Alicia Florrick doesn't know who she is, and she's loving every minute of it.
The Good WifeAirtime: Sundays, 9 pm
Cast: Julianna Margulies, Matt Czuchry, Alan Cumming, Christine Baranski, Cush Jumbo, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Subtitle: Season 7, Episode 17 - "Shoot"
Air date: 2016-03-20
"You don’t know who you are. No one knows who they are."
If nothing else, Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) has been on point in terms of wisdom throughout her time on The Good Wife, even if "spewing wisdom" seems like it might be the only thing left on her character bio these days. The above quote comes after Alicia (Julianna Margulies) catches her Man Toy Du Jour, Jason (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), canoodling with another woman in a bar (more on this later). Alicia needs to talk it out. Lucca, as she’s wont to do, advises her by reiterating that sometimes the strangest stranger can be ourselves. Alicia takes solace in this, and she should.
Why? Because Lucca's right. Failures and expectations often lead to clouded judgments. So often, we contend that nobody knows us better than ourselves, and such rhetoric allows a level of misguided judgment to be placed on everyone else's actions and reactions. Part of achieving peace is submitting to our own ignorance. We can’t be let down by things we can’t claim to know. Alicia Florrick, God knows, has spent seven seasons being let down by things she thought she knew.
Season seven’s 17th episode, "Shoot", addresses this precept head-on in a variety of ways. There’s Eli (Alan Cumming), who can't stand not knowing what he doesn't know, and takes, again, to a bathroom vent to try and combat as much … only to have that liberty robbed of him when janitors decide to clean up. There's Alicia, who thought she knew Jason well enough to begin a frisky (and increasingly, um, vulgar) love affair … only to have him swap some spit with "an out-of-town friend". There’s Cary (Matt Czuchry), who can sense the things he can’t confirm and approaches Alicia about Diane’s (Christine Baranski) desire to kick him out of the firm … only to so clearly realize that Alicia is lying to him.
Then, of course, there’s the gun issue at which this episode takes a whole round of shots. Harry Dargis (the great -- and I mean great -- Blair Underwood) loses a daughter as a result of reckless gunfire, and he’s made it his life's cause, via a billboard, to raise gun control awareness. Perhaps if more people felt the depth of Harry's pain, there wouldn’t be a cadre of individuals fighting for the right to buy firearms so easily. But that takes humility. That takes understanding. That takes the realization that sometimes you actually don’t know the answers to everything.
Another person who could learn from as much? The people working in the admissions office of the college that Grace (Makenzie Vega) wants to attend. They accuse Grace of plagiarism without ever really taking the time to understand the mechanics of the process of detecting plagiarism. At this point, the worst person you could ever take to task in a situation like that is Alicia, who continues to give precisely none of the fucks. Don't you dare push back, college people. This is a woman on a mission.
It all makes for awfully entertaining television. The only true downfall of the week's episode is this stupid Grand Jury Investigation To End All Grand Jury Investigations. Like, really -- we're going to end the entire series with weeks of Eli listening to the guy from Glee talking through a vent? Plus, as I said last week, Mike Tascioni (Will Patton) ain’t no Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston). And that dog ain't gettin' any cuter. And … wait, whatever happened to "V lock", anyway?
Honestly, though: what, exactly, is being investigated again? Why does this feel so ominous? Oh, and don’t you think it might be wise that in the midst of all this, the guy everyone is actually investigating, Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), might appear in an episode or two? With only five hours of television left, it would be nice to see things start to really move. I mean, come on. Two weeks ago, the final scene came from a movie with lions. This week, the final scene was a hand job (oh, you make me blush, CBS!).
It's weird because on one hand, you want some twists and turns and intrigue, and, most importantly, you want an adequate sendoff. On the other hand, you start to wonder what the options truly are for the series as it counts down. For the most part, it seems to be in a holding pattern until Peter finally shows up again, he either heads to jail (and, ahem, my prediction comes true) or he doesn’t head to jail, Alicia is announced as a new woman, complete with the title of Boss At All-Woman Law Firm, and/or Cary rides off into the sunset, rich as hell.
Oh, and then maybe Alicia and Jason travel to the Land Of Investigators to meet up with Kalinda (Archie Panjabi).
Either way, it sure has been more compelling this season to see the maturation of Alicia Florrick than it has in any other season, really. It’s as though Lucca’s advice was an adage Alicia began to accept long ago. She knows nothing about nothing, and whereas that might have freaked her out as she "wasted 20 years" (her words, hands going down pants) before, she now appears to revel in life's obscurities. To apologize to Jason for being married is a revelation in itself. She's submitted. She's liberated.
As "Shoot" proved, she has no idea who she is, and she's loving every minute of it.
Approaching The Bench
So, now let's talk about the Jason reveal. I sent this text message to two people as Jason locked lips with someone who wasn't Alicia: "HOLY SHIT THE GOOD WIFE" (yes, that includes all caps). I hate to say it, but I was really hoping for more. To me, that was one of the bigger, more interesting turns The Good Wife could have made at this point: making Jason into a liar, a cheat, a bad guy. Instead, the entire sequence fizzled within 30 minutes. Kudos to Jeffrey Dean Morgan for, finally, playing an emotion that isn’t just "hot guy with a great smile" when Lucca approached him about what Alicia saw. I still didn't quite buy it as much as I wanted to, though. We've spent seven years watching Alicia get cheated on by a dude … did we really have to reduce Jason to the same thing? I can understand if creators Robert and Michelle King are essentially trying to argue that nobody's faithful to anybody, ever, but to watch the difference in devastation between seven years ago and now … it just seemed too easy, too convenient. If they just would’ve spread the arc over more than one episode, it could have felt more genuine, it could have had a shot at working. Still, though: when I saw him kiss that other woman, I legitimately, alone in my living room, yelled at the television. The Good Wife hasn't surprised me like that in years.
Big ups for bringing Judge Abernathy (Denis O'Hare) back for one last go, but … here’s my list of characters I’m going to keep a running tab on between now and the final episode to see if they make one final appearance (because if they don't, I’m writing a nasty letter to CBS): Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox). Zach Florrick (Graham Phillips). Finn Polmar (Matthew Goode). Jackie Florrick (Mary Beth Piel), Lemond Bishop (Mike Colter), Glenn Childs (Titus Welliver), Kurt McVeigh (Gary Cole), Colin Sweeney (Dylan Baker), Wendy Scott-Car (Anika Noni Rose), Natalie Flores (America Ferrera), Frank Prady (David Hyde Pierce), Judge George Fluger, Derrick Bond (Michael Ealy), Robyn Burdine (Jess Weixler), Clarke Hayden (Nathan Lane), Nancy Crozier (Mamie Gummer), and Reese Dipple (Oliver Platt). Again, I’ll be keeping track.
The college application C-story was so obviously shoehorned into the episode to tell us that Grace will be following in her mother’s footsteps as a lawyer. Which is all well and good and everything, but this has to mean we won't see Grace again now, right? You can’t possibly give any more resolution to that character.
Blair Underwood, man. Do yourself a favor and pull out the first season of In Treatment. That guy has never been -- and will never be -- better than he was during that run. And that’s not to take anything away from any of his other work. Dude is a master, and he turned in the best Guest Star In a Case this season has offered thus far.
"My family needs a full-time investigator. That’s not normal, is it?" Alicia Florrick, ladies and gentlemen.
No, but really: I thought "V lock" was supposed to be a breakthrough?
So … are we to assume Howard (Jerry Adler) and Jackie (Mary Beth Piel) are married by now?
Hey, how about that time Alicia said the f-word and gave some guy a hand job under the table at a restaurant in the same episode? My, how far we’ve come.
Gosh, your heart has to go out to Cary. It just has to. Watching his reaction to Alicia when he asks her, straight up, if Diane is trying to move him out of the equation, was absolutely heart-wrenching. How many times is this series going to build him up to knock him down?
Crazy Prediction Of The Week: Jason has an entire family that nobody knows about with the woman he kissed this week and it turns out that the aforementioned woman he kissed was once married to … Will Gardner (Josh Charles).