Fans of our fantastic TV critic Amy Amatangelo, please forgive this intrusion. Your beloved Good Wife reviewer is on vacation and has asked me to step in, just for tonight! I’ll try my best to do her justice.
It’s been a weird season for The Good Wife. Looking back over some of the most intense episodes, we feel a lot like many of the characters seemed to feel in tonight’s finale—exhausted. Sure it’s just a TV show, but the emotional drain feels very real. Things were incredibly intense and tense before Will died, as he and Alicia were all over each other (though not in the way some of us had hoped). And then his loss stayed with us as the season progressed. So it’s been weird, and it felt right to hear Alicia, Diane, and Eli all acknowledge this weirdness tonight. Like Alicia saying goodbye to her little bird leaving the nest, we’re sad to see this season go, but it also feels like it’s time.
The Good Wife
is a show filled with a very particular kind of chaos and I loved the varying moments of madness throughout “A Weird Year.” First we open with that three-way conference call. Everyone at LG is talking over everyone at Florrick Agos, and everyone is being sued by the weeping woman in blue. When that call finishes Alicia begins running out of the office to prepare for Zach’s graduation dinner party. The importance of this dinner party weighs over the episode; it’s all very Mrs. Dalloway and it’s fantastic. Just as Alicia’s about to grab the catering, Eli calls her with disastrous news (Finn is dropping out of the race), so Alicia calls her mother who could—simply—pick up the catering but—rather—insists on doing the cooking herself. Such a small twist, but we know something delicious will come of it.
There’s plenty o’ drama going down at LG, as the boys are still trying to push Diane out as managing partner. Interestingly enough, Florrick Agos gets to witness some of this drama when the LG folks accidentally leave their camera on after the conference call. There’s a debate about turning it off until Canning and Lee both speak about destroying Florrick Agos. “They just said they’re gonna destroy us in 48 hours. That changes everything,” says Alicia. And we know it’s about to go down.
And, just like a Virginia Woolf novel, much of the other chaos stems from the world within the kitchen. Jackie and Veronica in the same space at the same time is absolutely the highlight of the episode. With a bottle of red wine between them they trade fabulously WASPy insults:
“Why do you always do that? I just gave you a compliment and you made it sound like an accusation.” (Veronica)
“I see where Alicia’s drinking comes from.” (Jackie)
“And Peter’s rudeness.” (Veronica)
Ah, it was glorious! We get to see these two go at it (with Veronica going so far as to reveal that Peter and Alicia are doing the “power couple thing”—staying married for the sake of appearances and careers, while free to, er, explore other options), and we also get to see this darker side to Alicia. LG’s coming for her firm, so she goes for them. The Florrick Agos lawyers think LG is trying to get Alicia disbarred, but they make the mistake of assuming all of this is through the adoption suit. It turns out that they’re teaming up with Mrs. Chumhum. Alicia decides to meet with LG in person so that she can get them to reveal details on camera. And then there’s this moment when the whole mission is about to go wrong, because they ask to move the meeting to Canning’s office, AKA Will’s old office. Alicia falters for a moment and everyone assumes it’s Will-related (and, perhaps it is); she doesn’t say it’s not, and it’s a great, dirty little trick. This is how they see Mrs. Chumhum come in.
Diane’s storyline propels the episode in another direction. Just as she’s fighting for her spot as managing partner, her old flame comes crawling back to her—Peter Florrick. He and Eli ask her to run for State’s Attorney. Not only did they leave her at the alter over the Supreme Court Justice position, but they’re asking her to run because Finn has dropped out. Nobody wants to be anybody’s sloppy seconds, but Diane feels stuck. It’s an insult! Still, she tells Kalinda that she’s considering it.
And speaking of Kalinda. And Cary. And those sheets. And the part where they shot the scenes to look like those sexy Will and Alicia scenes of old. Whew! Kalinda’s using Cary and he knows it. Rather than address it head-on, he decides to get rough in the bedroom.
“Kalinda, just shut up. I am not one of your women. I’m not gonna go slow when you want me to go slow.”
Yikes. But if you were sorta turned on by angry Cary, I won’t judge you.
Soon, Florrick Agos begins to fall apart. Alicia wants to merge and Cary doesn’t, but it’s deeper than that. Alicia is tired. Last week her client reminded her that she is of the One Percent, whether she acts like it or not, and in this episode we get a glimpse of that. She doesn’t want to struggle, she’d much rather not have to. But this isn’t just a class issue. Cary boldly tells her, “You are not tired because of work.” We all know what that means. Will’s death has taken a lot out of her, and this is why she’d rather go back to LG than try to turn Florrick Agos into something big. It’s all too much.
So Alicia and Cary are fighting, then everyone’s fighting with Cary because he went and told Canning about the possible merger. Jackie and Veronica are fighting, while Diana is fighting with herself about the options that she has—none of which she likes. Then something awesome happens: Diane suggests to Florrick Agos that she come to them. Alone. But with her millions upon millions in client billings. It’s brilliant!
Things start to wrap up nicely as the episode comes to a close. It’s been a weird time, but we know everything will be okay. Alicia makes it just in time for Zach’s graduation, and he tells her that he’s leaving that night. A la a young Alicia Florrick he doesn’t want the long goodbye, and so he runs off with his friend, heading to his summer job at Georgetown. So Amy can rest easy now—our little Zach is going to be just fine.
As Eli and Alicia sit at the dining room table (which looks like it barely survived some sort of awkward Thanksgiving dinner), Eli’s eyes grow big and he stares down Alicia. What does he see? He sees, perhaps, the next State’s Attorney.
Favorite Quotes of the Night:
Howard actually has some questions. (Diane)
Wait, What?! (David Lee)
“Did you bribe the Indian council?” (Howard)
“Kalinda has a way with Cary. We’ve exploited this before.” (Diane)
“Can I just say this was a stupid design choice? We need a place with walls and doors.” (Alicia)
“My meds are just kicking in. This could be interesting.” (Canning)
Any favorite moments from the finale? From the season? Here’s mine:
Shannon M. Houston is Assistant TV Editor at Paste, and a New York-based freelance writer with probably more babies than you. You can follow her on Twitter.