‘The Good Wife’: Alicia Discovers the Dark Side of Being a Partner

Julianna Margulies in "The Good Wife" (David M. Russell/CBS)

In this week’s episode of  “The Good Wife,” “Going For the Gold,” Alicia discovers the less than glamorous aspects of her new role as Equity Partner at Lockhart-Gardner while stepping up to be Peter’s true partner when  his gubernatorial campaign hits a snag. It’s also one of the funniest episodes of the season, and definitely the most bro-mantic.

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Heavy is the Head that Wears the Crown: Diane (Christine Baranski)  gives Alicia (Julianna Margulies) her first assignment as Equity Partner. She’s arguing a case before the Supreme Court. Just kidding. She has to  rein in the billable hours on the Bishop case. If this is going to be a plot, I wish they would explain more about how the billing works, and what an associate bills at relative to a partner. Both Will (Josh Charles) and Alicia have colds, presumably as a result of their kiss in the previous episode. Hee! Alicia awkwardly asks Cary (Matt Czuchry), who is handling the case, if he needs to use so many associates and write multiple briefs. It’s uncomfortable, especially given that Cary thought he’d be a partner too. She ends up in an elevator with Will again. They agree that there won’t be a repeat of the kiss, which pretty much assures that eventually there will be.Cary thinks  that Alicia is cutting his billable hours to ruin his chances for promotion. Instead, she tries to cut her hours. Diane tells her not to do that, advising her that the associates will lose respect for her if she is apologetic about her new role  and that she shouldn’t pretend to  be a peasant. Will overhears Cary and other associates grumbling about Alicia’s attempts to shaft them and tells them that Alicia cut her own hours.  Cary apologizes, but Alicia shows him a new plan for the Bishop case that does in fact shaft them. Their friendship may be a casualty of Alicia’s promotion.

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Ellsbeth Saves the Day.. Again: Josh (Kyle McLachlan) continues his bizarre romantic pursuit of Ellsbeth (Carrie Preston) by flirting with her during a business lunch. There is an anonymous quote in a gossip column stating that Eli is guilty of vote buying despite the case being dismissed. He tells her he’s pursuing a conspiracy charge, seductively adding,  “I can’t wait for you to take me to court. O love the shape of your lips. They’re so… pillowy.” Ellsbeth recruits Kalinda (Archie Panjabi)  to find the co-conspirator. In a too brief scene, they tag team a restaurant hostess to learn that Josh had lunch with Frank Landau.

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Eli confronts Frank who says the Justice Department is after him. He refuses to tell him more. In court, Frank testifies that he and Eli purchased votes. He claims Eli violently confronted him. Ellsbeth sues Frank for defamation because he gave the quote to the gossip column. She asks Alicia to represent Eli  in the suit so they can get the information the Justice Department has. Josh asks that the suit be delayed because it damages his case. The civil court judge hates the justice department, so he consistently rules against Josh.

Once they go to Federal Court, the whole case turns out to hinge on Eli sending Jackie to make speeches at retirement homes earlier this season. Josh claims that Eli got retirement home owner Hugh Saxon to bring senior citizens to the straw poll to vote for Peter in exchange for a discount on Eli’s crisis management services. Wow, is that bogus. But technically Eli is guilty. Kalinda finds photos of the seniors wearing shirts supporting all the candidates, undercutting the case. Josh claims there will be another witness – Jackie.  She has fun screwing Eli over by saying she overheard it. Alicia suggests using Jackie’s stroke. To Alicia’s shock, Jackie voluntarily makes herself look impaired during cross examination.

Josh then claims Diane is the second co-conspirator because she signed invoices approving the discounted fees. Diane says she did it at the then trustee Clark’s insistence, not because she approved. the case is dismissed. Josh asks Ellsbeth out. In a nice reversal of the TV trope that women enjoy being pursued even when they say they aren’t interested, she turns him down flat.

Alicia Truly is a Good Wife to Peter: Jordan (T.R. Knight) advises Peter (Chris Noth)  not to be too combative during his debate with Maddie. He is dubious. Alicia is still having campaign bus sex with Peter, though she may be closing her eyes and thinking of Will. Afterward, Alicia is weirded out when Peter wants to have dinner with her. Their relationship is so dysfunctional, and Alicia really seems to enjoy compartmentalizing her life. Peter asks her opinions about his debate strategy. She tells him to call Eli. Jordan, afraid of losing his leadership role in the campaign, dissuades him.

During the debate, Maddie uses information Alicia told her about Peter against him. He doesn’t fight back. During intermission, Alicia persuades him to call Eli. He advises him to go on the offensive, telling him wear to stand so he won’t look like a bully on camera. They have a bromance moment about how much they miss working together. After Peter triumphs, he gets Eli, now twice cleared of corruption charges, to sign back on his campaign manager. They literally hug it out. It’s fantastic, and quite possibly the most sincere, honest partnership on this show. Watch the moment, then call your best friend.

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