The Good Wife “End” Review (Season 7 Episode 22)

THE GOOD WIFE Verdict

The Good Wife is a relic. Time has turned that word into one with a somewhat negative connotation, something that you might describe as old-fashioned and boring. However, the actual definition of a relic is “an object surviving from an earlier time, especially one of historical or sentimental interest”, which really describes The Good Wife perfectly. This show has survived on network television for seven seasons and it really was something out of an earlier time. This show was nominated for the Emmy in Outstanding Drama Series back in 2011, but it has not been nominated since. Don’t feel too bad though, because there has been NO network series nominated for that award since then. This is a television landscape that is being dominated by basic cable, pay cable, streaming services, and now whatever crazy TV shows Louis CK wants to throw up on his website. The creators of this series, Robert and Michelle King, have been arguing for years that their show should be held to a different standard than its cable and streaming competition. However, that’s not how it works. In the TV landscape of 2016 just about every talented showrunner and producer are taking their talents to cable or Netflix. You can make as many episodes as you want, there’s way more free airtime, and your content is way less controlled. It’s very possible that we’ll never see a quality drama series on network television ever again. It’s possible that the 2011 nomination for The Good Wife is the last Outstanding Drama nod that a network show will ever receive. This show really might be the last of its kind. Was it perfect for all seven seasons? Definitely not. But we did enjoy five solid seasons of a great legal drama, followed by two seasons that maybe shouldn’t have happened. I’ll get to the review of the actual episode now, but regardless of the quality of

The Good Wife ends its seventh and final season tonight with the appropriately titled “End”, as Alicia and her group make one final push to keep Peter out of jail. The trial against Peter has definitely been slow going this season, and has resulted in a rather frustrating and anti-climactic final arc to the series. I can’t help but feel like this episode itself could have been the whole trial. Instead, this was just the final episode after a long slog to the finish. We’d already seen Megan Hilty’s character testify multiple times, we saw Mattan before, we saw Kurt before, so all of this happening all over again felt like we were retreading old ground.

The only big new development was the revelation that Kurt had an affair with Megan Hilty and Alicia made Lucca question him on the stand to reveal it to the room. This was an absolutely brutal move and the closeup on Diane’s face when she realized what was happening was some of the best work that Christine Baranski has done in a long time. All of the running in place during this case really came to a nice finale for her character, albeit definitely not a happy development for Diane’s relationship with Kurt.

One of the big questions for this finale, and really the whole series, was who Alicia was going to end up with at the end of all of this. Would she stand by her husband during this difficult time? Would she find a way to be happy with Jason? I would personally like to pick none of the above, and instead just nominate Ghost Will Gardner to be the lucky man. I loved seeing Will return, both in flashback scenes and in the present time to say goodbye to Alicia, but it really just threw into sharp relief just how great they were as a couple. Alicia doesn’t have anywhere near the same level of chemistry with Peter or Jason. Part of me wishes she just hung out in her apartment talking to Ghost Will, but the final goodbye scene that we got was wonderful. “I’ll love you forever”, “I’m OK with that”. Just a beautiful way to say goodbye for two characters that really never got to say goodbye at all.

Speaking of saying goodbye, man that ending really came out of nowhere! Alicia runs away from her husband right when he’s reaching out for her at one of the lowest moments in his life, she’s trying to find Jason but he’s ignoring her calls and apparently was never at the press conference, and then she gets slapped by her longtime friend and colleague (not to mention new business partner). You’ve got to imagine that Jason’s skipped out on her, Peter’s going to leave to prison, and that her new partnership with Diane is kaput. This really was one of the unhappiest and darkest endings to a series that I can remember. I honestly can’t think of a series that didn’t kill off their main character, but gave them a more depressing conclusion. Only The Shield comes to mind, but at least the last shot of that series gave us some level of optimism. That was just grim. You can definitely argue that this is a reality that Alicia brought on herself. She’s been an incredibly cold and uncaring person for the majority of this series, and she definitely has a way of angering people and pushing them away, but this was pretty low even for her. I don’t know if the Kings want us to come away from this finale trying to fill in our own conclusion. Maybe Jason finally returns her calls and they end up together? Maybe she starts her own firm with Lucca again, since they’re still friends? Maybe Kalinda comes back and they hug it out and start fighting crime together. I guess we’ll never know.

What we do know is that we’ll never see more episodes of The Good Wife. While I’ve definitely done my fair amount of complaining over these past two seasons, this was definitely a great series that I would recommend to anybody. I’m going to be sad to see it go, even though I wish it went in a slightly better fashion.

Random Thoughts:

– I know it’s not the focus or anything, but who on earth picks “ratcheting” as their ringtone?

– I bet those college girls were pretty pleased to have somebody looking like Matt Czuchry as a guest lecturer. Probably not a bad arrangement for Cary either.

– “Pitting Evidence” was a major plot point in the pilot episode of The Good Wife, which also featured Mattan, so it was amusing seeing him discuss pitted evidence with Cary here.