'The Good Wife' recap: 'In Sickness,' in health, and enraged

No one can accuse The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King, who co-wrote this week’s episode, “In Sickness,” of withholding the goods: Alicia Florrick, acting upon the knowledge that her husband, Peter, had slept with her best friend, Kalinda, packed up his belongings, rented an apartment for him, handed him the keys, and chewed him out, all before the show’s opening credits.

It’s also a measure of how much story the series has to tell us, week-in and week-out, that this stuff — and you’d think a wife kicking her husband of the house would pretty much be the high point of any show called The Good Wife — wasn’t even the high point of the hour.

Certainly the wronged-good-wife scene was both inevitable and beautifully played out. Once again, Margulies’ frequently mask-like face invited us into her thoughts rather than keeping us out. She plays Alicia as a woman who’s in a constant state of wariness now, never knowing where the next blow is coming from. Yet this doesn’t come across as anxiety or fear, although of course Alicia is feeling some of those things, too. But mostly, this was a time for righteous anger and a flexing of new muscles — the sinewy strength she’s been developing this season as she becomes more confident of her place outside the home (becoming more central to Lockhart/Gardner) and of her role as the primary protector of her children’s, and her own, happiness.

We knew from last week, which ended with Alicia being clued in to one of her husband’s past indiscretions, that this was going to result in a quick reaction. It was also hastened by timing: In gaining this awful knowledge just as Peter’s election triumph had been achieved, Alicia had to get out in front of the story, so to speak. She felt she had to make her move before the weight of Peter’s new status — with its attendant pressure to present a united family front for public image — had fully taken hold.

But of course there was also the week’s legal case. Here we had  the most welcome return of Martha Plimpton’s chatty, mischievous shark Patti Nyholm. I love the performance Plimpton is giving over on Raising Hope, but I have to say, I could easily watch a series built around Patti (The Pregnant Wife?). This week, Patti’s deviousness took an initial twist and then a climactic turn that was immensely enjoyable. Her jousting with Will brought out the best in Josh Charles: He doesn’t get to show us Will’s playful side very often these days, and the notion of making Will so amused and appreciative of Patti’s wiliness is a good one.

Then too, it was satisfying to see John Glover, freed from the long locks he sports on Smallville, playing a different, more demure sort of weasel. As always, the casting on The Good Wife brings us familiar faces stretched into new expressiveness.

The hour did well by its regulars as well. The scene in which Alicia discussed the separation with her children gave Makenzie Vega’s Grace and Graham Phillips’ Zach opportunities to react with subtle anguish, and Mary Beth Pell was superb in conveying that mixture of dismay, fear, anger, and protectiveness that Jackie by now feels not merely for her son but for her grandchildren and, although she would never admit it, Alicia as well. And am I the only viewer who naively thought that Cary’s return to Lockhart/Gardner was a slam-dunk? Things are being set up nicely for Matt Czuchry to use his malevolent murmur for more future guile.

The final acting and writing prizes, however, go to Chris Noth and his reactions to Alicia’s confrontation. The series admirably refuses to back away from the initial profile of Peter as a serial adulterer who lies with the ease of a lawyer. One way that expressed itself this week was the way Peter tried to twist Alicia’s accusation into a counter-attack, suggesting that this was all really about Alicia and Will. A man like Peter doesn’t understand the full sense of betrayal that a woman would feel when she’s been two-timed not only by her husband, but by the close friend as well. The whole Alicia-Kalinda dynamic is alien to him. Thus, in a moment of panic (and Noth’s wide eyes when he was handed the keys to his new apartment displayed a fear of abandonment), he grabbed onto something that might occur to a guy: I may have screwed around, he was thinking, but she wants to do the same thing! Alas, poor Peter, he knows his wife not well enough, even now…

Despite the way CBS promoted this episode, we didn’t get the Alicia-Kalinda showdown glimpsed in the promo. Two more episodes to go this season. I feel as though The Good Wife, more than any network drama this side of Fringe, is capable of giving us a season-ender that will set the show spinning off in new directions. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll relish this week’s episode and wait patiently for the final two.

Twitter: @kentucker

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  • DW

    A great episode. Juliana Margulies should win the EMMY for sure. I too thought Cary was on the way back to L-G. It is really interesting how they work all these twists into the story. Now it looks like Cary will stay at the SAs office without knowing anything about the Florrick break-up. And I don’t blame Cary for not going back to L-G as a 2nd year employee. How many insults can L-G throw at this guy? Good for you Cary. Every cast member was in top form again tonite. This is a truly great TV show.

    • Flyer

      I hardly considered the 2nd-year title to be an insult – Cary WOULD be a 2nd-year employee at L-G. And as they pointed out, it’s just a title – they weren’t denying him any of the perks (including salary) of a 3rd year, as befitting his EXPERIENCE. It was a small sacrifice to make if Cary really wanted the job at L-G. If he had to pound the pavement for a job at another law firm, he’d no doubt start there as a 1st year. Cary’s issue was entirely wrapped around the fact that his ego couldn’t handle being a 2nd year and having Alicia be a 3rd year.

      • DW

        Cary does have a huge ego…as do most of the characters on TGW. The fact remains that he lost his job for politics..not performance..and he has gotten far more legal experience at the SAs office the past year than he would have at L-G. Considering the history and experience he should have been offered the 3rd year job. Coming back a whole year behind is insulting and he was right to decline.

      • thinker

        Absolutely spot on. Couldn’t have said it better. This guy’s arrogance really bothers me. Why on earth should Alicia figure into anything he does? He is an insecure little dweeb who cant handle that a smart, connected Woman won the job instead of him.

      • thinker

        Absolutely spot on. Couldn’t have said it better. This guy’s arrogance really bothers me. Why on earth should Alicia figure into anything he does? He is an insecure little dweeb who cant handle that a smart, connected Woman won the job instead of him.

      • SisterZip

        Cary’s ego couldn’t handle the fact that Alicia is a better lawyer than he is. He thought his machinations would earn him the associate spot and he was crushed when it didn’t.

      • HurleyBurley

        I thought it was mostly a pretty good episode. But did anyone notice that they implied that Alicia and the woman who needs a liver transplant were having an affair? I thought that was kind of over the top and distracted from the character. Plus, the suggestion that Alicia swings both ways seemed out of the blue.

        Maybe they are trying to imply THAT’S the real reason she’s upset with Kalinda?

      • DW

        Yes, I forgot about that! I cannot believe they are changing Alicia’s character to be gay or bi- now. So ridiculous. But that is clearly where they are going with this plot.

        That in-the-bed scene with Alica and Kalinda now starts to make more sense. They had a few drinks during that scene, too.

        But to be honest, this seems like lazy plotting, maybe to ensure a renewal.

      • megan

        Huh? I saw NO HINTs at a relationship between Alicia and that Majorie woman. I just saw Alicia as being supportive and compassionate.

      • DW

        Watch again. And pay careful attention to both Alicia’s hands and eyes. No, it was very very clear.

      • Emma

        Ausiello has suggested that the relationship between Alicia and that brassy blonde woman layer who has her own firm and who asked Alicia to join her firm a number of episodes ago is going to heat up in (his quote) “several ways, some unexpected.” So maybe that’s what they’re setting up. Now that Alicia has been betrayed by both her husband and her BFF Kalinda, maybe she’s going to find safe harbor in an out lesbian relationship?

      • Diana

        If Cary had spent his previous 2 years at another firm and transferred to L-G, he would be considered a 3rd year. I thought this bit about his coming back as a 2nd year was unrealistic. Realistically, a firm would have treated him as a 3rd year. It is not as if he took a year off to backpack in Europe. But of course this is not real, just a show, and one of my favorite shows at that!

      • DW

        Well, according to an interview with one of the producers today, Alicia’s sexuality is supposed to be “ambiguous” at this point. His exact quote: “I think the viewer could read that scene [with the woman who needed a liver transplant] in multiple ways, just as the scene with Alicia and Kalinda [earlier in the season] in bed might have been innocent, or might have been more. I can’t say much more without giving away things I don’t want to give away.”

      • Mikey

        Regarding Alicia and her client: I think some of you are confusing her comforting of a woman on her deathbed and sexual attraction between the two. She was offering friendly support. Most straight woman interact with other straight woman through touching and it’s not considered remotely sexual. Even with her and Kalinda on her bed seemed more like two high school or college friends talking about their own lives..Nothing sexual there either.
        Now, if in fact the writers are setting up a future relationship with another woman, I doubt that they’re going to do it with only three episodes left in the season especially with Will still in the picture as an object of desire for Alicia. It’s something they will probably going to start early next season when they don’t have to quickly wrap up a lot of the previous storylines of the past year.

      • Mikey

        In her interview yesterday, Julianna Margulies had this to say: “I have always seen my character [Alicia] as something of an Elanor Roosevelt. You know: Devoted matron to the crown and whatever, but perhaps stimied by circumstance from her true personal calling. I think what you are seeing in this season is a chance, an out, where she’s going to be able to become the person she has always felt unable to be. I think we are going to ruffle some feathers, you know, because of this. But then again, I don’t think we are on the DVR at the Vatican, so we will probably slip by. I just hope the viewers stay on the journey with us, and with me.”

      • MB

        I don’t disagree with Cary. Second-year in name only—except that everyone at the firm knows it, too. I would think his experience at the SA’s office would count; he’s not fresh from law school.

    • fallingskiesitalia

      I agree that L&G offer was an insult. And yes,everyone has a huge ego in this show and everyone is quite smart to refuse an offer which isn’t “fair”. And before someone is going to say that he asked about Alicia and so it’s alla about Alicia, yes, it’s all about Alicia, because the first time he was fired “because of her” so I suppose he’s entitled to be sure it’s not going to happening anymore. Last scene with Perer was great.

    • K

      I think Cary thought he was being shortchanged after Diane’s initial offer a couple episodes ago when she was going to start her own firm. He would have been on a faster partnership track plus more money than Alicia. Overall, it was his ego then as it was in last night’s episode.

      • DW

        Cary like all the characters here is very realistically written. I’ve seen what happened to Cary at L-G happen at my work. His reactions are exactly right, especially for someone with such a monster ego. It would have been great to see him back at L-G but this new twist will surely open many more storylines that also will involve the Alicia/Peter/Will aspect. Very interesting turn of events.

    • tina

      Excellent show! And the fact that it now receives a weekly recap on EW and a growing comments sections just shows that people have become addicted to it. Now if the ratings could just reflect that. :(

    • fg

      The look on Peter’s face when Cary said the one thing that would catch Peter’s attention as he sat there stewing about Alicia was priceless.

    • Jeff

      If Juliana Margulies does not win the emmy. Something is seriously wrong.

    • DW

      btw I am the DW of the first 2 posts and this one…NOT the ones in between….I’ve rewatched the scene several times and am even more convinced…Cary was right not to go back to an L-G where they are putting the person who cheated him out of his job ahead of him. His ego was secondary. Good for Cary!

      • MB

        Cary was not “cheated” out of his job. Cary was maneuvering to out-position Alicia, and Eli Gold’s business trumped him. Cary did not have the connections that made Alicia more valuable to L-G.

  • Ingmar

    Just awesome! Seen by the promo for next week the Alicia / Kalinda show down will happen then!

    • Brad

      No. You misread that. Alicia doesn’t even want to see her. She told her to leave or she would scream up the top of her lungs. Kalinda left in the elevator devastated. It happens on the last episode of the season.

      • Ingmar

        that’s what I ment, lol.

    • Jen

      I’ve frankly been just fine without seeing much of Kalinda lately … show is zingier without her mumbling.

  • Dessa

    The images going thru my head are Peter saying he was in love with his wife again, to Peter accusing Alicia of having an affair with Will … to the last scene, Peter talking with Cary. I’d started liking Peter and now uh I kinda want to destroy the SOB.

    • Meli

      Which just goes to prove why Chris Noth is probably the most underrated actor on TV. He has consistently been able to do that to viewers over the course of FOUR TV series (L&O, L&O: CI, Sex & the City, and now).

  • DB

    there was no Good Wife last week, we learned the revelation 3 weeks ago. in fact, CBS decided to air rerun of The Mentalist for last couple weeks. I’m worry for the show’s low rating, it’s easily the BEST drama on CBS, yet they promote it like a flashy soap and without a good lead in (well, since they don’t have any other female-driven drama on its lineup…how pathetic that all CBS do is testosterone-driven workaholic crime procedural that frequently portray women as victims of some sick crimes). ugh, ok, my rant over. obviously, another stellar episode, this show and Fringe are probably the most rewarding drama on TV in terms of how they tell their stories, simply amazing. I was giddy w/ joy for the return of Martha Plimpton (funny I just saw her earlier on Raising Hope). it was so funny for her character to use the baby trick so effectively again, genius.

    • Dessa

      Okay @DB can you explain for my poor confused brain exactly WHAT Martha Plimpton did? Please?

      • RB

        Basically, she “was fired” by her firm, and hired LG to pursue a lawsuit against her “former” employers who were not only defending the hospital in the suit the episode focused on, but were defending the hospital in a much larger class action suit. While working with LG on her supposed lawsuit against her “former employers” she let certain information drop that helped with their smaller case but that they will not be able to use in their large class action suit because it would clearly be voiolating attorney/client privelege. So, at the end of the episode, she was conveniently rehired by her old company meaning they have lost the ability to use some of the key elements of their case in the class action suit.

    • Orac

      I think you’re wrong about the ratings and the lead in. And no need to worry, the show has already been renewed for another season.

  • Sina

    The best scene was when Alicia was talking to her kids about the separation and Grace said you have to do a better job protecting us and Alicia just start crying. That scene really affected me. I hate when networks promote something that doesn’t happen. That pissed me off when I didn’t get the Alicia/Kalinda showdown. Peter is a cheater, a serial cheater. Like any cheater, they try to deflect the blame on the victim. Yeah Peter said he would happily take the blame but that is a lie since he was quick to say she had something with Will and she’s only doing this because she wanted Will. He was acting like a bastard. I wanted Alicia to slap Jackie’s dentures out of her mouth. The case was fun and interesting to watch but I was more interested in Alicia’s troubles.

    • ABigFan

      thanks sina about yr comments about peter. I think alicia has for a long time put aside having to come to grips that this man, father of her children, her husband will lie to anyone to get whatever he wants. And love the way it became a pissing contest for him by bringing up that it must be because alicia is sleeping with will that is the reason she made her decision – again its someone else’s fault he is in this position, nothing he has to do with it…what a completely self centred grrr unmentionable. The kids are lucky they have one honorable parent. Staying on my high horse for now:) He should go back and live with his mom since she probably contributed to his egocentric poisonality!

    • Ingmar

      The promo of 2×21 didn’t even include an Alicia / Kalinda moment so…..

    • Marsha

      Grace was absolutely right> Alicia does need to protect them better. I don’t buy that she would just throw Peter out without telling the children what was happening until the next day, or was it a few days later? She is supposedly all about her children, but doesn’t tell them until later?

      • Marie

        If everyone has been watching from the start she has been doing alot of lieing to the kids especially the one about the wisperewd cell call where she told them about they thought they were attracted to each other in college (*BULL) It is now not college.

      • A Mother

        As a mother she should tell her children the whole truth I mean the whole truth, including the part where she messed around with her boss. Then lets see where the GOOD WIFE stands no doubt it won’t be pretty.

        Then have them talk to Peter about the same thing, they already know about 2 yrs ago now lets hear his side of whats going on with Willy.

  • Dan

    CBS obviously saw that the Good Wife wasn’t performing very well in reruns right before sweeps so they decided to preempt TGW and do so ‘creative scheduling’. Who knows, if we’re getting a renewal next year, maybe this was a test to see how well the Mentalist would perform on Tuesday night? TGW only had three eps to roll out anyway and they saved the best for last anyway… so I’m not complaining. :)

  • dawson’s creek

    *mary beth peil…?

  • mama

    I am really pleased it seems you are not reviewing the Voice this week and sticking to what you are better at. It’s obvious your snobby attitude fits better with dramas.

  • Jeannie

    Great episode and great recap as always Ken! The first few minutes of the new ep has helped me forgive CBS for the 3-week wait. I’m not sure where things were going and was pleased to finally see Alicia dig in her heels. I’m just worried about how her jilted husband is going to exact his revenge on her when we see the closing scene!

    As for the previews for next time … so heartbreaking. I can’t believe there’s only two more eps left … ugh! Will Kalinda and Alica patch things up? Will the family be able to maintain their facade for the sake of their sanity? Will Peter and Alicia divorce?

    • Orac

      Peter just wants to find out from Cary if Alicia has something going with Will. It’s nothing more than that…yet.

      • Dessa

        @Orac, but if that’s all Peter wanted to know he could talk directly to Kalinda. Peter is out for blood, imho.

      • Marsha

        There will be something going on very soon. Too bad for Alicia, Will is a snake.

  • nikki

    Alicia must be really bad in bed. If I were Peter I would also rather sleep with Kalinda. I hope Cary and Peter bring Alicia down!

    • Emma

      Such a great show!!! This episode was epic! Every second of the Alicia stuff was fantastic! The writing On this show is brilliant. It was nice to see the Eli Alicia relationship developing. I like how they are truly becoming friends. It was interesting to see Eli not being Cynical or a joker. The scene w the kids was heartbreaking. I love Alicia’s new strength.

      • Orac

        Agreed. When the dying patient said Alicia was really fighting for her in a way that she hadn’t been before, you knew for certain that there was no turning back for her. I’m really looking forward to seeing where they go next.

    • cf

      We still don’t know the whole Peter/Kalinda story. I’m sure the writers have an interesting twist planned for that.

      • Marie

        I think the whole slept with is a cover for something else more serious about Lea, Peter helped her out of a major crime and let her go to cover this up. There was no one night stand.

  • Flyer

    It was a fun blast-from-the-past to see the judge tonight. I don’t know the actress’ name, but she also played a judge in many great episodes of “Law & Order.”

    • Jackie

      Thank you! I kept saying to myself, “I swear I have seen that judge on ‘Law & Order’ before”, but I wasn’t 100% sure it was her.

    • Mark

      I rememebered her from Law and Order too, but I have to admit – I thought she got a little TOO sappy in the presence of the baby. I just thought a judge would be a little more professional in a business setting.

      • AltDave

        You must not know too many grandmas in that age group, her behavior was utterly typical. And many judges studiously avoid serious, pompous demeanor and try to keep the proceedings on a lighter note. especially in a mediation setting.

    • Katrinka

      I also recognized her right away & had to look her up. Her name is Joanna Merlin & she’s been on several episodes of “Law & Order,” but I remember her more as a judge who appears frequently on “Law & Order: SVU.”

    • IMJatika

      Everybody has been on some version of L&O! Martha Plimpton, at least three of the judges, the investigator that told Alicia about Peter and Kalina, even Christine B was on an episode from the early 90s. I love the Good Wife!

      • happycat

        John Glover and Martha Plimpton were on Law & Order: Criminal Intent together (as a father and daughter) and were pretty amazing in their storyline with Bobby Goren.

      • Jen

        The new blond lawyer who replaced Patti (Ken Cosgrove from Mad Men!) has also been on L&O.

      • Karen

        Julianna Margulies has also been a guest star on L&O. In the third season she played a military woman. Chris Noth was on the show then as well.

  • Jason

    Oustanding episode, show is very consistent. Can’t wait for the Finale, hoping for Alicia & Will to finally do the damn thing..

    • Orac

      Not going to happen. Not only is Will involved, but Alicia has to have trust issues given what happened with Peter and Kalinda. A man has to be the last thing on her mind right now.

      • fg

        Also she is obviously very concerned that she take the high road for her children’s sake.

  • pamela richards

    I always enjoy The Good Wife, but the way in which the show treats time can be a problem. Alicia left the hotel, got to her apartment, packed up Peter (apparently she had the boxes readily available), made at least two phone calls, waited while the boxes were loaded into a moving van, drove to the new apartment and had the boxes moved in all while Peter learned he had won and made his acceptance speech. Wow! It took me a long time to get over the silliness of the show’s opening.

    • Lyn

      You’re right, Pamela — ALSO included contacting real estate agent who’d been pushing properties in the suburbs and getting HER on the scene with all the paperwork in hand. Ridiculous!

    • megan

      Actually, it took Alicia the majority of the night to complete those tasks. When she returned to her apartment, she looked at the clock, and I believe it read 5 or 6:30 in the morning. You figure she probably started packing Peter up around 11:00, so it did take her a good 6.5 or 7 hours

    • Elle

      she did not sleep that night. It was 5:30 in the morning when she started blaring music and getting ready for work. Plus they made references to the movers coming out late and the real estate agent working 24 hours. I can imaging packing in a few hours in the heat of the moment. It seems very believable to me

      • nicnic

        Plus, the dude hasn’t been out of prison all that long. He moved into her furnished apartment. I’m sure it was mostly clothes and some personal things, maybe electronics. But the furnishings in her apartment weren’t Peter’s.

    • Karen

      I completely agree on the time factor. Also, the 24 hour real estate broker and lease thing was so far fetched.

      • Curl2Win

        I work in the Southern California real estate market and stuff like this is commonly done for high profile clients–particularly if they’ve made it clear they’re in a hurry and ready to spend $$$.

      • Anika

        Dear Emma,Thank you for your recommendations! I feel so happy knwoing you enjoyed my book. Perhaps you will like my other two books GLIMPSE and MILES FROM ORDINARY.

    • Chris

      And she apparently got a cable hook-up in the middle of the night too….

      • Curl2Win

        Moving vans, cable hookups–both very simple things to arrange outside of “normal” business hours.

      • Rock Golf

        The apartment came fully furnished. Chances are the cable never got cut off.

    • lilliput

      You are forgetting that in just run episodes Alicia was house hunting. She had ready access to agent w apts and would have boxes ready for packing. In her melieu, all it would take is call to agent, mover. Also, she was off work for election day, easy peasy.

    • lilliput

      You need to pay close attention when watching this drama or will miss details that matter. Not for casual watching if you want to understand it.

    • SG

      I would have kept the boxes, too. When he moved back in it was in no way certain that it would last. I also see nothing silly about it. She wanted him gone so the new strong Alicia got him out. I heard Alan Cumming signed on to do three more years – is that true? Fab!

      • Jorge Eduardo

        Sorry in my last comment I meant the clock was showing 5:30 A.M.

    • Jorge Eduardo

      I think Alicia did all that stuff, all the time that Peter was celebrating his triumph. When she finally gets at the familia apartment, the clock shows that it’s 5:30 PM. It means that she worked in her plans all through the night, which is realistic. What may not be so realistic is that she looked gorgeous after a non-sleeping night

  • MWeyer

    If I were Marguiles, I’d make sure this is the episode to send to the Emmy committee.

    • Sherry

      Yes! I said the exact same thing. Her face says a million things without her having to speak. She is really getting the opportunity to show her brilliant acting ability on this show. Loved her since ER, but this is incredible work she’s doing!!

  • Stuart

    Amazing episode but does anyone know the music played at the end with Carey and Peter? Was perfect.

    • alyour

      its called mr hurricane by beast. I love that song… Isnt it interesting how sparingly TGW uses licensed music but then songs like this and that one by the new pornographers pop up and they. are. awesome

      • Stuart

        Thanks a lot for that! what was the name of the new pornographers song?

      • C

        does anyone know the song Alicia was listening to in the beginning?

    • Albert

      The ending was great, the song was by Beast called Mr. Hurricane.

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