TV Recap: The Good Wife, ‘Targets’

Written by Matt Taylor

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This week, perhaps the most popular recurring character in The Good Wife’s ensemble, Elsbeth Tascioni, made what could possibly be her final return trip to the series. The quirky lawyer, known for her unconventional legal methods and unusual sense of humor, played a central role in the episode, “Targets,” and while Carrie Preston was as game as ever, this was still a relatively disappointing episode.

First, the good: Elsbeth’s return to the series involved Eli eliciting her services to help find out why the FBI is investigating Peter, only for her to drop their case abruptly due to an alleged conflict of interest. So, Eli, Marissa and Elsbeth’s ex-husband were forced to investigate why the compulsively random lawyer could not defend him. Elsbeth is a funny character, but in the past few seasons the writers relied a bit too heavily on her quirks, making her character transform from comic relief into a grating screen presence. Luckily, the writers seem to understand that it is possible to have too much of a good thing, and we got just the right amount of Tascioni. Preston was hilarious, and she should receive another Emmy nomination as a result.

But then there was the not-so-good: the case-of-the-week found Alicia taking part in a secret panel to determine whether or not the government can authorize a drone strike against an American ISIS member, which started off interesting but quickly fell flat. The Good Wife has taken on topical social issues before, but they bit off more than they could chew with this unrealistic storyline. As much as I may have agreed with the message the writers were trying to send about the use of drones in the military, it reeked of self-righteousness, while also failing to receive enough screen time to truly feel intense or relevant. Not to mention the fact that, with only seven episodes left, these standalone subplots are starting to feel like a waste of time. The only silver lining of the storyline: the NSA workers that listen in on Alicia’s conversations returned to the drama, and delivered some terrific meta-commentary on the series.

This week’s episode also found Alicia and Jason finally giving into the sexual tension between them both. The results: another memorable sex scene for the series. While Jason is nowhere near as developed as Alicia’s other suitors over the years, the chemistry between Margulies and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is almost undeniable at this point, and the sequence definitely lived up to viewers’ expectations, in part because of some hilarious gags about the moment that followed the moment. Jason was also asked by Cary and David Lee to investigate whether or not Diane wanted to turn the practice into an all-female firm, a subplot that will definitely catch viewers’ attention and, hopefully, give Christine Baranski something to do this season.

“Targets” was definitely a mixed bag for The Good Wife. Seeing as there are only a few more episodes, it’s a bit frustrating to see the writers wasting time on disappointing cases of the week, and simply teasing subplots that could put their best cast members to use. But, at the very least, we got to see some great supporting characters for what will probably be the final time. Hopefully this was the last mediocre episode of this series.

Overall rating: 6 out of 10