A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
The Good Wife had an awkward sixth season, where the first half provided the audience with solid drama and the second half sort of meekly collapsed from exhaustion. The first episode of the seventh season is a bit of the same, spinning various narrative threads that hold tremendous promise but either arrive out of nowhere or simply lack the narrative tension required to drive them in the right direction. If this is the last season of the show, as the creators have alluded to in the past, then perhaps that’s a good thing. Amongst the most prestigious of the broadcast network shows, The Good Wife became an awards staple and deservingly so, bringing bristling dramatic flair with complex characterizations to boot. There were several low moments (Kalinda after season three, her husband, and most of Alicia’s run for State’s Attorney), but the show remained strong overall and its fifth season blew everyone out of the water and not just because of Will’s departure. The sixth season arrived to the tremendous buzz of its predecessor but it fizzled out quickly, most notably from that awful debate episode and forward. The storylines were haphazard, the characterizations were completely off, and Florrick Agos underwent more changes than possibly any other law firm in history, fictional or otherwise.
Bond is a latter half of season six sort of episode, where it’s solid as an episode of standard television but extremely disheartening as an hour of The Good Wife. The opening was the surefire indication that this episode would be maudlin at best. It was opening that was right out of some C-grade episode of a cop show airing on an unimportant time slot for people too medicated to change the channel. Yes, that’s harsh, but I stand by it. As terrible as the opening couple minutes of this season are, it does lead to a throughway that was incredibly prescient. The Good Wife always has had a deft hand at uncovering the injustices of the American justice system and this episode was saved from annihilation by it. Bond courts are an expert exemplification of the word “clusterfuck”, where judges are slammed with three hundred and fifty cases a day, if not more. A verdict has to be passed every ninety seconds and it is up to the lawyers to save their clients within that timeframe, without knowing anything about them until they actually open their file. Alicia, having so long been representing an overwhelming majority of privileged clients, is completely out of her element, befuddled as client after client is burdened with bail amounts they clearly could not afford.
Alicia may be utterly befuddled by bond court, but she’s at a juncture in her life where she doesn’t have to answer to anyone. There is an inherent trepidation in doing so, but she’s a lot more confident and experienced at being sort of adrift. Setting up a home office and making Grace her assistant, Alicia begins to maneuver towards rebuilding some practice again, complete with Louis Canning pursuing her incessantly. He continues to insist that the two will be equals in a partnership, that their relationship will be that of peers, the new Diane and Will, if you will. Alicia doesn’t trust him, which is probably a safe bet considering that one can never tell in what direction Canning is going to maneuver. Just because Alicia isn’t taking him up on his offer to become a partner, however, doesn’t mean Canning doesn’t have other tricks up his sleeve. He sends a high profile case Alicia’s way, a case that she ends up winning due to the assistance of her new bond court friend Lucca. When she confronts him over that reality, he acquiesces immediately. He offers to stop sending Alicia cases, but she wisely says no. I’m not sure where this is going, but this love-hate relationship between the two is at least somewhat compelling, so I’m willing to give it a shot.
Alicia’s stronger thoroughfare is with Eli, who finds himself discourteously thrown under the bus by Peter for the sake of a new campaign manager in Margo Martindale’s Ruth. Enjoying her newfound independence, Alicia gives Peter the same courtesy of sorts with a go-ahead to run for vice president. Peter’s first act is to hire Ruth, a savvy campaigner who knows Iowa better than anyone else apparently. That would be fine, but he essentially gives her Eli’s job, perhaps noting the irony that Eli was suggesting Ruth be brought on board to begin with. Eli is understandably quite upset at the news that the person whom he salvaged and skyrocketed politically would be so callous for the sake of a career move that once again, he pushed for. Eli’s never the type to admit the blossoming of a real friendship or relationship, but the hurt so clearly depicted on his face couldn’t be a clearer indication of the weight he feels by Peter’s cold betrayal. Eli feels the weight and Alicia feels it, her look of disgust when she finds out what Peter did speaking volumes. The writing for this twist, however, is completely thin since it arrives virtually out of nowhere, but the shaky foundation does carry the promise to lead to some fascinating places. Alicia’s subtle takedown of Peter in a national interview was a thing of beauty, as was her hiring of Eli to be her chief of staff for the campaign. I don’t know about a lot of where The Good Wife is going this season, but these campaign fireworks should be utterly fascinating and thrilling to watch.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“I’m not a Marie Antoinette.”
+“You’re the devil.”
+“Don’t you snap your fingers at me. I don’t know what snapping fingers mean.” You go, Nora.
+Ruth and the snapping fingers motif
+“Spreading your cheer far and wide, I see.”
+“Eli, this isn’t healthy.”
+“This firm is becoming a laughingstock.” Yes, yes it is.
+“You want me to stop?” “No.”
-“We need to change.” Again? Really?
-The resolution to the case of the week was really quite stupid. Not that the case itself was any better.
Episode Title: Bond
Written by: Robert King & Michelle King
Directed by: Brooke Kennedy
Image Courtesy: Vulture