‘The Good Wife’ Recap 7×14: Blacked Out

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife. (photo: CBS)

So I figured out why last night’s episode of The Good Wife — Season 7, Episode 14 — is called “Monday”. It’s because we were all blacked out all weekend and forgot the part where Alicia Florrick agreed to go back to Lockhart, Agos, & Lee. But sure, let’s just jump back in after that decision has been agonized over and made offscreen, with no discussion. The important plot points to be aware of for the episode are as follows:

Alicia Florrick coming home.

The firm’s inherent (and unnecessary) racism.

The new ChumHum tablet.

This mysterious FBI investigation.

Lights up on Lockhart, Agos, & Lee. Alicia Florrick is back, Lucca Quinn is here, and in the same breath that we find that out, we find out there’s no office space for them yet. Sure, that’s a transition. Almost immediately we jump into the first case, which involves the firm’s Technology Director, Howell (Jason Babinsky). Like Cher, he only has one name, and like Cher, he has in his possession the new ChumHum tablet called “The Foil”. (Not like Cher?) It hasn’t been released to consumers yet, but Cher claims his girlfriend Amy found it under a table at a consumer electronics show after-party. He posted photos to Twitter, and is getting offered $100,000 by blogs wanting to be the first to review it. Obviously, he wants to know if he can legally sell it, or if he needs lawyers to negotiate on his behalf. Lucca is all about it, and Alicia wants to wait.

Across town, Marissa Gold is working at a really douchey juice bar, which is a logical follow-up job to working for a campaign, sure. (I feel like that’s going to be my mantra for this episode: “sure”.) A very familiar looking guy with some facial scruff and a puffy vest is here to flirt with the register and get Marissa to disparage her job while she’s physically at it, and since there aren’t enough weird couples on the show, he’s interested in asking Marissa out for her lunch break.

Back at LA&L, Diane Lockhart’s goldfish brain has apparently been wiped clean of all Alicia-related information, because she’s warmly welcoming her back to the firm with a hug. Sure. She also tells Lucca that she has to introduce her to Monica, which is a repeated and unnecessary theme in this episode. We get it, you’re racist. You want the two people of color in the office to buddy up, because that makes sense in your White Person Brains. Diane is also wary of getting involved with Cher’s ChumHum tablet situation, since the firm is on such dicey terms with ChumHum anyway, and there’s a fine line between the tablet being stolen and abandoned. They have to attempt constructive notice. Which is apparently what Lucca is doing right outside the room, where she was banished when Diane wanted to have a Whites Only chat with Alicia.

Lucca has saved everyone some time by getting through to someone at ChumHum customer service who so vehemently refuses to accept that Lucca might have The Foil in her possession that he says whatever it is, she can keep it. That relieves them of their burden within the law, as the conversation was recorded, so they can officially help Cher sell it.

On Marissa’s juice date, she’s talking about her time in the Israeli army, which actually sounds really interesting, but Datebro is actually much more interested in Marissa’s dad, Eli Gold, and her time working for Alicia. And because Marissa is my beautiful angel, she gets suspicious at the same moment I do and starts asking the guy about himself and recording the conversation under the table. Afterward, she marches straight to Eli’s office to tell him what happened, like a good juice bar employee. (Why is this woman working in a juice bar.) She got a photo with Datebro, who said his name was Scott Devereaux, but he’s actually FBI Agent Roland Hlavin (John Magaro). Eli wants to know what Datebro asked about, but it wasn’t anything to do with Judge Schakowsky, so he’s stumped. Although he has the useful onscreen revelation of why people have children, just twenty-something years after having his own, so it isn’t a total wash.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a weird dynamic between Alicia and Jason Crouse when they cross paths at LA&L. We learn that all they did was kiss in the elevator, because they’re fourteen, and apparently things didn’t go any further, even though they were literal seconds away from Alicia’s apartment. Sure. Have a good time working together. Please bring some legit sexual chemistry to this show, which is so desperately lacking it. Cary Agos comes in, getting what’s become his requisite thirty onscreen seconds an episode this season, and says they’re dropping the Cher case, but then a parade of official-looking men with TAPS written on their back come to arrest Cher, led by Perry Dunst (Jeremy Bobb), and everything changes. As they arrest Cher (on his knees, in the middle of the office!!!) for being in possession of stolen property, Diane promises the firm is going to help him.

But the thing is, Cher doesn’t really want to help himself. He’s refusing to sell out Amy as the person who gave him the tablet, which is a problem, because Neil Gross (John Benjamin Hickey) himself shows up to say that unless he returns the prototype and gives up his source, he could go to jail for up to three years. Also, everyone starts asking themselves and each other what TAPS is, and nobody seems to have heard of it before.

Elsewhere, in the midst of an FBI investigation, Eli is showing up at Bad Judge Don Schakowsky’s office, telling him that the FBI is investigating. Because sure. He seems like someone reliable to have that kind of information.

Back in TAPS world, we’re learning that the acronym stands for Technology Allied Protection Service, which is a multi-agency task force clamping down on technology theft. So the iPolice, if you want to save yourselves some time. (Although, would it be iPolice? Because do iPhones exist in this world? Does Apple exist, or is everything just ChumHum? This saved no one any time.) They’re based out of San Francisco, and the tablet was only reported missing at 2:30am, but here’s this Dunst guy bright and early the next day, in Chicago. It’s almost like he’s working directly for ChumHum. And indeed, he flew out here on Neil Gross’ private plane. Innnteresting.

In court, as we know, every judge needs a quirk, and this one’s is that his desk is covered with ants. Sure. The Honorable Judge Hal Ferris (Jay O. Sanders) presiding, and he’s only half listening, as he’s under his desk marveling at creation.

The engineer who was carrying the device, Blake Reedy (Gideon Glick) is testifying, saying it was stolen out of his bag. It’s revealed that they found Cher by cross-referencing him off the guest list with known offenders, and then saw his tweet. Seems like we could’ve started with the tweet, but then we’d never have an expository tool to tell us that Cher has been in trouble previously for unveiling new game specs before their release, and that he’s been suspected of hacking.

We also discover that unlike other agencies like the FBI and CIA, TAPS has a steering committee, and Silicon Valley CEOs sit on it. So yeah, amidst a hail of objections, we find that Dunst sort of does report right to Neil Gross, and in a lot of ways, TAPS could be construed as his own personal security force. But that makes this just a conflict of interest case, meaning that it would still go to trial. All they’re looking for right now is if there’s enough evidence to hold Cher.

At LA&L, Lucca is getting pulled from this case to work on the Dippel filing with Monica Timmons, and we are really being bashed in the face by the firm’s lack of awareness on this issue. I think it’s especially tone deaf for Diane, a character who’s been heads up to this kind of stuff before, but sure.

Back on the stand, Reedy is saying he never took the device out of his backpack, but does remember bumping into Cher, and thinks he stole it then. However they immediately prove that this is a lie, because Reedy showed the prototype to someone at a party and later sent a text suggesting he’s responsible for its loss, with the phrasing “my bad”. But even though they caught a witness in a lie, Alicia and Cher are still losing, and they need another tactic.

At the juice bar, Eli needs to talk to Marissa, who seems like she’s already done enough, but sure. He wants her to go another date with that FBI agent to try to figure out what he wants. He also goes to visit Alicia to give her the heads up that the Feds are investigating her. Although it’s not much of a heads up, because he doesn’t know what about.

In court, we now have Anthony Dudewitz (Joey Slotnick) on the stand, and like everyone else on this goddamn show, he’s so in love with Lucca that he needs to make it a part of the public record, by pronouncing it within and alongside his testimony for the case. Sure. He’s also testifying that this whole loss and arrest thing is a marketing stunt for ChumHum, to increase the visibility of The Foil in a market crowded with tablets, a strategy Dudewitz claims they’d discussed for an earlier launch. Lucca thanks him for his testimony, he literally says, “Anytime, for you,” which is wildly inappropriate, and then Gross’ attorney Nola Gades (Judy Reyes) withdraws her last question and the prosecution rests. Again, interesting.

Ruth Eastman is back as well, asking Eli who he’s been talking to and whether he’s been out to get her, as she just got a Grand Jury subpoena from the FBI. And surprisingly enough, Eli says no, he isn’t setting her up. In fact, if he finds out who is, he’ll let her know. It’s a remarkably magnanimous conversation between two people who traded jobs back and forth for six months.

Back at LA&L, TAPS is searching the whole office, looking for this tablet, but Lucca says they aren’t going to find anything, because she has it. Like, on your body now?? Otherwise they’re definitely going to find it. Lucca says it’s in her cubicle, and they can’t give it back to ChumHum even if they want to, because of attorney-client privilege. And when Lucca won’t do what she wants, Diane pulls Alicia aside for another emergency meeting of the White Ladies Club, where she tells Alicia to essentially get Lucca under control. She isn’t Alicia’s associate, she’s the firm’s associate. And to her credit, Alicia responds with that ice cold strength we know and love, saying Lucca is better than she’s being treated, and she can’t be given any more grunt work. Great conversation, sucks that we had to go through so much weird racist garbage to get there.

Neil Gross is on the stand now, saying a bunch of dumb stuff about how the Goliaths are the new Davids, and he would never leak a product of his that wasn’t perfect; the Foil has an issue with the swipe function that they’re still working out. None of it seems super important to me, but it’s convinced the judge, who doesn’t even allow Alicia to cross-examine Gross. Instead, he states a finding of probable cause, and sets a trial date for six months from now.

Meanwhile, Eli shows up to Marissa’s date, and is defending Ruth, but FBI Datebro still refuses to tell Eli what he’s after, saying ominously, “You’ll find out.” But will we? Apparently this is the last season, and you guys are moving ultra slowly.

It also looks like someone’s been talking to the tech site Gadby about Cher’s case, because they just upped their offer for the tablet to $250,000, which is the same amount as his bail. Lucca says it wasn’t her, but almost immediately we abandon this plot point to notice how many followers Cher has on Twitter. It’s 419,000, and for some reason that matters.

Back in political intrigue world, Eli tells Ruth he thinks they’re investigating Peter, and they both have such vivid metaphors for him having “a target on his back” and someone “taking a shot at him”, that I’m worried they’re gonna go to some kind of attempted assassination plot line. (Note to Good Wife writers: please don’t do that. You already have so many balls in the air, please allow some of them to come down before attempting to murder a character.)

In court, we discover that the reason Cher’s follower count matters is because this makes him a citizen journalist, meaning he can protect the identity of his source about the Foil, because his tweet qualifies as journalism. There’s also some talk about a flaming poop emoji, which I need in our world stat. Lucca saved the day, but she’s getting put on something else with Monica, because THIS HASN’T BEEN DONE TO DEATH YET I GUESS. If I’m this annoyed with how many times a reference is repeated in just one episode, you’re maybe getting a little heavy-handed, guys. Stop segregating the office. It’s weird and tone deaf, and stop.

And finally, Ruth is showing up at Alicia’s office for some unearned camaraderie, with a very strong alcohol and some words of warning about Peter Florrick. Whose Presidential campaign she just ran for months. But sure. She says Peter can hurt Alicia, drag her down, and destroy “everything you’ve done and want to do”. She warns her to cash out now while she still can. And again, what is Ruth’s incentive to sell out her former employer like this? Shouldn’t she be loyal to Peter? What is going on with anyone in this show right now. And then we hit that broken chair metaphor one more time — haven’t even brought it up in this recap because again, super ham-fisted — and we roll credits.

Oof. This one was hard work. Here’s hoping we get back into some kind of believable rhythm for next week.

‘The Good Wife’ Recap 7×14: Blacked Out