For three years we’ve watched Alicia shed her good wife image and become her true self. Season four is all about Alicia’s growth and independence and setting out to really get what she wants. If anything, Alicia is a contradiction — torn between her own desires and the desires thrust upon her. For a short time Alicia falls back under Peter’s spell, and regresses back into her good wife persona. There’s no emotion when she’s with Peter — it’s just something she’s supposed to do. On the other hand, she fights with Will and shows real passion and emotion which is her new self coming out. Peter’s the one who betrayed her, while Will loves Alicia for herself, and it’s interesting to see Alicia react to both of the men in her life. If anything, this dichotomy has been set up from the start (with Peter she’s the good wife, with Will she’s herself) but this season it really plays out splendidly.
I mentioned last review that The Good Wife thrives in the gray area. Be it politics, or the right and wrong in a court case, but no one is a gray as Alicia herself. Who is Alicia, really? When she’s offered partner, I don’t think she really wants it but rather thinks she deserves it. When it gets taken away from her and offered again she thinks it’s only because of her relationship with Will. She doesn’t believe she earned it on her own merit, and she didn’t — her husband is going to be governor so having a Florrick as one of the partners would help the firm. Alicia doesn’t WANT the partnership, especially the insulting way David Lee offered it to her. But in the end she accepts and hates herself for it.
In the season’s best episode, and my favorite of the series, “Red Team, Blue Team” we see a new Alicia. An Alicia that emerges this episode and continues to grow as the series progresses. Cary and Alicia are tasked with arguing against Will and Diane in a mock trial against an energy drink company that killed a girl after she drank one of their drinks. It’s an exciting case and one of the few where the character’s lives revolve around the case. Alicia and Cary have just had their partnerships revoked, so they are on a mission to beat Will and Diane. Nobody mess with Alicia, especially if you’re Lockhart/Gardner, guys. With Alicia and Cary winning, Will walks into Alicia’s office and the two have an incredible yelling match. Julianna Margulies has never been so good. While yelling the two are inches apart and the start making out. As soon as they start, however, they come to their senses and pull apart. Alicia’s not as good a person as she thinks she is as she runs to the elevator calling herself an idiot. That kiss is such a crucial moment because it really deflates Alicia. She’s running circles around the partners, is about to win the case, and is talking with Cary about starting their own firm. Her new found confidence is gone and all her insecurities float back to the surface. Also, the kiss brought back all these emotions she thought she was over. She realizes that she can never get over Will if they keep working closely together.
The kiss opens something up between the two of them which really casts doubts within Alicia. She keeps having dreams about Will and literally becomes obsessed with him. Technically she’s still separated from Peter, who has just become governor of Illinois. What does she do? She calls Cary and the last moments of the season is her saying “I’m in” as the two work to create Florrick, Agos and Associates. I’m so glad when Alicia opened the door it wasn’t Peter or Will. I think getting away from Will will clear Alicia’s mind to allow her to find out what she really wants. I’m so ready for season five!
As good as season four was, the beginning started off incredibly shaky. Kalinda’s mysterious husband comes back into her life and stays for far too long. Poor Kalinda gets saddled with the horrible arcs, and Archie Panjabi deserves more. Once her husband left, however, the season picked up pace and never faltered.
Eli enlists Elsbeth Tascioni’s help as he has been accused of offering a discount in his services in favor of a campaign donations. She gets him off, of course, and he helps Peter win the governorship. Diane gets offered a spot on the state Supreme Court if Peter wins the election. She becomes engaged to the lovely Kurt McVeigh (Gary Cole) and his tea party, secession beliefs, might hurt her nomination, but she’s waited so long to be with someone that she doesn’t care. I love Diane and Kurt so much!
Most of the season is split between Peter’s campaign and the politics inside Lockhart/Gardner. I think I would much rather spend time on Peter’s campaign bus, to be honest. We are introduced to more characters, but this season was mostly about Alicia’s growth. She and Diane are now peers and we get the first glimpse of Diane not totally sure about Alicia. Is she sad Alicia has had to give up a part of herself to get where she is? Is she jealous of Alicia’s rise to power? Does she still think of Alicia as her employee even though they are equals? I hope season five delves into the Diane and Alicia relationship some more.
Will finally gets through his suspension and is allowed to practice law again. One really big issue that could potentially come up in the fifth season that could affect Alicia: In the season finale, we find out a box of ballots had a broken seal on the eve of election day. Alicia, Diane and Will go up against Patti Nyholm to prove against fraud and have the votes counted. Of the 33-something thousand votes, over 30,000 were for Peter. Peter winds up winning the election by over a half a million votes, but we don’t know if there were more ballot boxes stuffed with bogus votes which allowed him the landslide victory. When Will approaches Peter about the votes, we don’t know if Peter is in on it or not. He tells Will to do what he needs to do. Does he turn the information in to the judge which could potential nullify the election or to ignore it and have Peter win the election without knowing about the voting irregularities? He doesn’t turn the information in, mostly because he knows if he does it would hurt Alicia. We see shades of Peter’s dark past begin to emerge because I think he knew of the rigged votes. Was Will right to not turn Peter in? I can’t wait to see how this unfolds in the fifth season. If Alicia finds out then I think she will be done with Peter once and for all, but if she finds out Will covered it up then she might be even more disappointed in him. Drama!
Season four of The Good Wife was an incredibly exhilarating, complex season with some pretty fantastic guest stars. Tune in tonight as the fifth season of The Good Wife premieres on CBS at 9/8c. I’ll be covering it regularly!
– Kyle McLachlan plays a very Dale Cooper-like federal agent who tries to make a case against Eli. I love him, but I can’t help but think of him as the mayor of Portland.
– Carrie Preston returns as Elsbeth Tascioni and I want to see more from her. She’s so great.
– Colin Sweeney also makes another appearance and he’s a creepy as ever.
– Mike Kresteva is Peter’s opponent in the race for governor. When Mike approaches Alicia at a party, Alicia exchanges pleasantries with him: “Well this has been fun. Die choking on your own blood please.”