My beloved TGW, now long past its best, continues to limp towards the finish line with a couple of episodes simultaneously smart enough to remind us what a terrific show it can be and has been, and annoying enough to make us relieved for the show’s sake that it’s nearly over. (And to make the idea of a spin-off both baffling and distressing, because I just don’t want to see these characters dragged down any more.)
On the smart side, Ep.15 puts Alicia on a secret government committee convened to decide if the US can execute an ISIS recruiter abroad, while also bringing back TGW icon Elsbeth Tascioni to help Peter out with whatever Peter’s about to be indicted for, and giving her an ex-husband called Mike and an “emotional support chihuahua” called Tom for good measure.
The secret committee stuff is very, very TGW and I thought it was great, but I also would have liked a lot more of it. The Elsbeth stuff is also very TGW but isn’t quite as interesting, if only because, much as I love her, we’ve been here with Elsbeth so many times before that bringing her back yet again feels a bit desperate. Not quite as desperate, however, as the annoying side of things: i.e. whatever the eff is going on between Diane and everyone else at Lockhart Agos Lee, and the Alicia and Jason business which may or may not be trying to make points about Alicia owning her sexuality, or substituting sex for alcohol as an emotional crutch, but either way is so cringe-worthy I want to hide under a cushion and never come out.
At least ep 15 is better than ep 16, though. Alicia and Jason – ugh. (By the way, is Alicia saying Jason’s name instead of Will’s a suggestion that she’s using him to try and replace Will or a more meta acknowledgment that the show is?) Veronica, Owen and Jason – enough already. And whatever the eff is going on between Diane and everyone else at Lockhart Agos Lee – stop it now. (Although you should obviously side with Diane, Alicia, even if I don’t really understand why there need to be any sides at all.) The episode is redeemed, however, if only partially, by the continued presence of Mike and Tom who are far funnier out of Elsbeth’s shadow, and by Eli’s shenanigans with the disabled bathroom, which are genuinely hilarious.