A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Iowa was an episode that encapsulated every single problem The Good Wife has largely had since the middle of the sixth season, a neat forty minutes that go from imminently watchable to immensely dull in between frames as if it were suffering from a bout of extreme indecision. Show runners Robert and Michelle King will be stepping down if CBS decides to give The Good Wife an eighth season to work on their new program for the network and I, especially after this episode, can’t decide if that is a good or bad thing. On one hand, the series at that point will have gone for seven seasons and at twenty-two episodes a pop, that’s a fairly impressive number of hours for a story to have been told. If the seventh season had been bursting with as much energy as the fifth per say, then The Good Wife could have gone under different show runners from the show’s staff and there would be a nervous energy for the show to go forward, but not an apprehensive one. But the show’s seventh season, outside of a couple of brightly lit episodes, has been a middling slog, garnering decent episodic grades on account of certain storylines but definitely not all and actors who do their job well even if the material they are presented with is complete and utter nonsense (plot and or character-wise). There’s no energy left in the show at times and it seems that it’s pulling gasps to go forward. This being The Good Wife, it could rebound next week and be more brilliant than ever up until its last hoorah, but I’ve been made the most doubtful I’ve ever been about the future of this series. Or that could easily be an argument for the exact opposite, that it’s time for some fresh new blood to kick in and bring in a different to the series. Personally, with Alicia’s past coming back in such full force and Peter’s campaign all but disappearing because of Iowa, it seems like the show is ready to wrap up and if it can do so at the quality it has displayed largely with consistency, that will be tremendous.
The episode begins right where the meddling KSR left off, with Eli having made the rather troubling confession that he had deleted the voicemail upon which Will had made his confession of love. I’m earnestly once more not quite sure what drove Eli to make such an idiotic mistake and no, his tepid love affair with Courtney Paige did nothing to make that storyline work. Even if the entirely of his guilt had encapsulated his being, why Eli specifically had to bring out Will’s voicemail is beyond me. There are certain things one simply never confesses out loud and this was definitively one of them. Eli, who is much smarter than this, would have understood the replications of what he had just done but it appears that while he was telling Alicia about the gravity of what he had done, he didn’t understand that gravity himself. I don’t buy that Eli would be that out of touch with basic human feelings, but there it is. Alicia’s fury in its own right is something to behold and Julianna Margulies acts the hell out of it (the plates being set apart was a nice touch). Alicia’s emotional turmoil is by far the best thoroughfare of the episode, beginning with an intense fury and slowly, fascinatingly transitioning into a simmering frigidity. Alicia in glasses and reading Jane Eyre was intriguing and not just because of the metaphor represented by Charlotte Brontë’s novel. Alicia has slowly began asserting her independence in a much more aggressive fashion throughout the season and to see her turn towards an icy, just slightly attached demeanor is fascinating, especially when one considers how much apathy she rightfully has held for this ridiculous electoral process. I expected her to potentially set the campaign bus on fire, not offer Peter sympathy after he finished a distant fourth in a state.
As tremendous as Alicia’s emotional exploration is in this episode, everything else had this unfortunate tendency to completely go flat. Diane and Cary are still largely complete shells of their former selves and somehow the show got into its head that anyone finds Jackie and Howard to be a remotely interesting couple. They’re not and their prenup sequences might be the most boring thing The Good Wife has ever accomplished, seeped in a tremendous amount of dullness that achieves almost nothing except for ensuring that the episode would cut from a genuinely interesting narrative thoroughfare to a “love” story that would make Nicholas Sparks try and pull a Stephen King. Peter’s attempt at pulling a Grassley, which involves visiting every single county in Iowa by 5 p.m., is a massive backfire that began with a decent theoretical concept. Much like many characters in this episode, there’s a prize that they view as being essential that ends up being entirely ephemeral and in some cases it completely backfires. Iowa’s importance within the grand scheme of American politics has always been befuddling, much in the same way of New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. On one hand, giving early contests to states in various regions of the country makes sense, but that sense quickly dissipates when one takes the states around Nevada for example and contrasts them with Nevada itself. It suddenly turns into a clown show for the media to fawn ever, a sort of Hunger Games-esque circus as politicos watch with baited breath to see who makes it into the second round. Peter’s attempt as Ruth coordinated it was severely flawed. By spending so much time traveling from county to county, Peter lost the valuable time he could have gained by using the technology that was readily at his hand. And now the prize of Iowa slipped away, leaving little but disappointment and a perturbing knowledge in its wake.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“There’s this thing called the Internet now. It’s this marvelous device. You should take a look at it.”
+“That’s the nightmare.”
+“That looked like it was going to go somewhere.”
+Zach trying to hit on a Georgetown girl who likes Grace was a funny moment
Episode Title: Iowa
Written by: Erica Shelton Kodish
Directed by: Matt Shakman
Image Courtesy: Mashable