The Good Wife Review by Henry Tran

The Good Wife 5.16: The Last Call

The Good Wife 5.16: The Last Call

Written By:
Robert and Michelle King
Directed By:
Jim McKay

Picture the loss of a loved one. Picture the last moments that you saw them alive. The first thing, the only thing, you wish after they died is to have more time with them. Be in their presence, talk about things, tell them what you've been putting off for a long time. Fill the silence. It won't come again. When they're gone, all that remains is silence.

I don't know why, but I fixate on the silence whenever an episode of television like this comes on. It has to do with the permanence of death. Those who die can't speak again. They can't do anything. Will is dead. He lives on only in Alicia's memory. She hallucinates him at unexpected times, imagines what he would say, what happened in the courtroom. It's funny, inappropriate, and yet, altogether sad. It's all sad. The characters have to process Will's death as best they can. The grief and silence will stay with them for a long time.

For the most part, the episode does the wise thing and stays with Alicia. It's her story that we're focusing on. What she feels about Will's sudden death is what we feel. There is a hauntingly beautiful sequence early in the episode where Alicia is driving...somewhere. It's not a good idea for her to do this alone, but no one else can feel the pain that she does. There is almost no sound as the camera focuses on Alicia in the car. She sees some geese flying in a broken (almost like "missing man") formation and then a mother at a crosswalk who holds her son back from getting hit in the street. She instinctively cries. The grief, the sadness just amplifies all of the sound in the episode.

The silence is awkward at times, like Eli's impromptu introduction of Alicia at the correspondents' dinner, or the sobbing by the new intern at LG that Diane immediately dismisses. It's often pointed, like Cary's verbal beatdown of his client or when Diane cuts into the partners' meeting. Will's death is a big blow, and the emptiness is too much to bear. The grief is too near for the two women most important in Will's life. There is an overall sense that Alicia, Diane, and even Kalinda can't move forward with Will's death. They're stuck trying to figure out what went wrong or what happened. Everything and everyone else is moving ahead, moving on with their lives. David Lee put it best with as much restraint as he could: Things are moving and if people can't control them, chaos will ensue. It just seems pointless, though. How can this be possible when a big part of their lives is now lost?

It's fascinating how the episode frames its procedural element here. Alicia is left to figure out what happened in the final voicemail that Will left for her. She imagines various scenarios, both on her own and influenced by information given to her by other witnesses. Is he trying for reconciliation? Is he still bitter about her constant poaching of clients? Will was competitive in this business so the latter seems more likely. But we will never know. Alicia will never know. She is in a powerless position. The judge, the opposing lawyer, they try to fill in the blanks as best they could, but it's all conjecture. Will is the only person who knows why he called Alicia and left that voicemail. Will only knows, and now, he can't speak.

Kalinda is more active here as well. She wants to know what happened in the courthouse. She seeks out Jeffrey Grant, figures out what we viewers already knew: That Grant was the one who shot and killed Will in the middle of random gunfire. There's no rhyme or reason to it, which is incredibly upsetting. Kalinda does a very cruel thing by denying Grant his release in wanting to commit suicide. It's a bit over the top and nonsensical (especially if we never see Grant again) but it fits with Kalinda's crusader mentality. She is willing to do all of the hard things, even if she is breaking up inside over this. Alicia just wanders from location to location, filling in the blanks. Everyone around her tries to fill it for her. The picture is, frustratingly, not entirely complete. The missing pieces belong to Will. It won't bring him back.

It's all hard. This is hard stuff to have to deal with. Comfort doesn't really come forward to meet anyone. Alicia loves Will, but she seems to feel like that wasn't enough to save him. The randomness of the act forces her to confront things she never thought she would have to face. Is she forgiven for her poaching of clients if the person Will was calling right before her was actually Damian? Can she find comfort in that? She's being pulled in a bunch of different directions. She has a pointed discussion about spirituality with Grace. Both of them make good points about their different perspectives. Polmar's drugged-out confession brings some absolution, but it's hard to think that she doesn't feel some guilt about all of this. It isn't honorable to keep doing what she's doing.

After this one day of soul searching, culminating in nothing that would change what she felt at the beginning of the day, Alicia can't go anywhere. She can't feel anything but the emptiness. It just isn't enough. Nothing will ever be enough to fill that void.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Perfect use of silence
  • Moving meditation on loss
  • Astounding performances
The Bad:
  • Nothing comes to mind

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

The Good Wife by - 3/30/2014 6:22 PM73 views

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