'The Good Wife' recap: Bad intentions and a big bombshell

'The Good Wife' recap: Bad intentions and a big bombshell
A scene from "The Good Wife." (CBS)

Whoa, "Good Wife"-ers, that was a bomb I did not see coming! "The Good Wife" snuck a major cliffhanger in the last moments of an icky but otherwise quiet winter finale, saying, "Here, sit on that for a while." What's always impressed me about TGW, especially as a fan of apocalyptic genre shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," is how it can wring the most drama out of ordinary human situations, like a deleted phone message.

So was there more to this episode? Does it matter?

The rest of the episode was uncomfortable, to say the least, as Alicia and Lucca defended an acclaimed pediatric surgeon accused of conspiring to "KSR" — kidnap, sedate, and rape — the mother of one of his patients. He had arranged the horrid fantasy through a fetish website, apparently making specific preparations with a trucker (one with a sexual assault record), but he was arrested before anything was done. That made the case about intent, rather than the action itself.

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Things do not go well for Alicia, as Judge Schakowsky seems to be biased against her. She confronts him, claiming that he's not treating her client fairly because of that bribery ring he'd been embroiled in. He essentially throws her out of his office.

But that talk may have stuck with him, because he seems fair through all the testimonies: from the trucker, the arresting officer, and the good doctor himself—but not his wife, whose stereotypical "Lilith Crane" clinical psychologist would have sounded too frigid and unfeeling. Not only was Schakowsky impartial, but when the jury came back with its guilty verdict, he suddenly showed immense compassion and overturned it, acquitting the doctor and accusing the jury of acting on their bias. I didn't realize that was allowed.

While Jason helps with the case, surfing fetishist porn and finding the doctor's wife, he also has a small encounter with Eli's new love, Courtney Paige. On Ruth's request, Courtney hires Jason to be her investigator for a few months, in Northern California, offering him a significant amount of money, which of course Alicia can't meet. Jason takes the position, and is out of Alicia's life, at least for a while.

Alicia angrily accuses Eli of sending Jason away—after finding him in her office, where he had been searching her desk. (Does she just leave her apartment door unlocked all the time now?) Eli denies any wrongdoing or knowledge of Courtney or Ruth's interference, and wants to keep Alicia on his good side. I do believe that he thinks of Alicia as a friend, and he needs her to be one right now, especially as his relationship with Courtney ends just as quickly as it began.

Courtney apparently went into the romance knowing it's short-lived, and that she'd return home to California for a year, but she wasn't so upfront with Eli about it. While I never felt their relationship had chemistry, I'm sad for brokenhearted Eli. Courtney could have been more honest.

Meanwhile, Cary and Diane have their own problems. While working on a huge, important case, all their new young-white-male hires leave them high and dry. Rather than dutifully working on the case, as Cary thought, they jumped ship to Louis Canning's firm, planning to oppose them on the same case. I maintain what I said after the first episode: I don't understand why Cary's in the position he's in anyway, but I love how he handles this dilemma.

As Lockhart, Agos & Lee struggle to meet their filing deadline with no advance preparation, Diane hires Monica to help them out. Cary goes for help too, and talks the men who abandoned them into returning, in exchange for big signing bonuses. As soon as they all return to the firm, Cary literally turns around and fires them. They don't want their help, and now it's too late for them to return to Canning because it's essentially a conflict of interest. They'll also likely have a hard time finding work elsewhere because of their quickness to exchange loyalty for bonuses. I'm not sure how much this helps LAL with their case, but it certainly cripples their opposition, and Cary shows those young whippersnappers what for. It's great to see the show give Cary something worthy of his time.

But this is all boring compared to the major bomb dropped at the end of the episode. Eli visits Alicia, rattled by his breakup with Courtney and clearly needing a friend. He also wants to be one to Alicia. He encourages her to go after Jason if she wants to, because he wants her to be happy—so much so that he decides to come clean about something that happened way back in the second season premiere: He confesses to Alicia that he had deleted the voicemail Will left on her phone, declaring his love for her! Wha??? Truly shocking! I'm still reeling, and while it's interesting to see this softer side of Eli, I'm also wondering where it came from.

So how about you, "Good Wife"-ers? Were you as shocked by this as I was? Do you think Alicia could ever forgive Eli? Should she? Is there any hope left for Jason and Alicia, and if not, are you glad? What will you do without "The Good Wife" over the long winter break?