This episode changes everything.
I’ve been sitting here, trying to come up with a better opening line, but I can’t, no matter how hard I try. Why? Because tonight, four amazing things happened:
1) I discovered the devil wears plaid
2) For the first time in four years was truly disappointed in Will
3) I became part of the game Alicia faces every day, and
4) I finally realized that I don’t blame her for any of it
This week I’m going to explore why “The Seven Day Rule” is the episode that, in my opinion, has changed the course of The Good Wife forever.
If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that I wouldn't want Alicia Florrick’s life. Do I admire her legal acumen and compassionate nature? Yes. Do I adore her wardrobe and take notes when it comes to her home décor? Who doesn't (Right?!) These things, and countless others (her moxie, her wit, her laugh – to name three) are all qualities and characteristics to love.
But, at the end of the day, I think there’s one thing on which we can all agree: Alicia’s life is a hot mess.
Her personal life is a disaster and her children have (on more than 12 occasions) made me want to go the way of Silvia Plath. Work is complicated, her friendships are intermittent and the only thing she can count on is the hope that one day things will get better.
And then, they did. They got better for 18 seconds.
Here’s how it went:
Alicia, walking down the hall hears a beckoning call from Diane and Will.
“Why don’t you go ahead and sit down” says Diane.
Alicia slowly takes a seat, her eyes pacing between the two named partners. Sitting with baited breath, Alicia listens to Diane’s speech which includes a flashback to Jonas Stern (whose family, I fear, is still eating potato salad from his wake), a nod to hard work and then the offer every associate dreams of: the invitation to join the firm as an Equity Partner.
Alicia’s thrilled, I’m thrilled and the world is a happy place. Before Alicia trips on her chair (an action which elicits an adorable smile from Will and a squeal of appreciation from me), Diane passes along some famed words of wisdom: Go home, take the phone of the hook and think about the offer. Then go to the track, smoke a cigar or go windsurfing as Will did (apparently unsuccessfully, which, strangely, adds to his charm and mystique).
Alicia leaves Diane’s office and heads for the elevator. As the doors close, we can almost hear her scream with joy. Next stop? Campaign headquarters. With no Peter to be found and the topic of religion killing her buzz, Alicia has no choice but to go shopping over lunch. Then it’s back to the office to meet with the David Lee because, the hoodie-wearing Chum Hum exec, Neil Gross, is back and debating a pre-nup. Everything’s coming up roses until David Lee drops his first bomb of the episode: Buying into the equity partnership is going to cost (and not in a Debbie Allen “this is where you start paying… in sweat” kind of way). Equity Partnership = $600,000.
Panic stricken, Alicia rushes to return her shopping purchases and gets on the phone with her banker in the hopes of securing a loan. All we hear is “blah, blah, blah, co-signer, blah, blah, blah, Mr. Florrick.” Click. Peter has suddenly become Alicia’s gateway to the legal fast-track.
Before long, Alicia’s at the campaign bus spreading the good news (and hopefully nothing else). Yes, I just went there because, quite frankly, I’m tired of what the bus and all bathrooms have come to represent recently. But I digress. While aboard the bus, Alicia mentions Peter co-signing on her loan. His response? “How about I just give you the money? It’s a business decision.”
I’m sorry, what? Now I have 58 questions, the most important being: How does Peter have $600,000? He’s the one who had to borrow money from Cosco pre-season one to buy Alicia a diamond tennis bracelet and then he went to prison… which isn't particularly lucrative unless you’re somehow smuggling contraband. Since he was friends-off with Kalinda at that time, that theory’s out. Next, we know he spent all his money on his season two campaign (flashback to the jokes about making photocopies at Kinkos). He’s the State’s Attorney, not Midas. Color me confused. Also, who does he think he’s fooling when he throws out phrases like ‘it’s business.’ It’s not business. He wants another tie to Alicia. Case closed.
Now it’s not just Alicia’s life that’s a hot mess – it’s mine, too. Oy vey. I’m exhausted.
Good thing The Good Wife writers know how to throw a glass of cold water in the viewers’ face. The next big surprise? Cary was also asked to be an Equity Partner. It seems they've been handing out these invites like popsicles on a playground.
Alicia Florrick: Mother, Lawyer, Pawn.
It’s at this point I know something is up. Even though Alicia being invited into the partnership as a fourth year was a surprising choice, I understand it from a strategic perspective. She’s the State’s Attorney’s wife, she has strong billable hours, she politically connected – she’s the ace up their sleeve. While Cary is a great lawyer, his firm offering is different. The decision to ask Alicia makes sense. To ask Cary? I’m starting to question motives. To find out they've extended the offer to three more associates? We’re suddenly swimming in a pit of murky water that’s 50 shades of grey.
The worst part is that Alicia seems to have become a pawn in the game of debt repayment, and what’s even more heartbreaking, is that Will is partially to blame. To add salt to the wound: Louis Canning is the one who pointed it out to Alicia. Even though Canning (who could certainly star in his own feature film: The Devil Wears Plaid) exposed the truth, he’s sadly not the one who orchestrated the grand ‘Equity Partner pyramid scheme plan.’ Alicia knows she’s being played, not only by her mentor, but by one of her best friends.
I haven’t felt this terrible about Team Gardner since “Parenting Made Easy.” Will is supposed to be Alicia’s friend, and, to be honest, we all know he’s more. Or, at least he used to be. Lockhart Gardner has become so desperate to dig their way out of debt, they’ll do anything to make that happen. Will knows he’s hurt Alicia and it’s the first time we've seen it. Him standing up to offer her a chair was a feeble attempt to mend a fence that’s beginning to crumble in the eye of the storm.
While Alicia has a strong ability to weather inclement tides, there’s only so far a person can be pushed. I know down the road she’ll forgive Will for using her to save the firm (if she can forgive Peter and Kalinda, she can forgive Will (and so can I) – of that I have no fear), but now it’s about something more. It’s about whether or not she wants to be a part of Lockhart Gardner at all. Canning has dropped a ‘get out of jail free’ card (aka yet another business card) on Alicia’s desk, and while he’s conniving in the courtroom, he has a side that’s alluringly caring. It’s not an entirely terrible option to consider, if you ask me.
“I don’t know if I’ll miss it, but I’ll…no, I won’t miss it”
The firm has been granted another five months to pay back the remainder of their debt – $29 million to be exact. If everyone agrees to their Equity Partner offers, it will be down to $26 million. With the train chugging merrily along, it’s time we say goodbye to the most level-headed occupier of Lockhart Gardner space we've ever known: Clarke Hayden. While he won’t miss the drama of the firm, I know well miss him. The good news is he’s off to write the bar next week, so it’s quite possible we could see him again in court.
Before boarding the elevator, Clarke stops in at the Lockhart Gardner celebration, where champagne flows and glasses clink happily. Although Diane and Clarke have butted heads since their initial meeting in September, in “The Seven Day Rule” they now part as friends. Why? Because, as Clarke so humbly notes: “You paid me the compliment of assuming I’m not for sale.” It’s just a shame Diane thought Alicia was...
Taking the Carrots You’re Given
And then there is Alicia… tucked in her office while the rest of the firm celebrates. Noting her absence, Diane enters with an attitude that’s entirely unbecoming of the sophistication and polish for which she’s known. But there’s reason. In finding out she’s but a piece in the firm’s game of chess, Alicia is understandably peeved… and Diane calls her on it. “You’re pouting. It’s unbecoming” notes Diane, “No one is here to appreciate your moping.” Diane’s advice? Suck it up and get out to the party and thank the Equity Partners for their invitation. The road is bumpy – Diane’s offer came because Stern was being accused of sexual harassment – but none of it matters as long as you take the carrots you’re given and never look back.
So that’s what she does. Sort of. Alicia puts on a smile and starts making the rounds to thank everyone (with the exception of Julius, because apparently he has gone the way of Nick… whatever way that is), but while actions are one thing, meaning is another. You see, Diane was wrong about one key thing. One person was there to appreciate Alicia’s moping. Louis Canning. As Alicia makes the rounds, Diane suddenly realizes Alicia's answer might not be yes.
1) Maddie Hayward is back and the question this time is around religion. She’s an Atheist and apparently that’s a problem for voters. Too bad Alicia told the press she is, too (wink, wink, Eli).
Side note: Alicia's dress in this scene? Amazing.
2) Jordan Karahalios (whose name, I recently found out, means ‘bird of prey’ in Greek) continues to lurk in the wings and I’m left scratching my head as to why I don’t care. Is it just me, or is Jordan not adding much (if anything) to the campaign storyline? While characters on The Good Wife seem to be well-defined and purpose-driven, Jordan (who dresses like Andrew Wiley but is trying to be like Eli Gold) is simply window dressing on campaign headquarters. Perhaps when Eli’s judgment day surfaces Jordan’s role will become clear as mud. Or, it will become irrelevant because we’ll all be cheering the praises of Elsbeth and forget Jordan is trying to get Peter elected. Unless he’s not… and that’s why he’s a bird of prey? Could he be a plant from anther campaign? Oh. Wow. Is that what I've been missing?
The Big Questions: What Do You Think?
- Should Alicia accept the offer to join the firm as an Equity Partner?
- Should Alicia leave Lockhart Gardner to join Louis Canning?
- How is Peter affording the $600,000 loan?
- Would you like to see Clarke working for Canning?
- Do you trust Jordan?
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