Entertainment Magazine

Review #3073: The Good Wife 3.4: “Feeding the Rat”

Posted on the 19 October 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Keith Eisner
Directed by Frederick E.O. Toye

Something occurred in this episode of “The Good Wife” that I don’t think has occurred on the show before: It solved the Case of The Week before it even got Alicia’s attention. It resulted in even less of an interest from myself on the mechanics of the case because the client is clearly innocent of the charge and the firm’s usually ambiguous motives in the courtroom got undermined. It came down to them engaging in a good deed, and that especially hurt in light of Diane’s decision here to temporarily get rid of Legal Aid. It really does feel like yet another setup episode for events down the line. They are positioning characters in a neat way in order to draw up complications that will come so watching this felt like an exercise in waiting.

Review #3073: The Good Wife 3.4: “Feeding the Rat”

The only aspect of this episode that I liked was the interaction between Eli and Kalinda over the internal politics at Lockhart-Gardner. Eli is such a better character when he’s a political operative and is playing people against each other. Here, he is recognizing, with help from Kalinda, that Lockhart-Gardner is top heavy and there may be a power vacuum developing that can possibly be exploited. First chance he gets, he tries to poach Kalinda to his side based on the work she’s done for him on the cheese industry from last episode. It’s interesting to see how swiftly Eli disturbs the calm pond that Diane and Will have fought to build. He does so, I think, just to see how Will and Diane will react. He’s not real sure of his place at the firm and Kalinda clears up what cards he can play in the future. Look for Eli to use the knowledge he gains in this episode to his advantage for any of the crises he takes on in the future.

The first few episodes of this season have had a large emphasis on Will Gardner. He has Alicia and there are now complications present that are affecting his work. This primarily comes from Celeste Serrano, introduced in the case from last episode, and promises to continue as the show goes along. I don’t particularly favor what the writers are doing with Celeste, which is that they are presenting her as a scattershot character. It looks like she’s playing coy with Will by teasing him about how much he has changed from their shared past, but it’s never consistent. Her offer of joining a nascent firm she’s running seems genuine, but easily might not, and I think that’s part of what drives his decision to say no to her.

Non-sensical metaphors (that give the episode its odd title) aside, he’s tired of playing games and wants to get down to work, plus Alicia is anchoring him to Lockhart-Gardner more than anything else. That could change if Alicia is ousted from the firm. I feel that the “threat” posed from Celeste isn’t compelling enough to make it worth my time. I don’t know if it’s the writing of the character or the actress or maybe a combination of both. This may not be the last time we see Celeste, but she still needs improvement on some fronts. Also, it isn’t like there is a shortage of drama in the office, what with Will and Alicia’s relationship getting more complicated, and Diane feeling shut out of the decisions of her own firm. This could all easily get complicated real fast.

Four episodes in and I think the setup stage of the season may be complete. Everyone knows or has a general idea of their place, and that gives the largely excellent writing staff license to start some chaos in the narrative. There’s even the chip of Peter and the rest of the SAO that wasn’t really developed in this episode to play. To me, there is a sense that everyone is sitting on their hands, waiting for whichever side is going to make the first move. This sort of complicated power chess game within the legal profession is interesting, though spending more time setting things up will get exhausting. It certainly proved that the minor subplots dedicated to Alicia’s kids aren’t really necessary. The larger narrative just needs to get moving to the arguably more interesting complication phase.

Grade: 7/10

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