Young Feminism and Family Collide in The Good Wife‘s “Party”

(Episode 7.20, "Party")

TV Reviews The Good Wife
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Young Feminism and Family Collide in The Good Wife‘s “Party”

In the early ‘90s there was a popular book titled Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus which extolled how utterly different men and women can be about relationships. I couldn’t stop thinking about that title while watching “Party.”

Alicia tells Jason that she wants him—putting her heart out there and exposing herself emotionally. And what does he do? He gives her a joke gift of a deed to property on Mars. Sure he didn’t know that Alicia would choose that moment to tell Jason how she really feels, but STILL. And then Jason, even though he knows Alicia is hosting a party, insists on talking to her about what’s going on with them. That’s an adolescent move. Alicia and Grace joke about the gift being from a 12-year-old and they’re pretty much right. Jason definitely seems to have the emotional maturity of Beavis and Butthead.

Basically, he doesn’t want to be tied down and wants the option to be able to leave Chicago when he wants to. Alicia says she needs time to think about that. I’m beginning to really root for Alicia to have an “I choose me” moment, because Jason needs to grow up. I don’t care how sexy he is, or how gravelly his voice sounds. Alicia deserves better.

To enjoy the episode I had to get over how ridiculous of an idea it was that Alicia would be the one hosting the party for Jackie and Howard. Seriously, there was nowhere else to have this little soiree? But the show is in love with Alicia’s apartment, including her front door and that space between the elevator and her front door. And the party was a good excuse to get many beloved characters back for one last hurrah. I loved seeing Owen and Veronica again. And it gave the series a chance to relish in the comedy of errors type situation it so enjoys—like the presence of not only funeral flowers, but a funeral cake. The whole episode reminded me a little of the play Noises Off, with all the activities happening in different rooms, and doors being constantly being opened and shut.

Zach returned with a new girlfriend, Hannah… who turned out to be his fiancée. She’s 23. He’s 19. They’re getting married, he’s dropping out of school and they’re moving to France. Exactly. I kind of feel like Alicia and Zach haven’t truly reconciled since Alicia found out Zach never told her when his high school girlfriend had an abortion. And Zach’s current situation isn’t helping their already fractured relationship. Hannah is a piece of work with a capital “P.” Upon meeting Alicia, she announces that Alicia is the new form of feminism, because of the way she stood by her husband.

One of my favorite scenes the show has ever done might be Alicia deadpanning “hello” after Hannah’s long diatribe about modern day feminism. Hannah also has the most cynical view of marriage, telling Alicia “marriage should work for us, not us for marriage” before announcing that if Zach isn’t happy they can just get divorced. They are basically getting married for the tax benefit. Like I said, PIECE OF WORK.

Peter is suspiciously agreeable. He offers Alicia the opportunity for a one-lawyer divorce which will save them time and money, since their divorce is amicable. I’m wary. Peter hasn’t really been this nice about anything since the series began.

But the show keeps us guessing about Peter. Eli hires Jason to investigate whether or not Peter had forced the mistrial and, at first, it seems like Peter is totally guilty. He went to the crime scene, wouldn’t let them admit the blood evidence, and was the last person to check into the evidence room where the bullets were located. But upon further investigation, the crime lab technician had a history of bungling the evidence in Peter’s cases. Is she setting Peter up? Could Peter really be innocent?

Cary hires Louis Canning as his lawyer, which seems like a way to keep Cary in the show and bring back Michael J. Fox. I don’t approve of how sidelined Cary has been this entire season.

By the end of the episode, Peter and Alicia are toasting each other and their divorce. Alicia has decided not to fight Zach on his plans to move to France. “It’s his mistake. Let him make it,” she says.

Alicia says goodbye to everyone at the end of the party and it certainly feels like they were saying goodbye to the show too. Jackie flat out says she won’t see Alicia again. As Peter and Alicia watch Darkness at Noon, the main character cries out “Goodbye. I’ll miss you.”

Despite the show’s many flaws this final season, I feel the same way.

Stray observations:

Fun to see the return of Darkness at Noon although that had to be the longest episode ever, since it spanned the party.

In the midst of all of this, Grace and Zach learn their parents are getting a divorce. Not ideal in any way.

Diane and Kurt seem so happy. I’m nervous the show is building them up to tear them down. Is Kurt going to have to take the fall for the missing bullets in the case?

Marissa needs her own spin-off. Can’t we have a show about her going to law school?

Are David Lee and Veronica dating? He told her about Alicia’s divorce.

And why wasn’t David Lee at the party? Could he really be okay with his name being missing from the new firm’s name? He must be up to something.

Amy Amatangelo, the TV Gal ®, is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.