I stared at a blank word document for quite some time tonight trying to figure out what I was going to say about the finale of The Good Wife that I hadn’t already said a dozen different ways throughout the season. When all was said and done, I failed, because while there were certainly surprises that arose out of the last hour of Season 6, the show didn’t prove that it had learned anything from its mistakes from the previous 21 hours of programming. Therefore, The Good Wife, I’m sorry, but you don’t deserve a review. Let us instead catalog all of ways “Wanna Partner?” failed us in our hour of need.
Addressed systemic failure of system merely to further plot. Ah, this was The Good Wife’s achilles heel all season long, as there was never a deeply, culturally resonant plot that the show couldn’t beat down into an easily exploited story. As we saw earlier in the season with issues of campus rape and police brutality, as well as just the basic shocking discovery that sometimes the law is broken, the series loves to try to muck about in messy topics, only to pull up before saying anything substantial, which just leaves it appearing like it’s carpetbagging on other people’s problems. In “Wanna Partner?” the show feints at tackling the issue of Homan Square, the real life black site operated by the Chicago PD that allowed them to detain suspects off the books and without arrest. The real Homan Square is a huge human rights issue and just another instance of police impropriety, but here it’s just a tricky puzzle to be solved, never to be thought of again, once Alicia Florrick manages to score another win for the good guys. Unless Homan Square reappears next season (assuming the show gets its final and inevitably last seventh season pickup) as the big bad, misusing this plot was just adding insult to injury.
Sabotaged attempted emotional catharsis because actors refuse to act. This was it. Kalinda’s last hurrah on The Good Wife, returning to save her friends from the threat of Lemond Bishop for one last time and they fucking flubbed it. There was definitely a scene in the bar between Alicia and Kalinda but there is plenty of reason to believe that, yet again, that Margulies and Panjabi did not in fact film the scene together. The majority of the scene was filmed in one shot, switching between the women, with only the back of the other woman’s head visible, looking for all intents and purposes like stand-ins. But more damning is the fact that in the few two shots containing both women, there’s a strange distance as though each were filmed separately and then spliced together. Their movements never overlap, Panjabi’s eyeline seems to be all wrong, and because of it, the entire scene, which is supposed to serve as the emotional closure the Alicia/Kalinda relationship has been desperately needing for years, is just another cold, disjointed mess, leaving the audience wondering whatever happened to cause such an atomic fallout within a show’s cast.
Boy trouble. If you were worried that Alicia’s love life would somehow fall by the wayside or, at the very least, not radically veer all about the map like a drunken Zamboni driver, fear not. We find out that Finn is actually dating his ex-wife which means he can’t eye-fuck Alicia anymore and which further means he can’t actually be her partner either. But, better yet, Peter has been offered a shot at the presidency, by which I mean the vice presidency, by which I mean the Illinois Democratic Party (which, literally, a handful of episodes ago ruined his wife’s political career), wants him to continue to be their puppet but on a national stage. Alicia is shockingly underwhelmed, particularly when, spurred by a Grace inquiry, she’s summarily informed that she’ll have to continue playing the dutiful wife. The story is temporarily resolved by Alicia telling Peter she doesn’t want him to run but we’ll see how long that sticks come next season. This is ultimately a failure because Alicia didn’t just up and ask him for a divorce.
Lockhart, Agos, and Lee continues to devolve into A. Law. This week, the gang finds out they accidentally hired Louis Canning’s wife as a paralegal (and obvious Alicia parallel) and are thrown in a full-blown panic when trying to figure out how to deal with her. Cary and David Lee both demand that she be thrown out over Diane’s protestations and their actions, shockingly, throw Louis Canning into a completely unnecessary tizzy which lands him in the offices making Shakespearean threats against the triad’s families before eventually knocking on Alicia’s door and asking if she wants to partner.
But say I wasn’t a huge cynic and believed that the damage done by a wayward season wasn’t irreversible. There is still promise in how the table is set going into a final season and there’s even potential in how some of these terrible story choices could be rectified moving forward. If nothing else the show has set up a lot of echoes for itself to previous storylines, most significantly, Peter needing Alicia as his dummy wife in order to win an election and Alicia starting up a new law firm with an unexpected partner. At this point in the run of The Good Wife, I honestly don’t know what the future holds for Alicia Florrick, nor do I know what I hope for. As much as I want her free and happy, I wonder, like some other critics, if it wouldn’t be infinitely more interesting to see her back with Peter, playing the good wife she fought so hard to break free from. Demoralizing, yes. Deliciously dark, absolutely. Regardless, the road has been so long with so many highs and so many lows that no matter how pointless Season 6 proved to be, there’s really no way I’m not seeing this through to the end. So bring on Season 7. It really couldn’t get any worse.
- “Are you still going to pretend you’re married?” Finally, Grace proves why she’s worth keeping around.
- I’ll give The Good Wife this: I didn’t think it was possible to make Wallace Shawn a threatening presence, but here we are.
- So, seriously, Robyn just never showed up again. Unacceptable. Especially now that Kalinda’s gone!
- Finn and Alicia didn’t even touch. I can’t with this show. That’s so messed up.
- Lester shows up and inquires about Kalinda. Mr. Lester leaves. Diane: “I think he wants Kalinda.” Diane, it’s never too early to start thinking about early retirement.
- Opening credit appearance: 11:08