The Good Wife Season 4 Review “Going for the Gold”

There were some pretty impressive juggling acts going on in this episode of The Good Wife. Elsbeth was simultaneously trying a civil case and a federal case in an effort to exonerate Eli. Alicia was trying to figure out how to balance her new position as partner with her instincts as an associate. Peter was trying to figure out how to be aggressive in his debate with Maddie without appearing to bully her. Lots going on.

A few thoughts about “Going for the Gold”:

One thing that became abundantly clear is that the U.S. Attorney’s prosecution of Eli wasn’t on the up and up. U.S. Attorney Josh Perretta played an impressive game of musical co-conspirators in an effort to prove that Eli had bought votes. Elsbeth attempted to obtain the State’s witness information through discovery, but Perretta refused to turn over the information. So, Elsbeth came up with a rather cunning scheme to sue the DNC chairman for defamation so she could find out what he intended to say at the federal court hearing. Elsbeth (with a little help from Alicia) was able to poke enough holes in the DNC chairman’s testimony, that the federal judge (the always wonderful S. Epatha Merkerson) was inclined to dismiss the charge.

So, Perretta claimed he had another witness to the conspiracy-Jackie Florrick. Eli was understandably worried about what she would say because he knows she doesn’t like him very much. Jackie testified that she’d overheard a conversation between Eli and the nursing home CEO which seemed to prove the State’s case. Alicia told Elsbeth that they should bring up the fact that Jackie had recently had a stroke and she had memory issues. However, they didn’t have to. On cross examination, Jackie said that half the time she can’t remember her own name much less who said what to whom. I don’t think Jackie was telling the truth about that at all though. She knew that Eli and Alicia would bring up the fact that she had a stroke and would try to make her look confused and incompetent. She just decided to get out in front of it and prevent them from having control of that particular conversation. The fact that it helped Eli was simply a byproduct. Jackie’s testimony was really about protecting her pride.

When all of that failed, Perretta called Diane to the stand as a co-conspirator. Diane signature was on the document approving the discount to the nursing home, and Perretta argued that Diane was Eli’s co-conspirator. However, Diane pointed out that she’d signed that document at the direction of her supervisor Clarke Hayden. She testified that although she was the managing partner at Lockhart Gardner, she wasn’t in charge at the time. Hayden was desperate to improve revenue, so he instructed her to approve discounts to clients. Perretta was unable to prove conspiracy, so the case against Eli was dismissed.

The real mystery here is why the U.S. Attorney’s office was so gung-ho after Eli. Who put them up to it? Why did they jump through so many hoops trying to prove their case? What is the endgame? I still think it was one of Peter’s political rivals trying to get at him. That makes the most sense. Of course, it could just be that Perretta was enamored with Elsbeth. But that’s kind of thin. Besides, Perretta is so disingenuous, if I were Elsbeth I’d be suspicious of him all the time. Which is why I think she turned down his advances. He doesn’t seem like a good guy at all, and he actually borders on creepy. I can’t really put my finger on it, but something just seems off about him.

Alicia is setting herself up for some trouble with Carey and the other associates. I get that she’s a partner now and she’s got new responsibilities in the firm. That is totally expected and understandable. It’s also reasonable for Diane to tell her to stop thinking like an associate. However, the way Alicia handled the situation with the associates and their billable hours was not only unprofessional, it was just plain stupid. Instead of being upfront with Carey and the others about why she was cutting the hours, she tried to handle the associates. They aren’t going to like Alicia no matter what she does. She screwed them over when she accepted the partnership and left them twisting in the wind. She did it, so now she just needs to (wo)man up and accept that they’re going to talk bad about her behind her back. I think they were willing to lighten up when they found out she’d cut her own hours instead of theirs, but now that she’s gone back and cut their hours she’s going to have a problem. I guess I’m the only one who feels like you should just be upfront with people. She needs to go to them and tell them that she’s a partner now and she’s got to function in that capacity instead of as an associate. Maybe they’ll hate her, but at least she’s established boundaries and she wasn’t with them one minute and then cutting their legs out from under them the next.

The changes in the dynamic of Alicia and Carey’s relationship were pretty evident here too. Carey is obviously hurt and frustrated by how things went down. I can’t say I blame him on that. Now he’s just trying to move forward, and Alicia comes in basically undermining him in front of the other associates. Carey handled it with admirable professionalism even though it was obvious that he was upset. Later when he tried to talk to Alicia about how her cutting his hours were going to hurt him, she didn’t have time for him. Avoiding unpleasant confrontations isn’t going to make them go away. Carey seems to realize now that he no longer has a friend or ally in Alicia. When she told Carey about the revisions she wants him to make, it came off as extremely condescending. I feel kind of bad for him. He’s a really good lawyer and, by all accounts, he’s been a good friend and colleague to Alicia. It doesn’t make sense to me that Alicia wouldn’t even talk to Carey about what’s expected of her now.

Peter seems to have come to the realization that he needs Eli. Eli resigned from Peter’s campaign after he realized that his legal woes were harming the campaign. Peter had also stopped taking Eli’s calls and started listening to Jordan about campaign strategy. That was a mistake. I don’t know what Jordan was trying to do, but it certainly wasn’t getting Peter into the governor’s mansion. I suppose Peter thought that Jordan was best for his campaign because Jordan is young and fresh off a win, but youth does not necessarily guarantee innovation. Jordan was cocky and arrogant. He figured Eli was old news and he had nothing to learn from him. The truth is, Jordan really needed to do less talking and more listening. Politics really requires a knack for gaming the system and figuring out how to work your opponent’s weaknesses to your advantage. If anyone knows how to do that, it’s Eli. Despite the fact that Peter essentially dumped him for the newer model, Eli still helped Peter kick Maddie’s butt in the debate. Afterwards, Peter realized he made a mistake letting Eli go, and asked him to stay. Eli agreed and I really hope this means we’re through with Jordan. I don’t like him anyway.

All in all, this was a pretty good episode. Probably because it featured a whole lot of Elsbeth. I really do love her. She’s awesome. I’m still confused by what Alicia is doing with Peter. One minute she’s locking lips with Will and the next minute she’s hooking up with Peter on his campaign bus. It seems like Peter’s not the only one in that relationship who has trouble keeping it in his pants. We’ve gotten several mentions of Kresteeva lately and Matthew Perry is slated to appear in some later episodes, so it would be interesting to see how those debates go. And am I the only one who got a kick out of Peter throwing Maddie off her game during the debate? That didn’t go exactly as she’d planned. It was great. So what did y’all think of this week’s The Good Wife?