The Good Wife
The Penalty Box

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 2 USERS: A+
The People Who Judge

Cary: "You're helping people."
Alicia: "Ugh, like that judge? Was he innocent? Do I know? Do I even care anymore?"

Because that's the real trick, the thing that all the ratfucking lawyers in the world will never be able to explain to you: That any illusions you have about your cleanliness don't matter. Not because they're not true, not because there's not an objective morality or at least a legal system designed to approximate one, but because you're asking the wrong question. If we're all the same amount of dirty, then we're all the same amount of clean.

And anybody who tries to sell you another way to do that math is working on a way to control you. Whether it's about sluts or fags, whether it's about campaign politics or campaign contributions, whether it's about social welfare or social Darwinism: If we're all the same amount of dirty, then we're all the same amount of clean. And all you have to do to find that small measure of grace is to give up the holy image of yourself.

Cary: "I haven't learned a damn thing since I left L/G. I am as dumb now as I was out of law school."
Alicia: "What's to learn?"
Cary: "That people lie. And the people who judge, they lie the most."

His phone goes off, and it's Peter -- "I'm here cheating with you," he grins, and Alicia doesn't even know what he means. She's just buzzed enough to make a hilarious face like, "Aren't we scandalous?!" He steps away, and she thinks for just a moment about what he said, before she feels somebody looking at her.

Kalinda's come in, on his invitation. Rapping her shades against one palm nervously, looking everywhere in the crowd, except at her. And then, before she knows quite why, Alicia smiles sadly, and turns a stool to face her, and pats a place for her to sit down again.

Q: Who is she supposed to be? What kind of person is Alicia Florrick? On her best day, when the compass goes spinning, what can she count on? She thought it was St. Alicia, she thought it was honesty, she thought it was integrity, she thought it was a lot of things that turned out to be way more complicated and less safe than St. Alicia ever thought: Virtues that become vices, vices that become armor so you don't have to cry anymore.

Integrity can be a kind of drug, just like any other thing you think defines you, once it stops helping you feel real and starts helping you feel better.

But the real answer to the question comes from the most surprising place of all, if you haven't been paying attention. If you, like Cary, think he hasn't learned anything or become a better man in his time at the SA, you might be surprised to learn he's known the answer all along:The people who judge, they lie the most. And that's not Alicia at all. Not on her best day, not on her worst.

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The Good Wife




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