E: You tricky, tricky show. You tease us with clips of Peter trying to pull Alicia on stage at his press conference, while Alicia is transfixed by Will’s phone call. There’s the implication that we’ll see her choice. We spend the week all hopped up on the anticipation. And we don’t! Of course we don’t. The season ends just like the commercials! Brilliant. And evil.
Twists. Turns. Innuendo. Italian food. Inexplicable omissions. Lots of ways the different characters are running. For once, Alicia isn’t the one – at least, isn’t the only one – trying to figure out where her loyalties (and best ethics) lie. Or deciding which of two lovers most interest her. The snake totally devours its tail. Jackie gets into a pissing contest with God. And even an under utilized Amy Acker is still Amy Acker. What’s not to love?
Wait. I know the answer. Waiting about 4 months for a new episode, that’s what.
I do actually have some quibbles with this episode, and they’re more to do with structure and editing than anything we saw. I’ll get into it as things go along, but because some of the problems are scenes that didn’t happen, I thought I’d get it out of the way now. Sometimes I can be so spellbound by this show’s power that I can have a completely satisfactory viewing experience and only later think, you know, it bothers me a long that we missed out on X. The plot ideas were so fantastic – and the chances to check in on various beloved characters so compelling – that the plot strands might have overwhelmed the time allotted. I’m curious to know if the dvd will have deleted scenes here. Now, fine, I can see that the writers might have felt we could handle them leaving out some of the most important conversations. And yeah, we can hack it. But I doubt I’m the only fan who wanted more out of this episode.
And specifically – perhaps as usual – what we need is more Peter.
We begin with the headlights of a dark suv as it pulls into an underground garage. There’s rumbling thunder. It’s all very noir. Kalinda escorts Lana Delaney through a loading dock and up what seems to be a freight elevator, filled with old swivel chairs. Lana flirts in her flinty, aggressive way, but Kalinda won’t tell her what’s going on. There’s a security guard who almost stops them (“we’re redoing the floors” – oooh, lies and code words!) , until Kalinda vouches that “it’s her”. And look – we’re at Lockhart Gardner. It probably shouldn’t, but it surprised me.
Another car pulls up in the murky light, and this time it’s Alicia waiting. She brings a young-ish couple through the loading dock, telling them they have to turn off their cells and beepers. “I can’t believe we’re doing this,” says a fragile looking woman with lank, curly hair, her back turned to us to and to Alicia. At first I think it’s Summer Glau – it’s just a flicker of Joss Whedon-dar – but then I realize it’s Amy Acker of Angel and The Dollhouse. The butch guy with the buzz cut kisses her and says they can still back out. They don’t.
Lana waits in the conference room with Will and Diane. She tells the assembled group that the FBI is very selective about their witness protection agency. The young husband seems to think he’s got something to offer, but Lana deems their “proffer” too thin. Officer Jack Arkin, exposits Will, is part of a joint task force on drugs with the Cook County’s Sheriffs office. He’s part of a dirty unit, and he’s willing to turn tail on his buddies to – as Lana so succinctly puts it – save his own ass. There’s an elegant round of minuet here: will Lana stay or won’t she, should Alicia stay (given her position as the Arkin’s lawyer and as the wife of a prominent politician whose career would get a lift from an embarrassing corruption trial not happening under his watch). Lana stays, Alicia goes (over Kalinda’s protests). Alicia’s all about what’s good for the case, not the credit, and Kalinda’s good at pushing her towards the political game.
As Alicia heads down the stairs to the main floor of L&G, she runs into Giada, who is waiting for Will, listening to hip hop on her ipod in the middle of the workspace. Isn’t that awkward? I mean, they have a waiting room. Will has an office. Doesn’t she want a chair? Or maybe – more likely – she’s the kind that likes unsettling and observing strangers. He’ll be a while, Alicia says when Giada explains her presence. (Didn’t she just tell the Arkins it would be 20 minutes? Would Will be holed up with Lana and Diane longer than that, or is it just that Alicia – like me – wouldn’t think of spending those 20 minutes perched on the stairs? Or is it that Giada’s already got her back up?)
“You’re a friend from college, right?” Giada tries to nail down the details. “Of Will’s, yes,” Alicia responds, surprised, wary. “DePaul. Third year,” Giada points to herself. Alicia smiles a bit patronizingly. “You’re in law school,” she nods, her voice low and amused, as if law school was just the cutest thing ever. “He talks a lot about you,” Giada says by way of a reply. “Almost makes me jealous.” “Don’t be,” says Alicia, though rather to my surprise she doesn’t qualify this by saying that she’s married. “J.K!” says Giada, which, ew. Come on, honey, you’re 25, not 13, and aren’t you trying to impress this woman with how grown up you are? Alicia’s puzzled. Should she be? Well, I suppose she probably spends less time online than I do. “Just kidding,” Giada explains. “Nice meeting you,” Alicia says, and she very clearly doesn’t mean it. Giada makes what amounts to a pouty face, which makes me like her a lot less. As Alicia leaves they wave, and Giada cocks her head, considering her competition.
Back in the conference room, Jack looks at photos of task force members, explaining what their different functions are in the deal for drugs and guns. (Hunter hides the stash, Brad buys the guns, etc…) By way of proof, Jack offers up a cell phone image of a rubbermaid tub filled with bags of white powder, with handguns resting on top. Amy Acker eyes the phone warily, as if the guns could leap out of the screen and shoot her. Lana wants the location of the stash, but Will’s not playing. Delaney asks him to identify more dirty cops instead, and Will gives the go ahead. Guy we don’t know, guy we can’t even see, and oooops – Detective 98 Degrees. Kalinda is not happy. Delaney circles Burton’s face, and then says they’ll have the deal ready in a week.
The scene shifts to Kalinda’s favorite bar, where she meets Burton. He growls about her lateness. It’s very Neatherthal and deeply unsexy. “You’re unhappy,” he observes, and he’s right. She denies it and they down some shots. She asks if he ever worries about getting caught slipping her things like crime scene and autopsy reports. He laughs. “Getting caught? Slipping you things?” It’s very Beavis and Butthead, and I can’t decide if it’s endearing or annoying. No, of course he doesn’t worry about doing favors for friends. But he does worry about her asking the question, and the way her eyes start to flicker at his answer. You can almost hear her thinking. Even he can see that she’s not herself.
“I feel like you’re having this conversation with yourself, and I’m just listening in.” Wow – that’s the smartest thing he’s ever said. I’m not sure if I’d be impressed if anyone else said it – I don’t think we’ve ever seen her thrown like this – but I just don’t think of him as perceptive. She denies her distraction unconvincingly – but when she finishes by saying that she’s just trying to figure him out, he forgets all about that. Oh, Kalinda. How much do you care about this guy? You’re not going to do a little favor for a friend, are you?
Alicia’s laughing, relaxed face opens the next scene. She and the kids are telling Peter a story involving Jackie, a pinata, and wooden spoons. It’s cute. He can’t believe he doesn’t know this bit of family history. They’re sitting around a table at an Italian restaurant, checkered table clothes and all. It looks nice but casual. “For you first free meal, you choose Abi’s?” some guy named Ray Ernesto asks Peter in genial disbelief. They hug. Ray tells the family that Rich (the mayor, for whom he works) is a big fan of “Pete’s” and always has been. He’s just dying to show his support. That’d be great, says Peter, as long as he throws his business to Alicia’s firm. Wow. The way he throws his weight around – and is constantly trying to toss clients at her – intrigues me. He clearly means it as support, but the whole thing makes her uncomfortable. As the kids laugh about the incongruity of anyone calling their dad Pete, Ray leans in for a whispered conference. After, Peter tells Zach what Ray whispered; Childs’ days are numbered. When Zach marvels at his father’s quick ascent to the big time, Peter laughs it off and claims Ray’ll say the same thing to Childs tomorrow. I’m just the flavor of the week, he demurs. Nice lesson, Dad. I approve.
The waitress walks up behind Peter, in a black skirt and tight white button down shirt. The camera does not pan up to her face. Do you like this stuff, Grace asks. “I don’t know,” Peter considers. “I like what it can do.” Alicia steps away to take a call for work, and as if on cue, we pan to the bottom of the bill; there’s a smiley face, a phone number, and the words “call me!”. Are those the kind of perks you like? Peter calls the woman back – we see most of her now (young and blond) – and abruptly barks no thanks. She’s embarrassed. “No dessert,” he adds, covering the awkward moment for the kids, and gulps down some wine. I doubt he’d have been so rude if he wasn’t tempted. Alicia sits back down, shaken. “What’s wrong,” Peter asks, hand on her shoulder. Peter is so good at expressing himself physically; he’s got the whole “body language for success” thing down pat. “My client,” Alicia says, looking unusually fragile.
A dark suv streaks down a dark, leafy street. Kalinda runs through the police and into a lovely house; Jack Arkin is dead in the foyer. Hunter – the one Arkin said was in charge of the stash – greets her by name and hustles her out. As the camera pans away, we can see this is a meth lab. (Well, fine, not that I’m at all familiar with meth labs, but there are lots of chemicals on shelves and plastic sheeting up everywhere, so in my tv-educated opinion, this looks like a meth lab.) It seems like an awfully nice house, in an awfully nice neighborhood for that. Maybe rundown on the inside, but it’s quite large, and there’s gorgeous millwork. There’s also a dead drug dealer in the stairwell.
Outside, Hunter tells Kalinda that the shot came out of nowhere, that they traded fire with a drug dealer named Gorman who they’ve been chasing for 6 months. “Why’d Jack go in alone,” she accuses. “He didn’t,” Hunter says, offended. Just not quick enough to save him, were you? Hunter excuses himself to go hug Detective Burton, who’s just arrived at the scene. Burton gives good hugs. The police presence at this point is huge. “Officer down” is a phrase that gets a lot of attention.
Lana’s at L&G, looking to still take out the dirty cops. She wants Diane to turn over the location of the stash. Diane thinks Lana is the leak. Either way, she doesn’t have the location. “Okay,” says Lana, leaving, “let’s just chalk this up as a bad first date.” She’s awfully blase about a dead informant. Kalinda looks furious. Is Kalinda the leak? That’s such an uncomfortable thought. I don’t like it at all.
In a sunny house, there’s a buffet of homemade foods spread out on a table. I suppose this must be the mercy meal after Arkin’s funeral? Or are there just that many people here comforting Trish Arkin? Most of them aren’t dressed up, so perhaps the latter. Trish talks to Alicia and Kalinda in an office room; she’s seated, and they stand, dressed in black. It’s not a swank house, by any means, but it’s still a really nice one, with rounded transom windows and lovely millwork again. Alicia brings up the idea of suing the city and county for wrongful death. Trish, who’s wrapped defensively in her cardigan, looks lost and befuddled. “I just don’t want anyone to think that I’m doing this for money,” she says, seated in front of some lovely built in bookshelves. (Sorry, I just like houses with character, and so does whoever finds the locations for this show.)
Kalinda leans in to say that the lawsuit would give them the chance to investigate the embarrassing stuff that the State’s Attorney’s office might want to hide. “By asking for money?” Trish can’t quite wrap her mind around this. “Do you think I should do this,” she tearfully peers up Alicia. I think the threat of money makes bureaucracies act, Alicia says, tactful, not pushing. Trish purses her lips and nods yes.
The L&G team discusses the case; the conference table is covered with bloody crime scene photos. There are at least 5 people there we don’t know, including a black man who is not Julius (nice to see he isn’t the only one!). Alicia points out that there’s a second pool of blood, also filled with saliva, which indicates that Arkin fell face forward and was flipped onto his back later (a fact omitted by the police report). It appears that they staged the body. We’ll need ballistics, Will says. “I’m on it,” responds Diane with a smile in her eyes. She and Will share a quick but delicious nonverbal conversation about the advisability of her being involved with one of their hired experts. Will decides not to go there. He sets out what they believe has happened. The task force is somehow tipped off. They kill Gorman and use his gun to kill Jack. “Let’s finish it off in depositions,” Diane says, “Cook County won’t want this in the press.”
Alicia and Kalinda take the stairs. “You’re hot on this,” Alicia observes. “I’m friends with a lot of cops,” Kalinda shrugs, pretending it’s not personal. “The bad ones hurt the good ones.” Alicia thinks about it. “So this is… a crusade?” “It’s a job,” Kalinda says, trying again to throw Alicia off the scent, “and a job I’ll do well.” I don’t doubt it one bit, Kalinda.
And, here’s Eli! Sitting in Alicia’s office. Again. I’m kind of happy Courtney wasn’t around to get the cold shoulder here. “Notice I’m here as an invited guest now that I’m a client of your firm” he says. “Yes,” she replies, “welcome.” The warmth is overwhelming. Or, you know, not. It’s a bit like she’s found something slimey in her shoe, actually. Eli decides to be blunt, and hammers home the whole “I didn’t have to bring my business here” point in case she missed it ten seconds ago. Alicia decides to be blunt. “Let’s agree now that you can only play that card so many times,” she says, after starting by proclaiming the firm’s skill. You know, I doubt he’d have come over there if they weren’t a good firm, but it’s clear that’s also something she needs to tell herself. At any rate, I love that she’s not going to knuckle under to his thuggery. He grudgingly admits he’s not going to be able to bend her to his every whim.
He proceeds to tell a pretty horrifying story of what’s laughingly called domestic violence. A college student, raped and beaten by her ex-boyfriend, gets her life back (doubtless less happily than implied – “somehow I know this ends badly,” says Alicia, speaking for us) until Childs decides to release the ex-boyfriend, who kills the girl. “Looks like your first ad campaign,” Alicia tells him. Wow. Even grisly photos of unjustly murdered strangers will not shake her. “It would be,” Eli grouses, “if not for the fact that Peter’s decided to wait four years to run.” Alicia can’t hide her smile, although whether it’s more at the new or at Eli’s obvious disgruntlement, I’m not sure. Probably the news. ‘Really,” she asks. “Really. He says at dinner with you and the kids, he was worried about the seductive allure of power.” It was the seductive allure of something, anyway. “Mr. Gold,” Alicia begins, “who does the ‘seductive allure of power’ sound like to you?” Eli shakes his head in frustration. That’s right. Pastor Isaiah. Damn that religion in large doses. Eli tells Alicia that she needs to talk to the good Pastor Isaiah, and convince him that her marriage doesn’t need saving. She asks him to leave, very politely. “Peter needs you to win,” Eli says seriously. Blah blah blah. And she should be so grateful to play her little part, shouldn’t she? “Peter only wins with your good housekeeping seal of approval. Voters need to see you together.” Oh, charming. “Goodbye Mr. Gold,” smiles Alicia.
Seriously, I’m on board with the waiting. That’s a far better thing to do from the standpoint of his private life. Let your kids finish high school, so they can be in college and away from the insanity. Rebuild your marriage. Get a handle on the whole sex temptation thing. Understand what it is you really want to do, whether this political thing is about the seductive allure, or truly about doing good, or just habit, something he fell into because his parents pushed him and he had a talent for it. Time for Peter to get to know Peter. Oh, and make some money to take the crushing burden off his wife’s back, too.
Not that anyone asked me, of course.
We see the flashes of gunshot coming from the Marlboro Man’s handsome barn. He’s got a few dummies set up to mimic the shooting for Diane. Are those reusable? Cause they don’t really look it, not if you want to see and study the bullet holes, and that’s got to pad your bills. “What does it say about me that I find this exhilarating,” she wonders. “It says you’re human,” he replies. It’s not a perfect replica (his stairs are higher) but he’s compensated well enough to explain to her that he can’t take the case. The cops’ story holds water. She’s stunned. He thinks that the cops turned Arkin over to see if he was dead, but not to stage anything. “You seem to accord the police a great deal of honesty,” she asks, narrowing her eyes. “I do,” he tells her sincerely. And, oh yeah, the cops would like him to testify to that, but he turned them down, because he didn’t want to upset Diane. “It’s because of my feelings for you.” Aw, cute! The Marlboro Man is not only manly, but he’s considerate and forthright, too! He’s not even going to charge them for running the tests. Diane, while charmed to hear that he has feelings for her, is delighted at the chance to show him what she can do. Go right ahead and take the case if that’s what you want to do. “I wouldn’t hesitate to argue against you.” She sneaks some photos of his reconstruction.
A Spanish guitar plays over the scene change. Here we are, having dinner, says Will. But to our great collective disappointment, the attractive brunette paying for dinner isn’t Alicia, but Giada. “I ran into Alicia Florrick,” she asks him, testing. His face tenses, but he plays disinterested. Has Will really been talking about her to Giada? Did Giada make more of their intimacy than there is, I wonder? The scene implies this is their first dinner, and I can’t imagine what he’d say about Alicia, or the context in which she could come up. “She seems nice.” “Yes,” says Will, “and a very talented lawyer.” He’s incredibly devoted to his menu. “I felt like I was intruding,” Giada tosses out, and it succeeds at getting his attention away from the menu. “Like you were intruding – I don’t understand what that means.” “I felt like I was being checked out by someone with skin in the game,” Giada zips in for the kill. She smiles. Will looks gobsmacked. He’s about to speak when the waiter engages Giada in a conversation in Spanish which I think (and bear in mind I don’t know any Spanish) boils down to whether or not Will is a friend, or something more; Giada doesn’t know. “He likes you,” Giada smirks. “I’m so glad.” She offers to translate but he claims to have understood every word. She waves at another customer, and it comes out that this is one of her Dad’s favorite restaurants. She doesn’t want to say who her father is, in case he freaks out. “Well now you have to tell me – and nothing is going to top that introduction.” Her Dad is one Ernesto Cabrini, third richest man in Europe. “And men freak out about that?” “Only the ones worried about their own masculinity,” she smirks. She’s very smirky, this one. Will promptly orders the most expensive bottle of wine on the menu.
Okay, I can’t help it. The third richest man in Europe, and he can’t even buy his daughter into an Ivy League Law School? Or, you know, somewhere in the top fifty law programs. (DePaul is 51st. The University of Chicago is 3rd. Or, after all of last week’s H-bombs, did they not want to go for more name dropping?) Especially since she seems to be quite bright. Just saying.
Trish is about to begin her deposition for the law suit. It’s not a pressured thing, Diane says. No one’s trying to score points. Which means – as it always does when someone says something reassuring like that on tv – that someone will be. And just like that, Cary’s back in his old hunting grounds. Alicia can’t figure out why he’s there. She’s astonished to learn he’s now their competition. “I’m here for you,” he says, smiling, “I’m working with Glenn Childs now.” And Cary, bless his heart, isn’t merely gathering information from Trish. Oh no. He’s here to make everyone involved regret they took on the suit.
He begins by slowly, dramatically opening a bottle of Perrier. Then he dives into their family financials, and what Trish must have know about Jack being dirty. He rather nastily dismisses her part time nursing work. This is Cary at his patronizing best. Annoyed, Alicia stipulates that Jack was crooked, but gave up his life in order to right that wrong. “Yes, thank you Mrs. Florrick, I know that you would stipulate, but I’m looking to itemize.” “Cue to the State’s Attorney, ” says Will, watching with Diane in another room. “Shows some unexpected wit.” “Cary’s a good lawyer,” Diane sighs. “Do you think we made the wrong decision?” “Not necessarily,” she says; “Let’s see how he does against us. ” Her confidence is deafening. Kalinda wants the skinny. “What’s Cary doing here?” “Working for the opposition,” Will lets her know. “Smart,” Kalinda replies in a tone of surprise and respect – but whether this is for Cary or Childs, I’m not sure. She says she’s got ideas about finding the secret stash; they say go for it. Cary nods at Kalinda, and an orchestra begins to play.
No. Seriously. We see Jackie at some sort of lush, old lady club (which, come think about it, could actually be her house) filled with pastel suited women chatting over the strains of classical music. It’s the good wives club, circa 1960. She’s chatting about Mayor Dailey. It’s all very Stepford and very, very creepy. It’s certainly unsettled Eli, who cautiously tiptoes his way in. I love seeing him navigate his way with Jackie, particularly; he knows he has to tread carefully with her, and that’s fairly foreign to him, and he doesn’t do it with good grace. “Mr. – what was it again? Goldman?” Oh, lovely. Not only is she a racist, she’s also an anti-Semite? And before you say I’m overstating things, I should tell you that there’s no way to convey in print the polite contempt floating around her tone. There’s this veneer of class and good breeding but underneath, the street fighter.
Jackie doesn’t want to talk to him, but he convinces her that it’s too time sensitive to ignore, and she listens. Did I mention she ushers him into a room – for privacy – occupied by a white gloved servant, who scurries off without a word? Without the advertising campaign he pitched to Alicia, Eli gives her the facts he finds essential; “Peter is questioning whether to wait four years before running.” “No he’s not!” Her outrage at the idea is everything Eli could wish for. “I’m sorry, he is. And if we don’t file by the end of the week he’ll be forced to wait four years.” Wow, that was convenient timing, what with him just being sort of exonerated and everything. “You’re not lying,” Jackie asks. I love the way Eli’s face twitches here as he contemplates what Byzantine reasons she might think he’d have for lying about this. Alan Cummings is a lot of excellent. He wishes he was lying. He lays the blame on Pastor Isaiah; Jackie lays the blame on Eli for introducing Peter to Pastor Isaiah. “Mr. Gold, there’s one thing you need to know about my son. He’s easily moved. You need to prescreen the people who see him. And I will talk to this man. Plan on making the announcement at the end of the week.” He turns to leave. “Mr. Gold, are you good?” Eli seems a bit insulted she can’t answer that question on her own. “Am I good? I’m the best, m’am.” “I will need you to be,” she tells him with her evil mother glare in full effect. The doors open and Eli attempts to part the sea of pastel women. He shies away, fearing that he’s going to be touched. “Shalom,” he nods. Hee!
Cary objects. To what? Diane’s ongoing relationship with the Marlboro Man (otherwise known as Kurt McVeigh). “That sounds like more of a reason why you shouldn’t hire him than why I shouldn’t question him,” Diane responds, and point to Diane! Still, Cary wants the objection noted. Diane thinks that’s adorable. She manages to take the bits of his study that McVeigh discussed with her and cast doubt on his word; the height of the staircase, the compensations for lowering the gun, everything. She suggests it’s shoddy work. Well, if Cary can go for the jugular in a deposition, so can Diane. She dwells rather amusingly about his lab being in his barn, as if the barn isn’t also a glorious high tech lab. She mops the floor with him, and he and Cary stalk out, displeased. She looks thoughtful and unhappy. Interesting salvo in their relationship, but if he can’t accept that Diane is good at her job – which means that she lacks his allegiance to the truth – then they have no relationship.
The next scene opens with Jack Arkin’s phone, open to the picture of the guns and bags. Kalinda goes to twitchy, fragile widow Trish to get Jack’s phone and his bills. She uses a credit card charge on the day of the to locate a gas station, and the gas station location to locate a self storage facility. Thetapedia and accounting for the win! Thetapedia seems to have been made up by the writers; what could they not find an actual site interested in product placement? Lana Delaney has used her fed clout (“twenty four hour court orders!” Three hot lines, no waiting! Sorry, college cafeteria joke) to get them in. She’s not still trying to recruit Kalinda, is she? Kalinda would make an awesome Federal Agent, but I’d much prefer her being a real agent than Lana’s weird spy offer from that other episode. And I’d really prefer Kalinda where she is.
Anyway. They verify that it’s the stash of record, and Kalinda starts to call in to let the office know. Lana pulls the rolling door down to stop her. “Let me see your phone,” she says, “I want to see who you’re phoning.” Kalinda won’t play. Is this because she was really calling Burton, or because she doesn’t like being mistrusted and backed into a corner? “Because I don’t like to be questioned” is what she says, but Lana doesn’t believe her. Kalinda pulls up the door, and Lana pulls it back down. There’s an interesting sexual charge to the conversation, almost like a game of chicken. Delaney brings out a photo taken by feds tailing Detective Anthony Burton, two hours after the proffer meeting and one hour before Arkin was killed. Ugh. Please tell me she didn’t do it. And, oops. The next photo is of kissing. “So?” Kalinda brazens it out. “So, Kalinda,” says Delaney with strong emphasis on her name, “there were five of us in that room, and one of us leaked.” “Oh, so that’s why these photos are so important. This one of me in the car… it show me, leaking.” She whispers that last word, right in Lana’s face. “It shows you in a compromised position.” Lana leans in. “With a man,” Kalinda shoots back. “With a corrupt cop,” says Lana, even closer. “And yet I phoned you to tell you about the stash, didn’t I, which I wouldn’t do if I were compromised.” Touche, Kalinda, and Delaney has to admit it. “I guess I could just be confused,” Kalinda speaks low in her throat, and leans forward. The point of view suddenly shifts to outside the storage unit. We see both women from perhaps just above the knee – high enough to get in all of Kalinda’s fabulous boots. And we see those a boot move in practically between Lana’s high heels.
And there it is. Officially bisexual! But why the change of angle? Did the actresses not want to kiss each other? Did someone think it was too salacious? (Surely not, right?) Or did the director or writers think it retained Kalinda’s air of mystery for us not to see it? I really don’t love the notion of her actually trading sexual favors for trust and information, though. I mean, I know the teasing is her m.o., but somehow teasing is a little more morally ambiguous than actual sex for favors. I mean, not that we know they had actual sex, so I suppose it could just be another level of teasing.
Will Gardner strides around his office, thrilled with the information Kalinda’s phoned to give him. “Good work,” he tells her. “Are you alright? You sound like you’ve been running.” Hee hee hee. That’s hilarious and awesome. He looks so concerned. He sends a similarly worried look at Alicia, in conference again with Cary. Then he opens an embossed and gilded card on which is written “How’s your masculinity now?”. Ah, Giada. He smiles – more of a game player’s smile, appreciative of the nuance – and slides open a panel of a wooden box that came with the card. Diane walks in. “Something special?” “Just an eight thousand dollar bottle of wine,” Will demurs. Diane’s face is incredulous and amused. “What?” He repeats himself. “So you’re a kept man these days, eh?” “I’m working on it,” he says seriously – not in the sense that he’s serious about working on it, exactly, but that he’s unsettled and thinking hard about something.
“You just said the opposite!” Alicia exclaims in her interview with cop Hunter. “No, I did not, m’am.” He makes “m’am” into an insult. She points to the photos of the stash, talks about the reports and goes in for the kill. How did the saliva and blood end up two feet away from Jack’s body? Cary, worried, calls for a break, but Alicia – sensing her power – refuses. We don’t usually see her playing bad cop this intensely. “I want to confer with counsel,” Hunter says. “If that’ll help you get to the truth,” Alicia replies, throwing her hands up. Hunter whispers with Cary. “Mr. Hunter would like adjust his testimony,” Cary says smoothly. “Adjust,” says Alicia scornfully, “let’s adjust.” She folds her hands. Hunter stares at her, practically burning with fury. “I did move Jack Arkin’s body.” “And why did you do that, sir?” “Jack was shot. He fell face forward. I then, after firing upon and killing Mr. Gorman – proceeded to turn Jack over onto his back, because he was wearing a wire. Trying to nail us.”
Now that’s interesting. First off, why didn’t he say that in the first place – loyalty to his fallen brother? I can’t help wonder why the wire was obvious while he was lying on his back. I mean, aren’t wires usually taped to the front of a person? Or was the pack on the back of his waist, perhaps? I’d think, honestly, that moving him would be something you’d do immediately – turn him over to see if he was still alive. I thought that’s where they were going. So this news surprises me. I’m also wondering how they got the wire off with so little fuss and obvious disruption to his clothing. And also, why they would take it if there wasn’t anything to hide?
So it turns out he gave the wire to internal affairs. Well, we knew there was an internal investigation – I suppose the cops would, too. Cary says they’ll be provided with a copy of the wire by the end of the business day. “Guess what, lady?” asks the venomous Hunter, “That wire that was supposed to catch us? It shows this thing went down exactly the way we said. So I’ll be waiting for your apology.” Good luck with that one, buddy. “You know what I would do if I were you, Alicia? ” Alicia rolls her eyes over to Cary. “I’d prepare for a season of losing.”
The next scene starts with the sounds of gunfire as Alicia plays the wire for Will, Diane and Kalinda. Diane thinks the tape supports the cops’ story. Kalinda says it doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter? What the wire proves to Kalinda is that Gorman knew the task force was coming – he’s in position and firing the minute the door opens. The task force knew Arkin would be going in first. “They didn’t need to kill Arkin. They just needed Gorman to do it.” How can they prove it was a set up? Will wants to check Gorman’s phone records and acquaintances.
Quick change to the front of what seems to be a soup kitchen – the Lord is Christ Mission. Pastor Isaiah directs a group of volunteers inside, bearing a variety of heavy loads. As he’s telling them to grab a seat and make themselves at home, he spots one very out of place Jackie, who looks anything but at home. I’m not even sure what’s so contemptible to her here – charity? It’s not as if these are the actual unwashed homeless people – no, I take that back, maybe some of them are. Either way, she’s becoming even more enjoyable to hate, isn’t she?
He moves out of the door to greet her by name. “What can I do for you,” he asks congenially. “You can leave my son alone.” It’s like he’s a drug dealer or something. Keep the boy away from church at all costs! “You say you’re a man of God. Then stop making him feel this way.” What way, Pastor Isaiah wonders. “Like he’s a bad man.” “He is a bad man,” Isaiah replies – which, let’s face it, is true enough. “I’m a bad man. Even you, Mrs. Florrick…” (Some of us might have said “especially you, Mrs. Florrick” but he’s too polite – and doesn’t know her that well yet.) “Who do you think you are? You think you know people? You just use the same words with everyone. You just say God” – she says it like a swear word – ” and you think you can make people feel bad about themselves.” She really doesn’t believe in introspection, does she? I can see that she believes she’s protecting Peter, and that’s understandable (even if he is a bit old for his mommy to be fighting his battles) but I find her repeated insistence that he not think deeply about his life or ever question his own behavior astounding.
“Mrs. Florrick, your son approached me. He asked advice from me.” She looks like she’s bitten into a lemon. “I will continue to offer that advice.” “And I will do everything in my power to stop you. You don’t know my son. This is a phase, you are a phase.” Seriously, Jackie, is Peter 13? “Then we’ll see,” says Pastor Isaiah. “No, you’ll see,” says the supremely confident, strident Jackie. “He’s running. This year. He’s my blood. And I don’t know what your God does, but it doesn’t match that.”
Certainly Jackie has a history with Peter that no one else can match, but the way they’re setting this up as a battle for his soul is pretty interesting.
Alicia’s working in her office, when Will slides in the door with a pizza box and two beers. “Dinner. We’re never getting out of here.” Alicia smiles up at him delightedly, and clears her desk. They giggle through almost the entire (tiny) pizza. “The first time we met,” Will thinks back. “It was a pool party, wasn’t it – Indoctrination, or whatever they call that..” “Orientation,” laughs Alicia. They’re so flirty. “It was a midnight pool party, about a hundred law students trying to impress each other.” She didn’t swim. He did cannonballs. “God, that’s so embarrassing.” “It wasn’t at the time,” she grins. “So,” he says more seriously, “what did you think of me.” “Ah. No,” she says, but she’s still flirting. “Dangerous conversation!” “Well now you have to tell me,” he says, in an intriguing parallel to his date with Giada. “Come on, I’ll tell you what I thought of you.” She laughs, and switches tactic so something – is it less dangerous? “So Giada seems sweet.” She lingers over the last word, turning it into a complicated insult, laughing at him. He chuckles. “And third year at DePaul,” Alicia adds. “Yes, she’s just getting her retainer in,” Will laughs. Alicia laughs too.
“So is it always going to be this way,” she wonders, seriously, “between us?” The laughter slowly fades out of his face. “I want to say yes but I want to know what you mean.” She’s still smiling. “Just.. talking, being casual, and…” “Blunt?” he offers. She nods. Her head in tilted down, but she’s looking up at him – flirting. You can see this makes her feel good, and there’s so little that brings her joy. I think Alicia might have laughed more in the last two episodes than in the entire season. Will looks breathless. “I like myself around you, Alicia. I don’t like myself around a lot of people.” She looks at him like he’s being silly, but I think this really is the essence of his feelings for her. Her strength and her integrity are like oxygen to him. And, yeah, they relax around each other as we don’t see them do with anyone else. “You do,” she says, smiling. “It’s an act. Perfected over a millennium,” he says, but he smiles at her more seriously and I kind of want to fall over. Her phone rings, and he doesn’t want her to answer it and break the spell, but she does. It’s Kalinda with the name of some guy who called Gorman twice the night of the murder. (There’s a nice moment after Alicia says she’s with Will, where Kalinda has clearly said something about the two of them, and Will knows it.) Alicia’s off to join Miss Sharma at Hank Liddell’s house. “Nice dinner,” says Will, getting up. They grin at each other adorably. “It was worth the wait,” Alicia smiles, tucking her bag under her arm and heading out the door. “We always have options, Alicia,” Will says, and she turns to look at him seriously. “I’m just saying.” They nod, and she taps the door frame, the spell broken. He’s frustrated with himself.
Kalinda and Alicia wait in the entrance of a nice old house with wide windows and dark casings, maybe craftsman. “Doesn’t look like an addict’s house,” says Alicia. “I don’t think there is a look to an addict’s house,” Kalinda observes smartly. I suppose Alicia’s point is that the house looks cared for. Kalinda wants to know what she was doing with Will. Dinner, Alicia says consciously. It’s fascinating how Alicia loses control of her expressions around Kalinda; she tries, but she knows she’s going to be found out. But before Kalinda can go fishing, a woman dressed in practical clothes ushers them into a living room, where the elderly Liddell naps in his wheelchair. Impossible, says the woman (his night nurse), his arthritis is too advanced for him to dial a phone – but you can check the log to see what other home care nurses were on duty that night. Maybe one of them knows. So she checks it and reads off the name. Who was on duty? Well, who do we know that works as a part time nurse? Trish Arkin. Damn. “Did I say something wrong?” wonders the nurse. Alicia and Kalinda look like they’ve been hit between the eyes with large mallets.
Will closes the door to Diane’s office, better to discuss the development. “So our client did it,” Will repeats in shock. “She warned the meth dealer who killed her husband.” Turns out her husband introduced them. And the rest of the task force? Innocent, says Kalinda. Well, says Alicia, we don’t know that absolutely, but we do know that the stash was all Jack’s. Wow. He knew he was under investigation so he turned on his partners. And he also regularly beat his wife, so she understandably didn’t want to go into witness protection with him. This is all very well, but I wish we’d heard this from Trish, and not just because I’d have like to see Amy Acker get a big scene. This just feels too expositiony. It’s hearsay, which fails as drama as well as legal testimony. “Well that explains the leak,” Will observes, “when we counted who was in the room, we didn’t count the wife.” There really is so much we don’t see about people. Kalinda looks guilty, and Alicia notices it. Now here’s the reason the conversation is taking place here – because Diane got an offer from Cook County of five hundred thousand dollars for Trish. Will shakes his head. So Trish gets her husband killed, blames the police, and makes a cool half mil? Kalinda leaves the room in disgust. “Are we taking it?” Alicia wonders. “I don’t think we can get them any higher,” Will says. “No, I mean, she’s guilty, and she’ll get off,” Alicia clarifies her objection. “She’s our client,” Will states the obvious. “It’s our job.” Diane gives Alicia a pitying look. “And at what point is our job wrong?” “When it fails our client,” Will says. “So let’s advise our client to accept the offer,” Diane says wearily. Alicia isn’t happy, and that makes Will furrow his brows in consternation.
Diane drives up to McVeigh’s lab barn. He’s shooting at stuff, as usual, and tries to ignore her, but she’s insistent. They look at each other through the sliding barn door. You can see her asking him, without words, if he’s really going to hold it against her that she’s good at her job. He’s thinking about it – he didn’t like getting his butt handed to him – but he won’t. She smiles. You can practically see the canary feathers hanging out of her mouth. She walks in, and he slides the door shut behind her.
The conversation between Kalinda and Anthony Burton isn’t going so well. Internal Affairs is investigating him for corruption because of the L&G lawsuit. She knows. “So that’s why all the questions? About what I do for friends? You thought I did it?” She nods. “Yeah,” she says quietly, looking him in the eye. She feels bad, but she’s not going to lie about it. “Go to hell,” he grinds out through clenched teeth, and clomps angrily out of the bar. She runs after him and turns him around. “What. WHAT?” he yells into her face. “Nothing,” she gulps, looking more uncomfortable than we’ve ever seen her. “It’s just, I’m – sorry.” Wow. She really cares what he thinks. And she’s really sorry she doubted him. Or is part of the apology for something else, having to do with Lana? Sorry that things won’t work out? So many layers here. He’s transfixed. She pulls a folded over piece of yellow paper out of her pocket. “What is this?” “Who really tipped off Gorman,” she says. They stare at each other. He leaves.
I don’t know how I feel about Kalinda passing the information to Burton on Trish’s guilt. What will that do? What will it do to her standing at the firm? How will they not suspect her, if the settlement deal is taken off the table – or, worse, if the cops take beaten wife Trish out? Kalinda’s life might be even fuzzier than Peter’s. She’s so tangled with these people. How does she even know when her interactions with them are real – when the emotion is real – when it’s all so tainted by information trading and influence?
Speaking of Peter, some techies are setting up a press conference. Okay, now I’m really bummed. We don’t get to see the conversation with Pastor Isaiah where Peter confesses being tempted, and now we don’t get to see Jackie break him? I’m cool with the former, I suppose – I liked seeing Alicia work out for Eli where Peter’s new found reticence came from – but that latter I really wanted to see. Did they shoot a scene and have to cut it for time, or did they just think it wasn’t necessary? This is my biggest issue with this episode. But as with the conversation where Peter and Alicia decide to stay together after the ankle bracelet/Kozko wire tap fight, we’re just going to have to take it for granted. And I can do that (I know the writers are pleased that they don’t have to include every little moment, that we the audience are smarter than that), but in this case I don’t want to. I suppose the outcome was a given – but there’s almost nothing in this episode that was set up to be as fascinating as that conversation.
Almost nothing, anyway.
A reporter wants to know the nature of the press conference, and whether Alicia will be on stage. Eli won’t say – presumably because he doesn’t know. Peter and Alicia talk backstage, in the hallway where she slapped him in the opening of the pilot. “They won’t leave us alone, you know,” she tells him. Peter knows, but he launches into a speech about some murals in Siena which illustrate good and bad government. Peter wants to work for a world where the courts make good decision and the people are happy. “It occurs to me that it only works if people step up – if you make the sacrifice.” Yes, and I believe that, too, and so does she, but you realize that you won’t be the one who sacrifices, don’t you? She will. Your kids will. “Look, I was just an okay State’s Attorney, nothing special. But I want to be a great one. And I can’t do it without you.” Not that it isn’t a laudable goal, but the selfishness of this makes me furious. Why can’t he do it without her? First he wants to work on his marriage, and now he wants to be a great public servant? That’s lovely. Whose idea was that, Jackie’s? Clearly this is the conversation that the writers felt was more important, and perhaps didn’t want to repeat Jackie’s reasoning through Peter’s mouth. Was he even the one who read about those murals? Or was that fed to him by Eli and Jackie? Alicia swallows, defeated. “I want the kids left out of this,” she says, her voice low and gutteral. He agrees. “And I want to work,” she adds, clinging to the idea. “I want you to work,” he smiles, placatingly. His eyes asks her permission. They stare at each other, each leaning on opposite sides of the concrete block hallway.
Will (sporting a fantastic purple striped tie) pulls out his eight thousand dollar bottle of wine. He drinks it out of a ceramic mug. I’m not a wine drinker, but that’s criminal, dude. You’ve got a corkscrew in your office but no glasses? Really? He sits in one of the comfortable chairs and broods, swishing the wine around his mouth. He stands, buttons his jacket, and picks up his phone.
“Almost a year ago,” Peter tells the assembled throngs of reporters, “I stood at this podium and apologized to the public and my family for a personal failing.” And the snake devours its tail. Alicia and Eli watch from the wings. Alicia picks up Will’s call just as Peter admits to the “bad mistake” of betraying his marital vows. I’m sure she’s glad to have a reason not to listen to that again. “I was just thinking,” Wills says, with determination in his stance, “that I don’t want to go through life thinking something didn’t happen because I didn’t make myself clear.” Not clear enough, however, because she can’t hear him over the din of the press conference. She covers her ears, asks him to repeat himself. Hee hee. Nothing about this situation is easy, is it? “I said I want to make something clear!” It’s still not loud enough, and Eli almost has a fit when she walks further into the hallway to get away from the noise. Peter tells the press he wants to be back where he belongs. Those sounds like Jackie’s words to me. “Okay, I just need to say it,” Will spits out. “We’ve been up and down, back and forth, and I look at you, Alicia, and I think that…” “Will,” she cuts him off. “No, Alicia, I need to say this.” I take it back – THIS is the conversation we’ve been waiting to hear.
“No,” she says emphatically. Does she not want it out there? It’s true they can’t go back if it is officially out there. The in between stage makes for fewer recriminations. “Show me the plan,” she says instead. Ooh, I’m surprised. I bet he is too. It seemed like she was going to shut him down. “The what?” he asks, startled. “The plan. I get the romance. I need a plan.” “Not everything needs a plan,” he manages to force out. “Everything that matters does,” she replies. She’s such an adult. And also such a mom. (Those are compliments, by the way. That’s what makes this show different from anything else on tv.) “I have two kids that mean the world to me. I have the press, just waiting for a whiff of a new scandal, and I have a husband.”
“Justice,” Peter intones, “is what this job should be about.” (And justice – would that be losing your wife?)
“So if you want to cut through all that noise, then show me a plan.” He has no idea what to say. He doesn’t have a plan. “Poetry is easy; parent teacher conferences are hard.” So true. Although, gee, does Peter go to any of those? Eli interrupts to tell her Peter’s finishing. She has to go. “I – okay,” says Will. The first time I watched this, I understood that to mean “yes, I will make a plan” but now I wonder if it isn’t more like “yes, I understand you need to get off the phone.” She hangs up.
“Now I realize that I can’t do this alone,” Peter’s oration rings through the hall. He announces his candidacy. “You’re going to make my life hard, aren’t you,” Eli nods to Alicia. She nods back, and he smiles a little at the challenge.
“Chicago once again needs a change. Chicago once again needs a new beginning. I believe I am that change, and I believe I am that new beginning.” There’s quite a bit of applause, considering that this is a press conference, not a campaign speech. The press shouts out questions. We hear Alicia’s name. Peter calls for her to join him. He reaches out his hand. She starts to walk towards him. Her phone rings, and of course it’s Will. She looks at the phone, and then slowly looks up at Peter, guilt written in her face. He sees it and his confusion – and alarm – are clear. What will she do?
I guess we’ll have to tune in to next season to find out. As if there was ever any doubt of that!
I think largely this was a good episode. We got to see the Florricks as a family, which was relaxed and lovely, though we see there’s no relief from the trappings of power. We got a twisty little case. We got some seriously nasty Jackie moments, which are always fun, and a lot of Eli, which is similarly delicious. Diane and Kurt managed to weather working against each other. We got some sweet flirting and some intense flirting and an almost declaration. And we got the idea of a plan.
What I liked less was mostly stuff that didn’t make it into this episode. So much that’s intriguing about Peter and Alicia’s marriage never gets shown. So much of Peter never makes the screen, and here I wanted it more than I ever have. While it was fantastic and dramatic, I’m fearful for Kalinda; it’s hard to see her upset, and it makes me supremely uncomfortable to see people in sexual situations where they can’t separate out why they’re there. Sex is the currency Kalinda uses to buy other things, like information and access and trust; this seemed less troubling when she was more in control of it. Not to mention when we didn’t see her really using it.
I’m planning on writing a meditation on the entire season, and on where the show might go from here, so I won’t go into that too much here. There’s certainly a lot to write and think about!