Warning: If you haven’t yet watched the Season 5 premiere of The Good Wife, proceed directly to some other TVLine article. Everyone else, jump on in!
What could be scarier than being strapped to a gurney to be executed for a crime you didn’t commit, only to have the on-call nurse not be able to locate a viable vein for your lethal injection? How about being called into a room with the entire partnership of Lockhart Gardner when you know you’re in the midst of double-crossing them?
OK, OK, maybe the death-row scenario is slightly more harrowing — but not by much. With Diane Lockhart peering down over the tops of her glasses and David Lee (Zach Grenier, now upgraded to series regular – woohoo!) dropping bombshells about examining internal phone records, would anyone have blamed Alicia for holding up her hands, confessing her plans to jump ship with Cary and the other fourth-years and begging for the mercy of her overlords?
Fret not, that’s not what our “First Galactic Princess” did. But, yes, Alicia had her hour of doubt. So without further ado, let’s recap the action in the Season 5 premiere, “Everything Is Ending”:
AGOS-FLORRICK (OR FLORRICK-AGOS?) | The action picks up right where the Season 4 finale left off: With Cary at Alicia’s door — ready to discuss mutiny — on the night of Peter’s election as Illinois governor. (“Oh, wow, I forgot,” says Alicia, in the night’s second-funniest line, after Cary congratulates her.) After a little joshing about whose name will go first on the company letterhead, our conspirators disperse. But later that week, at the office, David Lee sees “Other Cary” (Ben Rappaport) and the fourth years gathered in conversation and — suspicions raised — puts a reluctant Kalinda on the case of checking their phone records, seeing how said phones are company property, after all.
Alicia breaks the news of her new enterprise to Peter and Eli — but not to Diane and Will, since they’re all neck-deep in a death-row appeal. But she’s taken aback when she finds her new partners all gathered around her car — “What’s going on: West Side Story?” — and they inform her they want to delay the Florrick-Agos launch until after Lockhart-Gardner gives out bonuses.
As if on cue, the partners shortly thereafter call Alicia into a locked-door meeting, and for a minute, it looks like the jig is up. (True confession: The start of this scene left me full-on freaking out for a good 30 seconds!) Turns out, though, the partners think Alicia’s still one of them: David reveals he’s looked into the fouth-years’ phone calls and discovered they’ve been on the horn to the big-money clients; Diane suggest Alicia “get closer to them”; Will wants her to “find out if they’re happy.” And our heroine nods and smiles and exits the room like someone just took a stun gun to her temples.
Cary, having witnessed the meeting through those tell-all glass walls, drops by Alicia’s house to find out what went down. “We need to leave by the end of the week,” she says, not wanting to reveal more and potentially open herself up to a lawsuit. And then she starts waxing poetic about how she likes to watch Will and Diane at work, wondering if Florrick-Agos will be able to take pro-bono cases like the current death-row appeal on which they’re toiling. “Are you having second thoughts?” Cary asks, and you can tell he’s wondering if Alicia is about to do him wrong again. But no, she has pledged her allegiance, and she warns him that the mutinous attorneys must stop using Lockhart-Gardner phones to drum up new business — a warning that, I suspect, may come back to haunt her later in the season.
“ANAL’S WHAT WE NEED RIGHT NOW” | Peter, meanwhile, is dealing with some ethical issues of his own. He’s liaising with the head of the Illinois Ethics Commission (Melissa George) and the problem is the lady is smokin’ hot. Eli being Eli, he starts harping that the “optics are wrong” — in other words, that Peter shouldn’t ever spend too much time in the company of a woman who could easily be playing the role of Hot Librarian in an ’80s heavy-metal video (and a woman who’s not afraid to speak out against the ethics behind Eli’s choice for chief of staff).
At first, Peter dismisses the concerns, but after catching another glimpse of Marilyn’s gams, he asks Eli if he thinks Alicia’s move to launch a new firm might’ve been motivated by her feelings for the latter half of Lockhart-Gardner. And then he makes a decision that, I suspect, may come back to haunt him later in the season: He instructs Eli to promote Marilyn to the Transit Authority Board. “Did I do something wrong?” she asks. “You did something right: It’s a promotion!” Eli responds, but his tone is tinged with contempt — as if Marilyn should somehow be aware of the damaging power of her beauty. It’s a total douche move on Eli’s part — and, to be honest, it’s a douche move on Peter’s part to not deliver the news himself. “You guys are making a mistake,” Marilyn says, and methinks she might just be formidable enough to drive that point home like a stiletto heel to the jugular. Note, girlfriend did make mention at the top of the hour that four of the prior eight Illinois governors had gone to jail. Foreshadowing?
Oh, and Peter offers Eli the Chief of Staff gig — then drops this unintentional double entendre: “Anal’s what we need right now.” Admit it: You howled, too.
THE HOT DAUGHTER | Zach notices everyone — his friends included — taking a sudden interest in Grace. And then, in the kind of accidental Internet sighting he’ll never be able to scrub from his brain, he discovers his little sister has made TurboChap.com’s list of the Top 10 Hottest Politician’s Daughters. Actually, she’s No. 4. He eventually shows it to Grace, whose stunned expression doesn’t indicate if she’s secretly pleased or horrified — or both.
CHEATING DEATH (ROW) | The week’s central court case is an intense one — and it begins with Diane and Alicia attending an execution that’s held up for 2 hours and 20 minutes while the on-call nurse tries to locate a suitable vein in the prisoner (a terrific Malik Yoba). By the time the guy’s arm starts dripping blood, Diane is doing what she does best, shutting s*** down by informing the warden, “This is the definition of torture!” Lockhart-Gardner piggybacks the innocent man’s case with a class-action suit fighting the death pentalty — arguing that Eddie is “evidence” regarding torture that must be “preserved.” Ultimately, with the unexpected/not-entirely-willing help of ADA Pine (who has history with the case), Diane and Will are able to refute the testimony of a jailhouse snitch who bought information on the case from a state typist moonlighting as a “prison broker.” When the judge (Jeffrey Tambor) reluctantly refuses to overturn, Will makes a final “Hail Mary” play — calling in the DEA to stop the execution on the grounds that the lethal injection was transported illegally via U.S. Postal Service. It works — and
Gov. Florrick the Indiana governor (where the case is occurrin’) suspends the sentence, thinking that “third time’s the charm” shouldn’t apply to sending a man to his death. Hugs! Tears! Happy ending!
MERRY-NOT-GO-ROUND | After several aborted (and awkward) half-conversations, Alicia tries to come clean to The One That Keeps Getting Away/The Boss She’s About to Piss Off: “Will, I need to tell you something…” But Mr. Gardner doesn’t realize she’s trying to resign from her job — not explain why she didn’t return his election-night call after THAT KISS THAT WE ARE NOT GOING TO FORGET ANYTIME SOON, ROBERT & MICHELLE KING! And so he tries to play it cool: “We were on a merry-go-round, and we needed to get off. So we’re off. That’s all.” He smiles. “Don’t end up hating me,” Alicia whispers, but he doesn’t hear her, and so she bids him good night as he goes off to have a celebratory drink with Diane. Yowza.
BONUS | Has there been a more hilarious indictment of useless technological advances than “Monica” telecommuting via Skype screen on wheels, and David Lee’s episode-long disgust and disdain? I chortled every time girlfriend bumped into a wall or missed the opening of a door or struggled to see beyond the “happy face” picture David had taped to her screen!
What did you think of The Good Wife Season 5 premiere? Were you terrified by the partners’ meeting? Did you understand Alicia’s momentary hesitance? And do you think Peter and Eli have made a terrible mistake? Sound off in the comments!Follow @MichaelSlezakTV