"The Good Wife" came to an end Sunday night, after seven seasons — and writers Moira Macdonald and Tricia Romano were mixed in their reaction to the finale.
Warning: This post contains spoilers!
Moira: And here we are . . . at the end of the road of “The “Good Wife”.” (A show that its creators, I read, often referred to as “The Education of Alicia Florrick.”) So — did Alicia become Peter at the end? The character who began as a victim ended as an aggressor?
Tricia: If you think about it with that title, it makes more sense. I am less sanguine about this ending than you. I am feeling very Grumpy Cat about the whole thing. I don’t buy that she would have thrown Diane and Kurt under the bus for Peter and fam, and I don’t buy that she was suddenly this super conniving, power-monster that destroyed everything she touched. There was always idealism in her and that’s why she loved Will so much. I mean, where was Ghost Will during those courtroom scenes?
Moira: Oh, I don’t think she was a monster. But I think something in her — that idealism — died with Will. I think we’ve seen, over the past few seasons, Alicia very slowly hardening. Agree, though, that her betrayal of Diane was very, very hard to take. I believed it, but it didn’t make it any easier to watch.
Tricia: By it, we mean, The Slap Heard Around the World. Alicia’s betrayal was way too out of character and felt like a stretch. We have completely different takes. I feel like the Kings wanted to mirror the beginning with betrayal and a slap, and it was like they were thinking, “Mmm, who could we make slap her?” That said, it was a helluva slap.
I think the entire plot line is suspicious. However, I didn’t see it ending “happily” — “The Good Wife” was too complicated and smart for that. More than a few readers in the Twitterati agreed with you — that there’d be a closing of an elevator and voila!
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Moira: I would definitely have preferred that. Let’s talk about what for me was the most moving and successful element of the finale — Ghost Will. Oh, this show (and me) has REALLY missed Josh Charles.
Tricia: He is such a fantastic character, and even though he’s not conventionally handsome, Josh Charles is so appealing. I also feel like he’d be a cool dude. But their connection is much stronger than all these others, except maybe the great Finn Polmar.
Moira: Let’s have a moment of silence for the great Finn Polmar (the almost absurdly charming Matthew Goode).
Tricia: Rest in peace at Downton Abbey, Finn.
However, as much as I loved seeing them again, I think “Ghost” scenes are a cheap way to get a long-gone character to appear and get an emotional tug from the audience. I would have preferred actually old scenes between them. I half-expected Whoopi Goldberg to show up and for them to start making pottery.
Moira: Oh, I love ghost scenes; they’re psychologically so interesting (in the way that Will isn’t speaking; it’s Alicia, speaking through Will). And wouldn’t you have loved to see Alicia and Will straddling a potter’s wheel?
Tricia: I’d like them both to do that skit on Amy Schumer’s show.
Moira: OK, how do we make that happen?
Tricia: We’ll tweet at them. I’ll get my People call to their People.
Moira: I also think we should note another character whose disappearance — and whose name hasn’t even been mentioned this season — was part of what took this once-brilliant show downhill: Kalinda. Weren’t you wishing for a Ghost Kalinda, to turn up in her Ghost Boots and give Alicia a good slap? (But I guess Kalinda’s not dead, but out solving crimes somewhere, with a new identity.)
Tricia: Someone on Twitter wrote that they imagined a fourth option for the ‘who do you want to come home to?’ sequence, and Alicia opened the door and it was Kalinda. Which would have been amazing. Kalinda’s complexity and her general fierceness has been missing. And I miss those boots!!
Moira: Ah well. Maybe she’ll get a spinoff. We should acknowledge here that, in true Alicia Florrick fashion, we both watched the show with wine in hand — and developed a “Good Wife” Drinking Game.
Tricia: I drank three glasses. They were small pours, in my defense, and it was white wine, which felt sacrilegious.
Moira: The rules are, you have to take a sip if a) Eli raises an eyebrow, b) Diane dramatically takes off or puts on her glasses, c) Jason grins wickedly, and . . . what else?
Tricia: Wig looks bad. Wig really looked bad last night. Especially at the end. Like, seven years and no one has figured this out?
Moira: You can get drunk pretty quickly if you sip every time Wig looks bad. By the way, I was watching “Veep” earlier last night and become completely fixated on Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s wig. I may have to write a book about this.
Tricia: Drinking through it is the only way to endure a middle-part hairline.
Moira: Though last night was very heavily slanted toward the dramatic, I appreciated the classic bit of “Good Wife” comedy in court, when Judge Cuesta (David Paymer, take a bow!) was completely fanboying out upon having a famous lawyer in his court. (That was David Boies, playing himself.)
Tricia: Yes, I actually laughed quite heartily over the sequence. It’s part of what made the show so good over the years is how nimbly they were able to navigate the romantic, the dramatic, and the comic. Also I love how Beard Fox got his panties in a bunch. (Aside: in that scene where Alicia mocks him when expects her to be amused, he reveals that he has kids! I’m thinking, you are five! How is that possible?)
Moira: Lucca, a character I loved who I thought never quite got her due this season, had a rather spot-on scene early in the episode that’s worth mentioning: Alicia, she said, “tends to confuse responsibility and love.”
Tricia: She’s a straight shooter. I need a Lucca in my life. However, I hate that she’s been used to stab Diane in the back.
Moira: I need Lucca’s wardrobe in my life. Yes! That was the part that didn’t ring true to me: I believed Alicia would do it, but I didn’t believe Lucca would. But I have to say, that scene in the conference room with the three women — though mostly Julianna Margulies and Christine Baranski — was one of the most electric moments I’ve seen on the show. This cast is just on fire. And Baranski’s face as Diane got up and left the courtroom — oh, oh, oh. I have no words.
Tricia: Give her all the awards! All of them! She is such an incredible actress. I’m so glad “The Good Wife” has given the world a chance to see the Great Baranski. Diane is also so subversive if you think about it — an older woman (Baranski is 64) who actually gets sexier and more powerful and more amazing with age. Where do we ever see this?
Moira: Nowhere. Somebody, get Baranski another show! Or give Diane a spinoff? Actually I’d love to see what happened to Diane post-slap. May I say, though, that it was VERY inappropriate to not only subject Diane to humiliation in court, but to make her wear that awful priest-collar blouse.
Tricia: That priest collar was criminal. Alicia’s suit was gorgeous, though. (Note to “Good Wife” producers: Please send all clothes to the Seattle Times’ office, where they will be kindly cared for.) I don’t know if I want to see Diane’s new life. It might be too sad. I mean, her and Kurt were such a pair. I hope they make up. But I did like what they had arranged for Cary — he’s teaching law! Totally perfect.
Moira: Yes! That was a great ending for him. He was such a baby-faced kid seven years ago; now he’s a professor. And seems quite happy. I’m glad SOMEBODY’s ending the show happy.
Tricia: You could argue Eli is still happy because he is still scheming (in this case to raise funds, inexplicably, for Alicia to be in some kind of office.) Alicia for Prez?
Moira: Maybe. Do we think, in our version of “Good Wife” reality, that Jason’s really gone? I think he is. Much as I like to picture him as our nation’s First Gentleman.
Tricia: I think he is. If she ends up going along with Eli to run for office, I can see him being like, “And, I’m out.” He’s a manchild with serious commitment and emotional issues. I have had enough of these guys in my real life, I don’t need them in my fantasy TV world. He’s just such a cliche.
Moira: Bottom line is, he wasn’t Will. My favorite bit of dialogue last night was between Alicia and Will, delivered with such gentle sincerity. “I’ll love you forever.” “I’m OK with that.”
Tricia: Nobody will ever be Will! I wish that the plot wasn’t taken up by this boring, last-ditch effort to create big drama with Peter’s corruption trial. The details weren’t interesting; Chris Noth has been on way too many series finales for my liking. I’ve never felt like he has that much emotional range, and I think as a character he’s been a literal dead weight on Alicia and the show. That he was used as motivation for Alicia’s last, wicked actions was depressing.
Moira: I wish the show had gone further with Peter — he was a sleazeball, and I think Noth was only compelling when he was embracing that.
Tricia: Right, no one has ever bought Saint Peter.
Moira: In the show’s final moment, Alicia dries her tears, adjusts her peplum (a phrase I’ve always wanted to type), and marches on. Which I’m really thinking was the only possible ending.
Tricia: With that set of circumstance, yes, there was no way to have her running into the arms of Jason at that point. But I would liked to have not seen Alicia and Diane betraying and beating each other. A catfight really goes against the feminist ethos of this entire show. I’m all for an ambiguous ending, but this was, to me, just a sad and cynical one.
Moira: Oh, Diane is way too dignified for a catfight. But yes, I was sad that we’ll never see Lockhart Florrick, or whatever that fantasy women-run law firm was going to be. Anyway! Goodbye Alicia, goodbye Diane, goodbye Eli . . . you’ll live forever in our hearts. And our streaming libraries.
Tricia: And goodbye, Wig! May you never be employed again!