Screen / The Good Wife

The Good Wife: “Sticky Content”

The Good Wife has its fair share of sex. It began with a sex scandal and has had its fair share dropped throughout from Peter’s long list of prostitutes to Alicia’s relationship with Will to Peter’s suspected affair with interns to Alicia’s hinted at romance with Finn and now back to Peter (worst husband ever) and Ramona. It was with a sex scandal that we first met Alicia, trying to salvage her life after being so publicly humiliated. And the threat of another one of them has permeated the show since then. With Alicia and Will’s relationship being brought up often, Alicia and Peter’s new “arrangement”, and now Finn and Alicia finally acknowledging their mutual attraction, we’re probably not far from another sex scandal.

First there’s Finn and Alicia who have been dancing around each other since they met. Even before the show seemed to be nodding toward the potential of a relationship between the two, it was there. Matthew Goode’s is the show’s answer to the departure of Josh Charles so the assumption is that Finn would pick up where Will left with Alicia as well. So far the two have developed a pretty darling friendship, sharing drinks after a long day at work and generally confiding in one another when they don’t have anyone else. Now we’re just waiting for them to make out.

“Sticky Content” actually looks like it may be the episode in which this happens, at least in one instance. Rattled after a joint interview with Peter, Alicia visits Finn, and the two of them sitting together on Finn’s office sofa is one of the show’s most tense scenes to date. There’s a lot not being said on Alicia’s part since her motives for coming there, after learning of Ramona and Peter’s affair and having to pretend to be in love with him, are fairly clear from where we sit. They’re less clear for Alicia who responds to Finn’s question of if she wants to talk with “No, I don’t” and looks at him like he’s akin to a tall glass of very cold water on the hottest day ever.

It’s the most transparent Alicia’s ever been with Finn, not even bothering to disguise her attraction. But shes’ not even really aware of it, slipping into these thoughts unexpectedly and then withdrawing quickly. She’s unnerved by Finn touching her hand, and it’s far from innocent on both ends as they withdraw simultaneously when people walk by. But even then neither of them voices anything specific about it, not even when Finn shows up at Alicia’s office and asks if her mood is gone. He suggests things could be much simpler if she wanted them to be, and we all know Alicia doesn’t agree with that.

It’s actually a very large difference between them. From what we’ve seen of Finn thus far, he’s very simple. He lives a relatively run of the mill life, and he doesn’t have the complications Alicia does or the expectations she has to live up to. She draws their conversation to a close with some meager attempt at changing the subject by remarking on how she hates the glass doors at the firm. It’s the campaign of course that’s at the forefront of Alicia’s mind right now (though we also have the realities of Peter and Alicia’s children to contend with), and she’s doing everything in her power to come out on top.

So she sits through an interview with Peter, recalling how they first met, all the while glaring at Ramona (who she positively loathes). Besides the obvious reason Alicia would find her terrible, there’s also something very annoying about Ramona in this episode. Maybe it’s because we’re finally seeing her not as an Alicia 2.0 but as Peter’s new mistress, but Ramona’s breathiness and smiley personality are almost abrasive. And her tears when Peter tells her that Alicia knows about them are particularly grating as is her “We’re bad people”. Let’s go back to the days when we didn’t actually see Peter’s extramarital activities.

Peter and Alicia side by side and politicking together is why they’ve stayed together at all. They better each other politically, and their interview is confusing because it’s unclear how much truth is really there. Alicia seems to get whisked away by the memory of hers and Peter’s fist meeting, calling it one of the happiest moments of her life. Peter’s equally confused, by Alicia touching his hand in a show of physical affection (as suggested by Elfman) and her declaration of that being so nice a moment for her. But it’s mostly staged, the two of them simply exchanging niceties for the sake of the careers, and it’s later when they leave another event that Alicia finally confronts him and tells him to stop things with Ramona before he ruins things for them both.

This moment, Alicia refusing to buy into Peter’s lies about it (even beginning to suspect that Peter and Ramona were having an affair years ago) and refusing to support him if it comes out again. She claims to not be jealous, and perhaps she’s not, but she’s rattled by Peter having another relationship despite what their arrangement is. Their talk gives her a weird boost, and she fixes herself up (she looks great!) to give her introductory interview, now game for discussing the courtroom shooting. This is Alicia at her most political, taking advantage of something she once deemed untouchable. But she’s still holding back, refusing to play dirty with Prady even as both of their respective campaigns push for them to do so.

On that other part of The Good Wife, where Alicia just does not go, Cary gets a bodyguard after the FBI reveals a tape of Lemond Bishop ordering Cary’s assassination. The show’s done a  good job thus far of integrating Cary’s legal problems with his personal problems, namely his relationship with Kalinda. A lot of Kalinda’s nuance has been lost in recent seasons, but this one is getting it back. In an episode that has Lana demanding that Kalinda start taking both Lana, and their relationship, more seriously, Kalinda’s bending over backwards to help both of them.

Kalinda’s relationships have always had a little asterisk looming over them, promising that none of them were long for this world because Kalinda would likely sacrifice them in the name of doing something else she deemed more worthy at the time. Kalinda’s pragmatism and neutrality are what makes her great, but the show’s gone too far a lot of times in not knowing how to express that Kalinda does care about people and that she also has other motivations that don’t necessarily gel. More often than not Kalinda’s affections are treated as fleeting and temporary, as if no one means anything to her which just isn’t the case.

Lana and Cary are perhaps two of Kalinda’s love interests we’re most familiar with. It was Lana we met first, and Kalinda and Cary have been circling each other for seasons now. They are, quite simply, on an equal level when it comes to who Kalinda want to help out, and unfortunately helping out one of them may mean dooming the other. Lana gives Kalinda the tape so she can check its authenticity herself, which comes back to bite her when Cary reveals to Bishop that the FBI has the tape and Lana gets called in for questioning.

Kalinda’s still in Cary’s corner even when he’s still embittered and angry over her wanting to see other people and see him (though he still calls Kalinda his “girlfriend”). And she announces to Lana that she does take her, her job and their relationship to one another seriously. It’s a big moment for Kalinda, who not so long ago danced away from having a serious talk with Lana to have her say that she does take her seriously. Of course there’s another asterisk here as this comes after Kalinda knows Cary brought up the tape with Bishop and likely suspects there will be consequences for Lana.

Stray Observations

  • I can’t get over that Stew Harper was also Joe from When You Were Sleeping. That is…wonderful.
  • Where is Robyn?
  • The montage of Alicia redoing her interview was actually kind of funny. It was nice to see her laughing with Elfman since it seems like Alicia doesn’t have a whole lot to laugh about it anymore, and she hardly cracks a smile in this episode.

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