Monday, 7 October 2013

Something Bad Is Happening; on The Good Wife’s “The Bit Bucket”


As much as last week’s season opener for The Good Wife pointed ahead at the rocky roads to come “Everything is Ending” was more concerned with setting the pace for the season with the headiness and haste which comes with having too much on your plate. The second episode is not definitively less filled with underhand dealings and plotty plots, but it’s less electric. Things are congealing, in form and content. After last week’s opener anything after might feel like a less than, and “The Bit Bucket” lacks for some of efficiency but even as it ambles along with less alacrity it achieves its goal of extending the tension.

The case of the week sees the return of the Neil Gross of fake Chicago’s google surrogate CHUMHUM. The case itself, I’m certain rooted in fact for all its twists and turns, is almost ungainly in just how convoluted and confusing it is for the parties involved. The short of it – Gross has a gag-order placed on him courtesy of NSA, where the true crux of the episode’s main arc lies. The NSA is listening. The Good Wife luxuriates in these chances to stay immediately relevant by using current affairs in their episodes and the foreboding reminder that the NSA is listening, legally extending their parameters, to various facets of their lives is undoubtedly sign of a larger recurring arc to be built. It’s as emphatic a sign as any that trouble lies ahead. The danger in “The Bit Bucket”, though, is that for all the legalese and technical manoeuvrings that Alicia and company go through this main arc of the NSA’s actions and their lawyers pales against other indications of that similar sign of bad things coming…

Most ominous is the case of Diane’s judgeship. A storyline that I’m curious to see play out as seemingly requires Baranski leaving the show or having a significantly different role. Diane’s ascendance to the Judge’s seat hinges on her denouncement of Will’s trouble with disbarment and his thorny past, including Lemond Bishop. It’s a move that adds tension but one which makes me wince just slightly. The situation depends too much on happenstance, the chief justice’s antipathy towards Will seems exaggerated and the episode’s cliff-hanger necessitating that Diane NOT throw will under the bus happening just as the deed has been done feels just slightly on the nose. I’m willing to forgive the rocky journey if the denouement pays off because Will vs Diane does present a chance for interesting dynamics and the show has always excelled at pitting allies against each other without going the easy route and making either of them emphatically wrong.

Other signs of trouble looming comes from the firm’s resident jungle (see below) cat David Lee who seems poised to be the one to find out about Florrick/Agos. With the new firm already in financial trouble and Veronica lending them money the road away from Lockhart / Gardner feels as stressful as the one towards it. David’s machinations with Alicia’s mother are the right mix of awkward and entrancing and Veronica’s bequeathal of the money to Alicia becomes not just a random aside when we remember that as her lawyer David has access to her financial statements.

Next week on The Good Wife the fall-out from Diane’s apparent betrayal of Will (and implicitly, the firm) occurs dragging out the tension of things really hitting the fan when the Florrick/Agos news surfaces for another few more weeks. Incidentally, episode five is titled “Hitting the Fan”.


Further Notes
  • “You're a carnivore. You're a jungle cat.” Veronica tells David Lee, making Grenier and Channing a bizarre couple that I feel compelled to root for.
  • Less pleasant signs, the use of Kalinda continues to be scant and potentially worrisome. Potentially.
  • Great kudos for typical excellence in continuity with a recurring character mentioned or shown behind every door. (Welcome back, Becca, you minx.)
  • The Good Wife never feels like it’s padding to get to 22 episodes per year, but as good an episode as this is I worry about filler moments so early in the season.

Episode Grade: B

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