On last night’s The Good Wife we learned that 1.) money really can buy you [just about] anything, and 2.) sometimes, the only way to properly celebrate a life-changing event is to make out with the first hottie you see. “Hail Mary” was the perfect introduction back to my favorite network drama—a strong, spinning plot, some great guest appearances, and, yes, That Kiss, made last night’s installment one more reason everyone in the universe should be tuning in to this show.
Let’s discuss the prison consultant, Domenick Lombardozzi of The Wire. I’ve seen others critique this storyline, but I was absolutely enamored with him. Who knew that you could pay a guy $5,000 (cash only, I assume) to mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare you for incarceration? Money can buy you anything (pretty much). Right off the bat he warns Cary that there’s “no such thing as a post-racial lockup,” so Cary is tasked with finding a white friend on the inside, immediately. Kalinda’s on the case, and heads straight to Bishop’s house. This is… sort of terrifying. As Bishop reminds her, the last time they hung out, Kalinda basically—carefully—threatened him, and his son’s well-being. That she dare show up at his house and ask for another favor on Cary’s behalf proves that she is as dauntless as we’ve always known her to be. And it also proves that she loves Cary dearly. In fact, much of this episode is driven by Kalinda’s bold (and criminal) moves, in attempt to keep Cary safe.
Once Kalinda gets on the phone with Cary’s potential white friend, she learns that the prosecutors have, essentially, framed Cary. He’s copped a plea to charges involving drug importation, when really the crime was that of drug exportation—the deal had already been done and the drugs were already in Canada when Cary was on tape, committing his alleged crime. Suddenly, we’re feeling all the feels with Kalinda, as we realize that Cary could very possibly be freed.
I think my favorite character in “Hail Mary” had to be Judge Cuesta (David Paymer). One thing the audience has learned after six seasons of The Good Wife is that, in many ways, these big cases just come down to the judge. Last year we saw Cuesta making decisions on the bench that were very much informed by the particularities of his day; running late, having trouble buying tickets—these were all things that effected his temperament in court, and Cary’s life, as a result. Similarly, in “Hail Mary,” Diane makes it clear that Cuesta’s feelings are everything, so Alicia cannot come into the courtroom at so crucial a point. And a good thing too, because poor Eli can’t get Alicia to focus on her upcoming debate at all. They bring in a faux Prady to work with her, and—really? Could there be anyone more perfect for this ridiculous role than Chris Elliott? It was all going well until he got the Mary Jane giggles and Eli’s daughter pointed out that he was clearly high. This was such a fun little scene, and if you didn’t giggle too, well, you’re missing out on the small joys in life.
Like Judge Cuesta, I have an affection for the dramatic, and this episode was so messy… maybe even to a fault. While everyone’s running around trying to find the Brady violation to save Cary (and Cary’s learning about how to properly eat in prison, lest someone drop a shard of glass in his food), Alicia’s practice opponents play musical chairs. Mr. “It’s medical marijuana for my glaucoma” is out, and Finn steps in to help. Briefly. When Peter shows up and plays Prady, well… it’s amazing. Alicia destroys Prady/Peter when she confidently explains that she has come to restore the moral integrity lost in the State’s Attorney’s office… partly at the hands of her own husband. It’s such a blow to Peter (trying desperately—and failing—to stay in character and play Prady) that Eli shuts the whole thing down.
If you’re watching The Good Wife, chances are you’re a fan of Julianna Margulies’ Alicia Florrick. And if that’s the case, then you can’t help but harbor some resentment towards Chris Noth’s Peter. He’s hurt her again, and again. And while Alicia’s no angel, in many ways we do see her as the good wife—she works hard, she puts her family first, and even when she’s fuming mad (or in love with someone else), she maintains a certain commitment to her husband. So when she strikes back at Peter in these small (but severe) ways, it just feels so good! This scene was also thrilling because it wasn’t clear if Alicia fully intended to cut Peter like this. But she was partly propelled by his refusal to help Cary, and that anger became the fire she needed to “win.” She’ll need more of that fire in the real debate with Prady.
Now some of this messiness in the plot may have taken a negative toll on the episode. Things didn’t flow together seamlessly, but we can forgive that, given the circumstances. Peter sends one of his guys to help stall the judge, giving Diane enough time to get the Brady violation… only not quite. Even as we celebrated Cary getting off (and, oh yes, this critic got a little watery-eyed when Judge Cuesta apologized eloquently and sincerely), we freaked the freak out right along with Kalinda. Diane found the falsified evidence on Kalinda’s computer. After learning from a pro, Kalinda had almost gone through with hacking the detective’s e-mail and making it look like he’d read the message from the Canadian officer. But at the last minute, hail mary come with me, another associate discovered an actual falsification on the prosector’s end, in the interrogation transcripts. If only Diane had waited! But they were already late! Aghhh!
It was madness—and maddening because now Cary might have to come and make sweet love down by the fire to Kalinda, if she gets caught, convicted, and hires Lombardozzi for her own pre-prison consultations… which she should.
By the end of the episode, everyone was celebrating, but we know the drama is just beginning. Alicia has her moment to end all moments in the parking garage, and kisses the bejeezus out of Elfman. First off, she is SO good at complicating interoffice relations. And second, this was a good not-too-twisty plot twist, since she just barely put her non-relationship thing with Finn behind her. I’m excited to see where this is all going.
Looks like Bishop called in that favor to Kalinda. This can’t be good, right?
So many excellent quotes from Lombardozzi’s character: “Trust the friend, not the girlfriend,” and his demands that Kalinda get to the hotel room, immediately: “This is a good kid, and he deserves a memory!”
Speaking of memories, I’m assuming pre-prison sex betwix Cary and Kalinda was so intense and outrageous, they couldn’t even air the scene… not that I was waiting to see it or anything.
“When did you become so crass?” When Eli said this to his daughter, (who’s a body woman, not a fluffer, BTW), I just about fell out.
“A deleted email is still gonna show up in the metadata. Metadata don’t lie.” I’m learning so much from this show, it’s scary.
Notice that “rock star” music playing during Alicia’s strut towards Elfman was the same music we heard when Kalinda strutted into Bishop’s house (after putting her handgun in the glove compartment). The women on this show are just my favorites.
“Objection! The defense is trying to manipulate your affection for the dramatic!”
Shannon M. Houston is Assistant TV Editor at Paste, and a New York-based freelance writer with probably more babies than you. You can follow her on Twitter.