100 episodes; that’s quite a milestone. And it’s even more impressive seeing as how year five is The Good Wife‘s strongest and most explosive season yet. Is there any stopping Alicia Florrick and company?
I wanted The Decision Tree to blow my socks off. Hitting The Fan was the single best hour of television I’d seen all year, and I desperately wanted The Decision Tree (with its influx of lovable guest stars) to be equally mindblowing. Sadly, while this was a stunning little hour, it wasn’t perfect (thank you Kalinda, we’ll get to you in a moment).
The material with Alicia and Will was sensational. Both Juliana Margulies and Josh Charles delivered some of their most extraordinary work yet. Every single sequence between the two was jawdropping. Whether it was set in the present day, in flashbacks, or the courtroom in Will’s head, every line and glance was packed with nuance and emotion. It’s no wonder The Decision Tree was written by The Good Wife‘s show-runners, Michelle and Robert King. The couple have an impeccable handle on their characters, and they managed to invoke some fantastic performances from Margulies and Charles.
Personally, I haven’t rooted for Alicia and Will in a long, long time. Somewhere along the way, the writers stumbled and I lost interest. Instead, I began rooting for Alicia and Peter, and the growth and maturity they exhibited as a couple. So imagine my surprise when this landmark hour managed to singlehandedly restore my faith in Will and Alicia. The love triangle is back on track, and I’m left wondering who exactly Alicia’s endgame partner is. Who do I want her to end the show with? I can’t be sure, and that’s a phenomenal prospect to drive us forward.
John Noble’s return as Matthew Ashbaugh was a highly-welcome development. Death of A Client, the character’s first appearance, is one of my all-time favorite Good Wife episodes, and his return did not disappoint. Obviously the whole will debacle only existed to provide a platform for Will and Alicia’s troubles, but it was still a compelling case fronted by Noble’s strangely endearing performance. Am I the only who really wanted Alicia to win the 12 million dollars? The possibilities could have been endless.
So why wasn’t this episode perfect? Because the Kings still think we care about Kalinda’s various dalliances, and the notion that she can basically sleep with all women in power (whenever she’s in a jam). It’s laughable, cringeworthy and useless on practically every level. I genuinely can’t comprehend why we keep getting subjected to these atrocious subplots, and I do hope this was the last time.
On another note, it still feels like the writers have absolutely no idea what to do with Marilyn. I’m guessing she was supposed to be an antagonistic figure at first (or perhaps a temptation for Peter?). But now? What’s her purpose? She’s basically been reduced to pregnancy shenanigans. Nevertheless, her announcing that she’d be naming her baby Peter – punctuated by Eli spitting out his drink – was a hilarious laugh-out loud ending .
Cases & Bits
– Awesome opening shot with the 100 on the speedometer. Plus Kalinda car’s chase was admittedly cool and unlike the show.
– I genuinely smiled when Alicia received the 12 million bombshell and Robin’s “holy-shit” outburst cut to the title card. I’m so attached to Alicia that it felt like I had won the lottery myself.
– Robin messing up the recording with the farting sounds made me smile.
– Cool touch: Marilyn’s pregnancy sound system playing Ashbaugh’s tune.
– Was this the hottest Good Wife episode ever? From Will touching Alicia under the table to that insane sex scene, this was pretty raunchy (and yes, I loved every minute of it).
– I absolutely adored Will interrogating Alicia in his imagination and then in real life. Both sequences were gorgeously filmed and edited. The severe close-ups, the jarring cuts, Will crying and ultimately using Alicia’s most intimate moments against her, our heroine turning the tables and using David Lee and “the other will” – it was all positively astounding. And of course, there’s that ruthless, heartbreaking attack (found below).
– Brilliant touch you probably missed out on: Alicia remembers herself wearing a blue dress in Ashbaugh’s apartment, while Will remembers her in a seductive red.
– Alicia exclaiming that the “happiest she’s ever been” while in Will’s arms was tremendously heartbreaking.
– Although I was really looking forward to Collin Sweeney running into Peter at the party, bringing in Lemond Bishop was fun too.
– I barely remember Donna Brazile’s last appearance on the show.
– Jackie and Victoria going head to head? Awesome.
– Alicia and Will’s phone call at the end… so I guess these two can be civil to one another.
Carey: What has he got?
Alicia: A whole lot of anger.
Eli: Thank your Christian Jesus God.
Alicia: I’m married.
Will: You always use that, don’t you. Married. You’re conveniently married when you want to be.
Alicia: That’s not fair. I loved you.
Will: You made me believe that so that you could steal my clients.
Alicia: No. Will.
Will: Stop it! I don’t like it when you’re weak.
Veronica: (to Jackie) Well, maybe you should drink a little more, and that might kill that bug up your ass.
While it’s not the flawless hour it could have been, The Decision Tree is still an outstanding hour that celebrates a landmark achievement.