The Good Wife: KSR
December 13, 2015 9:57 PM - Season 7, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Alicia has one of the squickiest cases ever. Lockhart Whatever has a case of deja vu regarding ill-treated associates, AGAIN. Eli's romance with Courtney comes to an end and he's got a case of the sads about it. At Ruth's request, Courtney hires Jason away from Alicia.

Oh lord, this episode.

Plot 1: Associates Vs. Old School, Round 2: Cary strolls into an early morning meeting with his hot team of white boy associates only to find nobody there to eat his donuts, untouched boxes of Dipple files, and every last cell phone precisely positioned on the table. They all quit. "All young associates are snakes," Howard says, and Cary is all, and you wonder why they walked out? Of course, there's no work on this case to be found around the office, as Diane flashes back to when Cary and Alicia and their associates pulled this shit. Yes, we're back to that again. Cary, go make it right!

The White Boyz are hanging out at some bar, saying that they like Cary but don't want to be like him, they never started the brief in the first place, and they're all going to Canning. "You are the devil's spawn," Cary says. This forces the top people at the firm to do everything the hard way, and for Diane to hire Monica the secret camera girl like she wanted to in the first place. We're not going to do this in 3.5 hours! We need more bodies!

Cary runs back to beg the guys to return, offering them tons of perks. The guys say their problem is the lack of upward mobility, and Cary didn't manage to fix that when he tried the last time. But now I have the leverage, Cary says, and he hands out bonus checks like he's Santa Claus.

As Cary and the White Boyz all walk back into Lockhart know what, never mind, you're all fired, Cary says. DIane concurs. Now you've heard out side of the case and you're conflicted about working for Canning. BURN! Those bonuses were real, but you may have to live off them for a long time because who's going to want to hire you? After the boyz are escorted out by security, Cary is all, "God, that was fun," and he and Diane high five. Cary is the new Will.

Plot 2: The Dirty Doctor: Meet Dr. Portnow, a guy who saves the lives of tiny babies and then posts extremely nasty shit on "" to y'know, feel good and relax from the stress. Specifically, he and some other user (Ortolan) got busted for conspiracy to kidnap, sedate, and rape (KSR) the mother of one of his patients. OH GOOD GOD. And Alicia's defending this fuck?

Judge Pissypants (the one that didn't get busted for bribery, I forget his last name right now) is on this case and gets on Alicia for "coincidentally" having the doctor in surgery when the case starts, and sends him to jail already. Alicia thinks the judge is biased against her, and points out privately that he didn't get busted because Eli warned him. He kicks her out for this.

Anyway, this doctor sounds horrible--he made 211 posts that went into evidence, he had all kinds of medical equipment in his trunk that could have been used for it, he wanted to come over to the potential victim's house right before he got busted. Alicia and Lucca are trying to argue that it's only a fantasy-- the doctor claimed he met her when he was a pilot and she was on his plane andn that's clearly not true. Jason is tasked with looking into how often fantasy KSR talk turns real and according to his buddy in cybercrimes, nobody has so far.

While drinking together in a bar, the ladies debate the doctor's "innocence" and Lucca concludes that it doesn't make much difference when you fantasize about something THAT MUCH. I...think she'd be fine losing this case. Alicia is all, he's saved a lot of kids' lives, and can't do that if he's in prison. know, ugh. "It's people. They're all scum," Lucca says, and she says she's better off having no expectations.

Meet Ortolan, a.k.a. Mr. Hofstader, registered sex offender ("I got popped a few times with lot lizards." = prostitutes) and long haul trucker and wannabe partner in KSR'ing, who says he was totally ready to go through with it even though they hadn't made any contact offline. Even though he was states away, he would totally have driven 2965 miles in four days and dumped his fresh cargo to KSR a woman.
I can't even start saying how disgusted I am right now.

Jason leaves Alicia a book that I think is written by the doctor's wife--she's a psychiatrist. The book is "Unheallthy Obsessions: Why Smart Women Make Bad Decisions." She'll testify for her husband, but seriously, she is cold like Antarctica and ain't no way she can conjure up any warmth or trust as to why she'd trust her husband after this shiz. She says he's compartmentalized and he respects her professionally. When the ladies try to get her to act how she does at home, she says, "This is how I am with my husband." BWHAHAHAHAH. So they're stuck putting the doctor on the stand to explain himself--it feels good, basically. I can't even start saying how disgusted I am right now. He said that specificity made it feel more real, it was a stress release, and Lucy was safe and he couldn't hurt her.

The jury comes back in less than fifteen minutes and votes guilty. But wait! Before you get happy, the judge chews them out for violating their oath, he finds there was insufficient evidence for guilt and changes it to an acquittal. WHAT THE FUCK. Alicia goes into the judge's office again and asks, "We earned that,right?" and he says, "Why don't you just say thank you?"

Plot 3: Eli's Love Life And How It's Trashing Alicia's Life:

Near-billionaire Courtney buys Eli a painting so big it barely fits into his office. While she's there, Ruth asks Courtney to do something about Jason, presumably before Alicia trips and falls on his dick. So Courtney offers Jason a temporary job in San Jose (I guess she's from there) for two months, and he takes it. Alicia can't beat that money, but says for him to call her...when he comes back. But before Jason leaves, he left Alicia something in her apartment, which Eli finds out about on his way in. (Alicia, why do all of these people have a key to your place?) Jason says Alicia will know what it is, and Eli frantically snoops through Alicia's apartment until she busts him. Anyway, what it was was the aforementioned "Unhealthy Obsessions" book.

Eli claims he's here to talk about Jackie needing a prenup, but Alicia is all, "Eli, I don't give a single damn." Why are you in my life, telling my private investigator to go away when I can't afford to pay him better and can't get a better one? Your paranoia is ruining my business, I wasn't sleeping with him but even if I was it's none of your business, WE'RE DONE. Eli figures out it must have been Ruth's doing, but Alicia kicks him out anyway. Seriously, girl, change your locks.

I DID NOT NEED TO SEE COURTNEY AND ELI POSTCOITAL. Especially bragging that it was amazing. Eli even turned off his cell phone to bone, but of course she didn't, and she picks it up, says she has to go, and by go she means "back to NorCal for a year." It was fun, it was fun, was said a lot, and Eli has all the deja vus of how he's dumped people before as he gets dumped. He gets it confirmed that Courtney offered Jason the job at Ruth's request, but she thought it would please Eli too. He actively pleads his case saying she's perfect for him (what, and not vice versa? way to woo, bud), but she cites that she's a workaholic too and her business is her priority and literally kisses him goodbye. Eli faceplants in his office and listens to her goodbye message on repeat.

The last scene: Alicia is drinking alone again (naturally) when Eli comes by, apologizing that he had no idea about the job interview for Jason and he's been too involved in her life. She says he's forgiven and she has to go pack for Iowa (which she claimed she was doing when he came by). Instead, they drink in the dark and she says, "You seem more upset than I do." Eli doesn't care about too many people--it's too much work to make it work--but he thought it wasn't so bad with her, and then she left him.

So why is Eli telling Alicia this? Why are we dwelling on his sadness? Because he tells her to call Jason and he thinks she should be happy and he doesn't want to be in her way and she shouldn't let the campaign gets in the way either. Alicia is all, "I'm....fine."

AND THEN ELI TELLS ALICIA HE DELETED WILL'S VOICEMAIL SIX YEARS AGO. Oh god, dude, don't. "He said he loved you and would give up everything to be with you. And Eli deleted it and he's been sick about it ever since and he doesn't want to stand in the way of her happiness again.

Alicia pulls his drink away from him and yells at him, "GET OUT."

Quote Corner:
"I'm not falling on my sword for hiring who everyone wanted." -Cary
"The easier way walked out the door this morning." -Cary
"Congratuations, there's a lot of weird porn in your future." -Lucca to Jason
"Too much fleece, too many ironic beards." -Jason describing Northern California.
"You're nice to me." "No, just listening." --Eli and Alicia

So, my thoughts:

(a) Seriously, STOP TREATING YOUR ASSOCIATES POORLY if we had to rehash that plotline again. I enjoyed the end trickery, though it made me miss Will.

(b) I really wanted the doctor to go to jail so bad. Frankly, it sounds only like the barest of technicalities that he didn't get to KSR'ing that poor woman. I'm with Lucca: if you fantasize enough...and we know dudes do it. Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh on all fronts.

(c) I hate to say this, but Alan Cumming can't act well enough to have sexual chemistry with any ladies, and it squicks me out whenever the show tries to make him have any. And I just got off the phone with my mother who just turned on the TV and was all, "Who's Vanessa in bed with?" "Eli." "OH GROSS!" I just don't buy him as being emotionally invested in this relationship when Vanessa Williams is in the room, though I will say I was a bit more sold on his sudden emo-sad when she wasn't around. I'd rather see him in a dude-dude relationship already.

(d) And yet amazingly enough, Eli's emo-sad led to him confessing possibly the worst thing he could have possibly said to Alicia ever. Damn. Damn damn damn. By rights he should be out of her life forever after that one.

Poor Alicia. I don't have whopping sympathy for her all the time these days, but that message...OW. Almost makes me hope she goes off the rails and flies to San Jose for some California boning, or...something, because that's lose-it territory we haven't seen since Kalinda.
posted by jenfullmoon (10 comments total)
1) I've been waiting for Alicia to learn what Will said in the message (that she knew existed). This was exactly as agonizing as I expected, but I wish it had come after a love-fest episode with Eli rather than one in which she'd gone off on him. Other than his daughter, Alicia is all Eli has, and he's already been all-the-way-down this season. This would have fit better, in my opinion, just after he regained some semblance of his life, so he could see that Alicia's not his consolation prize or means to a professional end, but the only real friend he has.

2) OMG, jenfullmoon, I can't disagree with your (C) enough. I think Alan Cumming comes across as the guy who isn't the alpha male, the one who, through stress and savvy and sheer hard work, gets the job done, but is absolutely clueless about real life stuff, and I think that's hot as hell for many of us in the audience. His scenes with America Ferrera (unless one had issues with the 19 year age difference between them, which I didn't/don't) were always fabulous and they had lots of sexual chemistry. Vanessa Williams, though dazzlingly gorgeous and whipsmart, doesn't seem to have any sexual chemistry with any of the men with whom she's been paired recently (Cumming, Mark Feuerstein, any of the Desperate Housewives guys).

And the idea that Alan Cumming, OBE, can't act well enough to do... anything...? [I feel like I should be Ana Gasteyer's Judge Lessner and prompt you to say "IN MY OPINION."] :-)
Some awards to the contrary
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 10:24 PM on December 13, 2015 [6 favorites]

I'd forgotten about that voicemail, so I think I was as surprised-angry as Alicia - WTF dude? I think off the rails Alicia is the best Alicia, so I am much more jazzed about the second half of the season. Many of the plots this first half seemed like wheel spinning, but that may have been Alicia going along - the campaign, Kaning shenanigans, the voting, etc. - which she will now, hopefully, no longer be doing.
posted by humans are superior! at 10:32 PM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

I don't know what Eli could have expected with that confession, and I totally disagree with Alan Cumming not being able to pull off hetero relationships because his expressions communicate so much, how can you not feel for the guy? It was easily the most interesting part of the episode, but I have no idea what they were trying to do with that-- except for my weird unexpected hope that he'd suddenly confess feelings for Alicia. That doesn't fit anywhere but I would be delighted beyond measure.

So, Iowa's going to be rough, eh?
posted by provoliminal at 12:58 AM on December 14, 2015

Heh, sorry. I know that sounded bad. I don't care if Eli's awkward when attempting to flirt, but I just literally can't watch the man and think that he genuinely wants to bone that lady, any of them, regardless of which one he's briefly been paired with. He's not doing it for me, sorry. Good actor the rest of the time, but I have just never been sold on his boner love for Amy Sedaris, America Ferrera, or now Vanessa Williams either. He just doesn't give off the pheromones about it in the moment in the way that oh, the actor playing Jason does in like every scene. Some people give off a vibe all the time, some only do with some people, and some just never have it, and to me he doesn't have it. I think he's got more emotion about Alicia in a non-sexual way than he has any of the ladies, I'll concur with that, but...

*shrug* I'm an asshole, I admit it, and only me and my mom feel this way, so there you go.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:16 AM on December 14, 2015

Alan Cumming identifies as bisexual, not gay, so even if he couldn't act, this would not be a case of "gay actor can't convincingly act a straight character". I agree that he has no chemistry with Vanessa Williams, but he and America Ferrera had chemistry to burn.

I don't like Eli's story arc this season. There's no way he would have stuck around after Peter replaced him as his campaign manager. It would have been a terrible humiliation for him, but why on earth would hardworking, ambitious Eli decide to become Alicia's manager when she doesn't need one? The job's beneath him and would only mean further humiliation. It would have been much more in character and more realistic for him to pick himself up and find another candidate to manage, and fairly easily too, as he's damn good at what he does.

The phone confession made some sense from Eli's perspective. He's down and he can't live with deceiving one of the few people who really matter to him. But then he unburdened himself at Alicia's expense, because hoo boy was that ever information she didn't need to have to deal with.

God, Alicia, call Jason. Or do something about your love life, such as making an effort to meet new people and making time for anyone interesting you meet. It's past time you had some happiness.

Man, is Canning ever not attempting to screw someone over?

The Howard and Jackie marriage seems to be going forward. My reaction to that pairing is always something between terror and hilarity, with a side of fervent gratitude for the fact that they're too old to have children.
posted by orange swan at 3:31 PM on December 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

I really really want Howard and Jackie to turn out to be ridiculously happy with each other. Because they've done a neat thing with Howard's flashes of competence, and he and Jackie are like retired grizzly bears, all soft and apparently teddy bear cute but underneath is the claw and bite that got them to the top of the food chain in the first place.

I think the show has too many threads at the moment and needs to pick something major to focus on. And is Alicia ever going to remember she has a son or is he now verboten on the show? Did the actor side with Archie or something?
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:27 PM on December 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

The whole Vanessa Williams/Eli relationship was too awkward. They had ZERO chemistry so the love scenes were cringe-inducing. (And that terrible lighting in the hotel bedroom scene!) She's not good enough an actor to overcome what was an underwritten part: billionaire [sic] businesswomen in unspecified business who can't get back to Chicago for a year. That's some Dynasty-level fantasy business career right there. The only part that was emotionally convincing was his goodbye-at-the-door scene. I know he is capable because I really liked his scenes with America Ferrara.

I'm glad Cary had some good scenes even if it did seem like a plot retread except in this case, we never learned who any of the associates were.

The last scene. I dunno. I guess I'm tired of close ups of Alicia's face when she's angry at Eli. Seems like there've been quite a few episodes this season where she's told him to get out/butt out/slammed the door in his face. So to drag Will into this unfocused season--Will who symbolizes the show when it was at its peak--it seemed gratuitous.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:03 AM on December 16, 2015

I get chills throughout my whole body with Eli's/Vanessa Williams's scenes because it's yet another example of an age-appropriate romance in this show, after Alicia/Will and Diane/gun-dude, plus most of Cary's liaisons. This show is still the #1 most feminist show on television on and the Eli/Vanessa (I forget her on screen name) age-appropriate plotline just adds to that. I would watch those two 50 year olds making out anytime.

an underwritten part: billionaire [sic] businesswomen in unspecified business who can't get back to Chicago for a year. That's some Dynasty-level fantasy business career right there.

It's not can't, it's won't. That's the whole point. She used him for a quick bang. It's a gender reversal that's so delicious. I wonder if Eli will have any reaction. He doesn't tend to take humiliation lying down. He usually schemes something. Is it going to be different in his love life? She humiliated him, even if it was with a smile and an, "I had fun." I'm not sure he wants to go up against a billionaire, though. Their power differential may actually be too big for him to scheme against her.

I loved Cary's treatment of the associates this episode. It was a delight, and just another example of legal realities making their way into the plot in a meaningful way. The reason that scene worked is that it's true, he got them to conflict themselves out, so the plot line hinged on some aspect of the law. I love when any legal drama can do that.

Great episode, made up for last week's kind of a snoozefest.
posted by omg_parrots at 1:58 PM on December 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

I want to enjoy this last season but everything seems to be developing in slow motion and the plots are all retreads from previous seasons. They're just going through the motions with Cary and Diane, they really couldn't come up with a season arc where principle characters had some meaningful interaction with each other?

Eli's fall from grace has been okay generally, but taking subservient roles is just completely contrary to his character. He should have disappeared for awhile and then shown up in the last 4-5 episodes in a position of power with the ability to make or break Peter's campaign.
posted by skewed at 6:58 PM on January 13, 2016

"Too much fleece, too many ironic beards." -Jason describing Northern California.

Takes one to know one, brah.

Eli is basically a different person from a few years ago. I thought the show was telling us he was now a close friend but the writers have him acting as a clueless outsider handling Jason and now dropping this bomb on Alicia is ham-handed. He's not close enough to Alicia to be a friend and his job is shit so why does he exist?
posted by Monochrome at 7:58 PM on July 28, 2016

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