The Good Wife: “Payback”

(Episode 7.05)

TV Reviews The Good Wife
The Good Wife: “Payback”

I don’t know guys. At this point Eli is like the boyfriend you broke up with who calls to just to say “hi,” and still sends a card to your mom on her birthday. The man just can’t let go.

Eli’s daughter Marissa (LOVE her) returns to stage an intervention, telling her dad that he needs to move on. “I love you. This is not healthy,” she says. Marissa is so right. I hate to say it but Eli, the great and powerful Eli, is bordering on pathetic. I mean, he’s eavesdropping on Peter and Ruth’s conversations through the office air vents. Yes, it was hilarious but also kind of sad. But the saddest scene comes when Eli goes to Peter and Ruth, offering to help with damage control when Peter’s remarks aren’t well received by the press and they don’t even notice that he’s there. Alan Cumming should win another Emmy just for his facial expressions.

Marissa gets her dad a new job offer and asks Alicia to fire him. Alicia does fire Eli somewhat unconvincingly. “We both need a fresh start,” she tells him. But it doesn’t stick. Eli is back at her apartment telling Alicia, “I’m staying on.” “Okay sounds good,” she replies. Because even though Alicia knows Eli is using her, she also knows her political life with Peter is much easier with Eli around.

Last week Alicia asked Lucca if she wanted to work with her, and this week they’re off and running, taking on a case that starts off as student debt collection harassment and ends up being a suit against a for-profit university. The show has a lot to say about the predatory practices of debt collectors and for-profit universities, once again bringing something that’s been in the news for awhile into the forefront.

While Alicia and Lucca are trying to figure out a way to make the university pay for providing a sub-par education, Jason goes about collecting their client’s money. He does this by any means necessary, we assume, since in one scene he’s going in with a tire iron and in the next he has the money. As we noticed last week, Jason seems to find all of this roguishly charming. But we’ve seen this kind of thing before from Jason O’Mara’s Damian Boyle and Scott Porter’s Blake Calamar. The last scene in the episode shows Alicia asking Jason what he drinks, so it looks like that little romance is starting up. Alicia does like the bad boys. Poor Finn never really had a chance.

Diane is trying to mediate the hostility between Cary and Howard when Howard brings up all the ways he’s teased about being old. People pour prune juice in his coffee and leave adult diapers on his desk. My first thought was that Howard left the diapers for himself. Cary comes to the same conclusion when the entire firm is subjected to a (hilarious) sensitivity training workshop that has them sticking cotton balls up their nose and walking with kernels of corn in their feet to know what it feels like to be 80.

Grace has gone from investigator to financial advisor. She wants her mom to start working on contingency and is worried about all the bills. Since when is Grace managing the household? And I still don’t know how Peter thinks he can run for President and not have everyone find out that he and Alicia haven’t lived together for years—and don’t share finances?

This episode mostly felt like more of the same. Eli conniving to no avail. Jason being roguishly charming. Alicia trying 15 different tactics to win her case. Diane looking fabulous. Howard and Cary as comic relief. We need some momentum to propel this season forward.

Other thoughts on this episode:

I love that Marissa asked for cereal. Remember how she was always trying to get Alicia to drink milk last season?
Great to have Christian Borle back as Carter Schmidt.
Does this mean that Alicia and Lucca are done with bond court?

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.

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