The Good Wife, Season 5, Episode 20, “The Deep Web”
Written By Luke Schelhaas & Erica Shelton Kodish
Directed by Rosemary Rodriguez
Airs Sundays at 9pm on CBS
Alicia Florrick is in crisis. She lost the man she loved, the one she saw as her lifeboat even in the rockiest storm (and he caused a fair amount of her storms himself). What she really lost, more than Will Gardner, was the possibility Will represented to her. As long as Will was out there, better days were coming for Alicia. She’d leave Peter behind. She’d stop being restrained by roles she felt forced to play. She’d figure out a way to finally just be happy.
With Will gone, Alicia is going to have to learn that the possibility he represented has never been external, that thinking about it that way isn’t productive and isn’t likely to get her to where she needs to be. By making Will her savior, she absolved herself of any blame if things didn’t work out, but she also avoided having to take responsibility for the good things in her life happening. The journey of The Good Wife is the journey of Alicia Florrick seizing control of her life, learning that what she really wants is, as she said earlier this season, to be happy and to control her own fate. She wasn’t either of those things when she said that (and in fact, she found herself drunk, depressed, and sitting across from Will just moments before she admitted that’s what she wanted), and she certainly isn’t either of those things now. But she will be. Alicia runs her own firm, now. She is out from under the thumb of Peter more than ever before. She isn’t sure what she wants (she isn’t even sure that she wants to be a lawyer anymore), but she’s finally asking the right questions. What does she want to be doing? Who does she want in her life? Who is she even being faithful to anymore? Will dying freed Alicia up to have to ask all of these questions. And freedom can be a scary thing.
“The Deep Web” isn’t just Alicia’s Day Off, though. We also get a case of the week about the titular “secret internet” that plays host to drug lords, gun smugglers, and child pornographers. It is actually kind of surprising that The Good Wife, with its obsession with technology, has taken this long to do an episode on the Deep Web, but this episode tackles it with all of the goofiness, obtuseness, and charm the show usually manages. Diane dives into the origins of Silk Road, a website on the Deep Web (or, the way the show talks about it, maybe just the whole Deep Web? This is never entirely clear) to try to help Lyle Pollard (Robert Klein) and his grandson Robbie (Christopher Imbrosciano), who is the Keyser Soze of the secret internet. She runs up against Finn Polmar (also unclear is why, exactly, the State’s Attorney is handling the investigation into an international smuggling ring, but ok, fine, if you have Matthew Goode you might as well let him squat next to dead bodies every once in a while) and the limits of her own ethics. As far as cases of the week go, this is pretty much fluff, but its enjoyable enough for what it is.
Meanwhile, Finn’s campaign is kicking into high gear as Eli preps him for an interview to introduce himself and his reputation as a hero to the electorate. He gets blindsided with a question about his sister, a drug addict who committed suicide a few years back when her family decided to show her “tough love,” but he handles himself well and proves that he isn’t a naïve deer-in-the-headlights the way he first appeared. On The Good Wife you develop political acumen quickly, or you get swallowed up by the system, and after being nibbled at by Castro, Finn is ready to do some swallowing.
Then there’s Daniel Irwin (Nestor Carbonell), a single-father who Alicia meets cute with at jury duty and spends a large swath of her day off with. Carbonell doesn’t fully mesh in the role tonight, and Daniel comes off as too generic to be realty exciting, but then perhaps that’s the point. Alicia doesn’t need another man right now, what she needs is the epiphany she has before walking away from the restaurant where Daniel is about to drink both of those glasses of wine (that’s what you do when you get stood up. It’s totally the rule). It would be too easy for Alicia to slide into a position where someone else gets to make the calls for her, or to find herself feeling guilt about a relationship with Daniel for no real reason. So she says “no.” The question The Good Wife leaves open is just who she’s saying “no” to. But she’s standing alone out there. She isn’t sure what she wants. She isn’t sure why she wants it. She feels all of the guilt and insecurity, with nothing to moor her to her old roles. She isn’t saying “no” to anyone else. She’s saying “no” to herself. This time, she’s in control.
-“Pauline, you can go home now, you’re fired.”
-“You really are bored.”
-“I don’t know what I’m doing with my life, Mom. Just working seems pointless.”
-“I don’t know if I want to be a lawyer anymore.”
-“We like each other.” “You don’t like anyone, David.”
-“Do you believe him?” “I did until he said ‘I don’t want pity.’”
-“I should have told her to go to hell.” “That’s when you know you’re a true politician. When you don’t.”
-“I’m like him, aren’t I? Stuck being the good one.”
-“Dad said, ‘there are people who make the mess, and people who clean up.’” “And you two are the cleaners.” “I don’t know what I am anymore.”
-“He wants to turn me into a hero.” “Yes, Eli’s good at that.” “That’s right, he already turned you into a saint.”
-“So is he dying or is he trying to screw me?” “He is dying. And he’s trying to screw you.”
-“Who am I being faithful to?”