The Good Wife: "Hitting The Fan"
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The Good Wife: "Hitting The Fan"

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The Good Wife

"Hitting The Fan"

Season 5, Episode 5
A

The Good Wife

"Hitting The Fan"

Season 5, Episode 5

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It goes without saying that this is the episode we’ve all been waiting for. Not just for this season, but for years. There are so many things happening here that will make any true Good Wife fan salivate wildly. It’s not just that Cary and Alicia finally make their play and leave Lockhart/Gardner, oh no, although that is certainly the most memorable development of the episode (and possibly in the show’s history).

But there are so many other fascinating dynamics at work. Will and Diane, after spending two episodes at loggerheads, are once again presenting a united front, which is the most fun situation for them to be in. Even better, they’re presenting that front against Cary and Alicia. It’s a repeat of last season’s masterpiece, “Red Team, Blue Team,” but the stakes are much, much higher.

The Good Wife has had fun with trouble in the waters at Lockhart/Gardner many times before—think of Michael Ealy’s takeover bid, or Nathan Lane’s receivership—but the status quo never felt truly under threat. With Will and Diane united, nothing could really kill the firm. Well, nothing except losing ChumHum to a bunch of their top lawyers, including the newly elected Governor’s wife. And that’s what just happened.

This is one of those episodes that a show earns. The series has been building this careful house of cards for years now, and when it lets those cards tumble, every moment is weighted with significance. Will, Diane, Alicia, and Cary all immediately snap into battle mode when they realize what’s happening, as we’ve seen dozens of times before on this show. They’re right into cold-blooded lawyer mode, even more dialed-up because their own futures are at stake, and any personal feelings are only there to be used as blunt-force weapons against the enemy. Will and Diane castigate Alicia and Cary for their disloyalty and are beaten back with accusations of complacency and hypocrisy.

God, there are so many memorable little moments. Will devastating Alicia’s table with anger, saying he took her in when no one wanted her. Alicia getting into the elevator, the generator of so many Good Wife narrative moments over the years, and crying, alone. Peter finally getting the chance to take down Will, whom he’s long known was his rival for Alicia’s heart, without fear of repercussion, and then take his wife in the bedroom even as her firm meets in her apartment, telling her “I so… deeply… respect you as a professional.”

“Hitting The Fan”—which will be talked about for quite a bit, I imagine, and cited as one of the show’s best episodes of the year—abandons the usual Good Wife formula. There’s no real case of the week, outside of Lockhart/Gardner and Florrick/Agos’ legal wrangling over whom they get to talk to and when. There are no distracting side stories, since we jump straight in where the last episode ended and chart the next day or so in everyone’s lives.

Alicia, perhaps naïvely, thought she could make a cleaner break of things. “I’m sorry,” she says tearfully, and truthfully, to Will. “This was never meant personally.” She reminds him it’s exactly the move he and Diane pulled to set up their firm, to his irritation. There’s no other way it could have happened. The irony is that, with Alicia at a separate firm, she would actually be free to explore a relationship with Will (relatively) free of drama. But she’s going after his clients, and destabilizing his firm. The sense of betrayal he feels is palpable and understandable.

That’s another thing that’s so excellent about “Hitting The Fan.” You feel for every character. I guess I’m rooting for Alicia and Cary, but I love Will and Diane almost as much, and it’s not like I want to see them twisting in the wind. I want everyone to succeed, and I understand every hurt feeling. David Lee’s the only real villain, and even his evil mercenary shit is much-needed and a blast to watch.

There are a thousand dangling questions left by this episode. The future of the show is very exciting. There’s so much narrative territory to explore with both firms: the crippled giant of Lockhart/Gardner, trying to stay afloat, and the hard-fighting underdogs in Florrick/Agos. Sure, they have ChumHum, the Lucky Strike to their Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. But is that enough?

There are two dangling questions I hadn’t even considered. First, Peter abuses his gubernatorial powers before he’s even taken office to help Alicia out, threatening to tax internet companies in the state to make it clear to ChumHum what a powerful ally they’d have in Florrick/Agos. It’s underhanded stuff that you largely support as an audience member, but it’s also the kind of thing that would get a political administration in serious trouble. Is this foreshadowing, or will Peter have to deal with this specific scandal?

The other question, or should I say twist, is Kalinda sticking with Will. I think? She seems to be into it, although she is, as ever, an enigma wrapped in a riddle. She certainly has more sympathy for Alicia than Will does by the end of the episode, but still, as he promises her he’s going to make his firm the biggest in the world, she seems into it. That’s a hell of an interesting dynamic that I’d like to see explored more in the future.

Lord! What a watercooler worthy hour. What a fantastic television program! What a privilege it is to watch every week! I’m champing at the bit for more.

Stray observations:

  • Will’s polite interaction with Grace, in the middle of all that chaos, was fantastic. For all the crap going on, there are still decorum and manners regarding the outside world.
  • As I had predicted, Diane won’t be a judge after all. This tiff will cost her with Peter, quite unfairly, I should add. Don’t go to prison, Peter! Keep an eye on the ball!

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