"The Good Wife" Season Three Has Me Hoping I'll Find Out It Was All A Bad Dream

Like Pam, I want to wake up to find Bobby in the shower so I can forget all about this ridiculous season. Only this isn’t “Dallas” and “The Good Wife” returns after its winter hiatus with another eleven or twelve episodes. Whether they will inspire cheers or jeers remains to be seen. So far the season ranks a C-.

I can now relate to other viewers who complained about Season Two. Except I liked Season Two, barring the character lobotomy they performed on Eli Gold to make him more personable when Alan Cumming was added to the cast full-time. I’m also still salty over destroying Kalinda’s character as a plot device but am hopeful for an adequate pay-off. The interplay between her and Eli in episode #2 The Death Zone was fun to watch. Whether it goes out with a bang or a whimper has yet to be revealed, but I’m detecting the stench of a good show gone stale.

CBS Is Just Not That Into It

It took me a while to finish reviewing the first half of the Season Three story arc because it’s been so confusing — and frustrating. CBS moved the show from a reasonable Tuesday 10pm time slot to the wackadoodle Sunday night death knoll time period at 9pm. If only it actually aired at 9pm. How many watching on the East Coast had to wait until football was over? 12 minutes, 22 minutes, 41 minutes late? And they had the nerve to suggest we “set our DVRs” to not miss it. Not everyone wants to pay for DVR service OR wait for a show to air.  I now watch online exclusively. Nice way to kill off a show and blame poor ratings. They also bungled the social media marketing by waiting too long to create a Twitter hashtag which is different than what many fans were using. These details matter.

First, the new promos show a va-va-voom Julianna Marguiles and imply she’s now the sexually liberated wife after busting Peter for yet another betrayal and finally pursuing her interest in a former flame. By episode #10 Parenting Made Easy, she’s dumped Will and declared to brother Owen that not only does she not love him, but she was caught up with the passion.

So much for that.

Okay….Alicia Florrick has to be one of the most repressed women since the Victorian era and she had finally unleashed her inner vixen in the Third Season opener #1 Jews, Muslims and Tutors.  I observed at the end of Season Two this romantic trajectory might find her in WIll’s arms or someone else’s down the line, but for the writers to abruptly pull the plug and then demean the relationship is a total cop-out.

I Hereby Dub Season Three: Alienation Of Affection

Where’s the script supervisor, calling out the executive producers and head writers for totally busting up continuity, common sense and their own marketing campaign? I know they only have so much authority. If I want to watch a woman self-sacrifice to an ideology of repression “for the sake of the kids” (not for ethical or moral impetus) then clearly I’ve been watching the wrong show. Plus it’s a fear-based excuse.

What Kind Of Message Does This Send Women?

Sure I understand divorce packs an emotional wallop and we always have the right to change our minds, but this is a huge step backwards for the growth of a woman positioned as an underdog, the wronged party, etc. Now it would appear she’s complicit in her suffering. I have no sympathy for a woman that self-absorbed with such low self-esteem. She isn’t a tougher-than-nails persona like Hillary Clinton or jockeying for a personal position of power.  What are we rooting for?

She’s middle class – upper middle class, soon to be on the market..or not…maybe…they’re going to send her back to Peter “for the sake of the children” and then I will be DONE with a show that held such promise, but doesn’t have the guts to follow through. Julianna Marguiles now has a producer credit which makes me wonder if there’s a power struggle going on behind the scenes. She’s also married to a lawyer in real life.

I keep waiting for two episodes in a row to create that fisson of excitement and I get bupkus. I’ve got one question for the writers and audience alike. Does anyone think for one nanosecond that Peter Florrick has been ABSTINENT since Alicia kicked him out? Men don’t let dogmas and ideologies stop them from getting theirs!  HE isn’t worrying about ‘distractions’ and OMG the kids. Who by the way had already guessed she was dating Will  – and Grace even mentioned to Alicia that she seemed happier than she’d been in a long time.

Speaking Of Slick Willies

Yes, Will is her boss and former college boyfriend. Blah blah blah. He’s also protected her in ways she hasn’t even noticed. He gave her a job when her good-for-nothing husband was sent to prison. It’s revealed in episode #5 Marthas & Caitlins just how far out on a limb Will has gone for her.

What more does she want from the guy? He’s already shown her in so many different ways he cares for her well-being more than her husband ever did. Yet, she chose Peter back then and dumps Will again because gosh, relationships require active participation. Which tells me the problem lies with Alicia. Her character is not the role model the series has promised. Or did they ever intend on showing a woman choosing empowerment over playing it safe?

The scene where’s he’s tidying his office right before she dumps him, I would’ve sworn Will was going to propose…something…to her. It’s the unspoken character choices Josh Charles makes that make him so interesting to watch.

STAR-CROSSED LOVERS…OR NOT

Yes, Alicia needs to move the divorce along. Yes, she needs to go out on a few dates with other men besides Will. but she should’ve figured that out BEFORE she slept with him. If he was who she was drawn to, then it has significance. Like maybe she’s supposed to end up with him. Or not, who knows, but I HATE the way the writers ROYALLY BUNGLED this romance. It was thrown in our faces from the beginning of the series that something was brewing. They’ve reduced it to nothing but “lust and distraction”. While Will has been consistently growing emotionally and on the verge of readying himself for commitment. He does really love her, because even after her wishy-washy behavior he’ll still take her back. Alicia still has no idea Peter was gunning for the firm out of spite.

Speaking of Peter, the writers were heavy-handed in emphasizing how much of a jerk he is in #11 What Went Wrong. When he bullied the Principal into admitting Zack and Grace a semester early, I was almost asking myself why the audience should be outraged. He’s going feral to break arms for his kids, because has a lot to make up for. It seems as if they were trying to paint the school official as being prejudicial, but she said the school could take them the following term. Some kids don’t like transferring between terms because it’s disruptive, but all he had to do was wait a few months. Or should I say, they because Alicia practically signed off on whatever Peter was going to do to make it happen. So, here we see her willful ignorance at play where her husband is concerned.

Alicia Really Needs To Check Herself

It’s time to forgive Kalinda as well. As the writers are showing, even Saint Alicia has many flaws – which is a good thing, but her moral compass, integrity meter is way off. Eli was certifiable and we’ve seen him faltering. The much-hinted nefarious dealings of Will that Blake had alluded to last season are all but written off. Wendy Scott-Carr is a shark in heels. This is Chicago politics after all.

Why is Diane being so nice to Alicia? I just don’t see a woman in her position, an unmarried, child-free by choice career-oriented woman extending herself to someone like Alicia without an agenda. Alicia is everything Diane is not, plus she was sleeping with her business partner. That olive branch would have a noose attached in the real world. They already ruined Kalinda, who was this ultra-cool, MacGuyver-type investigator who must have had a cape hidden in her jacket pocket, to this two-timing backstabber (from Alicia’s viewpoint). Yet Diane is supposed to be Switzerland?  I never believed that. Women in her peer group don’t ascend to those positions of power by being “nice”. Sorry, y’all can disagree, but the writers would have us believe Diane has a formidable shell with no teeth.

Alicia has ventured into using Will for her personal and professional gain. If I was in Diane’s position, I’d be thinking of ways to neutralize her to maintain power at the firm. Hence the tongue-lashing Will received in episode #9 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. I know they already had that convoluted storyline of corporate wars involving Derrick Bond – who never tired a case but brought in $100M in business from Season Two. WTH was that all about? It still annoys me.

Even when if the writers put Humpty and Dumpty back together unless they do it in a big way, they’ve kinda, sorta killed the buzz about this relationship for good. Unless she’s pregnant and they marry it’s a bore now. If Will has opened his heart enough to want to commit to a relationship other than his career (which coincides nicely with getting older) then for goodness sakes get him somebody who’ll appreciate him. He’s not that complicated.

I accept his motivations more readily than I do Peter’s. They both want power, but look at the way they’ve gone about achieving it. Will was singularly focused, setting aside family building for career building. Peter married, but he has only ever been devoted to position and prestige. Will understands instinctively what’s important. Personal ties. Since he was getting his immediate need for sex and companionship from other women who did not expect marriage, he didn’t have to commit. Now it seems he wants it. For Peter marriage may offer certain conveniences but it is a means to an end on the road to his next elected office. I’m not going to quantify either or as being inherently better or worse. I just look at his mother and the imbalance she mentioned once with his father in telling Alicia to basically suck it up. As if she couldn’t have a loving relationship with the accroutrements of status.

Alicia Is A ‘Bad’ Mother But Not For The Reasons She Frets Over

If Alicia wants to be concerned about something it should be that they’ve eschewed any type of religious or spiritual practice that her daughter feels the need to hide to the fact she got baptized. Sure, we could speculate about cults and Grace being impressionable. We could have a more nuanced conversation about how many people misinterpret the Bible, but none of that is up for grabs in a family where daddy had a pastor administering to him to get black women to vote for his reelection campaign. Let’s talk about Pastor Isaiah, hypocrisy and fake religiosity. They named her GRACE but Alicia is especially antagonistic to religion. For Peter it has always served as a means to an end.

Why don’t the Florricks have some sort of relationship with a Higher Power? Parents can go to extremes either telling their kids what to believe and policing it heavily or doing nothing and wondering why their little angels disintegrate. Peter’s scandal would’ve occurred around the time Grace was 12 and she’ll be 15. She’s a good daughter and if you can imagine all the other potential problems one could have regarding raising children successfully, her wanting a relationship with “God” isn’t it. I abhor the way the writers have so callously thrown this is a plot device for teenage angst, when it deserves a real evaluation.

Why is Alicia so anti-religion? Grace gets punished and Zack gets a car all stemming from how Alicia reacts to external conflicts. Having sex is the least of her concerns. I also think so many people find the Florrick kids annoying is because they’re so well-adjusted, polite, inquisitive and well-behaved. Much more than the adults. After everything they’ve been through they’re not ‘real’ kids because they haven’t rebelled.

Hell Hath No Fury Yada Yada

I knew they had to bring Anika Noni Rose back (yipee) but she’s not the little upstart candidate whose win was thwarted by Alicia’s Stepford Wife act. Peter thinks he’s going to use Wendy against Will, but it’s going to backfire. She’s tough! I like it, even as I’m a little bit scared. I don’t see Wendy or Celeste being so indecisive and as fear-based as Alicia is. Just like vomit hitting the fan, Peter’s shenanigans of trying to sic someone on Will for daring to care about Alicia – ok it was for the sex – is going to blow chunks all over him as his past misdeeds will be trotted out.

You just know Wendy and the Investigator will eventually connect the dots with the currently unknown “Layla” – who is none other than Kalinda – and how Peter bedded and subsequently fired her while in office which is a NO-NO. And yet, Cary’s doing it too, with Dana who’s relationship began in episode #6 Affairs Of The State.  Everybody knows Cary wants to be with Kalinda and the juvenile antics Dana engages in without purpose diminishes her professionally. Oh and I loved how Cary’s co-worker displayed his true colors by warning Dana he has dated other “women of color”.  I can’t recall any show where the writers are this observant in displaying how black males try to discourage white males from dating black women.

THIS is better than a Greek tragedy. The only thing I’m looking forward to is how and when Wendy Scott-Carr wields the knife into the heart of Peter’s political ambitions. Like that politician vetted by Eli who did the pranks that came back to bite him when he wanted to get elected from #8 Death Row Trip. But worse!

Despite my misgivings, I plan to watch the rest of Season Three because I’m hoping for an appropriate resolution. Yet, the show is off track and I won’t withhold criticism of its weak points because I’ve enjoyed it in the past. The show returns January 8th with a few teasers. I’ll be back for my season end recap in May.

What were some of your favorite moments thus far? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

8 comments to “The Good Wife” Season Three Has Me Hoping I’ll Find Out It Was All A Bad Dream

  • Thanks for the update because I stopped watching altogether. I actually do DVR it, but so many times when I went to play it the first 20 or more minutes were taken up with the overrun of some other show. Since I watch while ironing or folding laundry and things like that, it was just too inconvenient to watch online so I just gave up.

  • ladyarabellavictoria

    Continuing:

    I’d also like to see Diane and her Sarah Palin loving/firearms expert love interest have another go around. It was great to see mature people display passion and I like seeing Diane get flustered. Their ideological differences (e.g., Republican vs Democratic, gun control vs the right to bear arms) are what excites her plus she finds him sexy as hell. Therefore, I will watch the remaining episodes and hope that the writers and producers realize their many errors and turn the show around. However, if the show doesn't get better I will not watch season 4 because I just won't care.

  • ladyarabellavictoria

    For some strange reason I'm getting a message that my comments are too long and I have to split it. Continuing:

    In addition, I agree that the new day and time slot is horrible as well. I watch the show online so in reality it doesn't matter to me because I catch it a day later but my sister, who also watches the show, always misses the beginning due to the Sunday night football game. My sister has mentioned to me her frustration about this. In addition, I, too, hope that the personality traits that used to motivate these characters’ behavior return (e.g., Kalinda's wit, Eli's ruthlessness, etc).

  • ladyarabellavictoria

    Faith and Vanessa:

    You both have insightfully recapped a dreadful season thus far. I am terribly disappointed with the direction the show has taken. The ending moments of season 2 when Alicia & Will were in the bar, then the elevator, and finally entering the hotel room were exciting to me because it was the culmination of their many years of waiting. However, this season has been a total letdown. We BARELY got to see them kiss or in bed together (quick, don't blink or you'll miss it). I wanted a romance between them and I and the other viewers got nothing.

    Lady Arabella Victoria

  • Great mid-season review Faith! As a fan of this show, I have to say I've been confused about the 'weirdness' of the Season 3 plot line(s), however, I plan to hang in there for the rest of the season.

    Point 1 -- Alicia/Will Are No More: This was handled so poorly I could throw a shoe at the tv. Alicia finally has a bit of happiness and she turns it all down 'for the kids' which I believe was partly influenced by Mama Jackie's (who she cannot stand) guilt trip on Alicia several episodes back. Even with the guilt factor, I think Alicia's primary reason for deciding to end it with Will was she likes the prestige with being "The Good Wife." The emotional piece does something for her and apparently its feels better than being happy with Will.

    Can you tell I am PO'ed with Alicia Florrick yet? :)

    Point 2 -- Will: Poor guy was beginning to see that there is more to life than the C-suite, even with Diane putting her foot down -- which I am not so sure you can do in a partnership situation, Will is not Diane's subordinate. And you are correct in saying Will has continually been a real protector for Alicia. Unlike Peter who has rocked Alicia's world in the worse way possible (the affairs, the 'crazy' call girl threatening her in the parking lot, the over-intrusive mother in law, getting locked locked up in the first place). The hits will keep on coming once Wendy Scott-Carr gets all of her ducks in a row and takes Peter down.

    Point 3 -- Kalinda: Good Wife writers, give this character her fangs back because the garbage Young in the Restless subplot is a real bore. Alicia should forgive Kalinda already. She slept with Will still as a married woman (has there ever been a legal separation???) so any moral superiority complex Alicia may have fell off the minute she went into the hotel room with Will.

    Point 4 -- Very interesting of how the writers have written in the subplot about Carey Argos' presumed preference for women of color and how his Black/AA? male counterpart is attempting to 'block' and push doubt into the minds of any brown woman that crosses Carey's path. Have the writers been lurking on BWE forums??? LOL!

    Point 5 -- Diane: I do not believe for one moment Diane is being nice to Alicia out of the kindness of her heart. And Alicia is going to fall for this fake mentorship/big sister role big time because she is truly alone in her work situation (Will may or may not have the inclination to have her back anymore; Kalinda is no longer someone she feels she can totally trust; Eli does what is best for Eli; Carey wants to get back at Alicia for getting fired from Lockhart/Garner). I have yet to come up with a possible motivation for Diane wanting to be 'friends' however.

    Point 6 -- Eli Gold: The only way Eli can really become Eli again is for him to divorce his practice from Lockhart/Gardner. This partnership took a lot of the bite out of his character. Eli needs to stay as a hired gun.

    In sum: Good Wife writers/directors: Please get it together and CBS please return this show to a midweek timeslot. I have to go to work on Monday mornings like most people and cannot stay up until who knows when to watch this show since NFL coverage pushes back all of your on the east coast programming. If it weren't for Comcast OnDemand service, I would barely watch this show.