The Good Wife, Grief and “Are You OK?”

14 Apr

There are three women who have been deeply impacted by the recent tragic events on The Good Wife and each of them have their own battles to fight as they try and work through their grief. The episode opens with a scene I think we all need as Alicia and Diane share memories and thoughts of Will post funeral in their own alcohol soaked memorial of him. The two (metaphorical) mistresses at the Irish funeral are missing their third and while it was always unlikely that Kalinda would join them, there is a time that her company with Alicia at a bar would be a given. Will meant a lot to these three characters for a multitude of reasons; partner, lover, confidante and it’s going to be a long time before any of them are truly fine.

Diane and AliciaBoth Cary and David Lee suggest to their respective partner that they should take time off and this offer gets rebuked from both women; there is no such suggestion for Kalinda. Kalinda’s loner status means that no one is really asking if she is OK either and she’s out on an island by herself. Alicia and Diane are facing their own isolation and even though the drunken suggestion of a merger tethers them together, they are still working through what this loss means solo. Diane is up against it at work as even though they had their ideological differences, Will generally had Diane’s back and now she has to put up with the David Lee’s and Damian’s of the world with no real support network. This is in part why she reaches out to Alicia about working together as there is mutual respect between them. Diane mentions how the “partners look at me like I’m a gazelle on the Savannah” as if she is easy prey, whereas before she has been a predator. It’s a repeated cycle that looks set to continue as even with Kalinda torpedoing Damian (so long for real this time), David Lee has another ace in his pocket and that’s Louis Canning. If things continue like this can we expect to see not a merger, but Diane jumping ship to Florrick/Agos?

The Good Wife JenniferAlicia spends the first half of “A Material World” convincing everyone that she’s fine and her desire to destroy David Lee is how she initially channels her grief (the anger stage). After a cross examination that turns existential – when someone dies there is nothing left of them – the concerned look that is etched over Diane’s face is warranted. Not for the case, but for Alicia’s mental health and what might come of their previous merger chat. It looks like Alicia is going to break in front of the snow covered steps of the courthouse, this is until she sees a familiar face and it’s Grace’s old tutor Jennifer! And she’s still all about improv dance. Jennifer looks so out of place in her stunning gold outfit and yet she is the push Alicia needs to confront and embrace her grief rather than ignoring it. More unanswerable questions are raised as Alicia unburdens herself on an almost stranger; she wonders whether she made a mistake with her chosen profession. Jennifer asks “What would you do instead?” and Alicia doesn’t know.

Will represents the path not taken, of all the things that could have been and his death cuts off this avenue. Alicia still has choices and the first one begins with crawling under the covers and shutting out the world, followed by a good dose of Darkness at Noon – there’s no way that “white hats with black linings” and the questions of morality this fake show dishes out isn’t some kind of dig/nod towards Scandal.

The Good Wife 5.17 giving none of the fucksAnother almost stranger is a catalyst for Alicia as a home visit from Finn (and his hair has sadly regained its volume now he is out of hospital, you need to lose the blowout look, other than that Finn can most definitely stay). Alicia has offered her services to Finn as she thinks he is being served up to take the fall for what happened with Jeffrey. Finn’s stop by gives Alicia a reason to crawl out of her bedroom pit and while Alicia needed a day like this, having a reason to get up is also essential. Their previous conversation about Will happened while Finn was drugged up to the eyeballs so the intensity of Alicia’s relationship with Will might not have stuck with him. After surveying this scene, it becomes very clear just how much Will meant to her. Finn gives some words of advice just as others have – “It doesn’t get solved quickly and you can’t just shake it off” – and Finn’s personal involvement in this tragedy means that his offer doesn’t sound hollow. Finn represents a connection to Will that no other person can and this provides an immediate bond with Alicia. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that he has mentioned his wife in two conversations with Alicia and it’s as if the King’s are letting us know they don’t intend this to be a romantic pairing.

Now here comes the humdinger of a conversation as Peter arrives home just as Finn is leaving, with Peter surveying Finn with caution as if to ask “why are you in my house?” Peter has gone from hugs to calling Alicia out on her Will feelings rather quickly and supporting his grieving wife over her true love was never going to be easy. No matter how much both Peter and Alicia have tried at various points to fix this marriage it has pretty much remained as empty as it was in the pilot, yes there have been a few good times but nowhere near as many as the bad. Nor have there been as many good moments as Alicia has shared with Will over the five seasons. I honestly can’t see a way back for this relationship after this episode, except for how they can benefit from each other professionally as Alicia has made it clear where her heart lies. Peter tries to suggest that she can’t be sure that Will loved her (I think it’s safe to say he did) and yes competing with a dead man is a losing battle before it begins, but this is done.

We’re so used to seeing Alicia so put together with her designer suit armor so this happening in full sweats, no makeup and puffy post cry face is jarring and incredibly powerful. There is no vanity here and it feels right that this moment of brutal honesty should come now. David Lee tells Diane earlier in the episode that she shouldn’t make any big decisions while she is grieving, Peter would probably say the same to Alicia but in both cases they are completely justifiable and it comes across as BS advice to protect David Lee’s own interests.

The Good Wife 5.17 KalindaKalinda is very much the lone wolf of this show and she often holds people at arm’s length. There are some exceptions including Alicia before her past dalliance with Peter was revealed, Cary is a complicated case and then there was Will. I don’t think either Alicia or Diane realize the importance of their relationship or how Will is the only person who truly understood Kalinda and there’s no reason they would as they were never present for any of their whiskey fueled heart to hearts. Kalinda isn’t a sharer either so when she goes to Cary it’s to use sex to forget; instead it brings up flashes of blood spray and Will’s lifeless eye. These images are repeated when she sleeps with Jenna, this time she gets passed them as she is at Jenna’s to help Diane with her Damian problem. Help is what she does and ends up with a smack across the face from a very pissed off Jenna for rifling through her things. I wonder if Kalinda will reach out to Alicia or Diane, or whether she will continue hiding her grief in secret along with that photo she placed in her notebook.

The death of Will has left a gaping hole in the professional and personal lives of Alicia, Diane and Kalinda and with each “Are you OK?” there is no simple answer. There is the socially expected “I’m fine” and this is the answer given on multiple occasions. The truth is so much more complicated and the battle lines they have drawn with the likes of Peter and David Lee will act as an outlet for this devastating loss. I suspect that Alicia’s offer of help to Finn is going to incur a whole lot of messiness as it directly involves Will’s death and looking at who is to blame. This might not be the healthiest course of grief counseling, but I also thing that Alicia needs something like this to help her answer the why, even if there isn’t one.


9 Responses to “The Good Wife, Grief and “Are You OK?””


  1. The Good Wife and Getting out of Bed | TV Ate My Wardrobe - April 21, 2014

    […] not clear exactly how much time has passed since the last episode and while it doesn’t appear to be more than a week tops, Alicia is still in the bed cocoon […]

  2. The Good Wife, Identity and What it Means to be Good | TV Ate My Wardrobe - May 5, 2014

    […] more lawyer than wife so to hear her question this part of her life is jarring. It is something Alicia mentioned when she encountered Grace’s old tutor Jennifer and at the time it came across as an extreme […]

  3. Sucking it Up on The Good Wife | TV Ate My Wardrobe - October 20, 2014

    […] Will’s death Alicia has questioned her role in the legal world, wondering if she made a mistake becoming a lawyer and this crisis of faith (the […]

  4. Best of TV Costuming 2014: The Good Wife and Grieving | TV Ate My Wardrobe - December 9, 2014

    […] after the funeral in “A Material World” where there is a shift in Alicia’s attire as she goes from her usual well put together […]

  5. Seeing into the Mind of Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife – “I Just Had a Thought” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - March 9, 2015

    […] had several lovers both when they were ‘happily’ married and since the agreement was verbally drawn up last season and the one that still gets to Alicia is Kalinda. Kalinda and Alicia have not shared any scenes […]

  6. Going Back to Basics on The Good Wife | TV Ate My Wardrobe - May 4, 2015

    […] this position it is a shame that it took most of the season to get here and really Alicia’s doubts about her profession started just after Will […]

  7. Can Alicia Florrick be Her Own Boss on The Good Wife? | TV Ate My Wardrobe - October 5, 2015

    […] is a difficult one as there is always something that comes between them. All I want is more martini drinking time and planning to take on the world together. Maybe one day, first they have to work through their […]

  8. Alicia Florrick’s Funk and Friendships on The Good Wife: How One Can Stop the Other and Save the Season | TV Ate My Wardrobe - February 1, 2016

    […] Alicia’s journey and they happen to come from The Good Wife’s best season with “The Last Call” and “All Tapped Out.” Alicia wants to know exactly what Will’s deleted […]

  9. Well Earned Distractions on The Good Wife | TV Ate My Wardrobe - March 7, 2016

    […] If this means more screentime for Diane and Alicia together then that will be one bonus at least. Post-Will funeral martinis included a discussion about this and I do think Will would be very much on board with Diane’s […]

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