“The Good Wife” recap: J’aime tojours, Elsbeth. (4.12)


This is clearly a violation of her contract so seems clear cut. Alas, things turn darker (shocker!) when the athletic company says they have probable cause to cut her contract, as evidence has just come out that she’s been doping. Olympic Girl seems so distraught and genuinely surprised by this news–her parents would kill her!—that it seems obvious that she hasn’t been. But either way, they have to take up the matter with some fancy international sports tribunal, the Court of Arbitration for Sports. Elsbeth tries to tell Alicia that the CAS doesn’t run like normal courts, but when Will shows up to the hearing, he has apparently not been informed that the court is being run entirely in French. The opposing counsel and the three judges converse back and forth while Will sits in befuddlement for a few perfect moments until he finally breaks in to say, “Pardon moi, but how do you say WTF en Francais?” They agree that they’ll conduct the rest in English for this stupid American bloke, although they continue to discuss side conversations with each other in French, as well as throwing out a bunch of other info that shows Will he’s in over his head. Obviously, the only option at this point is to bring in Miss Diane Lockhart.


Like Will, I also am a complete French failure, to the point where my Parisian teacher tried very hard to not openly laugh each time I opened my mouth and tried to speak that infuriating language where half the letters are silent. Regardless, listening to Diane first impress and then get fake-chummy with the judges is simply the best. Even still, they need more evidence on their side, as even more evidence stacks up against Olympic Girl. They feel she’s hiding something crucial to the case, but won’t reveal it.

Meanwhile, Peter has singled out one of the black members of his staff, Geneva Pine, to discuss racial bias in his office, you know, in a casual self-evaluation way, not politically motivated at all. When Geneva realizes he’s being serious, she says, “Oh, you want to know if you’re racially biased? Yepper, sure are.” He says, “Wha?? Explain!” She does, citing those five African-Americans he fired or demoted, and those two less experienced white people he promoted. Whoopsie! He says, but, that’s strictly coincidence. Like all black people who have been told for decades that the facts in front of them had “good reason” behind them, Geneva pauses long enough to let Peter’s wrongness sink into the air around them, and musters with as much disgusted sarcasm as she can without getting fired, “You’re right.”

Whatever you say, boss man.

She then tries to make it clearer: yes, you thought you had good reason to promote the white people. But maybe you didn’t listen enough to the others. “It’s about who you listen to.” Exactly, Geneva. After this revealing discussion, Eli decides that Peter should speak at a minority rights council meeting, which does not go well. George essentially says, told you so. George does show signs, however, of having a slightly less politically-hardened soul than Eli and Peter, which could be good for them.

To get all the Peter news out of the way so we can move on, Alicia also meets him in his tour bus after this embarrassing minority rights debacle (so pesky, minority rights), and they proceed to have a quickie in the tour bus bathroom. Listen, it’s not that I’m opposed to watching straight sex or anything, but something about Peter and Alicia always just seems so totally un-sexy. For instance, standing up with your clothes on in a tour bus bathroom. Come on now. Sex is an act that deserves nudity, people! And if not in a good bed, then at least a setting with more sexy risk and danger than the tour bus of a rich white guy! It’s good that Alicia seems happy, I guess, but at what cost?!

But back to the good stuff: Elsbeth and Olympic Girl. Elsbeth has to undergo a psychiatric evaluation as she’s been acting “erratic” in jail. Meaning, she’s probably been acting like herself, and like most people who are not as awesome as she is, they just don’t get it. This evaluation is run by a psychiatrist who appears to be a true dickface—surely not all psychiatrists can be this bad, right?—and Elsbeth, accordingly, can’t help but laugh in his face a few times.

These questions are hilarious.

There is something about one of the lines of questioning, however, that sparks something in Elsbeth’s mysterious and glorious mind, and she runs over to Alicia with her revelation: the elevated hormones in Olympic Girl’s system weren’t due to drugs, but to pregnancy. She was pregnant. The pills people saw somebody exchange with her weren’t for doping, but for terminating the pregnancy so she could still compete at the Olympics.

With the beans spilled, Diane and Will approach Olympic Girl and explain that if she tells the truth, there is no way she can lose. She’ll get her money, have the doping charges dropped, and be able to compete at an upcoming race. But tearfully, she shakes her head. They don’t know her family. She can’t do this to them. It seems she also still feels great shame about it, believing she was selfish for putting her Olympic dreams over a potential child. She’d rather lose everything and be forced to lie than to hurt her parents. Diane and Will reluctantly agree.

First, I’d like to point out that this is the second time in a week where abortion has been a plotline in a major show. A teen on Parenthood on NBC last week got the procedure at a Planned Parenthood, one of the first openly broadcast abortions since, I believe, Maude in the ‘70s. While the actual act and its immediate trauma were not dwelled on as much here, there is still something important about all of it, if even just in the recognition of the fact that abortion is something that many women, and many young girls, have to experience in their lives, a reality which has been almost completely ignored in mainstream entertainment for way too long.

That said, I also really wish that Diane could have convinced Olympic Girl to do otherwise, to make her see that she didn’t have to give up the things she deserved when she didn’t do anything wrong, that she shouldn’t let shame win. That would have been the satisfying story. But in typical Good Wife fashion, they don’t often go for the feel-good angle. They go for the angle of what would have actually happened: they have to listen to their client’s wishes, and they proceed to try to win using any other means.

And finally, we then get to see our favorite face: Kalinda. She meets with Elsbeth to get some extra advice on the case. And if there is a funnier or more amazing pair than Kalinda Sharma and Elsbeth Tascioni, I don’t know who it is. I could watch these two interact all day! Oblivious Elsbeth enthusiasm, guarded Kalinda skepticism! My favorite part might have been when Kalinda mentioned Diane’s name and Elsbeth interrupted to shout, “She is SO ELEGANT!” Kalinda responds, “Uh, yes.”

Alrighty then.

They find common ground, though, when Elsbeth gets this off her chest at the end: “I hate depending on other people.” Kalinda smiles, says, “Me too.” And all of our Kalinda hearts hurt a little bit, because you want her to be able to depend on people, to love and be loved, but it’s the Kalinda hurt that we also kind of love.

In the end, Alicia is able to finagle Elsbeth out of jail in order to show up at the hearing, which she does just as it seems Will and Diane have run out of options. And when I say she shows up, I means she comes flailing across the track, where this hearing is weirdly being convened, shouting and waving her shoes. In other news, I am in love with her.

Wait for meeeeee!

She runs up to the tables, speaks a little French and a little English, hugs everyone, and calls a witness who’s another Olympic athlete that apparently one of these judges has screwed over before. This causes enough infighting between the judges that, somehow, Olympic Girl ends up winning, or at least her case is thrown out, or something. To be honest, past the part where we found out she had an abortion, I didn’t really understand anything that was going on in the hearing. And let’s also discuss how Lockhart Gardner was treating this girl totally normal, like she didn’t possess two Olympic silver medals! No one asked her what it was like to compete in the best tradition of international cooperation, pride, and goodwill that the world has, showcasing the triumph of the human spirit! No one even asked for her autograph! You really dropped the ball on this one, guys.

“What an elegant dress!”

As they all celebrate their victory, we see Eli walk up to their offices and admitting to Alicia that he is in the need of a lawyer. And as no one at Lockhart Gardner can represent him, he’s here to take advantage of another option: that goofy red head in the middle of the room. One can hope that this means we’ll get to see more of Elsbeth in the future.

What did you think of this episode? How do you think the campaign’s going to progress between Peter and Maddie? What storylines would you like The Good Wife to focus on for the rest of the season? (I find myself, strangely, missing Cary.) And seriously, why can’t we have Elsbeth every week?

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