The March 30 episode of The Good Wife centered around the fact that people deal with grief differently. Holding to that truth, it makes sense that viewers would be most moved by different moments in the hour, which showed Will Gardner’s (Josh Charles) colleagues learning of and trying to make sense of his death.
Let’s test that theory: List the three moments that hit you hardest in the comments section. Here are a few EW staff picks to get us started:
1. Faux Will saying it was all a mistake. Throughout the episode, Alicia imagined seeing Will, but this time, in the hospital, when she imagined him touching her on the shoulder and turning around; he looked directly at us: “It was all a mistake, can you believe it? They thought it was me because the body was shot in the face,” he said into camera. I felt my heart rise and fall before I even knew what hit me. That was the point, obviously. No moment was more relatable.
2. Diane saying, “If I were dead, it’s exactly what Will would do.” Diane fired a client who demanded to see her the day of Will’s death to make sure she’d take over his business personally. She also informed the client that she’d spoken to other firms, including Florrick Agos, and they wouldn’t touch him either: ”They liked Will. They don’t like you.” When the client told her this wasn’t what Will would do, she said he was wrong. I almost burst into tears. After all the time spent worrying about the firm’s finances – especially by Will – that was powerful, both in terms of what Diane was giving up and how much Will valued her. Having David Lee back Diane’s decision – and other firms give up millions in business, too – was the ultimate sign of respect.
3. Diane first hugging Alicia. We’d already seen them break down privately, but there’s something about the two of them showing vulnerability in public together that made the embrace both heartbreaking and comforting (they’d only do that with each other).
1. Alicia concluding during her visit from Finn that Will had not called her to flame her for poaching clients. I loved that her chase for an answer ended with her relieved that the call could remain forever ambiguous, that it could mean whatever she wished it to be. That said…
2. Alicia at the end not returning her husband’s hug and imagining Will declaring his love for her. What I loved about these moments of imagining was that they were actually Alicia confronting truths about herself – her grief, her guilt, her longing. The value of her last flash of Will was realizing she still loved him – and, perhaps, realizing the limits of her love for her husband. The meaning of Will’s call will be forever unknown. And that’s a comfort to her. But the meanings of her fantasies about the call are knowable and undeniable. In general, I loved the sophisticated way Good Wife used those phone call fantasies to reveal Alicia’s state of mind/emotional process/reflections.
3. Diane first hugging Alicia, too.
1. The judge walking Alicia through what happened in the courtroom. Learning that Will had been shot when he tried to step in and play the hero was what I’d expected, but it only made me love and miss him that much more. And watching him fall to the ground and get dragged? I just couldn’t bear it.
2. Diane and Alicia’s chat. The two of them were so great in this scene, but watching Will’s best friend and the woman he loved grieve was heartbreaking. When Diane said, “He loved you,” to Alicia, there was such a weight behind it. It was such a realistic and genuine interaction, and it absolutely tore me to pieces.
3. Finn telling Alicia that Will tried to mouth something. Was he trying to say “Alicia”? And even if he wasn’t, the idea that he died in pain will probably haunt me forever.
Breia Brissey (read her recap):
1. The very last scene when Alicia imagines that Will called to say he loved her. Always and forever. This is likely the last thing Will Gardner will ever say on the show. And to have it be his declaration of love for Alicia just ripped me apart. I’m not even sure I thought they would end up together. But I wanted the option. So Alicia projecting this as his “last call” is just too much. The Good Wife writers really twisted the knife with that one.
2. David Lee choking up. Even David Lee, a pretty despicable human, was hit hard by Will’s death. This basically proves that if you didn’t think Will’s death was sad, you have no soul.
3. Alicia and Grace talking. I’m a sucker for sentimental parent/child moments. But this one was particularly hard because there was so little hope. Grace tries to convince Alicia that Will is in heaven, but Alicia won’t even entertain the idea. And then at the end, Grace says she just wants her mom to be happy. (And that’s what I want, too. Mom, I hope you’re happy! Because now I’m sobbing.)
1. David Lee reacting to Will’s death, after he cleared the room. We often see him impatient, gruff, and in bulldoze mode. Watching him clear a room to have a quiet moment alone to react to Will’s death was eye-watering. David Lee is human, too.
2. Diane saying she loved Will, and that Will loved Alicia.
Diane: I loved him.
Alicia: I know.
Diane: He loved you.
There was something Lonesome Dove about this poignant exchange. Just heartbreaking.
3. Faux Will at the hospital saying it had been a mistake. I felt like I was right there with Alicia seeing ghosts and experiencing denial that Will is truly gone.