Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Good Wife: Good Wives, Like Good Guys, Finish Last

Alicia Florrick, I wish you well, but I think you’re going to need that wine--and plenty of it--in the future you’ve carved for yourself. Let’s review.

When we met you seven years ago, you stood by your husband’s side as the quintessential good wife, stoic, expressionless, and faithful to your role, if not your man. After all, he was caught on tape frolicking with prostitutes and opportunists.

As an opportunist himself, one accustomed to shaking hands and doing business with highest bidders, Peter Florrick was more comfortable with those whose moral compass had not been reset in decades.

You, on the other hand, seemed to know how to locate the moral North star. You were devoted to children. You were brave enough to stand by that philanderer, and you were kind as kind can be to a mother-in-law with the harridan gene. But as you re-entered the work force, putting to use your law degree, your compass grew rusty.

Perhaps a wonky compass is in the nature of the law. After all, it requires a vigorous defense even if the client swims in murky waters.

Perhaps that compass goes awry when a person is betrayed as you were. In spite of your grace and poise, it must sting to know your allure is not enough to draw your man to you. He cherishes the chase more than the lovely woman at home. To reassure yourself or to find love lost, you began the first of several affairs, each one compromising your moral authority over those children with whom you spent less and less time.

And they are not the only ones who struggled to keep up with your new directions. You formed alliances with Will and not Cary, with Cary and not Diane, with Eli and Eli's daughter, with anyone else and not Eli, with Peter and not Jason, and with Jason and not Peter. Your dance card had so many names penciled in and crossed out, even you must surely have been confused about the person with whom you were expected to dance.

And that is how we left you--confused, still drinking, still choosing one over the other as if you were forced to do so, slapped, left behind, and alone. We hoped for a happier end, but vows built upon technicalities alone don’t seem to hold people--at least in the world you inhabited--so alone you will journey on.

Absorb the slaps; you invited those stings.

Dry your eyes; tears never seem to change outcomes.

Pour another generous goblet of white or red. Look pensive.

Know your children are different from you, embarking on lives unimagined by you, but you’ve surrendered to their truth.

They will, or they will not make their way to happiness and fulfillment, with or without heartache--most likely with.

But that appears to be okay--heartache, that is. It appears to be the expectation and conclusion when moral compasses go wonky.

Reading Challenge:

“Read” the last episode of The Good Wife and the first season’s episodes to evaluate whether the first season prepared viewers for the last chapter as novelists and playwrights do when they provide exposition in the early chapters.

Writing Challenge:

Read the first chapter of your favorite book. Does it prepare you for the end? How?