Walking the Thin One
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
The Good Wife returns with its sixth season and an incredibly strong opener. Frankly any episode that opens with a shot of Eli looking all coy and mischievous is a winner in my book and The Line is no exception. There was a propulsive energy in every frame of the hour as the opening story threads are all pulled together by Cary’s arrest for 900 mg of heroin. The writing is sharp throughout and if this opener is anything to go by, the sixth season of the best thing on CBS will be just as electric and shocking as the last one. What The Line truly figured out was to chart its own territory for the new season while keeping story threads from the previous season on retainer and that’s a narratively tough thing to pull off.
This is Eli Gould’s finest episode to date (one could argue that one) and certainly him at his most shrewd. Considering the debacle with Finn Palmer last season, the Florrick administration is left with Castro as its only viable option for State’s Attorney and considering how unpleasant that man was, it isn’t surprising that Eli’s desperately trying to have someone else occupy that office. The question that he wants Alicia to answer is an intriguing one and it isn’t that difficult to see why Alicia is a perfect candidate. She’s intelligent, independent, and has the aura of not being a politician, considering that people hate politicians at Peter aptly notes. Eli’s maneuvering to get Peter on board with Alicia running doesn’t just involve him creating a rift between him and Castro in a brilliant move that ought to be studied by anyone interested in politics. It involves internal polling that clearly shows that everyone, not just the audience, loves Alicia. Eli cleverly plants the idea in Peter’s mind but he also is keeping aware of another potential sex scandal that could erupt. In that case, they would need a friendly face in the State’s Attorney office to potentially cover their ground. Eli’s daughter Marissa is back from IDF training in Israel and she is absolutely hilarious. I love her fascination with her father’s Machiavellian maneuverings.
The character work this episode was really good and this is an area where The Good Wife can sometimes stumble. Kalinda was used very well and that certainly is promising considering how often her character can sometimes be mangled (that husband storyline…). She was whip smart in this episode, tying a plethora of clues together in consideration of her relationships with Cary. Her motivations receive so much clarity here it’s hard not to yell and cheer for the writing given to the character and how solidly Archie Panjabi can deliver those lines. Alicia despite everything that happened between her and Cary rushes to help him with whatever she could possibly pull-up with Robyn in tow (what a sweet scene between the two of them). Diane continues to maneuver cleverly, but it won’t be The Good Wife if David Lee and Louis Canning don’t try to subvert her in some ways. And Cary, who rarely gets to be the emotional centerpiece of an episode or even a season, gets a ton of work here and Matt Czuchry is more than capable of carrying all of the emotional baggage. It’s a clever move by the series to draw in Lemond Bishop’s dealings to create a plethora of problems for our protagonists. He is, after all, a drug dealer. And as much as we are on Alicia’s side, Finn and Sophia have a point: he’s a drug dealer. Is it justified if we want Florrick Agos (Lockhart) to survive at the expense of a massive drug dealer getting away?
Being on CBS, the show doesn’t garner the credit it would if it was on HBO or Showtime perhaps, but it belongs in the top ten of television dramas and that goes without question. This is a propulsive hour and the creative team doesn’t seem to have taken the idea of slowing down to heart at all. A small thing that I really appreciated was Alicia and Finn not going at each other’s throats over Cary and demonstrating strict professionalism despite their friendship. One has to wonder how long that will last, however. Kudos to the music this episode, the slower beats really jived with the scenes this week. The episode ends on a great cliffhanger that is tied intricately with multiple story lines and I can’t wait for next week. Will Alicia run? Considering how Eli’s political brilliance backfired for Alicia and Cary (Eli couldn’t have predicted that, no matter how brilliant he is), the signs point towards that happening. Then what happens to the firm?
Title: The Line
Written By: Robert King & Michelle King
Directed By: Robert King
Image Courtesy: Hulu