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The Good Wife Review: Are You Serious?

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"A Defense of Marriage" was about more than just the rights of same-sex spouses. The episode was an opportunity to look at the institution of marriage through the character's distinct relationships.

Before we get into the case, let's talk about Cary. After the brutal beating he got at the end of last Sunday's episode, there wasn't much follow-up. He showed up to work with a black eye and lied about how he got it. Plus, he had a confrontation with Nick about the city contract case, which ended with Nick threatening Cary.

Given the intensity of the situation, it was disappointing that it was barely addressed. I hope this gets resolved in the winter finale.

Alicia and Her Mother

This week's case was an intriguing one, especially when it came to the evidence. The CEO and his wife's wiretapped conversations were protected by the spousal privilege. The firm's defendant, who was in a same-sex marriage, was not afforded the same protection due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which states that same-sex marriages are not recognized by the federal government. No legal marriage means no spousal privilege.

Since the evidence was kicked out, the CEO walked and testified against his collegue. At that point, the case became about much more than a criminal case. It became a fight against the constitutionality of DOMA and taking the case to the Supreme Court. 

The firm brought in a proven Supreme Court lawyer, Jeremy Breslow, to fight the case, which created conflicting goals. The firm wanted to win for their client, while it was in Breslow's interest to lose, so he could appeal. 

The defendant and his husband decided not to take the offer and continue the fight. They were willing to take the court's punishment, if it meant they could appeal the decision and potentially get to the Supreme Court. Alicia and Diane still needed to make sure their client was properly defended, went against Breslow to make sure it happened, and won the case.

Breslow was upset and claimed their actions meant DOMA would be around for at least 10 more years. Should they have lost the case for the greater good? Or, would that have been malpractice? It was hilarious to see Breslow on TV proclaiming victory after all that happened.

I appreciate when The Good Wife addresses some of the major legal questions of the day and this case handled it well. When the couple had to decide whether to settle or not, there was no right or wrong answer, just a difficult decision based on personal convictions. 

The legal case set the stage for the underlying theme of the episode: What is a marriage? During the court case, we had a CEO married to a woman, who had numerous affairs. The defendant and his husband had a limited open marriage with Free Fridays. And, outside of the case there were marital woes as well. 

Peter and Veronica

Alicia's mother, Veronica, arrived in Chicago for Thanksgiving and brought with her probate issues with her deceased husband. Did Veronica cheat? Was the step-son right in telling his father and getting the will changed? Or, did it even matter? 

For the story, it mattered because Veronica's marital history provided insight into Alicia's marriage. Veronica had a point when she said that Alicia was afraid of being with Will because that would be like following in her mother's footsteps. With rare exceptions, Alicia has always done the "right" thing, not necessarily what would make her happy. Is that an admirable trait to have? Or, is it a sad one? The look on Alicia's face showed the sacrifices that she has made.

Then, Veronica overstepped by confronting Peter. Everything she said to him was spot on, but it wasn't her place to say it. Ultimately, it had the opposite result from what she wanted. Instead of pulling Peter and Alicia apart, she pushed them together ... at least for the moment.

Alicia's reaction stunned me as much as it did Peter. What the heck was she doing? Peter nailed it though, "Is this about your mother?" And, her quick response, "Yes," said it all. This wasn't about Peter or her marriage at all. It was about control, defying her mother, and even about Will.

Alicia seems to hit a certain threshold of restraint and then in a split second releases it in a moment of passion. She's done it before with Peter and with Will. Does this mean Alicia and Peter will get back together? No, because the sex wasn't even about Peter. And, it definitely wasn't about their relationship or marriage.

Throughout the season, a few readers have commented that Alicia is the "good wife" and since Peter's reformed, she should reconcile with him. At this point, I don't agree. If he wants her back then he should woo her and he hasn't done that. He's been almost all business with her about his campaign, her career, or the kids. 

There was nothing "good wife" about Alicia's actions. They are two consenting adults and married, but they both used poor judgement given their relationship and especially since their kids were right outside. I've never had much respect for Peter, but if he would have stopped Alicia's advance that would have changed.

It will be intriguing to see what happens next. Will either Alicia or Peter take Veronica's words to heart? Will Alicia decide to find happiness? Or, will Peter let Alicia go? Before the bathroom escapade, their marriage was in a stalemate. It wasn't moving in any direction. I'd love to see them both take Veronica's words to heart. 

If Peter moved forward and let Alicia go, then perhaps they could actually find their way back to each other. She could choose him. Love him. And, be happy.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (118 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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that he decided to punish him...and did Cary assume that it was enough for Nick to arrange the beating up? There are too many plot holes, too many incongruities and to many things letf to viewers' guessing.

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One of your main characters (the most underused one) is beaten up and what do you do? 3 minute screentime and a black eye? Good job. Really.
@steve No. He's doing nothing right now. But he should, because this show keeps wasting his time. They're just messing up with Cary's storyline to end the Nick's nonsense: but now almost everything doesn't make sense.
It doesn't make sense Cary just had a black eye when the beaten up was really serious.
It doesn't make sense that he lied about the beaten up and acted like nothing happened.
He doesn't make sense that now it looks like Cary is looking for revenge but that we didn't see anything about how he figured out it was Nick behind the beaten up and why he decided to just threaten him and why he didn't call the police.
Also did Cary also figure out WHY Nick arranged the beaten up? We don't know. He doesn't know about Kalinda so according to what Nick told him it could be just because Nick teasing him about being gay that he decided to punish him...and did Cary assume that it was enough for Nick to arrange the beating up? There are too many plot holes, too many incongruities and to many things letf to viewers' guessing.

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Null---I'M WITH YOU ON YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THIS PETER/ALICIA TOGETHER.

Terrie

While the death of Tony Scott may have indeed played some part in the direction this show is now going, I think the bigger picture is CBS and their DUMB MOVE of putting it on Sunday nights where it is constantly preempted by stupid football!!!!!!!!!!! I, too, also so NO NEED in Carey taking a beating or for this arc to carry out over several episodes. Anybody that has kept up with this show at all KNOWS Carey WILL HAVE his revenge.............. I, too, am tired of Peter and Alicia's "will they or won't they" relationship being drug out .......either put them together or not already. I don't want Alicia with Will. That was fun while it lasted but Will unfortunately is not relationship material........not sure he ever would be........

Tvgarth

It saddens me to see all these negative comments about this once great show. Do you think perhaps it is just a little "at sea" due to the fact that one of its "executive producers" jumped off the Tallahachee Bridge, so to speak. Tony Scott may have had more to do with this show than his title and I for one an more than willing to let this unfortunate chain of events sort themselves out and allow this great team of writers and actors time to get back to doing what they have done so well these past few years. Last year, it was consistently the BEST show on television, but now there's much more competition (much of it all on Sunday night I might add) AND THE LOSS OF TONY SCOTT WAS A TERRIBLE TRAGEDY. I say, hold on, The Good Wife will find its footing and we'll all be rooting for Alicia, Kalinda, Will and even Peter and Carey before all is said and done. Yes, I'm still a die-hard fan!

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Iam guessing that the people that still want Alicia/Will to be together is not married and never have been and therefore beieve slleping around, marriedd or not is alright. When Alicia told Will she couldn't do this any more, it's to much; don't you think she had some feelings of guilt and shame. Alicia is a woman of high standards and realize her behavior was inappropriate. Some just don't like Peter but that's on you; Alicia likes him and that should be enough. Yas, Will's next conquest is Amanda Peet so don't be surpised whenit happens. It won't bother Alicia and I hope you can survive. If she is female his zipper goes done and he has not repect for women whether married or not. If he can't respect a friend marriage than who?

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This was not one of their better episodes. And where were the kids at this family dinner?

Snakethecritic

★☆☆☆☆TV One star TV for Stockard Channing. @Foo
Completely agree with you. I'm now officially done with this show as well. I also think it will be canceled. So I'm no longer investing time on this hot mess. .

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I acored the show until they introduced Kalinda's husband into it. It's a ludicrous storyline that doesn't fit the show at all and they really need to lose it or they'll lose me. After the beating Cary took, he should have been in the hospital for 3 weeks but shows up with a slightly black eye that, by the way, looked VERY attractive on him. Stupid, stupid, stupid. The only thing I liked was that I got the distinct impression in his conversation with Nick that he has revenge planned. But please, no more S&M scenes between Nick and Kalinda. He's an awful character and the actor's pretty lousy too. They should stick to the legal cases and Peter's campaign. THOSE are interesting. Kalinda's husband is not.

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I am very disappointed with this season, I loved season 1+2, 3 was okay but just that. This has nothing to do with my preferences in relationships, it is just the whole show, like they lost their way somehow. Form it looks like they try to satisfy everybody and disappoint most of the viewers., I did not even bother to get the last shows, it seems to be enough to read here what has happened.

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