A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
This episode of The Good Wife largely occupies itself with Cary Agos’s trial and rightfully so. Matt Czuchry hasn’t always been the best served on the show, but it’s fitting that the episode opens up on the empty courtroom where Cary’s fate was going to be decided and ends on him declaring that he’s guilty. It’s a tour de force of an hour that doesn’t allow for an escape mechanism for any of its characters, no matter how ridiculous or serious the circumstances. Barcelona isn’t just a way for Cary to escape the punishment for a crime he hasn’t committed, in an odd sort of way it’s a metaphor that represents an out for everyone involved. Alicia has an out with patronage and an endorsement to her campaign because she isn’t directly involved with the decision. For Kalinda, Bishop represents an out for Cary’s innocence, which backfires in a greatly tense moment. The Good Wife closes out the first half of its sixth season on its strongest episode and a tense cliffhanger that condemns one of its key characters to a horrible fate regardless. Happy Holidays?
What I love about The Good Wife is how it takes its judges and provides with instinctual flavors that not only gives a notable direction to a case within the episode, it also allows the audience to have a known insight into the trial and make insightful predictions about it. Judge Perotti has always been a fantastically colorful character for the show to gravitate towards and it’s a genius move to use his frenetic irritation as a bulwark against the depressing final scene everything was building towards. To some perhaps it may seem a bit useless to add in so many layers to these characters but for me it helps this judicial world feel real and germane. He’s a harsh judge that has a definitive sense of rules, but like many other characters on The Good Wife he has a remarkable leniency when breaking those rules himself. Yes, anniversaries are fairly important, Judge Perotti, but you shouldn’t be rushing your court cases in order to buy tickets to a concert for Neil Diamond. Professionalism, Your Honor.
Alicia’s case this week is a lot lighter when it comes to the election, mostly dealing with the soap opera that she’s developed a bit of a crush on, Darkness at Noon (which is such a ridiculous title it works). Inspired by that show, she writes down one of the threats in response to Grace’s ass of a coach who forced her to run even when she was sick. Naturally it becomes a much bigger deal than necessary, considering Alicia’s running for a political position where crime is the underlying central statement. In a case of political correctness gone mad, when clearly Alicia doesn’t have any plans on stabbing a teacher and letting them bleed out, Frank Prady capitalizes on it during an interview while Johnny and Eli try to find a way to spin it. Grace’s civics teacher holds onto the note as a form of insurance. In return, she wants the teacher union’s power when it comes to school safety reinstated. Alicia bristles at this obvious patronage but Eli and Johnny take a thinly veiled option out, using Peter and giving the teachers’ union seats on the Illinois Safety Commission.
The tension in the trial sequence is palpable. From the opening shots, an aura of ominous foreboding is clearly established and that tone carries throughout the entire sequence of events. It’s going okay for Cary at the beginning, although certainly it’s far from an ideal situation. And then it gets worse, far far worse. I loved Kalinda’s courage in going to Bishop’s house and threatening the custody of his child in his own kitchen. It clearly rattled Bishop and I would love to see where the story went on from that point. But for right now that out doesn’t work. Bishop does bring in Dante as per Kalinda’s request but it backfires horribly. Bishop screws Kalinda and Cary over as Dante testifies absolutely that Cary was giving them advice on how to proceed. At night, as a terrified Cary is wandering about, Bishop picks him up and offers him an underground job in Barcelona. It’s an easy out for Cary, but the sunny beaches of Barcelona perhaps aren’t powerful enough for him to forget his duty. The next shot is focused just on Cary’s face as he looks up at the judge (who’s out of the frame) and quietly pronounces “Yes, your Honor. I would like to plead guilty.” Oh, Cary.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+The meeting between Alicia and Finn was beautifully done with all of the romantic trappings coming into play, just when they promised each other that that would not be the case.
+The music was especially great this episode
+“I’d trust assassins over teacher.”
+“That was my childhood. Now you see why I turned out the way I did.”
+“Let’s see where this goes and then we’ll decide how relevant it is”
+“Okay, how exciting! And we are adjourned for lunch.”
+“When Judy types, history takes notice.”
+“Alicia is a good mother. She would never stab a teacher.”
+“Well, here’s the thing…”
+“Oh really? Which episode?”
+“That was a joke.”; “No joke.”
+“Where is it?”; “BuzzFeed Politics.”
+“Uh-oh”; “I’m really starting to hate those syllables.”
+The Pine detective storyline is too obvious not to continue, right?
+“Of course it’s patronage. How do you think this works?”
+“They key word is show.”
+The way Eli says “Ethics…”
-Where is Robin?
-Did the Kalinda and Cary 30 second rule disappear?
Title: The Trial
Written By: Robert King & Michelle King
Directed By: Frederick E. O. Toye
Image Courtesy: The Washington Post