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The Good Wife - Bond - Review: "I Hate Contention"



7.01 - "Bond"


Personal Note

Before we cover the events of "Bond," please allow a little digression. [If you're not interested in a rant, please skip ahead to the first paragraph of the proper review, thanks!] Now, if you remember, season 6 was incredibly divisive for fans of the show. Another thing you may or may not remember is my complete lack of a review for "Wanna Partner," the season 6 finale. Well, this is why I didn't write anything at all for it: Kalinda Sharma. Now, that season had many faults--Many, many, many faults--but the main source of the ire for me personally was the non-event that was Kalinda's story arc. How, when pressed to finally have some resolution for her and Alicia, after 2 years of separation on-screen, they totally shit the bed. It should've been apparent to me halfway through the season that no matter what I was told, that story was going to just continue to flail and fester, but I held out hope for that 1 scene that the producers promised would be her send-off.

And then, in what caused quite a stir on the internet, the green-screened "One for the road" scene happened, and I almost said "bye, Alicia" to my tv. That egregious decision to not let a simple 2 minute send-off scene happen between the two characters that used to embody the unique strength of this show in a meaningfully genuine manner (read: 2 actresses, 1 set) left me feeling completely unsatisfied (and given the response to that scene, I wasn't the only one).

If I didn't feel aggravated enough by that unsatisfying situation, when the Kings finally spoke out about the scene a few weeks ago, Mr. Robert King came across in the most demeaning way to fans, literally addressing fans as if they were children who could not differentiate between the real world and the world of fiction. Thus, he glossed over any notion of them handling the PR nightmare they were in regarding whether they let a personal problem between people on their set compromise the direction of their television show for multiple seasons.

Now, while I think it would have been better for them to just ignore it at that point, I will concede that maybe they did the best they could with what they had. But the Kings should take a page from Eli Gold's book, and learn how to not fan the flames when there's a public image problem. Furthermore, at this point there's 2 conflicting accounts from Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi as to why the scene was not simply shot with the 2 actresses present... Which only makes it look more fishy.

Obviously I've written this review, so I didn't jump ship and give up on my favorite show that may have gone incredibly off course, in my opinion. But I've written this all out to give a bit of context for future reviews... We're not coming off of the high of seasons 2-5 anymore. This show will have to prove itself again, at least to me. The previous season took 22 episodes to squander Alicia Florrick's name, her friendships, her career, and just about 75% of what makes The Good Wife an engaging and good show. It became less of an ensemble drama, and more of a half-baked 1-woman show, with a revolving door of guest stars that popped up, and then quickly disappeared out of view as soon as those actors became unavailable for a follow-up. The other leads were hardly present in their own storylines, and here's hoping that with this new fresh start, we get to have our old ensemble back together again, and we can have somewhat of a reason bubble up as to why we hardly see characters like Robin anymore. But I am not holding my breath.

Without any further complaining, let's move onto what happened last night on The Good Wife.


"I'm not Marie Antoinette!"

Cue the peppy intro to season 7, in the confined and packed bond court setting. Upon entering the room, Alicia's dismissed almost immediately, as the charming (sarcasm) bond court judge Schakowsky makes a point to ignore her, (correctly) suspecting her antics would slow his case load. After a failed attempt to garner any cases to work that morning, she confronts the judge for leaving her out of the loop. As she insists that she's not an entitled or well-to-do Marie Antoinette who is slumming it in bond court, her limousine courtesy of Louis Canning arrives to take her out to lunch, confirming just the opposite. 

"You're the Devil."

Cut to the most recent failed attempt by Louis Canning to woo Alicia over to the dark side, to work for him. Honestly, I don't see why he expends so much of his limited well-being on trying to prop her up. But, that's Alicia Florrick... Even when she's "having a bad time" she's still the luckiest woman in the room in some way. That isn't meant to be a jab, really, even if it sounds like one. Either way, she insults his (evil) clientele, and calls him the devil. He tells her she's too proud, she needs to effectively take what's hers. On some level I feel like Alicia already does that, and I become slightly confused. Alicia refuses, and returns to bond court.

This time, Lucca Quinn, one of the snarky bond lawyers on call insists that Alicia takes 5-6 cases from her list (which is, when itemized, a half day's pay for Lucca... So, that was a nice gesture), and assists Alicia when she can in the process of bond court proceedings. Alicia is obviously out of her element, trying to get the story when she should be getting quick facts that could keep her new clients with their hearings. She gets only 2 out of 6 out of jail on decent bonds, and doesn't even get paid for it. On some level it was weird seeing Alicia have such a hard time de-humanizing her cases in order to proceed, given that she does things "for the law" and not "for the people" as she has stated on a few occasions. I think overall it was just a sharp learning curve in a short amount of time. It didn't help that Matan Brody, perennial S.A. henchman was smoothly running things on his end. (To think, she almost became his boss...)

Afterwards, upon returning home, Alicia finds her very own first client sitting in her office, with Grace having taken the mantle of personal assistant in a nice touch to the story. As it turns out, her new client is looking to settle a case of inheritance on an 8 million-dollar piece of art. And her mother solely kept up with who received what via post-it note. It was all very back-and-forth on the physics of falling post-it notes, roombas, etc. but the main interest was that it pit Alicia directly against the latest iteration of her former firm, Lockhart, Agos, & Lee. (Why did Cary lose top billing? Why!? What is this?)



"I stood by you!"


As Alicia came to terms with making decisions for herself, she decided to give the go-ahead to Peter and let him know that it's his decision to run for President/Vice President. On some level, I know this will bring some decent work for Alan Cumming and Margo Martindale, but I am 100% over the political campaigns. But, this is where the plot is going, and for what it's worth, the campaign provided the biggest gut-punch of the episode when Eli realized that Peter intended on replacing Eli with Ruth Eastman, a nationally-recognized strategist. It has been a well-known, repeated thought on the show that Eli wanted to push Peter for President, if Peter ever made it so far. Eli Gold remade that son of a bitch, and Peter decided against going with Eli. That provided a strange situation that we've never seen before... After initially resigning himself from a chance at building a President, Eli went on the offensive, and decided that at the very least he was going to ruin Ruth Eastman's career, and at the worst, he might even destroy Peter's. How would he do this? He'd be Alicia's chief of staff for the campaign. We'll see how this turns out, but we've already had some electric (if also over-the-top) scenes of Eli vs Ruth, and this seems to just be getting started.


"Lockhart, Agos, & Lee"

No but really, how did that come to pass? I know that on some level it makes sense to have the senior-most person billed as the lead, but it was clearly Florrick, Agos, and Lockhart last season. Cary can't win, as it would seem. But at least he has around 4 minutes of screen time this episode, so at least we have that. Speaking of which, Cary's settling in as one of the name partners, but he's also completely out of his comfort zone, stuck in useless meetings with old people (who don't look anything like the partners we've seen in the last 6 seasons... did they all die in a fire?) while he pines for something to shake up the day... He gazes longingly at the room full of young, fresh-faced associates working on cases, then checks them out as they walk down the hall. He's apparently unsatisfied with his current situation in multiple ways.

In an attempt to fix the firm's image with the young associates, as they're seen as "old" or "out of touch" (which is weird, given that honestly the firm is just like... 1-2 years old, really, and used to be in a warehouse downtown) Cary reaches out to the young associates, and calls for any ideas or ways they could bridge the gap at work. What follows is a confusing example of new-age financial/accounting methods that leave pretty much everyone at the partners' table befuddled and completely showing the "out of touch" thing that Cary was warned about. The idea was shut down. Cary made a point though to let Dirk, the young associate with the idea to let him know if there's anything else that he had as ideas. Unfortunately, Dirk takes this interest from Cary as personal, and attempts to hit on Cary. Both quite embarrassed, Cary re-asserts that he intended only to help Dirk with work ideas, nothing more. So, while it was not a great side plot, at least Cary has some stuff happening. Hopefully this won't end with more dumb writing for his character.


"Oh, come on! You made that one up!"


In the middle of her case against David Lee, Alicia gets a call from Lucca, who says that she needs Alicia to cover for her that afternoon. Alicia agrees, only on the terms that the other bond lawyer shows up before she has to head out to court at 4:30. Of course, that doesn't happen, and Alicia is stuck in bond court with the metrics-driven Judge Schakowsky. Lucca, instead shows up for Alicia, and pulls a rabbit out of a hat in a crucial moment in the inheritance case. David Lee and Diane made a deal with the housekeeper for half of the inheritance since the most recent post-it note was left in her name, rather than Alicia's or David's clients. But Lucca, being the recent college grad/deus ex machina of the episode realized that it couldn't work that way because in Illinois, a housekeeper can only inherit up to 20,000 dollars if their patient is an invalid. Spoiler alert: the mother was in a wheelchair. So, Alicia shows up conveniently in time to see Lucca saving the day. They go out for drinks in celebration of thwarting David and Diane.

What happened then was probably the most unexpectedly exceptional moment in the episode. Where I was expecting them to have Lucca be present for Alicia to drink expensive drinks or shots, she simply ordered a beer, and then on a whim ran out to the dance floor. And as Lucca danced the night away, Louis Canning popped up to make a point to Alicia that if she didn't go with him, she might not make it back up on her feet to keep her law firm going. He was the one that sent her the inheritance client, as a way of keeping her afloat while he knew bond court wasn't going to pay off for her. I really always appreciated Canning when he was teaching Alicia humbling lessons that went against her overwrought feelings about how "evil" he was, way more than I enjoy his antics in the courtroom. He's overplayed the dying angle too much, but as a possible partner/pseudo mentor for Alicia in becoming more upfront about what she needs to do to succeed, I am alright with that. 



Sidenotes:

- Where the hell was Diane? She was pretty much wallpaper in this episode. This show lately always has just enough room for Alicia and some guest stars, it would seem.

- I really, really hope that Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character is more than just eye candy for Alicia next episode.

- I have to admit, even with it's shortcomings, I still crave every new episode of The Good Wife like I expect a junkie craves a hit.

- The running joke of the "experts" for the case of the week was kind of funny. "That's a job!?" We had some great guest stars this episode.

- I have read multiple comments about Alicia's wig since last night's episode. I have to agree, it was very noticeably awkward, especially from the promos...Didn't look right at all.

- I also agree with anyone who thinks the show is still suffering from its unrelenting focus on Alicia. Bring back the ensemble!


What did you think of this week's episode? Start a discussion below in the comments!


About the Author - Wilson Crawford
I watch way too much television. But nevermind that, something's on. Currently obsessed with The Good Wife, The 100, and Hannibal (RIP). Other favorites include Damages, Breaking Bad, 30 Rock, Mad Men, and Veronica Mars.
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