The Good Wife: Iowa
January 10, 2016 10:21 PM - Season 7, Episode 11 - Subscribe

The Florrick family heads to Iowa for the opening of polls. Jackie and Howard have some hidden money drama, and Monica's employment complaint she filed before getting a job comes to bite Lockhart Whatever in the arse.

Prologue: We continue with the "Get out" scene from the end of the last episode, which finishes with Alicia literally HULK SMASHING and flinging plates at Eli and generally going berzerk. Oh, for the record, Jason popped back in for some other thing and Alicia's all uh, I was just in the shower and packing, NBD.

Plot 1: IOWA! Oh dear lord, the music in this episode: switching between something I think is called "Iowa Corn Song"(?) that constantly sings about "Grand Old Iowey" every time the bus is shown, and whatever song Alicia is listening to very loudly through headphones about "even the sky's feeling blue" and "no one's more happy than you." She's wearing Jackie O sunglasses, reading Jane Eyre on her tablet (she claims), and doing her damndest to ignore everybody except when she absolutely can't. When she does have to interact with other humans, she's either acting like a cheerful robot (just like me at work!) or musing to Ruth about lost love. And for those of you missing Zach, he and his XBox are in this episode. Oh yeah, and she's all "whatever Ruth wants" in Eli's face.

Anyway, the Florrick campaign is doing a Full Grassley (not a Full Monty), in which he tours all 99 counties of Iowa and has to eat "loose meat sandwiches"* at all of them. Which they do pull off, with the uh, help of some really loud guy wearing a Revolutionary War costume with gold bling on it. Also, he's rapping at one point, which makes me think once again of HAMILTON! And then Peter gets in trouble for spitting the last one out. Oh, for crying out loud, he could have been choking or just full, Iowans!

* This makes me wonder what the heck a "tight meat sandwich" would look like. Aren't all sandwiches loose meat?

Oh yeah, and Eli foolishly approaches Alicia at one point and says it's a nightmare that she won't talk to him. She snaps at him, "Being here is when I want to be home. Being on a bus in the middle of Iowa is a nighmare." However, this gets recorded by a visiting recorder and put online. Ruth demands that Alicia apologize and like a smiling robot, Alicia parrots the story that "what I actually meant was that it's a nightmare away from my kitchen" because Grace has the sniffles.

Ruth and Alicia talk a bit about love. Alicia wishes she could go back in time and start all over again with Will in college, and Ruth is all, nope, whatever you think would have changed, wouldn't have. We find out that Ruth was romantically involved with another politico, but they split up over kids. And then he eventually went to jail for fraud. Does Alicia want Peter to win? She has no idea. But tomorrow will show you how crazy democracy can get! Ruth should know, she's from Iowa.

Anyway, Ruth will consider it "winning" if Peter comes in second, losing would be if he comes in third. They get to the Iowa polling place and uh... yeah, Iowa is WEIRD and there's a lot of drama about trying to get 29 pollsters because originally none were on Peter's side. However, the Revolutionary Rapper literally booms in with song and swings people to his side. "This can't really be happening, can it?" says Eli. "I told you, Iowa is DIFFERENT," says Ruth.

Peter asks Alicia what the argument with Eli is about, and she says she thinks he'd prefer not to know, and it's about the past.

In the end, the winners in order are Hillary, Bernie, and Martin O' Malley (who?). Peter won a whopping four counties. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. Only winning Polk and the three he visited on the last day.

Eli gives Ruth unwanted Monday morning quarterbacking by saying she overreached and also missed the most fundamental thing about the man--Peter isn't number one nationally, ALICIA is. Okay, for the record after the last episode, if they ever suddenly want to have Eli have a romantic thing for Alicia, I slightly might buy it. Dude is kinda weirdly fixated on her regardless of hormones. Alicia goes over to Peter and lets him stick his head into her stomach while she stares stonefacedly into the distance and that song plays again.


Plot 2: Jackie and Howard's Prenup: Lucca is handling the prenup for the lovebirds, finds 2.2 million Howard didn't know about, which makes Jackie reasonably assume that Howard is losing his marbles and she'll need power of attorney. Now. However, it turned out to be money David Lee was hiding (Howard then asks for half of it, of course), and it's confirmed that Howard isn't insane. The lovebirds decide not to have a prenup, reasonably assuming Peter's going to lose interest in the whole thing.

We do see that Jackie is totally crushed by Peter's loss, and then she snaps that Iowa has contributed nothing to our union, and why do they get to kick it off anyway?

Plot 2.5: Lucca gets a call from Jason (in San Francisco! Where you see the bridge reflection in his car! And some loud horn is going off during the entire call! Good lord, I've been there a billion times and never seen that. I felt like we should be checking off an San Francisco Cliche Bingo card.) She finds out that Jason's on another job and Alicia knows about it. Lucca razzes him a bit for flirting all the time. Jason is still doing Florrick work though, verifying the truth of Plot 2. "Behave, please," she tells him. "Always!"

Plot 3: Monca's Employment, Again. Before Monica got hired, she reported Lockhart Whatever to some agency. Cary is forced to apologize, and then he offers up Howard being put on "emeritus" status to please the organization. Diane is all, you just did that to get rid of Howard like you wanted anyway, and Cary's all, just trying to help the firm.

Quote Corner:
"I used to think I knew what life was about, but I don't have a clue." --Alicia.
"Go ahead, take that road less traveled. You'd still find that cliff."
Iowans have no sense of humor about loose meat sandwiches.
"I am innocent of everything except being old." --Howard.
"Please, not another sandwich." -Peter.
"I am sharper than a serpent's tooth!" -Howard.
"That's King Lear, and he lost his mind." -Lucca
"That's from the first act, when he's still sane." -David Lee, paraphrased.
"Young, ethnically ambitious woman." --Howard to Lucca.
"If you choke on a sandwich, maybe you don't have the stomach for this job." --some random Iowan to Peter.
"Even a youth minister has to powder her nose." -Ruth on a missing pollster.
posted by jenfullmoon (20 comments total)
I feel kinda bad for Iowa.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:40 AM on January 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

An interesting death of dreams theme going on....
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:18 AM on January 11, 2016

No One's More Happy Than You by Clem Snide. I like it.
posted by maudlin at 3:10 PM on January 11, 2016

I assume that the hidden $2m will reappear later this season ...
posted by pmurray63 at 5:24 PM on January 11, 2016

A loose meat sandwich is basically a sloppy joe with no sauce. Or, if you prefer, a hamburger that nobody bothered to form into a patty.

I'm sure somewhere in Iowa they are good because they are a big deal, but mostly I think they're pretty gross.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:53 PM on January 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

oh wow, I thought it was something like shaved meat. Do people put ketchup or mustard on it? How does it not fall out of the bun if there's no sauce holding it together?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:13 PM on January 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

So, if Cary is screwing over Howard by forcing him into emeritus status, can we assume that Howard is going to take some sort of revenge by keeping that 2 million dollars? He seemed pretty pumped about being actively involved with the firm after he started dating Jackie -- I can't see him handling this well.
posted by aaanastasia at 2:19 AM on January 12, 2016

By Clem SNIDE? Too funny.
Yeah, I looked the sandwich up and was all, "it's just ground meat? What?"

Good Wife creators more or less kinda exiting after season 7, possible zombie season may happen after that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:58 AM on January 12, 2016

Before I comment on this episode, I should note that I've only been watching TGW since the start of season 5.

That said: this was by far the dullest episode of The Good Wife I've seen. The only plot line I was remotely interested in was David Lee hiding money in a shell corp. under Howard's name, and even that more for its potential to become interesting (if Howard fights to keep all of it) than of actually being interesting now.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:07 PM on January 12, 2016

Season 5 was the peak. If you want to see improvement, go back and start at the beginning. I caught up with the first few seasons via the syndicated reruns, and it was worthwhile.

They've still got half a season left. Let's hope the creators can leave on a high note.
posted by pmurray63 at 2:18 PM on January 12, 2016

"The bottom line is CBS is trying to make deals for an eighth season, so we would be there in a supervisory role, but the storytelling we have will finish in the seventh year,” Robert says. "That doesn’t mean we’re putting Alicia in her grave, because you couldn't do an eighth season after that. But to our minds, we have always written with the idea we could end this season a certain way so that it would make it a satisfactory [conclusion to the] series. But we don’t own it. But we understand completely CBS’ interest in it."

A recipe for disaster.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:07 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Frankly, if the Kings leave, and CBS hires some hack to run and write an 8th season... IT MIGHT HELP THE SHOW. Sorry, but since the whole Kalinda fiasco I am fully willing to trust random hacks more than the Kings to write a good show.

I liked the beginning of this one, with Alicia actually showing some emotion. But then she spent the rest of the episode being, er, The Good Wife on the bus and repressing her feelings.

I enjoyed the Peter campaign story a bit (and I assume that's over?) and I actually enjoyed the Agos Lee Whatever scenes a bit. I hope Howard and Jackie end up screwing them out of $2 million.

The "Yes, I'm in San Francisco, can't you hear the Trolley Car sound effects?" scenes with Jason were painful to watch and completely pointless. I think half the scenes in this show now are made up due to contractual obligations with actors even though there's nothing for their characters to do.

One more rant: WHY did they open that whole Eli-deleting-Will's-message can of worms? It's pointless, it just gives Alicia one more reason to be unhappy. Worse, it doesn't even fit Eli's character. It's not that he has evolved, it's that the writers changed him into a funnier and less evil and corrupt character after the first season or two. So when Funny Eli takes responsibility for what Evil Scary Eli did before, it doesn't even feel like the same person.

Best line in the show: "Who's Martin O'Malley?"

Oh, in other news, apparently Zach still exists.
posted by mmoncur at 12:41 AM on January 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I liked the beginning of this one, with Alicia actually showing some emotion.

Well, yes, except did you notice how Alicia carefully divided her stack of plates in half before picking up one group to throw at Eli? As if she had made a careful, calculated decision to throw plates to show her anger to Eli. And if it were that alone I wouldn't mind so much, an interesting insight into her character, etc. But even after Eli leaves she smashes the remainder of that half of her plates, which is at odds with that being a calculated display of anger. (I suppose you could say that when she did that her anger got the better of her after all, but I'm having trouble buying that.)

I enjoyed the Peter campaign story a bit (and I assume that's over?)

One can only hope. Let's get Alicia (and Luca, for that matter) back in the courtroom, please. But I fear the show will find some miraculous or against-all-odds reason to keep the campaign going.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:35 AM on January 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

It looked to me like the stack of plates alternated between one pattern and another, and that she was saving one pattern (presumably with some sentimental value), and choosing to throw the other, plainer set. To me it seemed like she was using the last of her self-control to avoid doing something she would regret later, as she felt her shock turning into a Hulk-like rage at Eli's revelation.

With Peter out of the race and his political ambitions apparently in tatters, what is keeping her in her sham marriage now, anyway?
posted by cardboard at 5:53 AM on January 13, 2016

The way I interpreted that scene was that she told Eli to get out, then started ignoring him. She got the plates out to set the table, as if to say "You're not here, I'm going about my business." She sorted out the ones she was going to put on the table, then turned around to put the others back in the cabinet, but Eli was still there so she lost control and threw one at him. Then ended up breaking the rest.
posted by mmoncur at 2:57 PM on January 13, 2016

I would reasonably assume that the Kings want the show to end with Alicia divorcing.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:25 AM on January 14, 2016

I would reasonably assume that the Kings want the show to end with Alicia divorcing.

Huh, I'm reasonably ashamed this never occurred to me. Really makes sense.
posted by humans are superior! at 10:37 PM on January 14, 2016

This was definitely the most boring episode. Maybe not the worst, but the dullest. Peter's political ambitions are so incredibly boring, Alicia as nothing but politician's wife is boring, the lack of integration between the parts of the show is killing it.

I am up for the plot that is Howard deciding to keep all the money when he finds out Cary is forcing him out, though. I don't even like Howard plots, I think "ha ha gross old man is gross" is a crappy thing to do, but there we have it.
posted by jeather at 3:26 PM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Cary won't be able to kick Harold out of the firm now. And holy shit is David Lee going to be in hot water with Diane and Cary because of the situation he created.

I keep wondering whether Alicia's choice of reading material, Jane Eyre, has any special significance to her or if it's just a comfort read.

The "winning over voters at the Iowa event" thing played so false to me. I pick my candidate on the basis of careful analysis. I'm not going to suddenly switch teams because there's some guy walking around in a Revolutionary War costume doing a really stupid rap number. Had those people no principles at all?

Ruth has some ninja-level conversational skills. What she said to Alicia was both true and insightful and would also tend towards keeping Alicia on board with her marriage and Peter's campaign.
posted by orange swan at 4:14 PM on January 15, 2016

I'm wondering what Alicia will do when she learns that Lockhart whatever hid assets from her.

I liked Peter's campaign story a LOT more than Alicia's from last season except for sidelining Eli and ruining his character arc. Is that Election Board storyline going to come back?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:49 PM on January 15, 2016

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