-split defense became a convoluted and contorted mess that made sense, but not in a way that made sense. I very much felt like Matan as he explained why he was objecting and then not objecting: "I don't know? I... because?" I understand that the couple at the core of the case was dealing with charges of drug-trafficking, but the defense strategies never fully clicked for me, and so the double defense and double jury felt like a shiny bauble that was included in the episode, but that didn't serve much of a purpose.


Part of the challenge was that the legal ins and outs just didn't have much room to breathe, and I think the case really needed that to make sense. Dropping the ballot box video plot from would've solved it, but then it would've delayed development there, and the show couldn't very well do that after the events at the end of last week's episode. More space would've also allowed some more insight into Alicia's cooling mental state—she seemed less combative here, more pensive—and we may have gotten more of Cary and Diane's cooler heads prevailing in an effort to bring this war to an end. Neither of them, after all, benefit all that much from the situation.

So given that the case was a more or less a wash, it's good that B- and C-plots were more interesting. Obviously the ballot box video will be the big engine for the political side of the show going forward, and it's no doubt one of the reasons why Marilyn was introduced. Again, I feel a bit of a swerve with Marilyn's characterization. In the first few episodes, she was, for the most part, calm and collected, and annoyed that no one was taking seriously her insistence that she was there to help Peter, not hurt him. Then there were some episodes full of pregnancy silliness that undermined a lot of that, and then this week, she was back to her earlier characterization. It's tonal whiplash, and while I prefer this Marilyn to the pregnancy sound system Marilyn, I'm pretty much washing my hands of her as a consistent character.


The rest of "We, the Juries," however, was good. I loved Alicia's small breakdown in Peter's office, as it demonstrated just how raw she still can be about Peter's screw-ups, and that all it takes is a whiff of serious wrongdoing to bring it all back. Everything Alicia has built up over five years can come crumbling down, and this time it'll likely be even worse since Alicia now has an identity outside of "Peter Florrick's wife and sheltered wife in a big suburban house." It's also telling, however, that she told him to fix it, that she was hurt by this. It was not an, "I'm sick of this, and you need to go" like it was when she found out about Kalinda and Peter, or when reports surfaced about Peter sleeping with a campaign worker; it was the sense of renewed betrayal, and just after they'd essentially renewed their commitment to each other in every way but the actual ceremony. Peter has, in fact, not changed.

If that scene hadn't been enough, we also had a Will and Peter scene, which are among my favorites since Josh Charles and Chris Noth exude such wonderful, not even concealed loathing for the other's character. It's always a treat, as a result, when they're in a scene alone together. This one's a bit more explicit in what it drags up for them between the affair and the squashing of Diane's judgeship, compared to the unstated grievances that hung in the air in the Alicia and Peter scene, but both of them are very direct with one another in private, so it's not surprising they'd just push each others' buttons as much as they could. Things will, of course, only get worse, the longer the matter of this recording gets dragged out. I can't wait.

Speaking of button pushing, and circling back to the idea of détente, Cary and Kalinda! Maybe almost friends again! Hurrah! I'm sure folks will balk at the the show remedying this relationship when it can't even be bothered to put Alicia and Kalinda in a scene together, but I'll take Kalinda behaving like a human being and Cary having something to do. It offered up some resolution, as Cary is pragmatic enough to understand Kalinda's behavior wasn't personal, just professional, even if they were sexy time friends in the past. And Kalinda, well, she's at least recognizing that there's a chance for one healthy relationship in her life, and I take it as a good sign that she's wanting to fix things with Cary.



SIDEBAR


– This episode featured a plethora of guest stars. We had Spy Daddy Victor GarberWisconsin Sheriff Tom Skerritt, and maker of delicious cupcakes Ashley Williams. Busy casting day!

– This episode also featured music from Bruce Springsteen throughout. It recalled a lot of the musical cues we heard in "What's in the Box?", the Season 4 finale, without actually being them, which seemed appropriate given the B-plot.

– Robyn stayed a couple steps ahead of Kalinda this week. I imagine this was to help shore up the notion of Robyn as competent, but I'm all for it because I think Robyn's great.

– I'm sure jury duty is rough and all—I've never been selected—but man, those were some whiny jurors. "But the other jury gets to sit in the box, with the good chairs?"

– There's still no indication of who sent the tape to the newspaper, so either Will didn't do it, or he's playing this one super cool.

– It was great to see the woman just walking by all those papers on the floor at the end of the episode, since I have to assume this happens every day at Eli's office.

– I hope you enjoyed this mini-fix of The Good Wife, as the show is off the air until March probably due to football games and to avoid competing with the Olympics. See you all then!


What did you think of "We, the Juries"?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/18/2014

Season 5 : Episode 22

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