Sometimes TV, to me, is just low level entertainment in the background while I do other things. Not so with the series finale of The Good Wife. I was watching it intently, and felt invested in where it would end. [Spoiler Alert: you may want to come back to this later if you haven’t seen the finale yet.]
In that very last episode, there was a sequence when Alicia was mentally trying out different choices she might make and how they might play out. She fantasizes coming home to her apartment and finding Jason there, handing her a glass of red wine. Then she tries out a different character – now it is Peter handing her the wine glass. The impossible gets fantasy time, too – it is Will standing there welcoming her. I had a different fantasy: Walk into your own place, Alicia! Try out single life. Stop pining for a while. See what it is like to be your own person.
As much as I like to advocate for single life for those who savor it, I don’t think people should try to live single if it is not the life for them. I think we should all get to live the life that is best for us. And maybe Alicia, despite all her strengths, is just not someone who can (or would want to) live single. Maybe she always has to have some guy at her side.
But I’d like to see her try single life – try it seriously, not with one eye on Jason. So when the ghost of Will tells her to go for Jason because coming home to her own empty place would be awful, maybe she should have wondered whether dead Will was really all that wise after all.
The ending let me indulge that possibility. Yes, Alicia started off down that hall chasing after Jason, but once she was stopped in her tracks by The Slap, there’s no telling what comes next. Maybe she really does give single life a shot. And single life does not mean there’s no one else there unless you want no one else to be there. You can have friends and family and all sorts of other people in your life – maybe even a romantic partner now and then if you are into that.
Now about that slap. It was disappointing in so many ways – some of which were previewed by earlier episodes. Diane always had such poise and such power. The theme of her crumbling while learning that her husband cheated on her – and losing it publicly, in her role as attorney where she is so often so very triumphant, and so unflappable – well, that was beneath her. But we can’t say we weren’t warned. Toward the end of this season, there was Diane in bed with Kurt, acting kind of girlish and ga-ga. Of course, I did not like the turn toward pairing off Diane at all, but if it had to happen, she could have at least continued to be the fully grown, dignified adult she always was when she was single.
The Slap was also a slap because I was rooting for friendship, strength, and solidarity, and instead I got a catfight. In my fantasized ending, both Alicia and Diane would have rolled their eyes at the men who cheated on them, and hopped into a car together, just like Thelma and Louise. Only the car would make it all the way to the other side of the Grand Canyon, and they would go on to create the most kick-arse all-female law firm the world has ever seen.
As a final tribute to the whole series, I’ll skip over other things I did not like and just celebrate what I loved:
- Here’s to taking work seriously, as something engaging and exhilarating and worth a starring role in your life
- Here’s to mothers who love their children but don’t make them their whole life if they don’t want to (and don’t get punished for it)
- Here’s to friendship, especially (but not only) female friendship. Too bad one of them was undermined in the end, but there were so many good moments
- Here’s to complex characters who are not all good or all bad and who grow and regress and grow again, in ways we cannot always predict
- Here’s to women who can be steely instead of weepy, independent rather than clingy, and completely and totally brilliant
Oh, wait, I know how to sum up all of this: Here’s to single life!