The Good Wife Series Finale Review: Will You Feel Anything At All?

The Good Wife S07E22: "End"

I think I'll just pretend that "Party" was the actual series finale.

"End" was a thoroughly and deeply unsatisfying way for The Good Wife to take its final bow, a bit of bizarre nonsense that apparently left Alicia completely alone in the world with nothing but her public face of a woman who can survive whatever life throws at her. Kids off to college. Boyfriend off to who knows where. Soon to be ex (?) husband disgraced (again). Best friend gone. Next closest thing to a best friend generally pretty angry with her. Would-be mentor furious enough to slap her in the face. At least Alicia still had Lucca (presumably) and all that Florrick campaign money for... something.

I'm honestly flummoxed by it. The late arrival of solid ground for the case against Peter was never a great sign, but I thought that the plea deal and/or the quick return of the jury would be our way out of the case and into something more Alicia-focused. Instead, The Good Wife opted for, well, something that felt like Episode 21 instead of Episode 22. "End" had all the hallmarks of a usual Good Wife episode with the jury weirdness, last-minute investigations, a real-world cameo, witness stunt casting (that's how you use Sutton Foster?!), and barbs and offers/counter-offers traded between (and among) lawyers. There's something to be said for staying true to one's self even in the end, but to do it as the expense of a satisfying conclusion was just weird.

And it was weird because so much of all these usual show tropes were deployed to reach a kind of full circle-ness that the show had been driving toward all season in very inelegant ways. That litany of things Alicia didn't have by the closing shot of "End" were practically all the things she didn't have when the show premiered: no friends or mentor, limited cash, and a disgraced husband. (At least the kids were still home then.) Alicia only had herself to rely on then, and as the series wrapped up, she was completely untethered once again.

The difference the show wanted to suggest in its drive for symmetry (so much of it everywhere: more hotel service corridors, another last-ditch voicemail that will never be acknowledged) was that whereas Alicia fell victim to Peter's actions when the show started, everything that led to history to repeating itself was by her own hand. To a degree, it's certainly true. She did get Lucca to totally sandbag Kurt on the stand which led to Diane's slap heard around the world (mirroring Alicia's own slap of Peter in premiere; betrayals upon betrayals). She opted to make Jason wait and wait, thus leaving the door open for him to leave. Basically, she made the decision to stand by Peter of her own volition and not because she wasn't sure what she could do.

It was the first time I ever felt as if the show were judging Alicia in any way. Certainly she deserves judgment for the Kurt thing because that was a rotten thing, but the sheer pile up of events that once again left her life in tatters because she did what the Florricks do when it comes to one another just felt like too much of a contrivance, a way for the show to wag its finger at the character's actions.

I guess that's what ultimately rankled me most about this finale. The show's suggestion that it's somehow different because Alicia made active moves to bring all this about again simply didn't track. Given that much of the arc of the show has bent toward the steady chipping away of Alicia's soul—something that made the show legitimately compelling given that it was a woman's soul we were seeing being lost—was there any point in which Alicia could have avoided this fate? Was there a point where Alicia wouldn't have thrown Diane's husband (and that marriage) under a steamroller to keep her possibly soon to be ex-husband out of prison? Choices have consequences, but the nature in which the finale presented those consequences made it all seem destined. Destiny had never been something that appeared to operate in The Good Wife's universe before this, so a sense of it emerging here felt not only out of left field but completely constructed so as to achieve the symmetry the Kings apparently so desperately wanted their story to have.

We certainly didn't need a strong sense of closure or an unambiguous ending, nor did we need Alicia coming out on top. Maybe Alicia's complete downfall was one last "F*ck you!" to cable's antiheroes that still managed to win at a cost (secured a legacy but died; became the boss but paranoia reigned; came up with the Coca-Cola ad but maybe not really), but that particular perspective more or less collapsed with The Good Wife's overall drop in quality midway through Season 6. I'm simply not sure what the takeaway from all this was actually intended to be, and I don't think it's because the situation in which The Good Wife ended was particularly unclear; I just think it's because the show wasn't sure what it fully wanted to express with its ending.

And that's too bad. Obituaries for the show were already burying it instead of praising it, pointing to where it all went wrong, or that it wasn't even truly that great to begin with. An episode like "End" solidified a lot of those arguments. Hell, it solidified a lot of my arguments about this season being a grab bag of ideas. But finales, or even bad seasons, are not reflective of a show's overall quality or its impact. I've written about The Good Wife for almost its entire run (I came in with "Hi"); I don't think I've written about any show longer than I have The Good Wife, save for maybe 30 Rock. My writing about television came of age with this show, so it'll always be special in that sense, but I think it's special in ways beyond that.

It was the heir to Law & Order both in terms of its thoughtful look at current events and keeping New York theater actors on TV. It executed narrative and character complexity on a broadcast lawyer show, complexity that was often only ascribed to small handful of cable programs that started the so-called "Golden Age of Television," and all while its protagonist wore heels, another thing that set this show firmly apart from its competition. It developed an astute visual language and style through cinematography, editing, and costuming that, even to this day, doesn't get the credit it deserves. It was incredibly well-acted on nearly every front (you have to acknowledge the miscast actors Archie Panjabi had to deal with for Kalinda's seasonal storyline, Mike Colter aside). Some shows have sex, but The Good Wife was sexy, whether it was getting down to "All Things Considered," memory pops, or turning elevators into sites of sexual (and emotional) anxiety.

You probably flew a bit too close to the sun, The Good Wife, and your Daedaluses seemed to really stop caring about you this year, but I'll always have a place in my TV heart for the pleasures (and frustrations) that you gave me.



SIDERBAR

– Right. The Will stuff. It was... something that happened. I don't know. That entire aspect of the episode felt, like so much of "End", very forced. There have been enough personal and professional crises that turning to Will for legal and life advice would've been something that happened far sooner than the finale. Plus, the whole figment of a dead lover telling Alicia to go be with another man was just extra weird. This, I think, was something meant for the audience, a final goodbye for Will, but it just felt pretty out of place, no matter the set up the episode tried to give it with Lucca's prompt.

– Did you know that Christine Baranski has never won an Emmy for playing Diane? That's totally ridiculous. Especially in "End," when she was basically keeping that entire scene with Kurt on the stand from floating away into the ether. I had mostly checked out by that point, but those shots of Diane reacting to Lucca's questions about an affair? Way too good.

– And thanks to you, those of you who have stuck around and kept reading these reviews. Like I acknowledged a while back, I started doing these reviews unpaid in Season 6 because I thought the show was worth discussing no matter what (the show, naturally, took that as a challenge to begin being not-so-great), so I appreciate you all reading and commenting, even when reviews sometimes were shorter than usual, or didn't happen at all because I was all, "No, football made this air too late, and I have to go to work tomorrow." I've enjoyed our discussions for the past three years, and, hey, maybe Tim will let me review BrainDead once or twice this summer. (I love Mary Elizabeth Winstead too much to not try it at least for a few episodes.)

What did you think of the series finale? Please share what you thought were some of the more memorable moments from the show!


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Jun 23, 2016
I really enjoyed "Party", and the penultimate episode, though not tons of fun, really lead me to believe they had something great in mind for the finale. Unfortunately, this last one was really bad. I thought it was kind of fun when she dream-walked into the kitchen and Will was there, and then she kind of shook herself and opened her eyes. Thought it was a nice cameo. But then she went BACK into the fantasy and kissed him, and then she boringly talked to him a BUNCH throughout the episode. I was one of those that didn't miss Will at all when he left, though I like the actor. So spending this much time on a character who was, though perhaps beloved in the past, completely forgotten by now, seemed weird. Do the get that CARY was barely in the last couple episodes? Will got more screen time, for sure.

I never really grew to care one way or the other for JDM's character, so I was getting increasingly more annoyed as the season ended that she and Luca talked about it SO much.

And I'm not happy with the "all women partners" firm idea probably dying. I doubt Diane's going to want to work with Alicia anymore. I didn't think all that drama with Diane's husband was necessary. Bleh.

Haha, sorry, I just watched the episode, and I'm still in shock. I would say this is possibly the worst episode of The Good Wife to date, but that may not be fair, thinking back to all that Kalinda/ex-husband bullshit. But it certainly wasn't a worthy finale, and not even worthy of the previous few episodes.
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Jun 15, 2016
I think Alicia is a great woman. Wil is a jerk she deserves better than a puke like him. Diane is a self centered jealous an manipulative bitch. She cares about herself an no one else. I wish Alicia could stop being a door mat for those two. They seem to think they walk on water an everyones beneth them. I was so happy to see Peter ditch Diane as a judge. Watching the way people are so cruel to each other an stab one another in the back is so pathedic. I know its just a show. But there are to many people like the Wil an Diane an not enough like Alicia. An theres to many aholes. If Alicia wasnt on the show Id probably not have watched it. Too many evil people on the show.
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May 15, 2016
We enjoyed the finale in the same way we enjoyed every other episode. Sure, some were better than others, but as I've said before, there was never a single one that didn't have multiple huge moments. I lot of what Noel describes made the show important during its long run: guests like Nathan Lane or Michael J. Fox, and the immediacy of the issues, "ripped from today's headlines" -- L&O comparison accepted! We will miss this show more than any other, but I have to disallow the complaints about a bad ending, or no ending. I think most fans would agree that a "happily ever after" ending would be vomit-worthy? If anything, I might have opted, had the Kings asked me, for a final scene like this:
Alicia, home alone. We see the family photos. She looks at a photo of Will on her phone. There's a knock at the door. She straightens her hair,, dabs her eyes and walks slowly to the door.
She puts her hand on the door handle...
and CREDITS.
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May 11, 2016
Not sure if this has been mentioned below, but how meta was the scene with Will that went something like,

"It's so sad now."
"It was sad before too, when I hated you."
"Did you really hate me?"
"Ooooh yeah, I hated you."

hahaha... I wanted Kalinda's ghost to throw a patent leather boot from stage left.
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May 11, 2016
What an unsatisfying end! This show has seen amazing scenes, the acting was good enough to give a somewhat 'realistic' feel to the whole series. The actors developed well, just to flatline on these last few episodes.
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May 11, 2016
To me it was the characters that made TGW stand out. Characters, acting, and entertaining cases. Colin Sweeney, Canning, the Tascionis, Eli, Kalinda, Marissa, Diane... there's easily 20-30 more examples of brilliant characters and/or acting performances, from the main cast to the guest stars.

Unfortunately, cast and crew relationship problems and some bad overall plot decisions seemed to cast a shadow over the later half of the show's series run.

The show showed promise of finishing strongly with the party episode, but just didn't pull it off in the final episode. Personally, I expected a happier ending from TGW or at least an ending where most things were wrapped up. I would have liked, Alicia to have left Peter standing alone waiting for her to show up, only for it to be revealed that she had taken off with Jason, some resolution with Diane and Carry (or perhaps leave the slap ending), an appearance by Colin Sweeney and (in a perfect world) Kalinda, and why not leave in the Will bits.

Or alternatively, Kalinda shoots Alicia in an art imitating life kind of way.

Thanks Good Wife

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May 10, 2016
Thank you Noel for great and insightful reviews over the years. I only wish that the show would have kept the same level of quality in the last two seasons as you have in writing about it.
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May 10, 2016
Been a fan since day one, and this has truly been one of, if not THE, best drama shows on television for the past 7 years. Very impressive. I even bought the DVD sets for the future. As for the finale and the last 4 episode stretch, I thought it was a perfect ending to the show and stayed true to itself. Bravo. It was a fantastic run and it could've easily been 10 seasons!
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May 10, 2016
Oddly enough i seem to be one of the few people that enjoyed the finally, Although it spent a bit more time than i aniticipated on the case We got to experience alicia one last time and the final scene between her and diane was perfect.
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May 10, 2016
The finale was a hodge-podge of too much crammed into a too-short time period.

At the start of the series, an intelligent-but-naive housewife, who invested her identity in husband and family, is betrayed. She joins "the outside world," and learns, with each harsh experience, how to exist in it and how to tap her own inner strength.

However, finding confidence in her independent identity, after so many years of suppressing and subordinating it, is not easy and takes a lot of time. This is the story of many women of the last 50 years.

Yes, her attraction to Will was strong, but Peter's betrayal was still fresh - and ongoing. She was in both payback and defensive mode. She never had the courage to commit to Will, and I believe that was part of her hysterical anger when Eli told her of the message. It was so easy to attack Eli, rather than face the fact that she wouldn't have been able to take advantage of that message.

And, at the end, Peter - that narcissistic SOB - had the nerve to ask her to stand by him for his announcement - not because he needed her or didn't have enough courage, but because he just wanted to look good. And Alicia was still emotionally drawn to the old, habitual subordination, and she felt the need to "protect" him. If you disagree, how would you explain her behavior when he was being arrested?

And she still had too much fear to go with Jason, despite reassurance from her imagined Will. She just kept putting it off until it was too late. Will's sudden death only served to reinforce her need to protect her fragility, and that death was still too fresh. Alicia had a lot of growing and healing yet to do on her own - and that's what she was left to do.

You have to give her character credit. She did not allow her insecurity to make her dependent on another relationship. If she had, she would have wound up doing the same dance over again.

As for Diane, it was not the idea of an affair that upset her; it was the promise she had made to her husband that she would never put him in the position of being humiliated in court again. How could he believe she was not the instigator of it? She was the boss. Alicia broke that promise for her.

I just want to add that I, like everyone else, loved so many of the characters, and needed much more of Kalinda and Elsbeth. The level of acting, all the way around, was simply sterling!




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May 10, 2016
Well said.. It is one of my fav shows and had the storylines and acting to match. The acting was always the corner stone to this shows success and made the sometimes unbelievable situations seem real.
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May 10, 2016
I thought it was great way to end the show. I really really loved this series and I've followed it every episode. I don't like Alicia, never did but that last scene she killed it and finally grew the hell up and became one of us!
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May 10, 2016
Okay, so how was the slap deserved? Diane brought her husband into all this, which was stupid of her. Diane had an obligation to defend Peter and firing her at this late date would have made a huge mess. Diane has screwed over Alicia NUMEROUS times and has always done what was best for herself, and this includes having Alicia be part of her all-woman firm . . .Diane said so herself.

I'm sorry, but Alicia finally just did what she needed to do, what was best for herself: Get the trial over, get the kid off to college, get to the divorce.

Diane Lockhart has been slapping at people since the beginning, lol. Anyone who got in Diane's way got a slap. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED the character, but that's because, come on, Christine Baranski could play a kitten eating serial killer and it would be hard not to like her a little bit!

You know what? Happiness and freedom are shadows we chase . . .and for Alicia this time it was a Jason-shaped shadow. In the end you have just yourself and a few relationships with people who love you. Alicia has good kids. Luka went to the mat for her and has been a very staunch friend. Alica's mom and brother love her very much. And she has the respect of all kinds of people, including the wonderful canning and Eli.

Alicia is walking forward into her future without holding any man's hand out of obligation or fear. That is a good way to end the show.
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May 10, 2016
And then they went on to make a dramedy about aliens taking over the bodies of congressmen. I wasn't expecting some grand symphonic hale to the bright future of our stalwart heroine, but really. This was a bit much. I kind of wish I could find the metaphor for a lead character's complete and utter collapse, but maybe in this case a cigar was just a cigar: imagine a series with Alicia and Lucca hitting the schedule next year.
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May 09, 2016
If I weren't already jaded about the show, I'd be so angry with the finale. I miss Will so much, but that was just too much.
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May 09, 2016
I guess what really bugged me in this finale is that Alicia doesn't take any decision by herself, she simply follows Will's lead (i understand she is imagining him, but she still follows his advice, as if she wasn't able to think for herself after coming such a long way since the first episode...).
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May 09, 2016
It wasn't perfect, but it was a fine finale for me. I do think the slap was deserved and it was a direct way for Alicia to 'feel something at all'. Will's presence was a good device to represent her choices and doubts, and running after Jason's shadow was merely a way to show she is ready to move forward from both Peter and Will, and it is unimportant if he's still there or not for her.
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May 09, 2016
That last scene. Alicia having to pick herself up and move towards the future yet again. Devastatingly perfect.

Will you feel anything at all? Yes, I feel like I've been gut punched and yet blown away with satisfaction and admiration for the countless time since the show began.

So thank you The Good Wife. For all the lessons, the laughs and for making me choke like no other show ever could! I'll remember. I'll love you forever.
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May 09, 2016
This was about the worst finale of any type EVER!!!!
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May 09, 2016
Have you seen Dexter's?
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May 10, 2016
No...didn't watch after the infamous 4-episode test! I had stopped watching Lost also and from what I remember, fans were not happy with that finale either!
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May 09, 2016
Well, it ended and overall it was still a five-star series. Not the ending I hoped for, but still part of a great overall show that kept me entertained for seven years. It's a show that I have and will continue to re-watch from time to time, because it was that good. I have enjoyed Noel's reviews because the show deserved honest weekly reviews--it was that good. Was there really a "right way" to end it? My sixteen year old Chihuahua died on Friday and she was old and blind and we all say it was for the best, but it still hurt like hell...
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May 09, 2016
As far as I'm concerned, the season ended last week. This ep was just a bad blooper reel. Having her end up where she began feels like watching the last 7 seasons was all for nothing.
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May 09, 2016
Well then, don't ever read or watch Stephen King's The Dark Tower. It was one of those things--like The Good Wife--that only the journey was important...
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May 09, 2016
I avoid Stephen King as a rule. She did have a good journey; IF one ignores the last ep. The last ep punishes the viewer far more than we deserved.
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May 10, 2016
Only if you just really don't get it.
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May 09, 2016
Good review that hits all the right targets. My thoughts? This wasn't a very good series finale. It tried to do too much, it went down paths that seemed created to show specific results--very obviously.

In the overall scheme of the series, it seems Alicia was used and then became a user. She became Peter by the end. She started out nice, but she wasn't nice by the end. Her tactics, her morality, her loyalty were all suspect by the end. All that was left for her was to march off to face the world a colder person. Not sure what the writers had in mind, but Alicia ends up as a jaded self-obsessed power player in the making rather than as a good woman who has taken control of her life.
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May 09, 2016
I wrote a whole long post at first but decided to delete it and just say I absolutely hated this finale. I'll actually try to forget everything about this show after Will's death.
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May 09, 2016
I think overall it is still an excellent show.

A little disappointed with this season and the ending but still love the whole cast.
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May 09, 2016
For me this whole season was disappointing. And a waste of time...
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May 09, 2016
"It was incredibly well-acted on nearly every front (you have to acknowledge the miscast actors Archie Panjabi had to deal with for Kalinda's seasonal storyline, Mike Colter aside)."

I don't know if Noel includes Marc Warren in this list, but I really liked him as Nick Saverese (Kalinda's ex-husband) and thought that run was appropriately distressing but also entertaining. (I didn't know about Noel's reviews then, but I'll try to go back and see what he had to say about that.)

Count me among the disappointed. We saw Alicia sinking into a pit of despair, then Lucca and Jason grab her hands and help pull her out of it--she's not 100% straight in her head but seems so much more vital again, and makes the move we've waited years for, initiating divorce from Peter. Then in the final episode it's like she's forgotten everything she ever knew about human interaction, screwed over Diane and left an already skittish man who'd all but begged her for some reassurance just swinging in the wind. I would have been okay with the slap if they had given us just a little bit of remorse. But yes, this episode seemed not only to judge Alicia but to take some delight in punishing her.

The Good Wife was great at times. I don't know what the problems were behind the scenes but it seems like the 'family problems' on set, whatever they were, eventually poisoned the show. I really hope it wasn't JM's fault, but it sure felt like the showrunners might have used Alicia as an effigy for JM if she was indeed the source of the strain. Too bad if so.

Thank you, Noel, for covering and caring about this show over the years.
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May 10, 2016
Like you I didn't have an issue with the Nick stuff but I think Noel was one of those who did.
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May 11, 2016
I'm finding it too difficult to located reviews from that far back, but it's not important. We don't have to agree on everything for me to appreciate his work. I adored Roger Ebert but didn't always agree.
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May 13, 2016
I wasn't reviewing S4 at the time at TV.com, but I pretty much hated the Nick storyline, and I'm not sure Marc Warren helped matters. Of the guys Kalinda/Panjabi had to deal with, he was probably the best of them, but it's a pretty low bar.
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May 13, 2016
I didn't like that Kalinda had to deal with another threatening/problematic man, but I like Marc Warren, and they had a scary kind of chemistry, I thought. The scene with the ice cream cone still makes me laugh. I would have liked to see Kalinda end up with Cary. Really miss her.
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May 09, 2016
The Kings' desire to end the series by having Alicia morph into Peter seems like such an odd choice. It makes sense in that it aligns with who she's been since the start of season five, but it also doesn't connect with her journey prior to that.

Last season I had assumed after her failure in politics, the final season would be something more along the lines of finding her way again. So much of the early seasons was about missed opportunities and starting over, and often times that came in the form of Alicia's love life. She stays with Peter and continues be 'the good wife' or she takes a chance and continues to move up at L&G alongside Will. I was never invested in this show's romance arcs and initially thought killing Will opened new doors to plots wort exploring. But this finale was so empty now I'm only curious where Alicia would have ended up had Josh Charles wanted to stay on.

Anyway, now someone get on with the bts tell-all pls, and yeah, Baranski can at least get another nomination.
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May 09, 2016
Alicia becomes Peter--that's how it appeared to me also.
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May 09, 2016
yeah, the Kings said as much in their exit interviews
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May 10, 2016
Never believe the writers. If a story is a three layer cake, the writer understands the decorations, frosting, and that top layer of cake. Writing uses both the conscious and unconscious mind, and no writer fully understands his or her own story completely. If they say they do? Lying. Most good writers totally admit to this.
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May 09, 2016
For me the downfall of Alicia was clear and depicted quite well - she's lost her soul, her kindness and empathy, and I think it was built up well in those last seasons. She's been pretty terrible for some time (remember her telling she doesn't even know if she liked her chilldren?), selfish and downright cruel. I understand why writers chose that fate for Alicia - she deserved it, and what is tragic - she really didn't notice what has happened to her. Not many series finales are great, and this one also is not, but I have to say The Good Wife was easily one of the best TV shows I've ever seen. Sometimes it was just brilliant - beeing subtle, funny and clever at the same time. It made my jaw drop a few times, and I'm gonna miss it.
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May 09, 2016
Well said in this review, I truly was astonished they thought that was the ending they wanted to go out on. Did they really think that was the statement at the end of this? It's like they had no exit plan at all, just opting for symmetry because they couldn't see where Alicia went next any better than the rest of us.

Alicia's using Kurt's affair was callous against her friend, partner, mentor, but it would have been irresponsible not to use that tactic to keep her firm's client from seeing prison. These last few episodes seem to have forgotten that the swiss cheese they call a case against Peter would never have flown on this show before, it's not a case so much as a question of rumors and assumptions on the parts of a lot of jealous ASAs. There was no actual proof of anything, which is almost more frustrating than 11th-hour proof one way or another. How we got here was nonsense and distracting and unsatisfying.

Sadly, this season's best players both were sold short in these last episodes: Cush Jumbo is left without a story arc just being a POC standin sassy friend, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is given a character who is woefully passive and then just evaporates for the sake of the plot to further punish the titluar character.

"But at least we got Will", meh. Predictable and uninforming.

You've done a great job, Noel, thanks for being our tourguide through this series.
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May 09, 2016
I didn't really get this ending. I agree it felt like episode 21 or 20. Plus there were so many loose-ends. I thought that for sure Landau's treachery would be revealed. Or that the NSA would work in someone's favor. This season was odd because they never knew what to do with Cary or Diane and so they essentially floated around with no tie to anything. Plus, the Peter running for President was just stupid. I don't care about Peter, never did. So in the end whether he got off or went to prison didn't matter to me at all.

Instead of getting a somewhat satisfying ending it turned Alicia into the antagonist. Why?
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May 09, 2016
So in this finale analogy Alicia was the audience and Diane was the writers cause that what this episode felt like - a big slap in the face. After 7 seasons of emotional investment this what you leave us with?? 23 different loose ends, a big ol' dump on women's empowerment and a plot line (re Kurt) that makes 0 sense?!? Urgh I should've checked out after Will, the show never really recovered from his exit and I think the writers knew it which is why they brought him back as a ghost. Should've let him leave in one peace and bring him back for 2 episode special. Oh well we'll just have to dry our tears and keep on moving on.
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May 09, 2016
P.S. Does anyone think it was really Jason in the doorway and he just slipped out before she could get to him? Or is the consensus that she was seeing what she wanted to see? I mean -- why would a caterer stand, hands in pockets, in the shadow of a doorframe to stare at Alicia?

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May 10, 2016
The shadow was a symbol of Jason's irresponsibility, his fun, his footloose nature. Alicia kind of wants that but it really isn't who she is at all. She was never going to be with Jason.
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May 10, 2016
I think she saw what she wanted to see. He wouldn't have been staring at Alicia, he was watching the governor leave office
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May 09, 2016
This finale could have been satisfying if, like Noel mentioned, the season had built to that sort of tragedy. From bond court to Frank Landau to Peter's bizarre presidential bid to Lucca's intensely creepy investment in Alicia's romantic pursuits -- nothing ever made any sense or built toward a conclusion.

Yes, I can see some artistic "a-ha!" moments. How Alicia became so hardened to infidelity that it didn't occur to her that Diane would be devastated by Kurt's. How she essentially forced Diane into the position Alicia herself was in during the first scene of the show. How in her attempts to defend Peter, both legally and emotionally, she lost the opportunity to pursue a relationship with Jason. Leaving her alone, battered, stunned in the same hallway as the premiere, but in a different way - that was interesting. But the show did not EARN this finale.

This has the feel of HIMYM. The creators had an ending in mind the whole time, but rather than have the story progress naturally to that end, they (rightly) let the story grow organically, then (wrongly) twisted it into a pretzel to fit back into the box they conceived seven years ago.

It certainly made me think, though. I desperately wanted to make sense of it, and I'm still trying. (But that red herring shit with the ringtone was beneath this show.)
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May 09, 2016
Brilliant show, loved every single episode, until the finale, garbage, what a complete "fuck you" from the show's creators, thanks for that, good luck in your new show...
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May 09, 2016
Thanks Noel for the excellent reviews over the years. I really hope that we'll get an opportunity to read your reviews on another show as complex and nuanced as The Good Wife in the future. I enjoy your meticulously researched reviews of The Flash but it's also good to hear you write about something a little more substantial than a superhero moping around and figuring out how to despatch a villain of the week.

The Good Wife definitely succeeded Law & Order in some aspects. It never had the idealism of public servants trying to make the world a better place (it was civil law after all) but it definitely captured some of the spirit of the ripped from the headlines, especially in their technological cases.

The show remains the best and still one of the very few examples of a deep character study of a female protagonist. While it probably isn't quite on the level with the best character studies The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, etc, at its best it wasn't all that far away from them either. I'm worried that it might end up being an anomaly - who knows if any of the broadcast networks will be interested in running a character-based, intelligent procedural of this calibre again. It hardly seems like a good ratings grab. And seeing the King's next show seems more akin to CBS's mindless summer shock spectaculars is pretty worrying, even if it might end up being okay.
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May 13, 2016
One of the other big reasons I kept doing Good Wife unpaid was because it gave me a break from superhero shows. I needed to think through something else, and this was my way to get there.

And, yes, TGW was the inverse of L&O's (mostly) idealism about the professionalism of the justice system, which was fine because, up to a certain point, they did a great job, especially in Seasons and 2, depicting a corrupted justice system. Arguably, that was the idea behind Peter's case but, bah, nothing strong enough in it to carry the show to the finish.
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May 09, 2016
The Good Wife slowly morphed into everything I hate about television. Sometime during the middle of the series I think we all realized that the show was a Breaking Bad type story that turned a loving housewife into a cynical politician but that isn't why this became a hate watch for me. It is another example of a great show that didn't know when to quit. Television and more specifically network TV does this all the time. Instead of having a vision like Breaking Bad with a specific story the networks tell half stories as they wait for the ratings to drop so they can replace it with something else.

The Good Wife felt different at the beginning and in fact it was so good it felt like something you'd normally only see on cable. It mixed current law cases from the viewpoint of a woman trying to balance her work/home life in a world that dismissed her for sticking by her husband. The first half of the show's run were fresh and acted by some of the best in Hollywood. Julianna Margulies, Matt Czuchry, Christine Baranski, Archie Panjabi, and Josh Charles were the heart but never the reason the show was so good. Every season we were also introduced to new interesting personalities like Lemond Bishop, Louis Canning, Elsbeth Tascioni, and Colin Sweeney. God I miss those days.

Will was always the happy ending for Alicia but when Josh Charles decided to leave the showrunners had no idea where to go next. The correct thing to do would have been to honor their viewers and finish the show on a high note. Instead they did what network TV always does as CBS didn't want to cancel them. Why not take more money? They turned Alicia from a naive politician's wife to a heartless bitch of a lawyer that no one liked including the viewers. What was the point? Was this morality tale planned from the beginning or something tacked on to make some sort of point? Somewhere in there may be a story about politicians wife's like Hillary Clinton but I honestly don't care. The end result punished loyal viewers that hoped the show might return to the fun it had at the beginning and it never really did.

I'm glad its finally over so I can move on as well.
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May 10, 2016
Actually I don´t know why you say that viewers hate Alicia. I like her. It´s a chliche that really strong independant woman who wants to win is "heartless bitch".
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May 09, 2016
Worst series ending they could have gone with. Are they going to provide us with some alternate endings in the DVDs? Geez! Women aren't as caddy as they are portrayed on TV and why would you play into that stereotype? HATED the ending of a show I have faithfully watched and loved. UGH!

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May 09, 2016
The good wife has always been my first choice to see on monday ,leaving all the other shows like got, homeland, walking dead, shameless as second or third. Which means it was a really great show.. that will never change even after this not so good finale..
Maybe tv.com can focus now more on silicon valley and veep.. cause those are the 2 best shows atm ..
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May 09, 2016
What on earth did I just watch? So for a series finale they spend 95% of the time on a case of the week - wait not a case of the week, just post-jury deliberation motions for the case of last week, that really ended with us at the same position as the end of the last episode. And if the actual trial from last week was dull then the post-deliberations were EXTREMELY dull and felt like nothing more than killing time. And then the final 5% of the episode was about drawing parallels between now and the series premiere? And this was supposed to imply that Alicia has become an awful person destined for loneliness or something? Where does this come from? She did nothing wrong with Jason, the trial just dragged on too long, she annoyed Diane but people have to expect that kind of thing when they coerce their partner to be an expert witness. There's nothing about Alicia at the moment that makes her particularly alienating or deserving of scorn. If this is the way the series was heading then they should have pulled this trigger when Alicia's ego started getting out of control during her election campaign. Making this point now is out of nowhere and way off base. She's been a little irritable and dissatisfied lately but nothing pointing towards this. I was worried through the early part of the episode that it was all going to be about her love life, especially when Will factored in so much. Now I'm wondering if a melodramatic shipping ending might have been a lot better than this.

I didn't need it to be all about happy endings, even some bittersweet negative endings would have been fine if they earned it. The show lost its way in Season 6 and hasn't even managed to find itself and I've felt the last few weeks have been particularly inconsistent but I've never lost affection for the show and a solid finale could have really made a difference but not this. This has to be one of the worst series finales I've seen. And seriously, that's how they used Sutton Foster?
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May 09, 2016
That was decidedly "meh." I expected a fair amount of ambiguity since TGW never pretended to be a show you felt would wrap everything up in a happy little bow at the end for you. But usually shows that end ambiguously leave a few clear alternatives to mull over in your head and hash out with your friends. This just kinda quit, and there was no real sense of anything the show wanted to suggest to you. Like Noel said, this felt like ep. 21 instead of 22.

On a personal note, I really liked Diane and Kurt's marriage, and I suppose while it was a very TGW thing to do, I hate it for (probably) blowing it up at the end. They could've left us with at least one nice thing. The last season and a half aside, it was easily one of the best shows on TV for most of its run, and I'd like to acknowledge that. I didn't care for the political and other views the show sometimes felt like it was trying to push down the viewer's throat, and their philosophical meanderings were often incoherent given their espoused worldviews, but the characters, the actors, the writers, the production, etc., almost always made it worth it anyway.

I think I'll remember the show for the first 5.5 seasons and not let the final 1.5 diminish its legacy.
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May 09, 2016
And so many thought BSG was a bad ending. Even Angel had a better ending and they all probably died. Forget Alicia's future, I am unsure of what was going to happen in the next five minutes after the credits. No hints, no clues, no good wife, just a hurt bitter ex-wife bitch of a partner. Was this a sharp stick in the eye to CBS or someone I am not aware of?
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Staff
May 13, 2016
I loved Angel's season finale. I will die on this hill.
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May 09, 2016
I too waited to see if there was a post-credits "1-year later" scene. Alas, I suppose Alicia just threw herself into traffic. At least with Angel we know what happened after the ending because it continued in the comic books. This just fell flat.
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May 09, 2016
hhahahahaa, yeah i waited round after the credits too!

hmmmm, i think i like the angel ending less. and the last season of bsg as compared to its earlier seasons was worse. (not saying bsg is worse just comparing the shows onto themselves.)
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May 09, 2016
It was wholely unsatisfying, a terrible way to wrap up the series.
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May 09, 2016
What a waste of my time!!! That is 40+ mins I will never get back. When I get to the pearly gates, I am going to ask St Peter for a refund of my time. An ending that probably pleases no one. Even the Lost finale was better!!!
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May 09, 2016
Hated Alicia with Jason so I was great with them not riding off into the sunset. Overall I liked the episode and the open-ended ending. And I LOVED the series.
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May 09, 2016
When a show ends, I try to look at the last scene as if it's the last scene in a book. Will I feel some kind of contentment or will I throw the book into the fire? This is how I imagine the end of the book, "The Good Wife":
"Alicia stopped, puzzled. Had she just imagined seeing Jason there? Just like she imagined seeing Will days before? She shook her head, as if to erase these phantoms from her brain. She turned around and came face to face with Diane. Alicia's head shifted backwards and her face matched the surprise she was feeling. With a steely reserve Diane said nothing as she took a stifled breath.
"Diane?", Alicia said, confused.
WHACK! Alicia's head was filled with a deafening ringing. Her eyes slammed shut involuntarily and her left hand sprung up to touch the stinging, red hot flesh on the side of her face. It took her a moment to realize that Diane slapped her; Alicia's punishment for her betrayal. Diane kept walking as Alicia regained her composure. She straighten her hair and fixed her jacket. She threw her shoulders back and her pace quickened with each step.
It was all gone. Peter was gone. Jason was gone. Diane was gone. Her children were gone. Kalinda was gone. Will.. Alicia replayed Peter's query in her head, "When was the last time we were happy?" but this time she rephrased it. When was the last time she was happy? Where does she go from here? What was she going to do now?
Alicia didn't know the answers to these questions yet, but for the first time in her life she was free to find them."

Have I ever mentioned that I'm an idealist? Lol
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May 10, 2016
But you got it right. Alicia has let go of her husband. She has rejected her mentor. Her kids are all but launched. Alicia is poised in a moment where she can choose to stop being traditionally "good" and start trying to be happy. How will she chase that happiness? We don't know, but she composes herself and walks determinedly toward her future. That's a happy ending folks. IN life that is a happy ending.
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May 10, 2016
Fun fact: "You're right" is my favorite combination of words to hear. Lol
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May 09, 2016
Please write novelisations for the whole show.
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May 09, 2016
What's the pay like? Lol
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May 10, 2016
Writing anything usually means poverty, lol. You do it if you kind of HAVE to do it. :-)
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May 09, 2016
That the finale had to rely so much on Will, a character who left the show for good 2 seasons ago, was a clear sign that the show did not have enough left in itself to deliver a solid series finale. Especially because Alicia never really paid any attention to any of imaginaryWill's advice anyway... This made me a bit sad for The Good Wife because overall it has been a great show and now it will join the many shows that had a disappointing final season and series finale.
Having said that, there was something satisfying and consistent in an ending to The Good Wife where Alicia reaps the 'rewards' she sowed... She kept leading Jason on (who was skittish about it all anyway) while standing by Peter 'just one last time' and now he's probably gone. She betrayed Diane and put her marriage at risk (because Alicia's expectations of what people do to each other in marriage are so out of whack after all these years with Peter) and now her partnership with Diane is seriously at risk... Well at least she has her public image, money to run for office and Eli as an ally... Probably not what Alicia thinks she wanted but definitely what she her actions got her...
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May 09, 2016
And thank you Noel for generously reviewing the show - I only wish this last season had been better to make it more worth your while but on balance an amazing show (for most of its run) with some great characters.
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May 09, 2016
i liked most of it, having will back i liked, him being in it too much doesn't really bother me, the show has had it's weird moments in the past so him talking to her that way wasn't out of the norm for the show, the way Kurt was treated on the stand where the hell did that even come from? i don't even remember him sleeping with that chick. them having go to jail/not go to jail was just to damn confusing and the entire episode didn't need to be based on that.

there was a lot in the episode i did like so i don't hate it, but the things that do piss me off, no Kalinda i am curious if the actress who played her was busy or said no to returning to the role one last time? yes i know she left the show but still i'd love to have seen them together on last time.

Diane Slapping Alica yeah that surprised me but she did deserve it. what was left out was where the fuck was Alica's head at? she wanted to get Peter off that's fine. but her leaving Jason like that WTF? i'd have liked them together and if i'm not mistaking she told him to wait than it never showed not that i can remember if he did or not. i get she was trying to figure out what she wanted.

i think she did choose him but i was hoping he would have been there at the end for her. i'm guessing she was going to Divorce Peter, she should have said to Jason that for Peter Leaving office that she was going to be there. that scene with Peter Talking was nicely done. but the rest was a mess. it got me even curious if her job at the firm was even still there at the end?

Communication between the Diane and Lucca etc.. about the gun was poorly done. it felt like it was an episode that SHOULD have been fucking 2 hrs instead of 45 minutes! it was just to damn short for a finale. too much was cut out of it for time. what they should have done is say to CBS this is the last episode and for that reason can we have limited commercials? it's been done before shit when Alias 1st aired the 1st episode it had limted commercials why not The Good WIfe? in short sorry for my ramblings folks it wasn't terrible but it had it's moments.. plus it wasn't the worst way to end a tv show. LOST anyone? that's still a WTF moment to me 6 years later and i'm still confused
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May 09, 2016
I weirdly liked it more than a lot of people seem to, mainly because the Will stuff just made me so happy because I think it really needed that fan service and I am #TeamWill forever. I think it maybe untentionally shows that his death was unnecessary and they could have done some version of the ambiguous ending with him alive (and then it would have been a bit less tragic, I still want someone to ask them how the envisioned Will's run in the end prior to JC's departure). For some reason that inoculates me against the broader implications of the final sequences, which in spite of everything does make sense to me on a narrative level in terms of the vision the writers had. But the bizzareness of it made it seam dreamlike or as if a dream that is ending, and I think it is possible to overinterpret in terms of the final sequence not really happening at all (I don't think Jason was really there, so was Diane really there) and or calling into question the reality of all that preceded and making it possible to imagine the slap as a wake-up from some kind of dream in which she made different choices especially concerning Will at some point. So that's my story and I'm sticking. Thanks for the recaps Noel, they were some of my favorites to read, especially Decision Tree (I also came in toward the end of Season 1, when I was home from college and my parents had been watching on British TV, and I suddenly saw Josh Charles in a promo and I recognized him from Sports Night, and here we are). Also loved the Regina Spektor song, which has given me belated appreciation for having to gone her performance at my college. I don't think I will watch Braindead, but I'll probably read your recaps because I think I'm more curious about what people will think than the show itself.
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May 09, 2016
I love your idea about everything being a mirage and the slap bringing Alicia "awake" to not make the mistakes dream Alicia made. I loved seeing Will too. I was crying before the title sequence! But as much as I enjoyed him, it felt manipulative.

I suppose that in some way, without Peter's case requiring the Nunez precedent, she would never have been able to get full closure with Will, and that makes her standing by Peter during this round of indictments worthwhile. Even if she had chosen Jason, the relationship would have failed if she was only ever going to compare him to the fantasy of Will.

It's tragic, the whole thing. I know that's the point they were making, so it shouldn't bother me. "You can't live in this apartment alone - you'll go crazy." "You're right." And yet, she's going to walk through that door tonight, after the resignation press conference, she'll hang her briefcase on the door handle, she'll peek around the corner, and there will be no one.
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May 09, 2016
Would also say it's an heir to West Wing, and a reversion of it, or something.
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May 09, 2016
Also I would disagree that "destiny" wasn't a theme before, as much as I dislike everything about Will's death and what it entails, I feel like that already gave a sense that she was cursed, in some way, (even though I don't think it was necessary) it was very on the literary Romeo&Julietesque, so it seems like that almost tipped their hand more than they mean to maybe.
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May 09, 2016
Also, I would have liked to see David Lee as her divorce lawyer.
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May 09, 2016
*yawn* who cares - just glad it's over so my mom will watch something different now.
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May 09, 2016
It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't enjoyable either. I'm tired of endless tragedy on television. Life is shitty, can't show runners just give us some hopeful entertainment when all is said and done?
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May 10, 2016
Art isn't supposed to be happy. It is supposed to be true. Read "Madame Bovary" to find out what happens to people who are addicted to simple, romantic happy endings. :-P
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May 09, 2016
What exactly was the tragedy? Nobody died or was injured on the episode. Peter didn't have to go to prison (to be surrounded by deviants). Alicia seems free of freaky tattooed Jason. Lucca will be fine (she always is). Even Cary is happy.
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May 09, 2016
The Kings said Alicia's story was ultimately a tragedy. From victim to victimizer. It's in their exit interview.
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May 09, 2016
The Kings calling it a "tragedy" doesn't make it a tragedy. We do though overall live in a tragic society where women have extramarital affairs & do so without discretion. Still did not your original comment imply some tragedy specifically in the final episode? I still don't see that. It was a near perfect ending.
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May 10, 2016
I also don´t see the tragedy. She will divorce Peter. Find another man or not. Be a lawyer or not. She is free. Btw why is everyone talking about her kids like they are dead? They just left for collage/marriage. That´s all. Alicia still has them. Not everyone need to have husband, jeez.
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May 09, 2016
Tragic in the sense that the decisions that led to Alicia's empowerment also ultimately led to her isolation. She is now a well paid attorney with no children to raise, a confident, sexual, and financially independent woman - all the things she wasn't when she was living smaller as Peter's wife. But the price of all that has been steep, maybe so steep that she'd take it all back if she had known.

Tragic in that Peter will continue to have a new girlfriend for each day of the week just like always. He'll write a book, become a "consultant", maybe even be respected for the corruption he got away with. The stakes will never be the same for him. He always got to be independent, free from the true burdens of marriage and family, his needs and desires were met with no price tag attached. For Alicia, and for many women who forfeit their power or tether it to their husband's power, it cost her everything to get it back.
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May 09, 2016
I'm just going to be happy with the Will/Alicia scenes and try to forget that they wasted the final episode (and half the final season) on that sleazebag Peter.
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May 09, 2016
Peter: very well written interesting character who was portrayed by an excellent actor.
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May 09, 2016
Peter: slimy cheating criminal played by a one note actor.
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May 09, 2016
So you probably to be fair also think Alicia was a slut (married women having sex with multiple men outside her marriage)? btw, I've known some wonderful sluts LOL! As to "one note actor" LOL, wise up: Chris Noth has many successes. In addition to GOOD WIFE and LAW & ORDER he's had many TV & film roles. On GOOD WIFE his acting had drama & wit.
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