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3-16: "After the Fall" 2012.03.04


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#121

swatkat

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Posted Mar 7, 2012 @ 1:00 PM

It's not unbelievable to me, because it's fundamentally who Alicia is--that's not the kind of thing you can change, because it's too essential. Alicia is someone who (a) represses her emotions, even to the point where she doesn't confess to herself what she's feeling without prodding--and since we haven't been allowed to see anyone prodding her, that's why we're finding her frustrating; and (b) operates by inertia, so unless something really earth-shattering happens to her, she's just going to drift along. She's always done this--it was just more pleasant to watch when the outside forces acting on her (Kalinda looking out for her and being a good friend; she herself getting more and more successful at her job, etc.) were forces that we could cheer for. Now that they're not, she's still drifting, but she's drifting dark instead of light.


Since we are on the topic of inertia, here are the decisions Alicia has taken this season:

- having an affair with Will
- breaking it off when it wasn't working
- putting Jackie in her place
- drinking with Diane
- Martha instead of Caitlin
- setting up that trust fund and consulting David Lee
- firing David Lee
- thanking Kalinda
- putting her children in private school
- not mellowing in terms of her separation with Peter
- walking out of the WSC grand jury thing

Some of them are pretty darn big decisions.

So what are the decisions Alicia hasn't taken, NOT counting anything in the WSC arc since it was specifically about every adult character in the show deliberately keeping Alicia out of the loop? 1.) Whether or not she wants to sacrifice more of her time with her children in favour of a future partner position; 2.) pushing through for the divorce; 3) mending things with Kalinda. The first one is a dicey one, since she herself does not know how much Diane truly meant it - this is the same firm where she is effectively shown to be powerless (Martha and Caitlin); she did, however, drink with Diane. The second comes with a mountain of issues - the future of her family, for one, and her children; her own emotional investment in Peter's political career and her awareness that without her, he might not make it very far - and the last one, a mountain of hurt. I think - no, I KNOW things would be a lot easier for her if she made up her mind on #2 and pushed through #3, but how does a person - especially one as fond as status quos, as pragmatic, as isolated and without ANY sounding board whatsoever as Alicia - just go ahead and do it?

I get the point about losing viewership, but I seriously doubt the show is in a position to suffer massive damage from this storyline - I think it's the irregular scheduling that the showrunners + network need to figure out immediately. We like our heroes to be heroi and do hero things, I know, but this show has seldom been about such things - even Alicia's greatest 'hero' moment last season, speaking for Peter in the interview, was undercut by the knowledge of Kalinda's betrayal. She ended her night in tears.

#122

stealinghome

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Posted Mar 7, 2012 @ 7:27 PM

So what are the decisions Alicia hasn't taken, NOT counting anything in the WSC arc since it was specifically about every adult character in the show deliberately keeping Alicia out of the loop? 1.) Whether or not she wants to sacrifice more of her time with her children in favour of a future partner position

I don't think the show has touched on this in any serious way, one way or the other. But I also think the out of the loop thing is key--did we SEE Alicia have a reaction to that? No. Given Alicia's history with secrets and lies, she should have blown her stack, and yet...nothing.

It's not unbelievable to me, because it's fundamentally who Alicia is--that's not the kind of thing you can change, because it's too essential.

I don't agree; I think people can change the way they operate (I just think Alicia doesn't want to, which is a different debate). But aside from that--I still find it disappointing, because I thought one of the lessons Alicia learned (or was supposed to learn) last season was that inertia doesn't work. That her nature may be to be passive and mellow and inert, but that she needs to overcome her passive/timid tendencies and be more bold. I don't really see Alicia as having learned that lesson; she was better at the beginning of this season, but has definitely regressed.

swatkat, I have to disagree with some of your decision assessments. Not to split hairs, but I don't consider Caitlin and Martha, for example, a real "decision." It was a task she was handed to accomplish; it wasn't any sort of proactive life decision. I'd actually put confronting Jackie under that rubric, too, because again, reactive moment in which her hand was forced, and while I get the symbolism of her drinking with Diane, I wouldn't classify that as a major choice...yet.

I do, however, give Alicia points for the Will affair and going to pick Kalinda up at the jail. Also for firing DLee and walking out of the grand jury ('cause that's the Alicia, with stones of platinum, that I want to see more often!).

Edited by stealinghome, Mar 7, 2012 @ 7:29 PM.


#123

crashdown

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Posted Mar 8, 2012 @ 2:45 PM

Great discussion! I tend to agree with this statement that stealinghome makes regarding Alicia's having been lied to and evaded by essentially everyone she comes in contact with ever:

I don't think the show has touched on this in any serious way, one way or the other. But I also think the out of the loop thing is key--did we SEE Alicia have a reaction to that? No. Given Alicia's history with secrets and lies, she should have blown her stack, and yet...nothing.

This might simply be a failing of the show, or it might be a failing of Alicia to deal with a troubling pattern in her life--we just can't know. But I sort of expected her to blow up when she found out how much Will and everyone had been keeping from her regarding the Grand Jury investigation, and that didn't happen at all.

I still find it disappointing, because I thought one of the lessons Alicia learned (or was supposed to learn) last season was that inertia doesn't work. That her nature may be to be passive and mellow and inert, but that she needs to overcome her passive/timid tendencies and be more bold. I don't really see Alicia as having learned that lesson; she was better at the beginning of this season, but has definitely regressed.

And I say . . . cut the woman some slack. i agree that she's not exemplifying the be-more-bold lessons that she learned before the Kalinda/Peter reveal, and she might have been better at the beginning of the season when she had the distraction of the Willicia affair than she is now, post-Wendy Scott-Carr. But she's not in any mental state to do anything as difficult as overcoming some of her very basic tendencies, and it's hard to think that she *would* be.

I found swatcat's list of Alicia's decisions interesting, but I agree with stealinghome that not all of them qualify as genuine decisions, and a couple (like the Jackie one) actually are more examples of inertia than anything else. (Alicia should have kicked Jackie out of her apartment long before she did it--it took seeing Jackie spying on her via webcam to goad her into action.) And, more significantly, I'd argue that the two things that she *hasn't* dealt with--the divorce, and Kalinda--are by far the most important things that she needs to address.

#124

Deco

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Posted Mar 8, 2012 @ 7:15 PM

I still find it disappointing, because I thought one of the lessons Alicia learned (or was supposed to learn) last season was that inertia doesn't work. That her nature may be to be passive and mellow and inert, but that she needs to overcome her passive/timid tendencies and be more bold. I don't really see Alicia as having learned that lesson; she was better at the beginning of this season, but has definitely regressed.


I'm reminded of Kalinda's frustration in S1, when Alicia was still vying with Cary for a L/G position, when she told Alicia she was a good lawyer, but she just waits, hoping good things are just gonna happen.

It seems to be a conscious on-going theme with the show, in more than work related ways. I just wish there were more movement and growth there. It may be certainly reasonable and realistic that a human would back slide or get stuck in changing life long patterns, and I would be very patient with an actual friend there - but it's not necessarily fun to watch on my TV.

#125

possibilities

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Posted Mar 8, 2012 @ 10:36 PM

I think Alicia likes being kept in the dark while others handle things for her. That's how she was with Peter and getting the kids into that swanky school mid-year, and I suspect it's how she prefers it. That way she doesn't have to be bold herself.

I think she has been working on being more proactive but it's a huge change for her. She lacks confidence, is what I think the problem is. She's quite bold when she feels sure. Walking out on the Grand Jury was not the action of a person who lacked guts.

In this episode, she fired David, put Caitlin in front of the judge to subvert Michigan Gal Lawyer, and failed to satisfy Eli's curiosity about her plans for or against divorce. These may not be big dramatic gestures by some standards, but it does she Alicia is growing stronger in her determination to take charge and not ask permission or seek approval. We didn't even see her hesitate or seek advice. She just handled it.

Edited by possibilities, Mar 8, 2012 @ 10:37 PM.


#126

quaintirene

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Posted Mar 10, 2012 @ 1:38 PM

I don't see Alicia as inactive. I see her as having to process quite a lot of information at one go. The most important thing I got from this episode is that it pays to be young, blonde and attractive. The judge made his preference clear from the beginning. Caitlin was an effective-ish lawyer. But it really wouldn't have mattered. The judge sided with the opposition until someone cuter came along and then he sided with the defence. Caitlin did well and good for her. But I'm not sure she did well enough to get such a fast promotion absent the cheer-leader good looks. That having been said, I believe Diane wanted to give a small sop to David Lee, so Caitlin got to profit thereby.

Alicia is no longer young. She's not blonde. She's very attractive but not in a particularly obvious way. The ground has been steadily eroding under her feet, and I'm guessing she now has to make a lot of decisions. Not the least of which will be whether she agrees to meet that very important political lady who wants to meet her. To me, this episode, while moderately quiet in terms of action, laid out a lot of important choices that Alicia must make and make quickly. She's skated along as an associate. Does she now want to safeguard her position by aiming for a partnership position? Has her relationship with Will torpedoed that? At what point does she turn from a darker, shyer, older version of Caitlin into a version of Diane? Where does she find and how does she bring in her own clients?

Edited by quaintirene, Mar 10, 2012 @ 1:40 PM.


#127

passby123

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Posted Mar 12, 2012 @ 1:30 PM

I think that the most telling part scene of the episode was Alicia & Diane's final conversation about Kaitlyn's choice. When they discussed the glass ceiling and the choice that Kaitlyn made and "Diane said maybe she will be back in 15yrs like you" and then Alicia's confident response "I don't think so". I always got the sense that Alicia & Peter were quick to marry, especially when the age of the children, the timeline of their marriage and the amount of years which she was out of the workplace. I always sensed that Alicia found out she was pregnant prior to her marriage and then they quickly married. If Alicia is saying that she doubts Kaitlyn will return, if she understands that it was her choice to leave, then I got the impression that Alicia was also coming to the realization that she didn't really make a confident chioice when she was in a similar situation to Kaitlyn. That Alicia feels that she gave a part of herself up, that she didn't honestly follow the path she wanted to.

As for Peter, I got the sense that he was and is being setup for something. He is a hypocrite on so many extreme levels. He is saying that he wants to be a changed man and yet he is doing what he needs to get re-elected. As he is doing this he is making enemies and making rash choices. He fired a man for doing the very thing he did, having an affair with a co-worker (Kalinda) when he was her supervisor. Alicia herself went on record and protected Peter, she did in interview stating that there was no other woman outside of the call girls. The very night of the election she learned that Peter had slept with Kalinda when he was he boss, an offense that would have lost him the election and perhaps brought him up on other charges. So now he hires a friend and demotes a minority female, then he excuses Wendy Scott Carrs investigation because the state of his marriage might become public knowledge, now he fires a black gay man and allows White Cary to remain in office. Kalinda is being investigated and should the information about Peter & her become public then there could and would be lots of folks lining up to make sure it is know what a hypocrite he really is. Perhaps Eli & Peter's next challenge will be keeping him in office (damage control) and not so much getting him to the next level.

#128

possibilities

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Posted Mar 12, 2012 @ 3:03 PM

passby, I agree with what you're saying, but I think your comments were meant to be in the "Long Way Home" thread?

#129

Sandman

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Posted Mar 13, 2012 @ 9:19 AM

There's nothing about Peter that says that Donna Brazile would actually be on board. I know this is TV, but this plotline REALLY doesn't work for me.

Seriously. Oh, Eli. So many better answers to "Why don't people like Peter Florrick?" occur to me:
  • "Because he's a disaster of a human being?"
  • "I don't understand the question."
  • "Because he's not a person, he's a plot device?"
  • "Hahahaha! Wait, you're serious."
  • "Because he has all the naked ambition of a Roman general without any of the practical ability, leadership skills, or strategic sense?"
  • "Uh, were you not here for the 'banged a hooker eighteen times' part?"
  • "Is this about how he mutters in Parseltongue in his sleep? Because you get used to that. I'm told."
I REALLY don't buy this story about how Donna Brazile thinks Peter needs more fervent supporters. Are we supposed to believe that a senior political strategist can't recognize sour grapes-ing and angling for patronage when she hears it? Or that Mr. Big House Arrest's biggest problem is a lack of payback? The more the show gets into Peter's campaign for governor, the less credible I find it. It just seems more and more that Peter is a force to drive the story along, or for Alicia to react to, rather than being a fully realized character. I don't find he has layers anymore, or shades of gray.

The parallel shots of Cary and Alicia each walking away from the boss's desk, all, "Aw, crap! This job sucks" were amusing, if a trifle on the nose.

I agree with the observation upthread that it would have been nice to see a little differentiation of Will's sisters beyond Nag 1 and Nag 2.

I want David Lee to realize he should fear being in Alicia's crosshairs, dang it!

Edited by Sandman, Mar 13, 2012 @ 9:28 AM.


#130

LeGrandElephant

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Posted Apr 18, 2012 @ 4:38 PM

I always miss the beginning of this show because it starts with random footage that isn't obviously The Good Wife. Then it turns out to be Will watching some random video. Its annoying. I wish they'd start with a title card or something.

#131

John Potts

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Posted Apr 27, 2012 @ 5:41 AM

Personally, I liked the office politics. Nature does abhor a vacuum, after all, and it's unrealistic to expect things to remain the same without Will there to balance Diane. You've got a bunch of ambitious guys anxious to make a name for themselves - it's unrealistic to expect them to not see Will's absence as an opportunity to push themselves forward. Maybe we could even see the ultimate "Deal with the Devil" where Julius and David Lee worked together to both become named partners, but that seems unlikely. I also liked Caitlin out-Croziering Nancy Crozier - I hope she stays and isn't some evil plant by David Lee. Also good that while Caitlin was competent, it was ultimately Alicia's intervention that took them "Over the Top".

Will's sisters were really annoying and had some of the clunkiest dialogue, but the family dynamic was just about believable. Did like the way Will ran with the idea of having an affair with Kalinda (and lets face it, Who wouldn't!?) to deflect attention away from his private life.

Although I don't necessarily think that Alicia should sack David Lee, I wish she would initiate something. Does she want to make partner? Divorce? Run for office? Maybe the thawing of the Alicia/Kalinda reltionship will allow there to be a discussion of what Alicia actually wants, since it isn't at all clear.