May 4, 2011
For my money, the brilliance of The Good Wife, is that things are rarely black and white. People aren't all good or all bad, all wrong or all right. It's populated with deeply flawed characters that occasionally or even often do shady things but that are, at their core, probably decent people. Sometimes the firm takes a good case for the wrong reasons. Sometimes people lie to protect the people they love. Sometimes you have to scheme to get or keep what's rightfully yours. Sometimes everything is gray area.
Up until last night I always thought Peter was a miserable shit of a husband who wasn't all that bad a guy. Now, of course, I think he's a miserable shit of a husband; a small, petty man; and a selfish person. A good politician though. While I don't condone his cheating on Alicia with anyone, I understood his initial response when Alicia confronted him about sleeping with her "best friend." "She wasn't your best friend at the time." It's true, not only were they not best friends, they didn't even know each other back then. It's the truth and it's the perfect lawyerly response. When calm reasoning and facts didn't change her mind, he went to the "you're just looking for an excuse to be mad at me because you've been sleeping with Will" well which is both false and so childish. Eventually he lost his shit and stopped trying to make any excuses or tell any stories about how they could work it out. He was out-lawyered by his wife.
Speaking of people who've been out-lawyered by his wife: the emotional scars left on Cary when Will and Diane picked Alicia over him are deep and not healing at all. He's built it all up in his mind as though they were each other's arch nemeses and that's just...not really true. He fears some kind of retribution from Peter if he stays at the State's Attorney's office so he tries to crawl back to Lockhart Gardner but while he is in no position to negotiate, he demands a title commensurate with Alicia's. He even drops her name. It makes him look so small. When he doesn't get the title he wants (though he is offered the same money and benefits that the title would normally come with), he goes to Peter. He gives Peter a bit of the "I hope that you don't hold my history with your wife against me" and Peter's like "who are you and what kind of history do you have with my wife?" Cary clearly is not phased by the fact that Peter has never heard of him or his alleged fued with Alicia but since she's just dumped his ass but good, he's interested to learn how Cary's irrational enemy complex can benefit him. This can not be good. I mean, it can be great for the story, but it's not good for those of us who still kind of love Cary.
Alicia spends most of the episode trying to avoid Peter and Kalinda, being awkward around Will, and arguing for why a tattooed girl who used to be in a band should still get the liver transplant she's do, no matter what sort of hangups her doctor has about tattoos. She argues this case against the law firm that Martha Plimpton works for which means awesomness abounds. Martha is pregnant again and when she's fired by her firm for "allegedly" alienating clients (and everyone else), she hires Will to sue them for $8.6M in punitive damages. In the end, the firm hires her back just in time for her to use everything that's just happened against Lockhart Gardner in their class action suit against the hospital. Ok, it might have been a bit more complicated than that but the bottom line is that Martha Plimpton is beyond amazing on this show and when she faces off with Alicia, Will or Diane, brilliance insues.
Anyway, Julianna Margulies gave another breathtakingly perfect performance in this episode which is just that one thing that elevates this show from great to perfect. The scene where Alicia told the kids that she and Peter had separated was maybe the most affecting thing I've seen on television since Matt Saracen's dad died. I can't wait to see how all of these grays get even grayer next week Kalinda finds out that Alicia knows.