A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
The Good Wife returns on the heels of a ridiculous scheduling system and by far the worst episode it has seen in years with a solid episode that seems to largely flounder about. Dark Money is about as obvious a political story as one can get, as Alicia and Prady compete for the donations of Guy Redmayne. Redmayne is a stand-in for typical money interests; in this case he’s a wealthy donor looking for influence but he happens to be extremely misogynistic and homophobic. There is a crisis of conscience and pragmatism as Alicia and Frank must decide between accepting Redmayne’s money. Redmayne’s behavior throughout the negotiations is absolutely disgusting and I absolutely expected the two of them to walk away after throwing some whiskey in his face or something akin to that. Frank, disgusted with the entire routine, rejects the money while Alicia, in a fairly surprising move, accepts it. It’s odd and not just because Redmayne’s reasoning for supporting Alicia is that he basically is more homophobic than misogynistic, but after Alicia had trounced Diane with a sexism claim not too long ago, this sort of hypocrisy is a new, troubling height for her. Sure, she may regret the money afterwards, but that line has been crossed.
As uncomfortable as that storyline was to watch, at least it had the tinge of reality to it. The Good Wife has been so remarkably good about taking prescient issues and crafting various court cases around them that it feels remarkably lazy for the show to constantly fall back on old cases for an episode. From time to time those reappearances give the proceedings an air of welcome familiarity, allowing for the world in which The Good Wife exists to feel consistently inhabited. Other times it feels like the show is dragging itself at the heels, as if there was so little in terms of other options that it had to fall back on familiar faces and that sort of inevitability showed itself tonight in the form of Dylan Baker’s Colin Sweeney. Baker is a great actor and has made Sweeney consistently entertaining and watchable if nothing else. But tonight even Baker couldn’t save his awkward, ridiculous storyline from feeling completely dry. The exhaustion of the script was inevitably evident on screen, to the loin where getting through those scenes felt like a heavy burden that was placed upon the audience’s shoulders.
Kalinda in my view has been floundering as a character ever since they introduced her idiot of a husband at the beginning of season four. That epic disaster of a storyline was wrapped up pretty quickly as the creators of the show responded quickly to the massive, completely justified backlash but the show just lost direction of the character afterwards. Aside from a few moments here and there, The Good Wife turned one of its strongest characters into an enigma in all the wrong ways, where her motivations became confusing in the sense that you had a feeling even the writers are unaware of who Kalinda is anymore. Her being turned into a sort of nanny for Bishop’s son for the moment doesn’t make sense. It feels like the show is just turning its wheels for some reason when it comes to Archie Panjabi’s exit at the end of this season. As it is, I’m not privy to what the writers have in store for her leaving and I have enough faith in them to believe that the end will be well-executed in and of itself. But if the journey from now on is as tepid as it has recently become (in terms of characterization, especially), it’s hard to believe that emotional impact would resonate nearly as much as it should.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+The idea of Call It Murder is a pretty great meta joke and by far the sharpest piece of writing this week
+“Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do; be a parent.”
+Alicia: “You are pretty fresh, aren’t you?”
Redmayne: “It’s my best feature. I’ve got the testicles of a twenty-year old.”
Alicia: “Where? In your briefcase?”
-“I’m notorious. The white OJ.”
Title: Dark Money
Written By: Keith Eisner
Directed By: Jim McKay
Image Courtesy: Spoilers Guide