I had so many feelings watching one of my all-time favorite dramas came to an end.
On a scale of How I Met Your Mother to Friday Night Lights (with HIMYMobviously being the worst), The Good Wife comes in as a slightly above average series finale. There was a lot to like. In general, I prefer a series finale where we get the sense that the lives of our characters will keep going. That, just because we aren’t there to watch them, Alicia, Diane, Cary, Eli and all the rest will continue on. I don’t need everything to be wrapped up neatly. I’m okay with someunanswered questions.
By now you’ve probably seen what series creators Robert and Michelle King had to say about the finale. If not, check out their video here.
From their perspective, Alicia slapped Peter in the series premiere and now Diane slaps Alicia in the finale. The slapper becomes the slappee. The slap was symbolic of how much Alicia has changed over the courses of seven seasons. Great. Fine. But it is a lousy note to end the whole show on. I didn’t need a sunshine and roses ending, but a slightly more optimistic one would have been preferred. Also, for a show that was about strong female characters, I’m not a fan of the final moment being a catfight move. Alicia may have deserved to be slapped, but Diane is better than that.
That said, it was so great to see Josh Charles again! He appeared much more than I thought he would, and it was such a relief that he showed up almost immediately so we didn’t have to spend the entire episode wondering if and when he was going to show. Although I would have favored a flashback to a dream sequence, his scenes with Alicia were great. Those two have a crackling chemistry that Alicia didn’t share with any of her other suitors. Will’s appearance was a lovely gift to fans. They kissed (sigh), said what need to be said (“I’ll love you forever.” “I’m okay with that.”) and generally were just awesome together (although, I have to wonder—why didn’t Alicia ask him what he called to tell her right before he died?) And what’s with Will telling Alicia to go to Jason?
I will never understand how the show was reduced to Alicia’s choice between two men. In the opening sequence when she fantasizes about coming home to Jason, then Peter, then Will, I really wanted one where she fantasizes about coming home to no one. Alicia doesn’t need a man—she can reject Peter without running to Jason, can’t she? I wanted her not to go to Jason because she didn’t want to go to Jason—not because he wasn’t there. The whole thing truly played like it was out of some teen soap opera, with Lucca playing the wise-beyond-her-years best friend who knows her two pals belong together. Blech.
Some of the ambiguity, I loved. I chose to see Eli telling all of Peter’s donors to give their money to Alicia as Eli getting the revenge he promised in the seventh season premiere. Although it bugs me that Eli is once again plotting without Alicia’s knowledge, I like the idea that somehow Eli is behind all of Peter’s current woes—that he is the one who tipped off the AUSA’s office to Peter’s bribery scandal, and that his ultimate retaliation will be making Alicia governor.
Bu other dangling threads were odd. We didn’t see David Lee, so we get no closure on where he stands with his lawsuit. (Although it now seems unlikely Alicia and Diane will form an all-female partnership, so maybe that lawsuit won’t matter now?). And why did the show have to imply that Kurt had an affair?
Even though the series began as Alicia being the good wife, standing by her disgraced husband, it evolved into so much more than that. Thematically, it didn’t quite work to return to Peter in these final episodes. He was never the focus of the series. Did I enjoy seeing him get his comeuppance? Of course. Especially how it oh-so-slowly dawned on him that his career is over. He’s been to jail once and now on trial for a second time, but the man still thinks he can have a political career. The last minute investigation into the crime was classic for the show, but didn’t really fit with Peter’s overall corruption trial.
There were a bunch of smaller moments I loved. The stark picture of the empty offices over the opening credits. A stoic Alicia mocking the idea that she could breakdown. Of all the characters, Cary seemed to get the happiest of endings. He’s teaching, and he loves it. Yay.
My expectations for the series are high. The series finale felt like when an A+ student comes home with a C+ paper. I expected more from the show than a red cheeked Alicia going off in search of her man.
But I’ll miss the series, and I doubt there will ever be a network drama like it. So thanks The Good Wife for seven seasons—most of them great.
The Good Wife is the first show I started covering when I started writing for Paste in 2012, so if you’ve been reading these reviews for four years—thank you!
Grace is going to Berkley. So it was the Berkley admissions officer who travelled all the way to Illinois in “Shoot”?
“Jason’s not you.” #TRUTH
I am fully aware that my thoughts on the Will scenes are totally skewed by the fact that I, too, will love Will Gardner forever.
We knew Kalinda wouldn’t be back, but still so odd to have a character who was such a huge part of the show not even mentioned.
Check out my list of my all-time favorite guest stars on The Good Wife.
Amy Amatangelo, the TV Gal ®, is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.