Written by Matt Taylor
It was a battle of the sexes on this week’s episode of The Good Wife, with the d-bomb finally being dropped. Yes, after seven seasons of marital strife, Alicia and Peter finally broached the topic of getting a divorce but, unsurprisingly, it wasn’t a calm discussion. Elsewhere in the tumultuous hour, Alicia continued to define her relationship with Jason, tension rose amongst the partners at Lockhart, Agos & Lee, Eli considered betraying his longtime client, and there was a shocking resignation to cap off the episode. Yes, “Unmanned” was the first episode to truly feel like a final installment to this series. But it certainly wasn’t perfect.
It’s really a shame that this final season is still relying on cases of the week, despite having so many storylines to work through before reaching the final episode. This week, Alicia and Diane went to court to defend a man that shot down a drone flying over his backyard, and the subplot was completely unnecessary and lacked any real entertainment value. Even the actors seemed to be phoning it in during these sequences. And, worst of all, the subplot seemed like an attempt at fan service, as it brought back Anna Camp as Caitlin, the lawyer last seen in the third season when Alicia took her under their wing. While Camp is a wonderful actress, and she and Margulies shared a nice scene towards the end, her appearance just didn’t feel necessary, and the subplot took up valuable time from the more interesting storylines.
Luckily, the episode saw some major development in the relationship between Alicia and Peter. The writers of the series deserve serious credit for making their complicated relationship somehow last for a full seven seasons without feeling tired, but this twist came at just the right time, and led to some very intense, dramatic moments between the two actors. I particularly love the way that Alicia denied that her decision to get the divorce was made by Jason – in keeping with the theme of the series, it seems like Alicia has finally reached a comfortable level of independence, and is making this decision entirely on her own. And I really can’t wait to see how their children react when they (presumably) find out in the next episode.
The episode also found workplace tensions reaching a boiling point, with a surprising resignation made at the end of the night. While I don’t think that Diane’s decision to start an all-female law firm was built-up to adequately, it still provides some interesting dramatic momentum, and makes David Lee an effective antagonist. The episode also saw some of Matt Czuchry’s best acting this season, and gave Christine Baranski a lot of screen time, which is always appreciated.
And, while the subplot felt a bit rushed, Connor Fox targeted Eli and his daughter in order to help him indict Peter. The subplot had some genuinely surprising twists to it, and a legitimately suspenseful sequence that kicked it off, but. Again, this whole segment of the episode could have used a lot more screen time. Hopefully next week will spend less time on the case of the week, and more time on storylines like this.
“Unmanned” could have been a damn near perfect episode of The Good Wife if not for the awful case-of-the-week dragging it down. With only four more weeks, this seriously needs to drop its standalone plots and focus on wrapping up these characters’ storylines in a satisfying way. Let’s hope the next episode learns from these mistakes.
Overall rating: 6 out of 10