‘The Good Wife’ Season Finale: The Election–And Everything Else–Is Decided

by | April 29, 2013 at 8:02 AM | Recap, The Good Wife

Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles and Christine Baranski of "The Good Wife" (Photo: CBS)

The Good Wife” ended its season early Sunday night with the episode, “What’s in the Box.” It set a standard for excellence in season finales that will be difficult for all subsequent shows to meet. The three main arcs, Peter’s campaign for governor, Cary’s attempt to start his own firm, and Will and Alicia’s attraction, converge in the most brilliant, unexpected way. Thank God the show has already been renewed, because I need to see what happens next.

Chicago Politics

Zach celebrates turning 18 by voting early. At the polling place, he notices a strange man bring in a box of unsealed ballots. He can see a vote for Mike Krestivo. He takes a couple of photos before he is asked to leave. Alicia (Julianna Margulies) phones Eli (Alan Cumming) to tell him what Zach saw. Eli informs Jim, the other, dumpy staffer, that Krestivo is trying to steal the election. Jim suggests stopping him with a septic spill in Krestivo territory.

Judge Abernathy (Denis O’Hare) is on call for election disputes. It’s ridiculous that, given that she is hardly a neutral party, Alicia would be allowed to go to court for this case,┬ábut she is. Patti (Martha Plimpton), with baby in tow, is repping Krestivo. Alicia questions Zach. Patti tries to make Zach look bad because of his arrest. Him being the son of a candidate seems far more suspicious to me than dropped charges. Diane (Christine Baranski) rushes in to take over for Alicia. The precinct chief testifies the seal on the box was accidentally broken. Diane points out that the worker is a Republican. She wants the court to impound the ballots until the vote can be determined, and that if they are decisive, she will bring up fraud charges.

Diane puts Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) and Cary (Matt Czuchry) on the case. Will (Josh Charles) questions Nana Joe, an elderly poll worker who confirms the man brought in the box. Patti proves she has bad eyesight. Diane points out she was closer. The ballots are counted. Over 28,000 votes are for Peter compared to less that 2,660 for Krestivo!

Watch Sunday Night’s Season Finale of “The Good Wife” Below:

That will teach Zach to meddle. The lawyers regroup, with each team now arguing the opposite of the position they had five minutes ago. Democracy in action. Then they have to stop because the never-before-mentioned third party candidate has gotten a federal injunction stopping early voting. It turns out that Jordan (T.R. Knight) is now the campaign manager for third party candidate, O’Dell. His complaint is that the candidate’s name is missing an apostrophe. If his last name is Odell, he loses the Irish vote. Robin discovers O’Dell is actually a Jewish man who changed his name for political purposes. The judge overrules, since misspelling a fake Irish name is hardly damaging.

Cary Accidentally Steals a Client

Cary looks at potential headquarters for the new firm. The offices are expensive, the other lawyers want to save money by not hiring Kalinda. Cary tries to persuade her to accept a lower salary. She wants five percent of the firm’s profits, which seems ridiculous. The other lawyers don’t like the idea. Cary puts out feelers toward Robin, who asks Kalinda a hypothetical question about whether she should leave the firm. Kalinda is livid that Cary went to Robin, even though it was her choice to play hardball. She tells Cary to go to hell. Goodbye, largely off-screen relationship.

It tuns out Colin Sweeney (Dylan Baker) owns the building where Cary wants to rent. What a great twist. He will give them a 20 percent discount in exchange for two years of free legal help. Cary tells Colin that Alicia will not be joining them. Colin phones Alicia to tell her to jump ship. Alicia warns Cary not to steal her clients.

Will and Alicia Steam Up a Car Window

Will (Josh Charles) and Alicia end up waiting for court to resume in a car. Alicia is sorry Laura broke up with him. She tells him that the kiss a couple episodes ago opened up something between them she doesn’t know how to close. But she thinks if they push through it they can one again repress their attraction. Maybe Alicia should propose an open marriage. Peter would be down. Will kisses her again. They start making out like teenagers. It’s steamy. You need to watch it again and again.

Diane interrupts by knocking on the window. He tells her that after this night from hell ends, they need to talk.

Will’s Choice

Jordan testifies for Krestivo that the stuffing the ballot box was Eli’s plan. Abernathy puts the votes on hold. Alicia asks Eli if they will lose. He says yes. He adds that Peter will need her to get through it. Alicia gets inspired. She goes back to court and questions Zach again, this time about his work on the campaign. Zach testifies that Jordan, not Eli, was the campaign manager because Eli had been fired on the date that the conversation about ballot staffing allegedly happened. Abernathy deliberates.

Meanwhile, Kalinda shows Will surveillance footage of Jim bringing in the stuffed ballot box to the precinct. As voter fraud goes, Chicago is not exactly Defiance, Ohio. This is so low-tech and sloppy, especially since they picked the precinct where Zach was voting. I don’t think Eli or Peter were in on it. Otherwise, they never would have let it get to court.

Will tells Peter (Chris Noth) what he has learned. Peter asks Will why he is coming to him instead of Alicia. Peter says, “She’s my wife.” Will tells him, “Then punch me.” Peter leaves it up to Will to decide whether or not to tell the court about the fraud. Given that polling indicates this will be a very close election, it’s up to him whether Alicia becomes the governor’s wife, in all probability ending whatever hope there was for them to be together. Of course, Alicia would also hate him for wrecking Peter’s campaign. Will ultimately decides to keep quiet, choosing his client over an honest election. Abernathy admits the votes.

The Good First Lady

Peter must have hired Mitt Romney’s pollsters. He wins by half a million votes. The fraud was unnecessary. Alica watches the celebration from a distance. She think she sees Will. Then she realizes she is just thinking about him. She places a call, telling him to meet at her apartment. She goes home, pours herself a glass of wine. She looks in the mirror and says, “This is stupid.” There is a knock on the door. It isn’t Will. It’s Cary! She says she wants to join his firm.

What a game-changer. Alicia, as the governor’s wife, instantly makes the new firm viable. The question is whether she is leaving because she is discontent with Lockhart-Gardner, or because she is trying to get out of Will’s orbit.

“The Good Wife” airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS.