Sunday's episode was action-packed but still came off chunky, as if "The Good Wife" is trying bring traction and forward motion to a number of storylines that could have honestly been milked a little longer.
In "Driven" we find answers to the most proverbial problems, like what's going on with Peter and Alicia's relationship, Alicia's tense ties with Lockhart, Gardner and Lee and her general ability to balance a handful of people who do their best to get what they want from her through manipulation.
The show opens with Lucca and Alicia obtaining a case that puts them on the opposing side against Lockhart, Agos and Lee. They take on a very complicated and, to be very honest, boring case about an accident with an artificially intelligent car that drives itself.
The case is too dry and complicated to actually be an interesting plot booster. Alicia´s interaction with Cary and Diane is very restrained and icy as Cary and Diane stare at Alicia from across the firm's conference table as if they were staring at Goliath.
We also find Canning at the same table arguing for his client — so the gang is all in the same room. Nonetheless, there is so much tech talk surrounding the car case that the show blows a great opportunity to highlight the interpersonal issues of Canning, the Lockhart team and Alicia ... which is a huge pity.
Nonetheless, we get to see Alicia navigate the flashing lights that are headed right towards the grille of her love life.
Alicia takes the time to ask Crouse out. In the last episode, we saw her pretty paranoid, even a bit skeptical about Crouse's integrity and sanity. It is refreshing that she confronts him and asks to talk face to face. When asked when he was available to speak with her privately, Crouse opts for that evening, leaving no room to imagine any disinterest.
Meanwhile, as intrigue bubbles in Alicia's single life, her married life attracts a disturbance as we find Eli incredibly worried about the threat of a breaking news story. Vice News leaks that Peter and Alicia had not shared a bed in ages. Eli and Ruth scramble to get ahead of the story. Ruth insists that Peter and Alicia have to move in together again.
During this debacle, we also see the one and only Vanessa Williams make her debut as a new recurring character.
She saunters through Peter's campaign office as Courtney Boalt, a successful businesswoman who is looking for a candidate to back. She visits Ruth with interest in supporting Peter, but also out of concern for the Vice headline that, by this time, had been blasted everywhere.
Eli is incredibly interested in Boalt's presence as he acts like a 12-year-old fan, able to spout off strange trivia and details about her career. When he finally meets Boalt, he tells a huge lie, saying Peter's family would be having a birthday party for their daughter, which of course, forces Peter and Alicia to set up a fake birthday party as Boalt plans to visit them for dinner as soon as possible.
We have another adjoining but bulky and uninteresting plot twist as we see Alicia take her seat on the election board. You'll have struggle to jog your memory about the slimy DNC official, Frank Landau, and his invitation to have Alicia sit on the board in Episode 2.
Upon her acceptance, Landau immediately tells Alicia how to vote and now we're seeing her presence hit the fan as she shows up at a table with all men shouting at her to make choices on issues they refuse to catch her up on.
She's railroaded by the experience as the men pressure her to take a vote on an issue that she is unsure about, but votes in Landau's favor, bringing opposition from other seat holders. Alicia looks like she wants to crawl under her desk and cry like a first grader, much like she behaved on her first day at bond court.
Landau and an enemy of his who also sits on the board completely cross Alicia's boundaries and end up on her doorstep to push her around. Landau even threatens her in front of Peter's secret service detail. Alicia just pouts and takes the verbal abuse.
We finally find Alicia and Crouse sharing cocktails in her kitchen. The two stare at each other like they are starving pit bulls eyeing a raw t-bone steak, but initially Alicia has to be all business. She gets Crouse to sign a release form to protect her insurance in case he goes crazy or shows signs of his violent history.
Crouse resists, retorting, "I don't like signing things," and he has this kind of slow, John Wayne/Johnny Cash simplistic drawl. He ends up signing the paper, only allowing Alicia to stand flustered for a nanosecond, playing a short game of wits.
The two get that intense stare cooking between one another once more and Alicia asks him to stay for dinner. Crouse is pleased and even accepts her childish and sort of charming offer of frozen mini tacos.
Looks like an official date is finally in the works until Alicia hears a knock on her door.
Peter shows up with a massive secret service team. Consequently, Peter and Crouse meet. Peter postures against Crouse, which is sexist, hypocritical and uncomfortable to watch. Crouse treats Peter smoothly and with ease, leaving the married couple to talk. Alicia whispers to Crouse,
"We´ll talk soon?" He replies, "Always."
Eli failed to catch Alicia on the phone to tell her that Peter was moving in, therefore she and Peter interact coldly and make arrangements for him to sleep in the guest room.
But oddly and seemingly uncharacteristically, Alicia ends up asking Peter if he wants to have sex. She sleeps with him as the show tries to make a misguided attempt at giving Alicia some sort of sexual empowerment.
The sex doesn't really fit, and Eli plays the confusing scene very well as he virtually walks in on Peter and Alicia during their interlude. He sputters as he informs the couple that Courtney Boalt will be arriving for dinner.
Boalt sits down to dine with the Florricks in their tiny apartment on their nice daughter's fake birthday. Things seem to be flowing smoothly until Peter's mother crashes the party, almost blows their birthday cover and then announces that she´s going to marry the incredibly annoying Howard Lyman of Lockhart, Agos and Lee.
Peter isn't happy but he allows the newly engaged geriatric couple of stay for dinner. Peter´s mom throws a couple of racist comments towards Boalt and the show basically ends with Boalt assuring Eli that amidst the slight social chaos, he shouldn't worry so much.
The previous two episodes were beginning to make lovely sense, but "Driven¨ set the show back very far in regards to taste, quality and pacing. It is understandable that the show is being set up for the further trajectory of Season 7, but this episode really just pushed too hard and lacked any real personality.