The Good Wife Recap: It's Their Party And They'll Lie If They Want To

It’s funny that this week’s installment of The Good Wife makes multiple references to Spider-Man (and its head-scratching number of reboots). Because as Alicia Florrick so cruelly learns, it can be a silly and treacherous thing to place one’s fate in a white knight upon a fiery steed.

If you’ll recall, at the end of last week’s hour, Alicia found herself accused of election fraud by TV journalist Petra Moritz. And this week, she puts an imprudent amount of trust in the hands of famed political attorney Spencer Randolph (Alias vet Ron Rifkin), who takes on her case under the noble guise of upholding the democratic process — but turns out to be nothing more than a rook in the Democratic process of election malfeasance.

Meanwhile, Kalinda’s misdeeds in clearing Cary of trumped-up charges by the State’s Attorney’s office come back to haunt her — but also result in lost sleep for Diane, Cary, David Lee, Finn Polmar and pretty much everyone else with knowledge of a case in which everyone did at least a little wrong (while thinking they were undeniably right).

With that said, let’s recap the action from “Winning Ugly”:

WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION | This week, it’s Diane’s turn to be confronted by State’s Attorney investigator Andrew Wylie — and she’s stunned/angry/hurt to learn she presented to the court metadata faked by Kalinda in Cary’s defense case (even if Kalinda never meant for said metadata to see the light of day). David Lee insists her best option is to go before the police review board and admit to everything — which is exactly what Diane and Kalinda wind up doing. Yet while the judge in ASA Geneva Pine’s appeal marvels that “The Cary Agos case — there’ve been more remakes of this case than Spider-Man,” he also sees there’s fire where the smoke is rising.

Kalinda refuses to let Cary take her case — insisting she needs someone who’s not emotionally involved (i.e. Finn), but in the end, while Geneva admits her office’s case against Cary was mishandled, she rightly points out their pursuit of Lemond Bishop was just. And so she makes an offer — drop the case against Diane, but with a high price. She’ll have to testify against Bishop. “Here we are back again – right at the beginning,” sighs La Lockhart. But when Kalinda begins to consider the deadly notion of officially turning against Bishop, it’s Cary who decides to take the (proverbial? literal?) bullet, begging Geneva to turn down Kalinda’s inevitable offer to become her star witness, and instead allow him to be the key witness in bringing down Chicago’s biggest drug dealer. OK, now I’m willing to second Diane’s motion: “Here we are back again – right at the beginning.” Just please, no scenes of Cary in a darkened lockdown cell, OK? (My heart isn’t strong enough, people!)

106168_D0050bTHE ONE WHERE ALICIA WINDS UP SOBBING IN PETER’S ARMS | The Illinois election board follows up on claims that Alicia committed election fraud — specifically looking into evidence of a microchip found inside a voting machine that, it turns out, can switch votes from one candidate to another. Alicia is too awestruck by legendary Spencer Randolph volunteering to take on her case to look deeper into his motives, and the dude turns out to kill it in front of the board — although things take an ugly turn when he suggests said chips had more to do with Peter stealing the governorship than with his client’s current situation.

The Illinois Democratic party chairman — who’s always been one of the show’s most dislikable fellas — finally insists Alicia walk away from the office she won fair and square — because it turns out said microchips were actually used to rig the election…not for her but for a race that keeps her party in the super-majority in the state senate. And when Alicia shoots down a “generous” consolation prize of being put on the state gaming commission, the party boss tells her she’s about to get “destroyed.” “Oh my God, did that just happen?” asks Alicia, but she’s got to know the system well enough to not be entirely surprised such horrors are actually real.

She goes to Randolph and tells him she wants to win, that she’s not going down without a fight. And what does the old legend do? He tells the election board that he’s learned Alicia is guilty as charged, that the voting machines were hacked at her discretion, that she indeed committed the “high crime of stealing this election.” I consider myself enough of a Good Wife superfan not to let myself be shocked by anything anymore — but I’ll admit this twist had my jaw picking up fibers from my living-room carpet. “Be a good Democrat. Step down now. Everybody wins,” Randolph tells her coolly. But with Alicia and the state’s most powerful man (AKA her hubby) now fighting from the same corner, let’s not call this a TKO quite yet.

106167_D0216bTHERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD… | Alicia has no qualms lying to the public about those leaked emails between herself and Will — this week’s doozy, “I need you. I need you on top of me.” — calling them an unfortunate flirtation. But, alas, Grace is now old enough that she can’t be shielded from media ugliness — or the truth – leading to a brilliant and heartbreaking showdown that’s presented so matter-of-factly it’s hard to know how to feel when it’s over:

Grace: “Mom, was it just a flirtation with Will?”
Alicia: “No, it wasn’t.”
Grace: “You lied?”
Alicia: “Yes.”
Grace: “Because?”
Alicia: “Because it’s none of their business.”
Grace: “That’s OK?”
Alicia: “Yes.”

It’s telling that Alicia is the one who winds up asking her teenage for a hug: She knows her behavior isn’t perfect here — and yet at the same time, she respects that her daughter is no longer a child, exactly, and deserves some honesty, no matter how painful. Will it ultimately screw up Grace to know her parents are keeping alive a sham marriage for political purposes? Or will the truth set her free to pursue a less cynical path? Only time will tell — but here’s hoping Robert and Michelle King keep exploring the most unflinching parent-child relationship on TV. (If only they could bring MIA Zach back into the mix, too. Please tell me he and Alicia are on speaking terms — even if we haven’t seen it with our own eyes, right?)

On that note, I turn things over to you. What did you think of “Winning Ugly”? Were you as blindsided as Alicia by Spencer Randolph’s agenda? Who’s most at risk: Alicia, Kalinda, Cary or Diane? And how do you think the show will handle the exit of Archie Panjabi’s character? 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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74 Comments
  1. nikki says:

    SD-6 is controlling everything. And you thought Sydney Bristow took them down. Ha!

  2. NotAnselAdams says:

    I was totally shocked by how that went down. I wish it’d happened 6 or 7 episodes ago.

    • Saabgirlatx says:

      This! Great episode but I’m disappointed we’ve spent all season on this election storyline (especially with that like, two month break and the filler episodes) only for it to not go forward. Perhaps Prady will hire Alicia.

  3. abz says:

    THAT BASTARD!! (excuse my language) I had this gut feeling when he first came on that he was bad, but I was still shocked when he stabbed Alicia in the back. Damn, this episode was cutthroat. I really felt bad for Alicia, but politics is ugly and she’s learning it the hard way.
    Such an amazing episode. This show still manages to raise my blood pressure. I love how they really seem to plan things out ahead. It’s like everything comes full circle. We start the season out with a main goal of getting Cary to testify against Bishop and once again they bring it back. I love how they don’t forget things and plant little seeds like with the Ernie Nolan guy trying to bribe Alicia. I had forgotten about him but I love how they set something like that up so far back. Seriously some shows can take a serious lesson from these writers. I mean you read interviews like the ones from the HTGAWM creator and while the show is still entertaining he basically admits in some interviews to the lack of forethought or planning in the show’s writing, for example, with how [SPOILER] Rebecca’s fate was a somewhat last minute decision. They do it as they go along and “where the characters take them.” No. Something like with what happened with Rebecca should really be planned properly far in advance. Back to my point, I just think these writers are very talented and I like that they prepare themselves and plan things out.
    One thing though, while I have been enjoying the politics storyline especially during the later half of the season, I never thought they’d actually make her lose especially after spending almost an entire season on it.
    The promo for the next episode was pretty great though. It’s really amazing they managed to show the contrast from the pilot with Alicia and Peter’s roles reversed. The podium scene. The same hallway.

  4. rowan77 says:

    I did not expect that – but I am glad it happened. This was really strong storytelling. Really nice twists. I’m getting sad to see the beginning of the end for Kalinda. She’s such a great character.

  5. DW says:

    I completely enjoyed this episode for many reasons. The Kings really showed Chicago politics in a realistic light. Chicago has always been totally corrupt politically and wow did this episode show it. That goon who stabbed Alicia in the back just passed S.A Castro as the most despicable character on television. It looks like Kalinda’s exit from TGW will be very exciting the way things are going. Bravo to Cary for going to Geneva Pine to take the heat off of Kalinda and Diane. That puts Cary, once again, in the most precarious position in this mess. So many things happening at once here and the remaining three episodes are going to be great to watch. Thanks to all involved for a great show and thanks for the excellent re-cap too.

  6. Steven says:

    The only thing raising my blood pressure more than The Good Wife is CBS taking it’s time renewing this show for a final season. This episode had me on the edge of my seat. And of course in the end it all comes back to Bishop.

    • Steven says:

      Also, was Alicia’s exit package officially signed or can she go back to the firm? It remind me of last season how Diane was working on her exit from LG just to come crawling back.

      • Elisabeth says:

        I was wondering the same thing given the preview of the next episode. However, she still seems to be using her office at Florrick, Agos Lockhart, so I would imagine that they haven’t settled anything yet. But we will find out.

  7. Reblogged this on Jeffraaay the Owl and commented:
    This game changer of an episode was superb, absolutely superb! The Good Wife continues to be best show on Television, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the best written show in the last decade! Just truly incredible!

  8. sheba says:

    The election fraud plot made absolutely no sense to me. I can’t imagine a state party chair pressuring a sitting governor’s wife from his own party to cop to election fraud in order to get a state rep elected in order to have a super-majority in the state house. If all these figures of the same party, having a supermajority in state house doesn’t matter since the majority is already likely to vote with the governor. Even if they are at odds with the governor privately, it’s in the party’s best interest not to so publicly sabotage him and his family because any scandal defames them by extension. Instead, it stands to reason that the party would sacrifice one candidate running for a lower office and the chance to have a supermajority in the state house to preserve the reputation of the governor and an attorney general elect. Sure, Illinois politics is corrupt, but this is really ludicrous (and I say this as a former Chicagoan). I’m afraid the show has really jumped the shark on this one.

    • Gwen says:

      EXACTLY. It was so contrived….it came across as ridiculous and yes, even (yet again) lazy. Too many here drinking the Kings’ koolaid. LOL

    • Liz985 says:

      When they asked Alicia to step down, it wasn’t necessarily with the obligation to cop to a voting corruption scandal. If she had taken the offer, she could have spun it with “I did nothing wrong, but now I can’t do my job effectively with this cloud hanging over my head.” When she turned down the offer and moved ahead with her case before the Election Commission, they punished her for that. As for Peter being maligned by extension, the guy already has a truly sordid history and if with that he could be elected governor, I doubt this would add much to his discredit (or they thought he could at least weather it).

    • Jgibbs says:

      I agree. Even if the writers are using corrupt Chicago politics as the basis for this highly improbable conclusion to Alicia’s election, it’s hard to imagine this amount of “back room” politics could really play out. That being said, this episode saw everyone get pretty beat up and whole Bishop storyline is building to Kalinda’s exit, which would be more suspenseful to watch had it not been leaked so publicly for months. I would like to see all the drama surrounding Alicia’s campaign come to a conclusion by the end of this season and let the show return to more courtroom scenarios.

      • Jo says:

        Democrats rigging an election to get their candidate elected – no, that would never happen in real life – or would it? I still miss Will – and will miss Kalinda even more so. I wonder what else these writers can think up – pretty sure they must be exhausted by now.

    • ratdog says:

      The show itself is sneaky, and reveals its political bias in tiyi segments. The entire season they never mention who is on what party until its time for the election yea to begin
      Im a done watching it. For as dirty as the show paints democrats only right wingers would be so low as to try that on a viewing adience

  9. Athena says:

    Well, looks like both Cary Agos and Kalinda will be going into the sunset pretty soon. Translation, no contract. Write them off the show. People, this show is becoming unrecognizable, little by little. I think the writers have not recovered from Will’s death yet. The fans have, but not the writers.

    • abz says:

      This past week’s Ask Ausiello column confirmed that Matt Czuchry extended his contract for two more years. Only Archie is leaving.

  10. Burt Peterson says:

    Remember when this show was really good? It’s okay if you don’t… it’s been a really long time.

    • Gwen says:

      I don’t have to “remember” because it is still good! Better than almost anything else on network television.

      • skscott says:

        I agree .. I love this show still.. however if you feel that way I understand that too. I have stopped watching a few of my “fav” shows this year because of the writing to me is way off.. BUT I do still love The Good Wife..

  11. lkh says:

    Ya know, this might be a stretch…but, I’ve never liked Peter and he’s the one who suggested that she ask that attorney for assistance–he is the governor and he does need the State legislators on his side, and he is a politician, and basically scum, anyway, just wondering…

    • cp1945 says:

      I agree — Peter benefits two ways: He keeps the supermajority AND gets a now devastated wife back.

    • abz says:

      Peter is many things, but I really don’t think he’d do that to Alicia. Someone else, maybe, but even though he and Alicia have many issues, intentionally sabotaging her like that and making her lose, thus damaging her reputation and maybe even his seems like a whole other level of cruel. Also, I really thought it was honest when he told her last week that he wasn’t as bad as she wanted him to be. That conversation felt really genuine and true to them I think.

      • Mary says:

        I disagree, I believe he set her up royally. He knew the party was going to throw her under the bus, I bet he knew her attorney was in cohorts with them. I believe Alicia will wise up to the fact down the line and I hope she destroys him. Leopards don’t change their spots. Anyway good episode.

        • Saabgirlatx says:

          That would be the only way this contrived political party story would make sense. And really, how would they be authorized to take her phone???

          • beardog1000 says:

            I was really hoping Eli had taped the conversation – he’s more politically savvy and would know that being called to this office would be something dirty – since this Democrat chairman has been dirty in the past. I was wondering about Peter as well – don’t want to believe he’d be a party to throwing Alicia under the bus, but assuming she slept with Will is a lot different than reading their emails about it – so I think he’s angry.

      • B says:

        I hope Peter wouldn’t do that, but I’m not confident he didn’t.

    • Hbomb says:

      I KNOW!!!!!!

  12. Christine says:

    I have been severely disappointed by the character assassination of Kalinda. One of the most intriguing characters on the show has been destroyed by whatever is going on behind the scenes. As much as I love the show, it makes it difficult to watch at times. It’s ludicrous that Alicia and Kalinda have not been on screen together in years. I haven’t cared for the election storyline at all because I think it veered the show too far away from what made it great – riveting legal drama with a brilliant cast of core actors, and a revolving door of interesting guest stars. I’m invested, and the season has had its moments (Diane Lockhart!), but I’m ready for it to be over.

  13. lori says:

    The whole leaked emails storyline is preposterous. Lawyers, more so than just about any other profession, would know not to put all of that stuff in an email.

    This season is a waste, in my opinion. They did the whole election storyline just to put her back at the firm? What was the point?

  14. TGW fan says:

    To me this ends up being a complete waste of a season. We went all around the block for no good reason . And what’s worse I feel asleep and missed the ending. No problem except I forgot to add extra minutes for the sports overrun which has been the problem almost every week since they switched to Sunday. Time to find another Sunday night activity. And now with two main characters gone after this season- I’m done

    • Doo Bee Doo says:

      I wouldn’t say it was a waste of a season. Now we know that Alicia will never have her “Saint Alicia” image back, either in her public or personal life, and now we can see what happens moving forward in the story now that she’s made enemies of almost everybody.

      • I didn’t care TOO much for the Cary storyline … so this has definitely qualified as a waste of a season for me as well.

        But as little as I enjoyed the overly-long jail arc. .. I’d GLADLY give up everything to go back to that, instead of the interminable hell that has been Alicia (and/or Julianna) Plays Politics.

  15. Carrie says:

    I kinda of hate-loved this episode. I hated the back stabbing of Alicia – and her sudden weakness and inability to stand up for herself seemed ludicrous. But the show had to keep her at the firm, and the full circle of Peter at her side next week, Chicago political corruption, long arc storytelling is great. I think Kalinda might be taking Bishop out in order to protect everyone she cares about from him and from her mistake – and Alicia will now not be SA and will be able to defend her in the coming weeks and we will finally get some great Kalinda/Alicia scenes. Non SA Alicia is also free for Flynn (yum) and can take her firm back from Diane and David – we never saw her settle that deal and now that Diane is in trouble I hope that Alicia will make them pay for trying to screw her over! Let the Hunger Games begin.

    • TRB says:

      I think I must have missed a plot point along the way somewhere. How can they ask Diane to testify against Bishop? Isn’t that prohibited because of Attorney priviledge? I understood Cary because they had evidence of him as a co-conspirator so he couldn’t be shielded by Priviledge, but not Diane. Actually I don’t think they were even at the same firm when Cary’s ‘offense’ happened.

  16. jdv says:

    I’m surprised to see so many negative reactions. To me, this season has been amongst the best seasons of modern television…right up there with Wire season four. There was so much groundwork laid for this episode, I don’t see how anyone can call it lazy. This detour has been a fascinating change of pace made better by smart decisions, like letting Alicia and Prady be friendly. And combined with the leaked emails of the last couple episodes, and Kalinda’s mistake coming to light bringing things full circle for Diane & Cary, it’s just been an increasingly thrilling ride that still tackles tough subjects.. I mean, how timely was the previous weeks gay/religious debate? This is the show that needs to win the best drama Emmy this year.

    • suzi says:

      I agree. I have not always been happy with the directions the stories have gone, but I’ve always been fascinated by the journey.

    • smartysenior says:

      They took an interesting law firm full of characters and turned it into the Alicia takes politics show. Boring to me, too and I really miss all the people who used populate each and every segment with a richness that is most certainly lacking right now.

  17. MiaB says:

    Is it just me, or did Peter totally set her up?

    • Jean says:

      My thought exactly!

    • Lauren says:

      If he didn’t set her up, he had to know how it was going to play out once she wouldn’t resign. Eli, too. Are we to believe they are suddenly political novices instead of the well connected, ears to the ground, dirty players that they have been shown to be for 6 seasons now? The Dems bought Peter’s election and the state house, too – they had an investment to protect and he and Eli both know it. Peter has shown he can withstand a little tawdry blowback on the family front so Alicia going down in flames isn’t a deal breaker – especially if he were to eventually divorce her.

      • wjones58 says:

        Did anyone notice that for two straight weeks this show has taken subtle (or not) swipes at the Democratic Party? Last week’s show ended with the lobbyist talking about the flip-flop Obama and the Clintons did on same-sex marriage, and of course this week’s show ends with the “be a good Democrat and we’ll take care of you” nausea.

      • I’m glad somebody thinks this too! I mean, how was he waiting for her? How did he know to be there?

    • elis cardoso says:

      I am one of the people who loves and hate Peter.I think he and Eli know something about Alicia’s fallen. Remember that it was Eli who ask for a “party soldier” do something because there was a rumour about Kresteva fraud and Peter could lost the election? So after Will death the investigation stopped. So I think Peter and Eli were threatened by their party. It was something about or Peter or Alicia will fall. Well It is a politic world ,anything can happens. Now to the media It is Peter the betrayed husband, so It’s his time to stand her up. I agree with someone who told now Alicia can understand some Peter’s politcs attitudes. By the way, It will be cool to see them at the same place again. Also, now he can ask divorce for her. But I don’t think it will happens, otherwise she can’t be “the good wife”..

  18. Grey says:

    The best thing about last night’s episode was that grey and white outfit Alicia had on. :-)

  19. B says:

    Does anyone not think Grace has to be stupid to think that Alicia and Peter’s marriage is anything other than a sham? She was seriously surprised by Alicia and Will? I am both sorry for her and annoyed if that is the case.

  20. Jeri says:

    Can Cary and Kalinda have their own spinoff. I’d be there every week!!

  21. Chijules says:

    All you folks who think this situation is too contrived and would never happen either don’t live in Chicago or Illinois, or you naively buy what the pols tell you, and that is why this very type of crooked politics goes on, and on, and on. Believe it.

  22. BrianR says:

    Anybody else think Peter may be behind the destruction of Alicia’s political career? It seems to me that she is never going to be elected or appointed to any kind political post now that she has been accused of and likely held responsible for election fraud.

  23. Olivia says:

    I have always loved this show, but this season have found myself rooting against Alicia, a first for me. I didn’t like the fact that she started a law firm and then decided to leave a year later for a job in which she would be working against Cary and Diane. It just seemed selfish to me.
    I’m also annoyed at the way Kalinda’s storylines have been so minimal and that she’s had so few scenes with Alicia. If she can forgive Peter for cheating in her multiple times, why can’t Alicia forgive Kalinda? I’ve read that Julianna Marguiles doesn’t like working with Archie. That annoys me because we all have to work with people we don’t like.
    I also find myself not caring about Cary. I still love Eli and his daughter, but I guess I’m just losing interest. It really used to be one of my favorite shows. It’s disappointing. I hope it gets better.

    • abz says:

      Her leaving to become SA isn’t any different really from when Diane tried to leave to become a judge. They both got screwed over, but the difference being was that Alicia was almost successful. Though, there’s still three episodes left I think so she could still be SA. I hope they find a way to get her in the position. I’m interested in seeing her take on the new role.

  24. Bella says:

    I want to see Jackie and Stockard Channing .I hope that they will emerge in the coming episodes.

  25. dman6015 says:

    I’d still like to know what the exact bug is up Margulies’ @$$ with Panjabi. Two-and-a-half years without a scene together??? What the hell happened between these two? I’d leave, too, with a boss like Margulies.

    • Tgw fan says:

      Interesting that you blame Marguilies for that ? Why not the writers or the script regarding Kalinda sleeping with Peter

  26. ewgynyu says:

    This episode would be a great EMMY submission !!!

  27. AnneTM says:

    I think the end end result-maybe a year away- is that Alicia learned how incredibly difficult and morally treacherous politics can be. She finds a new understanding for her husband and in the end she is right back where she began-with Peter.

  28. So, I had a funny moment in trying to explain to a friend of mine how The Good Wife went from being a top-tier grade-A television show, to such total suckage.

    To someone who doesn’t watch The Good Wife, but watches Arrow.

    I said, “So imagine a season where Oliver Queen doesn’t fight crimes anymore … instead, he runs for Mayor of Starling City. And rarely steps foot into … a superhero arena. Oh, and he doesn’t have ANY scenes with his heretofore righthandman Diggle — for 2 1/2 years. And … he has very, very little interaction with main castmembers who were Season 1 main cast … mostly, he just interacts with completely new (or new-ish) people.”

    He said, “Wow … I can’t even.”

    I said, “Welcome to my world. And why I am over this show.”