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'The Good Wife' recap: More side plot distractions in 'Hearing'

For The Baltimore Sun
"The Good Wife" recap: Another episode in which the side plots distract from the important storylines.

It's somewhat regrettable, if not completely redundant, that I am forced to relay that Episode 16 of the seventh season of "The Good Wife" is yet another disjointed episode that seems to be a completely separate ordeal, rather than a streamlined plot moving toward a helpful conclusion to the series. 

With all that said, the episode entitled "Hearing" is at the very least humorous and sensually satisfying as we get to see Jason Crouse shirtless, revealing the pleasant surprise that he's covered in tattoos. Yes, Alicia has finally taken a lover in Crouse. The show opens with the two spending an entire weekend in bed with each other at Alicia's apartment.

All things seem to be smooth sailing as they make love, watch movies and order takeout until Alicia receives a frantic knock on the door. Here, we find a bit of the Marx Brothers routine we've seen before in Alicia's apartment building as Alicia's mother (played by Stockard Channing) bombards her sexual romp to alert her that she'd been scammed in a pyramid scheme. The routine plays out as Channing announces that she invited Alicia's brother, mortifying Alicia, but not as much as when her mother quickly discovers Crouse hiding in her bedroom and insists he stay for bagels, almost forgetting about her problems as she drools over Alicia's new friend.  

The intrusion continues as Eli and his lawyer enter her apartment upon her mother's invitation after Alicia did her best to keep them confined behind the threshold of her front door. Alicia is quickly disturbed again, being served to testify in a grand jury case against her husband, which Ruth had warned her about in a previous episode. Alicia finds herself with a full kitchen and an overwhelming mother in the beginning of an arduous, but lighthearted episode. 

Things to get slightly tense as Eli scrambles to find out what Peter is being tried for. He is completely left out of the proceedings of the grand jury, helplessly trying to find any morsel of information in the lobby of the courthouse. Alicia nudges him toward a vent in a handicapped bathroom, keeping up the running gag of Eli gleaning all of his most important information by propping himself up next to a wall vent to eavesdrop.  

Peter does seem to be in considerable trouble, but the actual charges of the case are not yet revealed in this episode. Meanwhile, Alicia's mother takes up the main storyline of the episode, which is frustrating. It's not that Channing doesn't play her role well, or that her naivety in being scammed by a sleazy investor isn't entertaining, but it takes so much time away from any true foundational meat of the show. "The Good Wife" has been using every episode to home in on incredibly unimportant and temporary storylines to the point where themes like Peter's court case and Alicia's career get railroaded by shallow antics of guest stars. 

This leads to the grazing of a very important plot line: Diane's plan to create an all-female firm at Lockhard, Agos and Lee. Alicia had been finding Cary to be paranoid, as he was the first to bring up Diane's plans after the men of the firm were asked to leave the room at a magazine photo shoot for the firm. Cary and his male counterparts continued to nudge Alicia for information, asking if Diane had approached her about creating an all-female firm. Alicia was completely truthful in replying that she had not been approached by Diane, until it actually happened. 

Diane formally explains her plan to buy Cary out from the firm, offering Alicia a seat as partner. This storyline and Peter's grand jury case should have been pursued and sculpted much more in this episode, yet all we get is everyone running around coddling Alicia's mother. Her mother's case ends up getting solved as Crouse investigates and strong-arms his way to her rescue, but it's all very wasteful. 

Crouse and Alicia end up in bed with each other again at the end of the episode, officially concluding her season of loneliness that lead her to be borderline suicidal. It's nice that Alicia found her lover, but there are a handful of episodes left and it's looking like there's nothing of substance being built up to create a grand gesture for the series' conclusion. 

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