In this episode of The Good Wife, “Driven,” Alicia and Peter team up to convince donors and the media that they’re one big happy family. What they didn’t plan on was politics literally making strange bedfellows. The question is: what does this mean for the future?
Are the Florricks finding their way back to each other? Is this just an example of Alicia’s new attitude of worrying less and enjoying life more? And where does Jason fit into all this? Let’s take a look at lucky episode seven of season 7 and see who gets lucky!
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Drive, He Said
The legal case at the center of this episode touches on another technology hot button: driverless cars. Louis Canning is back, with a plaintiff who’s in a wheelchair after being hit by a car running in driverless mode. Diane and Cary are in for the defendants — a young man, Tim Brewster, who was in the (apparently faulty) high-tech car, and Mr. Ephraham, the CEO of the company that made it.
Is Tim being thrown under the self-driving car (so to speak)? Canning realizes that the Lockhart, Agos team cares more about the deep-pocketed CEO than the hapless software coder. Louis recommends that Tim find himself a separate lawyer. He hands over one of Alicia’s cards. “Call her,” Canning tells him.
Meanwhile, Alicia’s in her first Chicago Election Board meeting. Democratic party leader Frank Landau reminds her to “vote no” on the first issue, even though it’s still a mystery. It’s also not hard to miss that she’s the only woman in the room.
When it’s time to vote, Alicia learns that the group is voting to replace the city’s current contractor for voting machines, KLT, with a company called Swan Systems. Without Alicia’s “no,” there’s a tie. Frank glares at her. When she votes no, one of the other members angrily accuses of her being “bought.” Not a good start to her tenure on the board.
Heading into her apartment-office, she runs into Jason. The PI has a new assignment involving self-driving cars. She also asks him to investigate a company called KLT and its connection to Frank Landau. Oh, and can we talk later? she asks. About everything. Hmmmm.
As Lucca’s explaining their new case, Eli calls with bad news. Vice News is reporting that Alicia and Peter haven’t shared a bed for years. Ruth and Eli conspire to make the Florrick marriage appear solid.
Mini-Tacos for Two, Anyone?
Alicia and Lucca meet Tim at Lockhart, Agos for depositions. (Seeing Alicia there, Diane looks like she’s just swallowed a lemon. Cary, on the other hand, just looks thoughtful.) The CEO, Mr. Ephraham, explains the safety features of his self-driving car. He believes his former employee (Tim) caused the accident. Alicia scores several points over whether the car “knows” enough to avoid collisions under all conditions.The deep-pocketed CEO isn’t too happy with his lawyers.
At her apartment-office, Alicia makes Jason a drink. She’s visibly nervous. He’s visibly interested. Some of her nervousness stems from having to ask him to sign a waiver of liability, for her insurance policy. She’s worried he’ll be offended and refuse to sign. At first, he hesitates, but for her he’ll do it.
After he signs, she asks if he’d like dinner. (Now we’re getting somewhere!) All she has are frozen mini-tacos, but what the heck? But hold off, Jason-Alicia shippers! Peter’s at the door with an entourage, thanking her for doing something.
Doing what? “Letting me stay here,” he says. “Didn’t Eli call you?” She introduces the two men, and the smooth PI scores points by telling Peter he’s a great governor. As Jason leaves, he and his boss agree to talk later.
Eli Works to Snare a Major Donor
Back at Eli’s broom closet, he spies Ruth receiving a guest. He recognizes her as Courtney Paige, a powerful CEO, and sends his assistant, Nora, to gather intel. (She doesn’t learn anything useful, but we learn that Nora’s way overqualified to be running errands for Eli.)
No matter, Ruth brings Ms. Paige (played by Vanessa Williams) over to meet him. Courtney’s interested in backing Peter for president, but she’s worried about the Florrick marriage derailing his campaign. Eli assures Courtney that everything’s hunky-dory. He invites her to Grace’s birthday party later that week as proof, despite the fact that it’s months until Little Florrick’s birthday and there’s no party in the works.
Fuzzy Driving, Fuzzier Ethics
Peter’s politicos overrun Alicia’s apartment. She and Lucca still have to work, however, and Jason reveals what he’s discovered about the self-driving car in the accident. One: the company adjusted the car’s controls to use “fuzzy driving,” which makes it “more human” and therefore less safe. Two: someone erased the car’s hard drive after the accident.
Another visitor arrives. It’s Hallman, the angry member of the Election Board. He tells Alicia to stop being a stooge for Landau. If you’ll vote against KLT again, I’ll ask Landau to step down as head of the commission and nominate you instead. Besides, we need a woman, he says. She doesn’t want the job, but Hallman reminds her that it’s a chance to stand up to corruption. For one of the first times in this episode, Alicia smiles.
Back in the deposition room, Ephraham and Tim argue about the hard drive. Tim says it was deliberately erased; Ephraham says it was damaged. A man named Dudewitz is sitting on the outer rim of the room and interrupts to say he designed the original car, claiming Ephraham stole his ideas. As Dudewitz begins talking, Alicia leaves to speak with Jason.
The PI explains that Landau isn’t connected to KLT, but Landau’s wife is. He also sees Dudewitz through the conference room window and says he wants to ask him some questions — he saw him give a TED Talk.
She returns to the room primed with questions from Jason and questions Dudewitz about his beliefs on artificial intelligence. The incredibly obnoxious inventor makes it clear that AI will one day prove dangerous to us. Alicia asks, couldn’t that include the self-driving car? Cary and Diane look highly annoyed.
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A Quickie with Long-Lasting Repercussions
Back at the apartment, Alicia pours Peter a drink to celebrate her successful cross-examination and his million-dollar campaign contribution.
“Wanna get laid?” she asks. Sure! They have 20 minutes to spare. They run to the guest bedroom and strip off their clothes. He even skips answering the phone, even though it might be another million-dollar donation.
Afterward, Peter wants to know if Alicia’s okay. She reminds him that she seduced him. It was sexy, wasn’t it? he muses. “It’s always sexier not to care,” she says. “Because sex is sexier without love.” Peter’s not sure what he thinks about that.
Eli knocks on the door and realizes what just happened between the two. Eli isn’t sure what he thinks of it either. But Alicia sure looks happy.
Congratulations, Jackie and Howie!
Dudewitz takes Alicia, Lucca, Jason and Tim for a demo in the driverless car. Tim wants to prove that the AI is faulty. Dudewitz doesn’t believe that’s possible, if Tim was the only human in the car. But what if there was another human involved — just not one in the car? A hacker! (Shades of Wired magazine’s expose of hacked Jeep Cherokees. You can look it up.)
At a “birthday dinner” for Grace, Peter’s potential benefactor, Courtney, celebrates with the Florrick family. Grace — ever the good soldier — plays along.
Outside in the hall, Ruth and Eli pace anxiously, hoping Courtney likes Peter. The elevator opens and out step Mama Florrick and her new beau, Howard Lyman. They have news! They’re engaged! Peter’s not thrilled, but Alicia can’t stop giggling.
As Howard tells Courtney a cringe-worthy story about meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Alicia offers Eli a drink. She tells him not to worry so much; there’s too much craziness in the world. “The new me just doesn’t care,” she says.
Jackie manages to unwittingly insult Courtney before she leaves, and Eli’s sure the evening was a disaster. The gracious Courtney tells him not to worry so much. “You’re the second person to tell me that tonight,” he says. “Well, then it must be true,” she says.
The doorbell rings again. It’s Frank Landau. (Alicia really needs a doorman in that building.) He’s not happy that she might vote against him and threatens to hurt her and Peter. Alicia just wants to vote her way. Landau drops the bombshell that Hallman is part owner of Swan Systems.
“Nobody’s innocent here. So you either vote for him or me. Good luck with that,” he says.
Did Peter and Alicia Pass Courtney’s Test?
Back at the deposition, Dudewitz admits that the car could have been hacked while it was undergoing updates. It had to be an inside job. Tim’s friends at the company did it to prank him before the test drive. Unfortunately, the prank resulted in Wendy ending up in a wheelchair. Ephraham’s on the hook for a lot of money.
Courtney goes to see Eli. She’s convinced that Alicia and Peter are a real couple; she’s backing the governor. Eli’s all grins. (And am I imagining things or is there chemistry between Eli and Courtney? Hmmmm.)
At the Election Board, Alicia announces that Frank and Holman have issues. But you still have to vote, they tell her. As she’s deciding, we cut to black.
Another excellent episode, following on the heels of the previous episode. I’m really enjoying the “new” Alicia. She’s getting into a stronger, more confident groove — following her instincts, caring less, but winning more. For example, when she tells Lucca she really doesn’t miss the big-firm politics of Lockhart, Agos, I’m inclined to believe her.
And when she tells Peter that sex with him is sexier because she doesn’t really love him anymore, I might even believe that, too. (At least, she wants to believe she’s over him.) Interestingly, the one she seems to care about is Jason. With him, she’s nervous. That’s telling us something, too.
But you can’t deny that she still strikes sparks with her husband, and the campaign will undoubtedly force them to spend more time together. To make things even more complicated, Jason genuinely admires Peter. Is there a bro-code for politicians and their constituents?
And what about Courtney and Eli? I’m seeing sparks between those two as well. Or maybe it’s just my hope that we’ll get a musical duet between the Grammy-nominated singer/actress and the Tony-winning singer/actor. A gal can dream, can’t she?
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm (sometimes later during football season) on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)