When I started Nad’s Reviews way back in 2011, I had just binge-watched my way through the first two seasons of The Good Wife (thanks to a friend’s recommendation). Season three premiered soon after, and I began reviewing the show on a weekly basis. Although my reviews were quite brief back then, they eventually evolved into fully-fledged pieces; and let’s be clear, there’s no other show I’ve enjoyed writing about more over the years than The Good Wife. With its thematically-rich narrative and complex, multi-dimensional characters, it’s been an absolute pleasure covering the show for such an extended period of time. I’m going to miss it.
Before we continue, be sure to read this – a short letter from Robert & Michelle King, the passionate creators behind The Good Wife. They explain their thoughts behind the finale and why they chose to end the show the way they did.
Truth be told, I needed to read that after watching the finale. The Kings have made it clear for a while now that they always had a plan and vision with regards to how Alicia’s journey would finally end. The show began with Alicia, the victim, slapping Peter, and it ended with Alicia, now the victimizer, getting slapped by Diane for her betrayal. There’s a full circle finality to it all that’s certainly satisfying. Sure it’s not a happy ending (and we’re all conditioned to want them), but The Good Wife was never that kind of show.
Moreover, the notion that Alicia was starting to become more like Peter, the man she tried so hard to distance herself from, is a fascinating one. Time and again over the years, we witnessed her tap into her cutthroat side as she slowly began to find her strength. So just like the pilot slap signalled a new shift in her life, this one was a wake-up call for the next, more self-aware, chapter of her life. It’s anybody’s guess what she does next, but her confident stride out of frame in the episode’s final moments means we shouldn’t be worried, because above all else: Alicia is a survivor. Although it was grimly and harshly delivered, that’s actually a pretty powerful statement to bookend her story with.
End also featured the surprise return of ex Good Wife regular Will Gardner. I was never Josh Charles’ biggest fan, but Alicia’s journey couldn’t possibly end without a fitting appearance from the love of her life. I loved everything about the duo’s ghostly interactions, particularly with Will clarifying the fact that they “kind” of had their love story, and his urging her to go after Jason.
Ultimately this was a bold, unpredictable series finale for a bold, unpredictable show. I never expected anything less.
Bits & Cases
– Sweet and heartfelt moment with Peter bidding goodbye to Grace and then to Eli whom he apologized to.
– Loved Jason figuring out the iPhone ringtone. It really amuses me when The Good Wife tries to be hip and trendy.
– Lucca was nothing but a sounding board the last couple of episodes. Basically she played the cupid role trying to bring Alicia and Jason together instead of getting more to do. Nevertheless, I definitely ended up liking her way more than I ever liked Kalinda. Speaking of the iconic investigator, she was never brought up again. Will we ever know the truth about what happened between her and Julianna behind the scenes? Maybe it’s better we never do.
– The Kings sure promoted Regina Spektor quite a bit in this finale didn’t they? Cute song I guess (see below).
– Tremendous sequence: Alicia imagining three different scenarios of her coming home. First there’s Jason, then there’s Peter, and finally… (as I predicted) Will! It’s these kind of creative sequences that I’ll miss most.
– How sad was the finale’s credit sequence with shots of the empty Lockhart offices? My aching heart.
– Hilarious move with Diane making the judge giggle by asking the star witness useless questions about his childhood.
– So are we to assume that Alicia will run for office again in the future? Eli mentioned in the finale that he was diverting all of Peter’s political assets and investments to her. As far as I’m concerned, having Alicia lose the elections in season six was a huge misstep and a missed opportunity. I REALLY wanted to see her in elected office. I guess now I can imagine her doing exactly that!
– Funny how little attention the Kings gave Carey in these last few episodes. So he’s a guest lecturer now – that’s cool I guess.
– Alicia whispering “wait for me” into Jason’s ear felt so very final (and sexy).
– Great symbolism with Grace telling her mom she can decide for herself what she wants in the future. I guess Alicia took the hint?
– I genuinely wish the last few episodes of the show didn’t spend so much screen-time on a case we could care less about. Why bring this out of nowhere so close to the end? Major fail if you ask me.
– A gem of a scene: Connor Fox telling Alicia he met her long ago when she was “fun”. Her “demure” smile was just as awesome as last week’s fake tears with Canning. I so love the character letting loose like this.
– Great visual with Alicia entering her house (much like the dream sequence) and seeing Peter.
– Fantastic editing choice with keeping the camera on Diane as Kurt gets cornered on the witness stand about his affair. Christine’s performance here is terrific as always, particularly the stoic demeanour she tries to convey as she stands up and walks out of court (while Alicia looks somewhat guilty).
– The fact that Alicia threw Diane and Kurt under the bus is made even more complex with the realization that just two weeks ago, Alicia observed the couple with a great deal of envy. Uh oh.
– I honestly never expected Peter to get zero jail time; I was sure he’d spend a decade in prison. Smart show for subverting my expectations (as always)
– Love the double meaning of Connor’s line “he won’t get better” – obviously alluding not just to the plea bargain, but that Peter will probably never change his slimy ways.
– The great thing about Peter asking Alicia to stand with him one last time is that it feels like the entire show’s been building up to this prophetic moment.
– Alicia’s “I’ll love you forever” to ghost Will killed me. Julianna’s delivery of the line was just everything.
– Even more symbolism: the close-up of Alicia’s phone as she tries to call Jason and we see the words “call ended”. I just found that touch very final (and I have no idea if it was intended or not).
– If you didn’t recognize it, the close-up on Alicia and Peter’s hands is a direct recreation of the shot in the pilot. Stunning.
– In a wonderful contrast to the pilot, Alicia doesn’t let Peter take her hand at the end of his press conference. Instead, she rushes off after a figure she thinks is Jason. My what a difference seven years make.
– I rewatched the infamous pilot scene, and just like this finale, Alicia also walked out of frame after the slap. Another gorgeous visual parallel.
– Part of me is depressed that the show had Diane, an accomplished woman in her own right (and this is a show with a very potent feminist message), slapping another accomplished, driven woman in such a terribly soapy manner. But perhaps that’s what the Kings were going for?
– I wonder if Alicia and Diane will continue with their all-female firm, or if their relationship is irreparably damaged for life.
– Is it so wrong to compare Alicia to Walter-White? Yes I know her transformation wasn’t as extreme (or sinister), but both characters were so vividly drawn and layered. In addition, the characters they became by the end of their journeys are near unrecognizable to the ones they started out with.
– I’ll say it one last time: I so wanted the show to end on a less bleak note. But since when do we get what we want in life?
Lucca: (to Alicia) You tend to confuse responsibility and love.
Alicia: Nothing. It’s just really good to see you again.
Will: Again? Where was I?
Alicia: You wouldn’t like it here now. Things have gotten sad.
Will: Hmm, things were pretty sad when I was here.
Alicia: No. They were never sad.
Will: Us hating each other?
Alicia: Did you really hate me?
Will: Oh, yeah.
Alicia: So what do I do?
Will: I told you. U.S. v. Nunez.
Alicia: No. In life.
Will: Oh, that. I don’t know. I was never very good at that.
Alicia: Yes, you were. You always made it look so easy. Why didn’t I come to you?
Will: What did you say? “It was romantic because it didn’t happen.” So you got a little bit of both. Life. Us together. And now romance.
Connor: You know, I met you some years ago. At the Equal Justice Conference in 2008. Do you remember?
Connor: Your husband was giving a speech. This was before. everything. You were fun. We talked about our kids. You made a joke about the terrible twos and how they weren’t as bad as the freakin’ fours.
Alicia: That was a long time ago.
Connor: Yeah. Not many laughs now.
Alicia: Really? I don’t make you laugh now? The wife of someone you’re prosecuting for corruption doesn’t amuse you? Okay. Thank you. Hey, here’s a thought. You give my husband one year probation, no jail time, and I’ll work up a demure smile for you. (She fake smiles) How’s this?
Alicia: My head hurts every time I try to figure out what it is you want and what I want and how those two things may coincide.
Jason: No. Look your husband needs you. I think sometimes you need to be needed. It keeps you from tipping over.
Will: Hey, ethics change. We’re all adults here.
Alicia: Things used to be simpler.
Will: No. Things were never simple.
Alicia: What do I do now?
Will: Go to him. You’re done with Peter. Like a fever, it’s over.
Alicia: Jason’s not you.
Will: Hmm. Very few people are me.
Alicia: He’s a boy. He likes boy things.
Will: You like boy things.
Alicia: No, I don’t. What makes you say that?
Will: God, you have so little self-awareness.
Alicia: What if I’m unhappy with him?
Will: Blame me. Seriously, do you want to live here alone? Look at this place. It’ll drive you crazy.
Alicia: You’re right.
Will: Then go to him. It’s not too late.
Alicia: (crying) I’ll love you forever.
Will: (with a smile) I’m okay with that.
Better by Regina Spektor
It might not be the feel-good finale we all wanted, but I respect Robert and Michelle King for giving us the ending they envisioned from the start. It’s been an incredible journey, and this was an undeniably powerful ending to Alicia Florrick’s story. It’ll be a long time before we ever get a series like this again.
Nad Rating (for this finale)
Nad Rating (for the series as whole)