The Good Wife Review by Henry Tran

The Good Wife 6.11: Hail Mary

The Good Wife 6.11: Hail Mary

Written By:
Erica Shelton Kodish
Directed By:
Rosemary Rodriguez

Heading into the winter hiatus, there was the strong possibility that the show's writers would stick to their guns on Cary's conviction. I think it would have been interesting to see how the fundamental structure of the series has changed with one of the main characters largely out of the picture. But this episode confirmed my suspicions from the season premiere: Putting a main character in prison long term is an untenable position.

This plot has consumed half of this season, which is actually longer than I thought it would take. They tried to inject a bit of suspense to the whole play -- which is a mode the series has operated in with aplomb in the past -- but the end result means that the status quo has been swiftly re-established. Cary escaped a long prison term, saved at the very last moment by Diane and Kalinda through some ethically questionable tactics, and everything will move forward as if the trial didn't happen.

That isn't to say that Cary's journey in this episode should be marginalized. His face seemed to subtly drop and droop as everything kept happening. He appears slumped over a bit and his gait has shifted and slowed. The horrifying advice that the prison consultant was direct and to the point. It was effective due to the fact that I actually feared for Cary's well-being and that I personally would never want to go to prison at any time. Yes, it was a bit over the top but it contributed to his mindset that doom is coming when he enters that courtroom in the last act.

It's the palpable sense that the trial and the conviction stripped everything from his life. Even the consultant's idea of using Kalinda to give Cary sex and one last good memory before going inside wasn't all that effective. They're both too distracted by other things. Kalinda is desperately trying to save Cary; Cary just wants to survive at all costs. And, really, the sex is more an afterthought in deference to Kalinda's titular hail mary to get Cary out of his predicament.

I don't feel any large attachment to the Cary-Kalinda relationship because both characters have never bothered to set the status of the relationship in stone. Cary seems to always think that Kalinda is his girlfriend except for the few times when he is tired of being jerked around by Kalinda and temporarily freezes her out. Kalinda as a character has been bungled by the writers so many times that it's become a permanent frustration of the show that probably won't ever be alleviated. Even with Kalinda's eventual exit.

It takes a surprisingly meta moment by Lemond Bishop in this episode that points to exactly what the problem with Kalinda is (Cary's issues tend to come around to be issues about her). And now, it appears that her being entangled in Bishop's web will facilitate that exit from the series. Does she love him? Is it just her job to get him out of the predicament he's facing? That has to be the main driving force behind committing fraud, manipulating evidence to get Cary free and railroading both the SAO with ASA Geneva Pine and the careers of a couple of detectives in the Chicago PD. Now that Cary is free via Diane's use of the "seen" emails, bad things are coming for Kalinda.

The focus on Cary's freedom from almost being in jail (though I assume the conviction will stick despite its overturning so his practicing of law is up in the air) means that Alicia is relegated to a somewhat minor subplot. This time, Alicia is engaged in debate prep against proxies for Frank Prady. With everyone in her campaign pulling her in all sorts of directions, it keeps Alicia from being involved in the rescue of Cary. Both of them get face-to-face interaction at the beginning and then spend the rest of the episode just missing each other. The show using substitutes for Prady makes the debate prep a real drag for the most part. Finn follows the goofy professor just so the show can get in the requisite flirting between him and Alicia without it being explicit that they're flirting. In fact, their mock debate fighting gives Alicia the ammunition by which to attack Prady later on. She has found her political voice, and is itching to use it.

The problem with this approach is that it makes Alicia's enemies complete non-entities. Castro is a dismissed afterthought and Prady's character has no teeth in comparison to Alicia. Things become much more interesting when Peter takes Finn's place. Peter playing Prady attacking Alicia opens up the cracks and simmering issues that have largely lay dormant up until now. That he denies her not-so-subtle request to help Cary out only compounds those issues. I'm probably not the only person who could see the irony in Alicia's repeated statements of being the opposite of the largely corrupt crop of State's Attorneys that have come before her. One of which was her husband.

She can play the "Saint Alicia" card so long as certain things would be of benefit to both her and/or her friends/colleagues. Then she's not all that different from the others. So taking into account all of these stressors pressing on Alicia, I choose to take the intimate, spontaneous kiss with Johnny at the end with a grain of salt. It's a release of tension that strangled the whole episode; an action built solely out of the joy over news of Cary's release. It shouldn't be read as something that complicates the relationships she shares with the other men in her life. We'll see how it goes from here on out.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Alicia is gaining momentum in her campaign
  • Kalinda's long goodbye might soon be over
The Bad:
  • Not sticking to their guns with Cary
  • Alicia's political enemies are becoming non-entities

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 - 1/6/2015 6:11 AM217 views

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