The Good Wife Review by Henry Tran

The Good Wife 6.05: Shiny Objects

The Good Wife 6.05: Shiny Objects

Written By:
Keith Eisner
Directed By:
Frederick E.O. Toye

Good episodes of this show usually have a singular focus to the main plotline. Looking at the title of the episode, it set off some concerns. When the "shiny objects" are designed to distract, there's a problem. Elsbeth Tascioni is a great character to watch if she's deployed properly. The big issue here is that she consists entirely of quirks. She's no longer a character.

Yes, it's nice that this show can have such a deep bench of guest characters so the reintroduction of the Tascioni-Rayna Hecht team (last seen in "A Few Words") doesn't come from nowhere. It's a pity that those characters were wasted on a case that started out well enough and then just disintegrated. This was due in part to yet another of the show's obsessions with cybertechnology. The episode comes together by the end when it looks at the political aspect, but that felt like too little, too late.

All of Elsbeth's quirky distractions and tics do give more insight into the swirling thought processes of Alicia's mind. Elsbeth was her friend; Her one source of support when Alicia went through some rough periods over the years. However, as we've seen pretty much since she and Cary pulled the split from Lockhart-Gardner, she has a tendency to show her claws when attacked. It doesn't help that Dean is all in on this mindset as well. When it looks like they're losing the case, she finds a way to get into Elsbeth's head. It does work, and it's a bit amusing that Elsbeth could be so easily distracted by pictures of penguins and giant cruise ships. But it reeks of desperation, though it's understandable given the situation that develops at Florrick-Agos.

The show's obsession with all things cyber-related comes into play here. Diane clicks on a screen that screams "virus!" and it locks out all of the firm's legal files to be held for monetary ransom. A smart, capable woman like Diane, one who seldom ever seems out of touch, would never make such a foolish mistake as this. That's why I couldn't buy it in the first place, which then spills over into the subplots that spring forth from that action. Kalinda currying sexual favors with Lana in exchange for getting the actual recipient of the ransom money; Diane coming back to Lockhart-Gardner in order to negotiate the release of an email with David Lee; The use of Carey Zepps, who conveniently speaks fluent Russian in order to blackmail the cyber criminal into releasing the lock on the files.

It's all quirky and funny and lightweight. It's much more light than what usually happens in the world of The Good Wife. There's no real weight to what's happening. Well, Kalinda's fling with Lana has a predictable end, as Lana is tired of how Kalinda jerks her around and leaves. Kalinda has to know that this act is getting old, and that smarter people would prefer not to be her doormat.

Some headway is made in Diane's subplot once she heads over to Lockhart-Gardner (which really should be changed to Canning-Lee) for the first time since she left. She gets the brilliant idea of taking over the office space since her name is on the lease there in lieu of the leaking, dirty space that Florrick-Agos currently occupies. It seems like a move to keep the old standing sets just as they've finished with the current space. This also, strangely, highlighted Cary's increasing absence from any of the plots. Perhaps he's right in worrying that the firm is being taken away from both him and Alicia. It was only a couple of episodes ago that the firm was talking of expansion so this power play by Diane feels flimsy. One course needs to be set, and the show needs to run with it.

What saves the episode is all of the politics with Alicia's run for State's Attorney. Finn's endorsement announcement causes all sorts of drama within the Florrick marriage. Peter has always been very uncomfortable with all of the handsome men in Alicia's life so his reaction is somewhat justified. He was correct about Will after all. The only time Alicia can let her guard down is when she has a private conversation with Finn. When she interacts with her husband (in name only), it stirs up old history and wounds. It seems like no coincidence that the hallway where they argue looks exactly like the one in the pilot episode. Or that when Peter introduces her to the world, they are both occupying the same positions that opened the series. It's even invoked in a meta sort of way by the side-by-side comparison of then (using a shot from the pilot) and now. Many things have changed since then. She's much more guarded than that first press conference. She's been through a lot. The show rightly acknowledges that. If the episode did more of this, it would have been more enjoyable. Then again, the show did struggle at times balancing the legal and political areas being covered before. Let's hope there isn't a repeat of history.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Some headway into Diane's subplot is made
  • Alicia's political subplot saves the episode
The Bad:
  • Elsbeth is designed to distract, not add, to the story
  • The guest characters felt wasted
  • The obsession with cyber-crime is getting old

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

The Good Wife by - 10/21/2014 5:19 AM191 views

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