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Last Night Saw The Coolest Resolution To A Love Triangle In Television History

By Joanna Robinson | TV Reviews | April 29, 2013 | Comments ()


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The major dramatic tension driving last night's season finale of "The Good Wife" was nothing new. In fact, it wasn't even new to the series itself. Throughout the show's stellar four seasons the main character, Alicia Florrick has been torn between staying the faithful "good" wife to her husband Peter Florrick (Mr. Big himself, Chris Noth) who cheated, lied and broke the law and giving in to her attraction to her co-worker and old school friend Will Gardner (played with bashful, wolfish charm by Josh Charles). Though it's not the main plot of the show, this love triangle (along with downright unbelievably great casting) has provided the fuel that's propelled this show from a run of the mill law procedural to one of the most enjoyable Sunday night dramas in an already crowded field.

So beneath a great legal snarl (involving tampered ballot boxes, a last minute switch in arguments, an always fantastic appearance by Martha Plimpton's Patti Nyholm and a double-shot of the show's famously quirky judges), roiled this romantic tension. In typical network TV fashion, CBS made it clear why you should tune in.
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But unlike the countless other TV triangle resolutions we've seen, this one didn't end with a choice or a cliff-hanger. This wasn't Noel vs. Ben or Damon vs. Stephan or Logan vs. Duncan or even Peter vs. Will redux. This was a woman who chose herself. And no, not in a vague, Kelly Taylor sort of way. The episode ended with Alicia waiting anxiously for who we thought was going to be Will at the door. Instead, it was her work associate and one-time antagonist Cary Agos with a new job opportunity. And though the intentional vagueness of the set-up may have caused our spidey senses to tingle, I think the bait and switch was beautifully done.

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Now, sure, you can make the argument that Alicia's decision to break off from Lockhart, Gardner and Associates to join Florrick, Agos and Associates was, in a sense, her choosing Peter. You could easily extrapolate that Alicia's career move was less about joining Cary and more about putting distance between herself and Will. But it was refreshing, nonetheless, to see Alicia end in a position of strength and power rather than succumbing to either the "good" role (how many times has Eli Gold told her that Peter "needs" her?) or the "bad." And it was proof positive that this show really is, at its heart, about so much more than your basic, uninspired CBS rehash and recycled love triangle shenanigans. (Though we're all clearly on Team Will. Right? I mean Peter's "I refuse to own this decision" and Will's noble silence makes that choice pretty easy. Right?) Will Alicia jumping ship really put an end to the tension between herself and Will? Not bloody likely. In fact, I'd imagine them arguing across the aisle from each other will cause even more sparks than when they were arguing side by side.

But the formation of Florrick, Agos and Associates is brilliant storytelling and a fantastic game-changer. The writers already tried to build up dramatic tension in the court cases by putting Cary in the District Attorney's office a few seasons ago. And though that worked for a while, the stakes are even higher here. And the best part about the new law firm? We get to keep Jess Weixler's Robyn Burdine. Who is pretty much my new favorite character.
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Yes all the pieces are sliding quite nicely into place for next season. My only concern, with Peter safely ensconced in the Governor's office, is whether or not there will be a role for Eli next year. All I can say is that there damn well better be.
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And, finally, in homage to Kate Arthur's stellar, comprehensive Power Ranking of all "The Good Wife" guest stars over on Buzzfeed, here's a quick and dirty ranking of last night's 5 greatest guest stars. Not so fast, Bloomberg.

5. TR Knight
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4. Ana Gasteyer
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3. Dylan Baker
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2. Denis O'Hare
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1. Martha Plimpton
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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • jack

    What if she left so that she and Will no longer work together and it simplifies things for her and Will...in the short term.

  • PaddyDog

    I think my favorite part of Sunday's ep was Peter's face when he told Christian "It's not about what you want" and Christian replied "oh, but it is". Priceless! He managed to stick it to Peter using Peter-tactics: manipulation and lying. I hope Christian is around for a very long time.

  • Kate

    Alicia has completely grossed me out since that episode early on where she found out Peter threatened to have the prostitute he was seeing killed by some criminal he was tight with, and she found that so hot she immediately jumped him. I can't even see her as a doormat, she's just as twisted and morally reprehensible as Peter.

    I think she and Peter deserve each other and I wish they'd just sail off into the sunset. Then the show could focus on the interesting characters. Seriously, how much better would the show be if we had more of everyone else and less of Alicia and her boring personal crap? Just think, instead of that cringy arc last season about poor Alicia not being able to afford to spend millions on a house, we could have had more of Matthew Perry as Kresteva or more of Kalinda or Louis Canning or y'know, any other cast member. How much better would that have been.

  • Nyltiak

    I kind of agree that Peter and Alicia deserve each other. I know I'm on the wrong side from most people, but whatever. I was also on Team Big for Sex and the City. I don't care how great you think Aiden was, Carrie and Big were clearly right for one another. And I feel much the same here. (Also, I don't think Will is as awesome as everyone else seems to). Just watch how Alicia and Peter interact in nearly every scene they have together, then compare it to how she acts towards Will.

  • Ruthie O

    Wait, I thought we were all shipping Alicia and Kalinda. No? Well, I'm sticking with my ship.

  • e jerry powell

    I could look at Josh Charles all day. Except on The Good Wife. I like him better sitting next to Embeth Davidtz on In Treatment.

  • emmelemm

    Alan Cumming's line last night was awesome. He must stay.

  • e jerry powell

    They'd rather her vagina be unemployed?

  • Sirilicious

    I think Alicia always felt herself to be in an unequal relationship with Will, she said so a few times over the seasons, She needed her job and didn't want their shenanigans to ruin that et cetera.

    She doesn't know what to do about the men in her life and i can believe that this quest for independance would help her get a fresh perspective, besides being a badass choice for herself.

  • Nyltiak

    Actually... I'm not on Team Will. I mean, I like Will a lot. He's a great guy. But I don't BUY the Will/Alicia relationship. She's still in love with Peter, for one. More importantly, I don't believe she's in love with Will, or ever will be. The way they've written that relationship, from episode one, makes it seem like Will loves (or thinks he loves*) her, but she's moved on from that part of her life. This doesn't mean I'm necessarily Team Peter, love Chris Noth though I do, but I don't think Alicia/Will is a Love Story. I think Alicia loves her kids, and her job, and Peter (even if she's not In Love with Peter), but not Will

    *Furthermore, I don't buy that Will is in love with Alicia. I think he thinks he is, but it seems more like he's in love with the IDEA of being in love with her. To me, Will seems like one of those Confirmed Bachelor types of men. He's married to his job, and this is more like a "what if" like I think most everyone has had. This could be because I've never bought into the idea of people having a One True Love. I think if Will were the type of person who was the marrying type, he wouldn't have been just flitting through women all these years. Am I supposed to believe that this man, who's made a tremendous career for himself, has just been waiting for Alicia to come back to him since Law School?

  • Yep. That ending made me SO HAPPY.

  • The chaplain

    Love that Alicia is going to the new firm but I wish Kalinda was too! Imagine how amazing and powerful the trio of Alicia-Cart-Kalinda would be! I also super miss the Alicia and Kalinda friendship scenes.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I'm sure Kalinda will make the jump pretty early next season. Without Cary and Alicia, I don't think there's that much keeping her. Oh, money? Yeah, sure, I guess, but I always get the impression that's more about appreciation than literally the money. And Will doesn't really give that much of a shit about her, as displayed in literally every smug ass negotiation scene they've shared.

  • Xtacle Steve

    When I first saw the title, I immediately thought "with a threesome". Sadly, the Muppet Show seems to be the only show to brave that frontier when the tension was finally too much for Kermit, Ms. Piggy and special guest, John Cleese.

  • pfeiffer87

    I'm wondering what Kalinda's going to do now that her best buddy and really the only person she cares about (apart from herself) has jumped ship. I'm not at all certain that Robyn's going to Agos/Florrick. I knew the ending was coming and I was so happy : ) Can't wait for next season!

  • Derreck

    This is a re-post, but it encompasses my feelings.

    I'm conflicted.

    I’m happy that Alicia is breaking off from Lockhart/Gardner and going with Cary. Seems like a natural progression and brings a much needed shakeup for the show. I wonder what will happen with Diane now that Peter won?

    BUT I’m tremendously pissed about Will/Alicia/Peter and i'm not even one of those shipper people. I was all for Alicia and Will when they finally hooked up in season 2-3, but then they dropped that storyline like a heavy baby and never spoke of it again....

    Until this season. They decided to bring it back up from seemingly out of friggin nowhere and got me invested again (despite my better judgement). Why build that up again if they weren’t planning a resolution after ALL THESE YEARS? Alicia is breaking off from Lockhart/Gardner not only because it’s a kickass opportunity for her but it is a way for her to break herself off from Will. She is the new First Lady of New Yo--um...Illinois after all but it does kind of suck for her character if leaving to distance herself from Will propelled her more than the killer opportunity. She might've chosen to be at Peter's side but she did for all the wrong reasons. It's not like she can just put her feelings for Will in a box and store it in the basement. Especially with all the sex dreams and getting excited when she thought she saw him at the party.

    and here's a quote from Michelle King.

    “But as Good Wife co-creator Michelle King noted in an interview with TVLine prior to Sunday’s finale, this doesn’t necessarily mark the end of the triangle. “We really hew closely to real-life, which is that people certainly have the intentions of finality in their decisions,” she said. “And sometimes they are final decisions and sometimes they end up not being the final decisions.”

    OH MY GOD. JUST STOP IT. END THIS. LET IT GO.

    Stop dragging this shit on.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Seconded. Plus, after agreeing to renew her vows, old Alicia would never have kissed Will in the car like that. Or was that just me?

  • Blake

    Three way or Murder Suicide?

  • asherlev1

    Except I think the showrunner said over on TVline that the decision was about Alicia putting space between her and Will. Which just sort of left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I want Alicia to do something in her professional life because SHE wants to, for herself, not because she's reacting to something else in her personal life. Sighs, I'm not explaining myself very well. In general, TGW is amaaazing with giving us bad-ass female characters, so this isn't me attacking the show, this is me taking some offense specifically at the reasoning behind Alicia joining Cary.

  • kirbyjay

    I think Alicia choosing to accept ( pay for) the partnership was her doing something for her professional life, and discovering that it put her more or less on an even keel with Will and sparking up the loin feelings was not necessarily a good thing. Kudos to the writers for going into the next few seasons with new storylines instead of rehashing the old ones.
    Lets see...
    Diane on the bench
    Alicia and Cary for the plaintiff with Robyn as investigator
    Will and David Lee for the defendant with Kalinda as the investigator ( finding evidence that will help their client but withholding it because she's pissed off at Will and loves Alicia)
    That's just good tv

  • Three_nineteen

    I'm on Team Alicia Starts Her Own Firm To Get Away From Will And Then Encourages Peter To Spend Most Of His Time In Springfield Until She Can Figure Out She Doesn't Need Either One Of Them.

  • Ruthie O

    Seriously. Will is an unhappy man. Sexy as hell, yes. But he's deeply unhappy and unable to focus on a romantic relationship.

  • lowercase_ryan

    right action, wrong reason. Gotcha

  • PaddyDog

    Anyone else want to join my petition to allow Alicia to have good hair next season?

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I'm on board. They're so inconsistent.

  • PaddyDog

    Though we’re all clearly on Team Will. Right?

    Oh God yes! Peter Florrick is such a repulsive individual. And Will. Is. Wonderful. I want more Will sitting around in jeans paying guitar, please.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Ugh, where to start?!?!?

    - The refusing to own the decision line pissed the hell off. F you Peter.
    - I want Alicia to beat down David Lee in some way. I want them to become arch enemies.
    -The car in the rain scene felt forced but I can live with it.

    -Cary's actions felt clumsy, almost out of character. Seriously dude, could you slow down and stop fucking up the most important move of your life?

    -Robyn is so good.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Man, if I were prone to stalkering, I would totally be stalking Jess Weixler at this point. Hardcore crushing, man. Just... Seriously, it's insane.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Totally with you. I already know the women in my family would love her.

  • Louise

    I think Will made a tactical decision, not an especially noble one (though I'm still pro-Will, if Peter is the alternative). Peter as governor might be distracted by power and have more temptation from women who like that power. Peter losing the race? Has only Alicia.

    LOVED the various judge's chambers shenanigans. So unlikely, yet so well written/played/directed that I didn't care.

    Eli must stay. The great thing (and occasionally the frustrating thing) about this show is that no one actor -- aside from JM -- has to spend all that much time on an episode. Fantastic actors can accept roles because they can have other commitments, particularly theater.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Plus, Will's decision gives him an upper-hand on Peter. There's no way he doesn't keep that video in his back pocket for a rainy day.

  • JoannaRobinson

    I don't know about keeping the video in his back pocket, but I did see it as Will testing Peter. It was sort of a morality litmus test. I have a feeling Will will have no guilt going forward with his pursuit of Alicia now that he has Peter's full measure.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I know it's unpopular, and I'm not saying I'm actually Team Peter, but I don't think this does what we think it does in terms of informing us on Peter's character. I don't think it's really about Peter refusing to "own" the decision or not, it's about him not being up for playing Will's game. And the thing that's a hang up for me really is that I think Will considers this a game; I'm far from convinced that Will is, in the long run, any more likely to be faithful than Peter is. That's my biggest issue-- I don't really trust either of them all that much.

    I guess what Peter's decision says about him depends on whether he knew the ballot box was happening. I'm pretty sure he didn't, in which case I think he was just saying to Will something more like, "Do whatever the hell you want, I'm not playing you for Alicia."

    That said, yeah, Will totally thinks he now has something that gives him carte blanche to pursue Alicia as openly as reasonably possible.

  • lowercase_ryan

    interesting. I like the theory.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Of course if Peter did know, it makes him pretty terrible, and the surface reading of the scene is more accurate. Except I'd still be anti-Will because I still read him as not knowing what he really wants. Like someone further down-thread said, if he were really the marrying type, he would've had at least one marriage by now.

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