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TV Review: The Good Wife – “The Dream Team”

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The season finale of CBS’s The Good Wife, entitled “The Dream Team,” finds two of Lockhart / Gardner’s biggest foes, Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox) and Patti Nyholm (Martha Plimpton), teaming up to try to bankrupt the firm. As the senior partners scramble to prevent this, Alicia (Julianna Margulies) becomes confused once more about her feelings for Peter (Chris Noth), and accidentally stirs up a hornet’s nest involving Kalida’s (Archie Panjabi) dangerous husband.

First, it must be said that the scene by the elevator, when Alicia sees both Will (Josh Charles) and Peter arrive together, and then others joining them, and finally, a baby scooting through the middle of the group, is one of the best moments ever! There is the perfect build up of tension, clashes happening all at once, a perfect storm coming together, and another recurrence of a joke that runs throughout the hour. Brilliant!

What is going on with Kalinda? She seems on the verge of skipping town in “The Dream Team,” but then, after learning Alicia is in danger, she changes her mind. Clearly, Kalinda has put down roots here, and worries about those she would leave behind. It isn’t revealed just what her husband is capable of, but it cannot be anything good, given Kalinda’s decision to wait for him with a gun. Might the first case for the firm next year involve clearing Kalinda of a murder charge? Or will this new, as of yet unseen, character stay around for a bit to complicate things? The latter is more appealing, and could still lead to the former happening down the road.

Fox and Plimpton are two of The Good Wife‘s best recurring characters, which is saying something, given the elite company the series keeps. Having them both in the same episode, working together, well, that’s a dream come true! Which is probably why this installment is called “The Dream Team.” They both prove to be formidable foes in the past, so it’s little wonder that once they put their heads together, they are able to deal a crippling blow! And that is accomplished just by a little distraction.

Dragging Andrew Wiley (Tim Guinee) into the mess as well certainly doesn’t hurt the episode!

It seems like Lockhart / Gardner is ending the season on the same shaky ground it’s been battling to stay off of for a very long time, which is a shame, given the promising start of the episode, in which the firm looks to get a share of a twenty-five million dollar settlement. L/G’s finances are not stable, but this is nothing new. However, with Louis and Patti’s victory in “The Dream Team,” L/G has now lost 20% of its income. This will certainly result in massive layoffs. Who is on the chopping block? Alicia, who recently becomes more highly paid than her equally qualified colleagues, or Cary (Matt Czuchry), who just gets his foot back in the door, and is doing everything in his power to make himself valuable to his former employees? Neither deserve it, but both appear to be top candidates, except for the fact that they are main characters.

Unless Cary’s employment at Lockhart / Gardner is a scam. Peter acts genuinely surprised when he learns that Cary is quitting the District Attorney’s office. But Cary also later receives that call from Peter that is not shown on screen. It doesn’t seem like Peter would be plotting against the firm, considering how friendly he is getting with his wife again, but one never knows. Cary could be involved in a shady plot. And Lockhart / Gardner will be lucky to weather their current attack, let alone a second one!

Please let this not be the case! It’s so good to have Cary back where he is, and he is a much more noble character than he once was!

Alicia losing her job might just push her back into Peter’s arms. She is independent for now, but with no income, she won’t be for long. Might Canning’s offer of employment still stand, albeit with a lower pay rate attached? She could probably find a job somewhere, but not one as comfortable as the spot she currently holds. Though, given Eli’s (Alan Cumming) sway at Lockhart / Gardner, and his desire to keep her happy so she will help Peter, Alicia is probably safe.

That being said, Peter would probably take her back. He needs her by his side to win the governor’s race, and while she’s willing to help him already, perhaps entwining more would draw the pair closer together. Plus, now that their separation is public knowledge, a reunion of sorts would greatly improve Peter’s chances. There are strong hints in “The Dream Team” that Alicia might be warming to the idea of a reconciliation, especially at the end of the episode, when she glimpses her cozy family through the window. And Peter is working hard to be at good to her, proving he could be worthy of a second chance. Might this be the direction that The Good Wife will go? If Eli senses this is a possibility, his protection of Alicia will be over.

Why, oh why, isn’t Noth a main character?

Just as sick as Lockhart / Gardner’s balance sheet is Jackie (Mary Beth Peil). She is up to her devious games when she buys Alicia’s old house out from under her. But at least that comes from a semi-kind place, in that she is trying to provide a familiar home to her son and grandchildren. Hopefully she will heed Alicia’s request to hand the house over to the kids because that will still accomplish Jackie’s goal, for now, and the family doesn’t need a lawsuit to make things more tenuous than they already are.

But this is not Jackie’s greatest sickness in “The Dream Team.” She becomes confused, and doesn’t know what is going on. She imagines her television set playing a movie, but the power is off. These are not healthy signs, and, perhaps surprisingly, only Alicia picks up on it. Peter isn’t too concerned when Alicia raises the issue. Might it be up to Alicia, who loathes Jackie, to do something to help her mother-in-law?

“The Dream Team” is a terrific season finale, with some juicy character bits for many of the leads, some new mysteries and obstacles, and leaving whopping cliffhangers. Anticipation for next year will be high! Though fans of The Good Wife have come to expect such standards, and should not be surprised.

The Good Wife has been renewed and will return to CBS next fall.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
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