By Anamika Roy and David Oliver
WHAT AN EPISODE. Can we just take a minute to paint a picture here? We have a show on a network, in its sixth season, that produces 22 episodes a year, scrapped its entire format AND killed a central character last season and is still giving us gripping, Emmy-worthy episodes that are 42 minutes of pure joy to watch. This week’s episode was a testament to everything that is amazing about this show.
ANAMIKA: Steven Pasquale is the newest entry to the show this week as Mr. Elfman, Alicia’s new campaign manager and the show’s latest eye candy (now that we don’t like Finn very much). I knew Alicia would hire him the second the camera showed his face, I mean how could you NOT say yes to him? But Alicia doesn’t make it easy on him and that’s why he’s the perfect campaign manager.
I like that he’s more even-tempered than Eli but is still capable of doing what’s necessary to get the job done. He and Alicia will make a great team, especially because they’re both trying to earn each other’s approval I can’t wait to see him more on the show, and not just for the obvious reasons.
DAVID: Hellloooo, sexual tension. I like the idea of Elfman taking Alicia’s campaign – the two appear to be a smart professional match for each other. I’m curious to see if the show will take this relationship any further/propel Alicia into a second love triangle. I know this show has moved beyond that front, but to be honest, the boiler plate love triangle that started it all (with Will and Peter) turned out to be way more juicy and complicated than expected, so I’m all for round two.
ANAMIKA: Normally we wouldn’t give Zach his own section but he deserves one this week. Zach got his girlfriend pregnant and she had an abortion AND he never told his parents! Throughout the show, Zach has always been the smart, clever and responsible son. There was a rumor that Becca, his conniving ex-girlfriend, had an abortion during Peter’s State’s Attorney race but it was easily refuted. I think Zach is still a smart son who takes after his parents. The abortion can be interpreted in two ways: 1) Zach was a teenager that made a mistake 2) Zach is inheriting Peter’s habit of being secretive and lying. I prefer the former reason.
DAVID: It better be the former. This story was the one part of the episode that felt off to me. Despite Zach and Grace’s lying about the blackmail photos in season one, the two have been pretty open with their parents, not to mention the fact Alicia is a fantastic mom. So to have Zach lie to her for this long did not feel very organic. Alicia’s reaction was appropriate, but felt a little cold – I would’ve liked if she asked how Zach was doing instead of just saying she hopes he’s enjoying college sarcastically. I hope we get to explore this situation more.
ANAMIKA: Alan Cumming is killing it this season. I like this new Mr. Elfman character but I would love it if Eli would quit his job as Peter’s chief-of-staff and run Alicia’s campaign full-time. Eli and Alicia’s relationship has evolved so much, from Mr. Gold and the candidate’s wife, to friends, confidants and business partners. Alicia bringing out the cheese and fruit plates seemed oddly formal and was a reminder about how close she and Eli had become in the past six years.
I had forgotten that Eli didn’t know about Peter and Kalinda. I’m not sure how to feel about that reveal. On one hand, it felt like it was revealed too late but I’m curious to see if it comes out during the campaign.
I was never interested in Peter and the intern, but watching Eli freak out over it is really amusing. “It’s like I run a grade school!” Politics does seem that way.
DAVID: Loved bringing back the Peter/Kalinda scuffle – maybe it’s time for Alicia and Kalinda to finally make up a bit. Eli fell a little out of the fold the past season or so, almost on a spin-off with Peter, so I like that he’s back in the central story with Alicia.
ANAMIKA: Julianna Margulies already won her Emmy for next year after this episode. If you go back and watch the pilot now, your jaw will drop. The entire first half of this episode was centered in Alicia’s dining room and every second was engaging. It was also a chance to laugh at the complete circus that is Alicia’s life, everything from Grace’s choir practice to Alicia’s mother and Owen’s um, questionable decisions, to a phone call from work about her drug dealer client.
“Anyone who has pawed through my underwear drawer should really call me by my first name.” I just loved that line. Not only was it independently hilarious, it was a great deflection from Alicia that yes, her life is crazy but the politics is even crazier because it exposes a person’s life in a way that makes it look so well, crazy!
Alicia didn’t commit to running until almost the end of the episode but her campaign troubles have already begun. She has already been pulled over (and likely targeted by Julian Castro, the current state’s attorney) for a DUI and her PAC is run by drug kingpin Lemond Bishop. We always heard that Lemond was dangerous. But this season is the first time I have found him to be a legitimately terrifying character. It seems Florrick, Agos and Lockhart will never get rid of him.
Also, I know Finn isn’t a likable character this season because of his case against Cary but I loved that scene with him and Alicia in the bar. He’s a great supporting character.
Final point – I know we’re all “Scandal” fans here, but “The Good Wife” is a strong contender for best show where red wine is practically its own character.
DAVID: Anamika, I literally couldn’t write the words better myself. “The Good Wife” is on fire. I loved the motif of the “Darkness at Noon” show and its discussion after. What a meta way to discuss television, character and story all while watching an episode of television. It makes you reconsider how we consume and watch and relate it to our own lives. A+, writers.