The Good Wife: Payback
November 1, 2015 10:45 PM - Season 7, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Alicia and Lucca go up against a for-profit college hoping for payback for their client. Jason gets all kinds of payback from a scammer. Howard gets plenty of payback on everyone younger than him in the office. The only one not getting payback is Eli, though he does get another job offer.

Case Of The Week: Alicia and Lucca, now working together, are trying to help Maggie Rossum, who’s introduced via a horrible recording of her being screamed at/stalked by a collections agency bastard named Bob Bondi. Maggie swears she paid her college loan off already. Jason the investigator (MVP of the episode) calls up Bob and manages to be super friendly while creeping him out and mentioning his priors and don’t call Maggie again. Bob says he just does what his boss at A.P.Y. (the collections agency) tells him. Jason heads over there and finds out that “the Michigan office” Maggie sent her last check to doesn’t exist (they told her a new mailing address via voice mail), and has been abandoned. Girl’s been scammed and they probably can’t do much about that--or at least that’s what they think until Jason finds a check on site that wasn’t cashed and returns it to a lady who tells him she just got a voice mail...Jason manages to track down the guy and get Maggie’s money back, though does Alicia really want to know how he did that? Who knows, but she’ll offer him a drink.

Meanwhile, while Jason’s off doing that, Grace wants Alicia to make more money. How’s about turning small cases into bigger cases? This gives Alicia the idea for her and Lucca to sue the for-profit college/fake dental school Maggie attended (Colosseum) for shoddy teaching, in hopes that Maggie’s debt would be canceled. Maggie can’t sue (nor can anyone else at that school), so how are they going to do this? Well, they point out that Maggie’s periodontics teacher lost her license 13 years ago and apparently doesn’t know the answer to an exam, and the employment rate of the graduates is terrible. Jason finds out via snooping at the school that veterans (like Maggie) are targeted because they can use their federal loans and GI Bill to pay for the 10% required for students to pay out of pocket. The recruitment officer forced to testify actually comments that “our students may not be the best and the brightest.” Hoo boy. On the other hand, the school points out that Maggie wasn’t the best student and missed a lot of classes, and she didn’t buy textbooks because her study group passed PDF’s around.

Eli (see below) offers Alicia another idea of a debt strike, which leads to Colosseum suing her and Lucca for tortious interference with contract. Alicia in turn does something leading towards a shareholder derivative suit being filed against Colosseum, which finally gets Colosseum asking, what do they want?

How’s Eli Doing? Peter makes a boner on television, which amuses Eli no end, especially when Peter storms into the office to tell Ruth off. Eli actually stacks himself onto his desk and papers and whatnot to listen in via grate...and then when Ruth points out that he’s now the Democratic version of Trump saying crazy shit and now he’s in second place, all is forgiven.

Why is Eli staying in this shit job? That’s what Marissa, all the way from Israel (damn!) where she’s been designing purses, is here to deal with. She’s gotten Eli a better paying job offer in Israel, and really, should he stay in this job looking for revenge or forgiveness? No, he should not, but the dude is too distracted to even care when Marissa announces her intention to pole dance.

Marissa goes to Alicia and tells her of the job offer and says the only way Eli will quit is if Alicia fires him. Alicia complies with this, though Eli seems to suspect it’s Marissa’s doing even as his eyes bug out from shock. He still manages to help Alicia out with the magic words “debt strike” as he leaves, though. This leads to a fun attack on Peter and his wife for Alicia’s debt strike, being against unions, something whatever.

Eli refuses the job and tells Alicia this. Her exact response is “Okay. Sounds good.”

Howard’s campaign against ageism continues against Cary. Diane points out that Cary has to stop that because unlike Howard, he’s NOT in a protected class and suing is gonna happen. Arbitration occurs, with Howard reciting the various mean names thrown at him like “Flaccido Domingo,” which especially hurt due to his passion for the opera and his sexual prowess.

Cary gripes to Diane that they all call him names, it’s not just him. Diane suggested Howard catheterized himself (he was peeing every five minutes during a deposition, Diane points out), and they all make fun of people, such as David Lee for “well, you know.” But there’s a difference between harmless ribbing and Howard getting prune juice in his coffee and personalized adult diapers, a bib, and catheter left in his office. Wait, what, who’s doing that? We never do find out, but Diane tells Cary he’s creating the climate for the young’uns to pick on the oldster, and she’s sorry.

The end of this plotline is a sensitivity training seminar in which the young’uns are forced to plug their noses, wear bad glasses and walk on corn kernels. At this point, Cary suspects (probably reasonably) that Howard has been planting those diapers himself. Howard cries at the table about how being old is so haaaaaaaaard and the young girls all start hugging him. “This is not happening,” Cary says.
posted by jenfullmoon (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Awww. I always liked Howard that old reprobate, he probably did plant the diaper and catheter, but this episode left me squeamish. If it's intention is to drive Cary to quit and rejoin Alicia, it's awfully heavy-handed.

And for a minute there I thought this was Alan Cumming's exit, if this is indeed the last season, and I got a bit misty-eyed, but apparently he'll be around for the duration.

Eli:"How do you know how much I'm making?"
Marissa: "I'm a witch."
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:35 AM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not loving Eli's heel turn, but if it means more Marissa screen time it's a price I'll pay.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:46 AM on November 2, 2015

I'm finding the Eli plot really stupid. Come on, there's just no point at all in him sticking around as Alicia's chief of staff. There doesn't even seem to be much for him to do. He'd move on and get another job.

And I'm hoping we're not going to see Cary rejoin Alicia. Been there, done that. He should strike out on his own if anything.
posted by orange swan at 1:15 PM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

The Eli plotline is dumb, the Old Firm plotline is dumb ("Let's get a more bumbling, less sympathetic, and more pointless version of Louis Canning to stir shit up!"), Peter's presidential campaign is dumb, the case of the week was... well, slightly less dumb, if only because we get to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan be menacing.

I'm enjoying this season much, much less than any of the previous ones so far.
posted by Etrigan at 6:54 AM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love Eli in all cases and refuse to hear anything against him. Or Marissa. I'm here for a spinoff starring them.

The Howard thing is obnoxious -- no one has considered bringing up his issues with sexual harassment?

Are we supposed to think that Jason is the new Finn? Whatever happened to Finn anyways?
posted by jeather at 4:54 PM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I love Eli in all cases and refuse to hear anything against him.

I would agree, but S7 Eli is not the same person as S1-6 Eli. S1-6 Eli would have smacked S7 Eli so fucking hard that Marissa would have bruises.
posted by Etrigan at 6:40 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I didn't really hate this episode, but it didn't really go anywhere. If it weren't for Jason and Marissa I would feel like I could have missed this one.

This is the second (third?) episode where they've used Howard as a macguffin in order to give the Lockhart/Agos crew a B-story, and it didn't even overlap Alicia's story. Howard is great as comic relief but he's not a real threat! Dianne should be able to defeat him with a look!

I agree with Etrigan, Eli also seems powerless in this season. If Eli's with Peter, he should be single-handedly saving his campaign, and if he's against him, Peter should be in prison about now. Seeing someone get the better of Eli only works if he fights back.
posted by mmoncur at 9:56 PM on November 3, 2015

Here's a.... charming... interview with Julianna Margulies. On the one hand, we can verify there's at least one cast member she talks to. On the other hand...I dunno if I would have said any of that where "oglers at the zoo" can hear about it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:22 PM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I gotta admit, having Christine Baranski tell me "Oh, no, darling, don't be silly" would totally be better than a picture with basically anyone currently alive.
posted by Etrigan at 3:39 PM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

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