'The Good Wife' recap: Whoa, what just happened?
Whew. Excuse me while I start breathing again.
(If you missed Sunday's night The Good Wife, go watch it now. Then come back here, because plenty of spoilers to follow.)
Sure, The Good Wife isn't the flashiest show on TV. Even in its time slot on Sundays at 9 p.m., there are other things to grab viewers’ attention (ahem, The Walking Dead). But Sunday night’s episode was a breathless triumph for the show. Plotwise, this is the episode that changes the show permanently. By the end, nothing is the same: Alicia and Cary don’t work at Lockhart/Gardner, Alicia and Will are effectively enemies, Diane’s judgeship is in question. But some of the most rewarding parts for longtime fans was what wasn’t said; all of those allusions to things that happened two, even four, years ago.
Take the Will/Alicia dynamic. This episode starts with them, from the very first scene (that wisely picks up seconds after last week’s episode, when Diane told Will that Alicia was leaving Lockhart-Gardner) with that incredible confrontation in Alicia’s office. I absolutely love the choice by the writers/actor Josh Charles to come into that scene so quietly, so tantalizingly calm. It’s enough to make us think, just for a second, that maybe he’ll be sympathetic to Alicia’s choice. Nope. Will is deeply hurt. And the most interesting part is the question of why. Is he upset his firm is going to lose his top clients to Alicia and Cary? Is he mad that Alicia lied to him? Does he really think she’s awful? It’s certainly not an accident that the flashbacks of Alicia that Will sees as he’s walking to her office are very intimate moments. This IS personal for him. It’s about as personal as it can be. And it’s a testament to how powerful their dalliance was that even now, two years later (!), the show can still conjure up such strong feelings for the audience on behalf of Willicia. Heck, it was hard in that moment not to feel as betrayed as Will.
From there, the episode kicks into high gear and doesn’t stop, throwing in all of its trademark Good Wife-ness: cleverness (the back-and-forth between the two factions, each one matching each other wit-for-wit), tons of humor (Cary telling Will/Diane that certain fourth years in “protected classes” should be fired; Will giving Alicia that phone message from her daughter) and some killer acting (name a stronger ensemble on network TV right now, I dare you).
- We’re glad to see Kalinda back in the thick of things, dealing in the two-timing ambiguity she does so well.
- Love Peter’s super supportive reaction to the news of Alicia being fired, and especially his phone call with Will. At this point, I’m not sure I care whether Peter/Alicia make it as husband/wife, but he’s awesomely strong in this episode, throwing his weight around as governor and as Alicia’s partner.
- Worth noting that the score for this episode is outstanding.
- ”We’re coming after you. Every one of your clients. ... And then you know what you’ll have? A very nice suite of offices.” -- Oh yes, we like vengeful Alicia.
- Man, when is the last time a show hits its stride like this in its fifth season? It’s a real credit to everyone involved with The Good Wife that its universe is so interesting, so rich and deep, that none of these character or story beats felt unearned.
- Christine Baranski is not only an extremely talented actor, she also rocks oversized jewelry like no other. That dragonfly pin!
- I hope the show is fooling us by having Peter ask for new Supreme Court justice nominees for Diane’s spot. It’d be a great twist for the fallout over all this to lead to her losing her the judgeship, but we were looking forward to seeing that side of her.
- I’m just as irked by the Grace Florrick-is-hot plotline as you are, but I actually appreciate the show’s willingness to own up to the fact that one of its teen actors is growing up and probably wants to wear a little makeup. Though, really, Carey 2.0 chatting her up? Ick.
- From the previews: Totally stoked for some of the guest stars coming up. Giving its incredible roster of guest stars great work to do is one of The Good Wife’s top strengths, and it looks like we’ll be seeing Nathan Lane, Alicia’s brother and Mamie Gummer back again soon, just to name a few.