Gemma: This episode was actually all about triangles. Or threesomes.
Rasha: Hmm. I can see that.
G: Marilyn and Peter and Eli. Alicia and Peter and Will. Alicia and Cary and Robyn. Kalinda and two characters NOBODY GIVES A FLYING F*CK ABOUT.
R: Jesus, I could not give any f*cks about those other two characters.
G: There are no f*cks to give. Not even the f*ck that happened.
R: I was thinking also about Alicia, Will and the tattoo artist, but that’s not really weighty.
G: Oh, but they’re trying sooooo hard to make it weighty!
R: It serves well as a light confectionary contrast to how intense his imagined and real cross-ex of Alicia is.
G: We’re building up to something weird with Will, aren’t we? I mean, it’s not like he and Alicia can just hook up again and it will be interesting. Something twisted is gonna occur.
R: I said we were going to get a slow, weird unravelling.
G: You are correct. Points.
R: His business sense is a bit unhinged. Diane made that much clear. Two other things I noticed. First: They are doing some version of having Will and Alicia continue their affair/connection by sparring in the courtroom. Not sure what I think of it yet. So far, it feels unequal, given how grounded Alicia seems and how unmoored Will clearly is.
G: Yeah. There’s something weird about the way L/G seems to be flailing.
R: Did you catch in the last ep where Will introduces himself to Boyle, saying he’s from “LG” and then there were *crickets*.
G: Yes. I didn’t really register it at the time, but I remember it.
R: I’m still holding out for a reveal in which that tattoo artist has been turning him into a full body canvas. In any case, second thing: the directors seem to be getting more experimental with their filming styles this season
G: I feel like they’ve always played with camera angles and suchlike, more than other highbrow TV shows.
R: It’s alright, I guess, and works mostly except for the Kalinda parts, which are so so hollow. It’s hard to watch that when you love someone.
G: They are so hollow. And it is so hard. I want to say there is no Kalinda without Alicia in this world, but it’s more than that.
R: They’re trying to make Kalinda into this caricature of her own coolness, and it doesn’t work. Her cool is strategic, guarded, wounded, distancing. When Kalinda says: “I’m not charming” I found myself not being sure whether it was true.
G: Yes. The moments of it worked in the past because we always had the anchor of actual relationships with actual interesting humans to come back to. And honestly, feels like Panjabi’s phoning it in, and I do not in any way blame her.
R: Yes, it’s increasingly harder to think of her as Kalinda and not as Archie. Can we start a #freeKalinda trend?
G: OMG YES PLEASE.
R: Or did the internet exhaust its natural reserves of Kalinda liberation last season?
G: I always go back to two moments when I think about how Kalinda works with the metanarrative of this show. One is that last episode of S2, when she slept with the other investigator and found out she was married.
R: Yes, she had sadz!
G: Very much! But also, this show had, and really continues to have, such a “men cheat, women get cheated on” frame, and they just took Kalinda’s queerness and quietly broke that frame, in a brilliant fashion.
R: Well played, my friend–take them to school! What’s the second moment?
G: In S3, when Cary was dating that ADA played by that woman from Chicago Fire, Monica Raymund.
R: God, that was tangy. That was when I cared about Cary.
G: She’s nominally straight, has a crush on Kalinda she won’t really admit to, Kalinda’s kind of intrigued, and then there’s a sex scene with Dana and Cary where each of them is fantasizing that the other is Kalinda. Almost explicitly. Again, break up that “women are objectified, men objectify” frame.
R: Raymund’s chemistry with/against Kalinda is electric. Can she and Archie get a show together?
G: Oh please yes. But what I mean is, this show is full of boring gender binaries if you don’t use the Power of Kalinda.
R: I’m simultaneously delighted and annoyed by the extremist camp that goes into taking an entire episode to set up a joke… in which Hummus Ethicsissue’s spawn is going to be named Peter as she stares longingly at the governor. Because that is *exactly* who they’ve made this character be, so at least they’re bold enough to own it.
G: They do know how to end an episode, always. I give them points for that.
R: But also: boring?!
G: I still have hope. Boring seems very likely—all the pregnancy kitsch is just too damn kitschy—but they are usually good at plot twists. Not always with secondaries, but often.
R: Do you think they think they’re fucking with gender by having her move on Peter? I was mildly intrigued at first, but now I’m losing interest.
G: I think it still depends how she moves on Peter. I keep hoping that there’s real political manipulation in there somewhere.
R: I was hoping we’d get the dad’s name when Alicia’s mom asked (also the actress nearly gave it away with how much she was enjoying that scene).
R: Channing, who I still see as Rizzo and love. Please tell me there’s not going to be some weird thing where anyone actually believes it could be Peter’s child?
G: Ulgh, please no. That would be so desperately wrong.
R: Hold me. Okay– I am going to put my faith in Eli Gold.
G: Usually a good place to put faith.
R: Eli Gold would not let Jesus do that.
G: SO TRUE. So what would Eli let Jesus do?
R: Oh God. It feels like Eli has so many bullet points for Jesus: 1. Jackie, sit down.
G: “Bullet Points for Jesus” is a band name.
R: What would the first album be?
G: “Jackie, Sit Down” would not be horrible.
R: I WAS JUST THINKING THAT. Clearly it was meant to be.
G: Okay, more bullet points?
R: 2. Hummus, take an ice bath.
3. Peter, you hold public office, you are not a free man.
G: 4. Hold me, Donna Brazile.
R: 5. And baby Jesus, please bring me Natalie Flores for New Year’s.
G: I am giggling so hard at this list right now. And the thing is, Cumming expresses it all with eyebrows alone.
R: And most recently, a fountain of scotch.