When we left The Good Wife, Cary going to prison was a given. He’d agreed to a plea deal of four years and there were sad faces and sad hugs all around. When we return with “Hail Mary” there’s one last chance to see Cary let off the hook, and everyone’s doing what they can make it happen. But no one’s working harder, or has perhaps worked harder this season, than Kalinda who’s bending over backward to see him saved. With Archie Panjabi’s impending exit already out there, everything Kalinda does has the added element of perhaps being what sends her out the door. Kalinda’s many meetings with Lemond Bishop have seemed to be early indicators of what’s going to get her there, but this episode introduces something else that could end up being the end of Kalinda Sharma as we know her.
“Hail Mary” is an apt title for the episode, which really doesn’t look like it’s going to pan out all that well for everyone. We’ve been here all season, with hopeful pieces of evidence being found and later crushed, with setback after setback. It feels slightly cheap, to have this dredged up again after the midseason finale seemed to effectively bury it. Cary’s going to prison, and we should all just accept it as justice unfortunately missing its mark which is a far from a happy note for things to leave off on but still a big dramatic move for the show, condemning one of its main characters to prison like that. But I suppose there was no way Cary was ever going to go, not really especially not when he could never come back and practice law again so enter Kalinda to save Cary’s ass.
While Cary’s prepared to go to prison, even hiring a prison consultant (career tough guy Domenick Lombardozzi), Kalinda’s not ready to let him go. Even before Cary calls her asking her to find him a white convict to befriend, Kalinda’s parked outside Bishop’s house, surely with some plans to appeal to him for help once again. Bishop agrees to give her a favor but only if she gives him one, telling her to expect a call later, and it’s this trip to Bishop that gives her the tip they need to get to work overturning Cary’s plea: that the drugs Cary was charged with having helped import had already been imported when he was allegedly conspiring to move them.
And Kalinda sinks further and further down the rabbit hole in her efforts to keep Cary a free man. When one avenue (an email sent from Canadian police to Chicago) doesn’t pan out, it’s the closest we see of Kalinda giving up, heading to Cary’s to help him make some memories (of a sexual nature) at the prison consultant’s urging. Kalinda’s supportive and optimistic while in bed with Cary, but out in the hallway she’s uncharacteristically distressed, her cool composure abandoned before she leaves with a new resolve: to hack into the email account and fabricate the evidence.
It’s not that surprising given what we know about Kalinda. She’s not afraid of breaking the law if she thinks it’s for a good reason, and helping Cary is a very good reason in her book. No one else is going to take this step, not Diane and not Alicia, but Kalinda’s willing to do it despite the protestations of her tech friend. It seems a bit early to throw in the towel and start faking things for my taste, an opinion proven correct with the other Cary turns up with a potential new lead that will confirm what everyone already knew: that Cary was the victim of entrapment. And even though this pans out well, with Kalinda getting the concrete proof she needs, she arrives at court too late because Diane’s already using her hack job as evidence.
Because seeing Cary freed right now is a tad too cheap for The Good Wife‘s usual liking, it helps that it maintains some of this drama, and at least tries to draw attention away from the deux ex machina that is this sudden piece of evidence, by entwining this victory with Kalinda’s likely downfall. Letting Cary off brings an end to a season long battle, and it but it comes at a cost for Kalinda who realizes how she’s destroyed a man’s career and for nothing. Kalinda’s not as moral as some of the other people we’ve seen, but she’s not cruel, and her stricken face as Prima leaves the courtroom speaks volumes about what this means to her conscience. Kalinda’s the one who ends the episode in a moral dilemma, while the rest of the firm breathes a sigh of relief.
Diane and Cary are crying happy tears, and elsewhere Alicia receives a victory phone call that gets her letting out joyous whoops in parking garages and kissing John Elfman. Alicia’s a very reserved woman, which makes moments of happiness, anger or sadness seem particularly revolutionary for her. After a whole season stressing out over Cary’s fate, her elation when she finds out it’s really over feels well-deserved. And riding a high from her debate prep, in which she thoroughly kicked Peter’s ass if not Prady’s, she’s in a particularly impulsive mood.
Alicia is not an impulsive woman, and she’ll likely overthink and regret this decision later. We’ve seen her do similar things of momentary fancy, particularly with Will, which she later went on to second guess. This will probably be one of those moments, and I’m kind of loathing it. I rewatched the scene of Alicia, all smiles approaching John and kissing him, multiple times if only because Julianna Margulies looked positively radiant and because John didn’t know what to do with this new development. And I love Alicia when she’s feeling free and basking in her own success almost as much as I love her when she’s wearing awesome red coats and kissing people in parking garages.
Putting myself in John’s shoes, I’m sure he’s very, very confused. I don’t think Alicia has anything going for John except for perhaps an attraction and him simply being there when she was feeling very good about herself and her life. And they’ve never had any interaction that hinted at anything more, though him leaning in close and telling her how amazing she did at her mock debate was…something. I forget if John knows about Peter and Alicia’s marriage arrangement, but this will definitely bring questions.
And on the subject of Alicia and Peter’s marriage, all of their interactions are tinged with the knowledge that their relationship isn’t much of one anymore. They come together for political necessity, but even that is a harrowing ordeal. Eli’s immediately on his guard when Peter turns up at the debate and tries to keep Finn there. He shuts down the debate when Alicia’s criticism of Peter’s own troubled tenure as State’s Attorney begins to hit too hard. Eli definitely does know about Peter and Alicia so inserting himself into their relationship is his way of protecting both of them since their marriage is a political advantage neither of them can afford to give up while Peter and Alicia seem to always be seconds away from imploding.
And just like that The Good Wife returns. I’m very relieved.
- “Let’s find you a white friend” and the camera goes to Kalinda as friendly and non-white as she is.
- “Less talking, more sex” is something I’ve said to my television while watching this show many, many times. I said it while Finn and Alicia were “debating” one another, which was a notably more lighthearted affair (there was way more smiling all around) than her go with Peter.
- In that same vein, Peter inserting himself into Alicia and Finn’s debate was a small moment that still said a lot about his still-present paranoia about Alicia and Finn’s relationship. And Peter’s so shitty, but I kind of like when he does bad things to help Alicia out like stalling Cuesta with promises of being on the Illinois Supreme Court. But praise the Kings for not bringing us back and throwing Peter’s affair in our faces because I simply don’t have the patience.
- I can’t tell what the “my campaign” thing means. Was it a dig at Eli being the Florrick campaign person or at John wanting to be the candidate himself?
- I don’t know what the point of Cary maybe running was. He turned down Bishop’s offer of a job, which would have been way more lucrative and comfortable than just skipping out before his sentencing hearing, because he didn’t want to run. So him possible changing his mind would have been ridiculous.
- Marissa: “I’m her body woman, not her fluffer.”
Eli: “When did you become so crass?”
- Cuesta: “Is this Morse Code? What am I looking at?”
- Who does Judge Cuesta like really?