The Good Wife Review by Henry Tran

The Good Wife 5.18: All Tapped Out

The Good Wife 5.18: All Tapped Out

Written By:
Matthew Montoya and Julia Wolfe
Directed By:
Felix Alcala

It was interesting to hear Eli say, to paraphrase, that paranoia rules the day in this episode. He nailed it precisely on the head. There's a sense of pervasive paranoia that surrounds everything in this episode. I think it's just a sense that everyone doesn't want to be fooled. Or that the other parties are trying to pull one over their heads.

They're dealing with the NSA and its surveillance procedures so that invites the most obvious paranoid tendencies. A new managing name partner comes into Lockhart-Gardner's territory in Louis Canning and well, Diane mentioned that his track record doesn't preclude a sense of trust. The paranoia shackles the characters until, by the end, it no longer does so. A freedom then enters, which invites a sense that life moves on from what was holding them all back. It isn't all the way there, but it's finally moving in the right direction.

The heavier material has been largely dealt with so as to allow this freedom. Will's death had its time in the sun. They mourned and it's time to deal with the business at hand. The episode touches on remnants of the past and how it affects the present and futures of the characters. You could almost call it how Alicia gets her groove back, but she had to work through a lot of hurdles to get to that point.

She still thinks about Will's death. She can't face the State's Attorney panel to the detriment of Finn Polmar's case. The NSA wiretap from way back when in the show's timeline comes to play here. The NSA analysts weren't particularly interesting back then until one of them comes under fire. So he teams up with Florrick-Agos to protect himself from possible prosecution by the NSA.

I like that there is a David vs. Goliath mentality to the whole thing. A small firm like Florrick-Agos loathes to take on something as big as the US government, and they prove to be out of their depth at first. But then they get their bearings straight. They start to poke holes in the NSA's method(s) of attack. It's their overwhelming need to win that dominates the case. They're paranoid about the NSA bugging their phones, which is a legitimate concern. Though the analysts largely dismiss all of the chatter on the phones since they don't pertain to the scope of the possible terrorist inquiry, Alicia and Cary shut down all possible sources of information. It's something that strikes very much at the heart of how much privacy and personal freedom a US citizen currently has as well as how much of a surveillance state this country has become in this day and age. I couldn't help but think of Person of Interest as this was all playing out. Then the tide starts to shift.

Now that the NSA wiretap is out in the open, the characters start playing around with it. Cary and Clarke turn an evidentiary deposition from an attack on their client into something that works in their favor. Alicia even manages to get Canning connected with possible terrorist ties. The conversations have no context nor should they be considered serious threats to national security, but when the NSA is involved, they have to treat everything like a potential threat. They're coolly out for blood, and they don't care who is left in their wake. It's turned all around on them when Peter (of all people) blackmails a congressman as a way to get the Intelligence Committee to end all wiretap surveillance on him and his wife and their associates.

As for Canning, well, he's definitely up for shaking the status quo. Michael J. Fox is oddly comfortable in this role and feels like he belongs in this world. The cancellation of one show on another network frees him up to get steady work here. He is filling some big shoes, though. Will Gardner was a central character on this show and anything Canning does would feel like a shadow of what Will was before he died. Diane and Kalinda are right to not fully trust him. He was brought in by someone else, against their collective approval, and their past dealings with him doesn't do their relationship any favors.

It's a slow process that takes time to develop. Once each side lays their cards on the table, the tension is eased. Diane asks him to make concessions as to his real purpose. His answers seem genuine on the surface, but that could change on a whim. Could he expand Lockhart-Gardner into the big national firm that Diane and Will always dreamed of? Perhaps, but I think both sides need to pick their battles. Going off on their own doesn't seem to be the right way and would only invite blowback and resistance. There's a sense that they could work together enough to make this tenuous partnership worthwhile. That is unless paranoia starts to take over again.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • The sense of paranoia is palpable
  • Interesting social commentary
The Bad:
  • Person of Interest is doing it better
  • Canning is filling some mighty big shoes

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 - 4/22/2014 11:57 AM176 views

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