The Good Wife Recap: Enjoy Every Sandwich

If ordering a “Florrick 2016” campaign poster is on your 2016 to-do list, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

There should be steep discounts on said banners (in the fictional world of The Good Wife, anyhow) come Monday morning. Problem is — as most of us could’ve predicted the minute the never-impressive-as-her-credentials Ruth Eastman started thinking her man could actually be POTUS — they’ve already passed their expiration date.

Indeed, on this week’s installment, Peter manages to visit every single county in Iowa, but after two last-minute snafus — one by himself and one by Alicia — he winds up a distant fourth in the state’s crucial caucus. The only one who seems to be happy is Eli —mainly because he gets to point and jeer and hiss “Toldja so!” at Ruth — although given Alicia’s current disdain for public scrutiny, I’m surprised she’s not downing margaritas in the back of the campaign bus and sending “You up?” texts to her scruffy erstwhile investigator Jason Crouse.

Meanwhile, Jackie and Howard hit a temporary snafu in their late-in-life romance, while Cary makes a long overdue power play. Let’s cut to the details of “Iowa” (aka a far less dramatic installment than the fall finale’s explosive voice-mail revelation).

IowaMEAT THE FLORRICKS | We pick up with Eli’s admission to Alicia about deleting Will’s “I love you and I’d give up everything to be with you” voicemail — and she responds with a dish-smashing, “get out of my house!” frenzy. She does not, however, channel her rage into sexytimes when Jason pops by on his way to California (#OpportunityMissed), and instead packs for Iowa, downloads Jane Eyre on her Kindle, and buys a copy of Clem Snide’s “No One’s More Happy Than You” that she plays over and over and over again while looking 50 shades of miserable.

Ruth tries to give some homespun advice about her one stab at true love, about how you can’t change fate, about how “that’s truth” when you don’t know what life is about — but Alicia’s face remains a mask of passivity throughout, probably because Ruth gets all skittish the one time Alicia admits she wishes she could go back to Georgetown, to seat 35L in Criminal Law 101, and say “yes” to the young man who told her he was in love with her.

Unfortunately for Alicia, a friendly news outlet’s cameras catch her telling Eli about the “nightmare” of being on a bus in the middle of Iowa — a P.R. debacle that’s matched at their next stop when Peter is caught on TV spitting out his umpteenth “loose meat sandwich” of the trail. (Would Peter really be that dumb — or disdainful of his potential constituents — to pull such a stunt? If so, he deserved to lose!) The Florricks somehow overcome it when the caucuses begin — turning the room in Peter’s favor in a swing county. But while they win the battle there, they lose the way overall, running a distant fourth in the state at the close of polls (when they needed to run second to stay viable).

Peter looks shellshocked — he’d believed Ruth’s hype. But Alicia looks deeply uncertain (with maybe a hint of relief) as she strokes his head on the campaign bus.

PRENUP BLUES | As Alicia is out of state, Lucca handles Jackie’s prenup arrangement as she prepares to marry Howard Lyman. Trouble is, Jason uncovers a secret $2 million account of Howard’s — one which he claims to know nothing about. The oversight has Jackie looking for power of attorney — and thinking her new love is suffering from dementia. But in actuality, the account — set up under the dubious name Relic Holdings — was created by David Lee to hide firm money during their exit negotiations with Alicia. It’s barely a stumbling block for Jackie and Howard — sweeter now than I’d ever expected them to be — but I suspect there’ll be delicious hell to pay when Alicia finally delivers comeuppance to her fussy, scheming former coworker.

HOWARD’S END? | Lockhart-Agos-Lee finds itself the subject of an investigation by the Fair Employment Practices Agency — turns out Monica filed a complaint before she got hired — and somehow Diane concludes it’s Cary’s job to apologize. Surprisingly, he acquiesces, but when the pivotal meeting finally happens, Cary admits the firm “fostered a racist culture” — one handed down by Howard. He suggests they invite Mr. Lyman to take emeritus status and have no daily dealings with the firm — and the FEPA rep agrees. But instead of Diane thanking him, she winds up getting outraged. “You used the FEPA complaint to get what you wanted all along!” But wait, wouldn’t Diane — in her infinite wisdom and pragmatism — know that Howard is indeed racist, sexist and a frequent embarrassment? Wouldn’t she be stoked that Cary finally found a way to extract him from the firm’s daily activities? I get she doesn’t want to be double-crossed, but I’m not sure I don’t buy the scene not ending with a Diane-Cary high-five, either. On that note, it’s your turn…

What did you think of this week’s Good Wife? Are you happy or sad about the likely death of Peter’s presidential bid? Hit the comments with your thoughts!

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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36 Comments
  1. This entire episode felt extremely anti climactic, and why was Peter so absent from an episode that revolved around him? I feel like the focus was on everyone except Peter, which is kind of odd given this is really the end of his entire presidential story line? Or maybe I’m just expecting too much when it comes to this show that has had an oddly comical feel lately. I did enjoy Cary finally sticking it to Howard, though given the state of their past interactions I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t end up backfiring on him.

    • Mike M says:

      Mandatory meat sandwich joke – it was a load of bologna. The Kings are “gone” in terms of any real interest in this show – more or less have been since Brain Dead started up. Today it’s actually official – they are out at season’s end. It says it all really when even the creator / showrunners have no desire to stay with a show. We waited the whole break for a limp restart episode that’s supposed to be a bang, and an even limper ending to a story arc the Kings promised would be an exciting parallel to the real political race. It has ended before the real one has begun and it was a snooze fest. Fail and fail. Still, we have all the other great story arcs to fall back to now… oh, no wait… there are none. Here I’ll help… David Lee goes to jail for embezzling $2 million. Howard finally goes properly nuts for losing his voting rights and gets carted off to a rubber room. Alicia finds out the $2 million was hidden when her partner share was paid out and sues the firm for an amount they can’t pay and bankrupts them. Diane becomes a judge. Cary becomes a DA. Peter runs off to be with Kalinda. Eli runs off to be with Courtney. Alicia somehow gets a copy of Wills last voicemail and sits alone in her new apartment playing it over and over and over and over etc etc you get the idea (she’s about to join Howard). Everyone lives happily (or something) ever after. The End.

  2. Sally McLinn says:

    I was wondering where they were going to take that storyline. It was a nice ride while it lasted.

  3. Gabriel Anthony says:

    Again, like last season, we lost 11 episodes with a campaign that ended up being nothing. Please, let’s have a season 5 vibe again. We need to save the show

    • Steven says:

      I agree, I so want to enjoy the show, but even Eli’s big confession didn’t up the ante like I hoped it would. And poor Cary and Diane are still stuck with this boring storyline!

  4. abz says:

    Whether you love her or hate her, Julianna Margulies is still a terrific actress to me. Seeing her pain and heartache and misery was heartbreaking.
    I’ve been ready for the show to get rid of Peter once and for all. I mean this whole first half with the campaign was just proven to be a waste with this episode. At least the campaign last season, I personally found to be much more interesting because It revolved around the main character Alicia and there is a greater investment with her character. Enough of Peter already. All the campaign time given to him this season was time that could have been given to Diane and Cary and Alicia both separately and together.
    I wish they would use this opportunity to get rid of Peter once and for all and have them divorce. There’s nothing needing to keep them together now he’s lost. Even if this whole “Alicia is big nationally” is foreshadowing another go at Alicia re-entering politics, I’d rather see them tackle it with her as a divorcee rather than continue this sham.

    • abz says:

      Also kind of bummed that after he’s been gone so long, there wasn’t even a scene between Zach and Alicia. Sure in the show’s timeline, they probably moved past the abortion situation off-screen, but I will always hate the way they never really showed them interacting and dealing with it together on screen. They kind of just dropped.

    • Nan says:

      I see agree

  5. Ginger Snap says:

    Time for Felicia to accept that it was Peter, always Peter.

  6. Beany53 says:

    The Good Wife is one of my favorite shows but tonight’s episode was disappointing. I agree with comments already made. But I really took offense on how they portrayed the state of Iowa. I have been an Iowan all my life and not all of us like country music and not every town is known for loose meat sandwiches and we have more than cornfields here. The writers should have done research.

    • Eurydice says:

      I thought that, too, at first. But then I saw that everything they showed during the Iowa swing was kind of fake. In fact, Peter’s campaign there was all about not having done any research, at least not the right research. They knew the statistics and the rules and the stereotypes, but they didn’t know anything about the state and its people.

      • Beany53 says:

        Good point. One thing they got right was when Ruth said she went to Roosevelt High School in Des Moines because that is where I went to high school. So a real high school in the correct town.

    • The Good Wife has always had a political bent, exposing the workings of some political processes. I think the depiction of Iowa in this episode was almost satirical in the idiocy of the importance of the Iowa caucuses as the first primary “election” in a Presidential campaign.

      • Liz985 says:

        The Good Wife has always been great at subtle satire and exposing the folly of a lot of systems: legal and political. I agree that the “Iowa Caucus” was an object of ridicule last night, including the “29 bodies” needed in order to stay viable. I mean, how serious can a candidate be taken (or a voter, for that matter) if caucus goer can be persuaded to walk across the room within minutes after supporting another candidate?

        • Matt says:

          That is really what happens though. Check out the video Inside the Iowa Caucus on YouTube. It really is bizarre if you are from a primary state.

    • Matthew says:

      As an Iowan as well, I was slightly offended by the portrayal. Some things were correct but a lot was off too. The comment about the cornfields was particularly annoying, as Illinois is also all cornfields once you get outside of Chicago. And like you said, the sandwiches were annoying. I suspect that the writers did a quick Google search for foods from Iowa without following up on their research much. Some towns are known for those, and yes, we did launch one company (Maid-Rite) on those, but it would have actually been more accurate to show most towns pushing pork tenderloin sandwiches. They also portrayed us as nothing but small towns, which yes, we have A LOT of them, but so does every midwest state.

  7. Greg says:

    What should have happened: Peter should have succeeded, and with the new information about Will, Alicia decides to walk away from Peter once and for all to find happiness. Then the previous 11 episodes of election storyline wouldn’t have been for nothing, and the show could go back to revolving around Alicia and her journey. I can’t believe after all these season that the show hasn’t explored Alicia severing ties with Peter in the public eye, it should have happened years ago.

    • Kailani says:

      It reminds me of how “How I Met Your Mother” got hog-tied by its show’s name. Same thing here. How can it remain ‘The Good Wife’ if they split? Sad but true. And J nailed her next Emmy with the first 7-8 minutes of the episode.

      • MzTeaze says:

        Honestly, if we can have a tv show called “Housewives of” where most of the cast is unmarried or divorced, I don’t see why Alicia can’t continue as “The Good Wife”. Any life that she has after Peter will still have to include him, if only because of the name and their children.

        • Kailani says:

          Dorky, nearly slap stick reality TV on minor networks isn’t the same as a previously Emmy rewarded major network drama.

    • JosiahBartlet4President says:

      I’m not sure that she will ever leave Peter. As much as she hates him, she benefits from his success and power.

  8. JosiahBartlet4President says:

    Watching Alicia throw those plates, I wanted to do it too. It seemed so cathartic!

  9. Peachette says:

    Very boring. I did not like how they portrayed Iowa. Where was Peter. He was mostly absent and it was suppose to be about him. What’s next, Alicia will run for President since she was totally dominating the episode.

  10. Liz985 says:

    Have been an avid viewer since the show began, but I’ve lost patience with Alicia. Wronged by a husband in the most public way possible, responsible for the financial and psychological well being of her children, starting fresh in a career she left to raise her children. What happened to that character? This extended marriage of convenience, with the occasional hook-up when she’s excited about a professional win, is tired. The Kings either need to move her character forward in some way or they need to wrap this up. They often say the show is about the education of Alicia Florrick. It seems more and more apparent that she hasn’t learned a whole lot since Season 1.

  11. Ws says:

    Ruth was a terrible campaign manager.. that plan was just terrible.

  12. Coal says:

    The Good Wife is the worst ever title since Cougar Town, granted the Alicia character has always been a central figure but for the first five season other characters were more than just glorified extras. The previous season and this one any character who doesn’t interact directly with Alicia has scraps to feed of in terms of material.

  13. Nan says:

    I was happy that Peter lost so maybe the writers can end this sham of a marriage. Can anyone spell DIVORCE? Move it along already and get away from this storyline. How long have they been separated and Alicia living in her own apartment…oh wait a minute I think this goes waaaayyy back to season 1..overall it was a decent episode but we need to get back to what made this show terrific and it just hasn’t been evident in recent episodes..

  14. H says:

    When did this show get so unbearable? Too bad. I’ll keep watching, but I wish it returns to form. If this is the last season, they’re definitely not going out with a bang.

  15. Christian says:

    I agree with those who call last night’s episode anti-climatic (especially after so long a wait after the holiday hiatus) and a disappointing show overall. I didn’t expect a classic episode, , but it was all so “dull”. None of the campaign trail stuff rang true for me – it was very off-key and one-note. Did get a kick out of Alicia reading Jane Eyre (who’s Rochester: Peter or Will?). Let’s just end this political stuff NOW and get on with it.

    That all said, I am hoping that the big twist in this long saga between Peter and Alicia will be that Peter is the one who will ask for the divorce.

    Hated the Lockhart-Argos drama. The show is fragmented.

  16. Z says:

    The Iowa caucus results were fishy also… HIllary should win but Bernie will do better than the show portrayed and no way does O’Malley get that many votes.

  17. maregolden says:

    I would like to think that maybe this is the end of the political stuff on TGW, but I know it won’t be. The writers seem to love that boring storyline. I guess we should be prepared for Alicia to run for something again.

  18. Kim R says:

    I am hoping that this was the absolute final straw for Alicia. The revelation that from the very beginning she has been manipulated (Eli erasing the message). All she has gone through since, both good and bad and at times, self inflicted, brings her to that point where she is done. I found it so satisfying that Cary did what he did and finally didn’t buckle under Diane’s instruction. I want the same for Alicia now. She owes nothing to anyone. Let the plates fly!!