‘The Good Wife’ 6×20 Recap: Damaged Goods

TGWWell, everyone, it’s here. Last night we got what appeared to be Archie Panjabi’s last episode, in which Kalinda heroically sacrifices herself by giving Geneva Pine everything she needs to take down Lemond Bishop. Cary had decided to flip on Bishop too, so he calls Geneva Pine and offers to turn state’s evidence if she’ll leave Kalinda and Diane alone. Little does he know that Kalinda has already offered the same thing. In a desperate move to leave Cary out of the whole mess, Kalinda sneaks into Bishop’s study and downloads files from his computer onto the thumb drive of one of his associates, effectively pinning it all on said associate. Bishop almost catches her, and she knows it’s only a matter of time before he finds everything out and murders everyone (remember, guys, Lemond Bishop murders everyone, all the time, always), so she leaves town, but not before leaving a note for Alicia, the content of which we never see.

I suppose that in addition to being Chicago’s nattiest drug kingpin, Lemond Bishop is also an idiot. What head of a criminal enterprise just leaves all his incriminating data on a Macbook without any kind of password protection? Could you imagine Gus Fring doing that? Anyway, putting aside those believability issues, the story did fulfill its purpose of getting Kalinda out of town. Ted Humphrey’s final shot of Archie Panjabi looking directly into the camera and saying “goodbye” was haunting, but since The Good Wife hasn’t really done much of anything worth anything with Kalinda in the last few seasons (“Hail Mary” being the closest thing to a notable exception), none of Kalinda’s closing arc had the emotional impact it should have.

I could tell what the show wanted me to feel when Kalinda called Diane and gave her philosophical advice (a clear sign that someone’s either going to disappear or kill themselves). I could tell what the show wanted me to feel when Cary walked into Kalinda’s apartment and found it empty. I could tell what the show wanted me to feel when Kalinda walked through Alicia’s living room and reminisced about their friendship. It’s a shame that the rumored beef between Archie Panjabi and Julianna Margulies kept the two of them from sharing even an iota of screen time, because the Kalinda-Alicia relationship was one the show spent a lot of time up front investing in. And yes, I get it; Kalinda slept with Peter. But honestly, who hasn’t? Without Alicia to confide in and drink tequila with, Kalinda became a feather in the wind. Suddenly we were forced to believe that she and Cary were star-crossed lovers, or that she was besties with Will. I mostly believed those things, because I had no choice, but I wasn’t happy about it. The show used the breakup of Kalinda and Alicia’s friendship as a signal of Alicia’s transformation into a harder, more cynical person, which worked in theory, I suppose, but each woman was stripped of a useful confidante, and several of their individual stories suffered because of it.

Speaking of Alicia, this week found her having to withdraw from the State’s Attorney’s race she just won, ostensibly because of the voting machine scandal, but really because her arm had been twisted behind the scenes by the state Democrats. Politics, y’all, politics. The opening sequence was a fantastic throwback to the pilot, showing us just how far Alicia has come. It’s now Peter who’s the Good Husband, standing off to the side while his wife holds humiliating press conferences. (Although… I suppose the consolation prize of being Governor will just have to do for Peter.) I’m not sure at all why we went through an entire season of her campaign only to have her withdraw before actually taking office, but I’m trying to roll with it. The state Democratic party seemed perfectly cool with Peter taking office despite him being as damaged as damaged goods could get, but Alicia gets bullied into stepping down? Okay.

Alicia’s a man without an island, or a woman without a country, or however the expression goes, so she goes back to the firm, now called Lockhart, Agos & Lee, and tries to get her old job back. But in a story that feels a lot more like Laurel & Hardy than The Good Wife, a series of misunderstandings and miscommunications has Alicia thinking her partners are stalling so they can poach all her clients, and the partners thinking Alicia wants to start her own firm (again). It all leads to a confrontation between Alicia and Diane in which they both yell at each other about betrayal. And yes, it was a misunderstanding between these two women that started all this, but none of it would have happened if they trusted each other, which they clearly don’t. But just when it all looks like it’s going to be fixed (mostly thanks to Kalinda talking both women off the ledge), Reese Dipple (R.D.) steps in and says he and his money want nothing to do with a firm where Alicia’s on the letterhead. And because money always wins, Alicia’s left out in the cold. That plus whatever the hell was in Kalinda’s note leads to Alicia having a sobby breakdown in her apartment, and we’re left with the same question Alicia posed to Peter in the teaser: what does she do now?

She could start her own firm. Again. With basically no clients. Except for Colin Sweeney, who has never worked for me as a character. I don’t want to watch him brutally kill more women.

She could just not work for a while, like she did after Will died. I always love seeing Alicia in jeans.

She could try to find another way to weasel back into Lockhart, Agos & Lee. To work with people who don’t really want her there (particularly America’s favorite new conservative, David Lee).

She could work for Finn and try not to make out with him every day. I could watch that.

She could spend two episodes trying to load her resume onto monster.com. Zach could help her, since we know how bad she is with technology, and Zach could talk about how hard it was to abort the baby he was gonna have, and mother and son could have a teary huggy reconciliation.

None of these options seems particularly thrilling (and I might be leaving something out), but we’re going to have to spend the last two episodes of the season watching her try something here, right? I have faith that the Kings will find an interesting place for Alicia to land, but after 132 episodes, I’m not sure where that place is.

‘The Good Wife’ 6×20 Recap: Damaged Goods