Alicia may not like complications, but it’s a good thing Good Wife fans do, because in the last original ep of 2011 — the next new one airs Jan. 8 — the show got so much messier. Wendy is after Peter? Diane is Alicia’s new mentor? Cary and Dana are playing dirty? Instead of a straight recap this week, let’s focus on the five questions we’ll be debating with friends over dinner (or scotch) during the next month:
• Are we supposed to be rooting for Peter or not? Seeing Peter want to attend the meeting with the private school he and Alicia are hoping will make an exception and accept Grace and Zach midterm made me think yes. He wants to be a real partner to Alicia when it comes to raising the kids and isn’t pressuring her for more at this point. But then, when his charm failed to secure their admission, he resorted to throwing the weight of his title around: He’d done thorough background checks on the teachers — as a concerned parent — and found felony DUI, check hiding, and drug charges. “I’m the state’s attorney. You don’t say no to me. And you especially don’t say no to me when it concerns my children. Do you understand? I think the word you’re looking for is yes…. Good. So, we’ll be hearing from you,” he said.
Abusing his power to get the police looking for Grace last week before she’d been missing 24 hours was one thing. But blackmailing the kids’ way into school was another. It made you wonder what else he was capable of. Is he just desperate to get Grace and Zach back into private school because then Alicia will stop thinking he ruined the children’s lives by condemning them to public school (which can’t keep as close an eye on Grace, who’s lost her TV, computer, and phone privileges save for homework and the family plan)? Or are we supposed to think Peter’s God complex is returning? Do you think Alicia knows what Peter did when he went back to the school? She’s been getting her hands dirty this season, and she’s also desperate to feel as though her behavior isn’t hurting her kids, so how much would she mind?
• What’s the motivation behind Diane’s offer to mentor Alicia? Making the “smart move” is a very big thing on The Good Wife. So why did Diane choose now to call Alicia in and remind her that women have to help women because while being associated with a powerful man can be useful, it also means people deny you the credit you deserve? Is it because she feels bad about making Will end things with Alicia (I believe Diane would have even more respect for Alicia if she knew she was the one who called it off)? Because Diane wants to keep Alicia close and give Peter one less reason to come after the firm? Or because Diane truly believes Alicia is partner material and knows she’s in need of a new mentor since losing Will? Diane told Alicia that at this point in her career, she has two possible paths: She can either continue to rise at the firm on the partner track or fall back to Earth? Ouch. Alicia didn’t like the phrasing of that either, and for a moment, when Diane talked about Alicia needing to not be distracted by family or (hint) office friendships, I thought Lewis’ firm was probably looking pretty good to her. But Alicia took a beat, and by the end of the episode, was sitting at a bar about to have a drink with Diane and accept her friendship and advice.
I think Alicia learned something from her client, a cop who was convicted of murdering her husband for the insurance money and thought she’d had a lot of friends until none visited her in jail: It’s better to have people in your life who tell it to you like it is and show up, than people who take the time to phrase things nicely but don’t mean what they say or follow through. Will told Alicia things wouldn’t be awkward between them because they’re adults. “You have no reason to thank me, Alicia. No reason at all.” That seemed to confuse her, but I couldn’t tell why: Was that because she thought it was him putting on a brave face when he didn’t actually mean it, or her wondering why he was so okay with the break up (she doesn’t know he thought it might help cool the heat the state’s attorney’s office is putting on him)? Regardless, I’m thinking Alicia looked at her options as a secretly separated single mom who can’t date, can’t stand staying at home alone cleaning or watching what sounded like the soft core porn telling of Joan of Arc, can’t count on her brother Owen always being free for a drink, or can’t enjoy the company of old tennis buddies, and decided she had to make new friends. Since Alicia can’t be honest about or make changes in her personal life now, the easiest thing to do is focus on work and spend time with the people who know enough not to ask about her personal life and have her back when she needs them — Diane and Kalinda. At the very least, befriending Diane is the “smart move.”
NEXT: I’m over Dana