Tuesday 13 December 2011

Reaction Post - I'll help.

The Good Wife: 3x11 What Went Wrong.

This week, on The Good Wife: Kalinda and Alicia talked. There was no frowning. People in the vicinity of the conversation did not suffer from hypothermia. I'm sure other stuff happened as well, but...

No, but seriously. I've basically spent this entire season so far jealously watching Alicia/Will shippers rejoice (oh tumblr tracked tags, both the salt of the earth and the bane of my life). Last week, I almost felt a sense of schadenfreude when their beautiful ship sank, not because I hate the idea of Will and Alicia (their timing is awful though), but seeing others suffer as well made me feel... less lonely (less alone...). Kalinda's reaction to Alicia's glacial move towards their friendship was glorious to behold. Her face after Alicia spoke the titular lines was the Kalinda-equivalent of other people's running around flailing and screaming at the tops of their lungs (she's a ~private person). 
The other remarkable thing about the episode: about halfway in I noticed that I found completely random and not very significant scenes incredibly enjoyable, and it was all because of Julianna Margulies' face, which is always excellent, but there was something about her acting in this episode... It almost felt like Alicia Florrick has finally become this new person that has been developing since last season. The cinematography also stood out (that first shot of Alicia's eyes, slowly revealing where we were, which fit Alicia's daydreaming and disorientation!). 
  • The case-of-the-week was a little different than usual as well, since we didn't get to see the actual trial. A police woman is accused of killing her husband. While the jury deliberates, Diane and Cary (and Alicia and Dana) try to make a deal since the prosecution feels like not really having made its case - when offered a second-degree-murder-charge, the client turns the deal down - and is promptly and surprisingly unanimously convicted of first-degree-murder. Suspecting that something must have happened during deliberation and motivated by an equally appalled judge, L/G set out to stalk the jurors and find cause for a mis-trial. 
  • Alicia's advice to the client was a good reminder of some of the themes of The Good Wife: "You know what you did. You know what you didn't know. You also sometimes that doesn't matter. It comes down to two things: the skill of your lawyers, and the jury. You have good lawyers, the trial went our way, but the jury is an unknown. They're your peers. And I've never understood my peers."
  • Things between Alicia and Will remain awkward, regardless of mutual exclamations of awkward-avoidance-plans. "So that's it then, isn't it. We just decided and it's so?" / "Yup. We're adults." 
  • Remember when the kids asked Alicia what she was doing after Peter had picked them up, and she replied: laundry, missing you because "having sex with my boss" wasn't an appropriate answer? She tries the laundry-missing strategy for about five seconds before finding it unbearable (also unbearable: "history" television shows that are an excuse to show pretty people in weird costumes having sex - "Joan of Arc, as only cable can tell it" - Alicia Florrick disapproves, although the episodes left it open if she turned off the TV because she didn't want to be reminded of what she had just lost, or because it made her feel uncomfortable). Struggling to figure out what other people not currently involved in a secret affair would do with a free evening, she made a phone call: And because Owen is such an awesome character, because he is interesting and funny all on his own but also a constant reminder of who isn't getting slurry-drunk with Alicia - we finally got an insight into Alicia's feelings. 
Owen: Are you in love with Will?
Alicia: I don't think I am.
Owen: Seriously?
Alicia: Seriously. I think I was in love with it. You know, the tension.
Owen: Raw, animalistic sex?
Alicia: Yeah. But I didn't like the lying, and I don't like... I mean, he's my boss. 
I don't think that this is the final page of the Will-Alicia book or anything - I think that there is both the possibility of Alicia only claiming not to be in love because being in love with Will and not being able to be with Will would be so much worse than this, and she could have been in the process of falling in love with the new and improved Will Gardner, the one constantly questioning his priorities and his life choices - or maybe she just doesn't love him. But whatever it is, the important part is that Alicia needs someone sitting opposite her, asking about her feelings, making her analyse them, because otherwise, she doesn't allow herself to be aware of them. This is... an interesting thing she has in common with Kalinda, only that Kalinda is so unwilling to subject herself to questioning. Here are Alicia's options, according to Owen: if you love Will, get a job somewhere else. If things are too complicated, make them a tiny bit less fucked-up by divorcing Peter. And, most importantly: "You're lonely, that's the problem". 
Alicia: It's too complicated, I don't like complications. I need friends
Owen: Then get friends, you had good friends.
Alicia: Yeah, I did, didn't I? Where are they all?
Owen: Probably on Facebook.  
My favourite thing about the episode, apart from that one very obvious favourite thing, is how everything is connected. Alicia's isolation has been an issue before - she started a completely new life after starting to work for L/G, and her little trip back to the neighbourhood where she lived with Peter was a reminder that she couldn't really ever go back, not only because she wasn't welcome but also because she was becoming someone who wouldn't fit in any more. Alicia tries to escape her friendlessness but fails miserably (that friend from the past was hilarious though - things Alicia Florrick doesn't appreciate in a friend: extremely loud tales about Chinese sex cults), and at the same time, that one good friend that she so desperately needs is always kind of there, looming in the background. There's Diane, telling her to focus on her job and to become a partner because if she doesn't aim for something greater, she is bound to lose what she already has - so there is already a kind of stain on any possible future friendship between the two, because Diane expects and demands (not that I don't appreciate the final scene of them having a drink together, but this isn't the kind of friendship Alicia is in desperate need of). 
  • Other threads finally coming together: Kalinda starts investigating the jury and is immediately warned by Dana to stop because "if any of those jurors call harassment on you, I will personally toss you in jail" - a warning that sounded anything but professional, and from the look on Kalinda's face it's clear that she is pretty much fed up with that whole triangle of doom. Eventually, it's Cary who gets to toss her in jail, and it seems that both their motivations are beyond professional. Dana even takes the case to Wendy Scott-Carr, claiming that she "may have stumbled on another judge they bribed" because he is sympathetic to L/G's attempts to overturn the verdict. 
  • I kind of had suspicions about Wendy before the final scene, because WHY would you tell a judge that you are investigating him for being corrupt? She almost asked him to take the side of the prosecution in order to prove that he isn't. I guess The Good Wife has a classic villain again. 
  • "How are you doing? Cause you're looking a little pale."
  • Friendless, Alicia accidentally finds out about Kalinda's act of super heroism last episode - she is slightly irritated that her children kept a secret from her, but in the end, it is that other, weird feeling of gratefulness that prevails and triggers a truly awesome reaction when she finds out that Kalinda is in jail. Not only does she threaten Cary personally - and effectively enough so that he actually does let her go immediately - but she also sounds a bit scary while doing it. "I am not joking, Cary. You bring Kalinda to me, now." 
  • This is the grand moment: Kalinda is brought to Alicia, someone takes off her hand cuffs, and she just looks at her, equal parts vulnerability and defiance (I will not break, I will not make the first step, you have to), and then walks by her out of the building, to the car.
Alicia: You found Grace? You found my daughter?
Kalinda: She wasn't lost.
Alicia: You brought her home.
Kalinda: She would have come home on her own.
Alicia: You told my kids not to tell me. Why?
Kalinda: I don't want a mess.
Alicia: What mess?
Kalinda: Alicia, I haven't changed. I am the same person. I knew I could help so I helped, that's all.
Alicia: Thank you.
Kalinda: You don't have to.
Alicia: No. You didn't have to, that's why I am thanking you.
Kalinda: You're welcome.
"I am the same person". What an absolutely devastating thing to say - is Kalinda's point that she doesn't deserve forgiveness because she is still the kind of person who is capable of betrayal (or just a reminder that she is still the same Kalinda that Alicia befriended, the Kalinda that would come to the rescue without asking any questions and without expecting to gain anything from it - regardless of how Alicia's opinion of her has changed since finding out about the past)? Alicia was always the exception. Kalinda doesn't have friends, but Alicia was a friend. So when Alicia says "I'll help", and therefore brings an end to weeks and weeks of avoiding each other, the sun rises for Kalinda Sharma (and seriously, I think sometimes the clients paid the price for their lack of communications and Alicia's unwillingness to bring Kalinda into her cases...). Their scene together is a contrast to the one right after their confrontation last season, when they were so out of sync that they almost messed up exactly this kind of situation. They go to talk to a juror together (Kalinda is basically like: I am Kalinda, and this is Alicia Florrick, my colleague and almost-again-friend! Isn't she pretty?) and - because finally, they work as a team again - find the piece of information that they need. 
  • In the end, L/G gets a re-trial because the judge friended the weird button-blogging juror on "Facebranch", because technology is relevant and stuff. 
  • Context really is everything: Diane asks Kalinda what she is doing, Kalinda answers: "Anything you want."
  • Meanwhile, Alicia and Peter try to get their two kids (both the helpful hacker and the complicated Christian one) into a fancy prep school called CRAPSTONE, where I wouldn't even consider sending my kids simply because they would be ridiculed for the name alone. After a first conversation with the head mistress, Alicia realizes that Peter's job, body size and soothing voice will do the job. Basically, the scenes serve to show how well Peter and Alicia are doing together, parenting-wise. And then, right before Wendy's grand reveal (if The Good Wife were a James Bond movie, she would have delivered this message while evilly stroking a cat, or evilly twirling her moustache, or evilly patting the nuclear bomb in her secret lair...), Peter turns into that other guy again, reminding us that he does have this other side that we (and Alicia) like to forget. He blackmails the headmistress of the private school into accepting Grace and Zach, because "perusing through some of these background checks" he discovered that many of the teachers had issues (but apparently not issues severe enough to discourage him from sending his children to CRAPSTONE) - and "I'm the State's Attorney. oyu don't say no to me. And you especially don't say no to me when it concerns my children. Do you undrestand? I think the word you're looking for is yes." Which is pretty much the definition of corruption, yes? So, evil Wendy Scott-Carr currently not-so-secretly working on your evil plan to avenge your election loss: you have a point. Maybe. And dangling that carrot in front of Will's face ("You know where his weaknesses lie.")... well, I guess we'll see how principled Will is, after all. 
  • PS: apparently it's Capstone, not CRAPSTONE. Whatever. 

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