“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.
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.