The reason why I haven’t written about the last couple of episodes of The Good Wife is in part to do with the award shows which have aired against it and the subsequent red carpet posts which have followed. The other part is because this season has been such a bizarrely paced and plotted mess that it has felt like I have been repeating myself on a weekly basis as Alicia grapples with her firm and the election. Thankfully Peter’s bid for president has been put to bed as he crashed and burned in Iowa; this went on for far too long and I think the writers think we care much more about election storylines than we do (see also Alicia’s bid for SA last season).
The Good Wife is about the education of Alicia Florrick and season 7 has been about an unmoored Alicia. In season 1 Alicia was entering a world she had been absent from for a substantial amount of time with her husband’s discretions hanging over her. Cut to the present and she has her own election scandal to add to this list and she’s out on her own again floundering. This is no longer to do with lack of experience and her stubbornness is standing in the way of her going back to the firm that kickstarted her legal career.
There are two episodes “Judged” draws from in terms of 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 voicemail said and Eli provides the answer remembering certain parts exactly while getting the general gist of the rest – Will had loved her since Georgetown – and this clarity is what was missing from Will’s final voicemail that he left just before he was killed. Alicia will never know exactly why he was calling that morning and plenty of scenarios played in her mind, including one which sounded a whole lot like the message he sent years before.
There is of course the notion of the road not traveled or fig tree element with finding out something this vital years after the fact, particularly when the other person is no longer around. The ‘what ifs’ are endless and after moving on from this idea of her grand romance with Will everything is brought to the surface and it has sent Alicia spiraling. What Alicia does is push people away when there is a whiff of betrayal and her list of meaningful relationships has decreased throughout the seasons. Kalinda was first to go after the Peter reveal and this friendship never recovered (off screen and green screen shenanigans did not help either), things have always been pretty patchy with Diane no matter how much I long for them to be martini drinking buddies, Cary has been both confidant and rival, there was flirtation with Finn, but he was too close to what happened to Will (and Matthew Goode left for Lady Mary) and Eli is the most recent person to feel her wrath and cold shoulder.
Basically Alicia has always needed more friends (her brother does not count) and for every potential there has been a reason – sometimes work, sometimes romantic – that these haven’t panned out. Also guest stars can only hang around for a finite amount of time. Enter Lucca Quinn and Cush Jumbo has been this season’s shining star. Okay, her character is underwritten and everything we do know about her is pretty surface level and yet Cush Jumbo is selling it and making Lucca vital. And not just for fabulous outfit reasons. *Cue screenshots from this episode*
Lucca is the one who is putting up with all of Alicia’s shit; her terrible moods and refusal to consider the Lockhart, Agos offer from the previous episode. After pulling a lot of concerned faces and a drink with Jason (because why not) Lucca calls Alicia on her DGAF attitude asking “Seriously, are you gonna hate the whole world right now?” Instead of giving Lucca the same throwing plates treatment she gave Eli or simply telling her that she is fine, Alicia lays it all out and I mean all of it. Lucca doesn’t know the Will story so Alicia gives the super abridged version – “I was in love. He died” – and then everything else comes pouring out. The message she didn’t get, how she hates everything, her increased drinking habits and out of nowhere her not too positive feelings about her kids. Now come on Alicia, Zach I get but Grace has been nothing but amazing this season.
This is the same Alicia we got a glimpse of after Will died; the person who stayed in her sweats and did pull the covers over her head. But she got fired up and went back to work after initially wondering whether she had made the right choices with her life.
Those same questions plague her once again and this time she has someone to tell her that she is needed. Not Peter wanting her to snap out of it so she can attend a function, but a true partner and friend. This is the relationship I have been waiting to see Alicia have ever since the very bad Kalinda break up and it has been a bumpy road getting to this point. Both Julianna Margulies and Cush Jumbo crush this scene and me in the process and I just hope this is a sign that this season is headed in a stronger direction.
Alicia is now in a position financially and legally where Lockhart, Agos is the best option and if this means Diane gets to come play rather than being out on some random case then I am so here for it.
An accurate representation of my reaction to the B plot this week. #SaveDianePart of the problem this year is how fractured everything has been, which I guess has been the point in having Alicia out on her own but it doesn’t make for the best structure or strong storytelling overall. Team Everyone at Lockhart, Agos.
Forgiveness doesn’t come easily to Alicia (just ask Kalinda) and last week she told Marissa there was no way she could forgive Eli. Luckily for Eli he comes to say his piece after Alicia has had her breakdown and elevator smooch (finally!) and he tells her that he didn’t prevent Alicia getting together with Will; it happened anyway. Fate is not something they can control and deleting the voicemail didn’t have an impact on what eventually happened to Will. All very logical and Alan Cumming nails the emotion when he tells her that he never apologizes or confesses to anyone. And with that Alicia gives him the thing he came for, but probably didn’t expect.
This is very much a step in the right direction for Alicia and The Good Wife getting her out of her apartment and back to her former workplace and hopefully this last season for the Kings (and maybe Julianna Margulies) will end on a triumphant note. The first step has happened, the rest needs to follow.