February 16, 2011By Mala Bhattacharjee Posted: Feb 16, 2011
It's no secret that ABC Family's PRETTY LITTLE LIARS is one of my favorite shows, but I also enjoy a show about some pretty grown-up liars: CBS's THE GOOD WIFE! The soapy legal drama has more secrets than you can shake a stick at, to the point where I'm often so incensed that I yell at my TV.
This week's episode was no different, as Alicia finally asked Will about the second voicemail he left her at the end of the show's first season. The fact that it took six episodes, after she realized the existence of the second message, for her to do it was a major head-scratcher, but I liked that it was her wry, laid-back, brother Owen (Dallas Roberts) who provided the much-needed shove. And Julianna Margulies and Josh Charles, in just a few moments, showcased why Alicia and Will have such exquisite chemistry. They barely had to say anything to each other. The longing, the giant "what if?" hanging between them, was all in their eyes and the way they carried themselves. They both have this way of being able to gut me with just one look. And TGW gutted me by continuing to draw out their forbidden love! Who knows when these two are finally going to be straight with each other? I might expire from frustration before that happens!
That's not to say that I don't find Alicia and Peter's relationship compelling, because I absolutely do. Margulies has major sparks with Chris Noth, too, and despite the fact that Alicia and Peter are leading very separate lives, they have a deep connection and a family together. If it was as simple as her leaving Peter for Will, she would've already done that. And I think the complexity of the choices Alicia has to make is the whole point of drawing out this triangle!
Of course, I can't use the word "complexity" without talking about the show's biggest enigma: Kalinda (Archie Panjabi). She's one of the most interesting, mysterious, badass characters on TV. Unfortunately, her cat-and-mouse game with thug Blake has been one of the season's more questionable plots. I don't find their games of one-upmanship sexy; they're dangerous — especially since Blake has no qualms about hurting people. So, this week, when they stripped down to their skivvies and swapped secrets, I was repulsed, not titillated. I know sexuality is one of Kalinda's weapons, but I hated how their violent rivalry suddenly took on this seductive quality. It didn't help that the scenes were preceded by Kalinda and her FBI agent friend Lana having a chaste, poorly scripted, flirting session. This is the same character Kalinda kissed while obscured behind a garage door, and that glaring inequality cropped up again when I compared their fully dressed footsie to Kalinda getting nearly naked with an abusive murderer.
Sure, I cheered when Kalinda ultimately slugged Blake in the chest with her baseball bat, but I wanted her to keep going until he was out of commission. Not out of bloodthirstiness, but because hitting Blake once means he can get back up again...and, thus, keep this awful game going. I just want it over! I want Kalinda involved with the intrigue at the law firm, helping out with cases, and trading barbs with her frenemy Cary. Watching her out-class a sleazy henchman every week is a bit tiring.
But I'm nowhere near exhausted by THE GOOD WIFE as a whole! It's a great show — no lie!