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Needing to be Needed on The Good Wife or Why “End” is Disappointing

9 May

Alicia didn’t become a lumberjack and nor did she end up with someone other than the mother, but The Good Wife’s finale sure did burn everything to the ground in a way that was incredibly disappointing. I am sitting here staring at my screen wondering what on earth I just watched and why coming full circle means leaving Alicia with nothing. And no you can’t throw in Ghost Will to appease all those other very bad Diane related decisions because it doesn’t work like that and “End” has left a very bitter taste in my mouth.

Ultimately if Alicia Florrick needs to be needed what does it mean that she ends up alone?The Good Wife 7.22 Alicia and DianeLet’s start with THE thing that really spun the whole finale on its head and that is Alicia’s decision to zealously represent her client with no regard for her partnership at work. A couple of weeks ago Alicia watched Diane and Kurt looking all happy and asked them what their secret to good coupledom is; at the time I mentioned that Alicia pretty much screamed RELATIONSHIP GOALS  at them. While I am in no way suggesting that getting Lucca to ask about an affair was through jealousy, I do think she went in hard on Peter needing her when a couple of scenes before she was whatevering the whole thing.

There was no looking for another option and while Alicia and Diane were screaming at each other it appeared that Lucca was trying to suggest there was another way; one that didn’t get a follow up and instead Alicia asked Lucca to ask Kurt about a possible affair. We never get to hear the answer because when Diane gets up and leaves the courtroom showing her public disgust and humiliation at this question, we also leave the courtroom too. Considering this evidence is then thrown out I think it is safe to say that Kurt said yes this affair (oh, Kurt) and I don’t get why the torpedoing of Diane’s marriage was the necessary course of action for this finale.

One thing I did get was this idea that Alicia can’t be happy at this place of work which holds so many memories particularly as she refers to this office as having gotten sad and it probably is time for Alicia to move on; but did she have to go out in such a self-destructive and alienating fashion? And while Alicia and Diane are far from the martini drinking besties I wish they were, there is a strong level of respect and going for the jugular like this seems too selfish even by Alicia’s standards this season.

What she has done is dished out a version of her story to Diane all in the name of getting Peter’s plea deal down to probation when he was willing to do two years last week. Some of this is about protecting Grace and her path to college as somehow she was meant to be leaving for Berkeley in the midst of all of this; convenient timing and all that. Grace has deferred for a year and now she doesn’t have to worry about years of visiting her dad in prison. The Good Wife 7.22 Roosevelt hotelIt looks like Lockhart, [insert name here] and Associates is going to need new letterhead paper and signage as that slap suggests Diane is dunzo with Alicia. This puts Alicia in the Peter position mirroring the pilot opening sequence and is that what we are meant to take away from The Education of Alicia Florrick? Everyone is corrupt and will stoop to the lowest level to be left with nothing? We don’t know if Alicia will divorce Peter or if she will go for Eli’s political plan* or if there will be a positive response to her running for office again. God knows I am happy I never have to watch another campaign storyline again.

*I did enjoy seeing The Roosevelt Hotel popping up in the above scene as I got to play New York, not Chicago bingo and because I have stayed there on a couple of occasions. 

The number of loose ends is longer than my quest to find out exactly where Robyn went. Even the things I liked about this final season were given a short shrift with Lucca continuing her role of relationship coach and getting used by Alicia to stick it to Diane. Guess someone else is probably out of a job now.

Random aside alert – if there were to be a spinoff can I suggest a college set series with Cary as a guest lecturer at various institutes where he ends up helping solve cases. Maybe the hoodie can make a return.The Good Wife 7.22 AliciaOne big aspect of “End” is the conversations with dead people aka here is what you could have won. This is the Alicia Florrick version of the exceptional episode “The Giving Tree,” but this not two seasons ago when The Good Wife was creatively on fire and it ends up being wish fulfillment of the worst kind. Don’t get me wrong as I loved seeing Will Gardner on my screen again and the chemistry between Josh Charles and Julianna Margulies crackles as much as it did before; however all this did was underscore where this show has gone wrong over the last two seasons.

Ghost Will (or really Alicia’s imagined version of Will) appears when Alicia is pondering who she would like to see when she gets home from work offering a glass of wine to her. First Jason, then Peter and sadly no surprise appearance from the other one that got away with Finn Polmar. It surprises her when there is magical option number three and as with other Alicia memory pops or in this case fantasy pops she remarks on how stupid it is before leaning into the fantasy and Will. It is a little fan servicy, but I have to admit as someone who was sailing on the Will/Alicia ship this was an all the feelings moment as soon as I realized the Josh Charles returning for the finale rumors were true. Yes I even got teary because that’s what this pairing does.

And it didn’t just end in the kitchen and Alicia’s venture into old files led to a conversation about the law, college and life. It is very cute and there’s no denying how much I enjoyed seeing Alicia flirting with Will, but it also feels like a bit of an emotional cheat. A distraction of sorts and also a way to try and explain Alicia’s thought process without really explaining anything; “It was romantic because it didn’t happen.” The Good Wife 7.22 Alicia and WillAlicia’s asks “What do I do now?” and this is when Ghost Will tells her to go after Jason as her Peter fever is done with and this is what she does at the press conference the following day. Unfortunately she is chasing a guy who isn’t there and this is when the corridor of slapping gets another hit.

Alicia is left showing those emotions she has been stealing away from and faking in hilarious ways and this crumbling is followed by wiping tears and giving fierce face because Alicia is forever a master at putting on this mask. Or she can give you a demure smile if you want.The Good Wife 7.22 Alicia demureIn the immediate aftermath of watching this finale I am angry and disappointed; for how things went for Diane and that ultimately Alicia burned it all down for a man she is leaving anyway. It makes no sense and I am all for ambiguity, but this ending feels like it is trying to be too clever for its own good and I can see why they put out the ‘not everyone will be happy‘ signals before this even aired. Alicia going all in on getting what she wants after years of sacrifices for Peter is something I am here for, but this version where she blows up everything for Peter is far from satisfying and right now all I want to do is bask in the glory of season 5.

The conflict between Alicia looking out for her interests versus her ‘good wife’ mantle is something season 7 has been striving for and sadly it hasn’t always hit the mark. Part of this I think is due to the decision about whether this was the final season coming in late, which left this season unfocused for large periods of time and it has generally been ticking along. Spending the last 3 episodes covering Peter’s trial has felt like a rush job and really much more time on this rather than his presidential run would have made this storyline/season a lot more cohesive (once again I wonder if this was related to the late announcement). Instead what we are left with is cramming so much ‘goodbye’ plot into such a short space of time giving very little time for character reflection.

The astute comment by Jason about why Alicia has stuck with Peter followed by Ghost Will commenting on how little self-awareness Alicia has also speaks to some of the issues; we still don’t really have a grip on exactly who Alicia is after seven years and this ending certainly doesn’t help out in answering these questions.

One last thought and what feels like my Good Wife mantra, but where is Robyn?

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4 Responses to “Needing to be Needed on The Good Wife or Why “End” is Disappointing”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 2016 Emmy Nominations Quick Take – Costumes | TV Ate My Wardrobe - July 14, 2016

    […] the contemporary category I am thrilled to see Daniel Lawson recognized for his Good Wife costumes particularly after this one of my snubs from last year. As with last year I am sad to see […]

  2. Sarah Paulson + Samantha Bee is the Dramatic Reading of Emails I Didn’t Know I Needed | TV Ate My Wardrobe - November 8, 2016

    […] Okay, this isn’t the shortest of titles for a quick watch this video post, but Sarah Paulson (in thick rimmed glasses) dramatically reading Hillary Clinton’s emails on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is the one thing this week really needed and I am so thankful for this pairing. Also includes a mention of two of Hillary Clinton’s fave TV shows and I really want to know what she thought about the slap in The Good Wife season finale. Was she just as mad as I was about how it ended? […]

  3. Best of the 2017 Winter TCA Panel and Party Style (So Far) | TV Ate My Wardrobe - January 12, 2017

    […] with a red short sleeve sweater adds a fiery elegance to the whole look.After The Good Wife ended in disappointment I was pretty sure I didn’t need any more from this world, but it turns out it was maybe just […]

  4. 2017 Emmy Nomination Acting Wish List | TV Ate My Wardrobe - July 12, 2017

    […] the disappointing end of The Good Wife I wasn’t sure if I wanted more from this world. And then I remembered how much […]

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