At last, Jackie's malevolence comes front and center. As much as I've focused on Alicia and Diane as the opposite poles of feminine choice, I've ignored what came before: those who find total validation through manipulating the men in their lives.
She's a character as old as time: Jackie's the end product of Great Expectations and the Manchurian Candidate. She's every wicked fairytale stepmother, vengeful Greek goddess and Miss Havisham, all rolled into one. She's Betty Draper, with even more ambition.
But even when doing her worst, Jackie still has to pretend she's motivated by something greater than herself, that she's acting on behalf of her family. It's transparently false, but the fact that she has to make that lie says something about who she is.
She stands in direct contradiction to Kresteva, who doesn't even pretend to justify his subterfuge. He lies, and he loves it.
Even Peter, the closest we've had to a real villain on this show, lies to protect some image of himself as a family man and a just litigator. Kresteva's truly heartless, a cynical practitioner operating in service of chaos and entropy.
He isn't guided by the goodness of his heart or the assurances of his head or even the failings of his libido. He's a marvelous addition to the show, throwing everybody off of their games. In some ways, he's Kalinda, if she actually achieved the lonely heartlessness she (and Will) claims to desire.
But Kalinda's thirst for power finds direction through love, love of Alicia. Kresteva's lies inside of himself, taking over his entire being. He has to be defeated, because he's a black hole.
And that's why, despite a hundred objections, I'm firmly behind Alicia teaming with Peter to defeat Kresteva. It's gratifying that all the turmoil of the season has finally found a focus: preventing total entropy. Whether it's Jackie or Kresteva, the sociopaths must be stopped. And if they have to work together to defeat them, so be it.
Kalinda and Alicia are friends again! I'll stop mentioning it when it stops making me grin from ear to ear.
Angry Peter is the sexiest Peter. It isn't difficult to see why Alicia was blinded by him for so many years.
Meanwhile, Will's become the legal equivalent of the star athlete struck down by mono, totally impotent, but still pretty convinced of his awesomeness (it's Will, so let's face it, he's justified).
Eli does something related to something tangentially related to the plot. That's all I'll say about that.
Also, there's a case. I think.