TV Recap: The Good Wife, ‘Discovery’

Written by Matt Taylor

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After last week’s stunning episode, The Good Wife managed to maintain most of the momentum they built up, delivering another top-notch episode that raised the stakes considerably for all the major characters. As fans have come to expect from this plot-heavy series, many previous subplots became relevant yet again, while enough breadcrumbs were dropped so that fans can speculate what’s to come next.

The episode, titled “Discovery,” mainly focused on two subplots, the first of which brought Nikki M. James back to the show as a disgruntled lawyer who previously called out Lockhart, Agos & Lee for their lack of diversity. This week, she brought the firm a race-centric case against fictional search engine Chum Hum, whose apps have been marking black neighborhoods as being dangerous, hurting local businesses and promoting horrible stereotypes in the process. The episode allowed the characters to explore issues of racism and microagressions in an interesting, occasionally funny way, and allowed James another chance to shine. While the subplot starts to lose steam by the end, it marks one of the season’s stronger standalone cases and, hopefully, we’ll be seeing more from James in the weeks to come.

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Unfortunately, the subplot undoes a lot of Cary’s character development from the past seven years, mostly to allow the characters a chance to discuss race relations. While Cary was introduced as a young, frat boy type in the first season, he’s been shown to become more mature, and considerably more intelligent as the series progressed. But, in this week’s episode, he regresses back to being ignorant and relatively clueless about hot button topics. Discussing issues as pressing as racism in the workplace is important, but when such a conversation can only begin by sacrificing character development, the subplot feels somewhat cheap.

Regardless, this week’s other subplot was far more interesting and perfectly paced. In it, Eli attempted to advise Alicia against sleeping with Jason, unearthing an interesting secret about the private investigator in the process. This revelation couldn’t have been more perfectly timed; having Jason serve as just another love interest for Alicia would have been somewhat boring, and it helps make the character more mysterious just as he started to win me over. Of course, in true Good Wife fashion, the subplot wasn’t all drama, thanks to some hilarious one-liners and a perfectly written fight between Alicia and Eli. But it’s nice to see that the writers decided to do more than just present their viewers with another love story.

It’s also worth noting that, yet again, Julianna Margulies was given the chance to show how terrific she really is. While always staying true to Alicia’s more subdued nature, Margulies uses subtle body language and facial ticks to make her character fully realized, and manages to remind viewers just how much her character has changed over the course of the series. Watching her face off against Eli about her private life was one of the best scenes in any show this year, and I hope she’s given more dramatic confrontations throughout the rest of the season.

While not quite as strong as last week’s episode, “Discovery” was about as dramatic and entertaining as we’ve come to expect from The Good Wife. But what made it really great was how unexpected this week’s plot developments were. With each new episode, the season’s storyline is become more and more complicated, and I cannot wait to see how it all unfolds.

Overall rating: 9 out of 10.