The Good Wife Review by Henry Tran

The Good Wife 6.08: Red Zone

The Good Wife 6.08: Red Zone

Written By:
Nichelle Tramble Spellman
Directed By:
Felix Alcala

It's played off as amusing when Johnny and Eli calm Alicia's fears over potential voters' views of her through a focus group session. The episode is actually telling viewers that Alicia's fixation is key to the events within it. She can't help but fixate on the perception that she's elitist and self-centered. When Johnny and Eli tell her to ignore it, all she does is think about it. She rarely does the kind of self-examination that is asked of her in the episode. Human beings rarely do it; the exception possibly being those who have seeked out therapy.

We all have a tendency to ignore or even dismiss our flaws. That is what that lone female voter in the focus group is representing for Alicia. Never mind the fact that it's just one potential voter in a sea of other potential voters. Alicia is the female candidate and the fact that a female voter, someone that she and her campaign is supposed to own, sees anything wrong gnaws at her. It's a case of confirmation bias run amok. She desperately tries to change that negative perception of her. She isn't alone in that regard.

It would be easy to agree with that voter, though. The perception of Alicia as "entitled" and "selfish" is backed up by the show's long history. There have been times when Alicia has used that perception to play the victim in various scandals and cases being tried. There have also been times when she's been the "good guy," the altruistic underdog who perseveres in the face of numerous personal and professional challenges. There, she is the very embodiment of the "Saint Alicia" brand that Johnny and Eli are trying to push on the voting public. The focus group is missing a bigger part of the story. Since the campaign has to package the candidate with a concise story, there is little opportunity to present nuances that give out the entire picture of who Alicia is. She's not just one aspect, altogether good or evil. She is a combination of the two.

Take the college rape case that Alicia becomes a "silent" advocate on. She does it as a small favor to her brother, and then ends up getting too invested in the case. Since the audience is able to see how the case is adjudicated, we understand why Alicia would recommend that the victim bring a Title IX lawsuit against the panel. The focus group doesn't get to see that. They only hear the word "rape" and it becomes a sexy, sensationalized story. The purpose of the lawsuit is to balance out what Alicia sees as an injustice against another victim who looks to have been worked over by the system. So there's a real sense of disappointment when the victim drops the lawsuit once the school yields and gives her what she wanted all along, which was her alleged rapist's expulsion.

Through the entire case, Alicia has these interesting thoughts about how her particular actions change the opinion of the focus group voter. Being the advocate for a rape victim and volunteering at a mission makes for a favorable impression. Those good thoughts change to doubts when she thinks that Canning is lying about the severity of his disease. What Alicia is failing to see is the whole picture. The fixation on the negative should go away, especially once her handlers show her in in-depth contrast to what Castro and Prady bring to the race. Her good side should outweigh those negatives in the end.

Things are much more cut-and-dry on Cary's side. It still looks like a strong possibility that he will face a long prison term for his association with Lemond Bishop. He's admittedly (and understandably) angry about that prospect. There are times when it looked like he was resigned to that fate, and that mix of emotions threatening to bubble to the surface showed up in his mock testimony. It didn't help that Diane seemed off her game, either. It was a mock trial and cross-examination, but it seemed to further cement the impression that Cary can't get out of this. He wants to desperately change the impression that the screws are being turned on him, but right now, there seems to be little hope.

His friends are falling by the wayside all around him. Alicia's not going to give him much of that because she's hung up on her own cases and the campaign. The little advice session the two of them have near the end of the episode was the first direct interaction in what feels like a long while. Kalinda isn't going to give him comfort, both because of the 30-foot separation rule and the fact that her allegiances have always been wishy-washy. The end of their romantic (some would even characterize it as mostly sexual) relationship here was, I feel, a long time coming.

Kalinda's bisexuality has always been in service to the show's plot so since Cary wanted Kalinda to be as direct as possible, severing that relationship was the only endpoint. Something may come up as a possible deus ex machina for Cary, but I doubt it will change the bleak outlook that he has had since the season premiere.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Alicia's public image problems seem well-earned
  • The ugly reality of college rape situations is well-handled
The Bad:
  • The subject matter of the case may be a huge trigger for some in the audience

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 - 11/10/2014 6:07 AM192 views

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