A Day is a Year in Politics
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
The Good Wife doubles down on politics and Bishop and it largely works in an episode that narrows ints focus and is all the stronger for it, even though there’s no Eli and Robin has apparently ceased to exist altogether. This hour is largely driven by Alicia Florrick and her campaign So far this season, this episode would be the one that Julianna Margulies would submit to the Emmys. Every frame she owns like champion, exhibiting a plethora of facets about Alicia with aplomb. Margulies makes it seem effortless, just as much on fire after Alicia discovers Peter’s affair. As it happens, everyone who assumed that Peter was having an affair with Ramona was absolutely correct (is the intern his child? Jesus Christ, Peter!). Alicia finds the proof in a box of dirt that Frank Prady delivers to her, furious but perhaps more resigned to Peter’s extreme stupidity.
Before I go on about Peter’s affair, just a quick word about Cary, Bishop, and Kalinda. The storyline between these characters is getting sharper every week and thank goodness for that. Cary finally begins to assert himself, which becomes kind of necessary by default after he discovers that Bishop was genuinely mulling the idea of killing him off. The smooth talking Bishop has killed many in the past and this revelation comes off as more of a surprise than a true shock. Cary outright questions Bishop is his new home, which at first thought sounded like an erroneously dumb thing to do. Watching Bishop admit to the tape while trying to squirm out of it was a masterclass in acting, but not for a single second does the tension of Cary’s possibly imminent death lift. The impending doom of this triage of relationships is pretty obvious. And Kalinda’s betrayal of Lana at the end (I’m assuming it was her) only serves to further entangle this already dangerous web that is going to lead to pretty much hell.
Electorally speaking, the affair might be the dumbest thing Peter has ever done and that’s saying something. He finally got out of jail, recovered his reputation, and won a grueling race for the governorship of Illinois. For the sake of his own career and the new political prospects from Alicia, having an affair has to have crossed his mind as the number one most dangerous things to do. Yet he goes ahead and does it anyway. When Alicia tells him “Zip up your pants, shut your mouth, and stop banging the help”, it isn’t just righteous fury erupting out go her mouth that elicits massive cheers from the audience. It’s an understanding that their entire political lives lie intact only because to people at large their marriage is just as intact if not more. A divorced candidate is a tricky field to navigate, a philandering spouse is even trickier. For Alicia, Peter’s past is finally not constantly bombarding her over the head at every minute of her existence and she will do whatever it is to not go down that path again.
The politics of The Good Wife, just like its characters, are rarely black and white. As Eli and Johnny made it clear to Alicia in previous episodes, especially last week, the image presented to the voter is disproportionally vital to the individuals themselves. It requires an insane amount of discipline to make it in this cruddy world, where every piece of garbage about someone’s life is dragged out in front of the entire audience as if a sick circus show. Frank Prady’s consistent pushes against negativity strike me as nothing but political maneuvering that gives him additional control of the political process going forward by allowing himself to remain clean while his PAC does all of the dirty work (where is Alicia’s PAC by the way?). Perhaps that’s a statement on behalf of the show that proves just how toxic and cynical politics have become, that we no longer believe in political decency. But can we be blamed? Just look at the sequences of Alicia’s two interviews and how ersatz they are to us – but how sincerely the voting audience might take it for reality. Yet Prady’s mother then wears the same dress (Alicia wore it better) and the conversation takes all the focus away from what Alicia is trying to say and focuses it primarily on what she’s wearing, even though that is arguably the least substantive part of the entire thing.
Speaking of cynicism,the interview in and of itself is a tour de force sequence. It’s a devastating storm in and of itself, let alone everything that happens afterwards. Not for a single second does Alicia let her guard down, even though her eyes clearly capture the extreme fury, guilt, and sheer confusion wrapped up in her mind. But her body language says something else entirely. The coy smiles, the casual touch, the reminiscing about the good old days when she met Peter for the first time, the posturing, every single movement is absolutely brilliant. This is Alicia at her A game, this is Alicia being the absolute best politician she can be. She now has her eyes set on victory and nothing, absolutely nothing will come in her path. As they sit in the limo towards the end of the episode and Alicia slams Peter with unequivocal hatred. If Peter’s life falls apart again, not in a million years is she going to stand by him. One more scandal, and the good wife is gone.
Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“What do you do? Everything?”
+“What are you, his physician?”
+“It’s so crass, it’s awful.”
+“Well that’s good news because I don’t shout.”
+The DINO ad
+“I’ll get you some milk.”; “I don’t need milk.”
+“Oh come on, it’s stupid.”
+“Yeah, a lot of late nights.”
+“I always hated that the walls were glass.”
+Alicia’s Southern accent
+“We’re bad people.”; “I know.”; No, you two are bad and stupid people, which is a terrible combination
+“People don’t usually say both call and phone…”
+ALICIA AND FINN. Enough said.
Title: Sticky Content
Written By: Robert King & Michelle King
Directed By: Michael Zinberg
Image Courtesy: IB Times