A Good Wife series finale review, in five parts:
1) We’ll start at the end, with what has been the most contentious aspect of the finale among fans and critics: Diane slapping Alicia in the hallway after the press conference. The point of the slap, as showrunners Robert and Michelle King explained in brief post-mortem video released by CBS, was to provide a bookend. The series started with a slap by Alicia after a press conference in which Peter admitted wrongdoing, and so ending with one after another press conference like that was intended to highlight what a different person Alicia is now by bringing it full-circle. The innocent victim from the premiere is now a calculated (kind of) victimizer, the type of person who would embarrass and undermine her boss and friend by dragging her husband up in front of God and the jury to pepper him with questions about how he handles his firearms. (Pun intended.) The slapper has become the slappee, if you will.
Whether you buy all this or not… eh, your call. It felt a little forced to me, like the show decided on the bookending slap before they had a justification for it, and then had to hurry up and get someone mad enough at Alicia to throw palms. The Kings discussed some of the potential reasoning behind all of this in an interview with Variety today.
[W]e were with Alicia at the party episode, two back. And we saw Alicia watch Diane and Kurt McVeigh huddling and kissing, and her jealousy in many ways of their relationship. And you can’t say that that didn’t play into this end. At least Alicia should have known what she was playing with. Either there was a hidden side of her that did want Diane brought down to her level: “If I can’t have a husband that I’m perfectly happy with, then I don’t mind that it happens to this other person.” On the other hand, you can view that under the guise of zealously defending your client. So what I love about the ending in my mind is one could defend both sides of this.
And that doesn’t even cover the other kinda crappy thing Alicia did to a friend here. Ruining her own relationship with Diane is one thing, because it’s her life and she’s a fancy new name partner, so things will be really awkward, but whatever. Her using Lucca to do it, though… that was a little dicey, because Lucca is just an associate and very much in a position to have her work life made into a living hell by a slap-mad managing partner. Alicia hung her out to dry, right?
2) This brings us to the other side of the slap, and the more important question, I think: Do we even buy that Diane would do that? Man, I do not think I do. Kurt was in that position because Diane had asked him to play fast and loose with the facts earlier in the trial (part of the defense strategy), so going back to him in this situation seemed reasonable. It sucked tremendously for both Diane and Kurt, but it wasn’t totally out of line.
And I think Diane would have understood that, even as the questions ran toward affairs and other such improprieties. She runs hot, we know that, but less in a “Will Gardner sweeping a desk clean in a violent fit of rage” way than an “icy stare followed by a knowing smirk, like she always has a plan in motion” way. I wouldn’t picture her getting to the point of a slap, like that one character from that show about the slap. What was that called again?
3) Hey, speaking of Will Gardner, welcome back, Will Gardner! Or should I say, Ghost Will Gardner!
This was weird, right? Like, not at first, though. The thing in the beginning where he was the third face she saw in her Kitchen Match Game hallucination worked for me, because it was a cool nod to the elephant in the room, and because Josh Charles is the best and should be in more things a lot. Bringing him back for that moment felt right.