It’s really the beginning of the end on The Good Wife. But despite Peter’s looming trial, there’s still cause for celebration in the latest episode, “Party.” Jackie and Howie’s impending nuptials provide a reason to get masses of people — many of them series regulars — into one crowded apartment. 

Meanwhile, party host Alicia’s mulling over her relationship with Jason, the meaning of family, why her marriage failed and how to find happiness. Time to bring out the wine!

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Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

We pick up exactly where we left off last time. Alicia reassures Jason that she’s not getting a divorce because of him — she’s doing it for herself. But she knows that there is no better moment than now to be happy. Jason gives her a box with a red ribbon. A ring? No — a joke gift of land on Mars. She looks disappointed, to say the least.

Meanwhile, Grace needs Mom’s attention. The florist sent the wrong flowers for Howard and Jackie’s ketubah (wedding contract) signing. They scream “funeral” instead of “wedding.” Considering it’s a Jewish ritual, the floral cross might not work.

Against Peter’s wishes, Eli hires Jason to investigate Peter’s case. He’s worried that the prosecution seems too cocky. 

The Gang’s All Here

At the apartment, Grace and her mom have a giggle about the deed to the “Florrick Homestead” on Mars. And Zach’s back from college, looking all grown up. He claims to have a surprise but can’t tell anyone about it now. 

Jason drops in on Matan Brady. They get right to it: did Peter tank Brady’s case against Richard Locke? Matan can’t actually prove anything but feels in his gut that Locke should be doing time — and so should Peter.

Jackie and Howie show up at Chez Florrick early, which prompts Alicia and Zach to start drinking. Grace tries to make excuses for the flowers, but Jackie looooves them. (Must be the white wreath with the “Beloved Grandma” sash.) A beautiful young woman also shows up. She introduces herself as Hannah McCreary. Then she steps in and starts locking lips with Zach. So … surprise!

Wine glass in hand, Alicia opens a bakery box to find a cross-shaped cake that reads “Rest in Peace.” Before she stops laughing, Hannah greets her by launching into a soliloquy about how she admires Alicia for standing by her husband. She’s also older than Zach by a few years but says that’s okay, too. Alicia doesn’t get a word in edgewise.

More Family Drama, More Wine!

At a local bar, Matan and Cary share a drink. Brady warns Agos that Peter’s team seems to be looking for a scapegoat, and it might be Cary. 

Owen brings Veronica to the party. Which surprises Alicia only because she knows Jackie loathes Veronica. Before Alicia can drink much more, Peter arrives (with Eli and Marissa in tow). The Florricks repair to her bedroom to discuss divorce logistics. He’s trying to keep it amicable but does admit he’s sad about their marriage ending.

Speaking of marriage … no sooner do they agree that Zach’s romance probably won’t last when they learn that their son and Hannah are engaged, too. L’chaim, everybody!

Another bottle of wine comes out. Diane and Kurt arrive. (And they can’t keep their hands off each other.) Alicia and Peter talk with their son, who tells them that he’s also dropping out of school but “not forever.” Hannah got a job in France, so he’s going with her. Alicia appears to cry at the news, but really, she can’t stop laughing.

“Zach, this is the stupidest thing I’ve heard you say in a while,” she says. “And there have been some pretty stupid things.” For some reason, Zach doesn’t take this well. He storms out, exclaiming that he’s marrying Hannah and moving to France. 

Alicia apologizes to Peter. “I think you have to handle this. I’ve been drinking,” she says. She also lets Jason’s call go to voicemail.

Growing Evidence Against Peter

Jason interviews the detective from the Richard Locke case, Crowell. The detective says that Peter is the best state’s attorney they’ve ever had. And it was probably just a coincidence that Peter asked them to double-check the blood collection.

The P.I. moves on to the blood lab. The lab technician says Peter vetoed the use of the blood evidence that she believes would have convicted Locke. She recommends he look at the evidence log. Two bullets from the crime scene went missing. Just sayin’.

Cary gets himself a lawyer, just in case. In true “tying up all loose ends” fashion, he wants Louis Canning to represent him.

Alicia apologizes to Zach for laughing at him. But she needs a favor: don’t move to France until the trial’s over. “It’s what you do for family,” she says.

Lucca pours Alicia another glass. They discuss the Jason situation. Alicia’s starting to question her love for a man she doesn’t really know. Lucca advises that she should at least return his calls.

When Jackie insinuates that Veronica drinks too much, Veronica gets her own back by saying she’s worried about Alicia and Peter, what with the divorce and all. Another surprise Jackie didn’t know. Unfortunately, neither did Grace, who runs out in shock. 

Diane shows Alicia the new firm letterhead. It reads Lockhart, Florrick & Associates. It’ll be an all-female-managed firm, just like she wanted. Just then, Zach and Grace confront their mom about the divorce. She apologizes for not telling them but says the parents wanted to get through the trial. Before they can finish talking, Jason shows up.

He’s actually there to see Eli. Jason explains that the witnesses said Peter micromanaged the Locke case — and not in a good way. 

Canning calls Diane and says he’d like to join forces, since she represents Eli. Louis wants to form a “coalition of the innocent” and keep the spotlight on Peter.

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Jason Wants What, Exactly?

Jason takes Alicia away from the party to talk. He apologizes for mishandling her announcement about wanting to be with him. He finally confesses that he wants her, too. (Yay!)

But there’s a problem. He has a hard time staying in one place for more than a year. He’s a ramblin’ man! He wants to be with Alicia, but he knows she has a good thing going on in Chicago.

She interprets it to mean that he wants to be with her, but sometime in the future he’ll want to leave the city and want her to come with him. (Um, yay?) She needs to think on it. 

Back at the party, Eli and Marissa discuss her idea of going to law school. Just then, Mike Tascioni calls to say that Tommy (the dog he carries everywhere) is sick, so he won’t be able to argue in court tomorrow. This could be a problem.

All in the Family

Eli confronts Peter about the vetoed blood spatter evidence. (The Guv isn’t stupid — he immediately guesses that Jason’s on the case.) Peter claims that the lab tech compromised the evidence by walking right through the crime scene. He also said she had a years-long history of screw-ups, which is why he also had the bullets examined by a different ballistics expert — Kurt McVeigh. (But of course!)

Alicia slips into the apartment and hides out in her bedroom. Hannah comes in and apologizes for the marriage surprise. Hannah’s worried that Alicia hates her. Mom says no; she’s just worried they’re rushing into things. The younger woman doesn’t think so, but then again, she’s all philosophical about marriage. 

Gold insists to Jason that Peter had good reasons for everything he did. When Jason wonders aloud about the missing bullets, Eli asks if his feelings for Alicia are clouding his judgment. You can always fire me, Jason says. Eli thanks him for the reminder and says to send a bill. Later, Jason interviews the lab tech again. He realizes Peter may have been right about her.

Louis Canning calls Alicia. He wants to know if Peter will be loyal to Cary during the trial. And, by the way, you might want to think about giving Peter up, he says, because she waived spousal privilege during the grand jury phase and she might be dragged into this, too.

Goodbye to All That

With the party’s nearly over, Eli and Marissa leave. Eli and Alicia agree that they have to talk tomorrow. Then Diane and Kurt leave and Veronica leaves with Owen. There are lots of hugs.

Jackie thanks Alicia for throwing the party but says they won’t be seeing each other again “because you’re divorcing my son.” Oh, Jackie, I’ll miss you and your headbands! Zach and Hannah take their leave, and they seem to have made peace with Mom.

Peter’s still there, though. He’s arguing on the phone about not taking the plea deal. He’s sorry he missed saying goodbye to Zach. The soon-to-be exes sit on the bed watching a really bad TV show. They both hold wine glasses and look a little lost.

Summary Judgment

What better way to say goodbye to characters we’ve come to know and love (or laugh at) than through a party? After this episode, it’s doubtful we’ll see Zach, Jackie, Howie, Veronica or Owen again. I’m holding out hope for another visit with Grace (who continues to grow more interesting) and, of course, Marissa. (Then there’s my spin-off, Gold & Gold, about the adventures of a cynical political fixer and his perky lawyer daughter. CBS? Call me!)

Alicia’s not exactly in the party mood, despite playing host. All the talk about marriage, the looming divorce and Jason’s “I gotta ramble” routine have her down. It’s especially painful to see her watch Diane and Kurt from across the room. They’re so obviously in love and comfortable in each other’s company. Why can’t Alicia have that, too? 

Unfortunately, her happiness must wait. If Canning’s right, Peter might not be the only Florrick with legal troubles. Here’s hoping the trials of Alicia Florrick end on a winning note.

The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm on CBS for two more episodes, then forever in our hearts (and online).

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Alison Stern-Dunyak

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV