As much as we love Elsbeth Tascioni and her kooky ways, we could always see the method to her madness. But when Alicia has to face off against her old ally in court, it’s the madness that takes center stage.
While we’re adjusting to seeing the other side of Elsbeth, we’re also adjusting to the stunning news this week that season 6 will be Archie Panjabi’s last on The Good Wife. As if in response, Kalinda finally gets a meaty storyline. No matter how she gets written off in the end, right now our favorite PI’s still got game.
Elsbeth’s Wandering Mind
Though this week’s new episode is called “Shiny Objects,” it also bears a little resemblance to the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind. And though we don’t have reason to believe (yet) that Elsbeth’s due for a full-on psychotic break, there’s some crazy stuff going on in that head of hers.
We open with Elsbeth walking on a treadmill, listening to a self-help book and staring at a case folder. Her mind wanders over seemingly random images like penguins and animated cruise ships. (I guess you had to be there.) She’s working hard to quiet her unquiet mind before court. She and her new partner, Rayna Hecht (Jill Hennessey), have a client, tech company J-Serve, that’s being sued by a fired CEO for sexism. Alicia and Dean are the attorneys for the ex-CEO, natch.
Our team’s client, Camilla Vargas, claims she was fired for being a woman. Based on Elsbeth’s strategy, Rayna tries to prove it wasn’t about sexism, just that Vargas was too abrasive. Alicia remembers that Diane knew J-Serve’s previous CEO, who was equally rude and demanding.
But before Diane can send that info over, she inadvertently downloads a computer virus and unleashes misery on the offices of Florrick, Agos & Lockhart. Hackers have taken over their computers and will delete all their files unless they pay a ransom to a company called TrojanLock.
“This isn’t good,” says Dean, in the understatement of the year. (Note to all: never click on an unknown link!) The partners don’t even have a backup because they used the IT money for Cary’s bail. They don’t like it, but they decide that they’ll pay.
Back in court, Alicia gets J-Serve’s chairman to admit the previous (male) CEO was just as abrasive as Vargas but wasn’t fired. Elsbeth scores points by leading the chairman to say they fired Vargas to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Alicia and Dean know they have to find a way to derail Elsbeth or she’ll derail their client’s case.
The Clock is Ticking
Diane puts Kalinda on the TrojanLock problem. She goes to see her old flame, Lana, the FBI agent. She isn’t happy that Kalinda only comes around when she needs something and refuses to help. Is K losing her touch?
With Alicia’s big political debut coming up, Eli asks her to disinvite Finn Polmar from the event, even though Finn is being brave by endorsing his boss Castro’s opponent. Eli reminds her that she and Peter are now the “new power couple from the Obamas’ home state” and Finn will be a distraction. He can endorse her at a later event — not this one. Her new campaign manager, Jonathan, agrees with Eli on this one, even though he knows Alicia feels loyal to Finn for trying to save Will last year.
Diane uses Bitcoin to send the payment to TrojanLock, but she learns they accidentally sent the e-mail with the encryption key they need to Lockhart-Gardner. (Darn autofill!) She calls David Lee to beg a favor and release the e-mail. He’s not in the mood to deal.
Back in court, Alicia may have cracked Elsbeth’s code — she’s distracted by shiny objects (a brochure, an ad). Alicia leaves strategically-placed papers on the table, and Elsbeth’s mind wanders. Rayna realizes that Elsbeth’s losing the case, and it may be time to settle.
Apparently, Kalinda isn’t off her game. Lana comes to see K with the IP address of the computer where the money went. Let’s go! She joins Lana on the elevator and Cary sees them. (Awkward, since Cary and Kalinda were going at it hot and heavy when they learned about the extortion in the first place.)
The agent and the PI knock on the door of the culprit, but he’s actually an old man who gets money to “work at home.” He’s a money mule — a middle man for a laundering operation. Dead end?
Kalinda Works Her Wiles
Just when we think we’ve seen the last of L-G, Diane must go there to get the e-mail that went astray. David crows about being in her old office — and she can’t help notice how much nicer the L-G offices are than Florrick, Agos. Before he’ll give her the e-mail, though, he wants her to pass the lease for their floors to him and Canning; it’s still in her name. She laughs at his offer of a trade. Give me the e-mail and I’ll discuss the lease, she hisses.
Back at the office, they have the confirmation number for their payment, but it’s not working — and the timecode is now counting down twice as fast. K tells Cary the money is going through Russia. She doesn’t tell him she’s in bed with the source of her information. And as Cary grows more suspicious, Lana’s disappointed that Kalinda won’t get emotionally intimate.
Alicia and Dean talk settlement with Rayna and Elsbeth. They’re about to get a ton of money, when Elsbeth calls a halt. I won’t be distracted again, she vows. We see her back on her treadmill, planning her new argument. This time, she wants to show that Vargas couldn’t get along with a big Chinese firm and blew a huge deal for J-Serve. It’s the Chinese culture that’s sexist, not J-Serve’s. The American firm just made a good business decision, she argues.
Alicia asks for a directed verdict: whatever the reason, there’s sexism involved. As she is trying to get the judge’s decision, Assistant US Attorney Josh Perrotti (Kyle MacLachlan) walks in. We know he likes Elsbeth from their previous run-in, and, boy, is he a distraction!
The judge never gets the chance to decide whether J-Serve is guilty of sexism for caving to another country’s sexism. It seems ASA Perrotti isn’t just in court to ask the still-rattled Elsbeth out to dinner. He’s there to level criminal charges against J-Serve for theft of intellectual property. No civil suit until the criminal case ends.
Rayna and Elsbeth ask Alicia and Dean to team up with them. If Vargas can help them beat the criminal case, then they can get back to her original claim. After all, if J-Serve goes under, she gets nothing anyway. It looks like Alicia and Elsbeth get to work side by side once more.
Will the New Power Couple Stand Together?
Kalinda’s tracked down the actual TrojanLock hacker. The “other Carey” can speak Russian (who knew?) and conveys her threats to the guy. The Russian laughs them off, until she starts loading Pussy Riot videos on his screen. Russian mobsters may not care about a law firm in Chicago, but they do care what Putin’s thugs might do. Florrick, Agos & Lockhart get their files back with a minute to spare, thanks to some extreme Kalinda-like action. Her elation is short-lived, however. Later on, she offends Agent Lana by implying that the J-Serve case showed up conveniently and quickly after they spent the night together.
Before Alicia declares her candidacy, she and Peter heatedly argue about Finn’s endorsement. She’s ticked off, since she stood behind him at a thousand events, including Hookergate. An equally annoyed Peter reminds her that she’s asking the governor for a favor, but she counters that he needs her too. His favorables will plummet if he doesn’t appear onstage with her. He finally agrees to the endorsement, but without Finn present. She stalks out and tells Eli and Jonathan to do whatever they want.
When Diane spots a cockroach at the office, that’s the last straw — they need to get out of these offices. But where? She says she controls some prime office space in a nicer building…
At an event, Finn introduces Alicia, but there’s no Peter. But as she walks onstage, Peter joins her, apologizing for being late. As he gives a heartfelt and glowing endorsement, she looks at him with new eyes, whispering thanks in his ear.
Is this a new beginning for the Florricks?
So now we know the source of at least some of Elsbeth Tascioni’s brilliance as a lawyer — a jumbled mind that makes connections most of us can never make. Unfortunately, that mind sometimes runs out of control, and it takes Alicia’s cool calm to figure out how to throw her friend off track. If you believe opposites attract, we can see why those two work so well together, and I’m glad their next case will put them on the same side. More Carrie Preston, please!
Among other key facts we learned this week: Kalinda’s at her best when solving problems and bending bad guys to her will. At the same time, she’s at her worst when it comes to getting close to the people in her life. We also learned that even when Alicia’s loyal to Finn (a potential threat to Peter), he isn’t giving up on her or their marriage. Or maybe just not giving up on his own career. That, we don’t know yet. But I’m going to root for the new start, if only to see what happens.
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)