The Good Wife’s End

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The post contains spoilers.

Good bye, Alicia.

I’ll miss you. I’ll miss Grace, Elsbeth (especially after Carrie Preston’s turn on Grace & Frankie), and the Golds, and Diane. Which, it turns out, was the B-story all along anyway.

There was a lot that held me back from The Good Wife when it started. I didn’t want to watch a woman without her own financial independence fight her way through the corporate world because her husband had been unfaithful and fired. I couldn’t stand the idea that she would get to a top-tier law firm and be held back by office and gender politics by a successful female—particularly if she was portrayed by Christine Baranski. I was also deeply disinterested in Cary Agos, as he was played by Matt Czuchry, an actor who had finished his run on Gilmore Girls as the shit-eating-grin Logan Huntzberger and was now playing a similar character. (Czuchry followed Gilmore Girls with I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, based on the memoirs of Tucker Max, himself a Cary- and Logan-like fellow.)

And so I watched the show with mild disinterest until I visited my parents the week after Will died and watching The Good Wife was a means of enjoying each other’s company. That I came in after a major character died is coincidental. My parents, for their part, rated the finale a 4 (Dad) and a 7 (Mom). I’d rate it an A+ or a 10.

The show began and ended with a slap, and a lot of people are very, very unhappy. Those people are wrong. We got the ending we deserved, a solid hour proving that Alicia Florrick in 2009 is not Alicia Florrick in 2016. She’s not Alicia in 2015 either; this Alicia would not truck out to Iowa for her husband’s campaign or make a pie with her mother on television. The Alicia we’re with now, the Alicia we’ve waited for seven seasons, will tell you to get lost.

And then she’ll broker a deal to get her husband, the soon to be former Governor, one year probation when he had been looking at ten years behind bars half an hour ago.

I don’t know if Peter deliberately botched a murder case to secure campaign funding. I know Peter would, because he’s guilty plenty of crappy things. Alicia didn’t fight for her husband because she’s his wife. Alicia fought for a year probation because she likes independence. She loves power and she loves to win. Alicia is Heisenberg.

By The Good Wife‘s end, Alicia has everything she wants. She’s free from Peter, dropping his hand before the press conference ended proves that. She’s free to pursue Jason (who wouldn’t have waited around at a press conference, that’s not his thing) and lead a firm. She can finally do anything she wants. We may have a better understanding of that than she does, but by Sunday morning, she’ll have as much clarity as any woman can. “The End” may have framed love as freedom, but Alicia has been in a fog since Will died, and now that she’s accepted her feelings about love, truth, and the law, she’s free to do whatever the hell she wants.

Like Walter White, Alicia’s devil-may-care path to freedom via Peter’s trial had consequences. We saw Diane break down last week and promise Kurt, that she wouldn’t make him testify again. Not because Diane dislikes Holly, but because Diane loves Kurt, and until recently, the only thing Diane has loved is power, control, and her career. (I like that about Diane.) In a lot of ways, the last two seasons have been a downhill slide for Alicia and Diane as they take on the characteristics of each other, transforming into alternate versions we hadn’t imagined were possible. (If Josh Charles hadn’t left The God Wife, wouldn’t the finale instead have been about Alicia breaking free from her artificial life of a political wife to a self-actualized lover of a lawyer?) Diane’s slide into a woman with a second life has been subtle and off-screen, while The Good Wife was about Alicia’s struggling transformation this whole time.

Alicia betrayed Diane when Luca questioned Kurt about the sale of his company and his alleged affair with Holly. We never hear Kurt answer Luca’s questions about his infidelity; latecomers to the show can assume that Peter had an affair with Geneva Pine, because Peter’s had many, many affairs, but we don’t know that about Kurt. It’s not important if Kurt enjoyed dalliances with Holly. It’s important that Alicia’s Bad now. She did the very thing Diane or Will would. She did what she could to win a case, and that’s not the Alicia we met in the pilot.

Diane and Alicia will be fine. Diane will go on vacation with Kurt, shoot some things in Vermont, and when the office has been renovated, they will host clients and rake in that sweet, sweet money. Diane will undercut Alicia at the office, they’re have it out in a closed conference room, and a few weeks later, they’ll be back to martinis at the hotel bar.

Alicia deserved that slap. But she deserved to be free, too.

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