The Good Wife-Whiskey Tango Foxtrot episode 3.9

It’s been a while since I’ve analyzed an episode and a lot has happened since my last post.

This episode, whose story lines included the court martial of a young female military officer  accused of negligent homicide in a drone attack, and an attempt to lobby members of congress in favor of a cheese producers’ guild.  The first case is the more interesting of the two, but this show has become more of an ensemble production since its inception, so we got to see fine work from nearly every cast member.

I cannot write another post about this show without commenting on the increasingly acrimonious relationship between Alicia and Jackie. Yes. Jackie’s behavior is definitely provocative and occasionally overbearing, BUT however mixed or flawed Jackie’s motives may be, Alicia has to respect the fact that the elder Mrs. Florrick loves her grandchildren and is a permanent part of their lives. I see Alicia getting angry and lashing out at Jackie, but I don’t see her trying to move beyond the offense of the day or working things through in order to make them better. I also don’t think that turning the children against their grandmother is doing anyone  any favors.  Alicia seems to think that because her children are nearly adults, that neither she nor they need Jackie any more, but that may not prove to be true in the future.

Diane’s calling Will on the carpet for his behavior with judges and his affair with Alicia was priceless television. It became clear why her name comes before his in the firm’s name. She is older and wiser, and does not suffer fools gladly.

I don’t know how things between Cary,Kalinda & Dana will work out, but sometimes I wish they’d all get a hotel room and get it out of their systems.


Nurse Jackie-Season 2 Finale

Last things first; since that seems the easiest way to try to sum up this episode and season. Kevin and Dr. Eleanor O’hara both know that Jackie’s been lying to them and using drugs. Jackie angrily denies these accusations and runs upstairs into the bathroom. She then stared into the mirror and fantasizes about being alone on a beach. Next, she says, “my name is Jackie and I’m an addict” with pained, bloodshot eyes. Finally, she says “blow me.” and laughs. In season one’s finale, viewers saw Jackie on the floor of a storage room after taking drugs, fantasizing about Kevin and her daughters laughing and united. In a way it reminds of the scene from the comedy Date Night, in which Phil (Steve Carrell) accuses Claire (Tina Fey) of fantasizing about being with other men. She calmly replies that her fantasies are her being alone in a hotel room sipping soda without having to worry about husband or children.(Any surprise she drove off and left Kevin walking in the street after he stormed out of the truck in fury?) Jackie’s childish flight to the bathroom underscored her desire to escape, with the “grown-ups”  Kevin & Dr. O’hara wanting her to own responsibility for her actions. This was followed by the current season, which had her struggling to hold her relationship with her children together while continuing to lie and use drugs. Could season three mean that she will struggle to hold herself together as she uses drugs, lies, and tries to wean herself away from them? Probably.

She will at least have to get her back examined to find out what’s really wrong with it…

As suspected, Mr. Bill Martin was searching for Jackie in order to reclaim his stash of drugs, which she’d taken from him two episodes prior. Seeing Jackie pinned against the wall as Bill threatened her, Thor intervened by tackling him to the ground and knocking him out. Will that be the last of him? Maybe, maybe not. It seems too quick and easy a solution on a show that loves to pile on the problems…

The audience finally learned why Dr. O’hara always seemed to be around whenever Jackie was working – Dr. O’hara checked the nurse’s schedule and aligned her schedule with Jackie’s. This,of course, begs the question of whether or not Dr. Cooper does the same thing. It would also be interesting to see a third or fourth doctor next season. On the administrative side, isn’t there anyone else in charge of that hospital besides Grace Akalitus? Doesn’t she have a  boss?

One of the good things about this finale is that almost all of Jackie’s lies are exposed – except for her affair with Eddie (a season 3 bombshell?). Another was to see Jackie’s nurturing side come out when Sam came to work too drunk to stand. (Is it only when someone needs help desperately that she’s kind to them? How much of herself did she see in Sam’s behavior?). The bad – what are all those bills from? (She’s been drugging for years,  had free access to drugs while Eddie was there and even when the Pill-O-Matix was installed, and she now has Bill’s $12,000 stash so how did she rack up so many drug bills so quickly? It looked like several months worth.) There’s been relatively little shown of Jackie actually consuming the drugs in each episode. If the writers want to depict drug addiction, let the audience know just how many drugs she’s taking, and which ones, and where she might be hiding them.

Getting back to generational patterns with respect to Jackie’s behavior, Fiona and Grace are respectively like Kevin and Jackie in some key respects. Fiona is easy-going and upbeat like Kevin, and Grace is anxious, and secretive like Jackie. (I don’t think it was an accident that both Jackie and Grace retreated to the bathroom in various episodes to indulge in self-destructive behavior). Did Jackie push her mother away just like Grace has attempted to do to Jackie? If alive, what grandmother wouldn’t want to see such precious little girls?  It would deepen the audience’s understanding of the characters, and make the show more interesting, not to mention realistic, if the writers were to expand Jackie’s universe a bit by bringing in her parents, siblings, childhood friends, and so on. It doesn’t make sense to introduce us to Kevin’s old girlfriend, and consistently mention that his sister is with Fiona and Grace, when Kevin has half Jackie’s screen time.

Other characters got a chance to shine this season. This season has seen Zooey develop a bit more self-confidence and maturity and a relationship with EMT worker Lenny.  It has also shown us a very socially inept Dr. Fitch Cooper, whose behavior raises questions about his upbringing. He reacted very strongly to the notion that a man could ever hit a woman under any circumstances, which begs the question of what prompted this response. We know that he was raised by two lesbian mothers, but we don’t know what else he witnessed in childhood. Is there some reason he thinks he should tell the full unvarnished truth at inappropriate moments? Getting punched in the nose twice should  give him pause for thought, yes, be we have to wonder what’s behind some of his off-center behavior…Finally, Dr. O’hara’s bisexuality was revealed and her affairs with Sam and Sarah ended nearly as abruptly as they began.  We still don’t know where her wealth comes from or why she has so many relationship troubles, but hopefully, more will be revealed in season 3.

Linda Wallem & Liz Brixius discuss the finale:

Summary 1

Summary 2

Summary 3

A Nurse’s Assessment of the Show

Big Love goes back to Family Values…

Although this was another episode that was all over the map- one moment Nicki slaps Bill in the face for not telling her that his brother Joey’s the one who killed her father, Roman- then she’s in the bedroom with him professing she loves him and doesn’t want to share him? (which reels were spliced together to come up with that sequence?) – overall; however, it was more cohesive than the previous entry.

The focus was on Bill Hendrickson and his family dealing with threats to their interests and safety. There was a great scene with Ben, Tancy and Sarah in which they each revealed their feelings about Bill’s political campaign.

Marilyn’s true colors were forcefully revealed in a lovely dressing down scene with Bill. Marilyn’s intense dislike and vested interested in destroying Bill may become clear in the next season. Marilyn continually makes allusions to the past, as she did in her telephone conversation with Barb, which make me believe there’s some kind of prior connection to Bill or to his brethren. In any case, Ms. Spacek makes this show far more watchable for me than would otherwise be the case. (I must confess a passing morbid interest in the meltdowns of Nicki and Alby, but they’re somewhat predictable and a little played out…).

It ended with the core Hendricksons – Bill and Barb (his only legal wife) and their three children enjoying Tancy’s birthday celebration.

There will undoubtedly be countless loose ends at the end of next week’s episode, but I seriously hope the writing/storylines improve next season. These folks can’t hold a candle to the writing of In Treatment, Damages, Nurse Jackie, or even The Good Wife.