I swear The Good Wife will be the death of me; how can any show be THIS consistently spectacular?
Part of me was hoping the entire episode would span only the meeting between Alicia, Eli and Elfman, (much like the brilliant season four episode Death of a Client which took place on one single night). Although that didn’t happen, I was still in awe; everything about the campaign’s opposition research was fascinating to watch. I love that Alicia is now so determined to run, and I’m totally absorbed by the world of emotions she has on display as the obstacles and the intricacies keep piling up (and she hasn’t even begun).
Alicia has always had a dark side, and I’m eager to see The Good Wife continue to explore her tricky duality going forward, especially because she’s going to be needing every trick in the book when all hell breaks loose. The revelation that none other than Lemond Bishop was the one who set up her PAC (with over a $100,000 already in the bag) is the kind of twist that beautifully pays off years of storytelling. It’s organic, real, and it’s another great complication to add to the mix (because Bishop will undoubtedly be needing favors in return).
Just like it’s been doing for its entire run, The Good Wife introduced yet another fantastic guest-star who impressed me right out the gate. Oppo Research saw the arrival of Alicia’s new campaign manager, Johnny Elfman played by Steven Pasquale. Although I was disappointed that Eli wouldn’t be taking the job at first, Pasquale immediately put my fears to rest thanks to an explosive dynamic with Mrs. Florrick. I genuinely can’t wait to see how their relationship will further develop throughout the season. Talk about genius casting.
The opposition research also acted as the perfect platform for Alicia to discover a whole lot of secrets about her family. First, there’s Zack and the abortion that his girlfriend had right under Alicia’s nose. This gave us an excellent sequence in which Alicia called Peter and threatened to cut her son off from any funds. Naturally by the time she finally was able to get Zack on the line, her anger had died down and she rather sternly ordered him to play along with her story (once asked by the press). The revelations didn’t stop there, as we also discovered Owen’s affair with a married Palestinian man who did “bareback gay porn.” Suffice to say, Alicia’s reaction to this discovery (“I don’t even know how to answer that.“) was priceless. And finally, there’s Alicia dealing with her mother Veronica who spanked a child in a mall. Although this subplot was played for laughs, it was still amusing to see the hillbilly mother/child duo get outwitted by Alicia and company.
Finally, the show that Alicia watches throughout the episode is not the first time The Good Wife has illuminated important themes through our heroine’s amusing viewing habits. Here she watches her favorite drama obsession “Darkness at Noon” followed by a Talking-Dead-style aftershow where the conversations conclude a discussion about “badasses”. Naturally we the audience know quite well that Alicia is the true badass here, particularly with her newest undertaking. It’s all so gloriously witty and cool.
Bits & Cases
– How hilarious is it that Alicia hates spoilers? See, she’s just like the rest of us.
– The fact that Alicia prepared a feast for Eli. Can we say Aww?
– How sneaky is Eli telling Alicia and Johnny (separately) that they can ditch the meeting in 20 minutes?
– I found it fascinating that Eli wants Peter to stand by Alicia in triumph, as a contrast to the show’s debut with Alicia standing in her husband’s shadow in shame. That would actually be the perfect shot to ultimately bookend the show with.
– There’s a great little moment where Peter asks Eli how Elfman looks, obviously jealous of the much younger man.
– The Matrix nod made me happy.
– Masterful mini-edits with flashes of Alicia remembering all those times she almost caught Zack up to something. Plus she keeps insisting he smoked pot.
– I actually remember that rape case with Alicia and Will at the hotel reception very well!
– Hilarious scene with Eli meeting with Kalinda (about the Peter scandal) and the two leaving without paying.
– It says a lot about Alicia that before confronting Owen about his secret, she lovingly inquires if he’s been having safe-sex. She is his big sister after all.
– Although Polmar only got a small scene this week, his chemistry with Alicia was electric. The writers have really channeled the pair’s growing dynamic in the most ideal way possible.
– I got physically upset when Alicia was forced to undergo the whole DUI thing. Not cool Castro!
– Why did Kalinda tell Bishop about Alicia? It’s not like I needed another reason to hate her.
– Great little touch with Alicia not pouring herself a drink at the end after everything that happened. And now those alcohol addiction rumors aren’t gonna be pretty!
– So Peter was just doing the intern’s mom a favor?
– I love that Veronica’s reaction to Alicia running is to suggest a trip to Bali because of “empty nest syndrome”. Epic.
– The episode’s final sequence is a stunner. There’s that incredible tracking shot of Bishop’s car driving away leaving Alicia to deal with the aftermath of his bombshell. Woah.
Alicia: I just don’t think it lasts. Good news tends not to last.
Eli: And that’s what I like about you; you’re always looking for the bad.
Eli: You’re a brand now. Saint Alicia.
Alicia: Eli, I wish you would say that with at least a hint of irony.
Eli: No. Irony is dead now; you’re campaigning.
Alicia: I’m not your superhero Mr. Elfman. You want to go find someone to restore your faith in humanity, don’t waste my time or yours.
Eli: Mr. Paisley spoke out on Israel.
Alicia: And that matters in a state’s attorney’s race?
Eli: Israel matters in every race.
Eli: Grace is good.
Alicia: Christianity 3, atheism 0.
Eli: The time stamp reads 8:27 am and Mr. Polmar is leaving your apartment.
Alicia: Yes well I don’t like my kids seeing who I sleep with. How could they get out in time for their abortions?
Oppo Research is a sensational and almost-perfect hour of television.