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Thursday, October 3, 2013

"Everything Is Ending" Or Just Getting Started for THE GOOD WIFE

Article first published as "Everything Is Ending" Or Just Getting Started for THE GOOD WIFE on TheTVKing.

CBS's The Good Wife, arguably the best drama on that network, returns tonight with "Everything Is Ending." The pressure mounts for the fourth years to tell the partners they are leaving the firm and striking out on their own. Alicia (Julianna Margulies) is caught in the middle of the two worlds, and tries to appease both sides, while still keeping her secrets. A case involving an inmate on death row gives her pause about her own decision.

Alicia likes working for Will (Josh Charles) and Diane (Christine Baranski), and who can blame her? They've been good to her, promoting her when appropriate, giving her opportunities, and assigning her to cases she feels passionate about, such as the pro bono work in "Everything Is Ending," saving a man named Eddie (Malik Yoba, Alphas) from execution. She is comfortable there.

Yet, she has given her word to Cary (Matt Czuchry) that she will help him start a new firm. Part of that decision might have been prompted by wanting to get away from Will, avoiding old feelings, but her word has been given. It's too late to back out. Or is it?

It's a real conundrum for Alicia. She has already made plans with Cary, and further digs her grave by lying to the partners when questioned about what she knows. Even if she wanted to stay, the only way to be forgiven would be to rat out her co-conspirators, but then Diane and Will still probably wouldn't trust her. And if she does the right thing, coming clean to the partners, she would not be welcome at the new firm, her co-workers feeling betrayed. Whatever she does now, after the lie, someone will feel like she stabbed them in the back. There is no good way out.

The problem may have been who Alicia got into bed with. It's one thing for her to want to work with Cary. They have a relationship, and similar sensibilities. He can be reasoned with. It's another to go with a democratic rule with a bunch of rash, greedy people, who don't want to leave Lockhart Gardner until after they get their bonuses. It's a short-sighted move on their part, and Alicia may end up being the one to pay the price for it. It's too bad she and Cary aren't really the new Will and Diane, as Cary is fond of calling them, because wise leadership is needed to right the course.

I do wonder if Alicia might change her mind. She seems to waver because, if she goes to a start up firm, she won't be able to help people like Eddie for quite some time. It seems Alicia didn't fully think out her choice, and now it contributes to her being stuck. But I don't want her to stay at Lockhart Gardner because Cary has felt screwed over enough and it took awhile to rebuild their trust the last time. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what she decides.

Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) may pay the price, too, also trying to cover for the associates when David Lee (Zach Grenier) starts digging. She tries to put him off, and even denies knowledge that she possesses. This is clearly done out of loyalty to Cary, and maybe Alicia. It's noble, to be sure, but when everything goes down, David Lee will surely bring Kalinda's evasiveness to the senior partners' attention.

Peter (Chris Noth) may be getting himself into much the same circumstances as Alicia in "Everything Is Ending," not thinking things through completely. To protect his image, at the behest of Eli (Alan Cumming), he promotes Marilyn (Melissa George, Alias) out of his office. Eli is correct in saying that pictures taken of Peter and Marilyn might spark bad rumors. But Marilyn is smart enough to know exactly what Peter is doing, and doesn't seem happy about it. Will she return to cause trouble, making Peter regret his decision?

It is touching when Peter suggests that Eli be his chief of staff. Eli and Peter have been through a lot together, and it's a little surprising the idea hasn't been floated before. Eli, for all his ego, actually seems surprised to be considered, and certainly appreciates the offer. While it's not completely clear Eli will accept, that's the assumption I've made, and I'm glad to solidify their partnership on the show, hopefully seeing Eli in new roles now.

Grace (Makenzie Vega) is cast in a new role, as a sex symbol. Zach's (Graham Phillips) buddies alert him to the website objectifying his sister, and he isn't pleased, though he soon realizes there's nothing he can do about it. Given Grace's religion and personality, it's unlikely she'll take advantage of the situation, and it will likely cause her more embarrassment than pride. I wonder where The Good Wife intends to go with this thread.

"Everything Is Ending" is a fantastic episode. Besides the various plots covered above, we get Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) as a judge, a classic Lockhart Gardner Hail Mary, and see a softer side of Geneva Pine (Renée Elise Goldsberry). The tension is high, the pacing is fast, and the show still takes time for character development. If only other CBS shows, stuck in the procedural formulas, could take some notes, the network would quickly rise in quality.

The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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