“The Good Wife” (5.5) recap: Hitting the fan—and smashing it to bits

CBS titled this week’s episode of The Good Wife “Hitting the Fan,” because unfortunately as of yet, no network has been able to simply use a flailing GIF in lieu of a title. But if I was in charge, I would’ve made this happen for this one. Or more accurately, I would have found a GIF of someone sitting on their chair and hardly blinking or breathing for an hour, because that was me from the first second on.

The first second starts right where we left off last week, with Diane walking into Will’s office bearing the Lockhart Gardner news of the century. Turns out the woman Will has been talking to is interviewing to be the firm’s new publicist, and is at the very moment trying to sell herself on her love for the firm’s “stability.” Hardy har har, lady! Once this pleasant but delusional woman is sent out of the office and Diane tells Will of Alicia’s departure, he blanches and sputters and attempts to cobble together a coherent sentence. But it is all done slowly, as if his shocked mind is working in slow motion. There is no background music. We just have to sit with the pregnant pauses, his uncomprehending face, holding our breath. It’s the beginning of the episode’s brilliance. As he finally rises from his chair, Diane advises him as he walks out the door: “Document everything.”

As he walks down the hall, the slowest of strings now building in his wake, we see brief flashbacks to an Alicia with bangs burst inside his head—Alicia under his covers; smiling at him from the conference room. Ouch, son.

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When he makes it to Alicia’s office, things proceed at a scary muted tone for a while. He asks, “You’re leaving?” Alicia, confused for the splittest of seconds, says, “I just got here,” and then understanding clearly, knowing there’s no point to lying, answers his questions in her soft, husky Alicia voice. When she says that she’s sorry, he responds casually, bitingly, “Of course. That helps.” And then the tension that has built up so tightly in this rubberband of an office snaps suddenly, quickly, as he knocks everything off her desk, every last bit, which always seems like such a satisfying thing to do in TV and movies yet I don’t think Will is enjoying it that much. And then the rubberband stretches again, and he tells Alicia quietly, but urgently, that she was poison. Which may be one of the cruelest things you can say to a person. I’d watched Will deliver this line at least ten times in previews for this episode, yet when it actually happens, it still slays me. She says he can’t fire her without a vote of the board. He takes her phone, has Robyn watch over her, along with four security guards, and huffs away.

Robyn, I should mention, is predictably adorable, frantic yet kind, throughout this whole thing.

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The hammer falls in quick succession from here on out: other fourth years are caught like mice in traps and marched to the lobby. Will is on the war path and doesn’t even let one of them retrieve his car keys. Harsh, bro. Although why are you driving in Chicago? I never understand rich people’s aversion to trains. Anyway, Cary walks quietly into the eye of the hurricane at this moment, perhaps somehow thinking he can grab his shit and run, until he realizes that standing in the center of the hurricane is Diane, holding his laptop in his office. Diane mad is a thousand times scarier (and enjoyably less testosterone-filled) than Will mad. Cary is somewhat stupid in the way he talks back to her, both making her angrier and revealing important information in the process, like the fact that Chumhum is on Cary’s side, which causes Diane’s eyes to bug out of her head.

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Will calls the partners and then the whole board together; they vote; Alicia is out. At the initial meeting of the partners, it is important to note that Diane takes a second before raising her hand in agreement. David Lee, in his David Lee-ish way, gives her a hard time about it. She says calmly, “Give me a moment,” before silently raising her palm, because she has the grace and the class that no one else in this building has to actually feel conflicted about all of this. She is a goddamn queen.

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