Alicia’s back from Iowa and facing a lot of choices in this episode, “Tracks.” Now that Peter’s out of the race for president, she doesn’t even have to play The Good Wife. But with Eli’s confession about Will’s message still haunting her, she seems at a loss about how to move forward. What will she do when Cary brings her an offer we’ve all been waiting for?

Meanwhile, after discovering his conscience, Eli’s now determined to win back Alicia’s friendship — or at least her forgiveness. But will she continue to freeze him out?

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Home is Where the Law Firm Is

Alicia may have started as a one-woman firm, but business is starting to pick up. Good for her — to a point. Not so good for her neighbor three floors down who gets a lot of misdirected deliveries, visitors and mail (including Grace’s school grades, which seem to have suffered). Also not so good for top client Bea Wilson (Kelly Bishop), who isn’t so keen on seeing her attorney at home.

One of the happier visitors is an old client, Rowby Canton (played by Matthew Lillard), a pop musician. When his former label tries to lay claim to the rights to a children’s song called “Good Morning, Magic Sunshine,” which has become a video sensation, he wants both Alicia and Cary’s help, since they represented him together in the past. 

Cary invites them to use the Lockhart, Agos offices, where Rowby meets Lucca. The musician is immediately smitten. They’re interrupted by Andrea Stevens (a returning Christine Lahti), who represents Rowby’s old label, GFC Records. The company asserts that it’s copyright, unless he pays them back millions for recording and promoting his last album. They’ve even removed his uber-popular video from the Internet. 

Eli is Now Ruth-less

With Peter’s campaign over, it’s time for Ruth Eastman to move on. Even though Eli’s getting his old chief of staff job back, he’s not too proud to take some advice from his nemesis. Ruth warns him that with the governor returning a loser, someone will take a shot at him. 

Who? “I don’t know — watch out for friends,” she says. Then Eli does something completely out of the ordinary: he apologizes for not being better to her. Maybe Eli Gold really is a changed man. He looks achingly at a photo of himself with Alicia in happier times.

Back in Alicia’s apartment/office, Eli wants to discuss Peter’s political problems, but she closes the door in his face. The next person to open the door, Grace, greets the neighbor from three floors down. She’s bearing a notice from the homeowners’ board evicting Alicia for running a business in her apartment. 

More Gold in the Windy City

Marissa Gold (a returning Sarah Steele — yay!) is back in town, and she needs a job. Her dad snaps at her to ask Alicia for work. The sharp cookie quickly notices something is off with him but takes his advice anyway. Unfortunately, when she goes to the office/apartment, Alicia rejects her old “body woman,” thinking the visit is just a ploy by Eli. Now Marissa thinks something’s off with Alicia, too.

Marissa confronts her dad. What’s going on with you and Alicia? He says they’re having “issues.” (When she asks if they’re sleeping together, his reaction is hilarious.) He admits to deleting Will’s voicemail years ago, then finally confessing it to Alicia. Marissa’s sympathetic to her dad’s obvious misery. She may have a plan to set things right…

Lucca and Rowby Make Beautiful Music Together

In court, Rowby and the record company go at it. There are competing expert witnesses and extensive explanations of what makes for a successful song. The judge (Oscar winner Marsha Mason) leans toward Rowby, but then Andrea brings evidence that Rowby wrote and recorded the contested song before his contract ended — about 30 minutes ahead, according to the timestamp on the video.

Rowby says they still have a chance to win the case. He claims he improvised the song for his son the night his record contract expired. But the timestamp was Pacific time, not Chicago. So the contract had expired. Hope springs eternal!

This being The Good Wife, there’s always an elevator in there somewhere. In this case, Rowby and Lucca share the ride. He tells her about his divorce. She responds by taking him to a local bar, and the next thing we know they’re locking lips. She warns him that she likes artists but quickly loses interest. He’s okay with that, and they head to her place. 

In court the next day, Rowby explains his creative process. Lucca, Cary and Alicia argue forcefully on his behalf, with Lucca giving Rowby many meaningful looks. When the judge agrees with them, Rowby celebrates the win by pulling Lucca into a clinch, much to Alicia and Cary’s shock and/or amusement. 

While the hearing’s in process, Alicia’s homeowners’ association meets. Since Alicia can’t be there, Grace — as an employee of the firm — represents her. Little Florrick readily admits that Alicia’s running a business, which is a violation of building rules. But then, she wonders, why isn’t the board going after other residents who are covertly doing business there, too? And then there’s the illegal subletters. And the guy who entertains high-priced call girls.The board decides to table the issue for now. Another score for Grace.

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Can You Plagiarize Yourself?

Unlike the homeowners’ board, the record label isn’t ready to give up. They now plan to sue Rowby for $2 million for copyright infringement. This time, the label claims that “Good Morning, Magic Sunshine” bears too close a resemblance to “Moonie Mooniekins,” which the musician wrote while still under contract, essentially self-plagiarism. (Yes, there have really been cases like this.)

Rowby’s team argues that many songs sound alike if you compare only small segments to one another. The judge says she’ll take it under advisement.

Knowing they might lose, Stevens offers a settlement, but before they can come to an agreement, the judge rules — and sides with the record company. Worse, Alicia and Lucca worry that Cary has been poaching clients from them. Not just Bea, but other important clients (all of whom formerly used Lockhart, Agos). 

Grace offers to help Alicia with the client crisis. Instead, Alicia fires her from Florrick, Quinn. Her grades have suffered, and it’s time to focus on being a student, not an employee. This time, Mom Florrick wins out over Boss Florrick.

Is This an Offer Alicia Can Afford to Refuse?

Lucca decides her time with Rowby is up, and she heads to Alicia’s. Cary’s there, too — with an offer. The clients want Alicia and Lucca, but they also want the infrastructure of Lockhart, Agos. Come to the firm, both of you, Cary says. 

Lucca’s intrigued, but Alicia’s adamant. She can’t go back to a firm — one she co-founded — that fired her. But their little fledgling firm’s in trouble. What do we do? Lucca wonders.

Another knock on the door. It’s Marissa. Lucca slips out to let the women talk.

“You have to forgive my dad,” Marissa says. He didn’t have to tell you about the voicemail — you’d never even have known. “He cares about you, and he doesn’t care about many people,” she says. “Yes, he did wrong, but let him apologize.” She’s stopped short by the look on Alicia’s face.

“I hurt. It hurt me,” Alicia says. “He knows that,” Marissa responds, essentially begging Alicia to tell Eli he’s forgiven.

“No,” Alicia finally says. A crestfallen Marissa leaves as tears glisten in Alicia’s eyes.  

Summary Judgment

Thank goodness Peter’s run for POTUS is part of The Good Wife‘s history. After a promising start with Margo Martindale‘s Ruth facing off with Alan Cumming’s Eli, the whole storyline lost steam. Wrapping it up with a quickie visit to Iowa in the previous episode was a wise decision, IMHO. (I mean, what was going to happen? Peter was going to beat out Hillary or Bernie? Yeah, right.)

So back to business. “Tracks” moved the season down the path it has to explore: the possibility of Alicia (and Quinn) joining forces again with Lockhart, Agos. Or at least joining forces with Cary, because Alicia or Cary alone are never as good as those two together. The law firm of Florrick, Agos and Quinn has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

The Good Wife is taking a week off (football conference finals, don’t cha know). Next time, however, we’re promised a reunion between Alicia and Jason. Maybe the handsome P.I.’s return will help Alicia shake off her blues.

The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Alison Stern-Dunyak

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV