The Good Wife s5 ep 10

imageWith a show as ambitious and brave as this one, there are bound to be some experiments that don’t work. After all, everybody makes mistakes. The problem however is continually repeating them.

“The Decision Tree” is the 100th episode of The Good Wife, and why – why – they chose to waste half of it on yet another variation of “Magic Sexpot Kalinda in creepy and awful battle of creepiness and awfulness with creepy and awful guest character” I don’t know, but that’s what they did. This Damian guy is wretched, this sub-plot with him and Kalinda is dire and no matter how many times the writers re-package and re-heat this storyline (Kalinda and Blake, Kalinda and the Ex, Kalinda and effing Damian) it is just not going to work, so for the love of all that is watchable and wonderful about this show, writers, just stop. Kill Kalinda off, have her move to another state, make her fall on her head and lose her memory, I don’t care. Just STOP.

Because this is The Good Wife, though, while one experiment fails, another succeeds beautifully. Turns out Matthew Ashbaugh, the tragic, Bach-loving client who, like everyone else, fell in love with Alicia, actually put his money where his mouth was. So Florrick Agos and Lockhart Gardner end up locking horns in court over whether his will leaving Alicia millions is valid, and Will and Alicia end up locking eyes and re-living via flashback the “crazy romantic”- and hot. So hot. – relationship they had.

*fans self*

A lot of the episode takes place in Will’s head as he struggles to prepare for cross-examination of Alicia while simultaneously struggling to deal with his feelings for her, and it probably shouldn’t work, but because Josh Charles is utterly heartbreaking in those scenes, it absolutely does. He’s always brilliant, of course, but this week he’s astonishing. Julianna Margulies is obviously glorious as ever too – her performance during cross is amazing – and the court moments, the flashbacks, Will’s tears at his desk, all pack such an emotional punch that they’re difficult to watch but even more difficult to look away from. There are funny bits like Robyn’s recording and Eli’s desperation about the Christmas party but that’s all just garnish; the emotional heart of half the episode is Will and Alicia. That the other half is the soulless vacuum of Kalinda and Damian is a real shame.

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2 thoughts on “The Good Wife s5 ep 10

  1. Kay20 April 7, 2014 / 1:06 am

    The video of the decision tree at his desk is the video I was talking about earlier this year. When he fights back tears my heart sank to my toes. Heartbreaking indeed. That whole sequence is hot, tragic, romantic and heartbreaking at the same time. Wow.

  2. Jed Bartlet April 15, 2014 / 9:26 pm

    “Peter”

    *spit-take*

    You know, for once I’m going to overlook the Damian stuff and the Irresistible Kalinda stuff (who, even more bafflingly, always seems to be a charm-vacuum when she moves into seduction mode.) Because this episode was just about as good as network TV drama gets.

    The A-plot was brilliantly done, particularly (as you and Kay both say) the scene where Will is working out his cross-examination of Alicia, and it gets mixed up in his mind with the fantasy courtroom scene and his recollection of their relationship. Amazing. Then the actual cross-examination… amazing again. And, like the best episodes of this show, every single detail is thought through: Clark Hayden’s questioning; that long look Will gives Ashbaugh when the latter doesn’t know he’s being observed. Astonishing.

    And the B-plot serves the episode well: I loved the ongoing battle between the mothers and Eli’s mounting hysteria. And that ending. What a great show this is.

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