'The Good Wife' recap: For better or for worse

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"The Good Wife" -- "The Seven Day Rule"
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As the vows say, "To have and to hold, for richer or poorer…"

Alicia's already in one troubled marriage. Now, she's entering another with a gold-digging partner -- her own law firm.

Seems that Lockhart Gardner is solving its money woes by jumping up fourth-year associates to equity partners. It is, as Clark Hayden notes, a sort of pyramid scheme. But what can Alicia do? She's put in thousands of billable hours, and more importantly, her heart and soul into this firm. There's no way for her to jilt it at the altar.

Peter may have cheated on her, but at least he didn't marry her for her money.

For love or money

Hey, it's the return of Chum Hum, the hugely successful Google-like search engine, and its CEO, Neil Gross, who has tangled with the firm on a number of occasions.

Well, this time, his lawyers battle Lockhart Gardner for more personal reasons: his prenuptial agreement with fiancée Deena. She hires David Lee to represent her in the negotiations.

Meanwhile, another relationship is about to move to the next level. Will and Diane meet with Alicia to offer her an equity partnership! She's stunned, ecstatic, and relieved. "You don't know what a roller coaster this has been," she says.

But her happiness is short-lived. After a shopping spree, Alicia returns to find David Lee waiting in her office. He congratulates her, then reveals that equity partners must put up $600,000. "You're invested in the firm; the firm is invested in you," he explains. Alicia is shocked again, and not in a good way. Hope those designer clothes can be returned!

She wants to borrow against her mortgage, but Peter offers to loan her the money himself. She hesitates at first but accepts gratefully when he argues it's an investment in her future.

Back in the office, David Lee is trying to argue certain points of the prenup, but Deena tells him she doesn't care about money. So, they need some dirt on Neil -- enough to get Deena to play ball, but not enough to break them up. Oh, David, you're such a romantic!

Quid pro quo

Will and Diane are in bankruptcy court to convince a judge that they should get an extra five months to pay off their debt. Their new creditor, Louis Canning, argues against them, and he's up to all of his usual tricks in playing up his "handicap."

Clarke Hayden is surprised by what's revealed in court, but Canning assures him that he's just trying to save the firm from its own mismanagement. And oh, isn't Hayden taking the bar next week? You know, Canning could use someone like him at his firm.

Diane takes the stand and gets grilled about the high number of litigation cases they've settled recently. Uh oh … Will realizes this could be a problem. In fact, Alicia just argued a case against Canning in which they settled for less than the original amount. And like clockwork, Alicia gets handed a subpoena to testify.

In prenup negotiations, David Lee is fighting money with love. Cary proposes regular date nights, the religion of their children, even "sexual maintenance" (at least twice a week). But to Deena, they act like it was all Neil's idea. She's appalled and authorizes them to push back.

But when they do, a huge fight breaks out, and Deena and Neil declare "it's over" and stomp out. Oh no, if they never get married, David can't get his paws on any of that money!

While chatting with Cary, Alicia finds out he's been offered a partnership as well. Suddenly, she sees -- are they just being used for a cash influx? When Will and Diane coach her on the bankruptcy testimony, she can barely acknowledge them.

They aren't the only ones who are trying to get Alicia to say the "right" thing. Eli and Jordan are trying to pin Maddie Hayward as an atheist (which is apparently still a bad thing in politics). But what does Alicia believe? Actually, who cares -- what will she say she believes?

I do

On the stand, Canning interrogates Alicia about the West Nile case they recently fought over and asks her if she's aware of any schemes to reduce the firm's debt -- like, say, offering five (!) fourth-year associate partnerships. Stunned again, Alicia quietly says no, she was not aware. She leaves the stand without a second look at Will.

At a leadership forum event, Alicia is pissed and starts picking on Maddie (another person who betrayed her). When Peter intervenes, reporters start asking all of them questions about their religious beliefs. A straightforward Maddie bluntly admits to being an atheist. Peter respects that, but his time in prison bolstered his faith. And Alicia … decides to be truthful and says she's an atheist, too. Poor Eli!

After Cary encourages Deena, the two lovebirds are ready to get back to the table. But he and Kalinda have found some real dirt on Neil. With Deena out of the room, they bring up a footnote in his earnings reports that reveal he's supporting a child from a one-night stand. If Deena found out…

Well, she won't. Neil throws up his hands. It's over -- for his side of the negotiation. "Give them what they want," he says, leaving to be with his fiancée.

Cary spies a confused-looking Hayden in the office. Seems Hayden doesn't like the "mess" of the law, but Cary tells him it all depends on how the law is practiced.

Hayden's been subpoenaed, so he takes the stand. Canning asks him about the new equity partnerships, and Hayden agrees they're a kind of pyramid scheme.

But when Canning asks him if that kind of quid pro quo is unusual, Hayden says no -- after all, Canning also offered him a job in exchange for his help! A flustered Canning denies it, but Hayden tells the judge everything that went down. With that, Lockhart Gardner gets its five-month extension!

Back at the office, everyone is celebrating except for Alicia. Canning stops by her office and gives her his business card, signaling that she's got another suitor if she wants one.

Diane comes in and calls Alicia out for pouting. She recounts how she made partner only because of a sexual harassment case against her old senior partner. "When the door that you've been knocking at finally swings open, you don't ask why -- you run through," she says, then urges Alicia to put on a smile, go to the party, and thank everyone for the opportunity.

After a few minutes, Alicia does just that. But it's not genuine; it's the same mask on her face we used to see just after Peter's cheating scandal.

She may have to agree to this marriage, but is her heart in it anymore?

"The Good Wife" airs Sundays at 9 PM on CBS.

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