In this week's slow-but-steady episode of The Good Wife, we see Alicia and Cary realizing that no matter their intentions, it's easy to be painted as a guilty figure.
"Red Zone" was entirely about public opinion, and what it means to gain and lose the respect of your peers.
For Alicia, the trouble starts early in the episode when she finally faces backlash against the "Saint Alicia" image. She doesn't handle it exceptionally well. When a focus group member vocalizes her disinterest in Alicia, the image haunts Alicia throughout the episode.
Alicia has always acted as if she is uninterested in public opinion, but we've always suspected that it meant slightly more to her. Now it has been confirmed.
Later, Alicia is confronted with a public relations nightmare in which our hero continued to prove that she's yet not a political figure. Basically, a political photo op turns into a disaster after Alicia is caught balancing a do-good moment with a call on her cell phone.
We get that Alicia isn't politically savvy, but this episode hammers it in. At one point, Eli tells her, "Stop acting like this is about you becoming a better person. It’s about you appearing like you’re a better person."
Meanwhile, Louis Canning returns and he's using his deteriorating health to court judge sympathy as he faces off against Alicia on a campus rape case. "I've missed you, Alicia," Canning remarks at one point in the episode. We've miss you in the courtroom, Louis. As fun as it was to watch him scheme against Diane, this is Canning at his most morally ambiguous.
The meat of the episode however, happens in the Cary storyline. Though this season's most solid romance has been between Cary and Kalinda, "Red Zone" does significant work in undermining the relationship. We have seen proof in previous episodes that Kalinda is still prepared to bandy her sexuality in exchange for legal information. When Cary catches her at it this week, he says he's had enough. Kalinda's inability to remain monogamous has pushed Cary over the edge, and he tells Kalinda to "go to hell."
Kalinda is fighting her own battles, too. Lemond Bishop asks her to plant something on her FBI lover, and Kalinda fails to do so. The consequences of this are sure to come back. The fact that Archie Panjabi is leaving hangs over this season, and the tension increases when she's around the shadowy figure of Bishop.
Appearances are everything, as Alicia's political campaign has proved. This is echoed in Cary's case, where we see him falling apart in pre-trial. It's easy to make a case against the hotshot Chicago lawyer who gave up a low-paying job at the Chicago State's Attorney's office to work for a drug kingpin and open his own firm — or so Cary's prosecutor's would like you to believe. His practice prosecutor Viola Walsh tells Diane that if she were on the jury in Cary's case, he would be going away for 15 years.
By the end of the episode, Cary appears to be pulling it together. We'll see if that lasts to his actual trial.
"Red Zone" helped to set up the plots of Alicia and Cary for later episodes in the season, but did sometimes feel like a filler episode. What did you think? Let us know in the comments.
Tags: ENTERTAINMENT, RECAPS, TELEVISION, THE GOOD WIFE