'The Good Wife' Fan Columnist: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
'The Good Wife' Fan Columnist: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
Alison Stern-Dunyak
Alison Stern-Dunyak
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Just like the "new" Alicia Florrick, the producers of The Good Wife don't believe in wasting any time. After all, we viewers had three weeks to adjust to the bombshell of Alicia learning about Peter's fling with Kalinda. But in TGW time, the show picks up right where it left off -- and Alicia's in full fighting form.

Before Peter's election can even be certified, Alicia goes home, packs his belongings, calls her real estate agent and has movers take his stuff to a new apartment. Peter may have won, but really he's lost -- big time. He just doesn't know it yet.


The Case in Evidence

As usual, this week's episode title, "In Sickness," has a double meaning, referring to both the Florrick marriage and the case of the week. This case, though compelling, serves more as the framework for some tasty doings with guest star Martha Plimpton as always-pregnant attorney Patty Nyholm.

L-G is trying to prove that Nyholm's client, a hospital, illegally removed a severely ill woman from a liver transplant list to bump an internet mogul up the queue. Alicia, in a post-Peter fury, takes up the case with a vengeance -- even the patient notices there's a new fire in her attorney.

Eventually, the L-G team proves the hospital didn't tamper with the transplant list, but the woman's doctor showed bias against her because of "lifestyle" choices (such as drinking) that she made in the past. Because the case wasn't really what the show focused on, however, we didn't even learn whether the woman actually got a transplant -- just that there was now "a chance." (Let's be optimistic and say the patient, portrayed as a sympathetic single mom, got the liver, okay?)

The REAL Case in Evidence

What was really going on, however, were Patty's shenanigans. Right in the middle of the trial, her firm fires her. She claims discrimination -- she's pregnant yet again -- but her firm (led by John Glover, AKA Lionel Luthor) says she alienates clients. Whatever the reason, Will agrees to take her wrongful termination lawsuit.

Thanks to the greatness that is Martha Plimpton (so different yet equally wonderful as Virginia Chance on Raising Hope, which airs one hour before TGW), Patty manages both to win her job back and get the firm's would-be replacement hotshot fired. Since this means we'll probably see her in a future episode, I'm all for it.

Hostile Witness

Jackie confronts Alicia about the separation. Claws out, she all but accuses her daughter-in-law of using Peter until the election. (Not sure how holding the family together helped Alicia more than Peter, but logic has never been Jackie's strong suit.) A proud Alicia won't tell Jackie about the affair, choosing to keep her own counsel. As Alicia leaves for court, Jackie spits out "Damn you to hell!"

Angry mom Jackie goes to Eli to ask for his help reviving her son's marriage. Eli doesn't buy for a minute that Alicia is selfish or spiteful -- he knows Peter too well. But he agrees to see Alicia anyway. Their sweetly rueful meeting reassures me that the budding Alicia-Eli friendship will continue to grow (until she hears about the deleted voice mail, of course).

Sidebar

Not much Kalinda this week -- an Alicia-Kalinda throwdown would have been overkill in this emotion-packed episode -- but she does urge Will and Diane to consider rehiring Cary at L-G. When he finds out that he'd be brought back as a second-year associate because of his time at the State's Attorney's Office (Alicia is heading to third-year status), he withholds his answer.

But we get a pretty good idea of what his answer will be when he approaches Peter to keep him on with the State. For the first time, we learn that Peter doesn't even know who Cary is or his relationship to Alicia. Suddenly, Peter is intrigued by the young lawyer.

Opposing Counsel

The centerpiece of the hour, of course, is the dissolution of the Florrick household. Every beat is played perfectly: Alicia finally breaking down in her kitchen after confronting Peter, then putting on her war paint before heading to work. Alicia explaining the separation to her stricken kids, without revealing Peter's betrayal. The kids agreeing to keep their family's break-up a secret from the prying eyes of the media. Alicia tearfully reassuring them that "We'll be okay."

But above all, it was the Alicia and Peter show. After everything she's been through, she just can't forgive him for sleeping with her best friend. The fact that she didn't even know Kalinda at the time doesn't matter; she's heartbroken.

An equally heartbroken Peter begs her to forgive him, but she says it's all "a no" -- no to marriage counseling, no to forgiving him, no to an explanation. Just no. The only thing she won't commit to is divorce -- on that score, she's undecided. Peter doesn't help his cause when he accuses his wife of sleeping with Will -- "The third person in our marriage for the last two years" -- but she doesn't even respond to him. When he says "Goodbye," she bitterly replies, "You got that right."

Summary Judgment

Once again, a great "Whoa!" episode. Once again, the type of episode lesser shows would make the season finale. Once again, Julianna Margulies knocked it out of the park, with expert help from Chris Noth, Alan Cumming, Mary Beth Peil (as Jackie), and the kids.

If anything could make my assessment more positive, it would be word that CBS had officially renewed The Good Wife. Come on CBS -- let's cut the suspense already and leave the cliffhangers to the show.

(Image courtesy of CBS)




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