Kalinda & the Boys
AF: Totally. I think that’s a perfect contrast. One character is frozen in mystery, while the other continues to get deeper. I feel like even if we never meet Kalinda’s family, by season 6 we should know more about them than that they immigrated legally! Elsbeth and her legal mind are kind of amazing, though she occasionally reminds me of absurd David E. Kelley characters. I think she’d fit right in with Ally McBeal and Denny Crane.
RG: It’s even more frustrating to think that Kalinda is frozen in mystery because of the awful B-listy La Femme Nikita rip-off plots that involved Blake in season 2 and her ex-husband Nick in season 3?
AF: I don’t know what the writers were thinking with the storyline related to her ex-husband — I kind of feel like they got carried away with the costume design around that character — the long boots — instead of starting from the character. Like “Oh, so you like Kalinda because of her boots? Why don’t we reveal the most cliche BDSM backstory ever?” That was her death knell.
Why didn’t you like the Blake storyline? I was fine with it.
RG: I feel like Blake was the prototype for Nick. I loved the competition and perhaps if Nick never happened, I would’ve been okay with Blake — but I feel like they were testing the waters for Nick with Blake. I think the Blake subplot was intriguing, but it also opened the door for the B.S. that happened with Nick.
AF: What did you think of Will Gardner and Kalinda? I thought their friendship chemistry was so real.
RG: I miss Will and all of his privilege! Actually, in the final episodes of his character’s tenure — when Alicia and Cary split off to form their own firm — that’s where we saw Will and Kalinda’s bond crystallize. There is an incredible amount of respect in that friendship. It might be one of the most remarkable friendships ever forged on television — between a straight white guy and a bisexual desi girl.
AF: Yes, when Kalinda chooses to be loyal to Will after Alicia stabs him in the back, I thought that was so touching. It was also a nuanced way for the writers to show that she had realized finally that because of who Alicia had become, their friendship was never going to go back to normal even though, for a while it seemed like it would. Speaking of privilege — I can’t believe poor Cary is going down in spite of Kalinda’s best efforts… that wouldn’t have happened in the early seasons.
What About Kalicia?
RG: …and then, the big reveal. She banged Peter before meeting Alicia — but then still befriended Alicia.
AF: That betrayal was intense.
RG: Yes! My heart stopped.
AF: I was with Kalinda in hoping they would go back to friendship. But when I think of it from Alicia’s perspective… 6 years as a litigator hardens people in ways they don’t necessarily understand while it’s happening. I think it’s realistic — very Sun Tzu — that Alicia, coming into her power as a female litigator, would cut Kalinda off for sleeping with Peter and knowingly befriend her after that.
RG: You know what sucks? As much as I love The Good Wife, it would fail the racial equivalent of the Bechdel Test. That is: Are there two people of color and are they doing something besides trying to help white people fix their problems?
AF: That is so great — the Guha test!
RG: Ha! I didn’t invent it, but I guess I’ll take the credit.
AF: I’m too easily placated. I feel like The Good Wife has less of a problem with this than most shows.
Maybe Kalinda screwing over Lemond Bishop this season might allow The Good Wife to pass this test by a hair? Especially if she gets killed for it and we finally get some real sense of her family, her roots. Do you think death is where they’re headed with her?
RG: Anita. Why? WHY? If they try to Will off Kalinda (yeah, I said it), I am going to call you as it’s happening and yell into the phone.
But for real, I feel like this would be a cheap way to introduce Kalinda’s family — unless they plan on having that kind of a plotline bleed into season 7. I would actually be on board with that. Does Kalinda have a high-powered politician mom or dad (a Nikki Haley or Bobby Jindal type, perhaps) who, disapproving of her sexual orientation, has cut her off? Would a death for her bring them into the story for an arc?
AF: Oh that would be clever! It would also fit with her comment to Alicia in the Sarita Choudhury episode (“Oh, so because my parents immigrated legally, you thought I’d have sympathy for someone who immigrated illegally?”).
RG: Right! I do get tired when people make desi issues exclusively about immigration when — hello! There are generations of us who were born in the U.S. and want to talk about other issues.
I want to bring this back full circle. Forty episodes. Kalinda and Alicia have not shared screen time in two seasons. I know actresses feud and egos get so big that some cannot stand to be around one another. But at this point, I’d say it’s affecting the show’s ability to tell the story. Even though they’re stuck in plot threads that never weave together. I don’t believe for a second that Alicia’s running for State’s Attorney and isn’t using Kalinda — one of the best P.I.s around — to dig up all the dirt possible on Castro. If we’re to believe things are hunky-dory between them, I feel like that kind of a collaboration is a no-brainer.
AF: It feels like a giant misstep. It would have been closer to the intelligence and emotional nuance of early seasons for the writers to use Will’s death to show them come back together not as close friends, but just together in grief. Of course she’d be helping Alicia’s political campaign! But I’ve been impressed with how the show runners have pulled seemingly trivial threads from the past into the present — I hope that even though there were too many relationship rifts and new directions in the fall season (aren’t they trying too hard with the Alicia-Hillary Clinton parallel?), they give Kalinda the closure she deserves.
RG: There will be riots if they fail to do that.