When was the last time you have truly been shocked by a TV show?
Whilst the final episodes of Breaking Bad had some shocking moments because the show was coming to an end those kind of twists and character deaths were expected. So Breaking Bad was intense but nothing really happened in the final eight episodes that legitimately stunned me as it seemed inevitable the fallout from Walter White’s lies would lead to some heartbreak and a lot of death
True Detective recently went to creepy places as the investigation deepened and whilst I was a little taken aback at the events early in episode 5 because it was a limited series shocks were kind of expected because we knew the story was going to be mostly wrapped up. In the end it the monster was revealed to be someone a lot of the viewers had already guessed.
Hannibal also had an explosive ending this week but the nature of that story is that no one is really safe from Hannibal Lecter and thus anyone could be killed – we also know that there will be an eventual showdown between Hannibal and Jack and so any character closing in on him this earlier in the season is sadly doomed.
Which brings us to this week’s episode The Good Wife.
The Good Wife is a rare network show that is so confident in its characters and writers that it happily shakes things up. Earlier this season we had the delightful Hitting The Fan where the status quo was firmly shattered but those events are minor compared to what happened in Dramatics, Your Honour.
This wasn’t a series finale or even a mid-season finale, this was a regular episode of the show. Will defending a client, Alicia fighting off the voting fraud investigation, Kalinda tracking down evidence to help the L&G client. The usual case of the week which the show does well mixed in with the ongoing Governor storyline.
Yet by the time the episode ended the landscape of The Good Wife had been changed forever. Will Gardner the main male character on the show, the on and off again love interest of our leading lady Alicia (and more recently her rival) was dead. Not just shot and recovering in hospital for the next few episodes as he reevaluates his life but actually properly dead. The Good Wife is firmly rooted in reality, this is no fantasy series where Will would miraculously come alive again in time for the series finale nope he was gone. Killed by the client he was defending who could no longer face the possibility of prison. It was a shocking act for so many reasons.
Spoilers are pretty much everywhere these days even if you try to avoid them it often casting announcements or rumors of an actor leaving a show spoils you anyway. Spoilers are unavoidable, if you weren’t watching The Good Wife live last night and decided to look at Twitter then that was a huge mistake. But up until the moment was screened no one had any idea it was happening. I remember seeing a promo for the show’s March return which promised a game changing episode but then the last two weeks happened and I completely forgot about it. When The Good Wife promises a game-changer it is not kidding.
Another huge reason this death is a shock is because the series always played with the idea that eventually Will and Alicia would be together properly. Now I am not actually a fan of their love story and one of the best things about S5 has been seeing them at odds with one and other. For me there is more to The Good Wife than whether Alicia ends up with Will but for many fans this isn’t the case, they held onto idea and hoped that one day there would be a happy ending – now that chance has gone completely and in a brutal way.
Shocking twists are so often promised by shows especially during season finales but usually come the fall premiere everything is back to normal again. With The Good Wife this is a twist that will change the course of the show – for better or for worse.
As much as we all claim to like to know what is going to happen there truly is nothing like the shock of an unexpected twist. Bravo to The Good Wife for pulling it off. I can’t wait to see the devastating fallout and see where the show dares to go next.