The Good Wife Recap: The End of the Affair

Holy smorgasbord! Leave it to those rascal-y Kings, after starving us for two weeks, to give us a post-Thanksgiving feast of all that is good about The Good Wife. Grace possibly kidnapped, Kalinda to the rescue, Peter and Alicia possibly reunited under duress, Will and Alicia severed—not to mention the return of Louis Canning and Andrew Wylie, a Caitlin/Martha smack down, and Eli going against nature to make friends (only out of necessity, of course). Suddenly, I am so excited to see where this season goes.

Previews had played up the Grace kidnapping angle, and the excitement of experiencing that storyline at least wasn’t overblown. Julianna Margulies does a masterful job of bringing you into a mother’s terror. And even though I’m sure a few of our faithful readers were really hoping this would mean Grace gone from the show for good, did you really want to see the rest of the show dissolve into Alicia dealing with grief? No. Grace can leave the old-fashioned way, by running off with her face-painted tutor to make subway-pole-dancing videos about Bible worship for Jimmy Patrick’s cult.

The kidnapping was thrilling, even if on second viewing it made little sense. Alicia misses 12 calls from Grace (all butt-dials, it turns out) because she leaves the “mom pick up the phone” ringtone of doom on while she’s having hotel sex with Will, but not when she’s having lunch with Canning, whom she clearly despises. Kalinda gets on the case because Zach just happens to have stopped by Alicia’s office for no reason to work on her computer, which she has left unattended yet again even after Jackie-gate. You’d think that at this point, Lockhart Gardner would have hired him for IT. Alicia freaks outwhen Zach drives Grace around (after magically having skipped over getting his license) but she’s totally fine with her taking the El on her own. The police chief just happens to be in the State’s Attorney’s office so Peter can play hero and get them on the hunt for Grace. Shannon, the friend who introducedGrace Bible thumping somehow doesn’t recognize that the “man” she got into a car with is the Internet’s hottest proselytizer. A-religious Alicia’s reaction to all this is to throw away her lingerie in disgust, as if God is punishing her for her sins. And when the family is reunited with a group hug between Peter, Alicia, and Grace, witnessed by Will, who happens to have come into the hallway at that exact moment, we don’t even get to hear Alicia tell Grace that she’s never allowed to sneak off to get Baptized again.

The most believable parts of the plot are that Grace’s great rebellion is an illicit Baptism (It made me like her more when Kalinda ran through the standard teenage transgressions like sex and drugs and came up empty), and that Kalinda would jump in to help out but not want to take theeasy opportunity to break the ice with Alicia by rescuing her kid. That kind of swallowing of pride would have been out of character. At first, I got mad because anybody with a heart would have called Alicia the second she found Grace, just to ease her mind. Then I realized Kalinda couldn’t call Alicia because she wouldn’t pick up, she couldn’t call Peter for obvious reasons, and she couldn’t call Will, because calling him without knowing what he knew would be a betrayal of Alicia. Never thought I’d say this, but I feel sorry for Kalinda.

Though it’s couched in the context of a great Caitlin-Martha catfight, the ground is clearly being laid for Alicia to jump ship to Canning’s operation. The character is far less annoying than he’s been in previous episodes, now that he’s not ruthlessly exploiting his disability for sympathetic judges. (It’s actually kind of awesome when Alicia exploits his limp and races down the stairs to gather evidence knowing full well that he’s not physically able to follow her.) And he’s smart to appeal to Alicia through her Achilles heel, her kids. He’s right: Will and Diane don’t have kids, so they don’t understand her guilt for not being there for Grace and Zach. The sad part is that it seems like Will would be willing to step up for Alicia’s kit, but he’s too scared of getting hurt to own up to how he feels, and he ends up getting hurt anyway. Moving to Canning after breaking up with your boss sounds like a pretty logical progression. The only wrench is that Alicia may not want to work with a guy who’s so much of a snake he snuck into her bag while her daughter was missing (okay, right after her daughter turned up from being missing) to steal an email that helped him win the case,

Regarding the Catilin-Martha tuff, it seems clear after about a minute that Alicia is going to be fine with her choice. Who wants to mentor a twenty-something woman who turns that readily to being hardened and bitter, and who unleashes that bitterness within earshot of the girl who stole her job? Martha and the many cats she probably owns will do fine at Canning, though the dynamic will be interestingly nasty and Cary-like if Alicia moves over.  As expected, after a shaky start, Caitlin does very well for herself, gaining confidence with each of the very funny decisions by the arbitrator, played by John Michael Higgins. And eventhough she loses the case, there’s a welcome appearance by Dexter’s Jennifer Carpenter as their hardcore Christian client, an English professor who’s been fired ostensibly for her religious and political beliefs, allowing Alicia to put Grace’s Bible know-how to use before that hold Baptism/kidnapping, as well as fun detours into arguments about civil rights and dogma. Most interesting is the moment with Caitlin calls Kalinda for help without consulting Alicia. Since Kalinda declined to let Alicia know that she still cares, will they get in a turf war over the new girl?

Other seeds were planted for a delicious end to the season. Dad Investigator Wylie is back and he thinks Lockhart Gardner is buying their wins. That their win rate is 80 percent makes me happy because at least I know I wasn’t making it up thinking that they almost never lose. He approaches Will at a basketball game wearing a ridiculous tank that may be the only thing that has ever made me find Josh Charles not attractive. Someone phone the costume department STAT!

Let’s see, Dana and Kalinda continue their aimless flirting. Dana tells Kalinda that Cary talks about her during sex, which is definitely an interesting tactic for trying to squeeze information out of Kalinda, and Kalinda basically challenges  Dana to go to bed with her or stop trying to swim in the big pool with the real bisexuals. And Eli makes an amusing attempt to try to interact with someone other thanDiane, Kalinda, or Alicia in the office. It wasn’t until the moment when he and Will tried to have a conversation that turned into flinging testosterone over scotch that I realized what a better rapport Eli has with women. Also, do he and Peter never talk? How could he have had no idea that Peter was investigating the firm? The old Eli could smell affronts to his self-interest before they’d even happened? Eli! What went wrong?

All of this, from the almost-kidnapping to the investigations funnels into the concluding moment of Alicia ending the Will affair. It wasinevitable from the middle of the episode, when Alicia broke down in front of Grace about her many “distractions” and Grace told her to get rid of them. And the minute Will saw her and Grace and Peter hugging, he probably knew what was coming, too. Breaking up in his office, with everyone able to look in through glass doors, followed by Alicia walking crying down the hallway seemed a little stupid, but it worked out for helping Diane think that the breakup was Will’s decision and not Alicia’s. Now the questions are: Will Peter temper the investigation against Will, or, having let she-beast Wendy Scott-Carr loose, is it out of his control? How will Will channel his broken heart? Could he make staying at Lockhart Gardner seem untenable for Alicia? Will she move over to Canning because of discomfort over the break-up or because of her kids, or has severing the relationship had the opposite effect and made her employment stable? Will this open the door for Caitlin to pounce? And will Alicia ever find out what Kalinda did for her, and if she does, can we go back to Season One? Please?  

The Good Wife Recap: The End of the Affair