Entertainment Magazine

Review #2455: The Good Wife 2.20: “Foreign Affairs”

Posted on the 14 April 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Story by Meredith Averill
Teleplay by Robert and Michelle King
Directed by Frederick E.O. Toye

I think those intrically involved with “The Good Wife” miscalculated on this one. Rather than focus solely on the election storyline and personal affairs of Alicia Florrick, they ceded it to the background in favor of a Case of The Week that was felt incoherent and ultimately disposable. This time, it was digging for oil and its involvement with a political dictatorship in a South American country. If the case was a little more straightforward rather than having to resort to what the writers felt were shock tactics like Lockhart-Gardner somehow representing said dictator, I would have been compelled to pay attention. As such, something we all knew was coming — Alicia finding out it was Kalinda who slept with her husband — got lost in all of the noise. It had an impact, sure, but it seemed lessened when paired with the case the firm was handling.

Review #2455: The Good Wife 2.20: “Foreign Affairs”

This show likes to pride itself on how busy everything is. Sometimes, I wonder how Alicia is still standing. She has to deal with a complicated court case that has international implications, her husband is locked in a dead heat of an election race, and she still has some time to be a mother to teenage children. It’s enough to feel a bit scatterbrained. How busy all of the storylines get does eventually bleed into the case that Lockhart-Gardner is dealing with here.

The firm is first representing the little guy who’s getting screwed out of getting paid by the big corporation. Then the Venezuelan socialist government somehow gets involved and the President of Venezuela wants to be paid as well. Then the judge puts the firm in charge of the Venezuelan dictator. Natalie Flores gets put in the middle of all this since she’s the token Hispanic person at the law firm and gets to save the day by translating the Spanish that apparently none of the lawyers speak. It’s a bit goofy when you sort it all out. Natalie’s presence is also a bit of a contrivance, too, but the show smooths over that part. Lockhart-Gardner does prove to be the victor in the end so that proves how inconsequential many of the cases feel nowadays.

The real juice of the episode is around the fringes, dealing with the election. Alicia is hounded by everyone in her life, from Eli to Wiley the investigator to Diane, about doing a televised interview she has no real interest in doing. But her husband is in a deadlock with his opponent at the end of a long campaign so it would serve everyone’s best interests if she does what she’s told. The interview goes well and the election is Peter’s, as was foretold long ago.

It feels all like a red herring, that Alicia might find out about the Kalinda-Peter affair on live television. Maybe somehow, someone leaked it to a reporter at the last minute. That was what the buildup was for, it felt like. It was a misdirect, as the calls from the private investigator were going to be the real revelation. Alicia put it off as much as she could (from the volume of phone calls she had gotten that one day, could you blame her?), but she was always going to find out. This, frankly, should have been the primary focus of the episode. The episode was only looking to get that final reaction shot and dealing with the fallout was going to be saved for later, but I really feel that fallout should have been explored more here. Alicia is a really restrained person (witness her interview prep with Eli where she cracks for just a second, then recovers her stoicism), which makes the betrayal sting even more so it’s left up to question as to how she will handle this. Will she go off on Peter or Kalinda? Does she consider her suppressed romantic relationship with Will?

The fallout is left for the season’s remaining episodes. I’m looking forward to it. Alicia’s relationships all go into question now. Her husband is now the State’s Attorney again, but he won’t go to jail. He’ll have to pay for his indiscretions, though I get the sense that he will wiggle his way out of it. We don’t know the full extent of what happened that night with Kalinda so perhaps a reserving of judgment is in order. Her friendship with Kalinda is certainly in jeopardy now. It’s going to be very awkward for them to work together at the firm. Lost in all this is the fact that Will might serve as her proverbial safety net from all of the chaos in her life that will ensue. Something is bound to happen there, as has been hinted all season long without a real payoff.

Grade: 7/10


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