This week’s episode of The Good Wife was really a prelude to “The Episode That Changes Everything!!!” that is coming up next week. But don’t bypass this episode yet, because there’s a lot of good stuff in it, making it my favorite episode of the season thus far. It’s still not as perfect as it could be, of course, but it’s like eating an ice cream that overall isn’t your favorite, yet every now and then you hit a really good chunk of brownie or ripple of caramel that makes you realize you’re still happy you’re stuffing it in your mouth.
The biggest ice cream delight of them all–like, a whole Oreo, or a peanut butter cup–is, of course, the return of Elsbeth Tascioni, played so brilliantly by Carrie Preston. She’s been hired by Lockhart Gardner because one of their paralegals is suing them for being a hostile workplace, including a number of sexual harassment charges against pretty much everyone—including Diane and Alicia. This paralegal is played by Tracee Chimo, and if she looks vaguely familiar to you, it’s because she also recently played Neri, the fiancee of Cal, Piper’s brother in Orange is the New Black.
Carrie and Tracee are only the first of some other amazing guest appearances in this episode, including Rita Wilson being back as Snarky Lawyer Supreme, Viola Walsh, who is representing the disgruntled paralegal. In her lifelong competition with Diane, Ms. Walsh is also hoping some of the paralegal’s more incriminating accusations will look bad for Diane’s upcoming judgeship nomination.
But back to Elsbeth. We first see her walking on a treadmill as she confers with Lockhart Gardner, because she has to walk 10,000 paces a day or the bangle attached to her wrist gets mad at her, and this is completely ridiculous and hilarious and very much perfectly Elsbeth. She asks questions about the case as she walks, and when Alicia asks why one of them matters, she responds, “I don’t know! I just ask questions until they make sense.” Best lawyer! Best human!
We also get a brief but beautiful scene with Elsbeth and Kalinda together, who are, in fact, the best pair in the history of man. Elsbeth notes that the paralegal accused everyone in the office of something bad except for Kalinda. She then interrupts herself to ask where Kalinda gets her hair done, which is a question only Elsbeth can ask Kalinda, and which prompts one of Kalinda’s “what planet are you from” glances that tickle my funny bone so. Strangely, Kalinda doesn’t answer “the lairs of sexy angels in sexy heaven,” but just here and there, different places. Elsbeth bemoans the floppiness of her own hair—it just flops this way, flops that way. Kalinda blinks. Elsbeth’s wrist beeps at her, and she’s off running again. I have missed you, Tascioni.