Written by Matt Taylor
One line in this week’s episode of The Good Wife was, “We’re right back where we started, aren’t we?” And the character that spoke that line certainly isn’t wrong; the series seems to be going full circle, with Peter once again facing jail time, and Alicia again at a crossroads in her life. In “Landing,” however, we saw how much Alicia has evolved as a character, and how this crossroad is more about herself, not a need to care for her family. Add a surprisingly solid case-of-the-week, and the best Diane-centric subplot all season, and the fourth-to-last episode of the series was a real winner.
Not to sound like a broken record, but cases-of-the-week are incredibly unnecessary this late in the season. But, if The Good Wife insists on utilizing these tired subplots, at least it’s doing their best to bring back beloved guest stars. This week found Zach Woods reprising his role as the Edward Snowden-esque Jeff Dellinger, who was arrested while trying to return to America for his mother’s funeral. Dellinger’s subplot, and the quirky supporting cast of NSA agents that monitor him, have been one of the series’ highlights, and it was nice to see them one last time. It was also interesting to see how this subplot ended up connecting to one of the season’s weaker storylines (Alicia’s involvement in a case involving an ISIS recruiter) and making it stronger. Top-notch editing and sound design helped make this a dramatic and entertaining, if unnecessary, storyline.
Elsewhere in the episode, Alicia dealt with her impending divorce from Peter, made further complicated by his indictment and her undefined relationship with Jason. The way the titular “good wife” has grown over the course of the series is astonishing, and this episode encompassed the full range of character traits Alicia has exhibited over the course of the series. To the public, she is a supportive wife trying her hardest to protect her husband’s reputation as a politician. But, in private, she is a woman contemplating the end of one serious relationship, and the beginning of another with a man that is the total opposite of her husband.
The episode also gave us a phenomenal subplot involving Diane, who has been altogether wasted over the course of the season so far. The hour saw the return of her husband, Kurt, played wonderfully by Gary Cole, as he prepared to sell his ballistics analysis company to a young, pretty Republican (played by Megan Hilty of Smash fame). The storyline showed a side of Diane the audience hadn’t previously seen: someone who is jealous of her husband’s relationship with a young woman, and who, like Alicia, is unsure of where her future lies, both at work and at home with her soon to be retired husband. Baranski made the most of her screen time, dominating one of her funniest scenes in ages, and also delivering a terrific monologue to her husband about her fears for the future. And, for what it’s worth, I’d love to see more of Megan Hilty over the next three weeks – she did well with her brief appearance.
With only three more episodes left, “Landing” showed a step in the right direction for the series. With the loose ends in all the characters’ lives slowly tying together, it’s starting to look like this series will definitely go out on a high note. And, if the series insists on using cases-of-the-week for the rest of the series, hopefully they’ll be this strong.
Overall rating: 9 out of 10.