Good Wife Recap

The Good Wife Recap: It's Too Late to Apologize?

“Back to the middle and around again,” sings Crystal Waters in “100% Pure Love” — one of my favorite radio hits of the 1990s.

And yowza, do those lyrics ever apply to this week’s installment of The Good Wife — not just because the case of the week centers on copyright infringement in popular music, either.

Ever since the death of Will Gardner, the core characters of CBS’ Sunday-night drama have been doing their best impressions of hamsters on wheels — working themselves into sweaty lathers but winding up exactly where they started their journeys.

Now, putting an exclamation point on the run-on sentence, Cary ends the hour asking Alicia (and her new partner Lucca) to merge back into the Lockhart-Agos-Lee mothership (formerly Florrick-Agos, the mutinous offshoot of Lockhart-Gardner, which hired Lockhart and then booted Florrick). And Diane can’t be bothered to be in the room for the discussion? On the heels of Peter’s failed run for the presidency, Alicia’s hasty ejection from the state’s attorney’s office, and at least a half-dozen never-went-anywhere romantic dalliances (Peter-Ramona, Alicia-Finn, Alicia-Jonny, Eli-Courtney, etc), I’m half expecting Will to wake up in Alicia’s bed (or maybe Kalinda to wake up in Cary’s) and reveal the last two-and-a-half seasons were all just a bad dream.

And yet still I hold out hope — as The Good Wife, even at its most frustrating — can still captivate with twisty legal tales, can still make me guffaw with a perfectly lobbed punch line. The dialogue’s still there, and the acting, too — but I’m getting increasingly more worried that showrunners Robert and Michelle King went below deck for a cocktail and forgot to leave a substitute in the captain’s chair.

While you debate whether I’m overreacting or absolutely on target, let’s recap the action from “Tracks”:

107466_0063BGOOD MORNING MAGIC SUNSHINE | The Good Wife still gives great “case of the week” — and this time around, we get the return of an old client, Matthew Lillard’s Rowby “Thicky Trick” Canton, who’s scored himself a viral video hit via the children’s tune “Good Morning Magic Sunshine” but (now that he’s a viable money-maker again) is being sued by his former label for failing to deliver a second album in a two-record deal. There’s a lot of excellent back-and-forth on the artistic integrity versus ugly commerce — the judge’s amusement mirrors my own — but in the end, Rowby loses under a secondary copyright infringement charge, since his jam sounds too much like a fellow artist’s big hit.

Oh, did I mention dude falls in love at first sight with Lucca? Or that she allows her fleeting attraction to artists to overtake her — and the duo wind up having a very brief affair, which she ends shortly after their loss? Given her drinks and dancing with Cary a few weeks back — a plot thread that was left unexplored — it all feels more like an attempt to give Alicia’s new bestie some character development than a plausible plot choice (even if Cush Jumbo’s looks and charisma lend believability to Rowby’s infatuation.)

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME OFFICE | The homeowner’s association of Alicia’s building threatens to evict her after a disgruntled neighbor (Ali Wentworth) grows tired of Mrs. Florrick’s clients mistakenly knocking on her door. Grace does some digging into the building’s other secret home offices and diffuses the situation — hey, CBS, why not a law-school spinoff starring Makenzie Vega’s increasingly shrewd first-daughter of Illinois? — but she can’t stop the discomfort experienced by Florrick-Quin’s biggest clients (none of whom are used to such small-potatoes/low-infrastructure firms). Diane, David and upstart Monica do their best to poach back the clients Alicia poached from them, but it turns out most of ’em want the Florrick-Quinn personal touch — merged with the Lockhart-Agos-Lee professionalism. Cary, grinning knowingly, offers Alicia and Lucca the option of a merger, but despite their shaky footing, Alicia tells Lucca there’s no way she’s going back. (Um, but shouldn’t Lucca have just as much say in the matter — even if she’s not as deeply politically connected?)

In other news, Alicia fires Grace from the firm — mostly because she’s doing too good a job, and letting her grades slide in the process. In other words, if you love someone, hug them tightly and set them free (from employment)?

SORRY/NOT SORRY | Eli bids bittersweet farewell to Ruth — raise your hand if, like me, Margo Martindale’s recurring gig was far less fulfilling than you’d expected — and then goes to Alicia’s to discuss Ruth’s warning that folks will be out to get Peter now that he’s back in Illinois as a vanquished presidential hopeful. Alicia closes the door in his face as if he’s some rando trying to slide a food-delivery menu into her abode, and then when Marissa swings by to ask for a job, treats her as if she’s an unwelcome extension of her dad’s olive branch.

Marissa finally gets the truth from Eli, and goes back to Alicia to plead that she forgive Eli — but Alicia, with tears in her eyes, admits the revelation about Will’s deleted voicemail hurt her so deeply that Eli “can’t expect anything more of me — it would be unfair to expect anything more of me.” In other words, the “you’re forgiven” Marissa is asking for on Eli’s behalf? That’s gonna be a definite no.

What did you think of this week’s Good Wife? Are you frustrated by the multitude of dropped/fruitless arcs over the last couple seasons? Should Alicia and Lucca go back to Lockhart-Agos? Should Diane have been in that final meeting? 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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58 Comments
  1. The Good Wife where they dangle some kind of plot with Cary then they drop it or decide to go another way. It leaves me quite frustrated. That aside, I did like this episode a lot. Probably because it bought into my Cary, Lucca, and Alicia working together dreams to a reality, if only for a little while. In the end, I think Lucca needs to do what it was right for her, and this firm with Alicia is obviously not it, especially given Alicia didn’t even seem to give her a say? That doesn’t spell good things for a partnership in my eyes.

    • Sally McLinn says:

      Cary didn’t have much to do this week did he? THE GW needs a baddy client like Lemar Bishop, or a baddy hedge fund client. Something to really perk it up.

      • EllenAce says:

        Love TGW!
        Attn. Writers:
        Alicia needs to divorce Peter, in order to breathe new life into this once, critically acclaimed drama. Sorry Chris Noth, you can visit, as their are children between you, but your character should fall on the sword, so to speak, for the “Good” of the show!
        Ratings will soar, as viewers will reinvest in rooting for Alicia, both personally and professionally, throughout her brand new journey, for seasons to come.!
        Upgrade to– The Good Wife: The Next Chapter
        +++
        Sincerely, EllenAce

        • Bill says:

          …and Showrunners, while you’re at it, REHIRE Grace and Marissa, too. Grace has been a McGyver type character (using her wits to help her Mom) to save the day (usually unnoticed) and Marissa is also a very wise beyond her years, enjoyable character. Plus, the two have good chemistry together.
          All in all, tonight had a LOT of downer moments, but probably, so their can be conflict to resolve later, so, I’m okay with it. Love the show and cast.

          • HAP says:

            I got the distinct impression that Marissa was reintroduced to ultimate take over Grace’s job. Remember that Grace was downgraded to recurring this season.

          • JosiahBartlet4President says:

            I was hoping Marissa and Grace would be Alicia’s new investigators.

        • JoMarch says:

          Peter just visits now, although no one in the news seems to notice the governor and his wife don’t live together. The only thing a divorce would do is free Alicia to date.

          • canadian ninja says:

            I’m wondering when the “gun” Chris McDonald’s judge gave Eli is going to be fired. They didn’t show us that to just have it go in a shredder…

    • EllenAce says:

      Love TGW!
      Attn. Writers:
      Alicia needs to divorce Peter, in order to breathe new life into this once, critically acclaimed drama. Sorry Chris Noth, you can visit, as their are children between you, but your character should fall on the sword, so to speak, for the “Good” of the show!
      Ratings will soar, as viewers will reinvest in rooting for Alicia, both personally and professionally, throughout her brand new journey, for seasons to come!
      Upgrade to– The Good Wife: The Next Chapter
      +++
      Sincerely, EllenAce

      • Citygirl says:

        EllenAce; That is YOUR opinion that if Alicia divorces Peter the ratings will soar. I doubt it. Good writing will make the ratings soar and good writing has been absent. Also you’re dreaming if you think this show will last for “seasons to come”, you’re mistaken. I personally think Alicia has too many issues to EVER be happy both personally and professionally. Now we get to see her dwell on Will, a DEAD man, for the rest of the season.

        • suzi says:

          I agree completely.TGW could have had more seasons in it’s future if the show had actually moved forward instead of doing the same thing over and over. I’ve taken to recording the show, and fast forwarding thru most of it after I read a recap, and that makes me sad.

    • goldhelmet25 says:

      Why would Alicia need to check with Lucca at this point in her career, especially when it pertains to coming back to a firm that fired her twice and is a constant reminder of Will? So Alicia should have to accept Cary’s offer (if it’s a package deal – both of them or no deal) in deference to Lucca, even though she knows she never wants to go back to a big firm – especially that one for a third time. That’s just ludicrous at this point. The constant musical chairs of these lawyers has grown so tired. The final nail in the coffin of this show was Kalinda leaving. The first nail was Will’s death. I think they could have survived Will’s death, but the story arcs of the last couple of years never went anywhere and it felt like the writers were making this up as they went along with no overall plan in mind. I knew it was curtains once Archie left the show. Still, TGW has been one of the best dramas on television since it started – probably the best – except for the last couple of years. There are parts of it I still love and will watch until the end because of it.

  2. amadeline says:

    I would have thought Alicia would have dumped Peter by now. What’s the point of the relationship now? Like Michael, I too wonder where the show runners have gone!!!

    • JosiahBartlet4President says:

      Maybe they’re beating home the point that this is a marriage of convenience and political power?
      I’m thinking though that at the end of this season, Alicia will discover that Peter rigged her election. That’ll be the final straw.

    • EllenAce says:

      Love TGW!

      Attn. Writers:

      Alicia needs to divorce Peter, in order to breathe new life into this once, critically acclaimed drama. Sorry Chris Noth, but you’re character should fall on the sword, so to speak, for the “Good” of the show!

      Ratings will soar, as viewers will reinvest in rooting for Alicia, both personally and professionally, throughout her brand new journey, for seasons to come.!

      Upgrade to– The Good Wife: The Next Chapter

  3. For me it felt like they were leading the way for the show to end. Like Alicia was just giving up on things more or less. It just seems like they are winding down to end the show. Her attitude toward Lucca about going to Lockhart Agos, “firing Grace”, refusing to even to call Eli. It just seemed to me Alcia was jsut saying I’m tired of all this and I want it to be done.

  4. CK says:

    Do we really need another rehashing of the aggrieved Alicia being mad/pissed at someone story line? They are frankly running out of people at this point and it seems like they are angling Lucca to be the next offender with this whole going back to Lockhart-Agos thing. Yes, it’s one of her defining features, but I am so tired of it. I’ll keep watching until the show ends, but I’ve just stopped getting invested in the arcs. Outside of the performances, there really isn’t anything story wise that drives me to tune in to the next episode.

  5. Pat Farrell says:

    Sad to say, too many “fruitless arcs” and flabby writing. I think the Kings have been phoning it in for a while. Which is a shame, and the cast here can do wonderful work if allowed.

  6. Kailani says:

    The “100% Pure Love” analogy couldn’t have been better! (one of my fav songs of that decade as well.) Kings ran out of ideas over a year ago. and what, you give Ali Wentworth mention, but not Marsha Mason as the judge? tisk tisk!

  7. bridyyc says:

    I wonder why they insist on making Alicia look so gaunt and pale. She’s doing her best Creepella (even though Creepella was green….I’m talking figuratively.) Then look at everyone else and how warmly they’re made up. I guess that’s on purpose? The show is just so depressing. Ugh.

  8. khannay says:

    it has been hard to watch Alicia through so many changes in the last couple of seasons. it seems like she is being cornered by the changes around her and the lack of stability of her own, very small firm. it is clear that she mourns the loss of Will and doesn’t have much interest or time in anything but her work and she is getting worn down, worn out, and hardened by decisions made around her. nothing seems to cheer her up or make her happy. without the main writers and the continued loss of strong characters, the show seems thiner and thiner.

  9. JosiahBartlet4President says:

    I loved seeing Kelly Bishop and Christine Lahti. It was very sad to see Margo go, but clearly her arc was over.
    What—just what— was the Lucca-Rowby thing? So random!

  10. Eurydice says:

    At this point it seems that all Alicua wants is to be left alone. Unfortunately, with the way the writing is going, the best way to do that is to change the channel. The show started with Alicia being hurt and now, 6 years later, she’s still hurt. Plus, she has no idea what she wants and her world is gatting smaller and smaller as she retreats to her apartment and pushes everybody away. Pretty soon, we’ll have an entire episode of her drinking in her walk-in closet. The thing she doesn’t understand about forgiveness is that it’s not about letting others off the hook, it’s about letting yourself move on.

    • Citygirl says:

      Good analogy, Eurydice. I think Alicia has become a very boring character. She needs therapy to sort out WHY she is so unhappy. And it really doesn’t have anything to do with her marriage. Alicia and Peter STILL have a strong connection, yes at times just sex, but when they are getting along, their chemistry together is palpable, ie on the campaign bus last week when she went over to comfort Peter. No words needed to be spoken. Now the writers have her pining for Will again. You want to shake her and scream “get over it; time to move on!!!”

  11. Waggll says:

    Alicia needs to wake up. She has been living in a fog for a couple of seasons. Her performances have been as if she is a puppet-going through the motions. Her character lacks spice.

    Now take Lucca-that character is more reflective of spice, intelligence and personality. Alicia and the governor have nothing.

    Their only platform is the kids. Diane has run her course. Cary should emerge-he has good opportunities.

    The story- line about Peter’s mother and her marriage stinks. Presents the woman as a gold digger-opportunist.

    Alicia’s son and daughter need to mark an end to ”Momming’ which BTY Alicia and Peter are poor at. The kids need to emerge as about to be college grads on their own.

    Peter needs to loose the next election and find out what he wants to do for a living.
    As the kids move on Peter and Alicia need to do the same and divorce-opening the door for a whole new series of love affairs and new firms.

  12. Sammy says:

    This could have been titlex the episode where nothing really happens… Honestly apart from loosing the case everything else was just blah.
    She could have offered Marrisa a job. I hope that happens soon.

    Im also so annoyed that they wrote Alicia to be this person who when she gets crossed, she gets angry and can never forgive them… she did it with Kalinda, lockhart argos and now Eli. This is just getting old. Im so glad there would be new ppl running the show for a possible season 8. They can undo the crap and set Alicia on a good path.

    First few seasons they showed her fighting to be in the law firm, she made partner then they took it away, gave her a firm, then the merger and then the sa race, she won that and then lost it. I am almost over the show we are halfway through and its like the season of nowhere slowly. pick it up Kings, youre more like Jesters now!

  13. Eran says:

    Hate to say this but the majority of episodes this season have just left me…tired. The energy is off, the overall feel is that of disinterest which comes across both in the performances (for the most part) and frankly, the writing.
    This series will have a lasting legacy I believe, but it needs to start wrapping now.

  14. EllenAce says:

    Love TGW!

    – Alicia should divorce Peter, for a fresh start

    • JoMarch says:

      How many times are you going to say that? Isn’t this your 3rd post saying Alicia should divorce Peter, for a fresh start?

  15. :-) says:

    I love the idea someone had of a grace spinnoff. I’d like a Cary-Luca spinnoff also. I like the chemistry of those too. Throw Eli’s daughter in too and we have a show! Someone send the kings a message. Do it like The closer/ Major crimes. No major premise or setting changes just move out everyone else and continue to do business. Just needs a good name.

  16. KLS says:

    Let me first say that I was a devoted fan of TGW for the first few seasons. I liked the initial story but was turned off when the show turned into backstabbing, office politics, campaigns and the ever changing separating/merging of firms and stealing clients. I tuned in last week to see the fight between Eli and Alicia, but it was so controlled that it was disappointing. Tried it again last night, and hey, another new firm and stealing more clients! Liked seeing Christine Lahti though.

  17. sd says:

    This used to be a favorite show of mine and I just realized I have 3 I watched episodes on my TiVo. The Good Wife didn’t survive losing Will.

  18. Jimmy says:

    Any time we can have Sarah Steele on the screen as Marissa Gold is a great time. She has great chemistry with both Alan Cumming and Julianna Margulies.

  19. Alicia certainly seems off her game, lately. She seems to me to be almost suicidal. I hope she can get her head straight.

  20. Julie says:

    Thanks for the recap. I’m also worried that the show runners can no longer be trusted to write thoughtful and realistic story arcs that used to be one of the reasons I loved this show so much. The only reason I’m still watching is that they still do have quirky and witty little moments (and I consistently love the fun interesting music choices). But so help me, if Alicia goes back to work at Lockhart agos, etc, that might be it for me. I feel like the show can only survive so many circular plot lines.

    Quick side note- it was a voice mail that Eli deleted (as opposed to an email), right?

    • KLS says:

      Yes, it was voicemail. Eli deleted Will’s message backstage at one of Peter’s speeches and he (Eli) was counting on Alicia to “stand by her man”. When it happened, I thought more of Eli being a snake, then for Alicia or Will. Through the years, that time with Will seems to have meant more now then it did then. Thus the huge, but disappointing fight with Eli last week.

  21. Julia says:

    This show just feels so lost right now…I can’t put my finger on why but it doesn’t have any solid footing going forward and I’m getting tired of it.

  22. Susan G says:

    Very frustrated with the show now. I’m a loyal watcher of the show since the beginning but the last 2 seasons have been very lackluster. Really not liking Alicia so much. I used to love Julianna Marguilie’s performance but it’s become very stilted & predictable. Some supporting players are excellent but have nowhere to go with the lackluster storyline. Wish the show was better.

  23. skyart101 says:

    I’m sure this is the last season, and it is appointment TV for me, but I don’t think it will continue to be. The thrill is gone. What in the heck happened this season?

  24. Bonnie says:

    Frankly, I think that the characters on “The Good Wife” are like hamsters on a wheel. The plot lines just go round and round and it is getting tedious. I enjoy the courtroom action and the strategies concocted for winning cases. That still holds my attention but the personal side of the show has been a snooze for a while. I don’t see how anyone could buy that Peter and Alicia have a “marriage” of any sort and buy the line that they have a wonderful family life. In addition, thinking that a divorced political figure couldn’t be elected for office is ridiculous and unrealistic. Donald Trump comes to mind. He has two divorces under his belt, and a current wife who doesn’t seem to be involved in his bid for the Presidency, yet he is a serious contender. Peter’s bid for the presidency was totally unbelievable, in my opinion. Also, I feel that the show has only flirted with the characters personal lives and haven’t really gotten into the heart of the matter. When I think of it, we really don’t know the characters beyond a superficial level. For instance, why does Alicia continue to dance to Peter’s political ambitions? I have my own ideas, of course, but it could be fascinating to finally meet the real Alicia, to find out what makes all the characters who they are. I agree with the comment that Alicia and Peter should divorce. I think that would open up some believable and interesting plot lines for the show.

  25. Judy Johnsen says:

    I am frustrated by the start/ stop of these plot threads, bit I like the courtroom stuff. But I feel it’s inevitable that Alicia and her partner will go back to Lockhart Agos Lee law firm. And firing the daughter without having a replacement? And running a business out of your apt. Is different from renting a room, etc.

  26. floyd says:

    Off the wall but here I go Alicia learns of Peter’s wrong doings and is one of the ones who goes after his job and runs for governor. Lucca joins Lockhart-Agos thus setting up for the next season without Alicia. It ends the Good Wife but leaves room for more stories with someone else at the wheel as the Kings have suggested.

  27. I think the Good Wife has lost its way. Last night’s episode was frustrating. I miss the older shows.

  28. Manxe Kitairn says:

    This is the most exiting show to come along in years. I can’t stop watching, as I think every professional in America cannot resist watching. We are all familiar with the tempestuous nature of professional partnerships. It’s part of the drama. But let me pose a rhetorical question. How can Alicia run for president if Peter is still around? She has to have a dramatic breakup with him, like for the tort of his paramour. And how can she manage the task of a Presidential election without Eli, who believes in her? There has to be a reconciliation, and it would be more dramatically done if it was brought about by Grace and Marissa, sneaking around the backs of both Alicia and Eli. And Alicia needs to go back to her old firm, just to keep the personalities in play. While she contemplates her run for office again, anyway.

  29. Will says:

    I love this show. Alicia needs to go back, David Lee needs to go.

  30. jakis says:

    Margo Martindale was a big 0 on this show. And the legal plot o’ the week was idiotic. Was the contract for 2 albums or for a specific period of time? If it was the former, then the whole legal issue would be whether the rejected album fulfilled the contract. If it was the latter… Whose music contract is like that?? Plus they have standards for how they decided if two songs are too similar, not just oh, yeah, they kinda sound alike to me… This show is SO stupid sometimes. The only bright spots in last night’s episodes was Eli’s daughter and the bitchy lady downstairs. Nice to see you, Schmoopy! Although, as my husband said when it was on, why didn’t she just put a sign on her door to say she wasn’t Alicia and they should go upstairs? Manufactured drama, that’s why. Also, just because a whole bunch of other people are in violation doesn’t mean it invalidates Alicia also breaking the home owners’ agreement. COME on, Good Wife writers. Try a little, ok?

  31. Lisa Echerd says:

    The hamster on the wheel analogy is perfect because they are going nowhere. I was disappointed last night that Alicia didn’t even mention the election at all. I know she isn’t with Peter but it seems that someone should have at least mentioned her husband dropping out of the presidential race. It makes no sense that there wouldn’t even be a phone call from the press. Then again they never acknowledge that Alicia is the first lady of Illinois and as such would at least have to go to some functions occasionally. Diane not being bothered to come along with Cary is because Christine Baranski is apparently yet another person Julianna Margulies can’t be in the same room with. At this point Alicia has to stay in her home office because her portrayer has so few people she will interact with. I don’t know this for fact of course but it sure seems that way.

  32. Katy Thompson says:

    Deleted VOICEMAIL not EMAIL…..

  33. I want to see the Alicia run for Senate, which I’m pretty sure is where it’s going. But not totally.

    • JosiahBartlet4President says:

      I could see that happening. I wish she’d just stick with lawyering, but I’ve accepted the fact that the show is really about politics more than the law.

  34. vanessa d says:

    Was Jan. 17 the last segment to air? It’s not on the TV schedule as it normally would be for the 9 pm PST timeslot tonight. Is the season over? Is the show over? This was once the best show on tv, at least for me, so I’ve been sorely disappointed to see how the writing has deteriorated in recent episodes. I didn’t realize that the writers had changed although I did suspect so. I’ve loved these characters and would hate to see it leave the air; however, if the writers can’t get it together I won’t miss it nearly as much.

  35. Frank Delville says:

    The writers have taken Alicia from a strong independent succsessful working woman to a whimpering whinning blah. Terrible writing missing so many opportunities it boggles the mind. I am and so is my wife extremely disappointed with the show this year. I believe it could be saved if she and Lucca go back to the big firm with Cary and make a formidible trio. Now add in a touch of charismatic Jeffery Dean Morgan and I believe this will be great. Competion with the old guard and the new younger trio could make for some great shows. The first problem though is getting the writers back on track. Good luck!