The Good Wife Recap: Spouse of Cards

Watching this week’s installment of The Good Wife, I couldn’t help but think of a line made famous by Chris Isaak (almost 25 years ago!) in his smash hit “Wicked Game” (you know, the one with the black-and-white video where he and supermodel Helena Christensen played extra-sexy Twister): “It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do.”

Yep, as she points to her public halo and asks “Is this thing on?”, Alicia Florrick finally succumbs to an extramarital Humpty Dance* only 72 hours before Election Day. And right there in a very public parking garage, the Empress of Chunky Necklaces Diane Lockhart gets her gears shifted (if you catch my drift) by her gun-expert hubby Kurt. And while, alas, Kalinda and Cary get approximately 18 seconds of combined total screentime this week, I still like to imagine that they’re regularly re-creating their “Steamy Windows” dance of 2014.

(*”I’ll take ’90s music videos for $400, Alex!”)

But getting past the sex, this week we see Alicia and Diane make bold plays that could rock the foundations of their marriages: The former by attacking her spouse’s public record, the latter by, well… let’s get to that “OMG!” moment in just a moment, as we recap action of “Open Source” — a far more traditional installment coming off of last week’s head-spinning “Mind’s Eye.”

PUTTING THE ‘BANG’ IN ‘BANG BANG’ | We learn this week that Diane’s turn-ons include expertise under fire, power plays and perhaps most of all, winning. Finn (oh, hi there, Mr. Sexy Brown Suit!) brings to his landlords a case in which his client is suing a gun designer for posting “open source” schematics for a 3D gun that misfired and left him paralyzed. The suit provides a fascinating and completely unique take on second- (and first-) amendment rights — and makes me a little wistful for the show’s erstwhile “case of the week” structure.

Anyhow, after Kurt provides dazzling (yet typically compact) testimony, Diane finds herself so turned-on that she’s can’t — and won’t — wait ’til they get home to show her appreciation. “You make me feel like I’m 22,” she sighs, while proving she knows how to drive stick right there in the front seat of their car.

Later, though, when Kurt’s followup studies point to the printer designer as the culpable party, he bristles at Diane’s refusal to drop the weapons designer in the suit — pointing out that she’s targeting him not for being negligent, but because she finds him “politically offensive.” He won’t continue his work on the case, he adds, because he “won’t testify for a crusade.”

Think again, buddy! Diane actually has her husband served with a subpoena — a boss move, but not exactly the stuff of Valentine’s cards — and the resulting courtroom tension is thicker than Kris Jenner’s delusions of grandeur.

All’s well that ends well is touched by (the briefly seen) Kalinda, though, whose assistance allows Diane to prove that, yep, the gun designer was actually to blame. His attorney makes a $5 million settlement offer — way more than his insurance can sustain — funded by what she won’t say out loud is the NRA.

The real question mark at the end of the case, though, is whether Diane and Kurt’s marriage will survive her hard-charging legal maneuvers. “I let my political passions drive a wedge between us, and that’s not how we do things,” she says, clearly apologetic, and Kurt’s one word response, “True,” is as close to a mushy “I forgive you, darling” as the dude is gonna get.

What I love about this story arc, though, is the never-spoken subtext that it’s not just Diane’s “political passion: driving her here. Will’s violent, senseless shooting death has loomed so large over Season 6 that it’s lingering memory should be credited as a series regular. Kurt, well aware of Will’s importance in Diane’s life, has to understand all this — which is why it makes sense for him to treat the slightly-bigger-than-a-molehill disagreement as nothing more than a molehill. At episode’s end, Diane agrees to accompany her man on a deer-hunting vacation in Wyoming — with the richest of the rich — which should provide tons of fodder for a future TVLine Quotes of the Week column.

“GOD, HANDSOME MEN ARE SO WEAK” | Prady’s campaign manager can’t convince him to smear Alicia — even after she wins that crucial newspaper endorsement that’s put her up by three points — but David Hyde Pierce’s alter-ego responds better to the idea of going after Peter.

Johnny and Josh determine Alicia’s best course of response is to join her opponent in pointing out her husband’s failures as State’s Attorney — especially those claims of systematic racism — but the message that seems to rattle Alicia most is that Johnny is leaving on Election Day to work on a campaign in Sacramento (the city in California — not some previously unheard-of Chicago suburb).

Eli, though, catches wind of the plan to “throw Peter under the bus” — and breaks out all the threats on Johnny, telling him he’ll lose his new job if he doesn’t change strategy. Johnny winds up mimicking Eli’s words when he talks to Alicia — “you guys are a package deal,” he says of the Alicia-Peter union — but it’s Marissa who winds up confronting him on his self-serving move. “You’re a real dirtbag, you know that,” says She Who Was Hired as Bag-Woman, But Has Quickly Graduated to Chief Truth-Teller.

Alicia shares a lovely scene with Prady while they await their turns to speak at a luncheon for black business leaders — one in which he confesses he’s not actually gay, but a Jesuit whose religious beliefs stopped him from marrying after his divorce… a fact that makes him “not someone you want to get a beer with.” 

Alicia, in spite of her atheism, is clearly struck by the religious code of her rival. “You are better than I am,” she sighs, and you can almost see that in a perfect world, she’d concede the race to him. It’s just that, at the end of the day, she knows she’s not running for State’s Attorney of Perfect World, IL — but a very real, flawed and ethically murky place.

As she’s prepping to take the stage, though, Johnny calls and tells her he’s decided she should go after Peter — with no mercy whatsoever. The excitement in his voice — let’s kill your husband (politically) — has a charged, almost sexual undercurrent, one Alicia doesn’t seem to mind. We hear her kick off her talk by noting how the “most insidious form of racism is unconscious” — and how Peter, while a good State’s Attorney, was one who made mistakes.

The electrical charge of Alicia and Johnny’s decision lingers long afterward — and as he fumbles for the elevator outside her apartment, she asks him if he’d like to come inside. When one (elevator) door closes, another one (ahem) opens, and the two engage in a fevered kiss that you just know is going to end in $2,000 worth of tailored suits all over the floor of Casa Florrick.

THE CANNING IDENTITY | In the week’s most capricious arc, an ailing Canning requests Alicia visit him in the ER – where he tells her he wants to donate $18 million in stocks to the family of the dead girl who donated the kidney he’s just received. (Watching Alicia repeatedly recalculate how ghoulish or not it might be to pull out the file on Canning’s wrongful eviction suit against Florrick-Agos is the most uncomfortably amusing part of the hour.)

Trouble is, the girl’s family wants the money sent director to “The Strong Arm of Liberty” — a pro-Palestine group with possible ties to HAMAS — which is allegedly why Canning’s attorney David Lee refuses to move forward. (The shifty attorney’s snide remark about Canning and Alicia finding ” “other ways to facilitate the killing of Jews” is classic Zach Grenier.)

Alicia winds up squeezing an unconscious Canning’s hand and oversharing that, “I know you’re a bad man but I sort of miss you. I know that’s weird. I don’t know why. I seem to have some bad-boy issues.” To me, the moment underscores Alicia’s disenchantment and disconnection from her core people — her son, her former law partners, her brother, the late Will Gardner, even Peter — since she’s embarked on a run for office. On paper, it makes no sense that she’d share her vulnerability with Canning — and yet her desire for some kind of connection completely overtakes her in the moment, especially one in which she’s contemplating mortality and purpose.

At the prompting of an outraged Eli — “Are you sending money to the Palestinians?” — Alicia figures learns she’s not exactly on target with her insistence that “Canning’s not gonna prank me on his deathbed!” So she finally goes and confronts her nemesis, who feigns any knowledge of giving Alicia power of attorney or directing her to redistribute his stock funds. “I was in a fugue state!” he exclaims, as Michael J. Fox reminds us why he’s a four-time Emmy winner in comedy. And as Alicia pushes Canning’s phone well out of reach — her eyes both angry and amused — Julianna Margulies reminds us she can do more than drama, too.

What did you think of this week’s Good Wife? Were you shocked by Diane’s sexual and legal behavior? And how about the Alicia-Johnny kiss? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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31 Comments
  1. JAH says:

    Not cool for the episode to end on the kiss! But other than that, I loved this episode.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Loved the episode. I too miss the weekly cases.
    But Johnny did not call her when she was getting to make her speech, he was there and told her in person.

  3. TaMara says:

    The interactions with Canning reminded me of their earlier go-rounds seasons ago. I didn’t realize I missed their dynamic. But this made me long for that vs. the weird villain he has become.

    • M says:

      Me too. I’m surprised she fell for his “prank”. Definitely glad the show is back to its roots after last week. I just can’t wait for the campaign storyline to be over.

  4. Jenna says:

    I loved old home week..Abernathy, Kurt, Nancy and of course, Finn along with Diane working on an actual, intriguing case. With the big win, Finn’s new firm made a tidy sum so he can rock some more of those lovely suits. Mercy! Give him a girlfriend before Matthew Goode heads across the pond. In comparison, the campaign story paled and looked juvenile except for that moment with Prady and Alicia. I wish he would win but that’s not happening. Next season will be probably be filled with the battling Florricks and their two political sidekicks.

  5. Doo Bee Doo says:

    It just occurred to me that the only footage of Kalinda in this episode was so generic that they could’ve just pulled it from an earlier episode and not used her at all (except for a voiceover over the phone). What gives?

    • Seriously? Kalinda’s on-screen exile has only been discussed about 80 or so times on TVLine comments threads, week after week …

    • Mel says:

      For the 100th time – Margulies can’t stand Panjabi, and it probably goes the other way, too. That’s why they haven’t been in a scene together in over two years, and most likely why Panjabi decided to leave. If they kill off Kalinda, then you’ll probably get to see she and Alicia together, with Alicia standing over her cold, dead body.

  6. Stevie says:

    maybe it’s just me but alicia and johnny have ZERO chemistry.
    no matter how hard they trey to shove it up our throats.
    disappointing season..

    • SLS says:

      Its not just you. This was a main topic of conversation in my house last night. I have no idea why they are putting them together, there is nothing there! What happened to the Alicia/ Finn possibilities? They were really good together sexually.

      • Liz985 says:

        At PaleyFest a few weeks ago, Julianna M. mentioned that she loves the actor who plays Johnny. Might be another case of her personal feelings/power of producer getting in the way of storytelling.

      • pinita says:

        Totally agree… I dont see any chemistry between Alicia and Jon.. but he is leaving now. hopefully they will create more sences and cute firtation between Alica and Finn (Love Finn)

    • Eurydice says:

      The problem with no chemistry is that there’s no other reason in the story for these two to get together. I can see that he would be turned on by power and she would be attracted to a guy who’s kind of Peter 2.0, but without chemistry it’s hard to create believable lust.

    • Becky says:

      Speak for yourself on this one. I think she has way more chemistry with Johnny than Finn. I’m really happy to see this begin.

      • Kathy K says:

        I think she has boatloads of chemistry with John. You guys didn’t watch Mind’s Eye or how she was looking at him in the car? The pop while he was questioning for the Brady interview?

  7. niloofar says:

    pro-Palestine charity story was funny, like Eli’s ex-wife sleeping with Bin Laden’s cousin in season 4

  8. niloofar22 says:

    Denis O’Hare is amazing, Abernathy is my favorite judge on the show.

  9. Eurydice says:

    The campaign has disconnected Alicia from her core group – I can’t imagine how winning the Governor’s race will change that. I guess that’s why I find the campaign storyline so boring. (And “feign” means “to pretend” not “to deny”.)

  10. Laura says:

    no!!! Alicia needs to stop kissing jonny and start kissing finn!!! And i dont want kalinda to leave!! Or finn!!! And eli! Wth? He should just tell Alicia that she can disagree with the way peter handled things but she shouldn’t completely bash everything about him .. I mean like he should just give her boundaries and let her disagree to an extent

  11. thalia says:

    I enjoyed this episode ! it was nice to see another case, with Finn and Diane working together.. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for Alicia and Jon to finally kiss. I think they have amazing chemistry and I was disappointed when the episode ended so abruptly!

  12. Hege says:

    I am so over the election arc. I miss the good courtcases. We finaly had that this week but too much election stuff. Alicia with Johnny? Zero chemestry. Why do we need to put Alicia in a relasionship now? I used to like Channing but now it makes me not wanna watch the episode at all…

  13. I know people hate the campaign storyline, but I’ll miss the Prady/Alicia interactions.

  14. Erin says:

    But was Canning purposely messing with her? I think they intentionally left it up in the air. He did sound more convincing than usual when he said, “Where is my money? I was on medication, I didn’t know what I was doing” etc. I think it’s possible he really did make the decision about the money because he was out of it due to the medication, and being freaked out from almost dying, etc. One of the things I love about this show is their willingness to leave some plot points unresolved. Most network dramas would feel the need to spell everything out 10 times.

    As for Alicia and Johnny, I think she deserves a fling, but I’m really hoping she and Finn eventually get together. Matthew Goode is amazing and Finn and Alicia have great chemistry.

  15. Moe says:

    Not in to Alicia and Johnny. The whole thing with her and Finn before feels like a bait and switch. This is definitely my least favorite season. The feel of the show has changed so much from even the last season.

  16. 1-The gun story was truly terrifying, I wonder how far off that is in real life.

    2-I’m sooooo sick if this stupid election.

    3- Why was Finn helping Diane and not Cary?

    $-I need Alicia and Finn together!

  17. HAP says:

    After that abominable episode last week, I was happy to see that they’re back on their game.

  18. rowan77 says:

    I wish the election was over already. Like Cary’s legal woes, this has been going on far too long, but it was good to see Matthew Goode, Gary Cole, and Michael J Fox back on the show. It was an embarrassment of riches where guest stars are concerned. And for this week’s favorite quotes list, may I submit the following:

    Alisha (to Louis Canning): The donor’s family; you wanted $18 million given to them. You wanted to do good.

    Louis: No, I didn’t. When did you ever know me to want to do good?

  19. Jess says:

    I’m glad we are finally back to the case of the week. I don’t mind the election story line as I love interactions between Alicia, Marissa, Johnny and Josh. But I want Prady to win so he can come back next season. His little scenes with Alicia are great. In the beginning of the season I was hoping for Alicia and Finn romance but I really like her with Johnny now. Shame that the episode ended on the kiss.

  20. kiren111 says:

    what is the point of this relationship between Johnny and Alicia, especially since they were building toward Finn and Alicia right before he left for a few episodes…