The Good Wife started and ended with a slap. Seven seasons ago, Alicia Florrick slapped her husband across the face in the moment she realized that her life was not what she thought it was. And in the series finale, Diane slapped Alicia across the face in the moment she realized Alicia was always going to put her family, and herself, first. Both moments signified a turning point for Alicia Florrick. Only this time, we won’t get to see what comes next. For one final time, let’s recap, shall we?
The final hour kicks off with Alicia and company trying to convince Connor Fox that Peter had accepted the two-year plea deal before the jury made its decision, but Fox is aware that the jury’s quick decision is probably good for him. In a battle with Alicia, Fox offers Peter three years, but things are about to get a lot more complicated.
After Peter promises to be at Grace’s college graduation, he thanks Eli for sticking by him before they all head into the courtroom. But before the judge can enter Peter’s plea deal, the jury reveals that it has a question. The jury requests to hear the audio from the victim’s 911 call in the Locke case. (Read: It’s good news that the jury is focusing more on the murder and less on Peter’s guilt.)
Lucca quickly asks for Jason’s help, and it’s a good thing she does because when there’s an inaudible noise on the 911 call right before the victim is shot, Jason figures out that it’s a ringtone. In other words, someone else was in the room when the victim was shot.
With that, the judge says he will hear legal arguments the following morning, which gives Diane and company the night to come up with something. Alicia quickly remembers a 2010 Colin Sweeney case — We love you Sweeney! — that she thinks had a precedent that will help. But when Lucca tells Alicia Jason’s theory that if Peter goes to prison, she’ll never divorce him, Alicia has a lot more to think about than case law.
When Lucca asks, “Who do you want to come home to every night,” Alicia lets her mind run wild. We watch as she imagines three scenarios: The first, she comes home to Jason. The second, she comes home to Peter. And the third? She comes home to WILL. Not surprisingly, out of the three, she continues kissing Will. (Also not surprisingly, I’m now sitting in a puddle of my own tears.)
Focusing back on the task at hand, Alicia heads into the office to find the file from the 2010 case. And when she can’t read the handwriting on the Post-it, she asks Imaginary Will what it says…and that takes us into a conversation between Alicia and Will in his old office. The saddest part might be her saying, “It’s really good to see you again,” and him responding, “Again? Where was I?” (YOU WERE DEAD, WILL, AND I’M STILL NOT OVER IT.)
Alicia asks him what she should do with her life before she gets to the real question, “Why didn’t I come to you?” As he quotes her, “What did you say? It was romantic because it didn’t happen.” This way, he explains, Alicia got a bit of both: Life, us together, and now…romance.
At court the next day, Jason asks for Alicia’s help talking to Cary. They ask Diane to stall while they try to identify the other person who could’ve witnessed the murder. So while Diane does her best, Alicia and Jason pay Cary a visit at a college, where he’s serving as a guest lecturer. Before they go in, Alicia informs Jason that Lucca thinks they should talk. But as Jason sees it, Peter needs Alicia and Alicia needs to be needed. Her response? Just before they head into the classroom, Alicia asks Jason to wait for her.
Inside, Jason asks why no one looked for the missing bullets after the trial if they’re seemingly still in the evidence room. The answer, it seems, is simply that it would take too long. And when Jason asks if someone else could’ve been in the room with the victim, Cary points them to Sutton Foster! Well, I’m sure her character has a name, but I don’t think we ever got it. And it turns out, there’s no point. The judge stops her questioning before Diane can get anything useful out of it. But thankfully, one good thing comes out of it: Cary heads to Matan, wondering if they missed something.
After Alicia deals with Grace — who’s planning on delaying college for a year to be with her dad — Connor Fox has a new plea deal offer: one year. But Alicia is only interested in probation.
Speaking of things Alicia is interested in, let’s hope she wants a life in politics because Eli is setting it all up for her. Talking to one of his fundraisers, Peter discovers that Eli is pointing all of his fundraising toward Alicia. She doesn’t know it yet, but Eli swears it’s the smart move: This way, they won’t give their money to an opponent. And when Alicia gets the divorce, she’ll no longer be tainted by Peter. It really is a good setup, you know, IF Alicia wants that life. (I’m going to go ahead and bet she doesn’t.)
NEXT: Alicia’s unhappy ending
But let’s get to the good stuff: Matan found the bullets! Turns out they’d been accidentally misplaced in an evidence box and are being tested now. Only when Kurt calls, the news isn’t good: The bullets definitively came from Locke’s gun. He did it, which means Peter would have had reason to hide them. Now, Diane and Alicia have to find a way to stop the judge from allowing the jury to see this evidence. And as Diane reminds Alicia when she stops caring about Peter’s guilt: He’s their client. They have to care.
Back home, Alicia finds Peter in the kitchen. “Just so you know, I didn’t do it,” he tells her. But it doesn’t matter to her. He asks if he should take the one-year deal, but before they can decide, court is back in session, and Kurt’s favorite student is on the stand saying that Locke was guilty. The real kicker? The prosecution then calls Kurt to the stand.
And here’s where we get our epic battle of the good wives: Alicia wants to undercut Kurt’s testimony to help Peter, and Diane refuses to hurt her husband again if she doesn’t think it’s strategically necessary. So when Diane leaves the room, Alicia asks Lucca for a favor.
Cut to court where Lucca cross-examines Kurt without Diane’s permission and completely discredits him. And in the moment when Lucca asks if Kurt had an affair with Holly, Diane stands up and leaves the courtroom. Just like that, Alicia throws her friend and business partner under the bus to save her husband. And as uncharacteristic as it feels, let’s be honest: What Alicia is really doing is saving Grace from feeling the need to stick around and, perhaps more importantly, saving herself from being tied to Peter through yet another prison sentence.
And don’t worry, Imaginary Will is around to ask the tough question: “What is the point of all this?” He reminds Alicia that Diane knows what it means to zealously represent a client. They’re all adults here. (In other words, he thinks you messed up, Alicia.)
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In the end, the jury doesn’t get a chance to see the new ballistics test, and Connor Fox gives Alicia her wish: He offers Peter one-year probation, no jail time. All Peter has to do is resign from the governorship.
Taking the deal to Peter, Alicia informs him that she thinks he should take it. He agrees, but because he’s the worst, he has one more favor to ask. He asks Alicia to stand by his side when he announces the deal tomorrow. She agrees.
Closing the door on Peter, Alicia turns around to see an empty apartment. Wondering what she does now, Imaginary Will informs her, “Go to him. You’re done with Peter.” But as she explains, “Jason’s not you.” “Very few people are me,” Will quips. As Will explains, she can’t live here alone. It will drive her crazy. “Go to him. It’s not too late,” he says. And so she does, but not until after she tears my heart open tells Will one last time, “I’ll love you forever.” His oh-so-Will response: “I’m okay with that.”
But when Alicia can’t find Jason, she’s forced to pull a Will and leave him a voicemail. She tells him about Peter’s plea and about Grace going to school. She asks him to call her back. And then she hangs up.
Cut to a very full-circle moment as Alicia once again holds Peter’s hand as he walks on stage. Ever the good wife, she stands by his side as he thanks everyone who’s helped him along the way. But the moment she thinks she sees Jason standing off-stage, she leaves Peter. Just as he reaches for her hand, she steps off the stage to go after the man she’s chosen. Only, when she chases Jason around the corner, he’s not there. Did she imagine him? We’ll never know.
All we know is that Alicia is left alone in the hallway to face Diane, who walks up to her and slaps her in the face, just as Alicia slapped her husband seven years before. And just as she had to seven years before, Alicia has to wipe her tears and collect herself before walking forward…to whatever’s next for her.
Just like that, The Good Wife is over. In many ways, it’s a tragic story of a woman who found herself stuck in an unhappy life. The first time she started to get out of it, the love of her life was murdered. And the second time, just as she’s seemingly getting out of it with a potential divorce and a new love in Jason, she finds herself essentially back where she started. Then again, how you perceive the ending probably has a lot to do with what you think comes next for Alicia.
So, what do you think happens next? And did you like the ending? (Most importantly, did all the Will stuff make you cry uncontrollably, or was that just me?) Hit the comments with your thoughts, or find me on Twitter @samhighfill.