“The Good Wife” recap (5.10): The Decision Tree

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This week marks The Good Wife’s 100th episode, which they cheekily refer to in the first frame, a shot of a car’s speedometer flickering at 100 miles per hour. And who is our Speedy McGee? Kalinda, obviously. She’s following Damian, who apparently drives at ridiculous, manly speeds around town, just ‘cause, and she’s wearing black shades and smirking while she does it, all while the heavenly holiday sounds of “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” play in the background. Oh, how we have missed you, speed chasing, black shades wearing Kalinda. Hallelujah, indeed.

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Damian, it turns outs, ends his drive at the offices of Florrick Agos, where he’s delivering Alicia her exit contract from Lockhart Gardner. Her $150,000 partner contribution will be returned to her upon signing. But before she does so, she asks Nathan Lane to look it over, as other matters in the office, which is once again fully furnished and appears to be quite bustling, distract her. She hands Damian a toy to play with. Hayden Lane finds her a few minutes later to ask who Matthew Ashbaugh is, because it’s clear in this contract that Lockhart Gardner wants to separate her from everything about him.

Flashback to old Ashbaugh, played by John Noble, blaring his classical music while he quietly but surely professes his love for Alicia Florrick while negotiating legal matters. I miss that Ashbaugh. Alicia tells Hayden that he’s dead, so she doesn’t know what the big deal would about him would be. But it turns out it is big: unbeknownst to Alicia, Ashbaugh has left her $12 million in his will.

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5goodwife10screencap3 Say what.

So into the courtroom we go, with Florrick Agos v. Lockhart Gardner once again, with LG representing Ashbaugh’s widow, who believes she should be the sole beneficiary of his fortune, which she in fact was in a prior will. The will that bequeathed Alicia to all the moneys was written later, 16 months before his death, scratched out in magic marker with a prostitute as a witness. As they battle in court about which will is the authentic one, Cary and Alicia decide to push Hayden to actually start lawyering, which is painful and amazing all at once.

In the end, Cary and Alicia’s arguments are stronger, and the judge, this week played by Kurt Fuller as Judge Dunaway, one of my faves, is about to rule in their favor when all of a sudden Will buts in to say that Alicia Florrick used her undue influence—her knowledge of Ashbaugh’s devotion to her—to make this magic marker will happen. Cary leans over and asks Alicia what Will’s got on her. She responds, “A whole lot of anger.”

Hence begins one of the most emotionally wrenching, well-played episodes of TV I’ve ever seen. That night, Will sits down at his desk to plan and rehearse for his questioning of Alicia the next day. Flashbacks abound in this episode, in both Will and Alicia’s minds, about “that time two years ago,” when they sat strategizing with Matthew Ashbaugh in his apartment in New York, and Will stroked Alicia’s thigh underneath the table, and later they had lots of sex and Alicia whispered in Will’s ear that at the moment, she was the happiest she’d ever been. I’ve never disliked Will more than I have during this season so far, but in this episode, his pain is raw, as he translates in his mind Alicia’s possible manipulation of Ashbaugh’s feelings into a lucrative will into what he believes is a very real manipulation of his own love for her, using him to steal his clients when she broke away from the firm. Because, you know, it’s obviously all about Will. The tears that well up behind both Alicia’s and Will’s eyes in these scenes, though, which are never fully released are gutting. And while I’m not as personally invested in their relationship as I am others, I would argue with anyone who believes theirs isn’t one of the most well-written and complicated stories of longing and woe on TV right now, if not the very best.

But back to the good stuff, meaning, Kalinda driving like a badass, which she continues to do, even though Damian is obviously onto her game. She pops her gum while she waits for him in one brief, glorious pink second, and he then challenges her to a race on the highway, while also asking her out. “Me mum likes Indians,” he says. Ugh. Gross.

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Kalinda is smirking and asking what makes him think she’s an Indian when an unmarked cop car starts twirling its lights behind her. A tall drink of blonde water strolls up to Kalinda’s window, essentially informing her that Damian has bested her this time. She’s a cop that Damian knows, who he’s called to pull Kalinda over and put her in the slammer. Even if Kalinda’s an investigator, “harassing” a lawyer is illegal, and the cop has the right to arrest her.

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