The taint attached to the Florrick name has been up there at pariah-level for Alicia since the election debacle – since the beginning of the series, really – but is apparently no longer a problem for Peter: in perhaps his most selfish moment since we met him (and this is a high bar) he decides to run for President (sort of) but tries to manipulate Alicia and his children (Zach’s back! Hi Zach!) into thinking they actually have a say in it, so they can blame themselves when the media crucify them all.
Having had her fill of political machinations recently, however, Alicia has no patience left for this sort of jiggery-pokery and calls his bluff. Will Peter accept defeat gracefully and give up on the idea of running? I suppose that depends on whether the showrunners accept that this year’s election arc didn’t work and what they plan to do about it. Try yet another one with Peter? His have worked wonderfully in the past, after all – no navel-gazing, no philosophical fretting, just down-and-dirty, breathtakingly naughty politicking by people who know what they’re about and don’t apologise for it. I can see why it’d be tempting to go down that route once again.
But maybe they’ll push the politics into the background this time and focus on the cases of the week again. This week’s was intriguing and entertaining if not entirely believable – the police kidnap Alicia’s client, lie about his whereabouts for two days, pretend he wasn’t arrested, yet there’s actually a debate as to whether the “confession” obtained in these circumstances was inadmissible? Um… if he wasn’t arrested, on what basis did they have authority to hold him? If they didn’t have authority to hold him, how could they interview him? If…. Oh dear God, I’m not an Illinois lawyer so I don’t know, but I felt like the case should have been a lot easier for Florrick Polmar (?) to win. But then we would have been deprived of a fun storyline, a Finn / Alicia stakeout (squee!) and Finn being awesome so…. yeah, ok, bygones. Yay for the case of the week!
But boooo to Finn breaking up the partnership and running the Falicia ship (sigh) aground. His reasons make sense – since he’s trying to make it work with his ex (why, Finn? Why?) yet constantly on the verge of something with Alicia, staying would have meant a repeat of the Will/Alicia dance, and acting on those feelings sooner or later – but dudes. He’s so lovely and kind and good for Alicia and the show. Why does he have to gooooo?
Especially to be replaced by – for the love of God – Louis Canning. First of all, was he not on his deathbed recently? How is he suddenly alive, energised and mounting revenge missions against Lockhart Agos Lee or whatever they’re called now? (Lester pointing out the name seems to be different every time he visits made me laugh because it’s true.) And second of all, he is NOT FUNNY ANYMORE, YOU GUYS. He is flat-out annoying and if season 7 has him and Alicia partnered up and suing LAL, I am going to Lose. My. Mind. Just STOP shuffling everyone around for one second, would you, show? You wanted Alicia to develop on her own? LET. HER.
The season’s systematic dismantling of all Alicia’s working relationships so that she can be on her own concludes of course with the final goodbye to Kalinda, not that that has been a meaningful relationship since some time in season 4, the last time Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi appeared on screen together.
Thanks to Lemond Bishop’s awesome Mr Fix-it Lester, Kalinda pops back briefly to have a drink with Alicia, declare how important their friendship was and disappear into the night. Aw. It’s a nice idea in theory, and probably could have been a more meaningful farewell than the character of Kalinda (whose story arc this year has been her only one worth watching since about season two) really merits in my view, since her early potential was squandered a very long time ago, lost amidst Magic Sexpot shenanigans and Kalinda-Solves-It-All silliness. I say “could have been more meaningful” though because, rightly or wrongly, any emotional impact the scene might have had is negated by the persistent rumour that these two characters’ friendship was derailed as much by offscreen developments as onscreen ones. To say nothing of the fact that the actresses apparently (it’s not been confirmed officially, but there seems little doubt) filmed even this last farewell scene separately, causing all sorts of Internet outrage.
For what it’s worth, I watched the scene 3 times and couldn’t see the joins. It looked like they were there in that bar together to me, so I suppose, on one view – beyond my own insatiable curiosity as to what on earth could be at the root of all this – it doesn’t really matter whether they were or they weren’t. I mean, yes, maybe the two women aren’t actually in the room together, but they aren’t actually a lawyer married to the Governor and a private investigator on the run from an angry drug dealer, either, and nobody’s getting worked up over that.
For me, it’s not geography or authenticity that’s the issue though. It’s suspension of disbelief. The deafening offscreen speculation (whatever the truth may be) and the lack of any meaningful onscreen interaction between the characters for so long rendered their goodbye scene hollow and impossible to buy into, no matter how it was filmed. How can we believe that Kalinda leaving will truly affect either her or Alicia at all, when their characters and storylines have been so entirely, obviously, determinedly separate for so long?
Having said all that, while the Kalinda question has been thrown into sharp focus in the last few episodes, I don’t think that was the main problem with this season. After the critical success of the game-changing season five, it seems like the showrunners were determined to carry on breaking Alicia and the viewers out of our comfort zone. Gleefully smashing up firms and friendships, only to stick them back together in a variety of different combinations which ultimately took us nowhere; wasting months on an election arc full of endless cod-philosophical noodling which, again, ultimately took us nowhere… overall, it’s been a frustrating season and a real disappointment after last year’s barn-stormer.
But does this mean I’m going to give up on The Good Wife? Nope. I still love this show. This season as a whole was a lot less than the sum of its parts, yes, but those parts were often terrific, nonetheless. Despite the political arc which misfired terribly, the cloud of philosophical waffling which poisoned it, and all the law firm musical chairs, there were still plenty of fantastic episodes and fantastic scenes in season six. The acting was superlative throughout and the rest of the show’s trademarks were there, too, much more often than not: riotously funny lines, fiercely intelligent ideas and superb character moments. The Good Wife may not have had a great season, but it’s still a great show and I hope next season’s story arc finds a way to remind people of that. Preferably without Louis Canning, though. I can only take so much.