This season of CBS’s The Good Wife has been called the show’s absolute best, and there are two reasons why. Okay, that’s not true. There are many reasons why—Diane Lockhart headed for the Supreme Court and then not headed for the Supreme Court; Peter Florrick and the madness that is his governorship (possible voting fraud and a way too attractive Director of Ethics); a brilliant score for each episode; and other exciting plot happenings have made The Good Wife consistently, unbelievably entertaining. But we gather here today to celebrate one of the main reasons we all keep tuning in: the battle royal between Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) and Will Gardner (Josh Charles). The two have been going at it all season, and we don’t mean “going at it” à la season three. We mean “going at it” like mortal enemies who were once lovers and who now want to shred each another to bits. And shred they shall! As we jump into the remaining spring episodes, let’s look back at the top ten Alicia Versus Will moments of season five.
“I took you in. You were poison.” When Will learned of Alicia’s betrayal, he started off as a quiet storm, strolling into her office. Then there was the heart-pounding exchange of words, then the violent attack on Alicia’s desk. Don’t act like you weren’t afraid for your/Alicia’s life. Because you were. And in this moment, we knew that Will would probably spend the rest of the season trying to get back at the woman who broke his heart. (See moments 2-10.)
There’s always that first time you see your ex after the breakup, and it’s never a good time. When Will and Alicia saw each other for the first time post-desk attack, it was awkward, to say the least. Alicia showed up at Lockhart Gardner to handle some unfinished business, and the moment when Will saw her sitting in the waiting area was captured perfectly. Instead of words, the steeliest, most uncomfortable eight-second-long stare ever was exchanged. It was like that SNL skit with Will Ferrell (as Robert Goulet) and the bighorn sheep, only completely frightening, kind of depressing and not funny at all.
In the first of many season five pranks, Will sends a bunch of boxes filled with rubber rats over to the Florrick Agos headquarters (Alicia’s living room at the time), in lieu of the boxes of files they need for a case. The note attached explained that he was, in fact, sending over the remnants of what the traitors had left behind in their office desks. Score one for Lockhart Gardner!
In response to the boxes o’ rats, Alicia decides to go for the jugular. Rather than subpoena Will for the files, she rats him out (oh yeah, totally intentional pun) and sends him to the principal’s office, or—in lawyer world—the Attorney Disciplinary Board. For Will, this is especially humiliating since these are the folks who suspended him back in the day. Naturally, they force him to stay after school and clap erasers … AKA hand over the files to Alicia and friends.
“The Decision Tree” was a great episode that played around with some beautiful Willicia memories as they related to the very interesting case of a will drawn up by the late, great Matthew Ashbaugh (John Noble). In this scene, Will and Alicia experience the same flashback while in court, but remember it very differently. Although they both recall the moment Will’s fingers found his way to the hem of Alicia’s dress, Will remembers her wearing red and Alicia remembers her dress being blue. This is all significant, especially since Will later makes plans to frame Alicia as this adulterous, conniving jezebel—a devil in a red dress, if you will.
As Willicia prepared to face off in “The Decision Tree,” Will found himself working hard to come up with the right questions to win his case. And by “working hard,” we mean “fantasizing about badgering Alicia with questions that would dredge up powerful, sensual memories for both of them.” In yet another brilliant scene, Will betrays himself as the scorned lover, as he imagines asking questions about the Ashbaugh will that was drawn up in Alicia’s favor. He accuses her of taking advantage of an innocent man’s affections: “You knew that he was in love with you, and you used it to get your way.” Oh, Will. She never meant to hurt you!
This season, Will got himself a new rebound chick/girlfriend/girl with amazing arm tattoos, and it’s been very interesting to watch their … um … situation unfold. Whether Isabel knows it or not, her very existence definitely represents one of the biggest Will-versus-Alicia moments of the season, and it was hilarious to watch David Lee point this out to her … as only David Lee could.
There have been a lot of low blows between Alicia and Will, but this one might just take the cake. Will hires bad boy lawyer Damian Boyle to join LG, and one of this first things this guy does is go to Florrick Agos and steal all of their furniture. But the worst of it? He does the unthinkable and swipes Alicia’s #1 Mom pin and wears it to court because that’s how ridiculous he is. It’s high school all over again—your ex is mad at you and he even manages to get his friends to join in on the drama. Officially time to find another Homecoming date.
In a brilliant move that only a former lover could pull, Will objects to literally every question Alicia asks a witness on the stand during the “Goliath and David” episode (which shall forever be immortalized by the insufferably infectious “Thicky Trick” song). He recalls Alicia telling him about her first experience in court, and how the one thing that threw her off were the constant objections and interruptions to her very special Florrick lawyer flow. Will used that intimate piece of information against her and managed to completely throw her off of her game.
Will may have broken Alicia’s rhythm with all of those objections, but when Alicia successfully completes the wardrobe change to end all wardrobe changes, she pretty much destroys any chance Will has at functioning in contemporary society, let alone winning the case. In this moment, the good wife ceases to be Alicia Florrick and transforms into Wonder Florrick, her creme-colored kryptonite suit marking the beginning of the end for Will. Things may change as the season progresses, but right now, Alicia and that creme suit are absolutely winning.
Shannon M. Houston is a New York-based freelance writer, regular contributor to Paste, and occasional contributor to the human race via little squishy babies. You can follow her on Twitter.