You’re not imagining things: This week’s The Good Wife serves up the kind of plotline resolution that lesser shows would force us to wait for until the season finale. Peter’s election? Check. Peter’s second infidelity secret revealed? Double check.

But wait — there’s more! We also get a bittersweet wrap-up of the Natalie Flores story, as the young student gets to show her stuff while working as an L-G intern. And the case she shines on takes the now-classic TGW style of mixing real political figures into the fictional world to new, humorous extremes.

The Case Before the Court

In “Foreign Affairs,” the weekly case centers on a dispute between a petroleum corporation and a drilling rig company (represented by the L-G team). The oil company owes the LatinStar drillers for work they performed in Venezuela. Just as things seem close to a standstill, in walks Fred Dalton Thompson — sometime-lawyer, presidential candidate and Law & Order star. Turns out he’s now representing the new plaintiffs in the case — the Venezuelan government, which has nationalized LatinStar and everything else related to oil in the country.

What follows veers into the surreal. Besides having Thompson play himself, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (not playing himself — I think) makes several “appearances,” ranting on a video-teleconference camera. By pairing up, the South American country and the drilling company score against the petroleum giant. Will and Diane win a huge settlement for their client, while the Venezuelan government manages to secure an invaluable map with the locations of potential oil fields. We, the viewers, win by getting some of the best laughs of the season. Who knew that Hugo Chavez had such a crush on Courtney Love?

Speaking of crushes… Natalie, potential love interest of not-so-heartless Eli Gold, turns out to be invaluable to the L-G team as a bilingual translator. Her success gets her a ticket out of town when the opposing counsel in the lawsuit offers her a job in his D.C. office.

Despite the existence of her Canadian boyfriend, she and Eli clearly have made a connection — one evident enough to bring out the BF’s jealous side. When Natalie and Eli part on election night, the word “wistful” springs immediately to mind. Sigh. We’ll miss you, America Ferrera — come back soon!

Unexpected Witnesses

Outside of the law offices, two other plotlines converge throughout the episode. On the one hand, Peter’s campaign desperately wants Alicia to give a TV interview on behalf of her husband. True to his word, Eli doesn’t force the issue, but Landau, the local Democratic Party chairman, does. When she finally gives in to the inevitable, her interview is spectacular, hitting all the right “wifely” notes. (And her practice interview with Eli is a highlight of the show.)

In the second plot thread, Alicia is dogged by Andrew Wylie, the P.I. hired by Glenn Childs’ office to look into Blake’s interview with Matan Brodie. Upon learning this, Kalinda goes to Cary to find out what Wylie knows.

Cary says that Wylie couldn’t possibly know about her and Peter’s one-night stand. Wracked with guilt, Kalinda says she’s going to tell Alicia the truth. Ever-practical Cary asks her to put in a good word for him with Peter first.

The Public’s Verdict

Suddenly, it’s election night. Peter is leading by a decent margin, in no small part because of Alicia’s last-minute interview.

The night swirls around her. The kids are proud of their dad, and a tipsy Jackie Florrick thanks Alicia for supporting her only son. Eli and Alicia raise a glass to one another — allies at last. Party chair Landau congratulates Eli and tells him that the next stop for Peter is the Senate, with Eli at the head of the campaign.

But just as the television announcers declare Peter the winner, Andrew Wylie comes in and tracks down Alicia. He’s come to apologize for hassling her and to explain that he was chasing what turned out to be a false rumor. The rumor: Peter slept with a coworker two years’ ago. But it had to be untrue, because there wasn’t anyone by that name — Leela — in Peter’s office then.

As Alicia realizes what he’s saying and who he’s saying it about, it’s as if she’s been punched in the gut. In the background, the crowd starts cheering for an unseen Peter, and Alicia lurches down the hotel hallway sobbing.

Summary Judgment

What did I like about this episode? What didn’t I like?

Besides the all-important reveals, there were so many excellent touches: Alicia mulling over the possibility of moving to a house like the one she gave up; Kalinda pushing Will to tell Alicia how special he thinks she is; the return of the “in my opinion” judge (played by Ana Gasteyer), who is starstruck by Fred Thompson; the tiny brush of Natalie’s hand on Eli’s sleeve as she leaves the election party (and presumably the show, but who knows?); and, of course, Alicia’s hard-won dignity finally collapsing under the weight of her realization about Peter and Kalinda’s betrayal.

My only complaint: We now have to wait three weeks for the next new episode. May Sweeps Month can’t come fast enough for me!

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Photo AlbumThe Good Wife: 2.20: “Foreign Affairs”

Alison Stern-Dunyak

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV