On some level it’s a disappointment that The Good Wife stuffed a barrel of guest-stars into a single episode and gave everyone from Nathan Lane to Kristin Chenoweth mere moments to dazzle us with meaningful grimaces, but we shouldn’t think of Sunday’s episode, “The Art of War,” with disdain: Ultimately, we witnessed a very compelling military-themed episode with enough strong moments of characterization to make up for an exhausting amount of B- and C-plots. And naturally our beloved regulars shined too. Or gleamed like a serial killer’s meat cleaver, in the case of the rage in Eli’s eyes.
Here are my favorite thangs from last episode.
1. Amanda Peet, you bring valor and Valium to that uniform.
The still-underrated Amanda Peet, who starred in one of my favorite movies of the past few years, Nicole Holofcener‘s Please Give, brought a steely reserve to the courtroom as Captain Hellinger, a JAG who calls upon Alicia to represent her in a civil court case against a military private contractor named Ricky who she says tried to rape her. Horrifying stuff, though the chemistry between Hellinger and Alicia, who used a couple of Hellinger’s impromptu suggestions to her advantage, made for pleasant viewing. And if Peet’s shifts between wide-eyed stoicism, dead-eyed stoicism, and a barely emitted vulnerability (once the alleged rapist finally took the stand) didn’t woo you enough, surely the return of hard-ass Col. Leora Kuhn, who remains about as stony and breathtakingly commanding as you remember, brought you to your feet.
2. Because Diane brings this much sass to a single GIF, let’s pitch in and buy her, oh, 40 ponies.
Cary did his trademark season-four thing and appeared onscreen this episode for about .059 seconds, but his debonair finesse (and one personal question about Will) elicited the above gesture from Diane. “You have a question for me?” Diane teases, pointing a thumb at herself. But judging by the blunt-force sass of her gesture, she may as well be saying, “Guess who the superior blonde in this conversation is, Cary.” (Points at herself.) “Guess who’s wearing a wrought-iron pantsuit under this normal pantsuit, Cary.” (Points at herself.) “Guess who was considered a mighty panther demon by the Aztecs.” (Points at herself.) Glamor, glamor. Forever.
3. We’re officially being weaned off Kalinda’s “naughty mean husband” storyline.
Kalinda moved to the deep background this week (even though her husband Nick lost his bid), though she did murmur though one interaction with Alicia that produced the following dialogue about Nick.
Alicia: “Is he dangerous?”
Alicia: “Then shouldn’t you stay away?”
Well, that’s settled. This better mean Kalinda will be back in Emma Peel-meets-Harriet the Spy-meets-The Terminator form in no time.