E: Now that’s what I’m talking about.
This week we have a case which is urgent, fast paced, and required a ton of quick thinking on the part of our lawyers. We get just enough of our main characters; not too much, not too little. We have a richly hilarious new character in Alicia’s brother Owen, stirring up trouble and taking names. And dishing fascinating family dirt. Kalinda treads on cat’s feet, pouncing on the truth like it was a frightened little mouse. Childs, he ends up on the ropes. And as if that weren’t enough, we’re treated to one of the most hilariously awkward, disastrous, God-awful dinner parties since Harry Potter blew up his aunt.
And it was all awesome.
Four images take up our screen, crisp black and white video feeds from four security cameras, trained on a busy outdoor staircase. The lower left hand image gradually draws us in, confusing our focus in time for one person, walking down, to jerk like a marionette and fall onto the steps. The Evil Boyscout is showing Alicia the crimes cene footage on a large silver laptop, and musing on the fragility of life. (Oddly, I thought it was Cary’s voice; he and Blake have a similar gravely undertone. Or maybe it just seemed like something Cary would say, especially during a prosecution.) Alicia’s curious why the images are so sharp; Blake responds that the police make copies of copies, to deliberately hand the defense fuzzy versions of surveillance videos. Is that true? Also, whether or not it is, how’d he get Chicago PD sources this fast?
We flip to a title card, with a police logo on the bottom: Northbridge Sniper: Victim #2. Oh my God, really? That’s horrendous. Blake drones about how camera are everywhere today. That might be true in cities, but America isn’t composed of cities and minimarts, mister. The scene (fuzzier, with washed out color) is at a gas station. It’s horrifying to look and have no idea which of these people will be victim number two. The men chatting outside the minimart? The people pumping gas? The pink sweatered woman returning to her car? No, it’s the balding man carrying the large box. It’s dreadful to see. “Boom,” says the Boyscout. “How did you get this,” Alicia wonders, and where? Out of the police evidence, Blake smirks, and “you really don’t want to know.” He says that like he’s proud of himself and is expecting a good pat on the back. And then he sees Kalinda walking through the office.
He drops the bomb on Alicia. “You’re a friend of Leela’s?” Alicia is completely puzzled. “Um, sorry, Kalinda’s,” he says, like he said the wrong name by accident. He’s coy, waiting for her to ask, to question his mistake. The boy is so passive aggressive, and I’m finding it really annoying. He’s totally deadpan, as if he’d merely forgotten her name, but clearly, considering the number of times he’s done it (not forgetting Kalinda’s reaction) it’s got to be something explosive. Alicia confirms that yes, she is, and the little squirt sadly expresses his concern that Kalinda doesn’t seem to have a lot of friends. Oh really? Alicia’s having none of it; she’s a genius at knowing when she’s being played. She inhales, relaxing, as if knowing how to classify him makes dealing with him so much easier. “Don’t put me in the middle of your thing,” she tells him flatly. He disingenuously denies having a thing. “I have no idea, but whatever games you’re playing , you play with her. I’m too busy, okay?” The way she shuts him down gives me shivers of pride. God, I love this woman. He swallows, considering her, not cowed at all. “Okay.”
The white screen proclaims “Northbridge Sniper: Victim #3.” Oh no. We see the precise, black and white image of an open air market, replete with hanging baskets and produce. There are pineapples, and people with umbrellas. When the umbrellas clear, we see a woman fall into the display. “You’ll cue up the deaths?” “I’ll cue up the deaths,” Campbell Soup Spawn smiles. Yuck.
“My Dad didn’t do it,” the young man says earnestly, sitting in one of L/G & B’s glass conference rooms. “He didn’t shoot these people,” Derrick replies dismissively. He had the same rifle, the motive, the opportunity… “He didn’t have the motive,” the kid insists, blotchy and sincere. He had motive, thunders Derrick. He killed two random people so that he could kill your mother and get away with it. Derrick is righteous and angry, brandishing the photographs of the two “random” victims. Wow, that’s pretty awful to contemplate. The overt show of emotion sits oddly on Mr. Bond; it’s as if it’s unnatural for him to that impolite. ‘Do you know how crazy that sounds?” the kid shoots back, sustaining eye contact across the conference table. It does actually sound a bit far fetched. I mean, not totally out of the bounds of comprehension, but certainly convoluted. It can’t be the likeliest scenario, can it? Derrick insists that it is. Turns out the Dad was a marksman in the Army (though never in a war, so it was all just target practice) and the mother had a restraining order out on him. Ouch. Was there a reconciliation coming? “My Dad didn’t do this. He couldn’t do this. And the State’s Attorney hounded him, they persecuted him, and they never proved a thing,” the boy declares, looking younger when shot from above, vulnerable. This show is so good at client first impressions. Not convicted isn’t the same thing as not guilty, Derrick shouts. “That trial killed him – he was fifty years old, and he died of a heart attack,” the orphan tells us. Oh. “He died thirty years too early,” the boy continues. “And now you’re looking for someone to blame,” Derrick wonders. “Yes,” says the boy, “but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be blamed.” Nice. Diane smiles her approval. Alicia nods, and Derrick casts an approving glance at the video camera we suddenly see set on a tripod next to him. Nice that they filmed the scene in order to hide the camera. We’re looking at practice for the boy’s deposition in a civil suit that L/G &B is orchestrating for his father’s wrongful death. Will it be that hard, he wonders? Harder, says Diane, because they’re going to try and scare you off. But you did great, Wyatt. (A sharp shooter who named his son Wyatt? Heh. I shouldn’t laugh, but heh.)
“It’s a difficult one, malicious prosecution,” Diane exposits once the boy’s scuttled off for a cookie. (No, no he’s not that young; it’s more that he acts like a 12 year old.) Not only do they have to prove malicious intent on the part of the State’s Attorney’s office, they need to prove the father was innocent. Alicia says Wyatt Earp is grieving and he wants justice – he wants his father’s name cleared. Won’t happen, says Derrick. Will he take a few dollars if they throw that at him? Alicia will talk to him. “It seems to be your specialty here – lowering the client’s expectations,” Derrick notes. “Inspiring work,” says Alicia, arching her eyebrows and walking away. Derrick and Diane gather up their things to go shake down Childs for cash.
A professor writes equations on one of two green chalk boards (a chalk board! how quaint). Perhaps twenty students in their early twenties sit on the outside of a U made up of wooden tables. The class follows his every sardonic utterance, and laughs at his math jokes. Are they suck ups, or is that actually funny? I’ll have to ask my math major brother. Assuming it’s not graduate level math, anyway. Clearly he’s supposed to be droll and witty. “Any questions? No! Then my work here is done,” he says, turning around. “Why the University of Oregon?,” one student wonders. Why not the University of Oregon? Is the implication that he could do much better? “Why am I teaching at the University of Oregon and not here at my alma mater? Clearly you’ve never spent a winter in Chicago.” The students laugh, because of course they have. Plus, on the West Coast, he gets to wear flip flops. Even in the rain? Whatever, dude. He asks again for questions on the classwork.
“Ah, Professor Cavanaugh? Alicia Florrick’s your sister, isn’t she?” a good looking young guy inquires. Oh, Lord. No question where this is going. People are so ballsy and invasive. Cavanaugh jokes, pretends to change the subject, and notes that the guy has his phone out. Gee, you’re not going to put my answer on youtube, are you? Oh, no sir, I would never do such a thing.
“I love my sister,” Cavanaugh says, hands in his pockets. ” I love my sister more than I love the golden ration, which is a lot.” The class titters. Now that’s a math reference I get, at least. “You will not find a finer human being on the face of the earth, but, uh, no, I don’t see her much.”
“Is it because of the scandal?,” cell phone boy wonders.
“No, I think it’s because her husband is uncomfortable that I’m gay.”
Ha! Well, that’s a fine grenade for the campaign this morning.
Cue to Eli, watching the video online, doing a spit take. He chokes. Hee hee. That’s just awesome. He actually throws a large and hefty book at the door, I think to get someone’s attention, though I’m sure it helps his frustration a bit too. It belatedly occurs to me to wonder; is the State’s Attorney race a two party one? Is there a primary, or do qualified parties apply whatever their partisan politics? Chicago politics puzzles me sometimes. I mean, they elect their judges. That’s just foreign to me.
Peter’s giving a speech to a community action group called 100 Black Men: Chicago Inc. Seems like a rather small group to be throwing a political function, no? Or am I being too literal about the size? Anyway, he praises their commitment to service and activism. Eli signals him to wrap up, and he does, clapping for his audience. Very smooth.
Eli, having pulled him aside, spits out his concern. “Peter, I need you to be honest with me. Do you have a problem with gay people?” Peter trips over his words, not understanding where this is coming from. “Are you uncomfortable with them?” “Oh, Eli, look, I couldn’t care less if you’re gay,” says Peter, patting his chief strategist on the shoulder. Ha! I love it! (This is especially humorous since Alan Cummings is about as obviously out as it is possible to be.) No, no, Eli isn’t gay. “It’s your brother in law. He thinks you’re a homophobe.” “Owen,” Peter says, stopping in startlement. Yes. He’s a visiting lecturer at DePaul (DePaul again? It’s their go to university, apparently) and he doesn’t visit your home because you’re a bigot. Peter’s face breaks into an enormous, blustery grin, and Eli gets all snitty about it. “It’s Owen – he talks,” Peter guffaws, making crazy little hand gestures to indicate his brother-in-law’s wild verbal flights of fancy. Eli is not amused. “Calm down,” says Peter, “this is an easy one.”
Cary swaggers through the State’s Attorney’s office, doing his best attempt at a mac daddy walk. Derrick and Diane sit across a desk from Glenn Childs, who’s flanked by Broadway veteran Anika Noni Rose (best known for her role in Dreamgirls, and as the voice of Tiana in The Princess and the Frog) and eventually Cary. Are we really throwing around words like innocent, she says with a gentle smile as Derrick makes his pitch. You know, this show in infinitely better than Ally McBeal, but that girl can sing, and if this was Ally McBeal, before the end of the episode she’d be belting out the high notes. Probably in the unisex bathroom. Which – yeah, so glad this isn’t Ally McBeal. “What would you call Richard Jewell,” Derrick inquires calmly with his hands folded. (You know, the Olympic bombing hero turned suspect? That poor guy.) “Not charged,” says Cary. Oh, lovely. Quick with the party line, aren’t you? Childs cuts to the chase and asks how much money they want. Bond writes down an amount on a slip of yellow paper; Wendy Scott-Carr (Rose) takes it, and hands it to her boss. Cary and Wendy are still standing, the better to make Childs look kingly as he leans back in front of the Cook County seal. It’s nicely staged to remind you why you might not want Childs in charge.
He crumples the paper dramatically; Derrick’s disappointment somehow focuses into his bottom lip without actually pouting. “I think you’re underestimating our resolve,” Bond warns. I won’t deal, Childs says, while you’re playing politics. This is all about Peter’s campaign. That’s absurd, Diane says in surprise, but Glenn knows this is Alicia’s case, and that’s not okay with him. “We need to talk about this,” Derrick says after Glenn has kicked them out. “I know,” agrees Diane.
Clip clip clop goes Eli Gold down the hallways of Lockhart/Gardner &Bond, water carriers for the Peter Florrick campaign. “I’m busy Mr. Gold,” says an exasperated Alicia, shaking her weary head, but things are so serious Eli’s willing to walk and talk. I love Eli walking with Alicia; it’s so Aaron Sorkin. It’s as if they’re pacing the halls of the White House, and Sam and Josh are just around the corner. Anyway, Eli splutters out his horror to Alicia, who laughs. “Why is everyone finding that so funny!” Eli grouses. Don’t you love seeing him all hopped up on his crisis ( losing $800,000 in gay money!) while everyone else giggles? She’s used exactly the same words as Peter. “That’s just Owen. He just talks.” Eli wants him to make a public apology in order to prevent a lobbyist, Spencer Roth, from – well, presumably departing with his cash, but Will joins their conversation and dismisses Eli summarily. It’s rather amusing. And it actually sounds like there was a work related reason for Eli being there, so off Eli goes.
“Peter’s campaign?” Will asks as he walks Alicia to her office. It’s like the popular girl walking home from school. In, you know, 1952. Everyone wants to carry her books. “Always a source of amusement,” she says, and he compliments her staying out of the limelight. It’s a matter of survival, she replies. “Let’s talk about the sniper lawsuit,” Will begins, “don’t take this the wrong way.” We know why he’s there, even if she doesn’t. He stops himself. “You should never begin conversations that way.” No, Will, you really shouldn’t! Good that you know that, though – it takes away some of the sting. After first Alicia assumes that the partners are dropping the suit as unwinnable, but when Will mentions “political complications,” Alicia gets it. It’s not so much that they’re dropping the case as they’re dropping her out of it. Taking a step back for now is how Will phrases it, but you can see she’s pained. Will gives her a heart rendingly sympathetic look. He’s so good at eye contact when it counts. (So is Peter, for that matter; that’s something this show does so well.) “They think this is about Peter’s campaign,” Alicia reasons. “Well, we are going head to head against his opponent – we need to tread carefully,” Will explains. The acting is so brilliant here; you can see tiny hints of hurt and frustration in her face (again! all that work for nothing!), but she’s careful to be neutral and professional and hold it all in at the same time. She’s not a brash kid who would flame out at the partners for making the choice.
“Look,” Will jumps in, noting the tightening in her jaw and what it means, “I know this is your case. I know how hard you’ve worked on it.” She gets it, she says, she really does, but oh, how it hurts. “If it’s a win, it’s your win,” he says, all big brown eyes. “I know,” she says, gulping down her disappointment and faking the necessary smile to send him on his way with a clear conscience. He turns to go. “Did they ask you to tell me?” “Diane and Derrick? No. I volunteered.”
Ah. Now that was a real smile. Tiny, but real.
Lana Timmerman, wife of that disgraced presidential hopeful from Colorado, attempts to leave her house; we see a video clip on Alicia’s computer, via the Early Show website. Nice bit of synergy there, CBS. The press beat on her with miserable, invasive questions. Is it true your husband took his aide for an abortion, Mrs. Timmerman? Why would she tell you if he did, turkey? She’s trying to be dignified. Alicia watches in pained understanding. “He didn’t need to,” she says, mild and civil. A semi-familiar voice intones that Lana has now joined “a long list of long-suffering wives.” Alicia is the only other wife they show.
“Remember, they may hit you hard,” Diane cautions Wyatt Earp. “Where’s Alicia,” he says, plaintive as a baby duck. “Oh, she’s around,” shrugs Diane, hoping her gorgeous bronze jacket will distract their client with it’s shimmer. Sorry, Diane, imprinting doesn’t work that way. Cary and Wendy Scott-Carr enter the conference room, where the video camera is set up. Poor little Earp looks ready to panic. “Hello, Mr. Stevens,” smiles Wendy, introducing herself. “Are you nervous?” He denies it, but after a moment of her encouraging gaze admits “about as much as you’d expect.” She smiles to herself this time.
She sits down next to him, a tiny woman in a tight pumpkin colored blazer. I expected her to interview him across the table, so this already feels odd. It’s not overtly adversarial. Wendy offers Wyatt gum; Derrick accepts it, but tosses it next to him on the table. She’s sweet, and so very understanding. She wants to know about his Dad and whether he was a drinker. And then she wants to know about his parents’ divorce. He’s bewildered. “All I’m saying is, I get it. Just because people fight, doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. Do you believe that?” She’s folded the little duckling in with her eyes. Yes, yes, he does believe it. Didn’t you bring your mother to the hospital with a cut on her face? I know you want to protect his memory. Let’s just – talk. She sighs. He’s mesmerized. Cary looks on with pleasure. She’s killing us, Derrick whispers to Diane, and I guess. He’d know better than me. I didn’t feel like junior had said enough to damage his case. He’s hardly said anything, and she’s hardly asked anything. On the other hand, she’s leading him around like she’s the momma duck now. (It puts me in mind of that brilliant audition scene in Mulholland Drive; Naomi Watts has practiced her lines a certain way, but when she arrives, she hears that the actor she’s reading with disparage previous auditioners who’ve played the character as she was planning; she switches tactics on the fly, and blows everyone away. You know, because they’ve prepped him for one sort of attack, and the prosecutor wisely went with a far less obvious and expected one.) Either way, kudos to the State’s Attorney’s Office and Ms. Scott-Carr and Miss Anika Noni Rose. I could definitely deal with seeing more of her; she’s far more competent than, picking a name not at random, ASA Brody.
Eli has one of his patented fits while lunching outside an enormous, and beautiful, neoclassical building. He sits on a stone railing in front of a bronze statue, gesturing wildly with his coffee while another suit placidly eats a salad. “Peter is not a homophobe.” “Why do you think I’m always about the gay issues?,” salad-man asks through a forkful of lettuce. Eli thinks this is obvious, and complains that everyone in the gay community is watching the way this fellow is going to jump. “Gay money has dried up – you have such a succinct way of putting things,” chuckles the suit in appreciation. This has to be the previously mentioned Spencer Roth, no? Eli contemptuously asks if the lobbyist needs smelling salts, and then prates about how he’s been offered the coveted honor of dining with the Florrick family so that Peter and Owen can suck up to him -er, I mean convince him that they really love and respect each other. “Spence” surprises Eli by pulling out his phone with a photo from the Huffington Post of Peter with Jimmy Carter’s latest book tucked under his arm – Peace Not Apartheid, a tome about the Middle East which expresses distress at the treatment of the Palestinian people. “It’s not a joke, Eli,” Spencer assures the doubting Thomas. “Oh my God, I’m in crazy town!” declares Eli at the very thought that Peter could be soft on Israel. “Would I be working for him if he were pro-Palestinian?” The State’s Attorney has nothing to do with foreign policy, Eli spits out. Ah, but you have designs on going national, don’t you? You don’t care about a piddly little State’s Attorney race. Oh, crap, really? Like Alicia hasn’t suffered enough? Eli doesn’t deny it. The dinner promptly turns into breaking fast for Yom Kippur. Roth chokes a little on his salad – gentiles? Breaking fast for Yom Kippur? “What, do you think I would make up a lie like that?” Eli, you’re so cute when you lie. He insists that it was a kindness to him, their lonely Jewish friend. Join us, won’t you? “Talk to Peter. Find out how much he loves gays and Israel.”
Man, that was awesome. The naked horse trading is just too funny.
Ah. It looks like Blake has joined Will’s pick up basketball games, which seem to be taking place outside now rather than last season’s gym. Makes sense while the weather holds, I guess. We find this out from the pictures lying on the passenger side of Kalinda’s car. She pulls up into a metered parking space on a busy street, leaving enough space so she can pull out quickly. This turns out to mean she’s live-parked in front of a fire hydrant. Maybe it’s a good thing she knows a lot of cops. She’s spying on Campbell Soup Spawn, who’s paling around with – hookers? Yeah, hookers. Hookers seem much less expected during the day, somehow. Kalinda turns down her police scanner so she can concentrate on Spawny as he’s fawned by one of the street walkers, whom he then introduces, perhaps, to a fellow in a business suit? So, what does that mean? He has friends in low places? He has sources who like low places? He’s a pimp? Alas, we’re distracted from this fascinating line of inquiry by the police scanner going inside. Shots! Shots fired! Looking like the Northbridge sniper again! She springs out of the semi-legal parking space, and into a lush green suburb with a movie theater. Inception is playing. The place is littered with police vehicles.
They have the suspect trapped. Kalinda narrows her eyes, and nimbly spins her enormous SUV to the other side of – is it a parking garage? Whatever red brick structure where they’ve got the shooter trapped. “You are clear to fire, ” a voice intones as Kalinda hops out of her car and scurries to the nearest officer, in full on swat gear. He acknowledges her, and then shoots out the window of a purply blue van. Officers with shields and body armor run to the van, and toss something – tear gas? a flash grenade? – into the shattered window. It explodes, blowing out the rest of the windows. Smoke and sparks are everywhere. “Go go go! Move!” is the mantra until the officers, multiplying, get back to the van and open its doors. “Don’t move, don’t move!” they instruct whoever waits within. They pull out a heavy set fellow with a truly awful attempt at Justin Bieber’s haircut. He pleads with them not to shoot as they force him to his knees, and then lay his face on the glass strewn tarmac. An officer pulls a rifle out of the van. Kalinda cranes her neck, and we can see coffee cup, and a lawn chair as the smoke clears.
Woah. That was quite intense and more than a bit unexpected. Excellent.
“He put a slot in the van for the rifle barrel and scope,” Kalinda tells a crowd back at the office. No, we don’t know why, Derrick, he’s got no priors. They must consider this the real Northbridge sniper, Derrick says, and Kalinda agrees that this is the same rifle (what, there wasn’t a ballistics match with Stevens senior?) and the same m.o., so they ought to draw that conclusion. Evil Boyscout rushes to the door at this point, huffing that he just heard. “Do you want me to run it?” Derrick raises his hand to silence his operative. The victim, he asks Kalinda? 28 year old mother of two, Lisa Rennick, shot in the head. Ick. Same as Northbridge. Can we get a ballistics match, Derrick wonders. I’m on it, says the Boyscout in the doorway. “No,” Derrick says, sizing up the competition, “Kalinda, you do it.” Blake hangs his head. Bad dog, Blake, bad dog! Kalinda swishes out past him. She wags her finger. “Don’t overpay,” she cautions him. He’s baffled. Score one for our girl!
Diane runs in, slightly behind on the news. Smart, smart, Kalinda, bringing the news to the partner who didn’t start out in your pocket. “Talk about lucky – I mean, except for the death.” Oh, Diane, the coldness! That was pretty great, in a completely appalling way. “We need to double our ask,” Derrick grins, and Diane agrees. We should get a settlement call within the hour, she gloats. We need to double our ask, Derrick repeats, picking up the phone.
“Yes, I’m watching it right now,” Alicia confirms as she get the good news at home, wrapped in a warm looking white sweater. “We need to double our ask.” Hee. She can be there in 15 minutes, she says, but no, they’re continuing to keep her off her own case. Oh, fools, will you never learn? She’s got a distraction in the form of the doorbell, however, and behind the door is her loving little brother, dolled up in black leather and studs, smacking on some gum. She bursts out laughing. “I wore this for Peter,” he says, looking down from his pose,” and, joke’s over, I’ve got to change.” Not so comfortable, apparently. He’s got wine for her, and the gay equivalent of girly mags (manny mags?) for Peter. Cute. Alicia can’t help but giggle.
“Oh, come on,” she says as the sip wine on the couch. “It’s true,” he says, “Peter doesn’t like me.” “Yeah,” she admits, “but he doesn’t like you because you’re a jerk, not because you’re gay. You have to make it right.” “I know,” he mutters. “I like this,” he adds, tossing his chin forward to indicate the talking. “Why don’t we do this more often?” “Because you live in Oregon” is the obvious answer, but of course time and work and drama have a lot to do with it, too. I love this conversation. It’s so rare to see Alicia completely relaxed but still talking about substantial, personal issues. “Did you hear Mom’s divorcing number three?” She has, but I sure hadn’t. Woah. That’s fascinating. I always pictured her as coming from a more Ozzie and Harriet sort of family, somehow. Of course, negative examples can be pretty searing. “I didn’t like him anyway,” she shrugs. Owen pretends to defend the stepfather, just to make her laugh, and it works. He looks up at big sis in a bit of awe, so proud of himself for making her chuckle. It’s so endearing. It’s just everything. She returns the favor by snarking about stepdad and his bling. Ick. Owen asks tenatively if their mom called with the news. She didn’t. She wrote. “Afraid of the Alicia stare,” Owen shakes his head. She can stare over the phone? Wow. I wish I could do that.
Alicia doesn’t. Owen mimes her serious, disapproving face. He’s got it down. “I don’t – when have I ever done that?” “When somebody doesn’t live up to your standards,” twitches little bro. “You make me sound like such a bitch!” she cries, a little hurt. “Noooo,” he denies it, “prrrrroper.” She’s aghast. He thinks this is funny. Ah, siblings. Does she not think she’s proper? The underlying sentiment isn’t off, although I can understand her exclaiming at the term. Probably that’s what she thinks of Jackie, in which case, it’d be super offensive. “When are you going to leave him?,” Owen asks, suddenly totally serious. She debates replies, and then just begs to change the topic. “He’s two faced,” Owen continues, not letting it drop. “Everyone is two faced,” Alicia responds, and, maybe? “You’re not!” “Yes I am,” she insists, visibly chilling. “Then you’ve changed,” Owen insists, clutching his wine. “No,” Alicia asserts, thinking about it, “issues got more complex. And I grew up.” She takes another swig of her light, golden wine. I really do love this conversation.
“You’ve always been grown up,” Owen tells her. “Remember that little speech you gave Mom and Dad?” Now she’s laughing again. He imitates her, using a Katherine Hepburn quaver very unlike adult Alicia. “You can do this to me, but you can’t do this to Owen!” Oh, poor little kid! Doesn’t your heart break for her, for them, their safe world pulled apart? “See how well that worked,” she says,” they got divorced anyway.” Ah, says Owen, is that why you’re staying with Peter? To prove you’re not Mom? So that Zach and Grace won’t have to go through what we did? (To which I answer, Duh.) “Does everything have to be about something?,” she wonders in exasperation (and I’m sure it’s not quite that reductive, but still). “Yeah. I’m pretty sure I just read a piece about it in the Times.” Snort. Well, then it must be true. Alicia gets saved by her phone ringing. Owen declares that he’s going to stage an invention in the three days he’s staying (staying? where? in the maid’s room with Peter? on the couch? the floor?) and by the end of those three days, she’ll be ready to leave Peter. Good luck with that, boyo. She gives him the talking puppet hand, and reaches over him to get the phone. A voice – Derrick, I think? – instructs her to put on the tv, and she clicks on channel 2 (it’s CBS! Surprise!) just in time to hear Childs tell the press that the man who was captured that day is a copycat. A killer who, in case you were wondering, got the idea of imitating the Northbridge sniper because of Stevens’ civil suit. Crap.
Guess they won’t be getting that settlement call after all, huh?
“Am I angry? Yes,” Derrick tells the assembled team of lawyers. As usual this season, there are no regular lawyers we recognize, though the other partners are there, as well as Kalinda and Eddie Haskell, stubble flowing over his round baby cheeks. Bond’s upset, yes, but still soft spoken. No wonder his style in deposition prep seemed so strange if this is what he looks like when he’s really angry. “Wyatt Stevens was innocent. The State’s Attorney is grasping at straws trying to thwart our suit by insisting that this new sniper is a copycat.” Can we prove otherwise, Will wants to know. Half the team will focus on proving Steven’s innocence, and the other half, Child’s malice. Alicia is there but not included. Kalinda volunteers to follow pretrial motions, to see what moves Childs is making on the new case and how it compares to the old, and Eddie Haskell will attempt to nail down a pattern between the victims where the cops failed. Good plan, people. Haskell shoots Kalinda a nod of respect for her idea, and follows her out of the room as they’re all dismissed. He plays the gentleman, waiving her through the door first, yet the very second they speak, he ruins the impression. “You think I’m your competition,” he sums up nicely. Can’t just say hi, can you, buddy? I don’t care if you are, she lies, but he seems stung, and has to be a jerk again. “That’s good to hear, Leela.” He makes a show of correcting himself. Damn, but that’s irritating. “Sorry – I keep on slipping on that, don’t I?” “Don’t forget to use con-doms,” she says, all big serious eyes. He chews on that. “You seem to think you know something.” He leans in. “You don’t.” “You’re probably right,” she says. Ha. Then she waves him on to the elevator without her. “I’ll wait for the next one.” They stare daggers at each other as the doors close. It’s an intense moment, with an angry, sexy spark to it.
Peter rides in the back of – is it a limo? It’s so funny to see Peter in sunlight, don’t you think? That’s happened what, twice? He’s on the phone, disavowing the Carter book. Ah, reading. What a sin it is! Maybe it was Alicia’s, Peter suggests, or something I was taking out to Good Will. He really has no clue. Eli walks to a dark SUV, waiting outside a city building, and ah, that’s what Peter’s riding in. “I know this is going to sound dumb and dumber, but I invited Roth to your place for Yom Kippur.” Peter is astounded. “Yes,” Eli tells him, “tomorrow.” Eli has his arms crossed, and his foot down. He actually looks pretty pissed, and very much the prissy school marm. Alright, shrugs Peter. Oh, you silly people. You foolish, foolish mortals.
“Carl Landers shot a woman at the mall, your honor,” we hear Cary say as Landers, cuffed, plays with his nose. Nice. You know, when you say it together, it sounds like Carl Anders, but its not. Just saying. Names that end and then begin with the same letter can be a problem.) Kalinda walks into the courtroom, dressed in black, her waist wasp-like with a wide black belt. Well, if he’s only killed the one person, then he’s not a public terror, the defense attorney argues, and you can’t deny bail on that grounds. We can, Cary insists, because Landers is a flight risk. When the judge refuses to set bail, the defense attorney begs a moment to confer with Kalinda, and Cary just about has kittens, accusing them of collusion. The judge couldn’t care less.
I want to point out here, just for the record, that both Cary and the defense attorney seem to be saying Northbrook, not Northbridge. I’m positive I’ve heard that somewhere earlier in the episode, and just ignored it, but here it’s too obvious to get around. It’s all very confusing. The title cards at the beginning were quite clear. Okay. I looked it up: Northbrook is a suburb of Chicago, which includes a mall, and Northbridge is a Chicago mall. So perhaps they switched to one when legal couldn’t clear the other, but didn’t want to reshoot scenes just for that? Both locations make sense, and the mall thing explains the staircases, the movie theater and the parking garage if not the gas station per se . If I’m even hearing that right, but I swear I am.
Anyway. What Kalinda’s brought to the case is the name of a detective who should be put on the witness list. Of course he was left off the witness list because he’s in rehab, trying to beat a vicodin addiction. Snap! Cary tries to keep that last bit private, but the judge wasn’t buying it. Kalinda fills Derrick in, back at his office. Poor Detective Mangold, wounded on duty, got hooked on the pain pills, and was perhaps unreliable back when he investigated the first event. She refers to it as the Wyatt case, which, huh? Isn’t it odd that they’d use the client’s first name? You wouldn’t call something the “Bob” case or the “Erin” case, would you? Now I’m all turned around. More important: Kalinda slips back with a suggestion for her new boss. “You should get Alicia to help the other team [ie, the pattern between the victims]. She made this case her life; she knows it in and out.” “Thanks,” he says. And how is she getting along with Blake, he wonders? “Couldn’t be better,” she says. Riiiiight. Would anyone who knows Blake believe that?
Will leads some staff in pattern discussion. Blake and Alicia share a computer. Looks like Bond listened to Kalinda. Good man! “The thing is, we’d have a pattern if not for…” “The lack of a pattern,” suggests Alicia. No, says Blake, I was going to say, the delivery guy. They watch the footage again. And this time Soup Spawn notices something; the limo that sails through the gas station right before the shooting. Ooh, smart. Turns out the livery company has front and back cameras, and they store the film as insurance against lawsuits. Do all limo companies do this? Again, I feel like he hasn’t been in town long enough to know that about this particular company if it isn’t an industry wide practice. He and Alicia hit up the limo company manager, a shifty looking fellow, and they get the new film. I don’t like you, Spawny, but I have to give you props. That was smart work. Kind of insufferable, the way you blackmailed the guy into helping you, but smart.
We see the view from the front of the limo, which actually makes no sense at all, since it drove through before the shooting. It could hardly have driven through afterward, since it would have had to drive over the dead body. Oh well. There it is. I definitely love this episode, but I’m perplexed by these little inconsistencies. Huh. Anyway, Eddie Haskell and Alicia watch the new film, and they can see that as the woman in pink (you know, the one who walked out of the minimart) walks up, she’s in a perfect line with the victim. And just before the shot rings out, she bends over to pick something up, there by saving her life. Yikes. What a thought, that dropping your keys or picking up a penny could have brought you that kind of luck. And given someone else a bullet meant for you. They bring their information Derrick, and they puzzle out the marks on the woman’s pink sweater. Greek letters?
Turns out she’s the den mother at a sorority. Do they have sororities at DePaul? Miss Pink is stunned to learn that the shooter was aiming at her. She’s not half way as stunned and freaked out as I would have been, let me tell you. “Do you have any reason to believe that anyone would want to kill you,” the Babyfaced Brat wonders. Man, what a question! It’s not his fault for having to ask it – he has to – but can you imagine trying to answer something like that? She can’t. And no, she doesn’t recognize Landers, either. I wonder why they didn’t show her a photo of Stevens senior, too?
The full team reconvenes in the conference room. Blake has a lot of detailed, personal information on the victims which add up to nothing. Kalinda’s got issues on the malice front, too; no one knows where Mangold is. Alicia, over speaker phone, suggests subpoenaing his work records. She’s setting the table, in a dress, as Jackie works at the kitchen island. Ah, the promised Yom Kippur fast breaking. “So you don’t put pork with cheese,” Jackie wonders aloud, and we can see Kalinda swallowing a grin back in the conference room. What, does she live under a rock? Is that a generational thing, or a question of her insulated lifestyle, or is it just not common knowledge like I think it is? Kalinda notices that all the women have birthdays within a narrow limit of time. It’s not super obvious, because it covers two different months, but they’re all Geminis. “Okay,” says Bond, “so you think he’s a Zodiac killer, you think he’s killing Geminons.” Hee – someone said Geminon outside of Battlestar Galactica! I love it. Kalinda leaps up. “Where are you going,” puzzles Derrick. “To ask him,” Kalinda says, as if it’s the most obvious tactic in the world.
Jackie plates some corn bread, muttering about how Jews can’t eat bacon, as Alicia’s tethered to her phone and ipad. Peter holds court in the dining room. “If we had as many suicide bombers as Israel, we would have closed our borders years ago.” Exactly, nods Roth through more salad. I’ve got to say, I’m so glad that they didn’t make this all one note. There’s no ‘the gays only care about the gay agenda’ foolishness, just real people with more rounded political views. Roth has two issues! Two minorities for the price of one! Roth grumbles about Hollywood types who boycott Israel, like Cat Stevens and the Pixies; his partner, a younger blond fellow, snarks that the Israelis probably appreciate their freedom from the Pixies. And are you Jewish too, Jackie wants to know. “Me? No, I’m one of the good Germans,” he says smoothly. She practically stops breathing. It’s delicious. He’s joking, says Roth, and they all fake laugh, and so Jackie – dear God, who invited Jackie to a fast breaking, anyway? – launches into a story about meeting a nice Jewish woman at the market. It’s like they’ve come from a foreign country and she’s trying to think of anything they might be interested in, which clearly couldn’t be the same things that normal people would be interested in. It’s kind of agonizing. Eli has no patients for this, and swoops in for the hard sell, which frankly isn’t any better. Peter loves Israel. “And the gay agenda,” Owen pipes up, waving his wine glass at Eli. Eli is not pleased. Of course he’s not half as upset as he is a second later when Grace brings up the flotillas. The what? The flotillas which supplied aid to Gaza, and Israel’s unprovoked attack on them. Oh, boy. Roth immediate defends the action. “Are you talking about Israel’s justified blockade from Hamas?” Eli howls for Alicia. “I’m talking about the 9 people killed,” Grace says. Good for you, Grace, for standing up for what you think is right, and not being a suck up. She’s clearly upset. Eli tries to break in and redirect the conversation to Peter’s tireless work on hate crimes (and you know, there was that case with the Orthodox Jews, so it’s probably not just lip service). “And he loves the gays,” Owen adds with the empty wine carafe in one hand and his empty glass in the other. Eli barks at him. Jackie returns to the bone she’s been worrying: “but the kosher thing is different. It isn’t just about pork, right?” Oh, dear God, this woman, could she be more tone deaf? Seriously, it’s like she thinks normal rules of conversation no longer apply.
Owen takes the carafe to the kitchen, the better to refill it. How’s it going in there, Alicia wonders, glued to her ipad. Oh, great, he says, “one for the books.” That’s true enough. It’s like something out of a Spike Lee movie, or an unfunny version of the classic dinner conversation in While You Were Sleeping, where no one makes sense to anyone else. Except in that movie, the people at the table all like each other and laugh. So I guess it’s really more like Jungle Fever. “You’re drinking a bit,” observes the former Alicia Cavanaugh, and brother Owen agrees. “I called Peter a homophobe because I wanted to hurt him,” Owen says, find the truth in wine. I know, Alicia says softly, looking away. “Do you want to know why,” he asks, eyes boring into her, and still she looks away. If you want to say, she replies mildly. He kind of blathers about society dissolving and people not leaving their state rooms on the Titanic because they don’t want to be rude. Not rude? He’s lost Alicia, and me too. “Do you love him,” he asks. “Do I love Peter? Yes, I do.” “I can see it in your eyes. You don’t love him anymore,” Owen insists, which puts them at a bit of an impasse. “You don’t see anything in my eyes,” Alicia tells him. I’m a little amazed at how forbearing she’s being. Pastor Isaiah would approve. Sure, he says, you have the kids, but don’t stay with him if you don’t love him. But now she has lost her patience. “You know what I want, Owen? I want everyone to stop worrying about me. Stop reviewing my life. I’m going to do what I want, and it won’t be what you want, and it won’t be what Mom wants, so back off.” She takes off for the dining room.
So. That’s interesting. She’s staying with Peter, and you better get used to it. I don’t know why – maybe because there was just so much going on – but Owen’s revelation surprised me a little at first. He knew the kid would broadcast his remarks. It wasn’t naive, it was calculating. Alicia, unlike me, understood this already. Also, this makes me feel like Alicia probably didn’t reach out to her family in her time of trouble, because she didn’t want to be judged or reviewed by them. Because they would expect her to do what would come naturally to them. I imagine her mother must have encouraged her to leave Peter (and that’s at least part of why Alicia stayed). That even makes me feel a little guilty, sitting her, reviewing her fictional life. Extremely silly, but there it is.
Peter pops into the kitchen for a chilled bottle of white. “If you hurt her again, I’ll kill you,” Owen mutters. Peter tells him to go to hell, Owen calls it out as a poor comeback, and then Peter grills Owen on why he left Alicia hanging during the scandal and particularly Peter’s time in prison. “So now I’m being lectured to by the whore-monger?” Youch. “Yes, ” says Peter without a trace of apology,” and you’re going to listen to me.” And it’s true, Alicia does deserve better than that from her family – although I also think it was a time where she needed to feel strong, and asking for help and questioning her choices doesn’t make her feel strong. So I don’t think it was an accident, or all withholding on their side. “You can hate me, I really don’t care, but don’t hurt her. You take the time to pick up the phone and call her. You visit. If you don’t have the money, I will send it to you.” (That’s lovely, Peter, it really is, but you don’t have an income now, have you forgotten? And isn’t that one of the things that got you in trouble before, wanting money for the bigger house, fancier presents? I shouldn’t criticize a heartfelt, well delivered speech, but the whole money thing, it’s a problem.) “Owen,” he finishes in a whisper, “don’t ever abandon her like that again.” Well, I guess it’s nice that they’re both belatedly defending her? Sort of? It will certainly be good if they’re both better at being there for her in the future. If she’s willing to let them.
Peter returns to the table. “It was my copy of Peace Not Apartheid, not my Mom’s, not my Dad’s, ” Grace explains passionately. “What is with you kids and your sentimentalizing of Hamas,” Roth wonders rather patronizingly. I have to sympathize with Peter a little bit here; it’s an catch twenty two. He want this man’s money; he wants his daughter’s intellectual development. He wants her to read and to think seriously on serious topics. I’m not sure if he made anyone happy by just letting the two of them debate, since they both probably wanted him to step in on their sides, but I love him for not shutting her down, or saying she was too young to know what she’s talking about, or yelling that his career was more important than her right to express herself. That’s really, really impressive. Hopefully Roth is the forbearing sort. “If you get marriage,” Jackie sees fit to interject, a pro pos of nothing, “you’re still going to run around like little boys with your pants down.” Oh no, she didn’t! Eli nearly has a lady-like fit, and I’m right there with him. Jackie – dear God, to just blurt something like that out loud in the middle of dinner, it’s insane. To think it is bad enough, but to then consider that it was appropriate dinner conversation? It’s so fascinating, because I feel like she’s this genteel society matron, and yet she has truly the most atrocious manners. I don’t even think she’s old enough to be that honest. (You know what I mean – the sort of old lady who hands out her colorful opinion like pages of gospel because she knows no one is going to contradict her. Ah, Great Aunt Marion, Thanksgiving will never be the same without you.) Maybe she knows what forks to use, but dear God, the woman is a disaster. Who invited her, again? Alicia attempts to resuscitate the conversation with a toast, God love her. “I’m told that it isn’t proper to say Happy Yom Kippur, since it’s a day of atonement, so everybody… Atone!” They raise their glasses and drink, with rumpled Owen glaring balefully over their heads.
Landers chats up Kalinda on those jail phones, through plexiglass. They use odd angles, so we often see both his back and also his face in reflection, which is cool and creepy. His creepy hair is gone, and looks like a different person. Still creepy, but differently creepy, less of an overgrown child, I suppose. He wonders why Kalinda is there. Could she get him his hair back? Eek. She asks him what his birthday is (March 5th, 1970). Pisces, she says, flirting with him. She leans in. “I’m a Gemini.” He doesn’t get it, until she asks why he killed Geminis, plural, and then he looks horrified. Cary breaks in. “Miss Sharma,” he says, showing her the door. You know you can’t do that, Kalinda, you’ll be charged with impeding a prosecution. Really? Could she be? Why? Whose prosecution? Making the case against Landers hardly counts, since that’d be aiding the prosecution, and Stevens is dead, so what is she impeding? He’s not going to tell, at any rate. “How’re you liking the prosecutor’s office?,” she asks him. “It seems to agree with you; you look taller.” Hee. That’s great. Why is it that I like her when she’s rude, but hate the Boyscout?
“I like the moral clarity,” he says, smiling, and then moves towards her. He does look taller. “Do you miss me?” “What if I said yes,” she asks back. “I’d say that sounds about right,” he replies, with what seems to be a more genuine, less shark-like smile. It’s cute. I really like seeing these two flirt fighting again. They’re so very good at it. “Then, yeah,” she nods, and slinks past him.
Diane stands outside – is it Will’s office? Derrick sits on a leather couch, and Will in the arm chair. Her lips are pursed, but in a way that’s far more humorous than hostile. Whatever Kalinda told her, it hasn’t made her resentful. Or is she just holding it in reserve for some future power play? I completely thought we’d be finding that out now. You tricksy tricksy show. I’m surprised, but I trust you. Will calls out to her that he and Derrick think a change of strategy is required. Derrick thinks he’s made a tactical error in backing off of the political aspect of the case, when that’s clearly got the paranoid Childs so alarmed. They want to add Childs into the suit personally, so they can depose him. “Turn up the heat,” agrees Diane. Yes, Derrick says. ‘That’s what he fears, the politics.” It’s interesting; I could see why they backed away when they did, but now it seems craven. “So we make him afraid,” Derrick concludes. “And force a settlement,” Will adds. This plan is ballsy. Diane likes it. She smiles like a shark.
Kalinda photoshops Carl Landers’ toupee out of a news photo of him, and goes back to the den mother in pink. “Sure, I recognize that guy,” she says immediately, horrified, “I went on a date with him.” Yeah, that’s pretty horrifying all around. A little weird she didn’t remember before (or twig to his name in the news) but the hair makes a fairly dramatic difference.
“This is absurd, I have qualified immunity,” Childs blusters, sitting across from L/G &B’s video camera. What does that even mean? (Huh. That’s interesting.) “No one has immunity from a deposition, Mr. Childs; if you like we can call a judge to confirm this,” Diane offers graciously. He fidgets. No, he most certainly does not want any more people to know about this than absolutely have to. Well played, Diane. “Let’s keep this amicable, shall we,” Wendy Scott-Carr interjects pleasantly. “Glenn has fifteen minutes, and then he has a conference call. If you agree to fifteen minutes, we won’t object.” “We agree,” says Derrick, with a marked lack of civility; you can see that Scott-Carr really annoys him. Maybe it’s because she’s succeeding at out-politing him? She starts the clock, and as if on cue, Alicia magically appears. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Childs grumbles. “No,” Derrick smirks smugly, “we’re not kidding you.” Oh, he is enjoying this way too much. Wendy watches Alicia sit, displeased. Alicia smiles.
“Hey Cary!” comes a voice in the courtroom halls. It’s Kalinda. Cary seems to be running late for something. “Mr. Moral Clarity.” She’s wearing a red cowl neck sweater with that same wide black belt. He’s wearing a navy suit with a purple striped shirt and purple tie, which looks pretty fantastic. She waves a dark yellow envelope at him, and he bites. “Evidence to help you prosecute Carl Landers,” she informs him. “Mmm,” smiles Cary, “out of the goodness of your heart?” “What do you care,” she shoots back, testing him. “You want moral clarity. Landers committed all four murders; this will convict him.” She tucks the folded envelope into his lapel. This really is an interesting conundrum for him; patronage versus the truth.
“You were under intense pressure to convict someone for the Northbridge killings, weren’t you?” (Again, I swear they’re saying Northbrook. Weird.) That’s my job, Childs shrugs. “I have to prosecute criminals, so there’s always pressure.” We’re seeing Childs through the lens of the video camera, so he’s a bit fuzzy when everyone else in focus. Alicia questions him about an interview he gave “promising swift accountability and justice for the sniper.” He doesn’t recall, but of course Alicia has the interview. “Chicagoans need not fear, this case will be solved by the end of the month,” she quotes. And it was, he says. Ah, how nice when the facts fall together on schedule! “Even if corners were cut?” “There were none,” he insists, and he knows because he knows every aspect of all of his cases. Wendy looks worried, and well she should. Alicia grills him a bit about Detective Mangold. Was there a cover up of his addiction? Isn’t it odd that Wyatt Stevens Senior was arrested two days after Mangold went missing? “Stevens was arrested because he was guilty,” Childs says. Watch as the politician not quite answers the question! “So you stand by the prosecution of Wyatt Stevens?” He absolutely does. “I stand by every prosecution this office has undertaken in my tenure – unlike earlier holders of my office, I do not prosecute without a good faith belief that the defendant is guilty.” Oh, he’s such a sweet,mature guy, Glenn Childs.
Alicia points out that Childs is up for re-election and can’t afford to get the sniper case wrong. The corners of her mouth just can’t stay down. “I didn’t get it wrong,” he proclaims confidently, and you know, he so deluded it’s possible he could believe that. It’s a weird thing to believe – although there was around a year between murders 3 and 4, right, and that’s odd. “Were you aware that all four sniper victims were members of DateHearts.com?” He wasn’t, and so he looks at Wendy to get him out of the mess. “Is this deposition by ambush?” Oh, perish the thought! “Were you aware that all four victims were in contact with Carl Landers from this site?” (Sidebar: Is it likely that Sorority Den Mom and Mrs. Stevens would have been dating the same guy? If Mrs. Stevens was a fair bit younger than her husband, or wanted to date a hideous man ten years her junior, then maybe?) “That all four ended up meeting with him? And all four turned up dead within days.” Again, this isn’t precisely right, even though it sounds flipping fantastic. I love seeing Alicia knock some sense into this paranoid, blinkered bozo. Ah, finally, he brings up the delivery man, and she explains about the intended victim. (Still, the Den Mom isn’t dead.) “We have no proof as to the veracity of these assertions,” Wendy interrupts calmly. Alicia hands out materials subpoenaed from DateHearts.com, establishing the connection. “This should have been turned over to my office,” Childs complains. “It was. It was turned over to one of your ASAs. You were not aware of that?” Oooooh, ouch, Alicia. That stings. Good work! “You said you were aware of everything about this case as it related to your department. Unlike your predecessor.” It’s not fair, but it’s so sweet, tricking him out of his pretended omniscience. Wendy has officially had enough. Phew, look at the time, she says, and hustles him out.
She stays seated after he leaves, a nice parallel to the throne room scene in the beginning. “What was your ask?” “Originally, or now,” Diane grins. “Now, but it comes with a gag order. Your client has to live with the ambiguity of his father’s name not being cleared. Can you sell that?” “You’re in luck,” Derrick says, inclining his head, “he’s here.” Ah, what a fortuitous coincidence! He shrugs. “All we can do is ask.” “How much,” she asks again. “4 million,” Derrick says, dragging out the last word (though not quite to Doctor Evil levels). “What you’re seeing is no reaction,” Wendy tells them. Meaning – what, that she’s not shocked by the number? That it’s no big deal? Anyway, I think she did look a bit distressed by the amount for a second there. “Get your client to agree,” she says, and folds up her papers. Wyatt Earp – er, Stevens – cranes his neck to watch her go from his seat in an office across the hall.
“I don’t know,” says Alicia, “it was never about the money.” “See what you can do,” Diane asks, and off Alicia goes to see if the nervous young Mr. Stevens will trade his father’s good name for some cold hard cash. He stands to meet her, skittish and tense, and it takes him about two seconds to bellow out “yes!” I wouldn’t have thought he could make such a deep sound. Derrick and Diane smile, satisfied. “Predictable money,” Diane smirks, pursing her lips.
You know, Diane can say that it’s the money, and maybe it is – $4 mil is certainly a lot of money, especially for an orphaned kid. But. Childs is going to prosecute Landers for all four killings, with a clear motive and actual proof. The confidentiality agreement seems pointless in comparison, don’t you think? No, there’s no formal apology, but it will be clear to anyone who followed the case that the State’s Attorney’s Office got it wrong before. It’ll have to be, in order for them to properly prosecute this case. They’ll have to change their story; there’s no way Landers defense team won’t bring it up. So isn’t that a tacit apology? Perhaps this is how Alicia presented it.
The key turns, and Alicia is home after quite a week. She stops short as she sees Owen waving from the kitchen island. Wasn’t he supposed to fly out today? He was. He’s late. “Late,” says Alicia, consulting her watch, “I think [the flight] is gone.” Owen has been reading a speech Peter’s giving at the Gay/Straight Alliance. “It’s pretty darn good,” he says, measuring. She tries to hide her smile behind her hair. “It’s you, isn’t it, you wrote that,” he says, nodding toward the paper. “No,” she says, but her face belies her words. “Oh, Alicia, I’d recognize your cadence from a mile away. So you’re Hilary.” She raises her eyebrows. “You’re working your agenda through him,” Owen clarifies. Like she’d ever admit to that! I doubt she’d admit to having an agenda, letting alone to promoting it. “We believe in the same things, that’s all.” She’s smiling again. It’s nice. Owen takes her hand, a little surreptitiously; she’s surprised he does it. Not a demonstrative family, are they? “I’m sorry,” he says, crinkling up his sad face. “For what?” “I wasn’t here,” he says, a little bit like Eli in that he’s just not enjoying getting the words out, and they rush together quickly. “You were in Oregon,” she excuses. “I always thought of you as the big sister,” he says, quavering a bit, “well I’m sorry that I wasn’t here when you needed me.” She smiles in reassurance. “I miss you,” he offers. “I know.” “Naw, you’re supposed to say ‘I miss you too!'” and he’s totally right, she’s not supposed to act like Ilsa taking to Victor Laszlo in Casablanca. She laughs, and says it – ” I miss you, too.” She looks a little teary, as she holds his hand with both of hers. “You don’t need to be so strong,” he tells her. As if! “I’m not,” she says, and again I’ll say, as if! She needs to be, and she is. It never feels like that from the inside, though. “I know,” he says soothingly,”but you don’t need to pretend.” “Um, okay,” she says. He stands, and hugs her, and then collects his things. “I like your apartment,” he tells her, and then heads off into the sunset. Or, you know, the hallway. “I’ll phone,” he says from the doorway. When the door shuts, she turns to look at her mail. “I mean it,” comes a plaintive voice from the hall. “O-kay!” she sniggers back. Her face looks suddenly serious, as if she can’t put off thinking about something unpleasant any longer. “I’m still waiting!,” he chimes in, calling her out of her funk. She walks through the foyer, opens the door, and leans in the door frame. “I’ll wait with you,” she tells her brother, smiling. And so it ends.
This is a lovely moment; Roberts and Margulies make you feel like they have a relationship, a history. They may not look the tiniest bit alike. No one would ever take them for siblings. And yet, they made me believe it. He’s acting childish to make her feel needed. She knows what he’s doing, and she appreciates it, and is humoring him, and it’s making her happy. It’s goofy and sweet.
So, alright. There are some perplexing issues which may or may not be continuity errors. I note them, because I noticed them, and because I haven’t particularly noticed anything like that on this show before, but in the end, do I really care? No, I do not. And sure, Peter had scenes with everyone but Alicia, but because he did interact with his family, and was talking and thinking about his family, I wasn’t as bummed out by this as last week. And yes, there were things I expected to find out and didn’t, but in the end that was okay, too, because what we did get was so compelling, I didn’t feel like anything was missing. I really really enjoyed this episode. The mystery was definitely intriguing, and it was very cool to have that unexpected bit of action with swat teams and Kalinda sneaking up on the killer’s van. Those action sequences felt immediate, real. I loved Dallas Robert’s droll, squinty brother. I loved finding out Alicia’s maiden name and such painful details from her childhood, which add to our understanding of her. It makes me think about how some of the most pulled together, competent, strong women I know are children of ugly marriages and brutal divorces. And I loved seeing Alicia laugh. I wouldn’t so much say I enjoyed the dinner party (that’s the sort of uncomfortable situation that usually inspires me to hide in an adjoining room until it ends) but it was so disastrous that I really couldn’t help but laugh. Finding out that Jackie doesn’t have any filters, and is just as beastly to strangers as she is to her family was a fun surprise. Previously we’ve seen her snap at Pastor Isaiah and Grace’s friend’s mom, but she had a grudge already in both cases. I figured she put on gloves for outsiders, as she does at the Sisterhood of the Pastel Pantsuit. I liked seeing Will and Alicia return to a semblance of their former eye contact intimacy, even if it’s dangerous. I liked seeing Kalinda get the scoop on the Evil Boyscout. And I loved seeing Alicia conquer expectations and deliver an almost epic smack down to tormentor Glenn Childs.
Yeah, I like this episode. I liked it a lot.