The Good Wife: VIP Treatment

E: In this week’s episode, the best show on tv is on its home ground, brilliantly exploring the territory of sexual crimes committed by the powerful, and played out in the media.  Who lies?  Who tells the truth?  Why?  And at what cost justice?

Gentle Wendy Scott-Carr, smooth as honey, explains why she’s running for office.  She smiles widely, but with a tiny hesitation, as if she’s a little embarrassed.  It’s not about grand ideals – “it’s about a fountain.”  Eli turns from his frantic phone calling in surprise.  About a fountain?  What? “Who’s Wendy Scott-Carr,” he hisses, returning his attention to the phone.  “I know that!”  he grouches, having clearly been told that she was a new candidate in the race for State’s Attorney.  Hee. In her folksy, gracious way Wendy describes a beloved fountain by the courthouse, and how her daughters can’t see it in it’s glory because the corrupt, old boy system has it shut down.  Of course, since the State’s Attorney doesn’t direct public works, this actually is a grand ideal; it’s a metaphor for every good thing that choked by political maneuvering.

“We need to check on our endorsements,” snarls Eli, kneeling between Peter and Alicia.  Peter looks like he’s just bit into a lemon. Well, that’s fair enough; he says he’s a new beginning for the city, but she’s got to seem like a much fresher start.  (Poor Peter, all that time spent courting Pastor Isaiah to get the black female vote is probably for naught.  Hey, this would be a great time to see Isaiah back.  Do the producers have any plans to use him?  I don’t approve of casting off good characters just because the season’s ended!)   Eli answers the “who is Wendy Scott-Carr” question by explaining she’s in the civil action bureau of the SA’s office, low level, and her grandfather marched at the storied civil rights marches in Selma.    Peter closes his eyes in horror; there’s a resume item he just can’t replicate.  Alicia looks worried.   She didn’t want Peter to run (and I know, she didn’t say it, but we all felt it, right?) but she doesn’t want him to lose, either.  And considering the leaked tape, she’s justly mistrustful of a woman who claims to be a reformer but was perfectly willing to grind up someone else’s life to take out her opponents. “How do we get the fountain working again?” Wendy wonders, finishing exploding her verbal grenade.

Immediately Eli and Peter begin working the room.  Diane introduced Steppenwolf’s hit play, “The Cow With No Country” which will play over dinner.  That’s fascinating.  Steppenwolf is a well known, impressive theater with lots of brilliant alumni, but the scenes are played for derisive laughter.  Tammy’s attention wanders from the Bulls updates on her smart phone to the mooing and the peculiar declarations of love.  Alicia can’t help but smile at the face Tammy makes.  It’s Derrick who asks the obvious question, however.  Where did Tammy and Will meet?  And the answer is a surprising one.  He used to date my sister, she says.  Isn’t that usually a no no?  “He broke her heart – it was devastating.”  “We don’t have to go there,” Will says, and indeed, it’s not the politest of dinner conversation.  “Now we have to go there,” laughs Derrick.  It’s all good-natured, especially when Tammy throws in a fabricated overdose attempt.

“Will came home from college and told her it was over and that he was in love with somebody else,” Tammy says, her hand curved around the nape of Will’s neck.  Will laughs, but he shoots Alicia this look.  No doubt who that was!  (And now all I can think is, if Will was serious enough about Alicia to break up with his girlfriend, then why didn’t he make a move?  What happened?  Was it Peter?  Did Will wimp out because he cared too much?  Also, has Tammy been occasionally boffing her sister’s ex since college, or did they meet up again more recently?  Withheld backstory is such a delicious, unattainable treat. )  Tammy and Derrick gleefully create a scenario in which Tammy avenges the wrong done her sister, by toying with Will and smashing his little heart, and all the while,  Will and Alicia are looking at each other – or deliberately not looking, which turns out to be even more intense.   “I’ll make him think his jokes are funny,” Tammy finishes.  “My jokes are funny,”  Will replies, serious (or pretending to be).  Tammy just raises her eyebrows, and the fake cow moos again.

Amid the plaintive cries of Moo Cow’s owner, Courtney trips through the ballroom.  Huh.  Alicia’s phone is off, and she’s really needed back in the office.  A woman is there, saying she’s just been sexually assaulted, and the police won’t help her.  When Alicia stutters out the word “rape kit” Derrick and Will give measuring looks over to her side of the table.  “It’s inappropriate contact,” explains Courtney, who doesn’t really want to explain much else.  She whispers the name of the alleged attacker in Alicia’s ear.  Alicia’s stunned.  Courtney thinks it’s credible enough for Alicia to look into.  Will’s Spidey sense are atingling, but Alicia waves him off and says she’s going to just run across the street for a moment.  Ah.  Handy that the office is so close!  I suppose that explains Courtney’s physical presence, as well.   Moo Cow, meanwhile, has a gun to his head.

A tiny woman texts fiercely, hunched over her phone in the L/G &B conference room.  She looks like a cross between Kalinda and Amelia Shepherd from Grey’s Anatomy (and now Private Practice?); a little bit beaky, with serious dark eyes and a pale olive face.  With her hair pulled back, and her tank top and leggings, she looks a bit like a ballerina clutching her cardigan for warmth between dance classes.  Alicia says hello, and Miss White favors her with a huge, slightly starstruck smile. “Wow, it is you, isn’t it?  They said that you worked here.” Alicia’s voice gets perceptibly less patient.  “So I’ve been filled in on your… issue,” Alicia tells a nodding Miss White, her stumble over the word giving away her ambivalence about the case.  “I just want to make sure… actually, could you just tell me where this assault took place?”   Of course she can.  Miss White is eager, clear.  “In his hotel room,” she says.  Alicia gets progressively chillier (we know how bad that looks, going to a guy’s hotel room willingly), but Miss White explains that she’s a licensed massage therapist (lmt) sent by the hotel.   Courtney gives Alicia a significant look, and Alicia sits, pulled in.  Perhaps this story is worth her time after all.

“Okay, I know that this sounds nuts,” she says smiling, talking with her hands. “I like him, I do.  I mean, what he does in Africa on account of women… and then, he does this.”  She becomes lost in thought, really confused by the turn of events. “And you want to bring charges,” Alicia prompts.  “Yeah,” she says, convicted. “I went to the police and they um…” she laughs without bitterness. “I guess I sounded nuts.  So I came here.  Because of you.”  She looks truly serious for the first time.  Alicia’s guarded and suspicious.  How does Alicia’s reputation play into this?  It’s kind of oblique, and she’s not quite sure what it all means and she’s certainly not going to be guilt tripped into taking the case if it’s a bad one.  She gets the hotel and room number (906) and Courtney’s on it like a shot.  Alicia emphasizes that she can only sue, she can’t bring charges.  “But at least – at least I don’t feel crazy here,” is the answer.  Miss White, whose top has allegedly been torn in the attack, produces the massage bill to help Alicia with the timeline (1-2 this same afternoon); not only is the cost of the special VIP massage exorbitant, the tip is unusually sizable.

Alicia consults with Courtney out in the office.  It seems the mystery man isn’t in the hotel; there’s someone called Mr. Harbor staying in the room. Alicia’s relieved to catch the lie; otherwise it was going to be a long night.  Courtney agrees, and offers to “deal” with the potential client.  Alicia’s happy to do her own dirty work, and walks back in to let the ever texting Miss White down easy.  Not that there’s any way to boot someone out of your office because you don’t believe they’ve been molested. “We don’t handle cases like this…. We have to be cautious about what kind of cases we take.”  Miss White thinks that mystery man has gotten to Alicia, which sounds pretty damn paranoid to me.  As Alicia tries to send her packing, she impressively guesses the sticking point, and explains that Mystery Man is registered under an assumed name, like a movie star.  It’s Mr. Harbor, she says.

Get ready for that long night, Alicia.

Cymbals sizzle back at the gala.  Alicia, swaying to the music, strides past a laughing Cary and hands a note to Derrick (chatting up a pretty stranger), who passes it to Will.    Alicia watches Peter work the room as they read, and the drumsticks strike.  Diane wanders over casually and Will lifts up the note.  They look at each other.

Joe Kent,” wonders Diane as the three partners face Alicia at the edge of the ballroom.   “The Nobel Prize winning Joe Kent?” Yes, says Alicia.  “He’s speaking at NOW in the morning.”  Well, that’s ironic.  Why isn’t the State Attorney’s office prosecuting, Will wants to know, but Alicia doesn’t have an answer yet. “I don’t believe it,” says Diane flatly. “He’s being awarded the Nobel Prize for his work with women. He’s one of the most respected Americans in the world.”  She reminds Alicia of this like it’s Alicia’s fault.  Derrick wonders what to do.  Will, with that sharp, smiling look in his eyes, wonders whether Alicia believes the girl or not. His faith in her judgment is really one of his best assets. “She seems… calmer? than I would expect,” explain Alicia hesitantly, “but that tip that she got…”  She shrugs.  Will decides it’s worth investigating; Derrick and Alicia accompany him across the street, and Diane stands brooding over her possibly clay footed hero.  Poor Diane.  After frenemy Judge Adler has pulled out surprise candidate Scott-Carr, it’s already been a night of unpleasant revelations.   She sighs, then spins around to follow her colleagues.

Lara White chats on her phone.  I can see why Alicia is hesitant; she’s pretty placid.  You’d never think anything was wrong, or that she’d just undergone an attack.  She’s agreeing to meet someone someplace at 11.  “Do you have somewhere to go,” Alicia says calmly, hands folded over her stunning red gown.  “Someone at the police station phoned these creeps, Carpton and Green, do you know them?” Diane’s voice floats over Alicia’s nodding face; the partners are huddled up together in one of the offices. “If we take this, and we’re wrong, we’ll lose half our client list,” Diane informs the boys with an edge in her voice.  If we’re right, counters Will, it could be big.  ‘Financially big,” he adds, as if it were necessary.

Alicia joins them. “Carpton and Green phoned her.  They want her if we don’t.”  “Tread lightly, gentlemen,” Diane warns wearily.   “She’s meeting them at eleven,” Alicia interjects.  And no, Will, not eleven tomorrow morning. Tonight.  That’s how fast and dirty this one is going to be.  Will and Derrick whip out their phones to call their respective investigators.  Diane leaves.  “Great,” says Will, waiting for Kalinda to pick up, “4 hours to decide whether to sue the most beloved Democrat in America.”  Sounds like an ugly choice to me.

“To be honest,” says the demure Ms. Scott-Carr, back in the ballroom, “I don’t think of myself as the African-American candidate, OR the woman candidate.”  “The question,” says Vernon Jordan (Vernon Jordan again!), “is what the Democratic Committee will think of you.”  She looks down at her clasped hands modestly, and laughs.  Oh, she’s good.  She’s very very good.  Have I mentioned how much I adore Aniki Noni Rose in this role?  She’s so unlike anyone – she’s a perfectly original character.  Outstanding. “My guess is, they’ll think of me as a loose cannon – I just stood up there and said they were part of the problem.”  Cary waits a few paces off.  Is he listening for Childs?  Is he angling to speak with Jordan?    “Mr. Jordan” introduces Wendy to Peter’s campaign manager.  She says she knows him by reputation.  Eli arranges for her to meet Peter after dessert.  “And Peter will see you for lunch tomorrow, Mr. Jordan,” Eli adds, staking a claim. “Oh, is that this week?” asks Vernon, refusing to be caught.  Ouch.  That was cold, and it’s sure to set Eli into a tizzy.  Also, the fact that Jordan isn’t an actor makes his surprise seem even more fake (which makes the put down feel more real).  Sure enough, Eli blanches like Paula Deen in a butter shortage. “Yes. My office called yours last week.” “I’ll give him a call,” Vernon Jordan responds, not burning his bridges.  Still, ouch.  He shakes Eli’s hand, clearly dismissing him.  Eli turns tail and phones Peter that Verdon Jordan might be in play.  Cary leaves, too – perhaps this was what he’d come to hear.

The papers on the conference table would make Lara White a client of L/G &B, and would make whatever she tells them privileged.  No one’s signing anything just yet, however.   Will looks eager.  Diane glares.  Can I take this moment to tell you how in love with Diane’s dress I am?  The costume department did a stellar job finding gowns that are supremely flattering on Alicia and Diane (and Tammy, for that matter), but also totally different.  Diane’s gown is made of this gorgeously thick stuff that hangs gloriously, and moves with her like liquid metal.  It’s got a plunging neckline, elbow length ruched sleeves, and a belt, which sounds less formal, but isn’t.  When she picks up the skirt, it hangs in effortlessly, and Christine Baranski’s perfect posture make it all work.  The bright red sets off Alicia’s perfectly white skin and dark hair, and the single shoulder neckline plays up her toned arms and shoulders.  This dress is folded into layers, structured, more binding without looking constricted.  Tammy, on the other hand, has a halter-like neckline in royal blue with a bejeweled gold collar and no sleeves.  Complete opposites.

Anyway.  Back to the matter at hand.  Derrick tells Lara he’s not going to take notes, in order to protect her from being subpoenaed.  Wow.  This all feels so alarming.  Will steps out to take a phone call from Kalinda, who’s waiting at the hotel for instructions.  She’s stunned to learn the nature and target of their inquiry.  As Diane paces the conference room like a furious cages lioness, Will emphasizes the timely, sensitive aspects of the case.  “Yeah.  Accusing the Nobel Prize winner of sexual assault, I’d say so,” Kalinda understates. Will wants anything she can find on Kent that might expedite a settlement. Kalinda moves to a phone in the hotel lobby, and asks housekeeping to empty her trash can.  “I’m in room 906.”

Blake – late again – knocks on the conference room door.  “Kalinda’s on it now,” Derrick says, dismissing him. Then he closes the door in Blake’s face.  Ah, if only looks could kill.  Blake’s stubbly round cheeks burn with the humiliation.  Diane swoops in, calling Blake back to her office.  She wants him to investigate Lara, if he’s free.  Oh, he’s free alright.  Investigate her for what?  “Find out if she’s lying.  If she’s trying to make a quick buck. If she’s trying to embarrass Mr. Kent.  Any ties to the Republican Party.”   She hands him her cell number. “Phone me, and only me, with anything you get.  Are you okay with that?” Oh, he’s okay with that alright.  Any time you have a little job like this, please feel free to think of me again, Ms. Lockhart.  She doesn’t respond.

Back in the conference room, Alicia’s eliciting the nasty details of the attack from Lara.  Kent began by asking her to focus on his adductor muscle ( the inner thigh); this is usually a signal “that the customer wants inappropriate contact.”  Will clarifies that inappropriate means sexual, and she agrees.   I don’t do that, she told Kent, but she can do the hamstring and the quadriceps.   This news “vexed” him.  She offered to have the hotel send up someone else.  She went to wash her hands; he followed her into the bathroom.  Surprise!  Open robe, the little general standing at attention.  (I’m vaguely surprised the show got away with being as frank and clear about this as they were. )  Yuck.  “He was like, “I paid for more,” and I was like, “No sir, Mr. Kent, you paid for exactly that amount.”  He then asks her to work on his hamstring, and because she only makes money if she keeps the VIP customers happy, she goes.  Diane’s suspicious.  “From what you’re saying, it doesn’t seem like there was any way to make Mr. Kent happy.”  Well, no legal way, anyway.  She also needed to get her table out of the bedroom.  Hmmm.

There’s an odd detour into a problem with the remote control, and the desire to play “Hedgehog.”  Weird.  Does it work like that?  Can people be ADHD attackers?  I suppose, right, but it doesn’t look good.  She’s got more reasons to enter that bedroom than Lady Gaga has edible costumes. “That’s when he threw me on the bed.  He grabbing me, he was touching me.” It gets more graphic and detailed and upsetting from there.  She has to draw a deep breath, but she’s still calm, almost as if she were reciting something that happened to someone else.   You stopped him, Derrick prompts her.  No, she was saved by a phone call instead – a phone call that seemed to be from his wife.  He finished his business in a towel, and she grabbed her table and ran for it.  “Miss White,” Diane says, sitting down, “don’t take this the wrong way, but given that this happened five hours ago, you seem remarkably calm.”  Yes, yes she does.  “I’m not sure how I can take that the right way,” Lara wonders.  Most sentences that begin with “don’t take this the wrong way” guarantee offense, and this one is no exception. “Take it as the first in a long list of tough questions,” Diane replies.  Lara stares at her, a bit incredulous, angry.  Would it make a difference if she were crying?  “You were sexually assaulted.  Wouldn’t that make sense?”  Tough Miss White hasn’t cried since she was kicked out of college.  “But if it helps,” she snarks, “I wish this happened to somebody who cries.  A lot.”  She raises her water glass to Diane in a scornful toast.  Alicia – who internalizes her distress, who is blasted in the press as frigid, who doesn’t cry – narrows her eyes.

God, what a difficult topic this is.  Should it matter if she’s the under-reacting type?  Things can be true without looking true, and lies can seem so plausible.  The burden of proof may always rest on the victim in sexual abuse cases, and never more than when the perpetrator is a beloved figure.  A parent, a priest, a teacher, a Nobel Peace Prize winner: so often that’s where the sympathy rests, with authority.   We like to think we’d all be good witnesses; we would recall precise details of any horrific thing that happened to us, but perhaps memory could be obscured by adrenaline or some sort of emotional fog.  And we’d like to think we could support the victims of a crime, but we also feel like we ought to be able to know what an abuser looks like.  And global champion of women’s rights is not the guise we expect.

While Kalinda steals Kent’s trash (including a champagne glass),  Diane has an angry meeting with Will and Derrick. “Serious, Hedgehog?  The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize wants to play Hedgehog?”   That’s Sonic the Hedgehog to you, Diane.  He’s away from home, Will says, you do funny things to relax in a hotel room.  Indeed.  Diane points to his work in rural Africa as an indication that he’s unlikely to be overwhelmed by the temptations of a hotel room, or that easily bored.   “And he likes video games.  Great men like video games,” Will proclaims.  It’s funny.  You don’t believe her, Derrick says, cutting to the chase. “I think there’s a wealth of detail when she enters the room and during the massage, but when it comes to the attack, it’s variable.  The massage table is by the door, then it’s in the bedroom. She follows him into the bedroom; it’s about the hamstring. No, it’s about the remote.” She turns to face Will. “If we take this case, she’ll get better at it, because we’ll make her better at it.  We’ll point out her inconsistencies so she’ll make things more consistent. But what we’re hearing right now is the unvarnished story, and I believe there was a massage.  But I don’t believe there was an assault.”  And there’s the question.  Does she not believe it based on the facts, or because she doesn’t want to believe it?

Then why, wonders Derrick.  Money?  “Yes, money, and dirty tricks. I think some people would like to see Joe Kent brought low,”  she nods fervently.  Will’s incredulous.  “Come on, Diane, do you know how hypocritical this is?” Derrick pulls out his phone.  “Last year, I didn’t believe the rape victim, what’s her name, because her story was inconsistent, and you said shock does that to a woman, so which is it?”  “That was Kalinda,” interject Derrick, dryly.  “She found lipstick on a champagne glass.”  Diane shoots Will a triumphant look.

Immediately, Derrick grills Lara about the glass.  He shoved it at me when I was in the bedroom, she says, and she pretended to drink to pacify him.  He didn’t force her, but he stood in the doorway, blocking her path.  Will brings up the massage table.  Was it in the living room of the suite, or the bedroom?  At which point?  It all gets more confusing.  There are two bathrooms.  Which did she use when?  What was the order?  Why did she one or the other in a given circumstance?  All the wile, the partners and Alicia shoot each other significant looks.  I wonder if Lara still feels like they don’t think she’s crazy.    She heaves a great sigh.

We hear noises, and see a black door jostle and then burst open.  The outline of a man blocks most of the doorway; it’s Blake the Evil Boyscout, in his leather jacket.  He’s busted the door open with what appears to be a tire iron.  Not going for subtlety this time, it seems.  He uses the tire iron to flip through her mail.  He notices a picture of Lara with her roommate drinking, and a list of what might be job locations.  Lara’s name has a star next to it.  (Does anyone else think it’s weird that they pronounce her name “Laura” but spell it Lara?  I’m not going crazy, am I – that’s a different name, with a distinct pronunciation difference.) The Boyscout – in Super Evil Mode – uses the tire iron to pull open the fridge, and then to pull out the middle shelf, spilling vegetables all over the floor.  Since he’s not being subtle about his presence, he’s going to trash the place, and make it look like, what, a warning, or a robbery?  This makes me furious.  This girl could be your client, dude, and I’m sure she would have preferred her door intact.  Not to mention her nice tomatoes.  Not cool, Spawny, not cool.  He pulls the receipt from the attack (the original – well, now she’s going to know it isn’t a regular robbery, isn’t she?) and just maybe pockets an enormous envelope of cash.  Bastard.  Somebody tell me I’m wrong about that, please?  He tosses everything off her desk, then pops into Safari to scroll through her browser history.  Right up there with the ubiquitous FaceBranch and VidTrope (“Broadcast yourself” – gee, what site’s that supposed to be?) is The Daily Kos, The Spectator and The Huffington Post.   Oh yes, and Kent for America.  Which kind of makes me think of Bartlett for America, the theme of Martin Sheen’s character’s fictional campaign, or – hey, a non-fiction reference – Colin Powell’s group America’s Promise.  Sounds like this guy is an advocate and activist, not someone seeking office, so it’s an oddly, how shall I say, hubristic title for a webpage.  As opposed to Powell’s America’s Promise.  Especially when Kent seems to do most of his work in the third world. Why is that “for” America?  Anyway, the point of it all is that she went looking for him.

“Good, good job,” says Diane over the phone.  ‘Okay.  See what you can get at the hotel.”  We pan over to Alicia, on a landline, and Peter’s voice saying he’s found her phone in her purse.  That’s a relief, that she didn’t lose it.   He offers to run it over, but no, she says she’s fine.  Peter is sitting at the table with only Tammy for company. There’s dessert, at least.  He’ll just go back to working the room with Eli, he says, and wishes her luck with her work crisis.  “Can I have yours too,” Tammy wonders, indicating Peter’s smallish cube of cake.  “Good metabolism, huh?,” Peter asks, which is a sort of weird comment to a stranger.  It’s a compliment, an oblique way of calling her hot, but also it’s a bit of a criticism, isn’t it, implying that she shouldn’t be taking the extra dessert?  No, snorts Tammy, “ten mile run every morning.” He gives her an impressed look, and I get a weird, panicky notion, just for this second, that Peter and Tammy have some pretty decent chemistry.  Now that would be a wrench in the works for sure!  And some serious drama. But no, that doesn’t at all seem to be where they’re going with her character.  Right?  That was a crazy thought, right?   Peter’s attention is claimed by some yipping musicians on the stage, accompanied by Thai dancers with elaborate golden headdresses.  Tammy is appalled, which is cute, and makes Peter laugh, and that makes me nervous again.  Have we ever seen Peter interact with a woman in entirely social way?  Mostly we see him with Alicia and Jackie and Grace.  A few times with Kaia and Tascioni and Kalinda, but this is something new.  I wonder if Alicia feels that way, down deep in her stomach, chilled and panicky every time he talks to an attractive woman?

“So, you and Will,” he says, taking the conversation a touch deeper.  “Yep,” she replies, stabbing a bit of cake with her fork.  “Me and Will.”  She nods, swallowing.  “I don’t know, actually.  He’s got issues.”  She chases the thought with wine.  “Everybody’s got issues,” smiles Peter sagely, on safer, more commonplace ground.  (Chris Noth really has a smile for every occasion.  He’s brilliant that way, and a perfect foil for Julianna and Josh, who are so much more somber.)  Tammy refuses to be generic and blurts out a little more truth than perhaps Peter wants to hear.  It’s certainly more insightful than the conversation you usually have with strangers at fancy dress parties.  “No, not him,” she claims. “That’s what I used to like about him.  He was fun.  A real man.”  That wins a large, lopsided grin from Peter.   He likes the idea of real manhood; oh, dear. “Now he’s gone all gushy,” she grouses, taking her irritation out on the cake. The back of her hand is pressed against her chin, and her fork is sticking out.  Elizabeth Reaser has such great physicality; Tammy seems so at home with her body, so uninhibited, without seeming like she’s trying (not most of the time, anyway) to be stereotypically sexy.  She’s all about the good time without being a bimbo. “Why?” “He’s in love,” she confides, a bit like it was a disease.  “With you,” Peter suggests smoothly, waggling his eyebrows, which makes me giggle.  “No, not me,” Tammy tosses off like it’s nothing.   Peter glares at Alicia’s phone, tapping on it.

“Do you think people can change who they’re in love with,”  Tammy ponders over her next forkful of cake.  “Sure,” Peter says, but it takes him a moment to think about.  It’s a great question; what does his answer mean in terms of his marriage?  He looks back at the phone, with it’s background screen picturing Grace and Zach. “People fall out of love all the time.  And then – and then they fall in love with somebody else.”  Wow.  I kind of thought he was going to say that they can fall back in love. Could he be thinking of himself here – did he really care for Amber, as she believed – or is it jealousy, wondering whether he’s lost Alicia’s heart to Will?  Wow, I’m loving this conversation, with it’s undercurrents (riptides, even!) and ambiguities and dangers.  “Like a change of address? ” Tammy scoffs.  Peter broods over the phone.

“She was surfing his website,” Diane exclaims.  “Yes,” returns Will, annoyed, “and she explained that.  After the attack she went home and checked it out.”  OH.  So now the girl will know exactly who trashed her apartment when she comes home and finds she’s been “robbed.”  You know, this just makes me hate Campbell’s Soup Spawn even more.   It’s such a stupid thing to have done.  The wanton destruction of property has always annoyed me.  The sheer waste of it pisses me off!  Add that to the fact that it’s just plain wrong.  You better demand recompense, Lara!  Okay, fine, maybe I’m a complete hypocrite, because I found Kalinda’s savagery against Blake’s rental car pretty thrilling. Maybe that’s because Blake deserved it?   I mean, Blake is technically supposed to be on Lara’s side, right?  “I think we should  cut her lose,” Derrick decides. It’s not so much that he doesn’t believe her as that she’s got too much to explain.  “At a certain point, credulity has been stretched too far.”  Diane leans over her desk chair. Derrick stands at the window with the city lights behind him.  Will furrows his brow, pinching it in frustrating, looking back into the conference room.  Seriously, team, best office layout and construction ever.

Lara’s black cardigan, which started out open, is now pulled around her body as if it could protect her.  Maybe it’s cold, or maybe it’s something else.  Alicia hasn’t stopped to put on a wrap, anyway.  The wait is killing Lara.  “My friends’ll be like ‘What’re you doing?  He’s helping women.  Suck it up!'”  Her friends?  Nice friends.  “‘I thought you were on our side.'”  She’s serious for a moment. “Would it help if I had evidence?”  Um, duh.  “It’s difficult with out it,” Alicia says, measured.   Lara looks stricken, considering.  “I still have to decide if I want to do this,” she says, and hmm.  She seemed pretty set on it at first, but I guess it’s all getting more and more real as the long night moves on.  Ah well.  At least it involves less small talk and networking than the boring banquet, right, Alicia?  Then Lara drops another bomb.  That evidence?  That wasn’t a rhetorical question. “No, I mean I’m going to show you something, but I’m still going to have to decide whether I want to pursue this.”  You remember the towel that Kent used?  Kalinda won’t find it in the trash.  Lara has it in her purse.

I wonder what it’d feel like to look at the destruction of a hero, just like that?

The towel, with the prominent crest of the Foreland Hotel, has been folded into a large ziplock bag.  The bag sits on Diane’s desk.  She’s leaning into her chair.  “This is unseemly,” she sighs.  And yes.  It’s pretty vile.  It’d take weeks for testing, and even if there’s a match, it’s not a homerun; there are other ways to explain the presence of his essence.  “We are the dregs of society,” Diane complains again, and Will’s really getting irritated.  “We get it, Diane,” he says, hand up, palms out, “you don’t think he did it.” She’s offended. “No, that is not getting it,” she shoots back testily. “Believing in something bigger than yourself…” but he cuts her off.  If Joe Kent did it, then Joe Kent deserves to pay.  “That’s not how it works, and you know it.  He pays for it either way.”  Well, that’s true – but it’s just as true for the victim, if there truly is one.  The victim gets victimized again in the trial. “If he’s innocent, he pays for it.  If she’s lying he pays for it. The twenty four hour news cycle guarantees that.”  I’m not saying that part isn’t awful, but the legal system guarantees that the victim will be blamed, as well.

“I think it’s time we approached Mr. Kent,” Derrick breaks in, getting them back on topic. “His best case scenario, this goes away again almost immediately.” They look at each other. “We try to shake him down,” Debbie Downer wonders.  “No”, says Will as if to a particularly vexing child, “we try to settle before trial.   It’s what we do every day.  It’s what you do every day.”  She glares at him. “Look, I’ll go.  I know Mr. Kent’s lawyer through a friend.” He leaves.  Derrick leaves.  And then Diane calls Blake, who’s lounging on a couch, her mail open all around him.    Turns out all her bills are past due.  She needs the money.  Huh.  Circumstantial (if damning).  Poor people get raped, too, and not just by other poor people. He’s gotten himself a room at the Foreland Hotel (on the company dime or Lara’s, I wonder) and he’s been asking around.  The staff implied that both Lara and her masseuse roommate Sabrina will add a little extra handiwork to make sure their VIP clients feel released at the end of the massage. Yuck.  Blake says he’s about to find out.  Double yuck.

Anyway, the idea that Kent might be paying for sexual favors does not please Diane.  Blake’s a bit stumped.  That isn’t what we want to find out? We want the truth, she says, but that isn’t – preferable.  What would be the preferable truth? That nothing happened.  Whatever it is, whatever he finds out, that’s what Diane wants Blake to tell her.  But as fiercely as she’s been defending her hero, she’s genuinely afraid of what she might find.

“It’s appealing, running together” breathes Wendy Scott-Carr, back in the gilded ballroom, “I respected you. From afar.”  Past tense – ouch! His eyes are trained on her face.  That’s right; we have good reason to know they’ve been served dessert, don’t we?   He smoothly introduces the idea that as his deputy, she could do the day to day running of the office.  “That would be quite a step up from being ” “a lowly staff lawyer,” she interrupts, laughing.  He chokes a bit on his mistake.  “That’s alright, it’s what I am,” she admits, “I tell my daughters I’m too big for my britches.”  Ah, the daughters.  Why do I get the feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more about them?  “And there’s all that, um, patronage Mr. Gold offered.  I think I don’t have that many friends in Illinois.”  Her gaze flicks to Eli, lurking in the distance; Peter gulps some coffee, then sets down his golden cup.  “Well, in my experience, friendship follows patronage.”  Does it now?  Man, it’s all so twisted.  “The thing is, Peter, I can’t.” Her smile shrinks. “My whole reason for running is to stop this legacy control of the State Attorney’s office.  And that’s no reflection on you, Peter.  I just want to be able to look my daughters in the face.”  Ah, that’s right.  The daughters.  “The fountain,” he asks with a cynical smile. She looks a bit stern. “It was so nice meeting you,” she finishes their conversation, hand extended.  “And it’ll be so nice doing battle,” Peter says as he buttons his jacket and leaves the table.  You didn’t come to her table, did you, Peter?  Oh dear.  “Can’t wait,” she says, soft and low, her hands clasped over her knees like a school girl.

He moves back behind a draped column.  “You know one thing I hate more than a back room deal, Eli?”  Peter tells his campaign manager, who’s been waiting at that discrete distance.  Let’s say it with him.  “It’s a failed backroom deal.”  What, you didn’t genuinely think you were going to sway her once she’d already announced, did you?  Talk about ham-fisted.

Peter’s pocket buzzes.  It’s a text from Will, on Alicia’s phone.  “Thanx for the hand-holding,” it reads.  “Trying to make deal.”  Oh, Peter. Hasn’t she told you that this is what her job consists of at least half the time – hand holding clients?  You can’t seriously think that sophisticated Will is going to thank her for literally holding his hand? Peter makes a disgruntled face at the phone.  Eli makes his def con five face at Peter’s back.  He even breaks out his serious eyebrows. The invasion of privacy makes me crazy.  At least the faces were cute.

The next thing we see is a working fountain – a large square of glassy water with a gorgeous waterfall level and small jets in the middle.  It’s pretty, and clearly downtown.  A tall, thin man upends a large paper cup of coffee to his lips, draining it.  “Of course we’d like nothing more than for this to go away,” Will says as he follows the thin man.  Sometimes, Will can be so very obvious.    “The last thing we want to do is accuse your client on the eve of his Nobel Prize speech.”  Yes, that was very believable.  We haven’t tested the towel, blah blah blah.  This is a very good moment to settle. That’s just gross, somehow.  Of course, it’s not as gross as what comes next.  “I think we can settle this right now – just pull down your pants, bent over and touch your toes.”  Oh, lovely. This guy’s a real elevated mind.  Phone us by eleven, Will says, handing over his card.  Don’t make us take it public.  You’ve got nothing, the laureate’s lawyer says, but a “little bitch” – he’ll go to the press right now with some poor anonymous woman versus Mr. Humanitarian.  She’s just a “little cheerleading bitch tired of turning tricks under the bleachers and wants to accuse Joe Kent – Joe Kent, say those words to yourself.  Who comes out of that fight?”  He tosses Will’s card in the trash.  Well.  Have we seen a more loathsome character since Colin Sweeney?  Can’t think of one off hand.

As a parting shot, Will tells the other lawyer that it’s malpractice (presumably, the pesky bit about not informing his client of the suit).  “You stupid son of a bitch,” the man taunts, following Will back toward whatever building (his office?  ours?  The gala?) they’re supposed to be in front of.  This guy is pretty much every nasty stereotype you can have of lawyers. “You two bit, shake down leg breaker.  You come to me with this scam, this two encyclopedias for one scam, and you expect me to what, roll over?  This isn’t BP.  Joe Kent is a great man.  And I’m a bastard.  That’s why he hired me.  You don’t deal with him,” he finishes, shoving Will in the back of the shoulder, “you deal with me.  You…” another poke in the shoulder, this is so not going to end well,  “..come to the back door, you stupid” push “number running…”

And that’s as much taunting as Will can take, because he tackles the nasty piece of filth.  Will gets off a good punch, but can’t land another.  There’s a bit of wrestling.  Will take a tough shot with a knee, and looks like he could get his clock cleaned, but manages to get Stereotype in a head lock for about three seconds.  It’s not pretty.  They break apart, panting.  Stereotype daubs his bloody cheek, then throws the stained handkerchief at Will.  “Take that as a no,” he says, and he’s gone. And I know I’m a bad person, because I kind of wanted Will to wreck the guy.  Talk about disrespectful and unprofessional!  Not that throwing a punch is professional, either.  Oh well.

“Really,” asks Derrick, smirking as he hands Will a shot of something.  “Remind me to never get you angry.”  Will smiles, somewhat painfully.  I don’t think we’ve ever seen Derrick this close to a belly laugh.  “So we get Lara to sign the retainer and we go to the press.”  Diane paces. “Think he was bluffing?”  Derrick finds that irrelevant.  Onward Christian soldiers!  Er, lawyers.  “Why?” Will wants to know.  “His methods aside, he’s not wrong.  We go to the press, we’re suddenly the ambulance chasers of the Loop.”  “You’re thinking of backing off,” Derrick wonders in disbelief.  And truly, that’s not Will’s typical response when you put his back to the wall, is it? He’ll go all out to nail you, just because you called him on it.  We’ve seen that before.  “I’m thinking something doesn’t feel right,” he says.  Could it be his busted up face?  No, I don’t really mean that.  “He’s not showing fear.”  “It’s a tactic,” Derrick insists.  Clearly, Derrick wants the case, but because he’s Derrick, he hasn’t articulated why.  Is it the money?  The exposure?  Does he believe Lara?  “Or it’s real,” Will notes, gesturing with his shot glass, “We jump and we’re wrong, we make ourselves the story  – how’s that for a pretty picture?”  Alicia stops short at the sight of Will’s cuts and bruises.  Her face is a study of distress and sympathy; there are tiny wrinkle lines between her eyebrows.  They’re quickly smoothed out by her reserve, of course.  What do you know, says Will. “Diane and I finally agree on something.”  Diane instructs Alicia to have Kalinda check into Kent’s previous hotels.  “If he did it once, he did it other times.”   I’m with Diane.  The people who do those things don’t stop after the first time.

Jaw hits floor. “Okay,” a gobsmacked Will admits, “I’ll say black so you can say white, okay?”  “I want to know the truth,” says Diane.  “Good,” adds Derrick, rising off the sofa. “We have two more hours.  Let’s use them.”  Meanwhile, Lara texts in the conference room, her knees drawn up to her chest.

Back in the golden ballroom, Eli’s looking gobsmacked himself.  “He wants to endorse Peter?” “Yes,” shrugs the Stereotype as if he can’t believe it either, “Mr Kent hasn’t endorsed anyone in years, but he likes Peter’s personal story and wants to endorse him.”  Oh.  Right.  So much for showing no fear!  Wondering whether to believe Lara?  Wonder no more.  (Oh, fine.  I mean, I suppose it’s possible that Kent could be exerting influence just to preserve his reputation from the merest taint, or even that the lawyer is playing this underhanded hardball without his knowledge. Doubtful.  Very doubtful.  Sorry Diane, but this makes him look guilty.)  When can we announce, sputters Eli, giddy as a child at Christmas.  Er, Hanukkah.  “Well, he has to go to Stockholm at the end of the week.  How about next week?”  Ah, Eli, that vicious snipe is playing you.  There is no such thing as a free lunch! Eli Gold, get back on your game, damn it.

“Oh, there’s one more thing,” Stereotype squints.  Maybe the bruise on his head is bothering him.  “Mr Kent has a thorn in his side.”  “O-kay,” says Eli, who hears the price coming. “I know your law firm’s Lockhart/Gardner & Bond, and Mr Florrick’s wife’s a key player there.”  “Uh, she’s a second year associate,” says Eli, backpedaling as fast as he can.  “Ah, but the word is Lockhart/Gardner’s Peter’s firm.  We need them to back off a case.”  He shrugs like it’s nothing.  Eli nods, considering.

“Is this too hard,” a woman’s voice ask.  No, says the Evil Boyscout, it’s perfect.  He’s naked from the waist up, and even that does not make me like him any more.  He’s slightly furry.  He asks Lara’s roommate Sabrina (his masseuse) if he can tip her a bit extra, winkwink; after all, it worked with Lara when he was here before.  She stops the massage.   “This is a VIP treatment, sir.  The hotel frowns on ‘something extra.'” Good for you, Sabrina.  Not to mention, gross!  “And Lara?” Blake presses.  “Lara goes her own way,” Sabrina shrugs, and says that Sabrina sometimes does full body massages outside of work.  Does Blake want Lara’s number?

“She’s jealous, that’s why she said it,” Lara exclaims.  The tone in her voice is the same one you use when you say the word “duh;” it shows contempt for their stupidity.  Sure, Sabrina is her roommate, but there are only so many jobs, and she’s going to fight to take them away from Lara. “But she was saying it to a customer who wanted a sexual massage,” Alicia questions, puzzled.  This doesn’t make sense to Lara as a criticism.  Well, explains Alicia further, wasn’t it a sort of compliment, maybe getting you a job?  “No no no no, you don’t understand. LMTs call them one handed masseuses.  It hurts their reputation in the big hotels, and that’s where the money is. If I’m known for sexual massages, I won’t get the big jobs.” This is the most passionate and engaged that Lara has appeared during this whole grueling ordeal, and it draws Diane’s attention.

Somebody thumbs through messages on a smart phone; it’s Peter, and it’s Alicia’s phone.  Damn it, Alicia, WHY are your voice mail messages not password protected?  What the hell?  I was lucky enough to watch this episode with my cousin (something we never get to do since she lives on the other side of the country) and her blackberry doesn’t automatically come with password protection.  Is this normal? Is it a feature of certain phones?  Either way, Alicia, honey, you’ve got to take better care of your privacy!  Clearly Tammy’s words have planted a bug in your husband’s head.  So, this is kind of funny to me.  On the one hand, Peter has had in the past a reason to be jealous of Will.  And yes, her feelings for Will are still there.  But somehow, I feel like Peter’s own guilty conscience is affecting his judgment, because I don’t think her behavior has given him a reason to feel insecure about her fidelity.  I don’t know.  Either way, it seems like a hideous breach of trust.

Anyhow.  The messages are all from the last week or two, except that one voice mail from Will. That she’s kept on her phone for 86 days.  Seriously?   Anyway, 86 days you’ve kept that on your phone, where Jackie or Peter or Courtney or anyone could play it?  Mother of God, woman, what are you thinking?   Peter glares at the phone.  And then he plays the message, looking around as he brings the phone to his ear as if all passers by would know it wasn’t his phone. He doesn’t get any further than “I don’t have a plan.” when Eli bursts over to him.

“I don’t even know where this came from, but – are you ready?  Joe Kent wants to endorse you.”  Peter can’t believe it, either, but he’s not quite so happy-clappy over it as Eli.  “What’s the catch?” “The catch?  There is no catch.  The catch is that you say thank you.”  “Eli,” says Peter, shaking his head.  Peter knows there’s always a catch. Fine, Eli says, and explains about the “nuisance suit” from “his” law firm.  He says he’s working on it.  “Okay,” says Peter, let’s talk to him.  No, not Kent – the lawyer. “This time I want to be sure about the backroom deal.”  Good for you, Peter.  Even if it’s gross, good for you for being smarter about being gross.

“They’re investigating me, aren’t they, ” Lara asks her babysitter Alicia.  “Yes, I think so,”Alicia agrees.  How can she not get cold in that gown?  Will and Derrick haven’t taken their tuxedo jackets off, so it can’t be that warm in the office.  I guess she just looks to stunning to cover. “So this is the way it’ll be, if I go through with this?  Reports will be looking at me, not at him?” She leans on a chair, rocks back and forth.  Yes, of course.  Why?  “Because they think they know him, and they don’t know you.”  They think they do?  Does this mean Alicia believes her?  We’ve barely seen Alicia this episode,  and I’m realizing I have no idea where she is on this case. It’s been more than five minutes since she had a line, and maybe closer to ten.  So it’s harder than usual to know what she thinks.

Poor Lara, looking more freaked out every minute, nods.  “That’s what he said at the police station.”  You know, the guy who sent Lara to L/G & B.  Cary something?  “Cary Agos,” Alicia asks, stunned.  “Yeah,” says Lara, wondering what on earth is going on, “he’s the one who interviewed me and suggested I see you.  He said you would be sympathetic.” Alicia can’t believe what she’s hearing, but she immediately smells a rat.

Glasses clink and soft music plays in the golden ballroom.  Peter Florrick stares at his wife’s phone, and wonders if he should listen to the entire voice mail.  Eli hustles the Stereotype over to Peter.  Our vicious gnat introduces himself as Will Cobson.  “I’m glad you’re open to this – I don’t need to tell you that an endorsement from Joe Kent, especially on the heels of his visit to Stockholm, could be massive.”  Cobson wraps his hand around his own throat, stroking it.  It’s a weird, nervous movement.  Will, he’s definitely showing fear now – too bad you’re not there to see it!  He cares what Peter will do; Will’s threat did matter.  Peter sizes the low life up.  “So all I have to do is get my wife to drop her case?” he asks, a bit disingenuously. Cobson and the elated Eli smirk at each other.  Ah, Eli, you should be better at reading Peter by now.  Well, yes, says Cobson.  The suit is totally bogus.  “And when the plaintiff goes to another firm?”  Hmmm.  Looks like Cobson has reached out his tentacles to Carpton and Green; he’s got an arrangement with them to bury it. Does that imply that they’d take the case, but not actually do anything with it?  Peter says a quick goodbye, and leaves.  “What can I tell Mr. Kent?” Cobson stumbles.  Eli’s brain must be exploding. Peter turns around slowly. “You can tell him that I hope my wife rips him apart, and I’m sure she will because she’s a good lawyer. Either way, I know she’ll do the right thing.  But it was very nice meeting you.”

Now that, my friends, in one of those moments where we know why she married him.

Eli scampers off to try and repair the damage. And then Peter, God bless him, takes Alicia’s phone out of his pocket and puts it in her purse.  Yes!  Sometimes it takes contact with a real scumbag to help him straighten up and fly right, but I was proud of him in that moment.

A bit further into the room Cary holds court, his wingmen convulsed in laughter over a story that actually doesn’t seem funny at all.  He breaks off mid-tale when he sees a phalanx headed his way – Will, Derrick and Alicia, walking with intent.  You sent a client our way, Will mentions (ooh!  not a client! them’s fightin’ words!).  Cary admits it freely.  He also manages one of his dry little passive aggressive genius insults when Derrick introduces himself. “Oh, that’s right, you guys have been going through some mergers over there.”  Even though his voice is pleasant, he still manages to make “merger” sound like “social disease.”   So what’s up with Lara White, Will wonders.  “What’s up?  She said she was assaulted,” Cary answers.  “And yet the State’s Attorney booted her case – and you sent her right to us.”  Yes, Cary says.  “I think Lara was assaulted by Joe Kent, and I think Mr. Childs made a mistake, and I want to see justice done.”  Well.  Okay.  Really?  Cary is so slippery sometimes; you get used to expecting him to be devious and nasty, and then what does he go and do.  Can he be believed?  Is he just playing?

“And you’re just going to help us out,” shrugs Alicia.  Of course he is.  Why wouldn’t he?  (Um, let me think.)  Alicia tilts her head, encouraging him to stop the prevarications. That’s around the point she notices Tammy, dancing and laughing with some generic tuxedoed schlub.  “What makes you think Mr. Kent did it,” Derrick asks.  Previous assaults, says Cary.  Get Kalinda on it, and tell her to look for Meredith Bordonay.    (Not to be fresh, but is that like a hybrid of Bordeaux and Chardonay?)   “Take the case.  It’s a good one.”

“I think he still wants to hurt us, ” Alicia says.   I dunno.  I think he’s more convincing than that, even though Alicia has the best reasons to be suspicious.  Derrick heads back to the office, and Alicia half follows, but stops to watch Will cut in to dance with Tammy.  Oh, Alicia.  “Oh, thinking about our younger years,” tinkles a really odd remake of the classic tune.  Derrick actually has to come back and get her.  That’s not good.  It’s also incredibly romantic and sad, but it’s not good.

“What happened to you,” pouts Tammy. “I got in a fist fight,” Will says off hand.  “That’s a turn on,” purrs Tammy, in more obvious mode.  “I know,” says Will, “that’s why I did it.”  She smiles. She pulls off his tie, right there on the dance floor, and starts fake-whining about how she hates it when he’s serious.  I don’t know if it’s her, or the adrenaline from the fight or what, but it’s working.  “Now, nothing can take you away from me,” the song tells us.  “We’ve been down that road before, and it’s over now – you keep me coming back for more.” He’s suddenly a flood of emotion.  She gently kisses his scab.  She smiles.  He kisses her back, not quite so gently.  I’m so glad Alicia didn’t stay for this, because it is a really good kiss.  And, hello!  Who kisses like that in public?  At a work function, no less! Let me rephrase.  What person over the age of 18 who is not saying goodbye for the purgatory of algebra class kisses that way in public?  Holy hotness, Batman. Get a room – but, wow.

She pulls back enough to say “I’ll stay with you as long as it’s fun.”  So has he been courting her in some way?  She’s really not just the next number up in his little black book?  He snorts in disbelief (how could he not be fun?) but she goes on.  “As soon as you fall in love with me it’s over, okay?”  “Okay,” he says.  “You can do that again,” she invites him, and his hands go back up to the sides of her face, and they’re kissing again. “Through the good times and the bad, I’ll be standing here by you,” tinkles the music.

Sigh.

The camera swings away from the lustful teen groping on the dance floor to Eli, eyes glued to his smart phone.  He starts hissing for Peter.  Gosh, I’m going to start thinking of him as Sir Hiss from the old Disney Robin Hood cartoon if this keeps up.   He blathers, nearly hysterical, about how Kent has somehow endorsed Peter via email, and how this joyous event will get them their targeted demographic – women.  “African American women, Caucasian women – in one fell swoop it takes care of the Amber Madison problem.”  Okay, first off, when did it just become an Amber Madison problem?  Are the writers really forgetting about the rest of Peter’s hookers?  And second, why is Eli still one step behind?  “No,” says Peter, rightly, both mad and impressed, “he’s tied himself to us.  Kent.  He’s tied our fates together.  Right now, I’m being endorsed by a secular saint, but if the suit goes through, I’m being endorsed by a sexual deviant.”  And you of all people don’t need that press, Peter. Really, this should not be news to Eli, but I guess Peter didn’t fill him in sufficiently after the last conversation with the lawyer. “He’s forcing you to call Alicia off.”

Well, it’s not as if it’s just her choice.  Would the partners drop this suit for Peter?  I don’t know why they would.

Kalinda’s found Meredith Bordonay.  Kent was lecturing at UC Santa Cruz (alma mater of my visiting cousin, hurrah) when he asked Bordonay for sexual contact during the massage.  She complained to management, but dropped it when they did nothing.  And yes, Derrick, Kalinda finds her credible.  She even thinks the girl might testify with some gentle persuasion. Sounds like she’s a little fragile – unlike our stalwart Miss White. Will, minus his tie, picks this moment to arrive. Fresh from a tryst in the cloak room, I wonder?  You know what, though?  Tammy is nothing like that whiney irritating would be reporter from a few weeks ago.  She’s an equal, and what she wants, he can happily give and still be with someone who he enjoys and respects.  So, fine.  “Another masseuse,” Diane fills him in.  “Bummer,” says Will succinctly. Should I go tell Lara, Alicia wonders.  No, says Diane, I will.   She’s found the truth, and to her credit, Diane is just going to go with it.

And that’s when Courtney stops Diane in her tracks with word that Mrs. Kent is on the phone for her.

Diane stands in the corner of her corner office, the city lit up behind her.  Her hand clutches, and then releases, the side of her skirt. “I wanted to talk to you about this suit you’re thinking of bringing… I wanted to ask you to not.”  This in unorthodox, Diane sums up.  “I just wanted to mention Joe’s work in the Congo, how important it is.  Do you know about that, Diane?”  Mrs. Kent’s voice is cultured.  She’s used to stumping for her husband, though I hope to God not regularly in this capacity.  “I do,” Diane replies, practically between gritted teeth.  You can see how much it hurts her. “I hope you do, Diane.  Good work requires money – and this isn’t just good work, it’s essential work.” The sad thing is that it’s true.  There are thousands of women dying there in totally preventable ways.  Joe will survive the embarrassment of the suit, but their work won’t, Mrs. Kent claims.  Well, that might be true, and it’s a terrible shame, but perhaps Joe should have thought of that first.

“I’m sorry, Mrs Kent,” Diane shakes her head, ‘I respect you mightily, I respect your husband. But I can’t let this sway me.” “Why not,” Kent’s wife wails.”This woman, what is she, who is she?”  Why should that matter?  How can he be a good advocate for the poor and disenfranchised if you think that abuse only matters when it’s done to “important” people?  “Did your husband do it, m’am?”  Diane asks, trying to explain herself.   There’s no answer, which is pretty damning.  Finally, when prompted, she spits out a strange non-defense.  “My husband moves people. My husband has made this cause his life. Does it matter? Does it matter if he did it?”  Are you kidding?  Is she kidding?  Diane can’t believe it.  “Doesn’t it matter to you?” she asks.  “No.  I can say that with a clear conscience.” Holy crap, is she kidding? The things we tell ourselves so we can sleep at night…  “The world needs my husband.  It doesn’t matter to me.”

Oh, my God.

So, as it went with Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mrs Kent’s ill-applied persuasion has the opposite affect from her intention.   It sure as hell matters to Diane whether he did it or not, and Mrs. Kent has just basically said he did.  Diane hangs up over Mrs K’s protests, her mind even more made up that it already had been. This is a man who has lost all sense of himself.  The people around him have lost sense of what the good they might do entitles them to request.  The whole feeling of entitlement, and the way that great work is being tainted and maybe compromised, well, it’s painful.  Diane pour herself a generous drink.

“That good, huh?” Will asks.  Derrick sips silently.  “The goal is not to have heroes,” replies Diane, which makes me want to hug her.  Not that she’d let me. It does feel like such a defeat, seeing that your idol has those clay feet after all.  It can’t be fun, after everything she’s learned about her former mentor, Judge Adler, either.  “Really,” snarks Will, “I thought the goal was to die with the most money.”  That’s a sad life for both of them, if that’s what they feel.  (Actually, I get Diane.  Hero worshiping hardly ever works.  Nelson Mandela cheats on his wife, etc… Trying to die with the most money, though, that just seems sad. It’s not so useful once you’re dead, is it?  Not that he was completely serious.)

Alicia pops in to see how it’s going.  “It’s almost eleven,” she reminds them, “where are we?”  “Diane doesn’t have heroes anymore,” Will answers sardonically, “and the firm is going to be trounced tomorrow for dragging a saint through the gutter.”  Derrick cuts to the chase: “You can tell Lara we’re taking her case.”  Diane inhales and looks away.  She thinks – knows – it’s right, but it does not make her happy.

“Good,” smiles Alicia.  Clearly she’s been convinced as well, without even having to hear Mrs Kent give her husband permission to assault and possibly rape women, which I’m sure would have sat so smoothly.  “Thanks,” she adds.  But when she returns to the conference room, all that remains is the towel, sitting in it’s plastic bag.  Alicia looks through the room, then runs, her gown flaring around her feet, to the elevator.  She pulls the doors open with her amazing sculpted arms, and slides in beside an alarmed looking Lara.  They descend.

“So, Carpton and Green?” Alicia asks.  “No.  Heading home,” she smiles.  Ah, but you won’t be smiling when you see the state of your apartment.  I hope he didn’t wreck anything else, that rat fink.   “We tried to do too much in one night,” Alicia tries, hoping to bring Lara back to the fold.  “Get some sleep.  Give me a call in the morning.”  “Ah, no,” says Lara, with characteristic vehemence, “I’m done.”

Alicia considers this, and changes tack.  “We found another masseuse he molested,” Alicia tells her, and Lara whips around at the news. “She didn’t bring charges,” Lara looks for confirmation, and Alicia gives it.  It was just the same.  (So, what is this, his m.o. – he asks for a massage, and if it’s not full body, then he finds a more violent way to gratify himself?  So loathsome.  As if the first bit weren’t bad enough!)  “Why didn’t she bring charges?”  Lara is upset, even a little angry. “She was afraid.”  Alicia appeals to Lara’s altruism, her sense of civic duty.  “And four years later this happens to you?  We’ve only been looking into this a few hours. So, there could be more women.”  I think it’s pretty safe to say there are.  Lara licks her lips, choosing. “Then they need to do this,” Lara finishes, sure of herself, “because I can’t.”  The ride ends, and Lara walks out into the lobby, her arms wrapped her torso.

“Lara, please just call me tomorrow,” Alicia pleads, blocking the elevator. Lara turns, sighing.  She smiles to herself a bit, and throws up her hands.  “Everything you went through.  All the press, all the people talking about you – was it hard?”  She lets out a deep breath, the sort of breath where someone is trying to be calm and collected so they don’t completely lose it.  Alicia blinks, suddenly no longer sure she ought to be selling this course of action.  “Yes.”  “And it goes on?”  “Yes.”  There’s no lesson she can give about good coming out of what happened to her, is there?  Something was done to Alicia, and because of the public role of the person who did it, the world got to comment on her and judge her.  Can she ask Lara to choose that same thing, when she would have protected her own privacy if she could?  She looks stricken.  Lara is so certain. “They’ll look into me.  The reporters and everyone.  And… they’ll find stuff. Because there is stuff.  My parents, my…” she takes a deep breath “sister.  People really don’t want to believe this about him.  I don’t want to believe this about him.  So” another deep breath “I just won’t.”

“Thanks,” she says, sincerely, and turns to leave, Poor little Lara walks away in her ripped clothes, going home to her trashed apartment.  And Joe Kent will accept his Nobel Peace Prize, his pristine reputation still unblemished.

And the elevator doors close, and we end in a flash of silver.

The Good Wife has addressed this issue before – the intersection of sexual violence, the law, and the media – but not quite from this angle, and it’s a complex, moving discussion.  Why aren’t we better at believing victims?  What other crime is there where we doubt so much the word of the accuser?  Why do so many rapes and sexual assaults go unreported?  Of course this situation is extreme – the fictional Joe Kent is extremely powerful and beloved – but these four hours of questioning and insinuation and violated privacy offer a taste of something perhaps as brutal as the attack.  Instead of lasting for minutes, however, the press can skewer you for years.  It’s also brave of them, I think, to end on such a dark note.  Diane isn’t the only one who ends up disillusioned.

Natalie Knepp’s performance as Lara seems almost more impressive to me because the script bars her from hysterics and tears, the things that might be the normal avenue into the audiences sympathies.  She can’t chew up the scenery, but she still has to prove it to us.  How long does it take before we believe her?   It’s certainly an interesting exercise.  We don’t want to believe our heroes can fall.  We don’t want to see the good and the bad mixed so thoroughly.  I think I could watch this one pretty often, to pick out the strands of belief from the partners and Alicia as those hours pass.  And that’s not even getting into Will’s fist fight, Tammy, Peter’s jealousy and Eli’s frustrating blinders.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time.

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86 comments on “The Good Wife: VIP Treatment

  1. Krizzzz says:

    On the Laura/Lara thing: could there be some regional vowels going on? Remember how you and I used to get confuzzled back in school, when you’d talk about a girl named Dawn, and I thought you were talking about a guy named Don? 😉

    To me, Laura rhymes with Cora.

    Lara and Cara and the like can go a couple of different ways, depending on the preference of the owner of the name. I’ve heard Lara where the Lar- rhymes with car — and I wonder if your ear might pick this up more like Laura. (The vowel is “darker,” so I can see how it might slide that way.)

    I’ve also heard Lara where it’s not so much Lar-a as La-rah: the vowel stays brighter, and thus sounds much more like the first syllable of Larry, and maybe this is more what you were expecting?

    Ain’t language fun? =)

    • E says:

      I do remember that. And I still pronounce Dawn and Don the same.

      And, I concur, Laura should rhyme with Cora. Lara should not rhyme with Cora. Not that it matters in the scheme of things. It’s just funny that her name actually appears written during the show, because otherwise I would have just assumed it would be spelled the traditional way; they say it a ton, and there’s only once when the vowel is even questionably dark.

      • MMGF says:

        And like how our good Connecticutian friend can’t hear a difference in the pronunciations of “Kerry” and “Carrie.”

        Whereas for me, “Laura” is more like “Lawra,” not rhyming with “Cora.” Like, when I meet someone named “Laurie,” I pronounce that differently from someone named “Lori.”

        Yet, “Dawn” and “Don” are more or less the same to me.

        I agree – I love language and accents and dialects.

        • E says:

          Oh, Kriz, I take it back. I say Law-ra, not Lora. Because you’re right, mmgf, there is a difference to me between Laurie and Lori.

          Dialects are so fascinating. I wonder if it was a regional difference that led someone on the show to equate Laura and Lara? And if so, I wonder what accent that is?

  2. Kiki says:

    This is why I love coming to your post, because I think the way you think. I have read many who I think missed the point of this episode, the episode was about eh gray areas, and the point was to leave many things unanswered to make us think. The show is not just about bringing an interesting cause and learning about the characters, the show is also about bringing about discussions about issues and that set of questions you added at the end is what we should be discussing.
    I think Diane was the highlight of the episode, she was so complex, and her political ideologies where ripping her apart and not letting her think clearly. And I just found that so fascinating. All the partners have their flaws, and you can that this was Diane. She stands up for women but she also could not believe that this man who has helped so many women could have done that. And it makes it interesting the writers did not go with the same boring plot that because Diane was a woman she was going to believe Lara right away. It was amazing seeing Diane struggle so much with this, and at the end she did the right thing. I also wanted to hug her when she says “the goal is not to have heroes” and in a way she is right, because I can sympathy with her, I too hate being disappointed for those I admire.
    There is so much more I want to say but I am gonna make it brief, since this is already long lol!
    – I liked Tammy more in this episode, her and Will were super cute! and the song playing in the background made that scene even cuter.
    -Wendy is brilliant, cannot wait to see more of her 😀
    -Eli has been off his game unfortunately, I wonder why the writers keep writing him that way?
    -And Peter was great this episode,loved that he put the phone down. But it was sad to see him so worried, you can tell he thinks he might have lost Alicia’s heart to Will 😦 (I cannot help to feel sad for him even though he did what he did, I think he loves his wife, but he has to pay I guess) I loved that he stood up for her in this episode.

    Again great recap and like always you always hit the nail on the head 😉 :D:D

    two weeks without TGW 😦 how am I going to make it through the week? lol

    • E says:

      Kiki, I’m with you – this episode was about Diane. The partners in general, rather than Alicia, but specifically Diane. I love how the Kings are switching up the focus this season. Diane is the perfect person to see this conflict through. Why wouldn’t a woman, a champion of women’s rights, not want to believe someone had been a victim of an assault? It’s peculiar that belief isn’t our default position, but it isn’t always, and that’s fascinating. (I read a great article back in college about how women are often the last ones to believe a rape charge because we want to think the victim did something to provoke the attack – which would mean that we could do something to avoid being a victim. Not that this is what’s going on with Diane, just that there are so many layers to the larger issue of belief in these cases, even before we get to the identity of the attacker.)

      RE: Peter and the phone. I think Peter’s faster to be jealous of Alicia because he’s been unfaithful, and the line was easier to cross for him. We’ve seen that before with the condoms. BUT now, considering that message, and Tammy’s conversation, I was super impressed that Peter let it go.

      Do you think he doesn’t believe that he and Alicia can rekindle their love? That if you fall totally out of love, that’s it? I mean, if we’re to believe Will has been in love with Alicia since Georgetown, it can hardly have been at the same level of intensity the entire time, right? They can’t have even been in contact most of that time. Now, maybe that’s stopped him from falling completely in love with someone else. Is Tammy suggesting that everyone only falls in love once? That seems odd, right? I’m so fascinated by what this conversation is supposed to be telling us.

      And, ugh. Real politics this Tuesday night instead of fake politics. I so prefer the fake stuff right now…

      Finally, Eli. If there’s anything about this season that I’d call less than perfect (or consistently problematic) it’s Eli. He has so much more to offer as a character than comic relief. Even if Alan Cummings is immensely talented as a comedian, I don’t understand why they’re consistently underplaying Eli’s intelligence.

      • Kiki says:

        I am not sure what to get from Peter’s words. I hope he doesn’t think that they cannot fall back in love, because why stay in the marriage if he thinks things cannot get better? (the campaign is important but not that importnat, I think) So deep down, I think Peter is worried about losing her, but I do believe he has some hope at least that they can fall back in love indeed. Which is what I believe we might see this season between A/P, a rekindle of their love.

        And yes a shame about Eli, I hope the writers get back on point with him.

        Oy real politics this week, damn it LOL

    • E says:

      So I just randomly saw this quote (which someone posted in a different context, having seen it on a wedding program):

      “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”

  3. Angee says:

    Super recap and review! I love this blog and the intelligent, observant and respectful way everyone discusses The Good Wife, thank you E for this awesome blog. I love the way the Kings and the other writers script characters for this show. The characters are strong, witty, intelligent, flawed and complex. They put as much care in writing supporting characters, recurring characters and guest stars as they put into the major stars of the show. Alicia was kind of MIA for a good bit of the episode, but the writing for other stars is so strong that you do miss her as much as you would on a less well-written show.
    I hope we see more of Tammy and Will together! I like them together even though I hate how it makes Alicia feel. The look on Alicia’s face when she noticed Will be distracted by Tammy’s dancing with another man. To me the show as whole needs a character like Tammy, she brings a happiness and lightness the other major characters lack. Everyone else is generally so serious and self-contained that is refreshing to see someone laugh and enjoy herself the way Tammy does. The Good Wife cast is generally a dour and pensive bunch.
    I also think good for them to show Peter and Cary having some redeeming qualities every once in while. If Peter were totally horrible Alicia would not have married him in the first place or stay married to him.
    I would like them to move Cary to being a friendly adversary like Helen Gamble on The Practice. Just because they are different sides of the aisle does not mean they have to be mortal enemies ALL the time.
    I am liking Wendy Scott-Carr and hope we see a lot more her. I love the classy way she handled Peter and Eli. And speaking of Eli he has been really off his game this whole season
    Eli’s missteps just in this episode:
    1.Offering Wendy the number 2 spot in th State’s Attorney’s office
    2. Entertaining Kent’s attorney suggestion that Peter use his influence with Alicia to get LGB to back off the legal case.
    3. Not understanding the implications of Kent’s endorsement of Peter
    I don’t understand why they making Eli so clueless this season.

    • E says:

      Hey Angee! Helen Gamble is a great parallel. I really like that Cary is back to being more ambiguous. Was he trying to trip them up, or actually trying to get justice for Lara? It looks like the latter, and that’s pretty awesome. I liked what he did with the military case (passing it on because he believed in it) but this shows that he can (possibly) get past his anger with Alicia to help the victim of a crime.

      Eli – seriously, I don’t get that. I don’t get that. Last week, Peter and Eli were convinced that they had to get to Adler before she announced. Peter explicitly says that once the announcement is made, there’s nothing they do. So why this week do they bother to ask Wendy to join Peter? Ridiculous. It was a great scene, but as a political gambit it wasn’t worthy of Eli OR Peter.

      I’m with you – Tammy brings a great energy to the show, something that’s very different from many of the other characters. I suppose that’s even why I immediately started to freak about her talking to Peter; everyone else on the show is really physically reserved. There’s a sort of kinship there.

      • Lisa says:

        Peter and Eli could not have tried a back room deal with Adler because she is a sitting judge and would never agree to play a second rung running mate to Peter. He candidature once announced would have been irrevocable. But Scott-Carr is a new commodity, the position Peter is offering her is still a step up from her current position. And she’s less of a shoo-in than Adler. She could be convinced to take the deputy’s job for four years, build her reputation and then stand for SA while Peter looks for greener pastures. Adler already has a reputation, good or bad, and doesn’t need to be tested.
        As for Tammy, I agree that she certainly brings the fun. I guess her character is supposed to be a person who says whatever is on her mind. Everything is game from lawyers, Asian music, strange skits, Will’s lovelorn being. It is interesting that everyone was quietly suffering the whole thing in silence till she acknowledged the ridiculousness of the proceedings. Left to themselves they would have stuck to their poker faces perfected over many such functions coupled with high boredom tolerance levels. I like Tammy she can stay. And holy hot makeout on the dancefloor.

        • E says:

          See, I still feel like once the announcement has been made, it’s too late to talk someone out of running. Then they just look like a tool. You’re certainly right that they would have had a better shot of getting to her in the beginning, though, because being his deputy would have been such a step up. Of course he would never have offered it without the threat of her running… Anyway, I love her being in the race and shaking things up.

          And, WOW, holy hot makeout is right!

  4. music says:

    “There’s no lesson Alicia can give about good coming out of what happened to her, is there?”
    I believe there is. Where it not for her husband’s scandal, and her subsequent need to go to work to feed her family, Alicia wouldn’t have become this strong woman we all have come to admire.
    Alicia was oblivious to Peter’s activities, both at work and in the bedroom, and even if it was a comfortable lifestyle, she was living it in the dark.
    If she was a victim at the onset of the Amber problem, as they call it, she soon refused that role and took charge of her life, even if it went in a different direction that the one she intended. She now lives in awareness, and can use her experience to help wronged people, especially women, to become better versions of themselves.
    That’s what I would have told Lara before she went home, exhausted, but especially feeling like a victim.

    • E says:

      Woot woot! Now that is a great speech!

      You’re right, certainly, to say that despite what the press could do, Lara can bring something important out of her situation. I think she’s different from Alicia to a degree, however. You’re right to say that Alicia would definitely rather know about the infidelity and questionable money. Is she happy knowing her old “friends” wouldn’t stand by her in times of trouble? Happy might not be the right word, but I think she knows she’s better without that. And she is stronger (even if she won’t acknowledge it) because she’s been forced out to fight for herself and her family and her clients. I guess what I meant was more that the media part of it, the layer added on to her private pain, having it played out in public and commented on everywhere.

      And hey, there’d be no story if there weren’t any trouble. Not that you can expect the heroine of a drama to appreciate that her pain is our pleasure! 🙂

    • E says:

      Anyway, I think the difference in their situations is that Lara could choose these unpleasant consequences to go on a quest, so to speak, that could destroy her but could protect others, whereas Alicia was taken on a ride in which her main choices are how to respond to other people’s actions. It’s not a crusade, but it’s how she does respond that makes us love her.

      • music says:

        I beg to differ E! Lara and Alicia’s plights are similar, both women’ worlds have been turned upside down, pain and humiliation and shame aside. Both lived in a world they thought they could trust, and suddenly not anymore. The difference is that we didn’t see Alicia make the decision to stop being a victim onscreen. If she was taken for a ride at the onset of the scandal, she decided to get off that wagon and take control. She could have easily taken the kids and gone live with a friend or relative and hide from the world, even with her standofish nature. Jackie told her once “I don’t know how you do it. I would have just curled up in a ball.”
        That is why Cary sent Lara to Alicia in the first place, because he knows Alicia is the role model that Lara needs. Funny how sometimes you don’t realize your strengths as much as your enemies do?

        • Lisa says:

          Oh I adore your last comment about Cary, music. I’m so happy that they’re bringing Cary around a bit. He was getting too red in the face at all the losses he was taking.
          But there is a difference in Alicia’s situation and Lara’s. Peter’s crimes were to Alicia personally. It was her trust in him that he broke. But what Kent did to Lara, and a host of other women it seems, is a crime against society. It was a moral imperative on her to pursue the case and bring the guilty to light. Otherwise he’ll keep repeating his behavior. At the same time I completely understand her walking away from it. In a way I think she did shake off that victim tag by taking control of her life. There is a saying that a rape victim gets raped over and over in the court. If no one was going to believe her anyway, Kent got more sympathy by being dragged into the mud by a nobody, her family was also going to be disrupted because of it, I can see why she would decide that maybe another woman was better off pressing charges against him. Some that would actually stick. I loved that last shot of her walking away. It leaves you with so many mixed feelings. She gets to keep body and soul together but at the cost of the larger cause. Is it worth it?

          • E says:

            Thank you! I was struggling to explain what I felt was the distinction here, and you’ve already done it perfectly. Lara has the chance to prevent Kent from attacking other women, by coming forward to her story. Whatever she suffers would be toward that laudable goal (or, as you say, responsibility). For Alicia, on the other hand, whether she stayed with Peter or not, she would still have been wrecked by the press.

            Is she stronger? Stronger and more fragile both, probably. But she didn’t choose to become stronger; it just happened as a result of the traumas that her life foisted on her.

            So with Alicia, her experiences have made her a more empathetic person, but it doesn’t mean she has to like what happened or embrace the pain of it for its own sake. So I guess what I meant was that if Alicia’s going to tell Lara she ought to go ahead, it can’t be because being ripped to shreds on national tv by strangers is a good thing. It’s because Lara has a real reason to do it.

            • music says:

              E, you know the voice inside you telling you to keep writing those recaps last fall eventhough you thought nobody was listening? You did it for you, right? Not for a noble cause or for bettering society. Ironically, you were bettering society, creating a place where stimulating discussions can take place with respect.
              Well, follow the same reasoning behind Alicia’s and Lara’s actions. They did (or didn’t) do it for themselves. Alicia helped herself up and Lara, in the long run, let herself down. You say Peter’s crimes were committed to Alicia personally, and Lara’s assault to society? I disagree. Taking bribes via hooker services (Peter) and using violence to get satisfaction (Kent) is the same disrespect to women and society in general. We all are one, and what one woman suffers on one side of the world hurts all women.

  5. music says:

    Also, E, you mentioned Mandela not being a saint. He did stay in jail for over 20 years for what he felt was right. The message is what matters, the penance becomes secondary. Lara has in common with him that she is no saint, and that she has before her an opportunity to make a difference.
    When did fictional worlds become so real to us? (:

    • E says:

      You know, music, you’re so right – I didn’t mean to imply that Mandela isn’t a hero. (Speaking of fiction, have you seen Invictus? Mandela in that movie seems so heroic, so larger than life, just looking at him makes me want to cry.)

      I had thought to compare him to Kent, but I love your thought of comparing him to Lara, in a sort of Schindler’s list idea. Not so much that great heroes aren’t perfect, but that very imperfect people can be capable of great heroism.

  6. Angee says:

    Music, I wonder if Alicia truly realizes how strong she has become. If she fully understood how strong she really is she wouldn’t cling onto both Peter and Will. Peter does not need her and Will is capable of moving on without her.
    Alicia does not see herself as particularly strong in her personal life, she is just doing what she has to do to survive. But I agree with you Music, as Alicia realizes her strength and power,she can teach woman a lot about throwing off the mantle of victimhood.
    But she feels strong in regards to her professional life and that is why her work is so important to her right now even more important than pursuing a relationship with Will or genuinely repairing her relationship with Peter.
    E you mentioned Alicia’s noticing Tammy dancing with one of the gala guests, what she is really observing is Will’s noticing Tammy’s dancing. That brief scene is why I say Alicia probably feels sad and powerless, we as viewers recognize Alicia’s strength but she is not fully aware of it yet.
    Regarding heroes with clay feet, we in the 21st century are less tolerant of human heroes than people in the ancient world were, with all his well-documented faults King David could be a hero to countless generations of Jews. We expect moral perfection from heroes and the ancients understood moral perfection is impossible. Accountability not perfection is what is important.

    • E says:

      Gosh, you guys keep coming out with such great comments – I can’t keep up!

      The mantle of victimhood – that’s a great term. You’re so right that she doesn’t acknowledge her strength.

      You have a great point about heroes with clay feet. I see an important difference between the sort of fallible heroes like Mandela (and, say, Bill Clinton and Peter, though I’m wouldn’t necessarily call them heroes, certainly not in the company of someone like Nelson Mandela) who have consensual relations outside of their marriages, and someone like this Kent. If he’d just been in the habit of getting inappropriate massages, that would be another level of unpleasantness, but the fact that he believed himself entitled and was willing to take through violence something he couldn’t buy… it doesn’t negate the good that he does, but to me, that speaks to character on a completely different level of culpability.

      It’s fascinating to me that you use the King David example, though; I’ve given a talk, several times, to pre-teens at retreats about self-esteem, and how many Biblical figures wouldn’t fit anyone’s standard of perfection. And yet, they can still be loved, be valued, and used for good.

  7. Angee says:

    Great use of Courtney in VIP Treatment, I hope we continue see more of Courtney! So bummed that The Good Wife is not coming on this week.

  8. music says:

    Great commentary Angee! You’re absolutely right, Alicia even said so herself during Owen’s visit: “I’m not so strong”.
    When you wrote:
    “What she is really observing is Will’s noticing Tammy’s dancing”, did you mean that she is watching him move on?

  9. Angee says:

    I think based on the only message she heard she thinks he’s moved on, but I’m not sure Will has really moved on yet. She’s never seen Will treat a date the way he treated Tammy in VIP Treatment. When Will noticed Tammy dancing he stopped working to cut in on her dance partner. I think if Will had brought Giada or the law reporter to the gala he would have been relieved they found someone else to dance with. Also Tammy is a funny, confident grown-up and unlike the other women Will has dated, i.e. Giada.
    Think about from Alicia’s perspective, Will chose to be with Tammy rather than go back to the office with her, that why she stopped to see what he was doing when he cut in on the guy dancing with Tammy. What is interesting is Alicia is operating on the basis of the first voice message and Will is operating on the basis of the second voice message.
    Personally I don’t know how they resist talking to each other about the voice messages, especially given the prodding Kalinda is giving Alicia.
    It reminds of when Kalinda told Alicia that problem was with Alicia is that she justs waits for good things to happen to her and does not pursue the good things she wants. Another question I have is why is Will so passive where Alicia’s concerned,when he seems more proactive with other women like Tammy?

  10. Angee says:

    Muaic if you watch that scene carefully, when Cary says the word “history” Will glances over and sees Tammy dancing and Alicia looks over to see what Will is looking at and she sees Tammy dancing.

  11. Angee says:

    OOPS! Correction: Music

  12. music says:

    Wow, sharp thinking again Angee!
    You kinda answered your own question in a way. Will WAS proactive with Alicia, as he told her he was ready to make it work and he also said the 3 magic words, which in our world means commitment.
    Alicia, as you rightly said, is waiting for that spoken commitment, so she stays put until it happens. It’s a gender thing and the reason Kalinda is so quick to pick up on it is because she regularly crosses the line between genders. She is passive and seductress as women sometimes are, but then she is also active like men, smashing windows and touching body parts of the opposite gender, which women rarely do. Notice how the male cops treat her like she’s one of them?
    That’s why the Alicia/relationship is staying right where it is right now, because Will has done his job and Alicia is doing hers. My guess is that the tables will turn from an accidental third party.
    All in all, it’s brilliant script writing, don’t you think?

  13. Angee says:

    You’re right Music, Will was proactive I wish Alicia heard the second message. Do you think Tammy will be the accidental third party?

  14. Lisa says:

    That was a great recap E and it has resulted in a great discussion too. And I love how you don’t even question whether this is the best show on tv or not anymore. It’s just known that it is. As music said, “Will WAS proactive with Alicia, as he told her he was ready to make it work and he also said the 3 magic words, which in our world means commitment.”, but still he is less proactive around Alicia than other women. It took him a year to say that. But of course, he has very good reasons to be so. She’s married. She works with him and keeping her safe and comfortable in the office is a responsibility he has assumed. He doesn’t want to lose her friendship at any cost bu pushing things too far. These are all reasons that they don’t talk about either of the voicemails too. But there is another reason for why Will is different around Alicia, which is that he loves her. With Giada or Emily a move going right or wrong doesn’t mean much to him, but with Alicia it could potentially change his world.

    But what about Tammy? You say that Will can happily give her what she wants. I don’t know what she wants from him. It’s easy to explain if I think that she really does just want an easy breezy affair with Will. But then when she’s talking to Peter her first question about Will being in love is not whether he can fall out of love but rather if he can “change” who he is in love with. I think I’ve got Will’s sex life pretty much figured out. There are a few women on rotation, who are pretty much his equals, he respects them and occasionally goes out with them. Each party goes their separate way after without any strings attached for any number of days. And then there are the random one night stand women. The kind he’d never want to see again. I think Tammy falls in the former category. They’ve been in touch with each other off and on. And aside from that one incident in college Tammy has never seen him in love. And she knows what Will is like when he’s in love. So she just presumed that love and Will just don’t go together. And now he has managed to fall for someone, despite himself. The only reason he’s with her is because he can’t be with whomever it is he wants to be with. Gotta hurt. I dunno, I just thought her whole spiel about warning him not to fall in love with her was a defense mechanism. She doesn’t believe people can change who they love that easily. She dismisses Peter’s idea to the contrary. In her mind what Will will try to do now is try to substitute her for Alicia. Make himself believe that his feelings are transferable. I think her telling him to stay non-serious with her is to stave off any transference. She may not mind her falling in love with her if it were real. She just knows he’s not capable of it right now. So she’d rather have what they’ve always had than something which is pretense. My guess is that Will may actually fall for her. And not just as an Alicia substitute. But she’ll be too blind to know it. It’s perfectly easy to believe that she’s just a woman who’s not looking for any serious commitment. Not from Will, nor from anyone else. But it’s just that one line from her to Peter that wrecks the whole thing like a house of cards.

    • E says:

      Now, that’s interesting. That is a seriously interesting argument. I just took her at her word – she seemed pretty clear in her conversation with Peter that she preferred Will in his “real man/all fun” incarnation – so I didn’t think at all that she might be warning Will not to fall in love with her because she wants him to fall in love with her! But I can see your argument. I took her question to Peter to imply more “do you think I can get my fun Will back?” but you’re right, it’s possible that she asked because she’d be open to something more. She seemed to come down on the side that you can’t fall out of love. I think you’re very right about the transference, but I still question whether that automatically means she’d want a real relationship with him if he were capable of giving her one. I definitely saw the impediment to them being together his “softer” side, rather than him being unavailable to be soft with her.

      So, I’m not sold, but I definitely get where you’re coming from, which is cool – it adds a layer of ambiguity to that great conversation and to T/W’s future, as well. So maybe it’s best to believe the option that gives the most possibilities for new plotlines and interactions? And that’s yours.

      Gah, now I’ve got to go watch that scene again… 🙂

    • E says:

      Lisa, thanks!

      I think you’re spot on about Will, btw. It’s funny; it’s been easy to talk about Will and his little black book, but it’s just as true to think of him from the woman’s perspective -as a “for a good time call” kind of fellow. A fun guy who’ll show you a great time when you need one, and not mess it all up by demanding more, or being invasive or whatever.

      Which again, points to why he’s not going to press more for Alicia; he’s used to giving women space. I don’t think he chases them.

      And you’re so right – because he loves Alicia, and because (to a large degree) her happiness is part of his work, his most sacred responsibility, he’s holding himself back. It’s kind of Victorian, which is awesome.

      Thanks so much for what you add to this conversation – which is a ton! 🙂

      • Lisa says:

        E I can’t make you understand how much I look forward to your recaps every week. I was almost as glad to have discovered them as I was to have discovered the show itself. Which is a lot! 🙂 And I love how they’ve grown longer and more detailed as you’ve fallen more for this show. It shows!
        And as for Tammy, I’m not completely sold on my own idea yet. It is just that one line. Not even a line but a word – change. It could simply be a set up for Peter to juxtapose it on his situation. I don’t know, but I like thinking about it. Ever think that the writers probably don’t think about the show as much as we do? That’s a scary thought right there. Maybe they just used a word without considering it and we’re splitting hair over it.

        • E says:

          I think it’s a fascinating question, certainly – and I’m willing to bet that we debate nuance more than the writers do, only because they have to move on quickly to writing another script and we don’t (and I’m sure they question a lot). After all, there’s the writer’s intention, and then what the actors and director bring to the performances that can change what we see. Of course, they have the benefit of knowing what they intend, so they may look at a word as unambiguous that we’ll mine for complexities. But that’s the excitement of the creative process!

          Lisa, I can’t express, either, how much it means that you and the others here read and enjoy the recaps, and that this results in such a fantastic (and civil) conversation. Last fall, I was writing, and no one would read the recaps, and like you say, they’d get longer and longer because I couldn’t leave out all the cool little details and I’d think, why am I doing this? No one cares but me! So it’s amazing to have this little cyber community of sorts, of people who really love the show and have such great and varying points of view. I feel really lucky to be part of it!

  15. Angee says:

    Wow Lisa awesome commentary on Will and Alicia. You are on target about the kinds of women Will, last year, in I think it was the Infamy episode, the tattooed lawyer said she and a friend were wondering why Will was on a sexual sabbatical reminds of your categories of women Will dates. I wondered how Alicia ended up married to Peter in the first place, what it simply that Peter was ready for marriage and Will wasn’t? I agree Will might fall for Tammy and it might be the push Alicia needs to confront her feelings for Will. Will and Alicia seem to like their relationship in neutral at for right now to protect their friendship and working relationships. I wonder if they are afraid that their relationship is better as an abstract ideal than a reality. If they really wanted to be together they would not be satisfied with an unspoken status quo.

    • koz says:

      The problem is that they cannot save their friendship either by acting this way of awkwardness and hidden feelings.

      Their friendship has always been based on being honest and blunt to each other. That’s what I appreciated so much during the first season: Alicia could always ask Will if there was something wrong btw them and expect him to answer honestly.
      That is why I hate how these two dismiss the opportunity to speak loudly of their concerns

  16. Lisa says:

    Hmmm. Great point about them preferring the abstract ideal. Time has to play such an important factor here. After 15 years everything gets abstracted to some extent. Whatever they felt for one other, or whatever they regret, or whatever they imagine they could have been has to have faded. To separate the real from the perception becomes very difficult. But the main problem with them is not so much that the idea of being together is better in abstract but that the reality of their friendship is too precious to each of them that they don’t want to endanger it. There must also be a lot of self-doubt. If they couldn’t make it happen when they were both young and wild and free, as the song from the episode tells us, can they really do any better with so much more baggage? Any and every step they take towards a relationship is a point of no return, for Alicia and her family and for W/A as friends.

  17. music says:

    Who needs new episodes of the Good Wife when we have such a good panelists of commentators to discuss it here? (:
    Angee, I don’t think A/Will are satisfied with their unspoken status quo. Just take a look at their longing faces when they see each other.
    I agree with Lisa’s mentioning self doubt. It’s unlikely Will has said “I love you” to anyone since his teens and being rebuffed has deeply hurt him.
    Another reason for Will to remain distant, Lisa also mentioned, is because he loves her. I say yes to this!! Love is not fireworks and explosions. Love is patient and kind. And that is what Will is doing, even if he appears like a wuss compared to what we see other men do on tv when they are ‘in love’.
    Remember the King Solomon story, where two women were fighting over a child, and the dispute was settled when Solomon said we’ll cut the child in two, and one said allright, and the other relinquished her right? The real mother was of course the one who gave up her child for his welfare.
    That is what Will is doing, he is letting Alicia go to do right by her.
    Peter, on the other hand, breaking house arrest to stop Alicia from leaving him, is acting on fear, not love.

    • E says:

      Wow, Music, great thoughts! This discussion is awesome – I can’t keep up responding in time, but I love hearing and seeing it all.

      It does show a fascinating difference of character, doesn’t it – Peter gambles on manipulating Alicia’s emotion (sorry, Kiki – it was a bit romantic gesture, risking going back to jail, but I can’t help seeing that as manipulative), and Will just stands back respecting what he thinks is her choice, because he promised he would if that’s what she wanted. Of course, that might be why Peter ended up married to Alicia in the first place, because he was willing to take the chance, and Will ended up a player with a broken heart! Oh, how I long to know what it was that happened back at Georgetown!

      • E says:

        Er, I meant to say BIG romantic gesture.

      • Kiki says:

        heheh do not worry E 😀 But you are right there could have been so manipulation there. But I saw more desperation, it was a huge risk to take. But as you said in a few post below, Peter shows his love for Alicia in a different way indeed, I think is cause the writers cannot make him to good, they have to keep him a shady/grey character. But is obvious he loves her but he also needs her to win his election.

        I love the discussion 😀

      • koz says:

        By the way, another VERY manipulating scene btw Alicia and Peter is the “condom scene” he tried to FORCE her to stay while she wanted to leave for the office.
        It says so much about how things stood between the Florricks BEFORE the scandal as well as about Peter himself.

        Absoultely agree with Music, Will keeps staying distant because he respects her decision. It’s hard for him but still he respects her and her decision whatever is is.

  18. music says:

    Welcome back E!
    You know, I don’t think Peter was being manipulative, as you say, it’s a character difference. He got scared, and ran for it. That is who is is, a man of rash actions ala Bruce Willis, not thinking things through for him nor the people around him.
    It occurred to me that Alicia reads action as love. From what we gathered with Owen, her parents weren’t there for her in her childhood, and it seems that way in her adulthood too.
    So it makes sense that Peter’s over the top actions and ownership of her were taken for love.
    She’s been “loved” that way for 13 years so that’s all she knows. So right now she’s interpreting Will’s stepping back as maybe not loving her anymore.
    No! Make Eli tell!

    • E says:

      Thanks! I had a stomach bug for Halloween – talk about bad timing! I pretty much spent yesterday in bed.

      Oh, I definitely thinks Peter loves Alicia – I didn’t mean to imply that I didn’t. He’s just stylistically different in how he shows it. and what a great point about action meaning more to Alicia than words. That makes a ton of sense.

      It’s hard not to look at Alicia’s actions and think “oh, she should still talk to Will” but to me, they make perfect sense. She didn’t hear the message. He said no when she asked him for a plan. She must feel rejected. And yeah, coupled with the advent of Tammy, she definitely sees it as Will moving on. (Which is funny because Tammy is sort of a place holder by choice – no threat to Alicia in the long run because she doesn’t want a serious relationship.)

      • koz says:

        ‘I definitely thinks Peter loves Alicia’ – I agree but I guess that even more he loves everything associated with her in his life – respect and family status. He love himself BEING married to her, that’s how I call it. And for sure he fights fiercly with any attements to destroy this pretty picture of himself being married with her

  19. Angee says:

    Good point Music, happy is not the right word and I guess satisfied is not either. But they are both unwilling to take the necessary risks to see if they could be together. The voice messages are ways to justify not taking risks. Kalinda told Alicia that what is said in a voice message does not count and if you really want to tackle an issue to actually talk to the person. They do not know what each other choices are because Alicia is basing her response on Will’s first message and Will is basing his response on his second message.
    I do not understand how Will’s reluctance to pursue Alicia means he loves her.
    At some point they are going have to talk with each other to determine if it is really love or just angst about should have happened 15 years ago. We really need to know what happened at Georgetown between Alicia and Will. Love is patient and kind but at some point it also has to be expressed.
    It just intriguing and frustrating to see two characters who can be so aggressive and proactive in their professional lives be so timid in this aspect of their love lives.
    Since Alicia needs a verbal affirmation of love from Will to move forward Will is not helping Alicia by not telling her face to face he loves her.
    Love rejoices in the truth. In the long run, it will be liberating to Will, Alicia and Peter for the truth to come out. And remember “perfect loves casts out fear”.

    • E says:

      Hearts the dueling Bible quotes! 🙂 Am trying to get to all the comments but just had to start with that!

    • koz says:

      I do not understand how Will’s reluctance to pursue Alicia means he loves her

      He asked her to let things go if she does not want him. And promised her to return where the things stood before, remember?

      So what is doing now is just following this instructions. I felt so sad about him since I saw it was exteremely difficult for him to not bring things to discussion again. In that epi with Cary and disbarrment when he stopped her from confessing , it was… I dunno… noble and kind and so much caring about her. If this is not love, then what is it?

      • Lisa says:

        Yup. We don’t really need to hear Will say the three magic words to know that he loves her. His actions speak louder than words. And as E brilliantly said in the recap of Cleaning House, Alicia’s heart did whisper to her that he did it for her. I’m quoting from memory. 🙂 Alicia doesn’t need to hear it to know it either. But we’re all dangerously and foolishly insecure about love. And we seem to need constant affirmation. Sometimes it feels too good to be true. I make the same point about Alicia’s own actions speaking louder than words below.

        • E says:

          Blushes – that was a nod to Pride and Prejudice, actually, and the brilliant words of Jane Austen. It’s one of my favorite phrases, ever, but now I’m feeling sheepish that I didn’t footnote or something.

          I do agree with your point, though. 🙂

          • Lisa says:

            I’m blushing as well. I’ve read P&P three times and I couldn’t trace the quote to it and yet I manage to remember this and everything else to do with TGW >>>> Hello Crazy Obsession.

  20. music says:

    Gosh, I can’t get work done with all these Good Wife thoughts!
    I’m glad you’re feeling better E. Tammy is not much of a place holder, mind you, she is accepting Will for who is is, in love with someone else. Lisa explains this quite well, further up. Tammy is implying “you are not ready, and that’s fine. Whenever you are ready, if you ever are.”
    Her relinquishing of control is why Will may very well fall for her.
    About your frustration, Angee,I understand it.
    However, I see myself typing on my pretty computer, debating whether is this love, like the Whitesnake song, and I wonder on what grounds am I judging? Have I had the nerve to say I love you when it mattered? I was pretty petrified when love did strike me, so I can’t say I have. If someone had said to me then: “Come on, say it, it will be liberating for the both of you!” It most likely wouldn’t have made a difference.
    You say “Accountability not perfection is what is important”, and I agree. I take responsibility for not having been able to express myself in the past and now happily say I love you when I can. (:
    All this rambling to say that I understand Will not having the nerve to tell Alicia in person, or Alicia being too scared to say anything to Will.
    It’s all right!

    • E says:

      This was great rambling, Music.:) Love the Whitesnake reference (you ARE Music, after all) and you bring up a great point about how hard it can be to say those words. Even if you don’t have all the things stacked against you that Will and Alicia have, not everyone can say those things easily. Add the type of people they are to the obstacles between them and it’s no wonder.

      Of course, this time thinking that Will doesn’t care, and that he’s creating something important with Tammy, may help Alicia clarify what she wants. Or put her head and her heart in line with each other, which they’re certainly not. So it does give her a sort of protective cover, this waiting period.

      I guess I’m afraid of the writers/Will and Alicia coming right out with their feeling (whatever they’d even define them to be) because then where does the show go? Does she leave Peter, or have an affair and stay with Peter, or reject Will, or what? Not that those aren’t all dramatic and exciting possibilities, but it’s very unsettling, and I just don’t think she’s ready to make any of those leaps. So I’m less frustrated with the status quo.

      • koz says:

        Let me speak honestly. If this show is about saint woman rejecting the man she is in love with just to live up to her high moral standarts and avoid making somebody hurt, that’s great and noble but not really interesting to me.

        If this show is about a woman having a secret affair with her boss while staying married to Peter, I guess, It is neither what I was signed to when started watching this show.

        There should be a third option but I can’t see it right now.

        • Lisa says:

          How about the show is about Alicia trying to find that third option? Where she gets to follow her heart and yet not wreck her family and her career in the process. By family I mean the relationship between her kids and her and Peter as their father and not their married life. It’ll come slowly and it is the journey that draws me.

          • E says:

            I trust the writers will find a way to give us something dramatic, interesting, but also satisfying. I don’t mind the wait at all. 🙂

            I do feel totally at a loss not writing a recap today, though! I’m so thrown…

            • koz says:

              E, we all feel the same way:)
              I am glad that by joining TGW viewers this automn only I had all 23 epis of the first season at my disposal:)
              It kills me now to wait a week to watch the next epi. Things seem moving soooo slow:)

  21. Angee says:

    It is alright and real Music, but it is just frustrating as a viewer because we know how both of them feel about each other and there is no progress in their storyline.

    • Lisa says:

      I completely second the frustration Angee. Every time you’re gnashing your teeth about another missed opportunity or all the wrong things being said and the wrong questions being asked between these two imagine me doing exactly that at the same time. But I have to give credit to the writers that they’ve set it up very well. It could have come across like pressing a reset button on the relationship but it does not. It takes them forward and yet keeps them in limbo. It’s pretty brilliant. I think it was put best by the observation that they’re each acting on the basis of different voice mails.
      And I agree with music, faced with the situation I would also not bring up the issue and hope things heal by themselves. I mean their friendship was strong enough to survive whatever happened at Georgetown so maybe they both think that they’ll weather this storm too. Each is trying to salvage the friendship, which is all they think the other is interested in, while longing for something more.

    • koz says:

      Really? Do you really know how they feel about each other and can name it? Talking of Will, I guess I can say for more or less sure that he is love. But what
      Alicia feels toward Will?

      And that’s is the most important thing because after all, it is for Alicia to decide, neither for Will not for Peter.

      Does she love Will?
      Does she love Peter?
      What does SHE want right now ?

      • Lisa says:

        I think Alicia is in love with Will or she’s just managing to hold herself back from falling in love with him. In any case, she’s very close to it. Alicia as a person is not very demonstrative so to know what she’s feeling we have to look at her actions. Saving the voice mail for 86 days? Looking so lost and hurt every time he acts cold and distant towards her? And even then trying again and again to connect with him again?
        It is open to interpretation but I’d go with something very close to love. And I don’t think there are any clear answers for Alicia or the audience.

  22. Kiki says:

    Love the discussion everyone!! if you want to further discuss more, feel free to stop by The Good Wife Forum, we have lots of speculating going on there as well 😀

    http://www.fanforum.com/f108/

  23. Angee says:

    Lisa I love your statement that the show is about Alicia’s journey to love and self-discovery. She and Peter already seem to be a place where they can be good friends and parents if they were to divorce and Will has demonstrated in the second voice message that he is ready for a serious relationship with Alicia, I guess we just have to be patient as the writers unfold the journey and enjoy the ride.

  24. Angee says:

    E it seem like we all have been thinking about this episode for a long time. It is amazing how much thoughtful discussion one episode of a network television show can generate, it speaks volumes about the cast, writers and producers of The Good Wife. What I have learned with this discussion is that love does not have verbal expression but can be expressed by actions, by patience and a willingness to put the needs of others above your own. The discussion has taught me something I can apply in my own life. I have always needed verbal affirmation of love and been more concerned about my own wants and needs, to be perfectly honest very selfish. This overall discussion makes me reexamine my relationships and attitudes about love. Thank you to everyone in this discussion, you all are one awesome group of people.

    • E says:

      I agree – you guys are seriously awesome! I am in awe of your honesty, Angee and everyone else, and so inspired by your insights.

  25. music says:

    Right back at you Angee! Thank you for your honesty. This is a formidable group that is making me reevaluate my sometimes high and mighty principles and I feel very blessed to be in the company of such intelligent and insightful women. (Forgive me if there are men, I’ll be glad to correct myself).

  26. Lisa says:

    I’d also like to put in my vote for the awesomeness of the show, this blog, E, the posters here and the thoughtful discussion here.

  27. Jennifer says:

    Awesome treat to get to read such an incredible discussion. It is late and I had a very long day so I can’t add anything coherent. Thank you so much E for the blog and everyone else for the discussion. Seriously love it almost as much as the show (and that is a lot!)

  28. Liz says:

    Hi E, & Everybody,
    Thanks for all the added entertainment to season my favorite show. This is the only TGW review that I bother with. I don’t remember how I found this blog last season, but your attention to detail keeps me coming back for more, after I watch the episodes online. These are great discussions about VIP Treatment! I don’t have anything exciting to add, just these little observations:
    1. Maybe we need to see Eli Gold as a little bit “weaker” to keep us from hating him quite so much for hiding the voicemail? Just a thought. He’s seeming like not such a mastermind at the moment. To desperate. Where is Bambi?
    2. Did anyone notice that creepy lawyer guy sounded & looked like Christian Slater? Which only enhanced the creepiness…
    3. I think that Alicia is falling for Will, but I still don’t see the path (aka “the Plan”.) In the meantime, Peter is the one who gets a rise out of her, whether good or bad. A/P give us steam, now Will and Tammy give us steam… but that isn’t substantive enough to last. But it sure is fun to watch!!! I’m glad they’ve found someone for Will that we can stand.
    ~L

    • E says:

      Liz, thanks for joining in, and thanks for all the kind words! This has been an awesome discussion.

      1. I guess it would make sense because his main troubles are over, but I miss Golden and Tascioni and Bambi (okay, maybe not Bambi). I liked Peter having a little team. Right now it’s just Peter and Eli, and Eli’s making all the mistakes, which was not his role at all last season.

      2. I totally didn’t pick up on it, but I can see it, Kent’s very aggressive lawyer totally had a Christian Slater vibe.

      3. I don’t see the plan, either, but I guess if we did it would be happening! Will and Tammy are very steamy, in a really good way. Makes it interesting…

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