Last night’s aptly titled “Hitting the Fan” episode of “The Good Wife” was the culmination of this season’s domino-like set-up, as all hell broke loose at the beleaguered law firm of Lockhart & Gardner. On her way out the door, Christine Baranski’s Diane drops the bombshell on (soon-to-be ex-partner?) Josh Charles’ Will: Julianna
Margulies’ Alicia and Matt Czuchry’s Cary are about to ankle with the rest of the fourth-year associates, and plan to take with them the company’s top clients to their brand-new Florrick-Agos shingle. [Watch here]
The look on Will’s face when he hears the news is one of the episode’s highlights, as he runs through a gamut of emotions—disbelief, sorrow, a nostalgic flashback to the pair’s brief affair and finally, anger, storming into Alicia’s office, angrily throwing everything off her desk and firing her on the spot, taking her Blackberry for good measure. “You were poison,” he splutters after recounting how he took her in to the firm when “no one wanted you… God you’re awful and you don’t even know how awful you are.”
That sets in motion a veritable shark tank, as the two sides quickly draw lines in the sand, aiming for one another’s jugulars, as Will calls an emergency meeting of the partners to vote out Alicia, and the bloodletting begins in earnest. Meanwhile, a publicist who was about to take a meeting with Will proposes her plan to portray Lockhart & Gardner with “stability… just one big happy family” [without] the “constant screaming and back-biting” she sees at most firms. In the midst of the chaos, Will hires her, hoping she is adept at crisis management.
At this point, Alicia and the two Carys (Ben Rappaport’s Carey Zepps, and a constant source of humor) set up shop in her apartment after Zach Grenier’s sleazy David Lee gets their new offices condemned for “rat infestation.” Talk about your mixed metaphors. Meanwhile, Chris Noth’s Governor-elect Peter Florrick gets into the fray, accidentally reaching Will on his wife’s confiscated cell phone, and warns him not to make an enemy of him and Alicia together after accusing Gardner once more of sleeping with and firing his betrothed. “I’m just trying to figure out what I should feel bad about,” harrumphs Will. All flush with his better half’s new-found resolve, Noth returns home and interrupts the feverish activity for a little quickie with Alicia, underlining the connection between power and sex.
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There is then a series of comic dueling injunctions scenes as old firm and new vie for the $35 million ChumHum account, with an amusing about-face by the company’s eccentric chief John Benjamin Hickey when he overhears the Governor threatening to up the tax on social media sites, as Noth comes to his wife’s aid. Stunned by the fact she wasn’t asked to join Alicia’s new firm, Archie Panjabi’s in-house investigator Kalinda Sharma seems to teeter between both camps before throwing her allegiance behind Will.
Another of the show’s memorable elevator scenes has Alicia insisting to Will, “This was never meant personally,” although we’re very sure it was, to which her longtime colleague responds, “I don’t give a damn!” with all the force of Clark Gable in “Gone With the Wind” as the doors shut and Margulies sheds some tears in a rare moment of weakness during her self-empowerment.
The vitriol back and forth is like a legal version of Shark Week, and it’s amazing how fun it is to see lawyers slice and dice one another, both in and out of court. With all-out war declared, one-time colleagues are now turned into adversaries, and everyone must choose sides, which has made Diane—whose previous ouster from the firm is put o hold to elicit her support in the fight against Alicia—unsure of her own position. Of course, the final scene of the episode, with Noth’s Governor asking Alan Cumming’s Eli Gold for an updated list of Supreme Court candidates—apparently to take revenge on Diane for her role in Alicia’s firing—indicative that there is more conflict yet to come with his campaign manager warning Peter Florrick of the ethical implications of what he’s doing.
The die is now cast, and it sure looks like “The Good Wife” is ready for a protracted Civil War that will be ruinous for someone, if not everyone, involved.