Three weeks ago “The Good Wife” left viewers dangling in anticipation of a showdown between the two most powerful women in Peter’s life as Alicia (Julianna Margulies) marched into the hair salon where her mother-in-law, Jackie (Mary Beth Peil), was waxing eloquent on her son’s political future.

This week’s episode, “Pants on Fire,” found the adversaries in full confrontation mode as Jackie revealed that she had outbid Alicia for her former house because she wanted to leave something to her grandchildren, and Alicia threatened to stop Jackie cold.

And with that, the storyline — a long time coming — threw the Florrick family tensions in high relief as Peter (Chris Noth) was forced to choose sides.

It also played off the previous episode’s twist in which Alicia recused herself from a blue-ribbon panel’s report on a fatal police shooting. At first glance Alicia’s actions, which all but guaranteed that the victim’s family would not see justice, had seemed based on saving Peter’s reputation as state’s attorney.

Can we say backfire? When Mike Kresteva (the deliciously unsavory Matthew Perry, in what surely must be a recurring role) sauntered uninvited into Alicia’s office and presented her with the panel’s report, which seemed to come around to her point of view, we knew something was up. And indeed it was. Yes, the report would find the police officers culpable, but it would also censure her husband. With that, Mike offered her a chance to write a minority report filled with whatever her conscience guided her to say. Alicia declined.

When it turned out Mike had political motivations of his own — he announced a run for governor — and lied to the press about Alicia’s response to the report, she turned to Eli for help. “It’s a 24-hour news story,” he admonished the verklempt Alicia. “It will go away unless we take the bait.”

Which she did, prompting Mike to tell an incredulous Alicia that her memory was faulty. Moments later, she was pushing Peter to announce his own candidacy.

But if Eli intended to help Peter in his still-uncertain bid, he was going to have to drop out as a consultant on the state senate campaign of his ex-wife, Vanessa (Parker Posey). The Democratic committee had another candidate in mind. This, after the former spouses had enjoyed a romp in the sack. How sadly inconvenient for Eli, just as he had managed to somehow convince Vanessa that he wasn’t such a jerk after all.

About that house.

“Alicia and I are trying very hard to act like adults,” Peter scolded Jackie, finally standing up to his manipulative mother with a threat of exiting her life. “I need you to butt out.”

It only seemed as if Jackie had been defeated. Cut to a hospital bed, where Jackie lay after suffering a stroke. She motioned Alicia to her side. “I forgive you,” she muttered, before raising an eyebrow.

Meanwhile, Mike warned Peter that should he enter the gubernatorial race, his family would not be off-limits.

And with that, Peter announced the seemingly inevitable: his candidacy for the governor of Illinois, his good wife by his side as a look of triumph/resignation/trepidation/outright fear — readers? — flashed across her face while her husband raised their clasped hands in unity.

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