You know your show is popular when Washington power player Vernon Jordan makes an unbilled cameo--as himself. Such is the fortunate position of The Good Wife, which enters the last few episodes of its premiere season as the hands-down new drama winner of the year.
In this week's episode, "Unplugged," a rock star becomes the subject of a battle over his estate when he winds up in a coma, with his wife and mistress wrangling over whether to keep him on life support or not. (Get it? "Unplugged"--he's a musician ... ) Anyway, this genuine life-or-death decision is the foreground to what viewers consider the real story: Who will win the Alicia-Cary job smackdown?
For the Record
Things aren't looking so good for our gal until she's called in to second chair the alimony settlement for the rock star's soon-to-be-ex wife, Caroline. But before everything can be finalized, the legal eagles learn the musician has been in a motorcycle accident. He's now in a coma. Through some quick thinking, Alicia and lead counsel David make the last page of the divorce decree disappear. If the rock star, Max, lives (albeit in a coma), then Caroline retains control of a $40 million estate. If he dies, then his new will makes his young mistress, Shana, richer by 40 mil.
Kalinda discovers, however, that Max didn't have an accident--he was poisoned by his manager, so the man wouldn't be written out of Max's will. Alicia comes out of the case smelling like a rose (in part because of, not in spite of, the shenanigans with the divorce decree). But with the law firm on the financial ropes, and Cary running around trying to shore up support among the remaining associates, does Alicia want the job enough?
As always, Will and Diane can be relied on for this otherwise-serious show's comic relief. This week proved no different. Let's listen in:
Diane (after Will has explained that Max needs to remain in coma for their client to "win" her case): "We're like ghouls."
Will (acknowledging the firm's financial straits): "As long as we're solvent ghouls."
Later in the show, Diane and Will talk to (the real) Vernon Jordan about becoming their much-needed third partner. But it turns out he wants to buy them out--not become a partner. They respectfully decline.
Will: "Well, that didn't go well."
Diane (ruefully): "Who would have thought that our firm was worth more without us than with us?"
Will: "Really undercuts one's confidence."
The Jury Decides
Kalinda warns Alicia that Cary has been lobbying for the job. Worse, she's worried that by not sleeping with Will (by mutual agreement), Alicia may have ruined her chances.
Will assures Alicia that she will be judged only on the quality of her work, but Diane has a slightly different take on things. She views Alicia and Cary as equally talented, but Cary--being single--can work longer hours and hustle harder. She points out, however, that while Alicia can't be Cary, she has something he doesn't have, namely connections. Does Alicia want the job enough to call in a few favors? Alicia has to ask herself: Does she want the job enough?
In the end, the answer is yes. She needs the job, plain and simple. She swallows her pride and approaches Peter's campaign manager Eli Gold about recommending Lockhart-Gardner to his clients. He does more than that--he brings his own company's business to the firm. She thanks him, knowing that he'll expect her cooperation on Peter's upcoming campaign to defeat arch-nemesis Glenn Childs.
It's another chip at her dignity and sense of self, but it's also enough to turn the tide--the job is Alicia's. A stricken Cary, who had assumed he was the victor, walks out. Based on the previews for next week, he walks straight into Glenn Childs' office. This can't be good--except for the viewers, of course.