The Good Wife gives good cliffhangers.
But sometimes that doesn’t work out so well. Few of us will ever forget the disastrous storyline that was Kalinda’s ex-husband Nick. (Personally I will never get over the egg scene. It is forever etched in my memory.)
But we shall not speak of that dark time again. Because this time, the cliffhanger paid off. Last May ended with the great moment of Alicia telling Cary she was ready to form a new firm with him. She realized that she needed to physically distance herself from Will for the sake of her marriage. “Everything is Ending,” the fifth season premiere, picked up precisely at that moment with Cary and Alicia still debating if the firm will be Agos/Florrick or Florrick/Agos. Alicia is so caught up in her momentous decision that she temporarily forgets that she is now also First Lady of Illinois.
Alicia also quickly realizes what many of us do when we triumphantly decide to leave our job: Sometimes the problems follow you. Alicia is actively lying to her partners and betraying her fiduciary responsibility to Lockhart/Gardner. “Find out if they’re happy and if we should be worried,” Will tells her when he suspects the associates are planning on leaving.
David Lee (By the way, Zach Grenier has been bumped up to series regular this season. Hooray!) enlists Kalinda’s help to review the associates’ cell phone records. This is bad news for Kalinda since she knows Cary is planning on leaving and taking Robyn with him. Alicia wants to tell the partners, but the associates want to wait for the bonus to come through. “Don’t end up hating me,” she whispers as Will walks away. This central conflict sets up the season for a great start.
Meanwhile Peter is preparing to be governor and dealing with Marilyn Garbanza (Melissa George), the beautiful ethics counsel member. Eli is worried that she’s too pretty for Peter’s own good and she shouldn’t be seen at his side. “The optics aren’t good. You don’t want sex to be an issue here,” he tells Peter.
There’s something innately unlikeable about George. That didn’t suit her well on when she guested on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, but it’s a perfect fit here. I don’t trust Marilyn. And if you guessed that her promotion won’t make her go away quietly, you’re right. George will be back on the Oct.13 episode.
The show has always done quirky storylines with Alicia’s children, particularly Grace. Now a website has named Grace one of the 10 hottest politician’s daughters. This makes Zach extremely uncomfortable since his friends are suddenly very interested in his sister. Grace marvels at her new status. Mackenzie Vega is a beautiful young woman, and it totally makes sense that now that Zach and Grace are the Governor-elect’s children, they would be the subject of even more attention. I hope the show follows through on this one. They’ve dropped so many of Grace’s storylines over the years.
The case of the week found the show once again taking a stance on the death penalty with a great turn by Malik Yoba as a man wrongly convicted of murder. It also allowed for a great appearance by Jeffrey Tambor as a judge who does not suffer fools easily. Each week, The Good Wife offers a master class on how to best utilize guest stars.
I could have done without the recurring joke of the lawyer telecommuting with the roving computer. But that’s a minor quibble to a great start to the season. The Good Wife has always thrived when the show is operating at full throttle with all its disparate story lines—the firm’s politics, Peter’s political career, Alicia’s legal career, Alicia’s love life and Alicia’s family life. The stage is set for a great fifth season.