‘The Good Wife’ Season 7 Premiere Recap: The Smoking Roomba

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The Good Wife. (photo: Paul Sarkis/CBS)

I was good and patient and kind all summer, and finally the awaited day has arrived—The Good Wife is back. The show’s Season 7 premiere “Bond” aired last night, and for as excited as I was to see the show return, I was also a little hazy on how we left things in Season 6, given that the finale episode, “Wanna Partner?” aired back in May. So I did some quick poking around on the Internet, and it turns out everything we need to know comes down to these five sentences:

Finn no longer wants to collaborate with Alicia on a legal or sexual basis.

Kalinda is gone.

Peter wants to run for Vice President.

Alicia has zero job and zero reputation.

Canning wants to partner with Alicia because Diane fired his wife Simone, and the last thing we saw last season was him at Alicia’s door asking that fateful question: “Wanna Partner?”

Great. Caught up. After a brief, Cops-type montage, we meet up with Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) again in a busy courtroom that I hope we’re supposed to be as overwhelmed by as Alicia is, because cripes, this is impenetrable. It turns out it’s bond court, where defendants who don’t have their own lawyers but aren’t low-income enough to qualify for a public defender go to get assigned bail. A lawyer talks to them for an almost laughably-brief time, through a glass wall, then pleads their case to the judge trying to get their clients released on a low bail. And this is all for $135 a case, so they’re driving it home early that Alicia is in a bad way.

There are three snarky lawyers already in the bond court who do this all the time and are heavily Mean Girls-ing Alicia: two men and Lucca Quin (Cush Jumbo), who’s been added to the main cast this season. They know exactly what to do and when to do it to keep up with the courtroom’s a-case-every-90-seconds pace, and it’s clear from the moment that Alicia arrives that she’s wildly out of her depth, getting iced out by Lucca and the other lawyers, with the judge refusing even to assign her cases because he’s wary of her slowing him down. With no public faith in her abilities and a scandal-ridden reputation that precedes her, we’re basically seeing an echo of Season 1 here—a reminder that Alicia is starting over in almost every way.

As Alicia is cornering Judge Don Schakowsky (Christopher McDonald) outside, begging him to let her take some of the cases off his docket and giving him the chance to fill us in on just how bad Alicia’s situation is with some exposition, a limo glides up to take her to lunch with Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox), undermining Alicia’s insistence that she needs the bond court work. Thanks so much, mysterious limo from nowhere that goes around collecting lunch dates while Canning presumably sits in a restaurant hoping they find somebody?

Luckily, he’s saved from dining alone today (phew), and has apparently spent the entire meal bending Alicia’s ear about why she should come work with him, because we cut to Alicia just as she’s beginning to spell out why that’s not what she wants. Namely, it’s because she likes not having to answer anyone, doesn’t like the clients Canning works with, and thinks she’d be working for him, not with him. Oh, and he’s the devil. Don’t want to forget that one. In response, Canning draws up a metaphor where two people collide, and one, typically the woman, says “I’m sorry” while the other, typically the man, says “Watch it.” He claims Alicia is the one who always apologizes, and this is legit a scenario I think about all the time and try to stop doing, because I am the “sorry” lady, too, and now that I’ve noticed it, I can’t un-see it. Alicia doesn’t bite on the metaphor this time around (but don’t worry, it will be back!), saying that she doesn’t want other people making decisions for her anymore.

And suddenly, Eureka! Alicia’s eyes cloud over, and she has to get on the phone right away to call…Eli Gold (Alan Cumming)? I didn’t see this coming, but apparently talking about how she only wanted to be in charge of herself reminded her that she’d been a hard no on her husband Peter (Chris Noth) running for vice president, and her chat with Canning convinced her to relent. Eli makes a bunch of celebration noises and then is like “OMG OMG OMG Ruth Eastman we need Ruth Eastman right now OMG bring her to me.” He’s so emphatic that I’m pretty sure I smell a new series regular, especially when I see she’s played by Margo Martindale, boss of bosses. Eastman refuses to commit to Eli then and there to come on as a member of the team to get Peter second in Iowa, and on the radar of a candidate named Hillary Clinton (maybe you’ve heard of her?) as a running mate. Eastman does, however, agree to meet with Peter before she joins another campaign.

Back at her apartment, Alicia is being greeted at the door by the ghost of her daughter Grace (Makenzie Vega), who puzzlingly greets Alicia with her full name instead of “Mom” and leads her into the living room. Oh, she has her first client! That’s great news, because it means Grace is not only an empty husk of a human being, but wants to take an active role in her mom’s practice, faking a busy office by calling the landline from her cell phone and promising to hold all calls while Alicia speaks with the client, Madeline Smulders (Bridget Regan). Get it Grace.

Ms. Smulders has come to Alicia after finding her online because she needs to dispute the will of her late mother. The woman had just two children and almost no belongings of any value, so the split should be down the middle and fairly simple, except that she also has this signed Chagall print that’s worth $8 million. Did I not mention that? However, the divvying-up process should still be pretty simple, as apparently the late Mrs. Smulders was a big fan of sticky notes, and tacked them onto every item in the house so each of her children knew whom she intended to inherit what, avoiding squabbles.

Except this is The Good Wife, so subterfuge is everywhere. Not only is Ms. Smulder’s brother being represented by David Lee (Zach Grenier), but when they unseal the house, they discover all the tack-on notes have fluttered to the ground.

Meanwhile, Eli thinks he’s gotten Eastman to sign on for the campaign, and is drinking a victory smoothie when boom, he’s fired. Turns out that Peter and Eastman had been coordinating behind his back and decided that there was a job for Eastman on Peter’s VP campaign after all: Eli’s. He’s as mad as you’d expect, and roundly rejects Peter’s half-offer to work as the chief of staff in the governor’s office, positioning himself directly opposite his former ally with the line: “You just lost your greatest asset and made your worst enemy.” Battle of the gray-haired patricians, bring it on.

Cut back to sad Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry) in a partner meeting at Lockhart Agos. He’s in the room with all the older people, including David Lee and Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) arguing about strategies to use against Alicia in court, and clearly wants to go sit at the kid table in the other conference room where all the young law is happening. Poor Sad Cary.

In bond court, Alicia has returned to Snarkland, except that she’s clearly impressed Lucca by showing back up, so when the judge ices her out this time around, Lucca demands that he give Alicia some of her cases. He’s skeptical, but Lucca promises to keep Alicia on track, and spends the next montage teaching her the ways of the bond court, where if she slows down or messes up, the judge punishes her through her client, slapping him with a wildly-inappropriate $500,000 bail. By the end of the day, she’s exhausted, with four of her six clients still in jail and zero money in her pocket because she forgot to check a box on their forms. So even though she officially sucks at this, she has a new gal pal, and we suspect that all will be right in the world.

In probate court in the Chagall case, the brother no longer wants to split down the middle, as he believe he can prove the print was left to him, so we’re introduced to a flurry of witnesses from complicated-sounding backgrounds in everything from adhesive to the fall patterns of sticky notes, trying to prove which of the fallen notes fell from the print. Turns out you can tell whether any of them were ever stuck to it, because those notes will have flakes of “Dutch gold” leaf on them, which occurs only on the frame of the print. That’s convenient! But with both David Lee and Diane Lockhart in the courtroom, with all these insanely scientific expert witnesses, it’s clear they’re coming after Alicia with everything they’ve got. Which Alicia remarks on, and Diane mysteriously says is no accident…what could that mean? (I genuinely hadn’t put it together yet.)

Later, Alicia meets Eastman, and they have instant chemistry in a way that makes me so excited to see them go toe-to-toe together all season. Honestly, Eastman is a badass, but I think if they go at it right now, Alicia takes the win. She is ice cold and unflappable, and even after reaming Peter out for firing Eli, Alicia is gregarious and charming in her onscreen interview, complimenting her husband on being loyal and sticking to his word, while Peter reminds her that he’s also very smart. I get it, we’re talking about Eli. Ruth Eastman gets it, too, and she doesn’t look like a happy camper.

Meanwhile, Eli is at home Netflix and chilling, and when Alicia goes to see him, he wants none of it, accusing her of always seeing him as the help, and closing the door in her face.

Back at Lockhart Agos, we get more Sad Cary, this time going out with the baby lawyers and ruining their good time at a bar, promising to get the partners to listen to their new ideas.

In probate court, we get the line, “They’re allowing Dr. Smulder’s Roomba into evidence,” which is the phrase I think I’ve always wanted without ever realizing it.

In bond court, Lucca needs Alicia to sub for her (they’re new gal pals, remember??) from 1:00 to 4:00, and Alicia needs to be at probate court at 4:30, which everyone says won’t be a problem, ergo it definitely will.

Meanwhile, Eli has apparently wallowed enough, even though I would literally just be getting started if I were him, getting a snappy haircut that jolts him back into action, evil eyebrow mirror and all. He goes to court to meet up with Alicia and apologize to her, saying she never treated him like the help, and offering to be her chief of staff in order to protect her from Eastman, who will want to rehab Alicia’s image from “human person with human flaws” to “wife and mother.” Eli and Alicia on the same team against Peter and Eastman. UM YES PLEASE WHERE DO I SIGN.

Back at the courtroom, we’re ready for that Good Wife twist, as Alicia spots a tack-on note snagged in the Roomba and pulls it out, only to reveal that it says the name “Selena.” Who is Selena? She is their housekeeper is who, so cue the jaw dropping and dun-dun-dunnnnnn-ing.

Outside the courthouse, Ruth Eastman swoops up to offer Alicia a ride, because I guess people just hover out there on the street waiting to catch a glimpse of her and whisk her away? How do I become the object of those attentions? In the backseat, Eastman gives lip service to the idea that this campaign will be about keeping Alicia happy as well as Peter, but quickly admits that a big part of it will be rehabbing Alicia’s image, molding her back into the silent, perfect wife, just like Eli predicted. She even drops the line, “We need to mold a real you that they’ll like,” which is approximately the worst thing anyone could say to Alicia Florrick ever, and it seems to solidify her resolve to work with Eli as her chief of staff.

Eastman tries to thumbs-down that very dangerous idea, saying that since it’s campaign money that will be paying the chief of staff, Alicia won’t have the authority to make that choice solo. But, as Alicia points out, she’ll be volunteering her time to play the role of Dutiful Wife and Mother, and wouldn’t it be a shame if she withdrew those services? Eastman says surely she isn’t suggesting that Alicia wouldn’t be involved in her own husband’s campaign, and Alicia is like, “LOL you don’t even know me, that’s exactly what I’m suggesting and this is where I get out, BYE.” Mic drop.

But even though she’s so good at dealing with Ruth Eastman, Alicia still isn’t so good at dealing with Judge Schakowsky, who is continuing to do that (I think???) very illegal thing where he “taxes” Alicia’s clients for her amateur mistakes, tacking on jail time and bail money, to make Alicia feel so guilty that she stops showing up at bond court and slowing him down. And in this case that sucks especially hard, because she’s filling in for Lucca and is the only bond attorney in the whole joint. Hold onto your butts!

At Lockhart Agos, Baby LawBro is pitching some app or something to the partners, and they are not excited about it because they are Old. One person who is excited, however, is Howard Lyman (Jerry Adler), who thinks the pie graphs are boobies. Sad Cary remains very sad. He misses his hip old office with no walls and exposed brick and pipes and no old people. *Cries*

Since Alicia had a hard out from bond court at 4:30, she’s being held way over by Judge Schakowsky, evil personified, and since Lucca is too far away to replace her at bond court in time, she decides to go replace her at probate court instead. It’s a very fun game of Lawyer Musical Chairs with high stakes like jail time and the loss of $8 million! Which seems to be what’s on the line as the judge in the Chagall case refuses to accept Lucca’s request for a continuance, instead preparing to dismiss Ms. Smulder’s petition to split the assets down the middle, as it seems her mother intended to leave the print to the housekeeper, as the sticky note retrieved from the Roomba has exclusively gold leaf on the back.

The judge is about to rule in the housekeeper’s favor, losing Alicia’s client $4 million in the blink of an eye, but then Lucca pulls a Game Day Save even though she knows nothing about the case, pointing out that in the state of Illinois, the caretaker of an invalid cannot inherit more than $20,000 from their deceased former charge. It’s a pretty good law, when you think about it, so no one gets taken advantage of or abused, and it wins the case. Hurray! Lucca saves the day, and gets to join Alicia at the bar for more girl talk.

At Lockhart Agos, Sad Cary is apologizing to LawBro that the partners don’t want to make a move on his idea, and gets a move made on him instead! LawBro reaches over to caress Cary’s hand, which he immediately rejects, and all of a sudden Cary has a lot to think about. Maybe being a Law Adult isn’t so bad after all??

The episode is almost over, but there’s still time for one more showdown, and it’s between Ruth Eastman and Eli, who promises that he will do everything in his power to undermine Peter as both a candidate and a man. WOWIE WOW WOW. Eastman can tell that he’s serious from his haircut, which she’s probably the third or fourth person to mention even though no one had a thing to say about that broke-ass wig from earlier.

Back at the bar I swear to God if Alicia and Lucca get shots of tequila I’m gonna freak out. With Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi) not even cold in the ground. Or off the screen or whatever. SMDH. But Lucca just wants to dance, giving Canning an opportunity to sneak in there and use his apology metaphor one more time, and Alicia the opportunity to call him out on throwing her a client. Even though Madeline Smulders said she found Alicia through the internet, it actually turns out that it was Canning’s doing, and he’s happy to keep sending more clients if Alicia will keep considering his offer of partnership. She says she will, and that, my friends, is how you action-pack a premiere. Cannot wait for the rest of this season.

Editor’s Note: We had a ton of interest in recapping for The Good Wife, leading us to believe that our readership will be able to particularly appreciate this video by AOL’s Ricky Camilleri.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omLIUg4MsZ0&w=560&h=315%5D

‘The Good Wife’ Season 7 Premiere Recap: The Smoking Roomba