“The Good Wife” recap: The dark side of law and love (Ep. 4.8)

There were no playful jokes about boobs or penises this week on The Good Wife. In fact, this episode was a tour de force of things All Heavy, All the Time, starting off with a suicide and ending with a parking lot beating, with some public shaming of alcoholism and a return of Horrible Husband thrown in the middle. Yayyy! The Kings just really know how to give you warm fuzzies, you know?

The suicide we begin with is committed by a girl in Grace’s school. In fact, both Grace and Zach, the oft-ignored Florrick children, make prominent appearances in this episode. As for Grace, she has some conflicted feelings about the suicide, in that she’s sad and stuff but also sort of has a crush on the girl’s ex-boyfriend, who many people are blaming for the suicide. I can understand this crush, personally: the boyfriend is brooding and mysterious, and seems to be wrapped up in the mourning of the suicide the least of anyone. I mean, he didn’t even wear yellow to school in solidarity of the girl’s favorite color! Because that’s the most important thing when these things happen, right?

Getting so many “Dead Poets Society” vibes right now.

So they end up hanging out behind some bushes and kissing a little, like rebellious private school kids do. The thing that makes it more relevant to the main plot lines, though, and also way creepier, is that someone from an opposing political camp of Peter’s has been following both Grace and Zach to school, and spreads around pictures of this budding teenage romance on the Interwebs. Yay for stalking teenagers in the name of politics! Politics is so great!

Zach, meanwhile, probably has the least morally ambiguous storyline of anyone in this whole episode. Congratulations, Zach! Turns out he wants to help his dad’s campaign, but this is mainly because he’s a computer genius and so can help with nerdy computer things, which probably means more to him than actually, like, helping his dad. But right on, kid. Keep being the handsome nerd you are. There is also a great scene between Grace and Alicia when Alicia is trying to be the concerned parent about this suicide thing, and Grace is like, “I don’t know. I think she was cutting.” Alicia has one of her completely oblivious moments that she has from time to time, and is all, “Wait. What? Why would you cut yourself?” Oh, parents. Grace, though, responds with this heartbreaking truth: “It’s not that weird. A lot of girls do it.”

Yes. Being a teenager really is that bleak.

But to bring things back up just a tad, let’s get to Amanda Peet, since she’s here again. She’s opposing counsel in a murder trial with Lockhart Gardner, a trial which is already dark but soon heads to a much darker place. Hurray! The judge in this case is an old persnickety guy, and I generally like old persnickety guys. But when Will meets him in a bar after one of the first days in court, things turn sour. The guy has had a few, and says a bunch of stuff that judges generally aren’t supposed to say. Stuff like, you totally screwed up in court and your client is totally guilty and you should never practice law again, you loser! Haha! Awkward!

See you in hell, Gardner.

Accordingly, and especially since winning this case could bring the firm a huge sum of money, Lockhart Gardner decide to ask the judge to recuse himself for personal bias in court. They bring in Alicia to do it because they think the judge is kinder to people with boobies. Alas, the judge, shockingly, is not happy. This does lead to one of the best, most badass Lawyer-y Alicia throwdowns of the show, with the judge repeatedly saying, “Eff you all, no effing way,” with Alicia just as firmly responding, “No, sir, eff you. This is our legal right.” It’s intense, but they get what they want: a trial within a trial to determine if the judge really is biased.

You cannot bully Alicia Florrick, Sir.

I’ll let you bully me, though, if you want.

It all gets even uglier even faster. The judge shows up to his own trial, and eventually testifies that everything Will said happened in the bar is a lie. When the only other witness at the bar refuses to help—even after Will sleeps with her, can you believe that?—Lockhart Gardner has to get personal. Cary wrecks a friendship to get inside scoop about the judge’s unhappiness since splitting with his wife; Kalinda is forced to nab a member of the judge’s AA group to testify against him. This was when it became almost too hard for me to watch. The AA woman looked so absolutely miserable, so horrified to be there, and the judge was finally publicly humiliated enough that he left the courtroom. This is dirty, and cruel.

Here lies the beauty of the Good Wife: showing characters we like doing things that aren’t necessarily right; showing the ugliness that can lie within justice. What the judge said and did was clearly un-judge-like, and wrong. But Will Gardner is certainly pretty gross in this situation, too. He purposely approached the judge in the bar to get a feel of how they were doing in the case. He was a bad lawyer that elicited a lot of sustained objections in the trial in the first place. He slept with the witness instead of just asking for her help. (Even though I know they had a history and she was way hot and stuff — still annoying.) And the only reason they pushed it so far in the first place was because of the money. The AA woman eventually gives them the evidence they need, and the trial is ruled in their favor. They’ll get a new judge. But it’s gross. The law can be gross.

Other gross things: We see Kalinda in a bar twice, but neither time is with Alicia. Each time is, in fact, with Will. Ugh. The first time, Will is giving a truly puke worthy speech about the tragedy of everyone rooting for the underdog. Cry me a river, Will.

Life is just so hard for me as a rich white guy, you know?

The second time, they have an exceedingly weird conversation about jealousy. Kalinda is presumably not asking about jealousy for herself, but for her Horrible Husband, who has developed an irrational hatred of Cary throughout this episode. Because he got bored with being jealous of Lana, I guess? And he saw Cary and Kalinda smiling at each other once or twice in the office, because they have some sort of goodness in their hearts and so smile sometimes, as opposed to the ugly, tangled tapestry of evil inside of his?

Accordingly, when Horrible Husband has a meeting with Cary about his stupid truck business or whatever, he proceeds to act ridiculously strange and threatening, asking Cary about where he bought his suit and if he’s gay or not and generally being a creeper. As Cary is the character that often possesses the most good sense in this show, his brain signals to him that this guy is a freak and he should end this meeting, which he does. He then sits down and looks like this:

Believe me, Cary. We all feel the same exact way.

Later, we get to see that Kalinda is still — GIGANTIC SIGH — sleeping with him. SIGH AGAIN. And apparently feeling less and less conflicted about it, as she doesn’t even pull guns or knives or anything on him anymore, even when he’s clearly being a jerkface. I miss the gun-toting, knife-pulling Kalinda, you guys! She takes a phone call from Alicia as he waits with his stupid face and his stupid tattoos in the background, and her face is full of Happy Alicia Feelings as always, which is the only good part of any of this.

I just like hearing the sound of your voice.

But as in any healthy relationship, any ounce of happiness in your partner must make you blinded with suspicion, right? So as she twirls into the bathroom after hanging up, he grabs her phone and redials, and as Alicia and Cary now share an office, Cary has the misfortune of picking up. We see where this is going. Triple sigh. This storyline builds slowly all episode, quietly in the background while we mostly just see the judge’s wrecked personal life and Will being awful. But I knew that the scene I saw in the previews for this episode had to be coming, and I felt it in my stomach the whole time until it finally happened.

Cary 🙁

Running to his car in the pouring rain from the office, Cary is stopped by what we can assume is a henchman of Horrible Husband’s, knocked to the ground with a punch, and then violently kicked way too many times. The camera pans away as the pounding is still going on, and we don’t know how long the beating lasts, or what the final result is. And as this was one of the last scenes of the episode, we don’t get any other details after that. The previews for next week don’t show anything about it, either. I am dying inside. I must know what happens to Cary! Goddamn Horrible Husband!

From a wider storyline perspective, this obviously may be the thing that finally gets Horrible Husband kicked off of this piece. And while it’s obviously a dramatic storyline that gets us all invested, I wish that it didn’t have to go there, that it wouldn’t take something like one of the most likable characters on the show getting beaten to a bloody pulp for Kalinda to realize that Horrible Husband is bad news. It would be so much more empowering, and so much more who we want Kalinda to be, to simply realize this herself, and be able to kick him to the curb on her own terms, for no other reason than her own self worth and dignity.

But in news that doesn’t make the joy drain out of my soul, the development of Amanda Peet continues to be interesting. At the beginning of the episode, she bumbles around the courtroom like a painful amateur, awkwardly shuffling papers and looking overall incompetent, yet she quickly regains her composure. By the end of the episode, she was throwing down the legalese just as well as Lockhart Gardner. There was even a small moment when she made some type of unnecessary zinger of a comment during the trial that Alicia quickly objected to. Yet after Alicia got over her initial shock of the comment, she then actually had to smile a little, as if she was proud of Attorney Peet for rising to that level of jerkiness. Lawyers are weird.

Basically, Peet could have been bluffing in the beginning, and been ready to go in for the kill the whole time, but I feel less and less inclined to believe that she has something up her sleeve. Her interactions with Alicia still seem genuinely kind, if still a little over excited, and it seems like she really is just a smart woman trying to be good at her job. A smart, kind, exceedingly attractive woman. I’ll take it.

What were your feelings on this episode? Were you equally conflicted about Lockhart Gardner’s actions towards the judge? How bad will Cary’s injuries be — and what do you think will happen to Horrible Husband in response, if anything? Will we get our beloved Kalinda back soon?