THE GOOD WIFE “The Death Zone” Season 3 Episode 2 – There is slick, and there is slimy, and this episode was drenched in slime. Last year The Good Wife distinguished itself with a near perfect season: the only major culprits dragging the season down from greatness were the Aaron Sorkin and Hugo Chavez derived episodes. This year, The Good Wife starts right off the bat with a cowardly, biased status quo stance on the Palestinian/Israeli crisis in the Middle East and this week the episode delves into “News of the World smear tactics” and Rupert Murdoch-esque scandals with the dumb sophistication of a mallet.
“Nothing personal but I have to rip your friend apart.” And so the episode begins with all the arrogance of an Emmy nominated show praised to the heavens for revitalizing the legal drama with none of the charm. This episode was all slick, no substance. The main plot featured a libel case against an American who suggested that a wealthy English mountain climber stepped over the dying body of a casualty and stole his oxygen. The writers tried to play American superiority fast and loose with bumbling English gentlemen, but their play failed. I’m not exactly sure what the hell happened with the case, but Lockhart and Gardner scored a win thanks to a spectacular (-ly unbelievable) 100,000+ tweets overnight thanks to Eli’s deus ex machine intervention.
The subplots were far more intriguing: Peter’s efforts to lure Lockhart and Gardner into a voluntary audit were thwarted, but did push Diane towards the realization that Alicia and Peter have separated and the blowback from that separation might cost her the firm.
Zach meanwhile had a heart to heart with his father, who admitted to hurting his mother. The Good Wife handles these domestic scenes so well, and they allow everyone to be a little heroic: Peter is not a panto villain. He’s a man who can accept responsibilities for his actions. Likewise, Zach and Grace are ultimately good kids and the writers don’t seem to feel the need to throw them into clichéd situations which usually makes all teen tv characters insufferable.
I’m not sure what to make of the Eli/Kalinda plot line. It’s great to see two of the most charming characters on the show in collusion with one another, but the plot itself seemed rather underdeveloped as Kalinda lures in a client on Eli’s behalf. The writers were also rather self-congratulatory on this point, several times giving Eli a line to the effect of “I cannot believe we’ve never worked together before ’cause we’re awesome and sure to get nominated for more Emmys”.
Hopefully the third season of The Good Wife will pick up some of the complexity that added layers of depth to previous seasons but so far, the show has been a lot of talking and smug one-liners without the intelligence to back it up.
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