The Good Wife ended its seventh addicting season on Mother’s Day as a paean to Alicia Florrick , the award-winning Julianna Margulies, and the journey Florrick has taken over the course of seven long years. (See my earlier May 12, 2012 review of this series. ) She realizes her rebirth—from the ignominy of being an adulterous governor’s wife, the lawyer who gave up her career to raise her two children to adolescence, to the brilliant lawyer who becomes a powerhouse both in the courtroom and in the political arena her husband thought was his territory alone.
We watched the drama play out as a story of female empowerment revealed in our own lives and in headlines. We see a brilliantly bold statement , almost novelistic, in attacking the illusion of balance between family and career, between having it all and sacrificing it all. Dark, moody, with no “happily ever after”, Alicia Florrick has come full circle with her emotional response first to her husband Peter, then to her law partner Will Gardner (Josh Charles, who appears in this final episode), and finally to Jason, an investigator who is indispensable to her legal victories.
Connecting the dots to all the men in her life, her children moving from her life in order to create lives of their own, and to her future as an empty nester and ex- law partner, the final episode of “The Good Wife” raises more questions than answers. In a dramatic device bookending the final episode with the very first, we see changes in Alicia as she stands next to her ex-husband as she had in episode one. But now there is subtlety to how she stands next to him—a favor she is hesitant to give—and her defiance and the emotions overlaying scar tissue and unhealed wounds. Has she chosen personal fulfillment over obligation and duty? Does she understand the lies she has told and what she has given up? Was she pragmatic in seizing the prizes earned by a powerful lawyer or was she a fool?
In perhaps one of the most tantalizing scenes in this finale we see the ghost of Will Gardner commenting on her soon-to-be empty co-op—luxurious but barren. And he asks: Can she be happy living alone there? Jason later echoes almost the same: You’re only happy, Alicia, when you feel needed.
We’re right back where we started, but not quite. There is no redemption.
Note: For another point of view on the finale of “The Good Wife”, see this article in Variety online.