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The Good Wife Review: Are You Serious?

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"A Defense of Marriage" was about more than just the rights of same-sex spouses. The episode was an opportunity to look at the institution of marriage through the character's distinct relationships.

Before we get into the case, let's talk about Cary. After the brutal beating he got at the end of last Sunday's episode, there wasn't much follow-up. He showed up to work with a black eye and lied about how he got it. Plus, he had a confrontation with Nick about the city contract case, which ended with Nick threatening Cary.

Given the intensity of the situation, it was disappointing that it was barely addressed. I hope this gets resolved in the winter finale.

Alicia and Her Mother

This week's case was an intriguing one, especially when it came to the evidence. The CEO and his wife's wiretapped conversations were protected by the spousal privilege. The firm's defendant, who was in a same-sex marriage, was not afforded the same protection due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which states that same-sex marriages are not recognized by the federal government. No legal marriage means no spousal privilege.

Since the evidence was kicked out, the CEO walked and testified against his collegue. At that point, the case became about much more than a criminal case. It became a fight against the constitutionality of DOMA and taking the case to the Supreme Court. 

The firm brought in a proven Supreme Court lawyer, Jeremy Breslow, to fight the case, which created conflicting goals. The firm wanted to win for their client, while it was in Breslow's interest to lose, so he could appeal. 

The defendant and his husband decided not to take the offer and continue the fight. They were willing to take the court's punishment, if it meant they could appeal the decision and potentially get to the Supreme Court. Alicia and Diane still needed to make sure their client was properly defended, went against Breslow to make sure it happened, and won the case.

Breslow was upset and claimed their actions meant DOMA would be around for at least 10 more years. Should they have lost the case for the greater good? Or, would that have been malpractice? It was hilarious to see Breslow on TV proclaiming victory after all that happened.

I appreciate when The Good Wife addresses some of the major legal questions of the day and this case handled it well. When the couple had to decide whether to settle or not, there was no right or wrong answer, just a difficult decision based on personal convictions. 

The legal case set the stage for the underlying theme of the episode: What is a marriage? During the court case, we had a CEO married to a woman, who had numerous affairs. The defendant and his husband had a limited open marriage with Free Fridays. And, outside of the case there were marital woes as well. 

Peter and Veronica

Alicia's mother, Veronica, arrived in Chicago for Thanksgiving and brought with her probate issues with her deceased husband. Did Veronica cheat? Was the step-son right in telling his father and getting the will changed? Or, did it even matter? 

For the story, it mattered because Veronica's marital history provided insight into Alicia's marriage. Veronica had a point when she said that Alicia was afraid of being with Will because that would be like following in her mother's footsteps. With rare exceptions, Alicia has always done the "right" thing, not necessarily what would make her happy. Is that an admirable trait to have? Or, is it a sad one? The look on Alicia's face showed the sacrifices that she has made.

Then, Veronica overstepped by confronting Peter. Everything she said to him was spot on, but it wasn't her place to say it. Ultimately, it had the opposite result from what she wanted. Instead of pulling Peter and Alicia apart, she pushed them together ... at least for the moment.

Alicia's reaction stunned me as much as it did Peter. What the heck was she doing? Peter nailed it though, "Is this about your mother?" And, her quick response, "Yes," said it all. This wasn't about Peter or her marriage at all. It was about control, defying her mother, and even about Will.

Alicia seems to hit a certain threshold of restraint and then in a split second releases it in a moment of passion. She's done it before with Peter and with Will. Does this mean Alicia and Peter will get back together? No, because the sex wasn't even about Peter. And, it definitely wasn't about their relationship or marriage.

Throughout the season, a few readers have commented that Alicia is the "good wife" and since Peter's reformed, she should reconcile with him. At this point, I don't agree. If he wants her back then he should woo her and he hasn't done that. He's been almost all business with her about his campaign, her career, or the kids. 

There was nothing "good wife" about Alicia's actions. They are two consenting adults and married, but they both used poor judgement given their relationship and especially since their kids were right outside. I've never had much respect for Peter, but if he would have stopped Alicia's advance that would have changed.

It will be intriguing to see what happens next. Will either Alicia or Peter take Veronica's words to heart? Will Alicia decide to find happiness? Or, will Peter let Alicia go? Before the bathroom escapade, their marriage was in a stalemate. It wasn't moving in any direction. I'd love to see them both take Veronica's words to heart. 

If Peter moved forward and let Alicia go, then perhaps they could actually find their way back to each other. She could choose him. Love him. And, be happy.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (118 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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I'm really pissed off at Alicia after this ep! As yo said, she should have listened to her mother, that was so stupid, with the door unlocked and her kids outside! I hate her and Peter it even grosses me out! I also hated that she asnd Diane disrespected their client's wishes, who clearly wantedto sacrifice himself for the cause! I hated this ep..she isn;t the good wife, she's the stubborn annoying wife who thinks she's always right! Ugh.. I wish she could be more like Julianna Margulies in real life, I watched her on Ellen, she's SO NICE! If Alicia contiues this way I'll stop watching, seriosly!

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The only history they had was being at the same school nothing else never dated, there was no fire just guilt that stopped the fun. How do we know if there was any WOOING in the first season, the writers didn't put that in the script. Peter shows plenty of signs but a single woman can't see them married women can. PS She got the job because she remembered him from school and needed a job plus Diane and him saw an way to minipulate her.

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Ditto @ Esp. Peter hasn't shown any signs of wooing Alicia especially when he was on house arrest in the 1st season. Will and Alicia have history, have fun and have a great fire together. The mothers scene was hilarious!

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Some think Will has heat others think he is hot but the real truth is as a single woman I wouldn't give him 2 minutes of my time. He is so low towards the gutter with his lying BS any self respecting woman would regret herself the next day.
Take a good look on all episodes since the start, the big question is WHY???
The answer is she has very deep feelings and is not about to let them go.

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It was funny when Jackie and Alicia's mom traded saracastic zingers. Jackie's met her match! I agree about the situation with Cary -- he should have much worse than a black eye after such a brutal beating. Maybe the show's quality has gone down, but I still enjoy watching every episode.

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Despite the fact that I am married, and contrary to what some of the posters have said, I absolutely do NOT want to see Alicia and Peter together. The only times these two have sex is to get back at eac other one way or another. First it was after Alicia kissed Will in the first season. She was exorcising her pent up frustration. Then Sunday, it was to prove her mother wrong. It seems that it is never because they love each other and desire intimacy with one another. Even the scene where Peter goes down on Alicia was a control thing. These two are terrible together! At least with Will, there was heat between them--not just proving a point.

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Alicia might have tried to show herself that her mother is wrong but she really did it for herself and Peter that she is still in love with him. This is not a power trip or anything else most single women pull tis kind of card to get their way, married women use it as a sign of true love and stick to it. Don't forget when it comes to infidelities she is in the same boat as Peter so pull the anchor and cast off tht ship has sailed !!!!

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I will no longer be watching this once-terrific show. Sunday's was the last straw - totally disgusting.

Drea-xoxo

the stand off with cary and nick was bound to happen and sort of prophesied what is to come of these two. i do think the writers will regroup and remove nick from the series. its nothing against his acting (trollers please stop referring to the characters as their real names keep professional and refer to screen names) but the way his character is written. kalinda went from fear to lust and as a loyal fan i'm just not buying into it. its not this show and they need to keep focus on campaign, jackie health and the firm's financial troubles. overall was a watchable 4/5. the case kudos for addressing but i just want to see cases that bring them out of debt not topical issues.

Drea-xoxo

i personally found the episode watchable. alicia showed why she chose to remain with peter despite the constant infidelities and lies. it seems her mother never approved and alicia uses peter and their shambles of a marriage to rebel. the closing scene shows how she uses peter to have power and prove something to whomever is attacking her at the time. the conversation between veronica and peter explained everything. peter sees alicia as his loyal dog that no matter what will be there despite him having found other pets, he can't let go of this one. its sad really because these two have outgrown love and feelings to just share two children and crazy mothers. they need to divorce and lead their own lives.