The Good Wife Review: Passing Judge-ment

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Forget who you would take on a desert island for a moment. This week's episode of The Good Wife left me asking a different question:

"The Penalty Box" was the penultimate installment of season three? Really?!?

Alicia, Cary and Diane

It was a quality hour of television, I'm not saying otherwise. Cary is back, which opens up a number of avenues, starting with wondering just why Peter called near the end.

And the standalone case of the week was one of the best in awhile. David Paymer stood out as the veteran judge who lamented his life as a poor father and, in order to clear his own name, a disloyal friend/colleague. It made Alicia question the morality of the occupation she has chosen, certainly an interesting tact for a show about attorneys to take. Diane and Will, and Cary for the most part, have accepted that it's necessary to do whatever one can to win a case.

But Alicia still struggles with the outcome sometimes. If you win for your client by destroying the life of a seemingly good man, did you really win?

But, overall, I felt far more of an anxious pull following last week's episode of The Good Wife than this one. The sight of Peter and Alicia back as a team, fighting against that meany Mike, left me dying to see what happens next.

So it was surprising to see the answer, when it came to the Gubernatorial race, was... nothing. No mention of it at all, no interaction between Alicia and Peter, no Mike sighting. (Semi-spoiler alert: next week's season three finale promo doesn't make it look like a focus, either.) It was definitely disappointing.

Instead, the show is shifting its season-concluding drama to the issue of Kalinda and Lamond Bishop. And while Mike Colter is downright scary as the latter, and while we were treated here to another sexy Good Wife scene (Kalinda and Lana followed in the hot footsteps of Alicia and Will, and Alicia and Peter, in their pin-you-against-the-wall-and-make-you-writhe maneuver), there hasn't been a great deal of build-up to this storyline.

One minute Kalinda has tax problems... the next we see her confront Lana... and then suddenly Bishop is involved, threats are made and the series latches on to this arc as its main cliffhanger. I'm not loving it. It feels a bit rushed/contrived just to get Kalinda in the spotlight.

So, yes, I'm glad Cary is back. And, yes, it was fascinating to watch Kalinda's steely demeanor broken for a change, as tears welled up in her eyes when facing off against Lana, actual tears, not ones used for any kind of manipulation. And I'm always happy to see Stephen Root guest star on any series.

But I can't say this episode made me especially excited for next Sunday's finale. What about you? Are you all in on Kalinda's arc? Or would you prefer the crux of the finale to return to Peter, Alicia and the race for Governor?


Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (114 Votes)

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


forget that stupid willicia arc guys, it was foolish and a total waste of airtime, didn't fit this series at all. alicia is getting back to being the "good wife" and her mature relationship with peter works very well. along with carey being a lawyer again fits as well as alicia and kalinda working together on cases. last seasons finales final scene was just moronic and took them way off line, as it destroyed everything they had been building up to and her relationship with kalinda, which having two strong women as best friends and confidantes was very important for the show. Now they are getting back on track, finally. will should have a new friend. surprising nothing came out of gov race. oh well, still a great show with wonderful, real characters. so unlike most of today's shows.


I enjoyed the episode. I thought the case of the week was good. It is often fun to see the other side of the judges. I agree with a previous comment that the thought of a romantic angle to the judge and his partner's relationship was implied.
I LOVE Lemond Bishop and the chemistry between Kalinda and the FBI agent is hot. I am looking forward to seeing that storyline continue. I was also surprised at the lack of storyline with the governor race. For better or worse, the Good Wife always has an abundance of storylines going on, so it is impossible to touch on every one every week. I think they balance it well overall but sometimes it causes a major plotpoint to get put in the background.
LOVE Cary back also and looking forward to them using him more.
Lastly, as a W/A fan, of course I can't stand his new love interest. But in real life, it would be unfair to ask him to sit back and wait for Alicia to decide she wants to be with him. So you really can't blame him for dating someone else. But I found it interesting regarding his comment that he has baggage and she will eventually see it.....hmmmm....


I love Kalinda - she's a brilliant character, brilliantly acted. I'd absolutely hate for her to go.


The case of the week was kind of boring, but the real fun was the return of Agent Lana and Lemond Bishop. They made it special and the sex, passion and danger exploded- we're talking premium pay cable level thrills here! Wow. Big applause for Jill Flint and Mike Colter. Loved them. The TGW main cast were on their usual high standards.


I'm disappointed Will has been thrown into some new relationship.........I liked Juliette Nicholson on Law and Order Criminal Intent but I'm not liking her here. I don't like seeing Kalinda scared. She definitely is. I hope it's not true what some here have said about her leaving the show. We will definitely be left hanging next Sunday when it comes to this part of the arc. I, too, found it odd that nothing was mentioned about the Governor's race and Peter's mother. I guess they are saving that for next season.


@Sid Even if I would not eb a supporter of the W/A line, wich I am, I could not see why they would drop this in the long run. @all
I aways smile when I read Will is sneaky, mean shady, and so on. Yes he may is, but what is Peter? He put her through hell, sure it is up to every woman to forgive ad go back, but stopp making a saint out of him, he is not far from it.
To hire a priest and drop him when he is no longer needed?
I am catholic and as that you grow up feeling guilty, I am not talking about God but about the men who write the rules!
Sorry she sleeps with one other men while seperated and she is slut? But he is a great guy paying hookers and sleeping with people he work with for a favor, they nver said so far on the show why he slept with Kalinda, but you are even greater fool if you think she was the only one, at least if he would be a real person and not a guy from a TV show.


But I can't say this episode made me especially excited for next Sunday's finale. What about you? Are you all in on Kalinda's arc? Or would you prefer the crux of the finale to return to Peter, Alicia and the race for Governor? I would like the crux of the finale to get back to Will and Alicia. I know that's wishful thinking but I really think the loss of direction everyone is talking about is because the Kings bailed on the shows direction when there seemed to be an uprising against the Willicia romance. They didn't have enough time to regroup and now they are fighting for a story arc. All the best to them in season 4.


Wait is achie (kalinda) leaving the show people saying she is I hope not she is the reason why I always get excited about watching the show on sundays I can't wait for the finale kalinda had a gun is it because her husband found her or lamond I am so confused right now.


I thought it's the funniest episode I've seen in a while. Howard was great as a distraction with his "who would you bring to a deserted island" question and the new small city judge. I thought it was funny when he gave a long summary of his life. I've laughed more in the beginning of the episode than in a while.


and of his own. (I got cut off).

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