New Show Recap

New Show Recap: The Good Wife, 5×14, A Few Words

For as long as I’ve watched The Good Wife (since the pilot, FWIW), I’ve looked at Alicia Florrick as a woman I am nothing like, but would aspire to be. It wasn’t until last night’s “A Few Words” that I realized we weren’t as different as I thought.


For five and a half seasons, we’ve known Alicia as a woman who gets things done. She has a unique ability to don her blinders and run head-on for the finish line, I’ve always marveled at how well she can focus when her world is falling down around her ears. In this episode, we got to see that she’s been putting on this show for all of us, not just her family and co-workers. When she’s alone, really alone, Alicia is just as vulnerable, confused, angry, and frustrated as the rest of us. As I viewer, I feel like I’ve let the character down by not seeing the width and breadth of her humanity until “A Few Words.”

The second most important takeaway from this episode: Never turn down a chance to get boozy with any of the women on this show. The guests at my fantasy celebrity dinner party have all been replaced with women from TGW. And dinner has been replaced with Pope-sized glasses of red wine. Once Alicia sends the Fucks She Gives train out of the station, it’s not coming back. And things like this happen.

On The Good Wife, Will tells Alicia "You wanna say bitch, say bitch."

Alicia Florrick says "bitch," with an emphatic and delightful eye roll.

Alicia is working off her last nerve because she’s been asked to deliver a keynote speech on how to go from “opt-out” mom to career woman at lawyer camp in NYC. Most of the episode is focused on her re-writing her speech after Cary declares her original draft “dry.” He encourages her to tell her story and make a personal connection with her audience. This leads to a funny montage with Alicia looking very much like I do right now, in front of her computer typing and deleting the same graph on an endless loop. She goes to the mini-bar for some writing lubricant, but the tiny bottle of red is inaccessible, as there is no corkscrew in the room. So, like the clever woman she is, she moves to the hotel bar.

“I just love bears.”

Carrie Preston is back as Elsbeth Tosciani. Carrie Preston is a real-life unicorn in her natural form, cleverly disguised as a wondrous ginger pixie. Did you know she’s married to Michael Emerson, who I’m also pretty sure is a unicorn? Love is real. Thurston Moore might be a giant douche, Danny and Rhea may have not been able to make it work, but Carrie and Michael prove magic exists.  She tweeted during the show:

And Elsbeth’s belief in the goodness of bears gets crushed in an instant. NY can sometimes do that to a girl. @GoodWifeWriters #TheGoodWife

— Carrie Preston (@Carrie_Preston) March 17, 2014


Elsbeth and Diane. Wouldn’t you just love to see them have lunch together? Whattaya say @GoodWifeWriters? #TheGoodWife

— Carrie Preston (@Carrie_Preston) March 17, 2014


“You wanna say bitch, say bitch” “Bitch” my new favorite quote @GoodWifeWriters #TheGoodWife

— Carrie Preston (@Carrie_Preston) March 17, 2014

The Good Wife's Elsbeth and a terrible racist bear.

We run into Elsbeth on the streets of Manhattan, having a picture taken with a colorful bear. When she goes to hug him, he calls her a “dirty, stinking Jew.” Elsbeth, who loves bears, is aghast, and tries to report the anti-semitic bear to anyone who holds still, but the bear walks free, while Eric Bogosian is trying to trick Will Gardner with a .gif. Fortunately, Elsbeth can experience many thoughts at once, so her bear anger doesn’t stand in the way of her out-smarting Bogosian’s video evidence. Because, you see, it’s not a video, it’s a .gif. And, as Elsbeth says, after leading Bogosian to foolishly assume she’s a dingbat, in only 8 bits, there’s a lot of room for “alterations.” Plus, taking advantage of NY’s “one party consent” rule for recording conversations, Elsbeth catches him saying his main reason for assuming Peter is guilty is because Peter is governor of Illinois, and ALL Illinois governors are corrupt. Point Elsbeth.

The Good WIfe's Elsbeth "No, it looks like a GIF. Or is it a 'jif'?"The Good Wife's Eric Bogosian on .gifs.

Bogosian is a tougher nut than even Elsbeth anticipated, and he manages to catch Will and Moody (Eli Gold’s bag man who orchestrated the voter fraud everyone is talking about) have a private conversation in an empty hotel hallway. During said conversation, Will was telling Moody they couldn’t talk at all, as they were both witnesses in a Grand Jury inquiry, but no matter. As it turns out, Bogosian made a deal with Moody, and now Will is facing up to ten years in the clink, unless he testifies against Peter.

“Thanks guys, but I wanted to talk to Alicia?”

A sub-plot running through the episode involves Jill Hennessey (I LOVE her!) guest staring as Rayna Hecht, a high powered lawyer with clients worth $60m/yr in billable hours, shopping for a new firm. She’s fed up with the boys’ club at her current firm, and wants to work somewhere where women are represented at all levels. She meets with Lockhart Gardner, and blows off Florrick Agos until she hears Alicia’s speech, which impresses her. Sadly, during Alicia’s speech, a huge stock story broke, and the majority of the audience for her keynote got up and left halfway through. So Alicia got super drunk. When Hecht asks to meet with her ASAP, Cary and Clark try to cover for her, but end up looking to be speaking both for and over Alicia. Hecht is not impressed, and keeps hilariously blowing them both off to ask Alicia direct questions.

Ultimately, Hecht partners with Elsbeth, and I demand a spin-off.

“She doesn’t have a killer instinct.”

Moving back to Alicia, we see most of her story about “opting in” with flashbacks to her job hunt immediately after Peter’s first scandal. She’s offered an associate’s position at a firm, but the next day the offer is bumped down to a volunteer paralegal position. Another firm, headed by a character played by Polly Draper, who almost none of you are old enough to remember from thirtysomething, just wants gossip on her. When she runs into Will, he’s willing to take a chance on her, after assigning Kalinda to check up on her. Kalinda reports that Alicia was competent at her old firm, before she left on maternity leave, but the firm was planning to fire her for not having a killer instinct.

Funny how things change.

The flashbacks also gave us this moment, on the day both Alicia and Cary interviewed for their positions at LG.

The Good WIfe's Cary and Alicia

What did you think of this episode, readers?

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

One reply on “New Show Recap: The Good Wife, 5×14, A Few Words”

I liked this episode, and it was interesting that they showed the origins of Will and Alicia’s professional hookup. I definitely think the two of them have much more chemistry in the courtroom than in the bedroom/elevator/granary, so it’s fun to see them parry. As a long-term veteran of the corporate wars, I winced at Alicia’s original outfits, where she was dressed in male-style jackets “softened” with feminine accents and in colors. It definitely smacks of someone who is overthinking her wardrobe.

Leave a Reply