‘The Good Wife’ Recap 7×11: The Full Monty

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Alan Cumming and Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife. (photo: CBS)

The Good Wife returns this week, with Season 7, Episode 11, “Iowa”, and you won’t like Alicia when she’s angry. Here are the plotlines we’re focusing on this week:

Eli Gold’s betrayal of Alicia Florrick.

The Iowa caucus.

Jackie Florrick and Howard Lyman’s prenup.

And that’s it! Now chop-chop, let’s get to the episode! Sorry to hurry you along, but Alicia Florrick hulks out bigtime, and I want you to see it.

As you may recall from before the mini-hiatus, Eli ended Episode 10 (“KSR”) by coming clean to Alicia about deleting that voicemail from Will Gardner telling her he loved her back in the day. Yeesh. And Alicia responds to that information by transforming from calm, intelligent, rational Bruce Banner, into a chair-kicking, plate-hurling Hulk. As she should, really. Dude literally changed the course of her life, and expects her just to go back to packing for the Iowa caucus?

And no sooner is Eli out the door then there’s another knock, and it’s Jason Crouse (the spelling of whose name I have to look up literally every time I write it), finishing up some last business before he heads off to California, out of reach. Peter Florrick had wanted Jason to look into Howard Lyman in advance of his marriage to Jackie Florrick, to inform the prenuptial agreement they’re working on, and Jason has discovered that Howard hid $2.2 million in a shell company. Normally this would be a bombshell (no pun intended), but in this situation, I’m much more interested in the fact that Alicia doesn’t invite Jason in, close as she is to the end of her rope. The suggestion is that she doesn’t because her house is lousy with shards of plate, but I think this is a signal that Alicia is going to be more self-reliant moving forward. It’s like she got a reminder that there are more important things than her will-they-won’t-they with a tire iron-toting man of mystery.

On the Florrick bus plowing through Iowa, Alicia is doing her best impression of Damien from Mean Girls, with her darkest glasses on inside, reading Jane Eyre, and music blasting in her ears. All she’s missing is having her hoodie up and Janis Ian by her side. Grace Florrick tries to break through, but Alicia is having none of it. And there’s Zach Florrick, played by Graham Phillips! Casually cropping up as if he hasn’t been missing in action since Season 6.

There’s an argument on the bus between Ruth Eastman and Eli and Josh Mariner (David Krumholtz) about where the campaign should go next. Eli and Josh want to go east, where they’ll get good coverage and social media buzz going, and Ruth is arguing for north, hitting the last three counties in Iowa for “the full Grassley” — visiting all 99 counties in Iowa before the deadline. The classic strategy will stretch them thin, but it prevails, mostly because Peter asks Alicia for her input, and she throws her support behind Ruth. As you do when Eli’s betrayed you.

Back in the real world, Lucca Quinn is trying to deal with this prenup, calling Alicia to decide how contentious they want it to get. Alicia advises Lucca take her cues from the couple and go in slow, but I suspect it isn’t gonna stay easy-breeze for long because A. Howard’s lawyer is David Lee, and B. that whole $2.2 million thing. It’s apparently being held in a shell company called Relic Holdings, and Howard is claiming not to know what it is.

But you know who seemed to perk right up when the name of the company was mentioned? Why, David Lee of course. He bursts into a meeting with Diane Lockhart and Cary Agos, ready to start blabbing about his situation, but they’re sitting down with Sharon Creech (Jordan Baker) of the Illinois Fair Employment Practices Agency. She’s investigating them for discriminatory hiring practices after receiving a complaint, although she can’t say from whom. Diane thinks it’s Canning, but Diane isn’t so sure. (And neither am I because REMEMBER THAT WOMAN OF COLOR YOU NEGLECTED TO HIRE IN FAVOR OF ALL THOSE WHITE DUDES? Just a thought.)

And in yet more bad news for Lockhart, Agos, & Lee, turns out that the money in Howard’s shell corporation was put there by David Lee; it was part of a settlement that the firm received that he wanted to hide from Alicia so she wouldn’t lay claim to a portion of it in her exit package. Diane and Cary are pretty sure that’s fraud, but encourage David to “take care of it”, which no one should ever say to him ever.

Back in Iowa, there’s nobody in this Iowa podunk town that Ruth chose, and Eli and Josh are real snippy about it. One person who did manage to rally, however, is Neil Howard Sloan-Jacobs (Christopher Sieber), who is in full American history regalia, and very very very enthusiastic about Peter Florrick. Ruth keeps insisting that it isn’t about the crowds, it’s how they’re reported, and luckily, she has Ted Willoughby (Mo Rocca) on retainer to basically make them look good as they attempt “The Full Monty”, as he’s calling it. The campaign has three more counties to go before the 5:00pm cut-off, so make some room in your belly for loose meat sandwiches. It’s tradition.

On board the bus, Ruth wants to get to know Alicia, and grossly enough, she’s having more luck getting through to her than Alicia’s own daughter Grace did, which is a signal to me that they’re getting just the teensiest bit tone deaf when it comes to Alicia. Her kids are the most important thing in the world to her; I don’t think she’d be icing them out the way she’s doing on the bus just because she’s bummed about the Life That Might Have Been with Will Gardner. And that just happens to be the subject of today’s conversation with Ruth, as Alicia is waxing poetic about the different fork her life could have taken, saying if she could go back to her seat in criminal Law 101 at Georgetwon, she would say yes this time to the young man who was in love with her. And oh boy is Ruth Eastman not in love with hearing that wife of her Presidential candidate is quite literally mooning around the bus thinking about a long lost lover.

At LA&L, Cary and Diane go storming into Monica Timmons’ office, demanding to know if she filed a complaint with FEPA. Which you are definitely definitely not allowed to do, and they should know that. Monica folds under almost no pressure, admitting she filed with the EEOC, but withdrew the complaint once she started working for the firm; unfortunately, the EEOC has a workshare agreement with the Feds, so the firm is being investigated now, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. Which is probably a good thing, honestly, because these people are acting like idiots. Two white name partners bursting into the office of a black new-hire to demand details about her discrimination suit is at the far end on the “not okay” scale, so I hope that isn’t just a dumb choice that the show’s white writers made to move the plot along, and LA&L gets what’s coming to them.

Bus update: Alicia is still not talking to Eli.

Now that the presence of all that money in Howard’s name is known about, David Lee is trying to explain how it got there, claiming a clerical error. But Howard is smarter than all that, and he’s demanding a cut of it if David wants him to pretend like it was his all along. David Lee offers $10,000, but Howard is more interested in half, please and thank you, especially considering that it’s in his name and he really could take all of it if he wanted to.

In the next Iowa county, we have a very angry crowd for some reason, and as always, no one knows how to work a computer but Zach, who pulls up footage of Alicia and Eli in private conversation, with Alicia saying that being in Iowa is a nightmare. Whoooooopsie daisies! Bad news for everybody, so Ruth sits down with Alicia again to talk about the road less traveled. Turns out she had an old love too, that could not be, and she used to wonder about it a lot. And then the dude got arrested for mail fraud, so she knows she made the right choice. Okay very cool Ruth, thanks so much for your input, but this is a very different situation. In that instead of being arrested for wire fraud, Will was murdered in public at his job. Slightly more difficult to let go of; I’m sure you can understand why.

To fix the “nightmare” SNAFU, Alicia goes on camera saying she only meant she would’ve rather been home with her kids, one of whom has the sniffles, and resembles nothing so much as a creepy robot mom.

In the prenup meetings, Howard is trying to take responsibility for the money, and say he just forgot about it, but Jackie and Lucca aren’t buying it. In fact, Jackie now wants full power of attorney in case she has to take care of Howard, whose health is apparently failing. (Always a good assumption when someone blanks on where they left multiple millions of dollars.)

Monica interviews with the Creech woman from FEPA, and it turns out she saw the video that Monica put up alleging racism against the company. Yet more information that I’m pretty sure Diane and Cary shouldn’t be quizzing her on.

And we’ve finally made it to our last county! And that weird rapping Federalist is here too. We find out that the campaign is looking for second place in the caucus — that’s winning to them — and that losing is coming in third. Ruth asks Alicia if she’s up for it, and gets a resounding “I don’t know”. It looks like things might actually happen for them, and then there’s a shot caught on camera of Peter spitting his loose meat sandwich into a napkin. Bye bye prospects!

Howard takes Jackie aside to try to explain where the money came from one-on-one, without things getting tangled up in their prenup, and now she’s more adamant than ever about receiving power of attorney, saying Howard is not only senile but also delusional if he thinks that someone else put the money there.

In the first appropriate move all day, Diane wants Cary to apologize to FEPA, because she feels like he was the worst offender in the video. He disagrees, saying Howard was, but it seems like he’s gonna do it.

And over at the caucus, tragedy strikes! Every candidate has their own corner, and there’s nobody in Florrick’s. Nobody. If they can’t get 29 people over there in 30 minutes, Peter won’t be viable as a candidate, and no one associated with his campaign is allowed to approach voters directly, so this is gonna be tough. Alicia gets cornered by a sandwich hater pretty much right away, but everybody else is doing pretty well. But after half an hour, they’re one person short, after Zach strikes out with Sam (Tessa Albertson), the Georgetown girl he was a’courtin’. He gets Grace on the job, and Sam comes over from one of the more populated campaigns, so Florrick is viable!

Meanwhile, Lucca is suspicious about this shell company, so she calls Jason to get some info on where the money came from. He’s in California, but can multitask. Are these two flirting?? I can’t tell.

The FEPA lady finishes her investigation and says up, LA&L is definitely racist. Cary looks for a second like he’s accepting blame, then quick-sharp foists it all on Howard Lyman. Whoooooops what are you doing? Cary asks the FEPA investigator if taking Howard down to emeritus status (what Cary wanted all along!!) a satisfactory remedy of the issue, and she says yes. Wow, sneaky boy. Diane accuses Cary of using the FEPA complaint to get what he wanted, but he insists he did it to save the firm. Oh uh-huh.

In Iowa, the plot thickens as they discover that one of the Florrick supporters is missing, a youth minister, and that they’ve dipped below the required number of voters again. They have to pull a lot of strings to get five extra minutes to locate her, and I’m happy, because I got some legal dialogue in there from Alicia, which I’ve been craving. Get your butt back into a courtroom, woman!

In the real world, Jason has already figured out that David Lee moved the money, but he doesn’t know why, although he suggests Alicia might. And there’s more of this weird banter with him and Lucca over the phone. She’s administering some very familiar scolding to Jason for flirting with everyone, but definitely flirting with him herself. Gonna keep my eye on these two.

Annnnnd it turns out that the youth minister joined the Hillary campaign, whomp whomp. So Florrick is one short. Until the Federalist shows up with a boom box and his own songs about Peter Florrick, and somehow leads a parade of simple Iowans who are apparently as hypnotized by a tune as the rats of Hamlin right into Florrick’s corner. He goes from barely being viable to ultimately winning that precinct, in a huge upset.

Back on the bus, Peter pulls Alicia aside, wanting to know what she was arguing with Eli about on-camera. She says she thinks he’d prefer not to know, because it’s about the past, and then the results start playing on TV. Hillary Clinton takes the top, which is fine, that’s what they expected, because they just want second. But second goes to Bernie Sanders, followed by Martin O’Malley, with Peter fourth with just four counties out of 99. Definitely not what they wanted, and he’s officially out of the Presidential race.

At LA&L, Jackie is watching the coverage, upset, and Lucca comes in to tell her that David Lee was the one who moved the money. Jackie realizes that Howard was telling the truth, and isn’t senile, and goes to interrupt his pantsless nap to apologize, and say she wants to drop the prenup altogether. She doesn’t think Peter will push it, on account of the, y’know, devastating loss he faced tonight.

And then the part of the episode I’m most excited about! This weird mirror face off between Ruth and Eli. Ruth is making a cocktail, and Eli glides silently in behind her to tell her that she overreached, and missed the most fundamental thing about Peter Florrick — he’s not number one. She is. Ruth assumes Eli means Hillary, but he means Alicia. Dun dun DUNNNNN! And out in the main area of the bus, Alicia goes and gives Peter a legitimately kind and loving hug, so those are the two relationships I’m very interested to see proceed next week. I think it turns into an all-out war with Ruth and Eli and I couldn’t be more psyched.

‘The Good Wife’ Recap 7×11: The Full Monty