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Alicia Continues to Mourn in The Good Wife‘s “A Material World”

Alicia Florrick is in mourning. It’s not immediately apparent, though in the back of our minds we know it must be happening, since “A Material World” opens with Alicia and Diane giggling over drinks after Will’s funeral and wondering if it was them or his family who knew him least. Diane and Alicia’s lighthearted, and drunken, exchanges eventually ended in the two of them considering the possibility of merging their firms. With Will gone, Diane’s alone and an easy target for the likes of Damian Boyle and David Lee, and Florrick/Agos is still facing the struggles that come with their startup. But even with the merger on the table, and a contentious (word of the episode) divorce being handled by the two firms, it was Alicia’s grief that sent her home to safety of her bed. 

While it made sense for Alicia and Diane to consider merging their firms in the wake of Will’s death, at least from a sentimental point-of-view, it would have been disappointing to see The Good Wife going that route. It would put us right back where we started, effectively undoing a lot of the work this season did, and sine the Kings have said before that this show is essentially “the education of Alicia Florrick”, her retracing her steps and returning to Lockhart/Gardner would have been a step backward for both her and the show. The question was never really answered, with Alicia’s being “sick” making communication difficult, it doesn’t look like it’ll be happening with Louis Canning coming on. Though I’m glad the merger is off, it would have been strange not to have it being brought up being brought up since there are professional benefits to the firms uniting, and Diane is adrift at Lockhart/Gardner with Will gone.

But that doesn’t mean Will’s mistakes don’t remain, chief among them Damian Boyle who I thought had also joined the heap of mistakes The Good Wife realized it made and disposed of accordingly. At least he’s gone now, kicked to the curb by Kalinda and Diane’s machinations as he tried to stir up trouble by exposing the merger to David. I can’t remember in what context we last saw him, but last we heard he was stealing clients, but there was no follow-up on this (is he starting his own firm? why isn’t he doing that offscreen?), and Damian’s screentime was weirdly limited. His scene with David seemed almost like he was the devil on his shoulder and not really there, and his last one with Kalinda just sent him packing. Though I appreciate The Good Wife‘s interest in closure, I didn’t need it since Damian amounted to a time-waster, which isn’t all that different from what he’d done since his introduction. Maybe the Irish mob family coming on as a client for Lockhart/Gardner will prove fruitful somewhere down the line.

At least on an interpersonal note, Florrick/Agos is faring better (aside from some tense moments with Cary and Alicia as he suggested she take some time off and then listened to Jeffrey’s father detail his plans to sue the State Attorney’s office) though the same can’t be said for Alicia and Peter. Their scene was one that’s been spattered across promos since Will’s death, and it was a good one for Julianna Margulies and Chris Noth. There’s been no doubt of Peter and Alicia’s relationship being less than loving, particularly from Alicia’s end, but now it’s officially only a marriage of political and professional convenience. It’s amazing that it took this long for them to get there, but Alicia being compelled to assert this new arrangement by Will’s death makes sense. Her affair with Will meant something, and Peter writing Will off as a “friend” who Alicia probably shouldn’t be feeling this much grief over was the kind of insensitivity that I’d forgotten Peter was capable of.  Considering that Alicia distanced herself from rekindling that relationship with WIll when she had the chance because of wifely and parental duties, her bitter feelings for Peter now are more than understandable and have been a long time coming.

Besides telling Peter what their marriage would be like now, Alicia’s attitude pre-bedroom escape was to barrel straight through everyone including the other half of the divorcing couple. Alicia’s never been tepid in court before, but this week she was terse and undeniably angry after her and Diane’s attempts to avoid court failed and her client nearly lost custody of her son. Her cross-examination of the materialist husband, where he said nothing was left of a person after they died, was what sent her out of the courthouse to consider whether or not she wanted to remain a lawyer then back to her apartment where she was only roused from her self-induced exile when Finn came looking for her help.

With Jeffrey Grant’s parents suing the State Attorney’s office and the State Attorney now looking for someone to blame, Alicia immediately knew Finn would be the one they pegged. Her cynicism, as she called it, seemed more like someone who knew about the politics of the State Attorney’s office and what the promise of an upcoming election could compel people to do. Though Finn bought himself some time by implicating his boss and State Attorney in the decision to drop the professor as a suspect in the murder, he’s still probably got a ways to go, and if Alicia is going to help him through it I’m especially looking forward to it. Matthew Goode’s been a favorite of mine since Chasing Liberty, and he and Margulies have good enough chemistry that their scenes are nice to watch. It helps that Finn seems, at least right now, to be one of the most genuine characters The Good Wife‘s cranked out in awhile.

No matter how painful the viewing experience, because a lot of “A Material World” was pretty painful just because Alicia was in so much pain and struggling so much, I’m glad to see the way Will’s death is being handled. Life is going on, but at times (like for tonight with Alicia and Kalinda) it’s going to get in the way and make things hard.

Stray Observations

  • Diane’s father was a sloppy drunk, and her mother wanted her to be a nurse. Also, Alicia wanted to be like Diane.
  • Kalinda’s grief has made it unable for her to have happy sex. Since The Good Wife‘s made sex such a huge part of Kalinda’s identity, I suppose this works as a way of showing how Will’s death has affected her. But I’m disappointed that it meant potentially imploding whatever was happening with her and Cary by going off and having sex with Jenna. Though her protectiveness of Diane almost made it worth it.
  • I guess we kind of got a Kalinda/Cary sex scene. Kind of. Sort of. Not really. No. I take it back. At this rate it won’t happen until the series finale.
  • Jenna slapped Kalinda. Wasn’t there a time when Kalinda slapped Jenna for similar reasons (using sex as a means of getting information)? Did I make that up? Was this some kind of throwback?
  • Chasing Liberty was kind of awful, but still worth watching because doesn’t everyone love a good President’s daughter/Secret Service agent love affair?

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “Alicia Continues to Mourn in The Good Wife‘s “A Material World”

  1. Kalinda never slapped Jenna, she just “broke up” with her because she was telling things about them to Damian. But this is not the first time someone slaps Kalinda: ASA Dana Lodge did it in season 3 as Kalinda used information she got from her to save Will from being suspended 😉

    I think Jenna (like Cary) really liked Kalinda, so she is really hurting people who care about her and who have been there for her.

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    • Oh I thought Kalinda had slapped Jenna at one point, but I guess I made that up. I do remember Dana doing it though.

      Yeah, I think she liked her too and it made sense to me that she’d react that way, since she and Kalinda had sort of moved past the antagonism their relationship had when it first started. I actually wouldn’t mind Jenna coming back since the last episodes with her in them were way better once they let her and Kalinda hang out on their own instead of saddling them with Damian drama. But I’m really partial to Kalinda/Cary so maybe not.

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