Episode Review: 'The Good Wife' continues its power stride with 'Hitting the Fan'

CBS

By Kayla Upadhyaya, Managing Arts Editor
Published October 31, 2013

As I watched the latest installment of “The Good Wife,” I knew I was witnessing greatness. Less than three minutes in, through a series of perfectly placed flashback shots so quick and quiet you really do feel like you’re just glimpsing into Will’s memories, the episode launches into an emotional, tumultuous firestorm. From the swelling score to the breakneck velocity, “Hitting the Fan” is as much a technical wonder as it is a storytelling tour de force.

A+

The Good Wife
Hitting the Fan
CBS


With Diane and Will’s realization of Cary and Alicia’s plan to start their own firm, Lockhart/Gardner transforms into a warzone. Former colleagues, friends, lovers become enemies, spitting acidic threats back and forth and exploiting each other’s weaknesses. Every character hides behind a wall of denial, convinced their professional decisions can truly be separated from their personal relationships. Alicia and Cary see their choice to leave as heroic; Will and Diane see it as betrayal. And for the viewers, picking sides is impossible. Everyone’s a little right, and everyone’s a little evil. It’s genius on the writers’ part.

“God, you’re awful,” Will sputters at Alicia. “And you don’t even know how awful you are.” He’s right, and while critic Emily Nussbaum’s tweet equating Alicia to Heisenberg seems a bit of a stretch, there’s a definite sense that season-five Alicia will have even more of a bite than we’ve seen in the past. As a character, she has always been the most fascinating when she toes the line between the “St. Alicia” she’s perceived as and someone slightly more sinister. In “Hitting the Fan,” she doesn’t just toe the line: Her white hat is gone. She’s swept up in the war, and revels in Peter’s return to corruption as he makes a legal yet highly unethical move to advance her fledgling firm.

Much like the season three finale of “Mad Men,” “Hitting the Fan” hits a reset button. But this isn’t a finale. And for that, I’m incredibly thankful, because much like Alicia and Carey, I’m ready for war.