So many disasters can happen when people don’t talk directly to each other.
Poor communication caused the rift in The Good Wife’s once-close friendship of Alicia and Kalinda, so it was probably fitting that the episode with Kalinda’s long-anticipated departure was devoted to how disastrous miscommunication can be.
That despite the fact that most of these characters are lawyers, and thus professional speakers. (Though as Alicia takes pains to point out to her daughter while they’re watching To Kill a Mockingbird, she’s no Atticus Finch and she never wanted to be. She doesn’t make lofty, idealistic speeches: “It’s about facts and evidence.”)
The miscommunication in “The Deconstruction” winds up being professionally tragic for Alicia’s hopes of coming back to her own firm and personally tragic for Kalinda’s life--or at least her ongoing presence on the show. Cary, trying to save Kalinda from testifying against Lemond Bishop, unintentionally ruins her (not entirely believable) scheme to plant the blame on one of Bishop’s men. That forces Kalinda to flee by the end of the episode, leaving only one artfully lonely hairbrush behind to console Cary.
It’s a strangely anti-climactic exit for a character who deserved a little more fanfare, if indeed this is the last we’ll be seeing of her. For whatever reasons the actors haven’t shared a scene in years, but I wish they’d broken that streak to give us a final in-person conversation between Alicia and Kalinda.
But Alicia’s too busy trying to figure out what she wants to do next. She thinks it’s a return to her firm (now called Lockhart Agos & Lee, “or whatever its name is,” as Peter snarks. Given the rapid name-partner turnover, you do have to wonder how much money Diane and Cary have spent on new signs, business cards and stationary over the past 18 months.)
But Oliver Platt, here to fight mandatory minimum drug sentencing and give Diane an amusing side plot involving Cary's former parole officer, tells Diane that the Florrick name is too corrupt; if Alicia comes back, he’ll take his billionaire business elsewhere. So Alicia ends the episode sobbing, with no state’s attorney’s job and no law firm to go back to.
I’m still not convinced that she’s completely done for in terms of the election, mostly because the show expended so much storytelling time on that plot. But there’s something very meta about Alicia’s last conversation/pep talk with Peter: “You can do it, Alicia. You can come back from this,” he tells her.
It’s easy to envision the same conversation in a Clinton kitchen somewhere circa summer 2008. We know Alicia Florrick will, indeed, come back from this--book-writing doesn’t make for great television--but right now The Good Wife is doing a very good job of making our main character’s immediate prospects seem extremely bleak. Maybe it’s time for a between-seasons time jump.