The Good Wife: “A Material World”

(Episode 5.17)

TV Reviews The Good Wife
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The Good Wife: “A Material World”

Last night’s episode of The Good Wife was bookended by two of the best scenes the show has ever done.

The show opened with Diane and Alicia drinking martinis in a bar immediately after Will’s funeral. At first, the women discuss how bizarre the funeral was—“Wind Beneath My Wings” was read and the eulogy discussed Will’s love of walking in the snow and cooking. “You think we didn’t know him or his family didn’t,” Diane wonders.

By the end of the evening and several martinis later, Diane, whose lost her best friend and partner, and Alicia, whose lost perhaps the only man she’s ever truly loved, are plotting to merge their firms. The scene captured how these two women are mourning, how surreal funerals can be and how a person can show disparate parts of their personality to their family, colleagues and friends.

The episode ended with perhaps the first honest conversation Alicia and Peter have had in a long time. As I’ve suspected, there is now no place for Alicia to hide her true feelings for Will. Alicia tells Peter she’s doing her best. “If this is your best, then we need to talk,” he responds. An unsympathetic Peter tells her he knows she’s sad because she lost her friend, but she didn’t lose her children or her husband. “I lost my husband a long time ago,” she tells him. And then finally she tells Peter that it’s over. She no longer wants to see him. That if he needs her at some public function, his office can call her secretary and get it on her calendar. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to divorce you. You’re too valuable to me professionally,” she say.

Since The Good Wife began, I’ve wondered at times just why Alicia has stayed with Peter. This is the first time she’s so clearly articulated it and acknowledged what he has done for her career. Will Alicia be able to stick to her word? I certainly hope so. I would actually love it if she did divorce him.

In between those two fantastic scenes much happened. Alicia holds it together for as long as she can before wondering if she made a mistake by becoming a lawyer and going home, crawling under her covers and refusing to get out of bed. Far too often on TV, grief is handled in one episode and then everyone moves on. I like that Alicia’s grief is lingering as it would in real life.

Before Alicia takes to her bed, she warns Finn that the District Attorney will be looking for a scapegoat to blame in the Jeffrey Grant case, especially because it is now becoming clear that perhaps the professor is guilty. Jeffrey Grant’s father comes to Florrick/Agos seeking their help in suing the District Attorney’s office. “You take this case; I quit the firm,” Alicia tells Cary. That makes total sense but I hope the show still follows the Jeffrey Grant case since I, for once, still need closure. And I’m thinking it will since it certainly seems like Alicia will be representing Finn as the DA’s office closes in on him.

David Lee is representing the husband and Cary is representing the wife in a bitter divorce and custody battle. The husband is a materialist who believes that everything and everyone is just a series of atoms and that when you die nothing is left. “Then what’s the point,” Alicia wonders. It is this existential conversation that sends her over the edge.

David gets suspicious when Diane wants to settle the case quickly and easily and learns from Damian that Alicia and Diane are plotting a merge. David and Damian immediately begin a plan to overthrow Diane as managing partner. When Kalinda lets her know this, Diane laments that she’s tired of fighting them, let them come after her. Kalinda offers to help her and then sleeps with Det. Jenna Villette to gain access to information on Damian and use it against him. Is this the last we’ve seen of Damian?

Kalinda is dealing with her own grief in her own bizarre Kalinda way. She seeks comfort in sex first with Cary, then with Jenna and is haunted by images of splattering blood. Bizarrely, Kalinda remains the weakest aspect of the show. The series doesn’t seem to know quite what to do with her. As much as I used to love her character, I’m getting a little tired of her shtick.

At the end of the episode, David Lee makes a call to Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox) asking him if he’s interested in a merger. Things are about to get very interesting.

Other thoughts on “A Material World”:
—I’m glad it was established that Finn is married. I don’t want him to become a romantic interest for Alicia. I’m not ready for that, and neither is she.
—Quote of the night, Diane to Alicia: “We were like two mistresses at an Irish funeral. Oh, I’m sorry. I meant that metaphorically.”
—Second-best quote of the night, David Lee’s description of Florrick/Agos. “Very 1990s t-shirt factory.”
—As if we weren’t already devastated by the loss of Will, we were treated to what looked like actual photos of Josh Charles as a child. So adorable!
—Loving the show’s ongoing mockery of the fictional AMC series Darkness at Noon.
—No matter what happens, I always want David Lee around.
—That was Grace’s old tutor, Jennifer, who Alicia talked to after leaving the courthouse. We haven’t seen her since season three.

What did you think of last night’s episode of The Good Wife? Do you think Alicia can stick to her word? Will the merger go through? How adorable is Josh Charles? Talk about it below.

Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.