Good Wife Recap: Where There’s a Will

Mar 10, 2015

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It doesn’t require a “spoiler alert” warning to say that almost nothing happens on this week’s installment of The Good Wife.

And yet, if the seeds randomly scattered over the course of the hour take root, it could be the start of everything that’s to come in the complicated, mixed-up, ethically murky life of Alicia Florrick — political candidate, power spouse, occasional trial attorney and most certainly a woman in denial about her mourning over the tragic death of her lover Will Gardner.

It’ll only take me a paragraph to recap the action in “Mind’s Eye” — an episode that takes place mostly inside Alicia’s very vivid, hypothetical-obsessed brain.

As our candidate for State’s Attorney battles laryngitis and braces for a crucial editorial-board interview (the result of which may break her current deadlock with Frank Prady), she mulls her answers to a series of very tough questions, reconsiders the state of her relationships with her children and her past/current/future lovers and also deals with Louis Canning’s wrongful eviction lawsuit against Florrick-Agos-Lockhart. Canning winds up unconscious in the hospital — not expected to live through the night – while a shocked Alicia pays a bedside visit, then begins eyeing her political handler Johnny with what appears to be slightly more than professional interest. (Or maybe she’s just really stoked to go into that board room and knock off the editorial board’s socks?) And that’s about it… sort of.

The real action happens Inside the Mind of Alicia Florrick, and sans red wine, it’s an almost impossibly fast-paced, free-association kind of place — funneled through whatever music happens to be playing in her headphones. (Anyone else find that construct absolutely real and delightful? And was anyone else utterly elated when La Florrick never succumbed to that night-time cough syrup — a twist that would’ve been too cheap?) With that in mind, I’m not going to even attempt to do a traditional recap in this post — but rather post the four most intriguing ideas/questions/developments raised in the course of the hour:
“WILL?” | As Alicia surfs the Internet, she encounters a pop-up ad for a credit-card company — and it’s Will Gardner’s voiceover asking, “What do you want in a credit card? Everything.” Our protagonist fantasizes several encounters with her deceased lover — some steamy, some quietly mournful — but all roads lead back to the fact that he’s gone — and she’s still reeling. We also see Alicia imagining: Johnny nibbling on her neck; a shirtless Finn atop her (with Johnny’s voice coming out of his mouth — “questions are for dopes”); and even Peter (with Kalinda snuggled in the bed behind him) asking “Why is it all right for you but not for me?” In the end, she says goodbye to dreamscape Will — and to reiterate, this happens while she’s sitting in the passenger seat, observing Johnny. (Does this mean no payoff with Finn? #NoMeGusta)

Alicia is a sexual, romantic woman who’s been repressed — or perhaps shut down — for quite some time now, and it’s clear that her hand grazing Finn’s as they sit side-by-side on a couch won’t be cutting it anymore. But since we haven’t really seen her fully engage in romantic discourse with any of the above fellas, it seems to me that our girl busting a big move with any of ‘em might feel premature. Still, I like the idea of Alicia abandoning her sham of a marriage — how much political capital can it really be providing? and how come the press hasn’t noticed their physical distance? — at this point in her career. And yes, seeing as how she and Will had pressed pause on their sexytimes at the time of his passing, I don’t have a problem with her moving on from him, either.

THE KIDS | After Johnny reminds Alicia she might get asked about Zach taking his teenage girlfriend for an abortion, the sometimes scattered mom starts imagining her estranged son as a homeless man on a bench — asking why she’s still angry at him and (hilariously) why he’s her cautionary tale despite the fact that he’s a freshman at Georgetown. (Good point, kid!) She finally breaks down and dials his number, but he misses her call by seconds — another reminder of the missed connections we can still endure in this technologically plugged-in age.

Most interestingly of all, though, Alicia’s phone begins accidentally accepting Grace’s texts — and she learns her daughter is having a crisis of religious faith. Famed atheist Richard Dawkins pops up in Alicia’s mind, wondering why she would imagine Grace pregnant and sniffing glue just because “she stopped believing in fairy tales” — and Alicia can’t quite explain her sinking feeling. After all, she doesn’t believe in God — so much so that it makes her squeamish to promise Canning’s wife she’ll pray for him — and yet the thought of her daughter’s loss of faith is upsetting. Does Alicia want Grace to walk a moral path — but is nevertheless worried that if her daughter follows in her non-believer footsteps, she’ll lack the template for being a good person?


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5 comments on “Good Wife Recap: Where There’s a Will

  • Huh!!

    ” Most interestingly of all, though, Alicia’s phone begins accidentally accepting Grace’s texts — and she learns her daughter is having a crisis of religious faith. Famed atheist Richard Dawkins pops up in Alicia’s mind, wondering why she would imagine Grace pregnant and sniffing glue just because “she stopped believing in fairy tales” — and Alicia can’t quite explain her sinking feeling. After all, she doesn’t believe in God — so much so that it makes her squeamish to promise Canning’s wife she’ll pray for him — and yet the thought of her daughter’s loss of faith is upsetting. Does Alicia want Grace to walk a moral path — but is nevertheless worried that if her daughter follows in her non-believer footsteps, she’ll lack the template for being a good person? ”

    Now it makes sense! Prime time exposure, who could ask for more!



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  • 2
    charlie.jensen.900 says:

    I kept waiting for some one to enter the sequence spouting pithy Christian aphorisms and save the day.
    Till this show I hadn’t paid much attention to her occasional non-theist remarks, assuming that anyone portraying an intelligent lawyer would be suspicious of sky fantasies.
    As to Grace, flirting with some religion is part of growing up and usually dissipates once an inquisitive boy or girl gets to college and discovers there really is a world out there. After all almost every adult atheist I know started in some sky fantasy that did not make sense and began to explore options. Even my children at some point discovered that Baptists had the best songs and Episcopalian girls were easier to hook up with. Catholics were the hardest to loosen up and Mormons were the most sincere as well as close to the most gullible. That award goes to Evangelicals of any stripe.
    That said, this episode was as interesting as Finnegan’s Wake.



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  • Apparently “The Good Wife” is an exemplar of the current genre of soap opera brought to the level
    of critically acclaimed TV drama. (“Mad Men” also comes to mind). Spotting Richard Dawkins appearing in a cameo role even in the “Mind’s Eye” of Alicia Florrick warms the heart.

    Till this show I hadn’t paid much attention to her occasional non-theist remarks, assuming that anyone portraying an intelligent lawyer would be suspicious of sky fantasies.

    Julianna Margulies portrays Alicia. The words that come out of her character’s mouth belong to the scriptwriter not the actress. Though Robert King and Michelle King are generally credited as co-creators, co-writers, and co-producers of “The Good Wife,” it seems to be the case that Robert King wrote and directed this episode: “[Actress Julianna] Margulies told THR before the CBS drama’s PaleyFest panel… “there was so much going on, that if Robert hadn’t directed it, because he wrote it [too], I said I didn’t know who would be able to direct this.”

    Apparently Robert King has read some of Dawkin’s good stuff, perhaps The God Delusion and was keen enough to make the allusion through his character.



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