Before I say the rest of what I'm about to say, I just wanted to share that OMG I AM SO SAD THAT WILL IS DEAD.
But here's the thing. What they've done is brilliant from a writing stand point.
Well Josh Charles wanted to leave. The rules of USA network television say that this means that his storylines should have been wrapped up, he should have saved Peter, made up with Alicia, had a happy couple of weeks with her, then died in her arms with a confession of love.
This of course would be preceded by six weeks of 'ONLY SIX WEEKS UNTIL ONE OF THE CHARACTERS WE LOVE BITES THE DUST' and 'WHO WILL IT BE?' promotions run by the network on every ad break.
These aren't things we think about, but they're the signs (well the advertising is a very obvious one).
So what makes Will's death brilliant?
It's not playing by the rules of television, it's playing by the rules of reality. Where we are led to believe it's going is that Will is going to betray Peter, Alicia will pick a fight with him, they'll have sex, it'll all be fine for a while and then there will be more drama. Had we known that Josh Charles was going to leave perhaps we would have thought that he was so heartbroken by Alicia hurting him again that he had to fly off to live in Tahiti for the remaining seasons.
This was the direction the show was heading, right?
Bullet to the neck with no warning and Will's dead on a hospital gurney. No slow dying in someone's arms, no Alicia running to hospital in time for Will to admit he loved her. No. None of this.
Which is unbelievably frustrating as a fan, but so so so excellent as a writer.
Last night this episode upset me, and not in the way that TV character deaths usually upset me, but in the way that I felt empty and unsure what to do for the rest of the evening. It wasn't anything like receiving the phone call myself, but I felt that same dull shock of hearing about the death of someone I wasn't particularly close to.
I think what they've done is brave and realistic. It will either make for fantastic television for the rest of the season, or turn out to be the worst decision they've ever made.