Before we begin, let’s have a show of hands: Who was actually hoping they’d get some Howard Lyman closure before The Good Wife wrapped up? I can’t actually see your hands (feel free to insert the joke of your choice about last week’s NSA story line), but mine certainly isn’t raised. But here we are, at Howard and Jackie’s wedding reception!
Alicia’s apartment initially seemed like an odd spot for the reception, but when you look at it as a sweet bit of passive aggression that Jackie might have hurled her way, it makes more sense. To be fair, there is something collegial and fun about having so many different recurring characters in the same room together. It’s an extended version of that scene in The Simpsons’ opening credits where Homer drives past the people of Springfield in lightning succession. The gang’s all here: Howard, Jackie, Peter, a solid contingent of senior citizens, Diane and her husband, Alicia’s brother and mother and, of course, the kids.
There’s something a little disingenuous about the show’s sudden desire to remind us that — oh, right — Alicia has children. We’ve only seen Zach once or twice this season, and his most recent appearance was months ago. And despite the fact that Grace lives in Alicia’s apartment (and that Makenzie Vega is still technically a series regular), we’ve barely seen her either. Perhaps she’s been driven to sleepovers with friends now that Alicia and Jason treat the house like their own private sex pad? Regardless of how tacked on it feels, Zach’s story line is a linchpin of the episode: He’s engaged to his RA, he’s leaving college, and he’s moving to France. I laughed out loud when Peter asked what he’d do for work and Zach responded, “I’ve thought about writing,” because nothing cracks me up more than a 19-year-old white dude who is convinced he’s a typewriter ribbon away from becoming Ernest Hemingway. Incidentally, his girlfriend is also pretty obnoxious, but she lays down a pretty solid Huma Abedin reference, so I suppose she’s good enough to go to France with Zach, especially because it turns out I have zero investment in his future. Bye, guys!
Speaking of complicated family dynamics, there’s even one last Jackie and Veronica spat, and it ends with Veronica inadvertently letting it slip that Peter and Alicia are getting divorced. Zach and Grace are a little indignant but not particularly surprised, and despite Peter’s matter-of-fact tone as he tells Alicia which attorney they should hire, he seems legitimately sad throughout. He’s particularly heartbroken at the end of the episode, as he and Alicia sit on the end of her bed, staring at the television as they bleakly toast their divorce.
Peter’s not the only one with complicated feelings about the divorce. At the beginning of the episode, things don’t look so great for Alicia and Jason. She says she wants him; he says she shouldn’t be getting divorced for him. To give you a little context, all of this happened just after the show’s opening montage of empty furniture in Alicia’s apartment, which is just about as heavy-handed as the footage sequence of Alicia hoisting an actual cross (made out of flowers, but STILL) and hefting it into her apartment. Her plea to Jason isn’t any less overwrought or on-the-nose. “Everything comes to an end! There’s no better moment than now!” But Jason leaves anyway, with not much more said. Although I’m interested in Alicia and Jason’s relationship, I don’t love how much it drives the story line, the extent to which the show’s writers are trying to eke symbolism out of it, or the prospect that Alicia’s Good Wife journey will culminate with her getting a new boyfriend.
That’s a serious concern, because by episode’s end, Jason and Alicia are back on, sort of. She forgives him for weirdly having given her a parcel of land on Mars (it was supposed to be a joke), and he explains why he’d said it would be a mistake for him to get divorced for her. It’s a pretty classic “I’m a lone wolf!” defense, but it feels at least a little sincere. The speech ends with him saying, “I want you, too, but I can’t be stuck,” and her saying that he’s given her a lot to think about. It’s not exactly the end of Notting Hill, but it’s not the end of Titanic either. (I may have watched both Notting Hill and Titanic this week.) We’ll see what happens next week.
Oh, also: Mike Tascioni’s dog is sick, so Diane is Peter’s lawyer now.
Meanwhile, Eli wants Jason back on Peter’s case, and asks him to find evidence that proves Peter is guilty, which is presumably the investigative version of reverse psychology. Jason visits some familiar faces and places from the show’s early years, and it’s a very tidy way to both make callbacks and move Peter’s story forward at the same time. The trouble with watching Jason dive into the evidence is I don’t really care whether Peter’s guilty. I already assume he is, and I’m not invested enough to hope he stays out of prison. But I definitely want to know what happens to him, and I understand why the show can’t fast-forward to the end of the story.
Jason learns that Peter did some questionable things around the evidence in the Locke case — questioning all the evidence and even vetoing some of it. The lab tech is particularly adamant that Peter sabotaged the case, but later, Peter is able to explain his actions. He was at the crime scene because the case was going to be “his O.J.,” and he wanted to get ahead of it. He suggests that the lab tech had a vendetta against him, which Jason corroborates. It does have an actual ring of truth to it … although there are some indicators that this could be trouble for Diane’s husband, Kurt, and I do not like the sound of that one bit. The whole mess leads Cary to lawyer up, after the prosecutor visited by Jason warns him that he might be held up as a scapegoat. It might just be an intimidation factor, but after Cary hires Louis Canning, Canning calls Alicia and says she could be implicated too, so she should turn Peter in. Alicia responds by hanging up and turning off the television, which seems like what I would do if someone told me that damning testimony could lead me to be falsely imprisoned.
So, all in all, a pretty fun party!
The moment that stood out most in the episode (aside from when Jackie almost verbatim said, “Good-bye forever!” to Alicia) is one that passes by in an instant. Just after she arrived at the party, Diane shows Alicia a piece of letterhead that reads, “Lockhart, Florrick, and Associates.” She explains that it’s just branding — David Lee’s not going anywhere, but he’s placated by the fact that his stake and earnings won’t change — but it feels like more than semantics. The Alicia we met seven years ago had barely even practiced law. Now, she’s a managing partner of one of the largest female-helmed firms in the United States. That’s more than good. That’s great.