“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”:
GOOD 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!