‘The Good Wife’: Meow? Alicia comes face to face with Amber

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Ladies and gentleman, meet Amber Madison. This week brought a number of special guest stars to ‘The Good Wife,’ not all of them welcome — especially not the aforementioned Ms. Madison. After months of hearing her name — and her filthy phone calls with Peter — Alicia finally comes face to face with her husband’s favorite call girl. If you were hoping for a cat fight, then you were probably disappointed.

Madison has not been taking the high road, even for a publicly disgraced prostitute. She’s been hitting the talk shows — Chelsea Handler makes an appearance as herself in this episode — to promote her upcoming book and to dish the dirt on Peter, and she portrays Alicia as a cold fish who all but forced her husband into an affair. The trash talking makes its way back to Alicia, and she is understandably livid. She lays down the law and tells Peter, in no uncertain terms, to get Amber to put a cork in it. I appreciated the fact that Alicia wouldn’t say Amber’s name, only referring to her as “your prostitute.” It was clinical and cutting at the same time.
Here’s where things get, well, a little creepy. Peter, for once, follows Alicia’s orders and meets with Amber and his lawyer, Daniel Golden (Joe Morton). They tell Amber that if she doesn’t stop talking, they’re going to spill some dirt on one of Amber’s other clients — who’s some kind of gangster. They don’t directly threaten her with physical violence, but they come pretty close. Call me old-fashioned, but I thought it was maybe a tad unethical. Nobody likes Amber, but threatening to out her connection to a gangster -- and possibly endanger her life -- is pushing it.

Apparently, Amber feels the same way, and she confronts Alicia with this information. Alicia, poised as ever, completely ignores Amber, gets in her car, goes to Peter, plants a kiss on him and leaves without saying a word. It was pretty shocking and, like Peter, I was left speechless. Could it be that Alicia was turned on by Peter’s thuggish threats? God, I hope not, but how else are we to read this scene? Someone, please explain.

On the homefront, Alicia has to deal with some icky adolescent drama. Her son, Zach, has a “friend” over for a study date, and a meddling grandma tells Alicia all about it. Alicia is upset to discover that the friend is a junior (the horror!). I was disturbed to discover that she looked like a young Rose McGowan and that she seemed to be turned on by Peter’s extremely public indiscretions, as if Zach is a freak by proxy. The young Ms. McGowan does make one pretty astute suggestion, telling Zach the best way to freak out his mom is to play a CD containing some sort of Muslim chanting. To her credit, Alicia seems more freaked out by Zach’s new study date than by his phony religious exploration, and she moves his computer to the living room.


At work, things aren’t much easier. Alicia has to defend her own boss, the elusive third partner Jonas Stern (Kevin Conway), on a DUI offense. Stern looks a little like Phil Spector, and he behaves about as well. Naturally, the super-astute Alicia gets the case dismissed, and assisted by the super-sneaky Kalinda, she also discovers that Stern is suffering from dementia. She urges him to come clean about his ailment, but he’s not having it. In fact, he decides he wants to start his own firm, and he pressures Alicia to come with him — she’s that much of a commodity. When Alicia politely declines the offer, Stern applies some pressure — and things get decidedly more interesting. He tells Alicia that Peter was set up, that “a lot of people made a bad bet and now they’re covering their ass.” He also says he’s never going to let Peter out of prison. Warms the heart, doesn’t it?

So, to put it mildly, our heroine has a lot of decisions to make these days. Should she stay at the firm as a show of loyalty to Will, who kindly gave her a job when she was in need? Or should she follow Stern in hopes of exonerating her husband and reuniting her family? And should she be quite so worried that her son is studying with a junior? What do you think?
-- Meredith Blake


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