swatkat: (the good wife: kalinda wins)
[personal profile] swatkat
This isn't a deep thoughts post, although at some point I would like to talk about the question of 'goodness' with respect to Alicia, her self-image and how others see her (I have a half-written post on my desktop) - this is a squeaky penguin noises and flappy haaaaands post. First, a long overdue response to the previous episode:

My show, my show, my wonderful show—you were on fire in this episode. The Will vs. WSC plot comes to a conclusion (for now), and how. That was one very tense episode indeed, to the point where the comic relief subplot with Eli annoyed me (except in the scene with David Lee; they really need to figure out what to do with Eli, because the subplots are getting more uninteresting with every episode. I do not care about his sex life). The acting was top-notch, especially Christine Baranski when she was testifying and Julianna Margulies in, well, every damn scene but especially the Alicia-Peter confrontation and the walking out of court scene. Kalinda took the backseat in the episode, but that was to be expected—she'd set things in motion in the previous episode, now she had to just sit back and watch. And of course the file was bait, of course she didn't sell Will out just like that—the point of the previous episode, after all, was that Kalinda Sharma >>> You. ♥

This week's episode, serving as a set-up for the rest of the season, was justifiably less on fire, but still very tense. Having Will suspended for six months is a very, very ballsy thing to do, and I'm curious as to how this will play out for the rest of the season. The following elements please me:

+ That Diane is now IN CHARGE, and SHE IS THE BEST and Christine Baranski better win ALL THE AWARDS for this season OKAY?

+ That Will sneakily handed over Kalinda's cases to Alicia. It is perfectly logical of course - who else can he trust but Alicia with them? But it's also Will (and Diane) not having with this nonsense of them not getting along, and Will's secret agenda of paying back his debt to Kalinda because they are bros and bros take care of each other.

+ That Alicia will now have to deal directly with Diane all the time.

I cringed as soon as the Syria plot was introduced, although I suppose it could've been far worse. I find myself vastly uninterested in the Eli subplot as well. I would, however, like to know why Cary is now calling all the shots in the SA's office and why Dana is the one to face the fallouts of the WSC investigation.

WHY IS THE NEXT EPISODE AFTER TWO WEEKS? I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

+

I am utterly charmed by this silly highschool AU [personal profile] monanotlisa and I were talking about last night, based on an observation of hers that "TGW would rock so many AUs...if not the high-school one; it relies so much on the characters being complex yet at all times mature adults..."

ETA: [personal profile] deepad writes a hilarious write-up on Comic Con, the Delhi edition. I solemnly swear that I did not poke Captain America's manboobs.

Date: 2012-02-20 09:41 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
I completely agree re Christine Baranski--she's been just consistently fantastic all season. It's definitely her turn for a best supporting actress Emmy, and she BETTER GET IT!!

And I also agree about the reasons behind Will's giving the Kalinda case to Alicia. It's just so ridiculously sweet and touching. In the first episode of the season, Will told Kalinda that she needs a friend (or a dog!). Last week, he told her he owed her (and he does). So he pays the debt with the one thing he knows she really wants and really needs: Alicia. I'm sure the file contains all sorts of stuff that will help give Alicia some context for what Kalinda is all about, and it'll definitely *force* the two of them to talk. If he hadn't done that, the gentle, gradual thaw might never have warmed up into anything beyond professional, courteous interaction. Will is such a mensch!

Incidentally, what do you think about how differently Kalinda looked and was portrayed last night? I'm personally sure that the softer, more emotional Kalinda that we saw was a careful setup to make her more sympathetic to the audience because something BAD is going to happen to her. (And, of course, I hope it's something BAD that Alicia will help rescue *her* from, for a change)

Date: 2012-02-21 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
I don't think they did much of a good job at all with the Syrian stuff, but frankly I'm at the point with this show now that anything that's not happening to the core characters is really so much white noise to me. But I just thought it was so striking how different the "Live From Damascus" Kalinda was from the typical Kalinda that it *has* to be a ramping-up for some big plot point. (I'm probably not a great speculator either, come to think of it. But that doesn't prevent me from trying!) It was also interesting how drab and UN-gorgeous Alicia looked in that episode, too: I have no idea what that was about, unless it was just a setup to make Kalinda look even more wonderful. (Interesting thought about the backstory of "Leela." Hopefully we'll know a lot more about that soon!)

I actually think that Diane herself was probably the logical person to have taken over Kalinda's case, in a purely dispassionate sense. The fact that Will asked for it to be Alicia (and Diane obviously agreed) tells me that he was being Kalinda's wing man. And, of course, I think (I hope) that he also knows that Alicia needs Kalinda in her life, too, and that some of her restlessness and unhappiness is because she *doesn't* have her. But that's probably just idle fanwanking, pleasant a thing as it is to do!


Date: 2012-02-23 01:40 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
Yes, there definitely has to be something going on with Kalinda. I was pinning a lot of dramatic hopes on the spoiler about her husband coming back, but now that they've called backsies on that, I'm out of thoughts regarding the bad thing that I think is going to befall her. Maybe Donny Pike, since we have Colin Sweeney coming back. Sometimes I wish I were like the people who just waited to see what appears on their television screen, without a single other thought about it. That sounds nice and relaxing! :-)

Yes, I'm sure we're supposed to read Will as nobly performing his penance. I like the fact that he came to the realization that he *needed* to perform the penance while talking to Alicia, his model for all things good. He's still trying to be worthy of her, and she's still in her own world not noticing how much she affects him. Poor Will!

Date: 2012-02-23 01:46 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
It also would be great if in the next episode Kalinda could express misgivings about Alicia's being assigned as her lawyer to Will, and he SAID SOMETHING to her about how it was more than enough time to put an end to the thing between them. One of the things I find missing in this season is how nobody has explicitly addressed the A/K problem, beyond Diane's "make it better" in the first episode of the season. We need some of that.

Date: 2012-02-26 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
Poor Alicia too, I'd say -- the scene where Will sits her down, talks to her, and suddenly decides that he wants to take the suspension as a penance after all, truly illuminates how their relationship works, how (for the lack of a better word) unequal it is.

That's a really great insight--I hadn't looked at the scene this way, but you're exactly right. It *is* the first time Alicia's hearing that Will is facing disbarment. She's completely shocked by it, but he doesn't let her react at all, doesn't ask her give him advice, doesn't do anything except be inspired by her presence, as if she were a great work of art in a museum. He can have conversations with Kalinda or Diane, but never with Alicia. But the flip side of this is that Alicia also hasn't wanted to talk to Will the few times that Will wanted to have a real conversation about their relationship. (Remember when Will accidentally told Alicia that he loved her on the phone? When he asked her if she was sure she didn't want to talk about it, she said that she had never been so sure of anything--it was probably the most definitive thing we've heard from her all season.) The two of them are a long way from being a genuine couple on an emotional level--the sex was good, but that's all of the connection they had. And now they actually have less of a friendship than they had before the affair, since Will is being careful to hold Alicia at arm's length and Alicia can't figure out what to say to him. I just don't see Willicia as the end game romance of the show, regardless of what (I think) the average viewer probably wants.

Will has tried - Kalinda didn't let him. The problem with Alicia and Kalinda is that they're both intensely private people - there aren't people close enough to comment on the problem. Kalinda, at least, has obliquely acknowledged her heartache to Will, Alicia hasn't even allowed herself to say out loud that the 'friend' she misses is Kalinda. I cannot imagine her being open to anyone else telling her that she needs to talk to Kalinda.

You're right, of course, but therein lies the difficulty of this whole arc: Kalinda was really the main window into Alicia (we can get to her a bit through Owen, but without Kalinda it's not the same), so without her, Alicia is an island. And Alicia is not merely closed-off when talking to other people; she's closed-off when talking to herself. So we can't even get from her the sad, loving looks that we get from Kalinda, because she's not even acknowledging to *herself* that she feels a loss. This is all very true to her character, but it's the kind of thing that makes the typical viewer think that she doesn't care at all about Kalinda's friendship. (Someone on TWOP recently said that because it's been so unclear what Alicia is feeling this season, they've become increasingly uninterested in what she's feeling. I felt weirdly hurt at that--imagine not *caring* what Alicia is *feeling*--but I saw the point, even if I didn't like it.)

If you were to play showrunner, what might you have done differently with Alicia (and Alicia/Kalinda) this season, given the intensely private nature of both of them? It's something that I've thought about, because I think in some sense what they've done is true to both of them in terms of their characters, but in general it's all been very frustrating and unsatisfying for the viewer. In some ways, I think plunking down a big fat case file filled with Kalinda's secrets and declaring that it's now Alicia's JOB to talk to Kalinda is really the *only* way the two of them were ever going to have personal conversations--even TV tropes like stuck-in-a-broken-elevator wouldn't have done it. But I really don't know how else this all could have been handled, except probably pushing up the pace of it all a bit in the first half of the season. The Kings certainly picked a tough row to hoe when they decided to drop the Kalinda/Peter bombshell last season!


Date: 2012-02-26 10:29 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
I didn't read that scene as a dismissal of her previous confession of being in love with Will -- she loves Will and she loves the romantic notion of being in love with Will, but what came in the way was the reality of being with Will.

Yes, that's extremely well put. And Will *loved* the reality of being with *her.* He wanted more and more reality, and she wanted less and less. And I don't know if it's just their bad timing or something deeper about how they're both seeing life and relationships. Whatever it was, Will and Alicia as a romantic couple was never going to go anywhere, at least as both of them are right now.

I've read those posts, and here's the thing: I'm very satisfied with the painful Alicia/Kalinda arc this season, in a deeply masochistic sort of way! I will take all of this back if there isn't enough emotional payoff in the next few episodes, but right now I have difficulty believing that they're going to let the build-up go just like that.

As you can see if you've seen my TWOP posts, I vacillate between being ok with the A/K arc about eighty percent of the time, to having fits of childish rage over it the other twenty percent. (It's the fits-of-rage percentage that drives me to do things like read OOC Kalicia fanfic--which is not something that I *ever* do--just to escape from the whole thing.) In my rational mind, I know that trying to show this sort of friendship destruction and reconstruction in a television show that's also a procedural, that stuffs itself with guest stars, and that has the stories of other characters to tell as well, is just shy of impossible, and that the Kings are doing a pretty good job, all things considered. I mean, Alicia and Kalinda were portrayed as incredibly private, closed-off people who rarely connected with anyone, and for some reason connected with each other in a profound way that they (certainly Alicia) didn't acknowledge fully until it imploded. And they don't talk to anyone else about it, so even *that's* not a real plot device option. And, to make it worse for the show in general, they both *need* the interaction with each other to tell their stories (again, more true of Alicia than of Kalinda). It's *extremely* hard to do, and I still admire the Kings for trying to do it, even if I've been slowly driven insane by the whole thing. I agree that I expect BIG TIME emotional payoff in the final eight episodes of the season. If we get it, I'll be happy (I'm not a grudge-holder like Alicia!). If we don't, all bets are off. :-)

By the way, I think it's about time for your Alicia-and-goodness half-written post to become fully written. Hurry up about it!

Date: 2012-02-27 03:43 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
P.S. Since I didn't feel like watching the Academy Awards tonight, I decided to watch 2:20 - 2:23 of The Good Wife instead. (When in doubt, angst is a great way to end a weekend!) This time around, the symmetry of how both Will and Kalinda view Alicia really struck me. In 2:22, Will is trying to get Kalinda to reconsider leaving L/G. He says to her, "I thought you had my back." She doesn't answer directly (as usual!), but asks him what he wants out of life, and whether it's the same thing that Alicia wants. Then she tells him that Alicia and Peter have separated. So essentially, her answer to "I thought you had my back" is to give him Alicia. Then last week, Will does the exact same thing to repay his debt to *Kalinda.* Those two! They pass her back and forth between them like some sort of trophy. Looked at one way, it's kind of amazing and wonderful; looked at another, it's completely objectifying the real, human being Alicia. But looked at both ways, it's pretty fascinating.

Date: 2012-02-27 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
Oh, I have my share of childish rage. But I'm trying to be really, really patient, because, like I said, I enjoy pining in fiction - it's one of my favourite narrative tropes. Alicia thanking Kalinda in the car was so delightful *because* we had to wait for so long - I'm sure there'll more of that in the coming episodes.

I suppose the fact that the show can *spark* such rage is indicative of some sort of narrative success--I've rarely been as involved in the fate of a couple of television characters as I am right now. So kudos and all that. But you're right--that car scene wouldn't have been anywhere close to as powerful and satisfying as it was if we hadn't had to wait for it through ten long episodes. I think the rest of the season is going to be *very* emotionally satisfying, and a lot of that will be because we've been made to suffer so much.

'I thought you had my back' is such a revealing comment about how Will operates and how Kalinda operates. It implies that Kalinda leaving L/G is a personal letting down of Will, a breach of some sort of a promise that makes sense only to the two of them. And it works, because that's when Kalinda 'gives' him Alicia as a sort of an apology for letting him down, and perhaps -- if not a replacement someone who will 'watch his back' in Kalinda's back -- also as something precious he needs to take care of because she herself cannot and be enriched himself in the process. And Will does the same thing -- he isn't around L/G at the moment, so he literally puts Alicia in charge of Kalinda's well-being and 'gives' Kalinda Alicia, with the unspoken implication that she will, of course, watch her back.

Yes, exactly--the I-give-you-Alicia thing is double-edged for both of them: both Will and Kalinda want Alicia to be protected when they're not around to do it, and each knows that the other loves and *wants* to be Alicia's protector. It really is one of the most unusual dynamics that I've ever seen; I just can't readily think of a good analogue in literature anywhere.

I saw those Emily Nussbaum tweets, too (did you read the New Yorker article that she tweeted about? Predictably, it was insightful and great.) The jealousy question is interesting. My first reaction was no, Alicia wouldn't be jealous--jealousy isn't part of the Will/Kalinda/Alicia thing at all. But in fact, we don't really *know* that. All we know is that Will and Kalinda have exhibited no signs of jealousy toward each other, to an almost weird degree for two people each madly in love with the same third. They have mutual respect for each other, and a mutual desire to protect the one they both love, and that's it. But so far, Alicia hasn't been part of the triangle as an actual actor, just as an object. And it's hard to predict how she might react when she *is* an actor. I personally think she'd be more freaked out (although she'd never allow herself to be conscious of it) that *Kalinda* has another close friend than that *Will* has, but I'm not sure it would translate into standard jealousy. In fact, I'm sure it wouldn't. I think Alicia's mean feelings toward Caitlin are a lot more complex than simple jealousy too--they get at the heart of how she sees herself and her world--so I think tossing off whatever she might end up feeling as "jealousy" is probably too simplistic and pat.


Date: 2012-03-01 06:49 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
Arthur/Lancelot/Guinevere, maybe?

That's actually something I've thought about, since I've been a big fan of Arthurian angst from a very young age. But it's really not a good parallel: Lancelot and Guinevere *did* certainly love Arthur, but they were driven by their own passion to do something that would hurt him. As it's set up in the show, Will and Kalinda would *never* knowingly do anything to hurt Alicia (Kalinda hurt her, but it wasn't knowingly). They're united by a special sort of friendship that they don't share with Alicia, and a need to love and protect her. If Will and Kalinda ever became a romantic couple, the entire universe would implode--I just don't see that happening, ever.

Jealousy isn't a word I would use, either. I think what Alicia would feel is left out - which she has been, and which ties into, as you say, some complex aspects of her own self-image (she doesn't have friends, she can't have friends, she's always on the outside looking in). Will and Kalinda are two people, who, under normal circumstances, should be closest to her - she wouldn't understand Will and Kalinda's bonding over her. No one would, and no one should have to.

Aw. I believe you're right, and it makes me feel kind of sad for Alicia. I'll be interested in just how much of the Will/Kalinda friendship she's going to learn about in The Mysterious Casefile. She'll certainly see that Will knows more about Kalinda than she ever herself did. What that's going to mean for her, I don't know. I can't wait to find out, though! I agree that it's more than enough time for Alicia to be front and center in her story. (I'm so happy that it's almost the weekend, which means it's almost Sunday, which means that we'll have at least three episodes in a row without a break--and they should be good episodes. I can't take this much longer!)

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