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Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Patrick Sun, Sep 28, 2010.
The Good Wife returns for its second season tonight on CBS at 10 p.m. EDT.
My Mondays this season are way too packed to go into the detail I did last year, but I wanted to chime in with a few thoughts. I thought the season premiere was excellent, picking up where the show left off without missing a beat. The show neatly sidestepped the season one ending cliffhanger in a way that didn't feel false; Eli Gold deleting that voicemail was entirely in keeping with his character. I enjoyed seeing Alicia mentor the political wacko murderer, and the frustration that had to come from having an almost completely unprepared first chair.
Two extremely uncomfortable moments: 1) Childs's political operatives targeting Grace to score potshots against Peter. Judging by her expression, she knew she was trapped but who knows how a 15-16 year old girl reacts to such an ambush. It's one of those things that crosses the line so far it's not even funny, but has unfortunately become a part of our modern politics. 2) The bathroom scene between Alicia and Peter. We got a glimpse of the man who solicited those prostitutes, and it wasn't pretty. Julianna Margulies did a phenomenal job in the scene; her body language really sold the predatory nature of the advance. Even though Peter only ended up pleasuring her, the fact that she said no and he wouldn't accept that was very troubling.
I like the new partner. He's shaking things up without quite being a tornado. Pairing him up with Alicia keeps things fresh by forcing her to molder herself around yet another strong personality. The new P.I. is also interesting, because his actions give us the opportunity to observe how Kalinda reacts to them. He's a bit of a an arrogant jerk, and obvious competition, but her overreaction to his participation deepens the mystery of who this woman is. She is clearly damaged in some deep and important ways. And for someone who guards her privacy above all else, having a P.I. who's at least as good as she is has to feel like a very deep threat and violation.
VERY strong start to the season. I like how the new characters were quickly introduced. The case was interesting. We managed to see Peter in full "creepy" mode, and we understand the mixed feelings she has. I like the introduction of the new partner, which unlike a surprise was very properly setup last year with the "we need financial solvency solutions" episodes. A merger answers that and it was setup and delivered well.
That was an impressive opener!
Everything squared away from last season and some many new threads opened up. Perhaps most intriguing and alarming: why is Kalinda being called "Lela" by the new investigator?!?
Very strong second episode, too. No sophomore slump for this one, either. I really enjoyed seeing Will and Alicia adapt to a military court room. I also liked that Cary did the ethical thing by testifying against the credibility of that witness, even though he thought it would result in a guilty man going free. He's willing to bend the rules, but he's not willing to break them. The Joe Trippi and Lou Dobbs cameos were fun, but I hope the show doesn't devolve into lots of real life celebrity cameos for high-profile clients. Is Becca playing on Childs's team, or is she still just trying to cause the maximum destruction she can get away with? What did Kalinda find out about Will and the new partner?
I don't know Dobbs, that cameo was initially on me. I gather he's a talking head of some ilk. And the other client ... Was he someone to be recognized?
It was a bit annoying to watch the kids struggling with whether to tell about the spies. Don't they remember last year? How'd that work out? Well , I guess keeping secrets works ok since nothing really came of hiding the extortion photos from their mom.
But as I said to my wife, teenage boys are such idiots
Another great episode. This is the best show on broadcast tv.
This is true. And unfortunately for the Florrick campaign, Eli Gold's been free of teenage boys for too long to remember it.
I loved last nights episode. A great "mystery" about a botched prosecution and whether or not the state would pay for what had happened. What got me most was that Alicia telling them "He's not in it for the money, he wants to exonerate his dad".. yet, the moment the money was on the table "well, that's predictable". But the reason I liked that is because in the TV world, that wasn't predictable. I'm sick of shows where the kid would say "This is NOT about the money! They can't bribe me to shut up!" and a ran that goes to the courthouse. The fact that the kid said "Money is proof I'm right! Vindiciation!" and was content with that seems a lot more realistic. While the department will never say they f---d up, if people see the kid with $4M moving out and starting over, they can pretty much make that assumption.
I also liked the family dinner that went so wrong; but not wrong in a way that was ridiculous, but a very believable wrong. A mother who has to say the well-intentioned but wrong thing, and a kid who has a different view then her parents and instead of being a whiny brat, wants to discuss it and make her point.
Not to mention that the settlement frees the state's attorney's office to charge the sniper with all four counts instead of just the last one. Anyone who sees those headlines will know his dad was innocent.
My favorite scene was the Yom Kippur dinner, with all of the clashing personalities, ideologies and agendas. I particularly loved Peter's confrontation of Alicia's gay brother; it was the first truly selfless moment we've seen from him. And the brother, as much as he despises Peter, knows that he's right. I also liked seeing Grace torpedo Eli's carefully executed reconciliation campaign with her passionate pro-Palestinian stance while Peter's mother chimes in with alternating generalizations and misassumption about both gays and Jews.
This week's episode really mixed up the characters; as the DA looks to pull his punches to throw blame for his mistake, they realize there is a completely unknown third option out there for the job.. and now it gets real.
That 3rd option is far too manipulatively creepy.
This show captures the reality of modern politics better than any other on television. I wouldn't want to pull the lever (or fill in the oval, I guess, now) for Florrick or Childs. The fact that this young seemingly ingenue enters the race by pulling off such a grandiose manipulation doesn't exactly put her in a good light, either. All three have powerful patrons within Chicago's ruling elite.
Last week's: Whoa!
Will catch up on comments after I catch this week's
Glad to see Peter tell the groper's lawyer where to shove it. Great episode examining all of the facets that go into a law firm deciding whether to take on a high profile case. The potential plaintiff was quite a cypher; I spent most of the episode just as uncertain as the lawyers as to whether she was telling the truth or not.
This was one of the best episodes of this show I can remember. And one of the best "legal drama" moments I've seen in anything since Boston Legal. Rarely do you see a show take a look behind the scenes that says "maybe we believe you, he should get it.. but this is going to get difficult"
While this isn't always a nobel prize winner, it happens often where women are put into a position where they have to accuse someone who is popular in a community or school, etc.. and they have to deal with the blowback. This was a great episode. Strong performances and a real debate over "how does this work" and "what happens next". I found the moments where the investigators were trashing her apartment.. which she will now go home to and find trashed (and robbed, as he took the money out of her drawer) to be devastating.. but a portrayal of how it may feel for her, and that moment will further her debate as to whether or not she can do it (spoilers avoided).
So, since it's the month to mention it, I'll just throw a link in here: http://www.rainn.org/
This was exceptional TV. It kept you on the edge and the end was incredibly effective. There will be several cast members who may want to submit this episode for consideration... definitely the writing staff.
Amazing set of episodes. Two weeks ago is still my favorite. The intensity of it all: Carey questioning Alicia. Kalinda taking her rivalry with the other investigator. Knocked me out.
This weeks was a splendid bit of nothing filled with everything. It had all the hallmarks of a filler episode, a rippied from the headlines schtick, starting and ending nowhere further than where it started. But it was filled with character moments, like Dianne wrestling with her convictions and her hero. And it drove the story of Peter further.
And we were kept in the dark almost the entire episode on the A story.
Grrr... Had a long post written up, only for the website to spontaneously refresh and wipe away everything. The gist:
Michael J. Fox's character demonstrated the wheels within wheels that this show does best. Unlike some other recent guest starring roles that uncomfortably ignored the elephant in the room -- hello "Scrubs", casting someone with Parkinson's as a surgeon -- this episode was built around his disability. And while Fox's character certainly wasn't above dirty pool, exploiting his disability to first co-opt and then distract the jury, he had a fine and calculating legal mind to back up the theatrics. Just when we think we have a handle on the situation, his conversation with Alicia at the party pulls the rug out from under us. In comparison to this top flight New York City lawyer, Lockhart Gardner and Bond look very small time indeed. They saw this class action and thought anything above $10 million would be huge. The pharmaceutical company looked at the same class action and thought anything under $90 million would be dodging a bullet. In order to be a hero, Fox's character only had to get Lockhart Gardner and Bond below $50 million. He probably talked Diane down to $35 million for his own amusement.
The waters around Kalinda are starting to get very choppy indeed, as we finally meet the long-rumored girlfriend. On one hand, the firmly sealed lid on her private life is starting to crack open. On the other hand, some of the characters that Bond brought with him from Baltimore are more dangerous than she imagined. We've known since the pilot that Kalinda has no problem using people. What this season is showcasing is that she does little else but use people. She reminds me of abandoned street children in the ghettos of the world, who didn't grow up with any parental affection and develop a survival instinct unblunted by codes of morality. Kalinda has worked hard to create an upper-middle class biography for her self and present a polished and cultured exterior. On the basic instinctual level, though, she's like those kids. Nothing will come between her and what she needs to keep going. Alicia is probably the closest thing she has to a human connection. Blake is instinctively a threat that must be eliminated. Before it was merely professional. Now that Cary has shown her how dangerous he is, the instinct to eliminate the threat must be that much greater.
Speaking of Cary, I love what they've done with his character this year. He's still harboring a grudge toward Will, Diane and especially Alicia. But he's not the asshole with the grudge. And he's still warm toward Kalinda, even though he knows how stone cold she is, because she didn't have anything to do with his firing. Even in cases where he could screw over Alicia, like in the military tribunal, he does what's morally right instead of what's emotionally satisfying. He tried to beat Alicia for the final spot through hard work and fair play. Even though that didn't work out for him, he's stuck with those principles.
I also liked Grace's storyline supporting Peter's opponent. The whole story was about her feelings toward her father, and yet Peter played no role in the entire incident. Her faith in her father was dented then restored, and he didn't have a thing to do with either. The one influence Peter had on the issue was his promise to Alicia that he'd run an (relatively) honest campaign. If Peter hadn't set the ground rules, Eli would have ran with the boob job story and destroyed his career while severely denting Peter's candidacy. As a last resort, he leaked it to the Childs campaign -- taking out a rival in the business while severely damaging the campaign of the opponent.
I also like the idea that the third candidate might really be the best person for the job, not Peter. Chicago being Chicago, I'm sure she has some sordid bit of slime in her past or present, but I'm glad they're exploring the idea that we might not being following the best person for the job.
This show simply delivers, week after week.
As they were gloating over their class action settlement, that moment with Fox was DEVASTATING. But it was also sooo good. All I could think about was the John Grisham Book "King of Torts"... where at the end, the class action cases ate them alive because plaintiffs discovered they settled way too low and went back after them for malpractice.
Now, that won't happen in the context of this show, but that moment had to put the scare into Alicia.. did we do right by our client? Because it was obvious that Lockhart-Gardner had not done the required research on what was really going into this. .. and that moment should have spooked them.
I liked the moment where the daughter discovered her fathers hands were clean of the frame up; and it basically did incredible damage to Childs in the race. You really get the feeling that Gardner-Lockhart is really a mid-level firm, too eager to get money rolling in the door, to get out of the dulldrums.. a firm with a street-lawyer desperation to beat up the money to cover the costs.
That was a scene you don't see that often on television - the "good guys" getting what they think is a win, but they discover they were played the whole time. Of course, the firm being in the state that it was at the present time, that was a lot of money coming in to keep things running (and then some).
I'm surprised that they haven't brought up again that this new candidate was involved in leaking confidential information about Childs. I am assuming they haven't forgotten it.
I was very impressed by both the writing, and Fox, for what they did with his character. It's not often we see an honestly cynical depiction of someone using their physical weaknesses to their own advantage.
My wife asked me why Kalinda and Blake were immediately antagonistic to each other. I don't really know, except they are both Alphas and they're both -- for lack of better metaphor -- mongooses. They're the animal the firm keeps to attack the cobras, to do the dirty work, to get things done unseen. And they're professionally, and maybe personally, paranoid. And when suddenly paired with an equal, they fear there can be only one, and they turn their work inward, to there perceived threat.
We're also now shown explicitly that Kalinda is a user. She uses people for her own emotional needs, professional needs, whatever. And then casts them aside. But even though she can play an emotional role very well when it suits her, she can evoke empathy in others, it seems she's so emotionally damaged that she doesn't actually understand it. She doesn't recognize the harm she causes others, no the potential long-term harm that can bring upon herself.
And now: Blake. Possible hired man for Baltimore muscle. Scary. But in a show that holds its cards tightly at times, I'm still waiting to see if that's truely the story. Maybe he is that dangerous. Or maybe there's yet another layer that Carey didn't find.
Everything else: The daughter. The campaign. The case. Nice.
As a quibble: I was surprised that Gold entertained the breast-implant story so quickly. After being so completely snookered on her campaign announcement, it's foolish to take anything about her at face value. Breast implants? Dig deeper. Nothing about her suggests that's what she'd do, so why trust it so narrowly? But, he luckily diverted it to Childs' campaign. So while he inadvertently helped her campaign, he did serious damage to Childs. So he probably considers it net positive, even though we as viewers can guess that Childs is no longer Florrick's true threat.