The Good Wife Review: “Iowa”

(Episode 7.11)

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<i>The Good Wife</i> Review: &#8220;Iowa&#8221;

Happiness, as we all know, can be elusive.

And Monday morning quarterbacking your life is easy to do.

Alicia, reeling from Eli’s confession that he deleted Will’s voice mail at the end of Season One, arrives on the Iowa campaign bus looking like a cross between Jackie Onassis and a hungover Peggy Olson (when she strutted into McCann Erickson).

She’s wearing giant dark sunglasses and ignoring everyone—even her own children. (There’s a reason this show isn’t called The Good Mother).

Alicia wants to change the past, but not just the missed voice mail. She tells Ruth she wants to go back to Georgetown and say “yes” to Will. “There was a young man in love with me,” she tells her. Ruth thinks no matter what road you go down you will still end up in basically the same place. We are who we are. Ruth’s sentiments echo the song Alicia listens to throughout the entire episode—“No One is More Happy Than You” by Clem Snide. And Alicia is certainly conveniently forgetting that she and Will did get together post that voice mail, and it didn’t work out.

I love that years later Alicia’s grief over Will’s death is still palpable. So often on TV shows characters move on way too quickly and that’s not how real life works. Peter, oblivious as ever, only notices something is up with his wife when an argument she had with Eli about Iowa being a nightmare leaks on line.

Ruth, Eli and Josh disagree about how to tackle the Iowa caucus. Ruth wants to do the political stunt known as the “Full Grassley,” and visit all 99 counties in the state. Eli and Josh think this is an old-school approach that won’t work in today’s social media world. Peter asks Alicia’s opinion and Alicia, wanting to oppose all things Eli, advises to do what Ruth wants.

While Alicia’s away, Lucca is representing Peter’s mom in her pre-nuptial agreement with Howard. (Because Lucca is apparently an excellent criminal lawyer and an excellent family lawyer). Jason discovers that Howard has hidden 2.2 million in a shell corporation. Except Howard hasn’t. David Lee did this to keep the money from Alicia when she left the firm. “I committed selective depositing,” David tells Diane and Cary. How long until Alicia finds out about this?

Jackie is worried that Howard is going senile and is so relieved to learn the truth, that she tells Howard they don’t need a pre-nup agreement at all.

Diane and Cary are facing an investigation about their discriminatory hiring practices. Monica filed a complaint against the firm which she withdrew after they hired her. But it was too late and the investigation is underway. Diane tells Cary he has to apologize to the investigator but instead Cary tells her that the racism had started with one of their oldest partners, Howard Lyman, and that he will be taking emeritus status. Cary got what he’s wanted all season. But what I really want is for Cary and Diane to be back in better story lines.

Despite going the Full Grassley, Peter comes in fourth in Iowa, effectively ending his Presidential campaign. He will not be “changing our nation together.” (And let’s be honest, if he couldn’t even stomach a day of loose meat sandwiches, he probably isn’t up for a run for President). Eli tells Ruth that she missed the biggest thing about Peter’s campaign. It’s not Peter who is known and beloved nationally, it’s Alicia. Does this confirm my theory that Eli’s master plan for revenge is having Alicia become a candidate? Will Alicia, who certainly didn’t care that much about Peter’s campaign to begin with, and is still furious with Eli, want to run? I’m definitely intrigued.

Stray Observations:

I had to use the above photo because Zach is back, and barely had anything to do and nobody seemed that excited about his return. I’m glad you’re back Zach!

I loved that Alicia separated her plates before she threw them at Eli. She’s furious but she’s not going to ruin her really good china.

It was a nice touch that every stop in Iowa was the same street with just different signage. It really emphasized the monotony of being on the campaign trail. Just like the superfan emphasized all the wackiness.

My guess is that a lot of people are downloading “No One is More Happy Than You” today.

Next Sunday’s episode is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m., an hour later than usual. The episode also features the return of Matthew Lillard as Rowby Canton. Here’s hoping we’re treated to another awesome music video, which makes me happy every time I watch it.

Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.