Sunday, March 30, 2014

REVIEW: 'The Good Wife' - Alicia, Kalinda & Diane Try to Pick Up the Pieces After the Tragedy in 'The Last Call'

CBS' The Good Wife - Episode 5.16 The Last Call

Alicia searches for answers as she tries to make sense of Will's death in the aftermath of the courthouse shooting. Meanwhile, Diane delivers the somber news to the partners at Lockhart/Gardner who must decide how to move forward.

"The Last Call" is the perfect examination of sudden death occurring at the worst time and place. There simply is no way for a tragedy like Will's death to occur with the characters all having the right amount of time to deal with it. The world around them continues on. Sure, some are sympathetic to what they are going through. And yet, they still have to grapple with the issues the universe is throwing at them on top of trying to make sense of Will's tragic departure.

This news stops the usual rhythms of everyday life. Alicia was to introduce her husband at an event. She and Cary had a deposition to get through. Lockhart/Gardner was gathering to discuss the opening of offices in Los Angeles. The hour makes it a point for everyone to hear about Will's death onscreen. The episode opens with the final minute of last week's episode. Kalinda tells Eli. Kalinda tells Alicia. Alicia tells Cary. Diane tells the partners. Eli tells Peter. David Lee tells the clients. Each time the show stops and lets the emotions stir up all over again.

The hour dwells in the melancholy. The grieving process is a very tricky beast to cover. The show dives headfirst into this game-changer. The basic dynamics of the show have been shaken up. And yet, the show never steers into being overly miserable for the sake of showing its characters be sad because of this tragedy.

It's weirdly kinda triumphant. Yes, everyone's at a loss to how to react but they have to keep living and working. They try to make sense of it even though there is no simple answer. Grace's sense of religion has never been more thematically relevant then it was tonight. Of all the characters, Alicia is hit the hardest because she truly did love Will. The show adds an interesting complication in that Will called her before he died but the voicemail was literally nothing. It's nostalgic of the past. After elevators, voicemail is the most thematic plot point of the Alicia-Will relationship. She spends the hour searching for an answer. Why was he calling her? Was he angry that she poached another client? Was he going to profess his love for her? But there simply is no answer. No one knows what was going through Will's head during his final hours. We know he called her for a reason and we know he tried to get the gun away from Jeffrey and that's why he got shot. But Alicia is going to have to learn how to live again and be hopeful that he died with love towards her and not hate.

And then, there are the people who are trying to come out of this stronger. Diane and Kalinda are also devastated by this loss. They both loved Will too. Diane doesn't know how to direct this firm without him. Their friendship was one of the best dynamics of the series. And now it's gone. She aspires to do what would be right by Will. She fires the client who uses this event to discuss if they will be kept on as his lawyers. It's the ultimate "Fuck you" moment. I couldn't be more proud of Diane. She doesn't know what will come for the firm but she's going to lead and honor Will. Kalinda meanwhile makes sure that Jeffrey is held responsible for his actions. She makes sure it was his gun's bullet that killed him. Then, she dangled an escape in front of him only to take it away.

I'm still processing my thoughts of Will's departure from the show. However, if it allows this many stronger character beats for more of the show's deep ensemble cast, then I'll find my way to make peace with it. Seriously, everyone was great in this episode. The show spent just the right amount of time with Alicia, Diane, Kalinda, Cary, David, Eli and Peter. It all worked.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Last Call" was written by Robert King & Michelle King and directed by Jim McKay.
  • This past week it was announced that Matthew Goode (ASA Finn Polmar) was promoted to series regular for the remainder of the season. He's even in that section of the credits tonight!
  • But Goode seemed to slip in and out of his natural accent more this week. Those painkillers, you know! But honestly, it's hard to play loopy and sincere, but he did a great job at it.
  • Oh Candice, you're always trying to have a deposition while things are in turmoil this season. But that also led to one serious badass moment for Cary.
  • It's always tricky to be the guy who learns of the tragedy and then brings up and deals with the realistic issues that will stem from it. Eli and David are those characters here. It pains them to think that way but it's also what needed to be done.
  • Alicia's memory pops were so over-the-top. And yet, that's exactly how the memory imagines things. It goes to the extremes. The show has gotten so good at using that narrative device this season that now I always want them to.