This season ends much the same way last did: a game-changing(ish) offer, in a straight-to-camera entreaty. I am amused by what this one would portend, more so than I was when Eli dangled the election at Alicia, but I’m not sure how I feel about where the other pieces on the board are positioned. Especially the knight. (Who is Finn. Because, like it or not, Peter is still king when it comes to Alicia’s availability for BANGING.)
*I added a piece at the end about Split-Screen Gate. Click here if you already read this and want to jump straight there (though that won’t work from the homepage; you have to go into the full post first).
Mr. Gold does not have his best week. He tries here to hover over Alicia physically, possibly a a way of harvesting some phantom power over her, but Alicia has caught wind that the ghostwriter is running his notes past Eli and getting instructions to steer it away from courtroom intrigue and into a soft portrayal of a woman who is a homemaker (there is even a note: “See if Alicia has any recipes”). She’s being rebranded, basically, back to straight-up Good Wife stuff and away from her brain. She’s not impressed. And not for nothing, I’m pretty sure she has NEVER had any recipes.
He’s not going to get what he wants out of Alicia politically, either. Basically, Eli’s only successful stand is the one he is taking literally by not sitting down, because “I don’t like sitting on steps. I always think, ‘Dogs urinate there.'” Eli, you evacuate yourself all the TIME onto things, metaphorically, so you should be comfortable in the muck.
Looking as much like the phrase “handsome devil” as ever, Peter brings to Alicia what he deems a very exciting proposition: The party wants him to run for president. Well, specifically, it wants him to run and lose just gently enough that he’ll be a viable choice for the Veep job, which of course puts him on track for the White House in eight years. Peter insists that he will not make the decision without Alicia’s blessing, nor that of the kids. And bless his charred little soul, it is not likely that he means it, but when Alicia calls him OUT on that, he insists that he absolutely is sincere. “Fine, then I don’t want you to run,” she says. “If I get a vote.” CHECKMATE. Obviously, Peter will find a way to do whatever the hell he wants to — and frankly I kept waiting for Alicia to make a connection between the apparent necessary death of her career and Peter’s ascent to presidential candidate, but it didn’t come — so I don’t anticipate that Alicia’s no will win out, but for now, it was a pretty lovely vision of Alicia calling his bluff and refusing to go along for yet another electoral ride.
Also… I mean, there was a wee voting stink around Peter’s gubernatorial election, and that whole hooker scandal for which he went TO PRISON, and then Alicia’s tainted victory and resignation… who out there is all, “Well, this is CLEARLY the best time to catapult this man into the West Wing”? There is nothing explicitly stating a president cannot also be a convicted felon, by the way, although in many states you can’t vote if you are a felon (in Illinois, you can vote after time served, so Peter casting a ballot for Alicia is a-OK, ASSUMING HE VOTED FOR HER). Anyway, I just don’t get why there’s no stink on Peter, at least on a federal level. It was satisfying to see Alicia actually say what she thinks instead of nodding and smiling and being The Good Wife — and indeed, it seems like these parts of the finale were a reminder that she’s not where she once was.
11. Grace and Zach
Peter at least gives them the pretense of a say in whether he runs. Zach, of course, is like, “Groovy!” Because suddenly Zach is not someone who asks probing questions. Grace, however, wants to know if they’ll continue to pretend to be married, and whether Alicia will have to go along for the ride. Big points to Grace for telling it like it is. Peter tries to lawyer her, insisting that he and Alicia are not PRETENDING to be married, living situation be damned, and then Alicia cuts right in and says, flatly, “Yes, we’ll have to pretend to be married.” Score for Grace and Alicia, point further deducted from Peter. Zach, you’re on notice. You’re only up this high because you are in the shot with Grace and it’s cleaner this way. Georgetown is not, so far, doing much for your brain function.
10. Sophie Canning
Louis’s wife gets a job at Lockhart, Agos, & Lee, using her maiden name so that she could get the job on her own. Because she wants something wholly hers, and she’s bored, and — I suspect — his near-death made her realize she’s going to be slone in life sooner than she’d like. She’s Tori Spelling, but with a higher motive perhaps and a prayer of it working… except that after she starts, David Lee recognizes her and immediately blows her cover. Diane thinks her motives were pure and that she’s not a spy, but it’s agreed by the firm that Sophie is way too risky and so Sophie Canning is Sophie Canned.
She may look back on her brief time flying close to the sun, and wish she had worn a blouse with better sleeves.
9. Lockhart, Agos, & Lee
They do nothing else, but at least they close ranks and dispatch with Sophie — although they are met with The Rage of Louis Canning in return. Oh, and they also get snarked on by Wallace Shawn, back as Lemond Bishop’s close associate: “Every time I come up here, this place has a new name,” he says, pleasantly. NO KIDDING. At the rate these people play musical bedfellows, they should all have raging cases of corporate gonorrhea.
Kalinda’s farewell note to Alicia is a confession, in the event that Lemond Bishop harasses her or her family. Alicia hides it in her coffee canister so that nobody will find it, and friend, if the COFFEE CANISTER is a place where nobody goes, then why do you even have a coffeemaker? Also, who are you? I feel like… if it’s NOT a scientific fact that every household has at least one person who drinks coffee, then it SHOULD be. Maybe that person was Peter. And now that he’s gone, the coffee sits there, sad, neglected, stale. And flirting with a folded piece of paper.
7. This poor dude
We spend a lot of time on the Case of the Week because it throws Alicia and Finn together, as newly minted law partners. One of Alicia’s clients calls her while he’s being… detained, attacked, arrested; who knows, but it’s ugly. Basically, she uses Find iPhone to trace him to a nondescript brick facility that we learn has some official police purpose but the cops seem to use it as an off-the-books detainment spot. And this guy gets tricked into revealing that Alicia’s client is there, and THEN goes up on the stand and has to admit — in front of his shady boss — that they DID refer to the man as if he was properly arrested, thereby invalidating the confession they coerced without a lawyer present. In short, nobody at work is going to speak to this nice man ever again.
Lemond’s old associate shows up to try and rattle some cages, in the hopes that Kalinda will fall out of one of them. He finds it inconceivable that nobody knows where she is — particularly Alicia, who, he smugly notes, referenced in court that she spoke to Kalinda, and therefore must have an idea how to reach her, or where she is. I think that’s a clever tie-in to last week, and actually wondered if it would become a bigger deal, but it doesn’t. Poor old Vizzini skulks around trying to remind everyone — Cary, Diane, etc — never to go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line, but nobody gives him what he wants. And not because they are immune to the iocaine powder of his threats; rather, they all simply and factually do not know where Kalinda is.
In sum: Surely he doesn’t mean any harm (except for how he does), but he’s really very short on charm.
Kalinda does end up confronting him a few times, ending by saying she has documents in her possession that implicate him very heavily indeed in illegal activities. “What is it with all these tough-talking women?” he sputters. “You know a word you don’t hear anymore? Demure. Let’s bring that one back.” You hear that, Vizzini? Those are the shrieking eels. And he does hear it, because he agrees to leave Kalinda and everyone alone, before suggesting that the two of them go into business together. She’s all, “Are there rocks ahead? If there are, we’ll all be dead.” In other words: no.
Lockhart, you magnificent animal.
She does nothing except have the grace to do the Sophie canning, and wear this outfit, both of which are A-plus to me. She is wearing a GIANT NOOSE around her neck in the scene where everyone at the firm ignores her pleas to save Sophie’s job — symbolic, much? — and that billowy blouse is just tremendous on her. It shouldn’t be, but it is, because she is DIANE F’ING LOCKHART. Never leave us.
This was also a good outfit, but I guess she was holding back on the accessories because she knew the Hangman’s Orb was coming.
4. Louis Canning
Michael J. Fox gets a fizzy speech where he storms in angrily to the LAL offices and informs them that they will REGRET crossing the one person in the world he truly loves (“I’ve never gone after your families,” he says, to which David Lee drawls, “We don’t have families”). It is wonderful to see his cool totally shattered as he swears vengeance on their business and their very souls, so I will temporarily overlook the dangling issue of how he and David Lee were in cahoots not that long ago and I have no idea when or where or why that went south, unless it is in fact this exact moment. Whatever. Watching MJF explode was great.
As was this:
The episode ends with Alicia thinking Finn has doubled back to her door, but when she opens it, a harried Louis Canning barks, “Wanna partner?”
YES. I just… I don’t know if this makes a lick of sense but I don’t care. Florrick Canning might be an iteration I can get behind for a few episodes. If he didn’t have any legal power before, if he needs backup… well, he just upgraded, if this scheme works.
I find it amusing that we lay eyes on Kalinda again in the one place I am, as a viewer, certain she has NEVER EVER BEEN: the supermarket.
Because, I mean, Kalinda Sharma doesn’t grocery shop. She orders out, or has it delivered. Food appears at her location. And yet here she is, appearing at food’s location. It’s strange. She is doing it, of course, because she knows Vizzini won’t murder her in the middle of Safeway. She filches his phone so he can’t record the conversation, and then makes a date to meet Lemond and tell him her side of the story (she is still claiming Dexter betrayed him) if Vizzini will leave everyone else out of it. Honestly, this all stretches pretty thin, because if her end game all along was to tell Vizzini that she has incriminating documents, then why would Kalinda bother setting a meeting with Lemond and then blowing it off? Nothing about anyone’s circumstances changed between this scene and that one. But, it gives us more Kalinda In Boots — by a director who knows what we want to see — so I can’t complain.
And speaking of what we’ve wanted to see:
If these two had ever been in the same room last week, this is how they would’ve shot it — because they take pain this week to show Alicia sitting alone, before Kalinda sweeps into the chair next to her. [Edited to add: I wasn’t paying attention to the digital trickery potential here, so at the end I’ve added a treatise about that whole thing.]
Judging this scene was hard, because you could watch it any which way. You could see Alicia and Kalinda having their feelings. Or, you could look for and find a certain remove coming from Archie Panjabi. Alternatively, you could, in Alicia’s pensive moments, see a hardness in Julianna Margulies’s eyes. You could see whatever you want to see, whatever you believe, all at once or in pieces. But most of the scene is good: a throwback to their old drinking days, with dialogue that, again, could mean just what it says, or a whole lot more.
Kalinda: I do need to say this. My time with you as your friend was the best I’ve ever had, and I’m sorry. I’m really sorry that things got messed up.
Alicia: Do you ever wish you had the chance to do it over again?
Alicia: I’ll never see you again?
Kalinda: I don’t think so.
Alicia also notes idly that the best thing to happen to her when she lost the election was that she stopped caring. “I gave up. The anger, the hurt… I threw them overboard. It’s nice not to care.” And she says that before Kalinda says her farewells, so maybe some of the facial choices were that a) Alicia isn’t a weepy person right now, and b) she’s steeled herself against caring.
But I care. I’m sad to see Kalinda go. Mostly, I’m sad at the departure of what she could have been. Kalinda does get to leave by SEEMINGLY protecting herself and other people, and not being brutally murdered even though she’s walking the streets of Lemond Bishop’s Chicago in broad daylight, so that’s something.
Everyone Looks Hotter In Sunglasses: Goodbye Kalinda (Again) Edition.
Taupe. Heavy, satiny taupe. Alicia is saddled with this one for much of the episode, including the scene in which she’s informed of Peter’s plans to run and swallows her initial shock with the usual smile and words of support. Words she will recant later, and good for her, because if their marriage is a sham then taking it all the way to the White House and beyond is an awfully long prison sentence. Honestly, at this point, I don’t understand why she doesn’t uncuff herself. Her own political career is over. Peter can survive it, probably by casting her as the villain. Just DO IT ALREADY. I don’t even hate Peter — he’s a cad but he’s so charming. I just think it has started to defy logic.
Perfectly sensible: Alicia and Finn teaming up to solve the case of the week. He accepts her offer to work together, and the two of them clearly seem to enjoy it. They have the rapport of early Alicia and Kalinda, with the chemistry of Alicia and Will. I may loathe Alicia’s outfit, but I do not hate the idea of these two getting extremely, extremely naked.
I saw an article recently, I think on E!, that wondered whether viewers care too much about Alicia’s romantic life, and it stated that Michelle King is more on board with love triangles than Robert King is, and that he tends to think all this stuff is beside the point. I will say that I don’t think a love triangle is necessary geometry. It can be a line between two points and still not be inevitable, or still have problems. The notion that it’s a DETRIMENT to a show if people care who the lead hooks up with is utter bananas to me. You WANT us to care. If we stop caring… we STOP CARING. We see Alicia as vital and sexual and smart, all together, and so wanting her to work hard with Finn AND play hard with Finn doesn’t weaken her a a character. Neutering her does that. And thta’s what has happened, because the off-camera fling with Elfman doesn’t count.
HOWEVER: It is nice to see Alicia feeling passionate about a case, and starting to rekindle some verboten interest in Finn again, because it means she’s getting back in charge of herself. This all, of course, doesn’t go her way when Finn basically tells her that he is trying to reconcile with his ex-wife and can’t keep dipping his toe in these chemistry-infested waters.
Alicia goes along with it, then says to herself, “STUPID,” when she’s alone. It is stupid, Alicia. Letting Finn slip through your fingers as a casualty of your marriage-for-show is CRAZY. I would put her very low for his and her unusually inadequate suiting this week, but she gets SO MANY points for calling Peter’s bluff and telling him she does not support his presidential aspirations. He may ignore her but at least she said it.
She also burned Kalinda’s confession right in front of Vizzini, which I am sure gave him unpleasant callbacks to the Fire Swamp. He may never have made it that far, but he’s heard the legends. Oh yes. He’s heard.
For what might be the last time, here is Finn looking super dreamy in glasses.
For what might be the last time, here is Finn looking super dreamy while he tells Alicia they should totally start a firm together.
For what might be the last time, here is Finn looking super dreamy while contemplating his drink and trying to ignore how much he would rather be contemplating Alicia’s stark naked form.
And for what might be the last time, here is Finn looking super dreamy while angry in court, delivering devastating speeches and basically hammering home the case in much the same manner we hope he will… well. You get where I am going.
Oh, Finn. You’re seeing your ex-wife, Finn? And because you don’t like to fail at things, so that’s why you want it to work this time? That is not romance. “I don’t want to fail at you” is not the same thing as “I don’t want to live without you.” Not at all. And there are at least two scenes that are so pregnant with his and Alicia’s mutual lust vibes that I think the Avid on which they cut this episode spontaneously reproduced itself three times. At the end, he finally tells her they can’t, which is why he gets the top spot here this week: He RESISTS The Pull of The Florrick, once and for all, because he thinks it’s too tempting and he’s made promises to someone else. He says, “There is something. And we push it, and then we say we won’t, and then we push it again.” YES THAT’S RIGHT. PUSH IT FINN. PUSH IT IN THE SALT-N-PEPA WAY.
Instead, he leaves, with a “goodbye” that rings sad and hollow to me. I want to assume Matthew Goode is coming back, but this felt awfully final; maybe we can hope he’ll pop over to film Downton this summer and then come back for the last half of next season… Right. Or maybe he is simply unavailable to return, and that it isn’t because the show whiffed on this person. And I’m sure someone else will come along with whom Alicia has chemistry. But this seems like a woeful waste of something that had a delicious and surprising slow burn, and if anything, I’m mostly bummed out that Alicia is stuck in this rut where she can’t reach for the things she wants — and I think Finn would have responded if Alicia had been free and clear, and had said to him, “Come and get it.” At the end, when she excoriates herself and then the knock comes on the door, her entire being brightens because she thinks it’s Finn. And I think she WOULD have told him to come and get it. FINN. COME BACK. COME BACK AND GET IT.
Next season: Whatever happens with Alicia’s libido, I assume it will not involve Louis Canning. That’s for her professional mojo alone, and… I will say that I am curious.
When I take screen grabs of a show, I’m doing it on my computer, so the show itself plays on while I’m hurriedly checking and saving the grab. It’s not a long process, but it’s enough that sometimes I don’t really peer at a scene for the visual nuances — rewinding on these streaming services, at least the ones that won’t let you go ten seconds back, is an annoyingly inexact science.
So, I was willing to buy into the idea that Archie Panjabi and Julianna Margulies allowed themselves to be in the same space just long enough to get their two-shots, and then possibly used stand-ins to shoot their singles — as here, where you can’t see anything except the SLIGHTEST bump of a nose coming out of the brown Alicia wig (which is still a wig even if Julianna was the one wearing it).
And then partly, I’ll be frank, the idea of it being a split screen felt like an insane Internet conspiracy theory. I felt bad enough carping on the faked flashback that was told all in single shots — used in last week’s episode — and how that was a manipulative (if also clever) way to fake a scene between the two of them. This, the way Kalinda drops into the seat, the way they toast, felt like the show saying, “WE DID IT. WE GOT WHAT YOU WANTED. EVEN IF IT WAS ONLY FOR THREE SECONDS AND THEY DIDN’T SHOOT ANY OF THE REST OF THE DIALOGUE TOGETHER.” I was willing to go there with them, but then of course everyone is speculating — or even stating, as fact — that it’s a digitally faked shot of the two of them.
Here are some grabs I got in sequence, but here is the actual scene if you’re wanting to watch:
Julianna’s hand and elbow comes pretty close to breaching Archie’s personal halo, in a way that suggests it would be hard to Frankenstein the two shots together, but not impossible — and it’s true they they never CROSS each other. The eyeline is pretty good, except for ONE time where it seems like Alicia might be looking further backward than Archie is sitting — which would line up with the one-shots, where Alicia seems to be looking a bit back over her shoulder, as if her scene partner is not leaning up against the bar.
I don’t really know what I think. The lack of any statement from The Kings — just anonymous whispers from the set that they’re “like family” — suggests to me it MIGHT be a split-screen, because otherwise they’d come right out and say, “No, we shot them together, and we can prove it.” Would that dignify the rumors? Yes, but the Kings already have dignified the rumors, in addressing last week’s scene with a belly laugh about how they scripted it that way as a tease. Often, silence speaks volumes, and in this case what I’m hearing is that they can’t tell the lie that can be disproven, so they’re going to say nothing until they’re asked and then talk around it.
There is one thing of which I am certain: If two professional actresses cannot even act like professional actresses, then that is extremely f’ing disapppointing. If they can’t suck it up and appear on camera together for the betterment of their show, then that’s extremely off-putting. And if they REALLY cannot suck it the hell up and appear on camera together for ONE MINUTE for betterment of the EXIT ARC of one of those actresses, so that the viewers of the show for whom you should have thanks feel satisfied and respected, for ONE MINUTE, then that is really gross behavior. YOU ARE ACTRESSES. THIS IS YOUR WHEELHOUSE. YOU ARE PAID TO PRETEND. Do your jobs and stop being divas. That kind of shit wouldn’t go very far in any other workplace. Then again, Hollywood always lets that kind of thing win out eventually because the talent is king. It’s inevitable. There’s an old saying about TV, and I forget from whom it originated, that goes roughly like this: Season one, they work for you. Season two, you’re in it together. Season three, you work for them. Meaning that in the lifecycle of a show, season three is about when the cast starts to rule the roost.
If the feud rumor is NOT true, then I think the show’s choices have only fueled it, and that’s a shame. Steps could have been taken to change the story, and the perception, anytime between now and fifty episodes ago. Which is why I think where there’s smoke there IS probably fire, even if it’s not the inferno we’re all imagining. I would really like to believe the best in two actresses that I very much enjoy watching, but watching back that scene… even if it would have been technically difficult to do it, I don’t think it would’ve been impossible, and I can see why people speculated. And when I break it down, the math does seem to be there.
If it’s true, and it’s a petty fight, that’s pathetic. But it’s weird to say that I’m rooting for it to have been a truly monstrous and unforgivable burn-the-show-down kind of act, because obviously I don’t want people behaving that way. I would not be happy if that were the case. It is, however, the only way any of this is relatable, and it also means we’ll never know until someone writes an amazing tell-all on their deathbed. So in lieu of being able to tell the truth, you’d think everyone would be trying to cover up the animosity for fear of it blowing back on them. Which suggests to me that Panjabi is less responsible for it, because she would be the one on whom this kind of stink would cling. She’s the less famous of the two actresses; she can’t get a project greenlit on name alone, so if she were truly a terrible nightmare of a human being, you’d think she’d eat the humble pie for the sake of her career. Then again when she announced her exit, she cruised out on a development deal with 20th Century Fox, so maybe she felt like that secured her… I don’t know. Why would you EVER feel secure in this industry, is my question.
That makes me worry that Julianna is the one driving this ship, because she has all the power here: She’s No. 1 on the call sheet, she has the fancy (if also intended to be purely ornamental, as many are) producer title, she has the sway. She doesn’t need the good press. She has the clout to say, “I don’t care, I won’t do that, I don’t have to worry about what people think.” And, to borrow another cliched saying, the fish rots from the head. If she were willing and able to do it, I cannot imagine Archie Panjabi wields enough power on that set to be like, “Nope.” Margulies has all the stroke.