good wife decision tree josh charles john noble 'Good Wife's' 100th episode: Josh Charles and John Noble break our heartsThe 100th episode of “The Good Wife,” titled “The Decision Tree,” brought the fall half of the season to a close — and what a way to go out. This is probably my favorite episode the show has ever done.

Sure, “Hitting the Fan,” with Alicia and Cary getting found out and the mad-dash to oust her while the fourth-years desperately tried to take clients with them, was much more high-octane. But this one was so quietly outstanding for many reasons, not the least of which is Josh Charles and guest-star John Noble.

Both men are in love with Alicia and neither can have her and it’s heartbreaking to watch.

Of course, Noble’s Matthew Ashbaugh couldn’t have her years ago, when they were working on a case for him in New York. At that time, Charles’ Will Gardner did have her. Will and Alicia were mid-affair at that point — and having some racy balcony sexy time that Alicia declared made her the happiest she’s ever been.

But in the present, all that is gone. Will has lost Alicia both professionally and personally — and it seems like he has finally realized that.

Sure, the two firms have been battling for the past few weeks of the show, but it’s been almost like flirt-fighting. You just know that Will goes home to his Tattoo Girl and thinks about the barbs and legal maneuvers he and Alicia traded that day. He thrives on that sort of thing.

But not this time. This time, Will had something very personal to ask Alicia about in the course of the lawsuit over Ashbaugh possibly leaving her $12 million. Something only he knew about — because it was from the New York trip with the aforementioned balcony time.

The scene where Will was mapping out his line of questioning was incredibly well done by Charles. As was the small moment in the flashback where he caught Ashbaugh looking at Alicia and they both pretty much acknowledged that they’re in love with her.

It was expertly done all the way around and I cannot wait to see how the show continues this working relationship.

And that enough right there would’ve been a terrific episode, but there were other highlights as well:

  • Jason O’Mara‘s Damian Boyle is quite the colorful character, leading Kalinda on several high-speed chases around Chicago — and then trapping her with the help of a cop he’s friends with. But our Kalinda manages to … wiggle her way out of that.
  • It’d be interesting if Jordana Spiro‘s Det. Villette pops back up in the second half of Season 5. Will Kalinda and Damian continue to face off? How will Villette figure in?
  • The holiday party was a hoot, particularly the stuff with Peter and Alicia’s mothers. I would totally watch an episode that centered around Jackie Florrick and Veronica Loy driving each other crazy.
  • Can we talk about the final frames? Marilyn Garbanza’s going to name her son Peter? Is she messing with Eli? She’s a little early in the pregnancy to know the sex, at least from my experience. But either way — Peter Florrick is not the father, right? With Marilyn getting all chummy with Alicia? That makes her quite the villainous character and I’m not sure how I feel about that. So far she’s an interesting foil, but she’s not a straight-up villain. Hmm.
  • Best Lines:

    Ashbaugh: “Always play the fox, they’ll never know you’re the sanest man in the room.”

    Eli Gold: “Holiday decorations, Jackie. Not Christmas, not Jesus. Holiday.”
    : “I have a Hanukkah, too.”

    Zach: “Sometimes I think of you as mom and other times just as this interesting person that lives at our house.”

What did you think of “The Decision Tree’?

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."