THE GOOD WIFE “Taking Control” Review

THE GOOD WIFE (CBS) Taking Control

THE GOOD WIFE‘s second season premiere “Taking Control” gave me the desire to lick my fingertips and snuff out the horror of this fall season line-up with a sizzling burn.

Last season the strings which had carefully been woven into a tapestry of television awesomeness were unravelled; Will (Josh Charles) presented Alicia (Julianna Marguileis) with an opportunity to get out of one relationship and into a another, Cary (Matt Czuchry) was let go from the firm and hired by the DA’s office, Peter made the beginnings of a campaign with Eli Gold’s help, and Kalinda…well her loose string was just that we really wanted her to return. And she did. With an Emmy. Burn.

This episode saw Alicia unwittingly roped into defending a conspiracy website owner by the delightfully abrasive Judge Matchick (Chirs Sarandon). The website owner is accused of killing his business partner. The twist? Her client’s a nutter who believes the pentagon is responsible for his partner’s death and is framing him. He also believes he should defend himself and designates Alicia to his second chair defence. Of course she is still the muted brains behind the defence; the shot of her yellow pad, with ‘objection’ on one side and reasons for objections on the other was priceless.

Cary is assigned to second chair on the prosecution side, and as Alicia starts winning he’s switched to first chair to try and beat her. I love that we did not have to wait weeks for their courtroom showdown. Cary was always wormy, but this time he’s playing for the other side. I’m sure we will in later episodes, but I just cannot wait to see more of that other side.

The best thing about Alicia is she’s clever, and not in a psychotic mad genius sort of way. And she’s not so clever that she gobsmacks everyone around her; It was Will’s idea to use the paranoid girlfriend.

Then there’s her attitude, which is not a moral beacon as lesser writers would make her. She knows her client is guilty of murder; she blatantly tells him so. And yet she fights for his innocence, justice be damned.

Alicia’s personal problems are just as enjoyable as her legal ones. Her relationship with Will has changed; he left her two voicemails, one telling her they should drop their whole relationship idea, the other declaring his love for her. Eli Gold deleted the latter, unbeknown to Alicia, which has Will feeling a little cold towards her. Let’s give it up for Archie Panjabi’s only rival in the ‘scene-stealing category’, Alan Cummings. I love his scenes with Peter’s mother Jackie. She’s as prim as he is slimy, yet both are deliciously devious.

Peter, the catalyst for the major twists in the show, may be the blandest character (bland, not bad) in comparison to rest of the cast. His only stand-out scene was the brilliant bathroom sex scene, and that was more focussed on Alicia and the steamy mirrors.

Lockhart & Gardner are in the midst of a merge with another firm, this one run by Derrick Bond, whose suggestions for change include allowing the staff to evaluate their fellow employees, moving the partner offices to the heart of the firm (literally, in the center of the building) and starting up an official mentoring system-Derrick will be mentoring Alicia. Will informs Diane that he intends to play the disgruntled third party, but things take an interesting twist (as they tend to do) in a scene sans dialogue, when Diane, walking past Derrick’s office, sees Will and him bonding over basketball. As a career woman from a generation of housewives, I am certain her own insecurity and feelings of being an outsider will provide plenty of juicy material for the interaction between this trio.

Meanwhile, another sex and politician scandal has cracked open new interest in Alicia and her family; two boys videotape her daughter at a party and try to get her to reveal whether her parents sleep in the same bed. Thankfully her daughter is smarter than most television children are given credit for. The new employees from Derrick’s firm are gossiping over what Lockhart & Gardner employees gossiped over in season one. Yet nothing feels like a repeat of last year’s plot.

Elsewhere, Kalinda, has her hands full with Derrik’s own private investigator, Blake (Friday Night Light‘s Scott Porter), who comes across to be as good as she is but tends to tread on her toes. One of the best scenes in the entire episode was when she shoved him, as if to tell him in a very animalistic way that this is her territory and she is not to be teased. I’m on the fence about his introduction. I trust the writers will not go down the clichéd routes, so it will be interesting to see how his character is utilized.

All in all, it was a brilliant premiere. So many things happen in an episode, yet the direction and editing are so good it never feels cluttered. What did you think of this episode? What do you think about the new cast introductions? Leave your thoughts below!

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