The Good Wife, Ep. 5.07, “The Next Week” picks up and rearranges the pieces

The Good Wife The Next Week
The Good Wife, Season 5, Episode 6: “The Next Week”
Written by Craig Turk
Directed by Frederick E.O. Toye
Airs Sundays at 9pm (ET) on CBS

The political side of The Good Wife sits on the sidelines this week in favor of the continued tight focus on the personal and the legal. Florrick/Agos is in deep financial trouble, Lockhart/Gardner is looking to avoid a malpractice suit, Will has a client claiming innocence and a DNA test saying otherwise, and someone is hacking the computers at the Florrick residence.

First, a note on the legal side, which is all sorts of relevant, timely, and fascinating. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year in Maryland v. King, the exact limits of DNA testing for arrestees are distressingly unclear. Never one to avoid leaping into the fray, The Good Wife takes the issue on directly, as a former client of Alicia’s (played by Hunter Parrish) is taken into custody on a DUI, swabbed for DNA, and then arrested when the test is a match for an unsolved murder. Things are barely getting started in “The Next Week”, but something tells me this is hardly the last we’ve seen of this case. It’s too hot button an issue for the show to avoid and Will needs something to get passionate and self-righteous about in the courtroom while he tamps down his personal feelings for Alicia.

Those feelings come into play again tonight, as Owen pays Will a visit to inform him that Alicia’s heart is still in play. Will is, in actuality, a giant baby with an ego the size of Montana, but he sees himself as something of a romantic, and it’s clear that, cool as he may play it, the message has an effect. Will isn’t fighting the war he thought he was. He isn’t attacking a woman who betrayed him and tore out his heart—or at least, not one who did so maliciously. The show has done an excellent job this season re-defining its central love triangle by making Peter more than just a reluctant default for Alicia, but the “nuclear option” (as Owen calls it) may not be as successful at eliminating Will as she might have hoped. This is all on a simmer for the moment, but The Good Wife is great at ensuring things boil over at just the right time, and I imagine we haven’t seen the last of the Will-Alicia tension, not by a long shot.

The Seven Day Rule

Florrick/Agos has real financial problems, even for a new venture. Fortunately, they also have financial wizard Clarke Hayden (the wonderful Nathan Lane, who will hopefully be around on a more permanent basis this season) on the case, promising to work tirelessly to make the new firm profitable. Unfortunately, they also have another Benedict Arnold, as Super Shady Lawyer (learning his name has always seemed imprudent) defects back to Lockhart/Gardner and pins a bribery he committed on Alicia in exchange for a partnership. It’s good to know there’s still some loyalty and morality at the heart of the legal profession.

Finally, Grace Florrick continues to be hot enough to merit storylines about her hotness, as this week a student at the Florrick children’s school has hacked their computers to videotape Grace changing and put it on the internet. It continues to be unfortunate how little of this storyline is actually about Grace as a character. So far, we have seen Alicia be uneasy about her daughter’s burgeoning sexuality and Zach defend her by punching the hacker right in his hacking face, but the show hasn’t actually given much time to how Grace is reacting to her newfound (and dubious) internet stardom. We know she “wants to be pretty” (and of course she does. She’s a teenager), and we know she is happy no one is filming her change anymore (of course she is. She’s a human), but if this plotline is going to continue, it should perhaps focus more on Grace as a human being and less on Grace as an abstract concept of hotness for other characters to react to. Otherwise, it threatens to be no better than the mouth breathers on the internet it keeps reminding us are being really creepy about Grace growing up.

“The Next Week” is still picking up and rearranging the pieces from “Hitting the Fan”. The Good Wife blew up its own center and is taking its time laying out the terrain in the wake of that explosive episode. There’s much to like here, whether its Kalinda getting to do some old-fashioned snooping again, Diane giving Will an awesome high five, or just Nathan Lane being back on the scene and as charming as ever. Yet this is very much a filler episode. Nothing is ultimately resolved here; even the case of the week is largely pushed to a future episode where Will and Geneva can fight about the limits to Maryland v. King in front of an exciting guest judge. For now, trouble’s a-brewing and the war between Lockhart/Gardner and Florrick/Agos is just beginning. There will be casualties before things get settled. The only question is who, when, and how far they will fall.

Notes:

-“Alicia Florrick?” “Yup. Subpoena or Restraining Order?”

-“Kalinda need you now” – a text Will should always have ready to go.

-“Cool, huh?” “Yes, that’s the word.”

-“Who are you?” “Kalinda.”

-“Do you know something?” “I worked with the books at Lockhart/Gardner. I know everything.”

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