Written by Matt Taylor
And then there were eight.
During the Super Bowl, CBS finally confirmed that The Good Wife would be coming to a close at the end of the season, giving Alicia Florrick the finale she deserves after seven seasons of political intrigue and feminist drama. And while it’s nice to know the show is heading towards a definitive end, this week’s episode went back to the beginning, bringing Alicia’s story closer to a full-circle finale.
As the previous episode led us to believe, Alicia went back to work at Lockhart, Agos & Lee, this time bringing Lucca and Jason along with her. This week’s installment, “Monday,” found Alicia struggling to adjust to a world where she isn’t her own boss, beginning at the bottom of the bureaucratic food chain and struggling not to fight with ally-turned-enemy Diane. Tension at the workplace ran high, especially since the partners tried to forcibly separate Alicia and Lucca, and it was easy to compare the hour of television with the very start of the series. The episode even brought back John Benjamin Hickey as the Mark Zuckerberg-esque president of Chumhum, the fictional search engine showcased throughout the series. While the case-of-the-week was somewhat bland, Hickey was as strong as ever in these scenes, and the episode deserves credit for exploring how Twitter has changed the way journalism and the law intersect.
But what differentiated this episode from the earlier seasons is how much Alicia has changed. Gone is the timid woman we saw in the pilot. Alicia is far more confident and aggressive than she was when she first started at Lockhart/Gardner, and Margulies has also become more comfortable playing the role. It’s also incredible to see how the relationship between Alicia and Diane has evolved, with a scene between the two calling to mind their initial conversation in the pilot. Their scene this week was ripe with tension and understated anger, and Christine Baranski did her best work so far this season (though she’s still being disgustingly underused). It’s also nice to see how comfortable the writers are with having the audience laugh at the characters, with a hilarious recurring gag involving how the clueless, white partners frequently bundle the partners of color together.
But the real highlight of the episode was how the writers hinted at the more suspenseful plotlines to come. And, in true Good Wife fashion, the twists emerged from out of the blue. One subplot involved Eli’s daughter (the ever reliable Sarah Steele) being asked on a date, which quickly became a mysterious, complicated storyline that’s bound to leave viewers guessing about what direction the final season is heading in. Additionally, Margo Martindale was a key part in the phenomenal final scene, in which she had an amusing, tequila-fueled conversation with Alicia that suddenly took a more sinister tone. If Martindale never appears on the series again, her stint certainly ended on a high note. The writers would be smart to introduce the plotline their teasing soon, but the wait is certainly enticing.
It’s really no surprise that The Good Wife is on its way out. All the references to the first season make it clear that we’re getting closer to the natural end of the story, and the evolution of Alicia Florrick is still quite compelling. While “Monday” may have only hinted at the subplots to come, it definitely seems like the writers know where they’re going. They haven’t stuck the landing just yet, but I have a feeling they will.
Overall rating: 7 out of 10.