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Slugger: The Truth About Kalinda Comes Out on The Good Wife's 'Ham Sandwich"

Whatever secret you thought Kalinda was keeping, it certainly wasn't this one.

Last night's tension-filled episode of The Good Wife ("Ham Sandwich"), written by Keith Eisner and directed by Griffin Dunne, may have seemingly revolved around the episodic plots--the continued story of Peter's political campaign, here embodied in race issues involving the kids and the campaign, and the firm handling Lemond Bishop's divorce proceedings--but it was the Kalinda plot that once again fueled the installment and offered an emotional knee-capping at the very end of the episode.

Throughout the series thus far, Archie Panjabi's Kalinda has remained the mysterious presence in the room, the one with all of the answers who seems to be the source of most of the questions on the show. Just who is she? What is she hiding? Why is she so determined to keep her past a secret? And what does Blake (Scott Porter) really have on her?

The audience learned the answers to some of those questions last night, as Blake dropped a bombshell: the reason Kalinda is being so secretive and the fact that there are no clues to her old identity are all connected. Kalinda, the subject of a grand jury, is at the center of a conspiracy that involves not only herself but also her seemingly closest friend Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) and Peter (Chris Noth).



Yes, Kalinda slept with Peter years ago, when she worked for him at the state's attorney's office. While this pales in comparison to some of the shocking or operatic conclusions to the Blake/Kalinda battle this season, it has an emotional truth to it. Looking back at Season One of The Good Wife, there was that scene where Kalinda visited Peter in prison which--in retrospect--simmered with repressed tension and desire.

These two had an affair and colluded to not only keep it a secret from Alicia but also to engineer a new identity for Leela/Kalinda, one that would take her away from her husband (the one who keeps calling) and offer her a new life away from what Blake deems the boredom of her old existence.

While we still don't know the details of what Leela's life was like (kudos to the Kings to keeping some things about Kalinda under wraps), the truth of this extra-martial affair threatens to smash the tentative romance between Alicia and Peter, should it come out, but also the friendship between Kalinda and Alicia as well.

Just why would someone befriend the wife of someone they had an affair with? Likely out of some sense of guilt. When Kalinda and Alicia first met, Alicia was still reeling from the fallout from Peter's scandal, emerging from her role as Peter's wife and the mother of his children into an independent woman trying to make her own way in the world, to forge her own career, and fight her own battles. Likely, there was something simpatico about Alicia's struggles and her own, but Kalinda also knew exactly who Alicia was in the pilot episode and it shouldn't be said that Kalinda immediately sparked to the new associate at Lockhart/Gardner in that first installment.

Over time, these two have become close as both have let down the walls around them, removing emotional shields to open up to one another, though always Alicia more than Kalinda. So when Alicia tells Kalinda, "We're friends," it's both a genuine gesture of honesty and friendship... and a slap across the face, given the way that Kalinda betrayed Alicia, both all of those years ago and currently by concealing this from her.

The truth of her relationship with Peter is the biggest wedge between the two, the unspoken elephant in the room every time these two women sit down together or toss back a tequila. The friendship they've formed was built on a shaky foundation of lies and betrayal and, when the truth is dragged out into the light, it's likely to collapse around their ears. Can there be any forgiveness between the two? Can Alicia ever look at Kalinda the same way again?

Viewers were wondering just how the love triangle between Alicia/Will/Peter would take another turn and it has here. Very likely, this is the revelation that will drive Peter back out of Alicia's bed and drive her into Will's arms. In making the truth about Kalinda something so personal, they loaded this reveal with emotional shrapnel, one that will rip open several characters by the time all is said and done.

And there's an inherent beauty to that. This isn't a case of Kalinda being in federal witness protection or being a criminal on the run: she's a home-wrecker whose dalliance affected the marriage of Alicia, a woman she later befriended and who trusts her implicitly. By undermining that relationship, the Kings have once again put some of the central relationships within the show off-kilter and that's a wonderful, wonderful thing that serves to make this intelligent series even more unpredictable.

Aside from the Kalinda reveals, I will say that the scene that stuck out to me (in the best possible way) was the phone call between Alicia and Cary, in which they almost shared a moment of something approximating friendship, or at least sincere caring. The silence on the line, Alicia's nearly off-handed question, and Cary's reluctant confession all served to show how damaged this relationship is, but also how there is the potential here for rapport, for respect, and for a future in which these two might not be enemies, after all. (Dare I say that Season Three will have Cary back at the firm?)

And what should we be making of the fact that Blake covered up Will's "theft" years earlier? Just what did Will steal? And how exactly did Blake cover it up? While we now know just what their past encounter involved, it opens the door for a host of other questions as we ponder just what dark secrets Will's backstory holds. Hmmm...

What did you think of this week's episode and the revelations about Kalinda and Peter's affair? What will the fallout be? And have we seen the last of Blake? Head to the comments section to discuss.

On the next episode of The Good Wife ("Killer Song"), a convicted murderer (guest star Sam Robards) is sued when he profits from the crime by writing a song that describes the killing; Eli tries to help Natalie Flores (America Ferrera) and her family.

Comments

zenobiadtc said…
Interesting you don't consider the sparks and undercurrent of the relationship between Kalinda and Alicia. Yes, Alicia is to all apprent evidence, completely straight. But Kalinda definitely is not. Many viewers have read the relationship between Kalinda and Alicia as ocassionally flirtatious, ad definitely charged with something more than simple friendship. There is an energy there -- whether the producers more directly acknowledge that energy or not will be worth watching.
Natalia said…
my mouth was on the floor at the end of the episode. I wonder what will happen to Alicia and Kalinda's friendship once shit hits the fan.
Tempest said…
Ok, here's my brilliant insight:

Wow. Just wow.

End of brilliant insight.

That's the way it's done: A reveal that I didn't see coming, but completely makes sense.

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