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The Good Wife Review: Martha, Martha, Martha!

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The Good Wife made like a fascinating circus act this week, juggling numerous storylines and characters in a tense, taut episode that actually made me care about the fate of a wife killer; combined the world of fiction with the world of real life politics by teasing a Peter Florrick keynote address at the DNC; and gave Alicia more insight into the inner workings of both Will and Lockhart/Gardner.

It also gave Lisa Edelstein a tremendous send-off as Celeste Serrano, and introduced Anna Camp (True Blood, Mad Men) as a first-year associate.

Celeste and Alicia

Impressively, "Marthas and Caitlins" pulled all this feats off without feeling too crowded or confusing. It was a well-paced hour of television that kept me in every moment and also planted a few serious storyline seeds. Consider:

$45,000?!? I'm really gonna miss Celeste. Her and Alicia downing tequila and trying to out-cool each other was my favorite scene of the season. Celeste managed to be both honest and duplicitous, simply telling Alicia the truth about herself (she hates women) and about Will (something about a past embezzlement)... while admitting that her goal was to split the secret couple up.

HA, she sure did a terrible job accomplishing that mission, didn't she, Alicia? Didn't she, Alicia?!? No? Might there be a kernel of truth in how Will will end up disappointing you because he plays the type of games you hate? Even using you in the process when need be?

Will lives in the grey. Alicia, despite her inebriated attempt to state otherwise, never will. She's all black and white at her core. Let's see if she actually makes Martha's life a living Hell.

Peter for President! First, let's appreciate how The Good Wife is the only show on TV that would make a crack about Obama getting the keynote address because he's black. These current event references are as important to the series as its rich characters and back-and-forth professional machinations. They make the characters come alive and feel real. People in these professions really do talk this way.

I'm not sure how I feel, though, about last week's focus on Will as MLB Commissioner and this extended arc about Peter running for governor and, it's safe to say, in Eli's eyes, president one day. It's a little hard to take seriously, seeing as election season is pretty much upon us and Peter Florrick's name isn't on any ballot.

What will happen when the 2012 DNC comes around? Will the show have selected some fictional character as the speaker, while we're simultaneously watching someone else give the address in real life? I'll gladly hand it to the series for trying to walk this fine line between art and reality, at least, especially because Eli in campaign mode is endlessly entertaining. I'll also take it back if Peter Noth is on the Democratic dais next summer.

So we got a glance into Will's past and Peter's future this week. Why do I have a feeling they will converge at some point? With Alicia in the center? That's why the Martha/Caitlin situation/metaphor was so important at the close of this episode. Alicia grew sick of Peter using her for his election, and likely won't respond well when Eli makes a similar pitch. But now she's being used by Will, too?!? In a very dissimilar manner, no doubt, but it's still disconcerting.

Perhaps it would just be easier if she were Celeste, getting drunk, making flippant remarks, sleeping around. Then again, Alicia is too good for that, even if she hates to admit it. Other quick notes from a great installment:

  • Poor Grace. The dancing tutor feels like a random way to make us remember Alicia has children, but I still felt terribly when Grace admitted she had no friends.
  • That was definitely a convoluted way to bring back Dylan Baker as Colin Sweeney, but the show managed to actually tie it in to Eli's DNC push. Well played. And VERY well played by Baker, of course. What a great actor and character.
  • Yes, Edelstein had only been signed to three episodes. But Baker, Michael J. Fox... The Good Wife is known for bringing back popular players. I bet we'll see Celeste again.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
  • 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (109 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Really liked Celeste. This last episode was by far the best. It was good to see Alicia in this conversation with another woman. The show needs a character like Celeste to add some spice (like Eli) and the writing and acting for Celeste has been superb! Definitely hope she will return to the show for future episodes. She is a great contrast to Alicia and the two actors played so well off each other! Great choice show runners! Great job JM and LE!

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I find Celeste annoying. Other than that, the show was superb. Of course, i wish to see more of Alicia & Will interactions.

Blu

Will is a lawyer...playing in the grey area is part of being a laywer. There aren't to many jobs out there that don't require playing politics. They all do it...even Alicia. Honestly, they've been using her for her and using her for her connection to her husband since the beginning. No one, not Will or Diane have made that secret so I don't understand what the big shocker is in this matter. It isn't personal, it's business. Hell, Alicia herself has used her own connections and the like, reluctantly and not so reluctantly. I chuckled when Will explained the entire thing with David Lee and the voting. I respect the fact that Will treated her as he would any other associate in that regards. Because in reality we have to look at the big picture. Alicia is only a third year associate, there is a hierarchy and she was reaching a point where she was having a bit too much power and bit too much say in things when she shouldn't have. I'm not saying she didn't earn any of it, but unfortunately she did need a reminder of what her place was. She can't get special treatment. Even though Cary isn't my favorite character in the world, he had a point and a valid reason for being pissed way back when...he noticed then that Alicia got special treatment for various reasons. You got to respect the hieararchy in that field. It was an eye opener, never get too comfortable. I love the Kalinda and Eli scenes. They are usually my favorite. I do miss the Eli and Alicia scenes and the Kalinda and Alicia scenes though. I'm in the minority I guess, go figure, for liking the new woman at the ADA's office. She's spunky, she instantly gained Cary's respect which is hard to do. They have an interesting dynamic. Imani I beieve her name is, Imani Stonewell..or Stonehouse one or the other...it's not a terribly difficult name to pronounce by the way ( I know Matt mentioned something along those lines before. : ) ) She's interesting and unapologetic and plays the game like they all do. Loved Dylan Baker. He. Is. Awesome! And as far as Celeste...I kinda hated her but I kinda didn't. I'm glad she's out for the moment but I wouldn't be too surprised if she popped back in again. I don't know. I liked that she opened the door to stuff about Will. I'm sorry but I tried to feel bad for Grace. I would have felt bad for her, even related to her, but the kids are randomly thrown in to remind us that Alicia has kids and I tend to fast forward when either of them appear on screen.

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Am I the only one who miss Kalinda/Cary scenes? I thought they have better chemistry in scenes than Cary/the new black girl in defense team. Also I miss the relationship between Kalinda and Alicia, they were great together.

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I thought the episode was great. I thought the mechanism they used to show why Will voted with David Lee was to point up the fact that what Celeste said at the end "Will is just like me" was true. That was my take. It was just excellent!

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I hope we will see Celeste again!!! great job Lisa E! I love her relationship with Alicia!!!!! I love Alicia but I´d like see her more happy and enjoy things!

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This was a great episode. Many story lines but all handled very well. A few of my musings: I think Eli will get to the bottom of the Kalinda/Peter thing. But it won't stop him from trying to convince Alica to stay with Peter, for appearances sake. Don't really like the new addition to the State's attorney's office. Pushy and arrogant. Really want to see Kalinda and Alica friends again. Good story line with Colin Sweeney. He's creepy, but I think he's sweet on Alicia. Mixed feelings on Celeste leaving, actually liked her this episode. Felt sorry for Grace. . .bring back her religious friend.

Farsia2010

great, solid episode that brought promise of twisted intrigues to come! wish Celeste stayed for a bit more, nice to know that Will put the money back.
so Alicia was a Cathlene? figures, but i am sure this particular Cathlene will not be so humble and good as Alicia was in season 1, this one will be a spoiled brat, and she will probably blackmail Alicia into doing what she wants saying that if she doesn't she will tattletale to her uncle. i can just see that she will be trouble with all her fake goodness and manners.
Eli smells blood and he will follow the sent i am sure, Alicia and Kalinda beware he is hunting for your secrets!! can't wait!!!
i want more Alicia/Eli interactions, that is the only thing that was missing here and i wish they would bring Eli's daughter her too, i like her.

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Excellent show! Love how the writers keep us on our toes, keeping track of everything that is going on - lots of hints dropped last night - I was concerned that Chris Noth would be exiting the show, but not after seeing last night's episode! Not particularly liking David Lee, but he certainly adds to the mix -

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It was all right, but it had the feeling of a transition, an episode between two other episodes. Several story lines were set up, but not much seemed to happen this time out. The wife killer story line was uninteresting. Who cares is he gets two years off his sentence? Or even is he testifies for Alicia? I give it a B minus.