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'The Good Wife' recap: No one left to trust?

THE-GOOD-WIFE-Ham-Sandwich-3 Fans of "The Good Wife" are a patient lot. The show, approaching the end of its second season, has displayed a remarkable ability to stretch out a single unresolved storyline for what seems like an eternity without alienating viewers. There's the never-ending tension between Will and Alicia which, at the current rate, will not be consummated until sometime in 2015. And arguably the biggest question mark of all is Kalinda, about whom we know virtually nothing -- her background, sexuality and motivations remain oblique nearly two years in to "The Good Wife."  So Tuesday night's episode, which came after several weeks of reruns and was stocked with juicy revelations about Will and Kalinda, ought to have been more riveting than it was.

First, let's rehash what we learned. Easily the biggest discovery of the episode was that Kalinda once slept with Peter in exchange for his help covering up her past as "Leela." Way back in season one, we learned that Kalinda left her job at the state attorney's office, though the reasons were never mentioned, and that something clearly went down between Peter and Kalinda. Since then, we've gotten almost no further indication of what this "something" might have been, exactly. (Among the many things I love about this show: The writers like to circle back to little clues they doled out many episodes ago, and reward the obsessive and detail-oriented viewers who are able to remember them.)

The possibility of a dalliance between Peter and Kalinda is intriguing, indeed. Kalinda and Alicia's halting friendship has grown in recent months, and though they're hardly besties, they've formed a pretty tight bond. There's an implicit trust between the two of them that no doubt would be shaken should Alicia find out about the affair (or whatever you want to call it). I also wonder whether Kalinda's allegiance to Alicia might stem from some sort of guilt about having slept with her husband, as if her loyalty is a form of penance -- though maybe I'm reading into things a bit too much.

When and if Alicia finds out about Peter and Kalinda, it will certainly throw the already shaky Florrick marriage into disarray. No, Kalinda wasn't friends with Alicia when she slept with Peter (not that we know of, anyway), but it's easy to see how such a revelation would shake Alicia to the core. Kalinda is a core member of Alicia's ever-shrinking circle of confidantes (in this episode, she woefully tells Kalinda "I used to have so many friends"). Plus Alicia's tentative reconciliation with Peter relies on the assumption that he's confessed to all his transgression. And let's not forget, if brought to light, the sex-for-favors scam would not exactly boost his career chances. The number of possible outcomes here is somewhat mind-boggling. My fantasy scenario? Alicia leaves Peter, and, feeling betrayed by Kalinda, leaves the firm to defend the indigent at Legal Aid. Not that I've given this much thought or anything. Who else has predictions? Please share in the comments.

The other big revelation this week involved Will, whose boyish charm has always been tempered by a disconcertingly Machiavellian streak. He's cute, sure, but for a while now, we've been forced to wonder if he isn't a wolf in sheep's clothing, a money-hungry shark willing to hand over Chinese dissidents to their totalitarian government if it means a fast buck. (Not a good look on anyone, if you ask me.) All season long, we've gotten hints that Blake and Will's relationship predates the arrival of Derrick Bond, and now we've got the proof. Will confronts Blake about the Grand Jury investigation, but Blake quickly steers the conversation to another topic: the past. "I was told to cover up your theft," he tells Will. "I paid my debt," Will responds. It's all very cryptic, naturally, but the clear takeaway is that Will has some ugly skeletons buried deep in his closet, and that Blake may just bring them to light.

Despite all these developments, there was something strangely inert about this episode. I can't quite place my finger on it, but somehow it didn't feel quite as dynamic or as dense as usual, though perhaps this was just me. The subplot with Grace, though well-intentioned, was didactic rather than satirical. It's fun to see how much her youthful idealism irritates Eli and derails his plans to keep Peter's campaign lily-white, and Grace's wide-eyed earnestness is certainly not uncommon for someone her age. But still, her conversation with Pastor Isaiah in this episode (she asks him, a propos of nothing, whether he thinks Jesus was black) struck me as extremely unrealistic, even for an impassioned teenager.

Some commenters on this blog have brought my attention to a (gasp!) weakness on the show: the Florrick kids. In the past, I've found the subplots with the kids, especially Grace, to be pretty amusing; I especially like how Alicia, the supposed goody-goody, is so obviously rankled by her daughter's idealism. But now that the seed has been planted, I'm starting to have my doubts about this facet of "The Good Wife." Grace's guilelessness seems more appropriate for a 4-year-old than a young teenager, though I'm keeping an open mind.

More convincing were the divorce proceedings between drug kingpin Lemond Bishop and his soon-to-be-ex, Katrina. In the kind of counter-intuitive move that's become a "Good Wife" hallmark, Lemond is portrayed, at least initially, as the "good guy" in the relationship. Sure, he cheated on his wife, but she's an adulterer too -- and, even worse, she's more than willing to use her adorable son as a pawn to extract more money from her ex. The scenes in which Lemond, Katrina, their lawyers and a mediator frankly discuss Bishop's, ahem, "street level holdings" were fascinating. Unfortunately, the resolution to this plot -- Katrina overdoses on drugs --  felt like it had been plucked from the air, though I suppose it served its purpose, making us wary of Lemond, and the Lockart-Gardner's connection to him, all over again. 

What did you think?

-- Meredith Blake


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Photo: Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) confronts Blake (Scott Porter). Credit: Jeffrey Neira / CBS

Comments () | Archives (26)

I have never missed an episode. I knew all along that Kalinda had slept with Peter. What I can't imagine is why no one has commented on the similarities of the storyline to the Spitzer & Blagojevich cases. The stories seem intertwined.

You readmy mind or what? i agree with u 100% and yes there was something off about the conclusion of the Bishop Divorce. But i guess we had to get a reminder that Bishop is one u should never play with

Hrm. I don't know. So you take Blake's information that Kalinda slept with Peter at face value? It's what Blake thinks. But does that make it true? I'm not so sure. It seems possible but I'm not entirely convinced. So far Kalinda seems to have been only a tease with the male population of the show but the ones she actually slept with were girls (the FBI agent and the lawyer -- Lily Taylor's character). Or am I forgetting someone?

Anybody remember how in season 1 Jonas Stern repeatedly warned Alicia not to trust Will? I think this episode's revelations came as no surprise for anyone . . .

I agree on the slow pace and odd lack of impact of the rest of the episode beside the obvious twist that sent me reeling.

Not sure how the Kalinda thing is going to play yet but it's sure to have sad consequences.
I don't like what it's doing to the Alicia/Kalinda friendship, that's an understatement, but retro-actively even more than in the now (and future).
Not only was their relationship the only thing Alicia could really depend upon, regardless of Kalinda's emotional distance and now it's most likely gone, but also it puts "reasons" and agenda behind their relationship that all but annihilates it.
Now they made it look like Kalinda was just feeling guilty and there seemed to be so much more to it.

It's like they took the most original part of the show and crushed it under a ton of cliché.

Yes it is consistent with what we know about Peter and also about Kalinda (in a way although flirting and having sex for favors is different and it cheapens her, sadly) but was it really necessary?

It worked for shock value but it destroys a lot in the process and nothing that can really be replaced or mended.

The show has taken a downturn with this revelation into cheap drama and it's not for the better.

I love this show for the dialogue as much as the story line. Pretty clever and risque stuff!

Kalinda's first impression of Alicia may have had something to do with when she worked for Peter and how she was back then, kiddle class housewife and how she was viewed by him and the people around him too.
Now Kalinda has seen the real Alicia, capable, intelligent, able to stand on her own. So, either is is very protective because she knows what a snake Peter really is (and didn't sleep with him),fallen hard for Alicia or she is just allowing herself to get close to someone and trusts her.
We also saw that supposedly Kalinda slept with the greasy detective guy that she got information from, or did we?
I suspect that Kalinda protects herself more than anybody else so I kinda doubt all that 'sex for favors' stuff. She is more of a 'walk softly but carry a big stick' kinda woman. Gotta love her! LOL

@ Carla, I think you said it best. If it's true Kalinda slept with Peter, how do you mend that? It takes one of the best relationships on the show and just destroys it for no reason.

A couple of factual things: We DO know why Kalinda left the SA's office: Peter fired her for "working two jobs," one of which was investigating Peter for Glenn Childs. And we DO know that Kalinda did not sleep with Peter after she met Alicia; by the time Alicia met Kalinda, Peter was already in jail.

I thought the entire episode was awesome.

I agree that something felt strangely off about this episode. Maybe it's because too many skeletons came out of the closet all at once, and some of it did not quite gel together. The conclusion to Lemond's case definitely came across as haphazard, but as you pointed out, it makes us more wary of him, and whether he ultimately decides to stick with Lockhart and Gardner or switch to Bond's firm will carry more stakes to it.

I really liked the ending, but part of me is hoping that Blake got it wrong; she was obviously rattled by her encounter with Blake but nothing has been confirmed yet. If she did indeed sleep with Peter, I believe more stories of his (other) indiscretions will come to light, and hopefully push Alicia towards Will. Big yay for that!

Like a few others, I'm not sure whether Kalinda had sex with Peter or not. I think that's what the writers of the episode intended.

I've been waiting for Will's shadowy past to be revealed since Stern's warning to Alicia. Now maybe we'll find out a little more about it. I'm not a fan of Will -- too much pandering, e.g., the exchange with Vernon Jordan -- but I just graduated from law school and found that bootlicking character in 99% of my classmates, so Will's personality is realistic in that respect.

I'm also eager to see whether there's going to be a grand jury investigation of the firm since Kalinda was not the target!

I thought it was a good episode.

One of my early pet peeves with the show was the shenanigans engaged in by the investigators for the law firm, particularly Blake's break-in (which in this episode he tried to pin on Kalinda). As I recall -- and maybe my memory is wrong on this -- Will gave the green light to many of Blake's transgressions. In that sense, I found it satisfying to see that behavior investigated.

I, too, don't take Blake's assertion (about Kalinda sleeping with Peter) at face value. Not being the talking type, perhaps Kalinda will get tarred with such allegations, but I expect some kind of ennobling twist, which will burnish (rather than tarnish) Kalinda's character. I hope so anyway.

It seemed to me that Lemond arranged for his wife to overdose from drugs, so now our friendly lawyers have no excuse to pretend he's not a the cold-blooded killer who'd kill them if it served his purposes.
Of course Will has something to hide -- he's a big-city, big-ticket lawyer and they all have something they don't want the world to know.
I think Alicia's headed for a breakdown of some kind, which I'm guessing will pop up on the last show of the season.

I had been hoping that Alicia would finally realize that neither Peter nor Will are worthy of her, and end up with Kalinda. There goes that fantasy...

I haven't given up on the show but I've been finding it dull. There may be secret history between Peter and Kalinda, who are the most interesting characters on the show, but I don't think it will involve sex or criminality by Peter. It's time to wrap up the mystery involving Kalinda and to make Peter a more central character on the show.

Because a thug like Blake is playing smart, doesn't mean it's true, does it?
Besides, Kalinda is far more complex, even if she slept with Peter.
Who really believed that the set up with the prostitute was his only time being unfaithful?

Alicia's and Kalinda's friendship should surivive an unfortunate event like that. But with her liking her city life and the apartment and Peter being in need of a trophy wife with his new position - she should kick him out.
And down with Will. I mean, if Alicia REALLY loves him, I'll forgive a lot, but... we'll see. If it turns out that he was stealing money to help a poor friend in need - okay then, it's televison, we will believe what is served. Otherwise... not a nice guy. So far, I only saw loyalty in Kalinda on this show. Cary is turning out to be a decent man, and Eli is so colourful, it almost hurts.
I don't mind the kids. They are acting up, which is what kids do.

Mr. Bishop... a psycopath is a psycopath, especially when he is a successful businessman. That his wife and her lawyer forgot that, or tried to outplay him... not wise.

I've been watching the Good Wife since the very first episode and I never miss one. I am not sure I really liked this one, as you've already said there was something weird in the way the writers mixed all the revelations and the result wasn't completely consistent.
I didn't find believable the dialogue between Grace and the pastor, nor the one with Eli. But maybe it's just that I can't stand those kids...
I'm not so sure that Blake's intuition about Kalinda is right. She was shaken after what he said, but does that really mean that she had sex with Peter? I think that Blake got it right, Peter helped Kalinda to change her life and to assume another identity, but I'm not sure that there was a sexual do ut des. Too easy for Kalinda! I guess there's something more, maybe concerning Kalinda's secret past. Who knows, maybe she's a witness of a murder, protected by the FBI.. Just guessing, anyway I hope this doesn't screw up her friendship with Alicia. The three (Alicia, Kalinda and Peter) will probably come to a confrontation... and then we will know the truth...
As for Will... I really liked him, but now a lot of bad facets are coming out... Alicia, already disappointed by him for the Chinese dissident case and other come-outs, may decide to put to the sea and leave the firm... Well, let's wait for next developments!

Out of curiousity Meredithe, what about Grace's behaviour is a lack of guile? The fact that she's interested in religion? Most of the world's population claims to be belong to some sort of religion. Or is it The fact that she wonders if Jesus is black/dark skinned..many people debate that (for the record I don't. I'm Black but I'm sure Jesus wasn't and I found the fact that people debate it to be stupid but that doesn't stop many from debating it)? Or is it because she was shocked that Eli de-Blacked her Dad's campaign website? That's not guileless either; it's at worst idealist..which is typical of teens and some adults.

Bishop's wife dying of a drug overdose - How is that out of the blue? He needed to get rid of his wife so he could keep his son. Clearly he couldn't directly kill her because he would be the cenre of any homicide investigation so what's the best ways to "off" her would be one that makes it seem accidental. Bishop is a drug dealer and an all-out slimeball, so he only had one "logical" option left...

@EB Guileless means "innocent" or "without deception," both of which describe Grace very well, I think.

But why do you think those qualities shouldn't apply to Grace in her early teens? People are often blindsided by others behavior even as adults so it's I don't find her behavior to be that odd...

I'm not sure how I feel about the most recent episode, it did seem disjointed. The Florrick kids have bugged me since day one. They have never seemed authentic to me.
There is something I don't think anybody has mentioned is how many of the actors on the show are alums of "The Wire"--to date there have been *at least* five.

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