Written by Matthew Taylor
With a five minute long cold open documenting a young girl’s relationship with his daughter, and her sudden, brutal death at the hand of a stray bullet, it was clear from the get-go that tonight’s episode of The Good Wife was going to be politically minded and heart wrenching. But what was most surprising about “Shoot” is the way it managed to balance a dramatic case-of-the-week with some much needed character development plot momentum. With the finish line in sight, some exciting things are happening on this series, and “Shoot” proved to be a more than satisfactory episode.
While a case-of-the-week should feel unnecessary this late in the series, tonight’s episode featured an engrossing storyline that delivered a real emotional punch thanks to a powerful guest performance by Blair Underwood. The episode, which closely examined the legality of gun control, was as intelligently written as we’ve come to expect from this series. The Good Wife has the amazing ability to take complicated legal matters and examine it in the least manipulative way possible, avoiding melodrama and relying on the strength of their scripts to sell the storyline. And while there were definitely some dramatic sequences in the episode, they were acted and directed so well that the moments felt earned.
The best thing about this subplot, however, was the way it seamlessly pushed the ongoing plot threads forward. Mainly, we saw how Alicia, Diane and Luca are starting to seriously consider the possibility of starting an all-female firm, which will certainly become one of the last dramatic conflicts in the series. For the first time in multiple weeks, Cush Jumbo was given the chance to display some dramatic skills, and her character felt more developed as a result. Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, the writers are still horribly ignoring Christine Baranski. But, hopefully, the impending plotline about an all female firm will give her some great material in the future.
Elsewhere in the hour, Alicia was given a number of juicy plotlines that gave Julianna Margulies even more material for her impending Emmy submission. A fun subplot from the hour found her defending Grace after her college admission essay was found to be plagiarized, which showcased Margulies’ killer comedic timing and culminated in a sweet mother/daughter moment. She was also called to testify during her husband’s grand jury investigation, which remains a somewhat confusing storyline, but has delivered some extraordinarily directed moments. And, in a welcome plot development, Alicia was forced to consider the terms of her relationship with Jason, which exemplified how much she has changed over the course of the series. The final moment, which is sure to be amongst The Good Wife’s most scandalous sequences, was both well acted and liberating from a storytelling standpoint.
Case-of-the-week subplots are usually lazy time fillers and, ideally, “Shoot” will feature as one of The Good Wife’s last standalone storylines. If that’s the case, they truly went out with a bang. And, even with that subplot, this week’s episode brought the show closer to its finale in the best way possible. We’re starting to see how all the pieces will fit together, while there is still a considerable amount of tension. I’m excited to see what happens next.
Overall rating: 9 out of 10.