October 4, 2015, 9:00 p.m. (EST), CBS
One of the chief problems that plagued The Good Wife’s wildly uneven sixth season was its tendency to chase the highs it found during season five by blowing up the status quo and then watching the characters reconstitute. With five seasons under its belt before the events of episodes like “Hitting the Fan” and “Dramatics, Your Honor,” the show had built to a lot of what happened in season five, and the cumulative weight of those previous seasons made each of those developments land much more powerfully as a result. Lately, though, the show is blowing itself up so frequently, the reconstitutions feel less stable and less earned. It’s harder to care about the machinations at Lockhart, Agos and Lee, for example, when it takes me a minute to remember the firm is now called that. Similarly, it’s hard to get too invested in Alicia’s current position or predicaments when it has become clear the show will likely move on to something else entirely within a few weeks.
“Bond” is not a great episode of the show in large part because it is so focused on lighting fuses the show will detonate down the line, it doesn’t much stop to consider what it will soon be blowing up. Alicia’s time as a bond attorney could be fascinating, what with the show’s interest in fish-out-of-water storylines and in Alicia, former high-powered partner and political candidate, now working for $135 a case. Yet the show darts between that and the case-of-the-week, an inheritance fight that becomes a battle-of-the-experts such that both feel short-changed. There’ a great episode in Alicia struggling to fight Diane and David, with their superior resources and established network of experts. There’s also, in all likelihood, a great episode in Alicia learning the ropes of bond court and winning over the judge and other attorneys. But “Bond” is a hybrid of those two and thus never finds its legs in either.
Meanwhile, Peter is suddenly running for President, after Alicia relents because PLOT REASONS, and is immediately convinced to fire Eli by Character Actress Margo Martindale, a welcome presence on this or any television program. I tend to buy Peter being an opportunistic dick regardless of the situation, but this development felt slightly rushed to me. Eli has been with Peter for years, and has pretty much always gotten peter whatever he wanted, so to be summarily dismissed like he is also smacks to me of the show blowing things up because it has forgotten how to do anything else. I was temporarily convinced Eli would immediately try to get Alicia to run against Peter, and I still think that is likely where the show is going despite the fact that it makes virtually no sense, but for the moment the dynamic of Eli working as her Chief of Staff on Peter’s campaign should be interesting. However, if the show wants to become just Alan Cumming and Margo Martindale outfoxing each other for 45 minutes every Sunday, I would be ok with that too.
The Good Wife at its best was cognizant of the aftershocks of these various explosions, whether it was the effects of Alicia leaving Lockhart Gardner on her relationship with Will or the way Cary’s experiences there informed his leadership of Florrick Agos, but the show is increasingly only interested on moving towards the next big twist. As a result, a lot of its characters are left feeling somewhat superfluous to the proceedings. Cary, Diane, and David all have somewhat prominent roles in “Bond,” but none of them feels essential to the plot, and none of them really seem to have a perspective of their own beyond what the story requires of them. Diane and David feel more like recurring antagonists than series regulars this week. They have the depth of a Nancy Crozier at best, which underserves Christine Baranski and doesn’t even get adequate mileage out of Zach Grenier. As for Cary, well, he’s sad he is not one of the cool, hip young associates, and then weirded out by a guy hitting on him when Cary has been pretty much leering at his youth and freedom all episode. It’s not a good color on our Mr. Agos, and Matt Czuchry can’t save it from being a weird, relatively pointless little subplot.
In “Bond,” The Good Wife is showing its seven seasons, and not usually in good ways. The new mode the show is operating in leaves little room for the nuance this show used to be great at, and there seems to be increasingly little interest in engaging with the complex histories that have developed between this core cast. The Good Wife is a character piece that has transformed into a plot-driven drama, and in the process, it may have lost what once made it so special. Premieres always have to do a lot of heavy lifting, plot-wise, and it is entirely possible season seven will regain the show’s former glory. But “Bond” did not fill me with hope on that front, nor with any assurance that the show’s hard days are behind it.
- “You’re play acting. The other attorneys in there? They need the money. They’re hungry.”
- “I’m not a Marie Antoinette.” “Your ride, Mrs. Florrick?”
- “There’s no honor in starting over.”
- “Let the Devil teach you how to say ‘watch it.’”
- “You’re snapping fingers at me. I don’t know what snapping fingers mean.”
- “I was the one frickin’ set of footprints in the sand!”
- “You just lost your greatest asset and made your worst enemy.”
- “We’re not in the miracle working business. We’re an assembly-line.”
- “You’re what?” “An adhesives expert.” “Really? That’s a job?”
- “Right from the beginning, you’ve wanted nothing to do with this campaign. You can’t come in now and pretend like you have a voice!”
- “Eli, this isn’t healthy. Snow Nazis? Come on.”
- “They need to make you a wife again.”
- “Objection your honor. Relevance?” “Good guess. No.”
“Bond” is not a great episode of the show in large part because it is so focused on lighting fuses the show will detonate down the line, it doesn’t much stop to consider what it will soon be blowing up.