Lockhart-Gardner is revealed to be a sweatshop in the penultimate episode of this season of “The Good Wife,” “A More Perfect Union.” The title is a pun, referring not only to the multiple labor disputes in this episode, but also to Alicia’s (Julianna Margulies) marriage. Will (Josh Charles) and Alicia shippers will find a surprising ally in Alicia’s mother Veronica (Stockard Channing), who finally does something good for her daughter. Read on for the highlights of the episode.
The Love Triangle Gets Real
Alicia and Owen have been roped into attending a funeral for a friend of their mom’s that they have never met. Owen (Dallas Roberts) tells her, “You don’t love Peter. Go back to Will.” She’s confided in him about the kiss, which she terms a mistake. Owen points out that breaking up with him because it didn’t seem like a long-term relationship was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, but we have seen evidence that Will is not exactly Prince Charming.
Peter (Chris Noth) learns from a Nate Silver-like pollster that his internal polling is overly optimistic. He is actually two points behind Crostivo. His advice is that Peter should get Alicia to attack him, since the public doesn’t think of her as a lying adulterer. Peter turns on the charm with Alicia, wooing her with pizza and wine like on their first date — which I thought was established as a Bulls playoff game — then tops it off with a big diamond ring. He wants Alicia to renew their vows in Hawaii. This seems like the worst idea ever. Doesn’t Peter watch “Mad Men“? A cheater in paradise is only going to end up obsessing over his own mortality before having another affair. Alicia, who seems like she would watch “Mad Men” because lord knows she’d understand the appeal of Don Draper, is wisely uncertain. Peter goes into Mr. Big mode: “All I know is that I love you.” Watch the scene below and decide for yourself if he’s really ready to be The Good Husband.
Then Peter decides to win over Owen, knowing that it would help his cause if someone in Alicia’s family didn’t hate him. He asks Owen the math teacher to double check his stats. He mentions the vow renewal. Owen calls out Peter on attempting to flatter him by pretending to need his expertise. But Peter is so smooth that even though he knew he was being manipulated, Owen buys what Peter is selling. He tells Alicia that he may have misjudged Peter. Veronica tells her that in two months Peter will be sleeping with hookers again. Ha!
Veronica decides she is going to do her best impression of a character on a CW show. Maybe she’s the one writing “Vampire Diaries” fan-fiction on Diane’s computer. She marches to Will’s office and asks Will if he loves Alicia, “because if you do, it’s time to stop being polite about it. You have a window but it’s closing. That schmuck of a husband of hers wants to renew their vows … And I know my daughter. If she does that, you’re never going to pry her away from him. So you’ve got to move now.” Well said, Veronica. The question is whether or not Will is going to step up to the plate and fight for her.
Alicia appears on “Charlie Rose” and puts the screws to Crostivo by revealing he is an alcoholic. Peter never told her to do it. But Alicia has plenty of reason to hate Crostivo. Peter pulls ahead in the race. Alicia asks him to promise he will never “put her through the same thing again.” After he insists he will never get arrested after a public sex scandal, she says yes, she would love to renew their vows. I think this is the conversation every little girl dreams of that she will grow up to have with her future husband.
Labor Dispute Number 1: Case of the Week
Veronica volunteers Alicia to be the lawyer representing a group of contract software coders. When a coder who has been working a lot of overtime dies after crashing his car, the software company offers the remaining employees a contract that makes them give up their right to sue.
Nancy Crozier (Mamie Gummer) is representing the software company, Blowtorch. She is as evil as ever. When the company decides to immediately fire everyone for not signing, Alicia comes up with the strategy of claiming they were attempting to form a union, which entitles them to protection under Federal labor law. After the requisite twists and turns, Alicia secures a win for the employees. Unfortunately, Chum Hum took advantage of the dispute and bought the company for a low price, rendering the labor deal moot. Alicia asks Diane if she alerted the firm’s client, Chum Hum, to the labor dispute so that it could buy the company for cheap. Diane points out that it’s just the way business works and Alicia’s discontent with Lockhart-Gardner grows.
Labor Dispute Number 2: The Administrative Assistants
An assistant at Lockhart-Gardner learns from the Blowtorch case that they should be getting overtime after 60 hours a week. Wait, Lockhart-Gardner does not offer its lower level staff overtime? That is despicable, and possibly illegal. It’s especially gross given all the money Lockhart-Gardner has been spending on expansion. The assistants decide they’re going to be Norma Raes and fight for their rights. The partners express complete disdain, not only for their concerns but also for the work that they do. Let’s see the lawyers type up a deal memo. They dispatch Alicia to meet with them in the hopes that she will be able to appease them. As Alicia meets with the assistants, they have some legitimate concerns, including that they make ten percent less than admins at comparable firms. David (Zach Grenier) barges in to the meeting and threatens to fire them. They threaten to form a union. They start deliberately messing up at performing their jobs. Then at the Executive Committee meeting, David reveals the ringleaders are now being allowed to telecommute three days a week. Alicia realizes Lockhart-Gardner bought them off.
Labor Dispute Number 3: Kalinda
Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) learns that Robin has health insurance. This upsets her because she does not. Is Lockhart-Gardner Wal-Mart? Law firms usually have great benefits. She tells Will she has another offer, telling him that she knows about Robin. He reveals that Kalinda is an independent contractor because she wants the freedom to accept other jobs. That makes more sense. She’s just miffed that, including the value of the health insurance, which Kalinda improbably claims is worth $30,000 per year, they are making the same salary even though Robin just started. Will tells her that her freedom costs her. Kalinda asks Cary (Matt Czuchry), who wants her to join his firm, which is going to have rainbows and unicorns for everyone, for an offer for exclusivity. He tells her he won’t get into a bidding war. Then she pulls the same trick with Will, who thinks she is making up the offer. He is in for a big surprise when half of the firm quits on him next week.
“The Good Wife” airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS.