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The Good Wife, Ep. 6.15: “Open Source” sees the return of long-absent faces

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The Good Wife, Season 6, Episode 15: “Open Source”
Written by Craig Turk
Directed by Rosemary Rodriguez
Airs Sundays at 9pm ET on CBS

Ah, the classic “ripped from the zeitgeist” case; it’s been a while since The Good Wife has taken on this old TV chestnut. (We should all still be in the “pretending the midseason finale never happened” phase right now.) This week, 3D-printed guns are the issue at hand, and that gives the series a handy excuse to bring back Gary Cole as Kurt McVeigh, crack forensic expert witness and seemingly barely-present husband of Diane Lockhart.

Actually, The Good Wife brings back a lot of series staples it hasn’t in a while – an honest-to-goodness legal case with an arc, a rival attorney with a distinct personal style (Mamie Gummer, always enjoyable as the faux-naif Nancy Crozier), the wacky judge with…a distinct personal style (Denis O’Hare’s Judge Abernathy, whose liberal values cause him to add a disruptive running commentary) – but none is more welcome than giving Diane Lockhart anything at all to do. Christine Baranski has been incredibly underserved this season, so even though the political divide between Diane and Kurt is somewhat old hat by now, it’s still a welcome development to see Diane get more than a token court appearance.

While the legal corner of the series is refreshingly old-school, if not deeply compelling, the whatever-Alicia’s-up-to half offers more of the same. The subplot featuring Louis Canning feels like it might be something new – Canning offers to liquidate his stocks and give the millions to the family of his organ donor – but that turns out to be a misdirect. (Despite this disappointing turn of events, the plot does give us by far the episode’s best scene: Alicia speaking warmly to a comatose Canning, explaining that her daughter is praying for him on Alicia’s behalf.)

The season’s least compelling throughline, the campaign, is finally, mercifully lurching to a close, with only three days left before voters head for the polls. This means we get one more Prady-and-Alicia heart-to-heart, one more turf war between Eli and Elfman, and a couple dozen more barbs courtesy of Marissa Gold. That last point needs emphasis: the seasons’s been dragging its heels so much in this back half that just by consistently showing up and being hilarious, Marissa is now officially the series’ best character. She may be a strict comic-relief functionary, but she’s an excellent comic-relief functionary.

The most worrisome aspect of “Open Source” is that the writers of The Good Wife desperately want us to care about the final seconds of the episode, in which Alicia and Elfman make out shortly after Elfman lets out an exasperated “whatever” and throws caution to the wind for once. “Whatever” is, incidentally, the correct viewer response to this development. Why on earth did Alicia switch gears from Finn to Elfman? Alicia and Finn decided that it was a bad idea to act on their chemistry to avoid a mess, given the awful timing – fine, but then to have Alicia go after Elfman instead, despite the fact that their connection is much more tenuous? The case could be made that it was the depth of connection with Finn, and his connection to Will’s death, that made their potential hookup more dangerous, but that case has yet to be made on the actual show, and the fact that Finn was arbitrarily offscreen for weeks (at least partially so Matthew Goode could film his Downton Abbey episodes) really did not help. More than the end of the campaign, this is the pressing Good Wife issue of our time. Your move, Kings.

Other thoughts:

Due to scheduling mishaps and personal error, I flubbed and forgot to publish a review for last week’s “Mind’s Eye,” which is a shame, because it was a much stronger episode than this one. The major takeaway from the current run of episodes is that the more the show sticks to Alicia’s inner life, the stronger it is. The fact that the series’ wider universe is yielding fewer and fewer strong storylines, however, is worrisome.

As Eli bloviates about something or other, Marissa asks if she can get a tramp stamp. Also, she accuses Elfman of being a handsome coward. Remember how I said she’s the best character now?

Judge Abernathy just wants to know if we all just find this whole 3D-printed gun thing unsettling? O’Hare gets one note this week, which is about right for the show’s recent M.O.

I guess we’re now done with Cary as a character this season, now that he’s not in danger of being imprisoned? Remember that guy?


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