The Good Wife: Poisoned Pill

E: It’s back to the 80s Tuesday night on The Good Wife, as two teen stars from the age of neon and oversized jackets show their grown up bonafides.    Blake has Kalinda on the defensive, Alan Cummings is back to his first season form, and Michael J. Fox plays the judge, the jury and our lawyers like the proverbial violin.  But is the sound of it more bitter than sweet?

“Arthur Gibson, 52,” Alicia narrates to a slide show photograph of a pink faced, smiling, middle aged man.  Arthur is divorced and has a dull sounding job.  No, says Will, we need someone at our table.  What does that mean?  Is this a metaphorical table?  Next up is a pudgy faced woman, Deborah Barber, aged 38 (who ironically looks older than Mr. Gibson).  Will dismisses her with a wave as he fixes himself some coffee; not sympathetic enough.  “Is there a weight limit on sympathy,” Diane wonders, a touch offended.  The third slide gives us a smiling couple; “Maureen Fenton, divorced and remarried, one daughter, aged 18.”  Will stares at the screen.

“How’d she do it?” “Hand gun,” Alicia nods, “killed herself and her husband.” Oh, dear.  Will wants a look at the daughter.  We see what’s probably the senior picture of a girl with curly red-brown hair, hugging a tree (not in the political sense, in the staged high school senior picture sense) wearing a cardigan and a tiny cross.  Derrick confirms for Will that she’s signed on to their class action – “one of the first.”    She was good on the stand, too.  (When?  Does this mean in prep?) “Then that’s our test case,” Will decides. He waves his coffee mug at the screen. “Make sure she wears that cross.”

“But I thought Mr. Yates was doing it,” the daughter says, sounding very young, wearing the cross and another cardigan, in rich brown this time with a fall colored blouse.   We thought so too, Diane tells her, but he got cold feet. “I know this is last minute, Caitlin, but we think MRG Pharmaceuticals is ready to settle.  We just need a strong test case to …  motivate them.” “If I lose then the others can’t sue, right?” Caitlin’s eyes flicker between Alicia and Diane.  It would make things harder, Diane tells her, but no, it wouldn’t stop the suits.   Looking more and more terrified, Caitlin asks if she’ll have to take the stand.  Yes, of course you will.  “It’s a really good case, Caitlin,” Alicia steps in, hand holding instincts working just as they should. “We need to make sure they never make an antidepressant like that again.”

“Sometimes I wonder if God forgives her,” Caitlin meanders, explaining she has nightmares of her mother “not in heaven.”  The poor girl can’t even say the word hell, and it’s just awful to think about her pain.  Diane doesn’t know what to say, but Alicia does.  “You mom didn’t do this, the pills did, Caitlin.  Try to remember that.”  Teary eyed Caitlin will remember.  What would you do without Alicia, L/G&B?  (Also, nicely played, Rachel Brosnahan.)

Oh.  So does that mean that all the people in the slides are dead?  Killed themselves after taking the eponymous poisoned pills?  That’s creepy.  When this all started, I was sure we were looking at a jury selection, but no.  And that’s the table Will meant.  I thought when he said he needed someone at their table, he was speaking in some sort of code.  He meant they need the test case subject to have a close surviving relative. They need to put somebody’s pain on display.

Wendy Scott-Carr sings the national anthem, presumably at some sort of sporting event (Wrigley Field, perhaps?  Looks like a baseball stadium).   Thank you, TGW team, for getting Anika Noni Rose’s glorious voice on screen in a totally rational way.  Not that I’ve ever seen a politician sing the national anthem, but with a voice like that, why wouldn’t they?  It’s a wonderful, patriotic visual, and Eli Gold is appalled.

“Of course she has perfect pitch,”  Eli rolls his eyes.  That’s right – she’s practically perfect in every way.  (Except, you know, leaking that deposition to the press, which could have gotten Alicia disbarred, but everyone seems to be forgetting about that now.)  Two young aids fill Eli in on her depressingly clean statistics as they all watch the video: she tithes ten percent to her church, she volunteers at a soup kitchen and also at her kids school.  Her kids’ public school.  Eli’s eyes have probably done a 720 by now.  “She lives frugally, quietly.”  No one has a problem with her.   “Is she a saint?” Eli grumbles.  “For Chicago, or the world,” questions the more talkative aid.  Heh.   I suppose the threshold for sainthood in Chicago politics would be pretty low.  “There’s no such thing as saints,”  Eli says dismissively, turning his back on Wendy and the national anthem.  And I suppose the answer to that question goes back to the last episode’s dilemma; can you be a hero, and still do wrong?  How much wrong do you have to do before it negates your good works?   Not that it’s relevant to Wendy.  Eli needs to find Wendy Scott-Carr’s clay feet, stat. “The smaller the sin, the larger you have to make the magnifying glass.”

Aid #2 has a possible strategy; Mr Scott-Carr (Mr Carr? Mr. Scott?) is white.  “This is not the South,” Eli snarks, dismissing this as a negative.  “With some issues,” #2 insists, “everywhere is the South.”  Can they make something of that in some neighborhoods?  Wow, that’s ugly.  That’s incredibly ugly.  A third operative – an older, back room looking type – lurks significantly in the doorway.  “I’ll think about it,” Eli finishes, and heads off to join Mr. Significant in the copy room.

“She’s good,” says the operative, unbuttoning his suit jacket and shaking his head, ” no paper trail, distance from the machine, no money that I can find – nothing to get a foothold.”  Well, we know she’s allied with Adler, who is known to be corrupt,  but okay.  Eli’s face sours: he practically inhales his bottom lip in frustration.  He brings up the “miscegenation issue”, and the operative (Jim Moody, according to the imdb) offers to make up a few flyers for the neighborhoods where the issue would play.    There are clinic visits he can check into (maybe an abortion, if they’re lucky) but he’s got something to show Eli on his little white smart phone, and Eli’s not gonna like it.  “What, did she film it?” Eli wonders, thinking they’re still on the clinic visits, but no.  Moody had trackers on a recent Q&A Wendy did with voters in a park, and while they were looking to create an “idiot supporter” montage (that’s so of the moment, I love that) who did they find, gazing up at Wendy as if she were lit by heavenly choirs?  A cheering Grace Florrick.  Oh, that’s so not good.

What do you like about her, the tracker’s voice asks. “She just makes a lot of sense. You know, it’s different – with Obama now, politics is cool again,” Grace beams and kind of giggles.  “No no no no!” Eli tells the screen, appalled.  Appalled – it’s the word of the day.

I’m appalled, but for a different reason.  That’s the best thing they could give her to say? Politics is cool again? Since when did Grace care about cool?  Grace who saw through “cool” Becca in an instant?  Grace who called Zach out as being a poser?  Grace cares about ideals, about right and wrong.  Leaving the obvious issues of family loyalty aside (we’ll get to them later), I can see why Grace might be drawn to Wendy.  She’s an appealing candidate, especially to idealist and reformers.  And she’s a woman.  And Grace would like a candidate who’d speak truth to power – don’t forget the dinner party from hell.  But there’s no way it’s because Wendy is “cool”, or because Grace now thinks it’s okay to express her political convictions because it’s popular.

Back at L/G &B, Kalinda (resplendent in purple) scribbles on paper, and then takes notes.  Blake the Evil Boyscout strolls in to – is it an office?  a  tiny conference room? it seems very spare, whatever it is – and asks what she’s working on. “No case,” she says flippantly, “it’s just the folder I stole from your car.”  Alrighty then – let’s get right to the hostilities, shall we?  “Ah, yeah, ” he nods, sitting down with her, “after you trashed it.”  “You take a lot of notes,” she tells him.  Blake counters with a volley of his own.  Some group named I-LeGal (a local association of Gay and Lesbian lawyers – the real one seems to be called LAGBAC, as best as I can tell, though there’s a New York group called LeGal) has rated Chicago law firms for their gay friendly atmosphere and hiring diversity, and L/G & B didn’t do so well.  “Even though I know for fact,” he adds, his eyes bearing down on a frantically scribbling Kalinda,  “that there are associates here who just aren’t admitting that they’re gay.” She studiously ignores him – a little too studiously, for my taste, because I don’t want him to know he’s getting to her. But he is, and he knows it.  “Now, in this day and age, why would someone not be upfront about their sexual orientation?”

“Are you coming out,” she leans in, recovering a bit from her discomfort.  He smiles and licks his lips.  “You know the theory that I work under?” No, she doesn’t.  “It’s better not to keep secrets, so then people don’t go looking.”  She acts as if he hasn’t hit a nerve.  Looks like this is his way of escalating their rivalry.  Does it compare with his trashed car?   I wouldn’t think so, but Kalinda’s a girl who really likes her privacy.  And I suppose pursuing her sexuality – exposing her sexual secrets – might seem like a fair revenge for her “ham-fisted” humiliation of him, post-car trashing. Still, it’s ugly, and I don’t like it anymore than – well, than anything else about Blake.  He hops up, and as soon as he’s out of view, Kalinda picks up her phone.  “Hello,” says a quiet voice.  “It’s me,” Kalinda replies, all business, “we need to talk.”

Diane’s on the phone, sporting a classic gray suit with a modern looking cream blouse, with a pleated neckline, all of which means it’s not the same day we started on.  She’s pretty excited.  It turns out that MRG has fired their entire legal team.  L/G &B’s jury consultant expresses disbelief, but Diane scoops up her things, hollers for Alicia, and heads off to court.   What’s this New York firm MRG’s going with?  We don’t know yet.  Diane hopes it’s Bernstein and Meyers, who won an asbestos suit last year.  “They’ll look like an army against us!” Diane gloats as they travel through the city.  “We’ll have three women at the plaintiff’s table, they’ll have half a dozen out of towners, it’ll be David and Goliath writ large.”  You know, if this is Diane’s project, why did Will decide what the test case would be?   I can see the partners working together on something this important, but still.

“I want you to handle voir dire,” Diane tells Alicia. “Are you ready?”  Yes, stays a stunned but excited Alicia.  The jury consultant’s not so sure, but Diane is. “If they’re bringing in New York, we need to play up our recognizability in Chicago.”  Alicia smiles as she strides toward the camera.  The teams walks toward a tall building labeled Civil Court; people who know he’s coming can see Michael J. Fox standing in line at a coffee cart, listening as they walk by.  “I just need a minute,” Alicia declares, “and a cup of coffee. ” She pats her stomach comically to indicate nerves.  Diane chuckles her happy Diane chuckle and tells Alicia not to be late.  “Hey, you’ll be good,” Diane says, coming back to give Alicia a reassuring boost, “Thirty to forty million dollars – this could turn everything around for the firm.  Not to put too much pressure on you.”   That seems like a horrifying pep talk to me, but Alicia takes it in stride.

And she can’t help be caught by Fox’s stride as he leaves the cart and limps awkwardly toward the courthouse.  He tips from side to side, like a child singing “I’m a Little Tea Pot” or pretending to be a penguin.  After getting her coffee, she rushes past to hold the door for him.  He looks much more like a professor than a legal shark in a brown blazer, sweater vest and navy trousers. “Oh no,” he says, patting his pockets, “my bus pass.”  He’s left it all the way back at the coffee cart. Or was it the bench?  No, probably the coffee cart.  He can’t go through into the court proper without his id, which is (of course) with the bus pass.  Though pressed for time, our empathetic heroine runs back to look for him.

“What are we waiting on, Miss Lockhart,” wonders a frustrated Judge Robert Parks.  You might remember Judge Parks from Heart, of one last season’s best episodes.  Do judges have specialties, or is it a coincidence that we’ve seen Parks on a case involving medical insurance and now pharmacology?  Interesting.  Diane is of course waiting for Alicia.  Judge Parks isn’t willing to wait.  He sets tiny Mr Canning – who is, of course, Michael J. Fox, and the New York opposition – at the potential jurors first.

“First of all, I want to thank you for your service,” says Mr. Canning, “and I probably need to explain a few things.”  Alicia runs into the courtroom, ducking down into her seat.  She’s about to pant out her excuses to Diane when she sees Canning. “Good morning Mrs. Florrick,” he says, “nice that you could join us.” Oh, ouch.  That little devil.  “Before I ask you just a few questions, I think I owe you an explanation,”  Canning tells the jury.  He suffers from a neurological disorder which makes him “do this,” he demonstrates (he trembles and twitches) “and this” (he walks like a penguin) “and this” (he waves his arms and leaps up a little, making noise like he’s a crazy person or a little kid).  The last bit is intentionally exaggerated to make the jury laugh, and it does.  Oh, he’s good.  He’s very, very good.  “Uh oh,” says Diane. Uh oh, indeed.  Because that’s not all!   He promises that if they look at him long enough (“feel free to look!”) they’ll get use to it.  “And the good news is,” he enthuses, reaching into his jacket for a small white bottle, there are these pills which – while they don’t take away the symptoms – reduce them enough for him to live almost normally.  Diane and Alicia stiffen their backs at his blatant propaganda for the pharmaceutical industry.  Alicia objects – as well she should – but Judge Parks thinks it’s all very reasonable.   This is stuff they need to know.  “Part of my voir dire is to determine who will have a problem with my condition and who will not,” Canning insists with wide, innocent eyes.  Alicia’s lucky that she had to approach the bench; Canning is the manipulator, but she’s the one looking like the unsympathetic bully.

“I have to tell you,”   Canning confides in the jury, “that my symptoms intensify when I get perplexed, I’m just, I’m really transparent that way, for example I don’t want you to be distracted when my opponents are questioning…”  “Objection!” Alicia, exasperated, practically hollers, and I’m with her.  “So, are we going to have a trial at some point?” Parks grinds out, irritated. “You Honor, Mr. Canning is trying, yet again, to taint this jury.”  Canning is shocked that he could be so misunderstood.  “I just don’t want my movements to be a distraction!” “No sir, you are guaranteeing that the jury will be watching you during our testimony to see how you react.”  Canning mugs for the judge (this is outrageous!  how can she suggest it! does she have a problem with disabled people?), and Parks, who fell for Patti Nyholm’s baby drama in Heart, falls again.  “Mrs Florrick, you have a point, but I think Mr. Canning needs to inoculate the jury to his – what is the proper word?” “Condition,” Canning supplies to easily.  “Condition,” finishes Judge Parks. “So again, overruled.” As they walk back to their respective tables, Canning leans toward Alicia’s shoulder. “Any luck finding my bus pass?  Because my driver might need it if the limo doesn’t start.”

“Okay, we just turned into Goliath,” Diane complains.

We see the outside of another courthouse, this time a more traditional building with columns and a frieze.  Lili Taylor walks purposefully through a fusty looking office, asking for a quick one (okay, that sounds odd) so she can be out of the office by three.  “Oh, of course you’d give me the dog,” she laughs, and speed walks right up to Kalinda.  “What’s up?” asks Kalinda.  Lili walks right by, riffling through the folder.  Kalinda stalks her.

“You’re talking to somebody.”

“I’m talking to somebody?  I’m talking to a lot of people.”  Oh.  Dear.  Someone’s not happy.  ‘Someone from my office, an investigator named Blake?” “Public exposure, masturbation…” Lili reads out of the file. Kalinda won’t let it go, and Lili stops to finally vent her frustration. “Kalinda, four months, and this is what you come to talk to me about?”  Kalinda composes herself, and asks how Lili is, but it’s far too late.  “Oh yeah,” Lili sighs, making a patented Lili Taylor guilt trip face, “humanitarian of the year.”  Her brisk walk has come to an end in an enormous, busy court room, where she finds her new client, Mr. Bay, a balding fellow with a comb over, glasses, and a vacant look.  “My name is Donna, I’m from the public defender’s office, and I’m here to defend you on charges of indecency, masturbating in a public park – do you understand what I’m saying to you?”  Mr. Bay nods up at her, looking like a sad sack Christopher Lloyd.  She nods back in unhappy understanding. “Are you masturbating right now?”  His eyebrows knit down happily and he nods again.  Lovely.  “Don’t do that,” she says, as if swatting at a puppy, firm but not outraged.  “Get your hands out of your pockets.  Don’t say a word.”

And like that, he’s up in front of the judge.  Anyone else think this looks like that old 80s sitcom Night Court? “Who do you have for us today, Miss Seabrook?” a weary judge wonders.  “An innocent man,” Donna replies, keeping her face straight through long practice.  “I’m sure,” smiles the judge.  It was cold last night, and Mr. Bay was simply warming his shivering hands in his pockets.  Hilariously, as she says this, Bay pulls his hands from behind his back and reaches into his pockets, putting the lie to her words. “Stop that,” she spits out, stopping his right arm.  Heh.  Luckily for Mr. Bay, the judge doesn’t think it’s worth any more of the state’s money, and lets Bay out on time served.  (That’s all rather gross.  I don’t know exactly what I think ought to be done with a guy like that; he’s not firing on all cylinders, and it’s alarming. I’m almost sorry she – sorry, I can’t help myself – gets him off.)  Bay scuttles off without ever having spoken a word. “Thank you!” she yells at his retreating back.

“You could make a lot of money at a big firm,” Kalinda notes as Donna leaves the courtroom. “What, when I meet such interesting people here?”  Seriously, it would take a great deal of altruism to work in that sort of atmosphere.  Is altruism even the right word?  I suppose all her cases can’t feel that meaningless, can they?  “Everything’s fine,” Donna says, and she sounds pretty rational.  “I didn’t talk to anyone and I didn’t tell anyone your secrets.”  I mostly believe her.  “If this guy approaches me…”  “Blake,” Kalinda supplies helpfully.  Aw, honey, why are you getting all in a panic?  What if you lead Blake to Donna by finding her like this, especially in a public place? “… I won’t tell him how heartless you can be.”

Oh. Okay. Not so fine after all.  In fact, she’s incredibly bitter.  I still think it’s more of a risk running over to see her (if you can trace him, he can trace you) but Donna is clearly a loose cannon, so maybe she was right to be worried. “How insensitive.  How self preservation is your number one concern.”  Kalinda looks worried and taken aback.  “And after four months, you can barely say hello?  I won’t tell him any of that, okay?”  This is the kind of speech you rehearse in your head when you’ve been dumped, I can see that.  But, ouch. Donna walks away.

So, hmmm.  Would Kalinda have been with Donna back when Detective 98 Degrees declared himself, or when she was tangling with Lana?  Interesting.  I have trouble believing this, though.  Isn’t Lili Taylor old for Kalinda?  I suppose Donna doesn’t have to be the same age Lili is (Archie Panjabi is 38, rather than Kalinda’s 25) but – oh, I don’t know.  I have trouble seeing Kalinda with a whiny older woman, especially in comparison to the people we’ve seen her with before.  I’ve been a bit nervous about this plotline since I heard about Taylor’s casting, and I’m more dubious with every moment she’s on screen.  Not that’s Taylor’s not a terrific actress; she just hits the guilt and shame notes a bit hard for my taste here.  It’s hard to see a person left there who Kalinda could have fallen for, and she doesn’t have the charm or style of previous love interests.  You know it’s bad when I start wondering where 98 Degrees has gone…

“Well, we got the jury we wanted, but ” the jury consult explains, as Alicia reviews her notes,”but the… handicap… of the opposing council has undercut my earlier assumptions.”   “Meaning?” asks Will, catching up with the team in a conference room.  “He’s co-opted our jury” – right, who must have been picked for their sympathy.  Will doesn’t get it, but boy does Diane.  He’s using his handicap to make the pharmaceutical company look like a good guy.  “The medical testimony will prove otherwise,” Derrick insists. “We still have a slam dunk.”  Will doesn’t think they should be acting like they’re the ones on the ropes.  Alicia heads out to prepare the doctors for “some tough cross.”  Ah, Will.  You have no idea.

As Alicia leaves the conference room, Eli magically appears beside her.  He opens his mouth three or four times before something actually comes out.  “I’m trying to figure out … how to broach this one.” Easy enough, Eli – just show her the video.  Although looking like you care about her family doesn’t hurt you in Alicia’s book, so fine.  “Why don’t you give me a subject line,” Alicia offers when they’re back in her office.  Eli inhales. “Grace!” he spits out. “Your daughter.”  Alicia looks frozen – which, thank you for stating the obvious, Eli. “She attended a Wendy Scott-Carr speech and spoke up for her.” If she’d made any guesses as to what Eli wanted to discuss, surely this wouldn’t be it.  ‘We have it on tape.”  Alicia starts.  “But not for public consumption,” Eli adds, placating, “one of our trackers caught it.”

Oh, cause that’s going to sit well.  “One of our trackers,” Alicia questions dangerously, her displeasure dripping from the words.  “Yes,” Eli says, brazening it out, “I have to keep tabs.”   That’s our Eli: it must be said that he’s a plain-dealing villain.  He paraphrases, and if there isn’t more than we’ve seen, he embellishes as well. Grace didn’t say anything about corruption, though it would have been more in character if she had.  “Okay,” says Alicia, clearly upset, ” I will talk to her.”  Eli thanks her – and then apologizes for bringing the problem her way.  Nicely played, Mr. Gold.  “I promise next time I’ll bring something good.”  Alicia smiles.  I wonder what that could possibly be.

“Alvital,” smirks a bespectacled scientist, “is a serotonin uptake inhibitor.”  He’s quite pleased with himself, this fellow.  “This is the antidepressant drug made by the defendant,” Diane clarifies.   Yes, indeed, and it reduces depression by stopping the brain from absorbing serotonin.  Diane wants to ask a question about the scientist’s clinical trial, but Canning starts shaking his chair back and forth as she’s speaking.  The thumping becomes so loud she turns back to look at him.  We get to see a Marty McFly face from Fox before he apologizes for the distraction.  “Those taking Alvital were three times as likely to commit suicide as those taking sugar pills, is that correct?”  Youch.  They really do have the science on their side, don’t they?  No wonder Derrick felt like it was a slam dunk.  Yes, the science guy responds as Will slips into the back of the courtroom, and basically says that the drug actually promotes serotonin absorption instead of inhibiting it.  Well, that’s a big slip up on MRG’s part, isn’t it?   Oopsy.  As Science Guy tries to explain this in more detail, Canning pulls what just might be the most stupendous stunt I’ve ever seen in a fictional court.

He pours himself a glass of water.

On his table, to his right, is a frankly enormous glass pitcher of water. It’s tall and thin and looks eminently breakable.  In his left hand, there’s a glass, and we don’t need the camera’s direction to forget all about Dr. Spectacles with his serotonin inhibitors and chemical receptors.  Will Canning spill the water?  Drop the cup?  Will he have a tremor and pour water right out on the table?  How long can he hold the heavy pitcher?

There’s no competing with this side show. Poor Diane, with her back turned to Canning, one eye on the witness and one on the jury, would have been better off if she hadn’t tried.  Dr. Spectacles natters on about a train, but his complicated metaphor is for naught as the jury and Alicia watch, spellbound, as the pitcher and glass wiggle in tandem.  Even the act of setting the pitcher down, after the glass has been filled, is fraught with peril. For someone with those sort of physical ticks, it’s a genius piece of acting; my hat’s off to Canning and to Michael J. Fox both.  It was neat, and perfect and reproof proof, and it did everything he wanted it to.  There’s an amazing passage in The Screwtape Letters where the titular demon explains that the devil doesn’t always have to make an argument – he’s just got to make your stomach rumble when you’re on the point of an emotional breakthrough.  By stealing your focus, he steals the moment.  I’m not calling him the devil, but Canning is just that subtle.

Does anyone else think it’s odd, by the way, that Canning sits at the defense table alone?  I get that he’s without other lawyers – it works with his David v. Goliath schtick – but shouldn’t someone from the pharmaceutical company be there?  Doesn’t that make them look like they don’t care?  Or does Canning believe he’s so much more appealing than any suit could ever be that he’s better off alone?

“Doctor,” says Canning, wiping water off his mouth, “talk to me about sex.”  Alicia straighten up – where’s he going with this?  How does this SSRI stuff affect a person’s sex life, he clarifies.  I’ll say it again – Fox is genius at this role.  Somehow he manages not to come off as someone downplaying his own intelligence when he messes up the scientific terms; it’s like he’s too busy to bother with something so irrelevant.  It’s just not important enough to matter.

Dr. Spectacles doesn’t get what Canning is asking.  “Well, for example, if there were feelings of jealousy, this drug would intensify them, correct?”  Yes, correct.  “But it couldn’t create the jealousy out of nowhere – there would have to be reason for this jealousy to exist.”  Okay, I think he’s conflating two totally different ideas here, both of which seem off topic to me.  Assuming this particular drug can’t create a feeling of jealousy (and I’m not sure I want to grant that, since it’s possible for drugs to create paranoia, and I don’t know enough about SSRIs to rule that out), it doesn’t then follow that all jealousy must be rationally based.  You could say, I suppose, that the person who felt the jealousy would have to believe they had a reason for it, but those reasons don’t have to be supported by facts.   And given all this, is his strategy truly going to be that creating the emotion is the only important aspect?  That there’s no difference between a little jealousy (which may or may not have been created by actual events) and an murderous obsession exacerbated unnaturally by drugs? Beyond the scope, objects Diane, and she’s upheld.

“I guess we can dodge that question for the moment,” Canning mumbles to the jury, and stalks off.  Diane cannot believe the judge let that go.  Neither can I.  Canning’s allowed to return to mistaking the names of scientific compounds, uncensored.

Eli leads Jim Moody back into the copy room, which is apparently his conference room, or at least his space for plotting dirty tricks.   He summarily tosses out the staffer making copies.    He’s really quite rude about it, and she scurries off like a scalded cat.   On the other hand, he is wearing a really nice purple-ish shirt, so at least he looks good doing it. “So,” he asks, “what is it. The abortion?”  “No,” Moody replies, hands in his pockets, look dodgy as usual, “but I know why she was going to the doctor. Breast augmentation.”  There’s no containing Eli’s laughter.  Four visits over two months.  “Mother Theresa got breast implants.” Eli pauses slightly to consider. “Does that humanize her or not?” “I would say not,” Jim opines.  “I would say you’re right,” grins Eli.  You can just feel the pleasure he’s taking, anticipating the take down.  (I’m sure I’m not the only one who heard this, however, and thought, that seems deeply inconsistent.  I know I’m not the only one who bet there was a medical reason for it; it doesn’t fit her modest persona at all.)   Eli and Jim are too busy congratulating themselves on the score to doubt the information.  “She cares about the poor, and yet – how much did she spend?”  Nineteen thousand dollars.  Youch.  Would she really have 19K to spend on that kind of vanity? Also, youch!  I had no idea boob jobs were that expensive!  “It’s Clinton’s hair cut. No, it’s better than Clinton’s hair cut.” Gosh, Eli, I love it when you’re enthused.  He pauses, and his face sinks.  “And yet…”  What, Jim Moody wonders.  “My candidate.  He won’t go there.”  Moody snorts derisively. “Since when did you care where the candidate wanted to go?”

Good point.  And just like that, Eli whips out his cell phone.

A middle aged man with glasses and a thin beard answers the phone, standing outside Glenn Childs’ campaign headquarters.  “What do you want, Eli?” he asks, acting bored but tolerant. “Go to hell!” shouts Eli, and wow, he really shouts it, it’s a little shocking.  I love how Eli lies with his whole body; it’s one of his best characteristics.  “What have I done now?” the man wants to know.  “That was ours.  Go find your own.”  Eli practically bites the phone in his fury, and Moody looks like he found something unpleasant inside the copy machine and is trying to decide if it’s dangerous or just gross.  Has Eli lost his marbles?  “Eli, you’re blathering,” warns Childs’ staffer. “I’m just warning you – stay the hell away!”  The thin man hangs up, and then considers his phone.  Moody, who’s clearly committing Eli to a mental institution in his imagination, wonders what the point of that display was. Eli beckons with a shake of his head, and cracks open the copy room door.  Out in the main office, a young guy in a gray v neck sweater takes a call on his cell; he’s trying to be discrete in that way that makes it all look totally sketchy.  “He’s a Childs’ plant!” Jim realizes, smiling appreciatively.  “I’ve known for a week, just waiting for a chance to use him.”  Jim and Eli look out at the office, smiling together in devious pleasure.  Eli sticks up the paper with Wendy Scott-Carr’s confidential medical information on it.  Let’s have the spy make a copy, shall we?  “That’s what I like about you, Eli” Jim chuckles, and heads off to plant the seed.

Back in Judge Parks’ courtroom, Caitlin takes the stand.  Today it’s a pink cardigan over a brown top.  She’s wearing the cross. Diane’s wearing the same shiny pearl suit as she did for Dr. Spectacles’ testimony.  “My Mom was great,” Caitlin says in her little girl voice. Honestly, when we’re watching the jury, if I didn’t know, I’d say it was a ten year old talking. She could make good money doing voice work for cartoons, Rachel Brosnahan could.  “And there was this change that came over her when she started taking it.” The Alvital, Diane prompts?  Yes.  “I was going away to college, and – you know, empty nest syndrome.”  The change was apparent the very first day, which seems even more alarming.  Antidepressants are supposed to take time to work, aren’t they?  “She became more depressed – she couldn’t sleep.  She had nightmares that made her scream.  It was horrible.”  You know, my first response is to wonder why she didn’t stop taking the drug, but I can almost hear her doctor in my head, saying that she needed to give it time to work properly.

Canning approaches the witness stand, and sweet, nervous Caitlin says hello before he can ask her anything.  He doesn’t bother with the pleasantries, or even with answering her. “Your step Dad had just started a new job, is that right?”  It is.  He designed furniture – and, hmm, he worked in a department with all women.  “Yeah – why?”  “Oh, no reason,” Canning lies, “I just want to be clear on the facts, that’s all.” We can see where this is going, especially after all his leaping around the topic of jealousy, and to me that “no reason” might be his one slight slip up.  Or it would have been if I were on the jury.  Then again, you can’t rewind reality, so who knows whether I would have noticed?  11 women in the department, he presses, and your step Dad, who was working a lot of late nights “around the time.”  He doesn’t specify what time. All in all the writers are very timid about mentioning the murder-suicide: it’s peculiar that both sets of lawyers would shy away from this.

He switches subjects quite suddenly.  Canning asks Caitlin to read item number seven off a sheet, an itemization of things found at Caitlin’s mom’s house, presumably the night of the event that no one is naming.  Ah.  In a bloody gym bag, there was a pair of black women’s panties, size small.  Caitlin looks heartbroken, and she snuffles back tears, not very successfully.  What was your mother’s dress size?  Around a twelve.  Wouldn’t that be a large, Canning wonders? “Not the size of these panties?” There’s something uncomfortable about the sight of Michael J. Fox using the word panties, somehow.   Caitlin looks almost wrecked – her bottom lip puckers up in this very Kristen Stewart way, the resemblance heightened because her hair looks more brown than red in this light.  She’s pale and trembling and valiantly trying to hold herself together.  “Sorry,” he shrugs insincerely.  “You don’t have to answer.” He ambles back to his table, and we see Will at the back of the room.  “I do have to ask you this question, however – is it true that your Mom and Dad argued about a woman at work?”  “No,” Caitlin says clearly, almost fiercely, her eyebrows descending.  “A woman he was in love with?” Canning suggests, his “blame the victim” strategy in full swing.  Diane leaps to object. “No foundation!” “Sustained.”  Canning isn’t done yet, however. “A woman who was younger and prettier than your mother?”  “No!” Caitlin protests, as Diane objects again, and a young woman sitting in the courtroom dramatically runs from her seat at his words, leaving the impression that she’s that younger, prettier woman.

Except, of course, she isn’t.

But before we can get to that, we’re detouring in Cary’s office at the State’s Attorney’s.  “Your office is small,” Kalinda observes.  “Small but pure,” Cary tells her.  Ah, how I miss them.  Thanks for this, writers! Alas, no, he won’t get a bigger one after three years.  And no, he can’t shut the door even if his coworkers are giving you funny looks, Kalinda. “No, it’s bad enough.  They think I’m going to flip back the defense.”  He grabs his coffee mug. “So, what’s up?  What do you need?”  She looks a little offended.  “Why do you think I need anything?”  “Because you’re Kalinda,” he responds, and, yeah.  It’s her job to get stuff that people need.  This time, though, she’s looking for info she wants for herself, and it fascinates me that she trusts Cary enough to ask him for it.  Either that or she’s desperate enough: I’m not sure which.  “My usual sources have dried up here, and I thought you could help.”  Of course, she’s talking about Evil Boyscout Blake from Baltimore – Blake Kalamar, in fact.  Calimar? Huh.  What kind of name is Kalamar?

Alright, says Cary, “and what do I get in return?”  Kalinda smiles a tiny, sexy smile.  “What do you want?”  Cary tosses the pad he’s written Blake’s name on (I would have made her spell it, but I guess that’s not very sexy), and shoots back his own sexy little grin.  His eyes crinkle, and he snickers.

“Who was she,” Derrick asks, as upset as we’ve ever seen him.  He means the woman who ran out of the courtroom, who – of course – was an intern working for Canning. I know tv law is very theatrical, but can’t they bring this information to the judge and ask that the jury be instructed to ignore it?  I’m asking. Seriously.  “Damn.  If we could undercut Canning by subpoenaing her,” Derrick wonders, right a long with me.  So I guess it’s possible.  “Naw, that’s playing on his battlefield,” Will says, considering his coffee.  Really?  Why?  That seems a bit more out in the open than Canning’s style.  I guess Will doesn’t want to spend time on the defensive, responding to Canning’s ideas.  He stares off into the middle distance, seeing strategies instead of the conference room. “We need to pull them onto our side.”  “Our side is the medicine,” Diane says in this tone of voice that sounds like she’s tossing her hands in the air and giving up, even though she’s not.  “The problem is, the medicine is boring.”  “But it’s still the truth!” Diane huffs.  “Then the truth is boring,” Will gestures big with the paper cup of coffee.  “He’s got soap opera, and we’ve got genetic science.”  Derrick’s still furious.  “That’s always been our case.”  More quietly this time, Will disagrees.  “No, that’s always been our facts.”  I love it when they talk process, and construction of arguments, and I am not being the tiniest bit facetious.  And that is a marvelous point.  “Our case is what we do with those facts, and right now, our case is failing Caitlin.”

Well said, Will, well said.

“We need to make medicine sexy,” Alicia realizes, and yuck, that whole “make it sexy” phrase is so trite. Yep, says Will, and, whatever.  “A lie always beats the truth.  It can adapt, it doesn’t need to be consistent.”  I don’t believe that at all!  Not the consistency part, anyway. “We need to give the truth the drama of a lie.”  Oooh, well said again, Will.   Alicia’s right eyebrow quirks up.  That is impressive musculature control, girl!  “Increased libido,”  she says, as if she were really saying “eureka!”  Derrick looks puzzled, and Will just laughs. Alvital, it seems, can increase libido in women.  Great, says Will, and that news is just in time for us to meet our last expert witness.

“I’m sorry,” asks a disbelieving bespectacled Brit. He looks a bit like Giles from Buffy, don’t you think?  Ah, maybe it’s just the British accent and the round glasses and the stiff posture.  “You want me to say what?” Will reads from Dr. British’s study notes, highlighting the fact that one participant found an increased desire for sex in public places.  Dr. Brit stutters over the ludicrous notion that this information is in his study.  Why, though?  Call it an aberration, but how else would they know if it weren’t there?  “She was merely mentioning that as an aside – our trial interviewer quickly brought her back to point.”  “Yes, that was unfortunate,” agrees Will.  Hee!  “We also want you to mention the increased desire for oral and anal intercourse mentioned by subject thirty five.” Oh, the poor man is going to have a heart attack, Will. All this talk of sex is so unseemly!  (Actually, I can’t help fearing the searches this post will get, what with this and Mr. Bay and all.) He’s not just British, he’s a scientist! It’s all rather cute.  “Miss Lockhart, this is all… very…”  “It’s what we need, Doctor,” Diane tells him calmly.  “It’s what Caitlin needs to win.”

“I am not a clown.  I am not a performing circus animal.  I am a man of science,” Dr. British tells them, and stands to go, dignified, buttoning his tweed jacket closely around his middle.  “Suit yourself, Dr. Laughton, but you’ve only fulfilled half your contract, and we’ll be stopping payment as soon as you board that elevator.”  Laughton stops short, and chews on the question, turning to stare back at Will and Diane. Slowly, Will walks toward him.  “Thank you, Doctor.  Did you happen to videotape any of your animal trials?  Your most violent ones?”

Grace sits cross legged on a couch, looking down at the floor rather than across at her mother, just like you do when you’re with someone you know has the right to be mad at you.  “I just wanted to hear her speak,” she says, “that’s all.” “And I want you to hear her,” Alicia responds, rational as usual. Gosh, I’m so in awe of her parents skills when she’s actually applying them.  “But you did more than that.  You spoke to someone.”  Grace looks alarmed. “How do you know?”  How did she know about any of this, Grace?  “Someone videotaped you.”  Oh, Grace, you’d think you’d be more aware of this kind of thing after what’s happened to you in the last few months.  The guy at the garden club, your uncle…   “Who?” Grace wants to know, but Alicia doesn’t want to admit to something she can’t stomach (that Eli is using trackers) so she changes the topic instead. “Are you mad at Dad?”  “No!” Grace says, immediately defensive.  (Really, though?  She’s not angry with him, not even a little bit? Are kids really that much more resilient than adults?  No, not really.) “Somebody asked me a question and I answered them,” Grace responds as if it’s no big deal, as if it’s the right or obvious thing.  Alicia just gives her a knowing look.  Because Grace, you do know better.

“It’s a free country!”  Oh, honey, that one’s so not going to fly.  That was a bit desperate, don’t you think?  “Yes, Grace, thank you,” Alicia says, with more than a touch of asperity.  “You know this will hurt Dad.”  Grace looks pained.  “Mom, she’s really good.  She really is.” Alicia, this would be the moment to explain that Wendy leaked privileged information and almost got you disbarred, to make Childs and Peter look bad.  I’m waiting, Alicia!  “Yes, and if you were her daughter, you could talk about that.”  Grace keeps working up her outrage. “So I just can’t say what I think?”  “You can say what you think,” Alicia tells her, “here at home.”  Good luck telling a teenager when they can talk and to whom, Alicia. “But not to other people.”  “When you’re 18,” Alicia insists, and Grace snorts. “I know you think I’m being unfair.  But when you’re older and you do something I disagree with, I won’t tell it to other people.  I’ll tell it to you first.” Okay, now that was a fantastic point.  If she’s got issues with her Dad as a candidate, she’s got to work them out with him, in private.  “Mom, it’s politics.  It’s different.”  Does she really think she knows more about politics than her mother?  (Well, then again, she is a teenager.) “No, this is family, it’s not different.”

“So if I disagree with something Dad did, I should just tell him?”  Her voice is starting to sound quavery.  “What do you disagree with?” Alicia asks, really questioning.  Dead God, where to start?  Seriously, it could be anything from the last year or her entire life.  But no, in this case it’s definitely something that’s happened after she went to the rally (so it still doesn’t answer the question of why she’s abandoning her Dad as a candidate – perhaps his lack of support for Palestine?): it’s a nasty youtube (sorry, VidTrope) video about Wendy Scott-Carr’s boob job.  There’s a cartoon man with a banjo, and it’s loosely set to the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.  Ick.   Alicia averts her eyes.  “Wendy cares for all the poor, and Wendy now is plastic.”  Ug.  “Where did you find this?” Alicia asks quietly.  “Online,” Grace answers, and I guess.  If she’d gone to the rally and then googled Scott-Carr the next day, or even set her on google-alert because she was interested, then maybe.  Then you don’t know, claims Alicia, it could be the other campaign.  “Is it?” Grace wonders, disbelieving.

And yeah, Grace, you should totally ask your Dad that.  You can see that Alicia wants to know, too.  Of course, Alicia should follow her own advice and ask Peter about the trackers, and I’m willing to bet that won’t happen.  Anyway, really great work, ladies.  It was a beautifully acted scene,  even if it really didn’t get to the root of Grace’s feelings about the campaign the way I wanted it to.

We begin again with Dr. Laughton the haughty Brit on the stand, spitting out scientific gobblety gook. And what did you learn from this trial, Diane asks pointedly?  “Well in some subjects, it made them desire anal sex,” Laughton says with as straight a face as he can.  Canning nearly does spit take.  Laughton has his full attention now.  Oh, goodness, anal sex, really, swoons Diane, fanning herself.  (Okay, not really, but she plays it up in a funny way.) “Was that surprising?”  Will – watching yet again – buries in laughter in his hand.  Laughton then brings up subject 18 and her public places fetish.  Canning objects to the exhibitionist sex, on grounds of relevance.  Have we seen him object before now?  The point, Diane explains to the judge and jury, is that while Mr. Canning contends that an affair was responsible for Mrs. Fenton’s tragic actions, we belief that Alvital would have insured the Fentons had a good sex life, thus making the affair theory less plausible.  Canning will admit to the increased libido side effect, but Diane prefers to argue her own case. Overruled.  Excellent.

Next up we see that animal video Will mentioned.  White rats (injected with small doses of Alvital) squeal and swarm over black rats in a frenzy. I can’t actually tell that the white rats are doing more attacking than the black ones, but with the ramped up sound effects, it all looks very violent and disturbing.  We see the jury respond with alarm.  Will grins as widely as ever we’ve seen.  Louis Canning laboriously scribbles a note, and passes it to Alicia.    “Game on,” it reads.  She smiles, and he waves his pen in something of a salute.  We flash quickly back to the rats, and an enormous amount of what’s meant to be blood splashes across the glass rat enclosure.  The splash is actually rat sized, so it’s a little silly if you think too much about it, but it’s very affective as a momentary shock.  The jury jumps.  We hear a tiny, final squeal as the picture fades.

A loud, aggressive beat greets us in the next scene; techno music blares in a club.  Men and women sway rhythmically beneath disco balls – I won’t say it’s exactly dancing – and in the foreground, Kalinda and Donna share drinks.  Kalinda looks like Kalinda, but Donna’s got a totally different vibe from her buttoned down State’s Attorney’s Office look.  “You sure you couldn’t find any place darker?” Donna snarks. What’s up with the passive aggression, Donna?  Enough already!  Wow, Kalinda must really want to shut you up; placating people doesn’t seem like her style at all.  Miss Sharma suggests that they leave.  “No.  I just want to make sure you feel anonymous enough.” There it is again!  Okay, I get that she’s mad and she wants Kalinda to know it, but it’s not making me like her one bit.  I bet she even had reason to be mad, but I still can’t get behind the behavior.  Why go out at all –  just to torture Kalinda.  I mean, I get it – the point is to torture Kalinda – but is it really going to make you feel better, Donna?  They drink.  “You broke my heart,” Donna says just as soon as her drink hits the table top.  Oh God.  She says it with this patient, self-satisfied little smile, which I’d like wipe off her face. “Not intentionally,” Kalinda says, trying to improve the situation.  Why on earth are you here, girl?  “Well that’s a relief!” Donna laughs.  (Okay, I’ll give you that one.)

“Donna, I’m not domestic,” Kalinda sighs.  “You think that’s what I wanted?”  Donna says, somewhat amazed.  “Yeah I do,” Kalinda says, right in her face, and again, I just don’t see the person that might have attracted Kalinda to begin with.  Donna’s so needy.  She throw an arm around Kalinda’s neck, and accuses her of being there only to keep Donna in line – to make sure she doesn’t talk to Blake.  Well, duh.  It is a little obvious, Kalinda, and also, ill-considered.  Donna doesn’t seem like the type to handle people flitting in and out of her life.  “Can’t I be multitasking,” Kalinda flirts, leaning in.  Sigh.  Oh, honey, that’s a bad idea.  (Oh, no.  Now all I can think of is those “Bad Idea Jeans” commercials.)  For a blinding moment all I can see is the painful, desperate face of Lloyd’s friend Corey from Say Anything – you know, Taylor’s breakthrough role as the girl who tried to kill herself over her first love, Joe, and has written hundreds of songs about how much she hates him, but declares her love the moment she’s alone with him again?

Donna can’t take it; she ducks out of Kalinda’s gaze.  “So don’t think about it,” says Kalinda, proving why she shouldn’t be giving romantic advice to anyone (least of all herself).  “It’s just now, and we’re just here…” Kalinda tries to entice Donna with visions of temporary pleasure, but Donna knows Kalinda won’t love her tomorrow like today.  “And that’s tomorrow,” Kalinda makes one last shot.  “I don’t work that way,” Donna insists, and leaves.  Well, I think it might have helped you to think about that earlier, then.  But no.  Like Diane and the Marlboro Man, she can’t help herself.  She comes back, plants a quick kiss on Kalinda, stops, and starts again, far more intensely.  Kalinda almost falls over when Donna pulls away and leaves.  Her face is illuminated in yellow, glowing like the edge of a knife.  She can’t decide whether or not to smile.    She downs the rest of her drink, and – nope, no smiling. Donna hasn’t come back, the kiss was yet another way of punishing Kalinda, and who know what Miss Seabrook’s next method will be?

The lawyers squabble in Judge Parks office.  He polished his glasses, amused.  Mr. Canning wants to make a late addition to his witness list, and Diane and Alicia of course do not want to let him.  “I myself was a late addition to this case,” Canning defends his strategy, “and given my condition…”  “Oh come on,” Alicia sneers.  “Oh, that’s right.  Mrs Florrick gets offended when I bring that up.”  Alicia rolls her eyes at his histrionics. I get it, but she’s probably not helping her case, don’t you think?  They object on principle, but there’s a special intensity when they find out who he wants to call; Mrs.Fenton’s therapist.  “As such, as conversations they had are subject to patient/therapist confidentiality!”  Diane’s pretty furious, actually.  Canning points out that the therapist moved to Wisconsin in 2009, yet continued to speak with Mrs. Fenton, and under Wisconsin law, privilege doesn’t extend after death.  I think you could make an argument that Mrs. Fenton could never have known that and so would have assumed her conversations would remain utterly private (I mean, why ever would you think they wouldn’t?) but the judge votes in favor of the therapist and Mr. Canning.  Any conversation since 2009 is admissible, he decides.  Canning smiles in false modesty.

“So you were seeing Mrs Fenton right up to the week before she … shot herself and her husband,” Canning asks of the young bearded fellow on the stand, mumbling out the last words.  You know, I don’t know anyone who’s kept seeing their therapist after they moved, and that’s happened to several of my friends who really liked their therapists. Just saying.   “Yes, I’m very sorry to say – she was a very lovely woman,” nods the therapist.  “I’m so very sorry, Caitlin.”  Caitlin stares up at him, mesmerized in horror.  She’s wearing a dress for once, without a cardigan. What did you discuss that last time, Dr. Booth, wonders Canning?  “Many many things,” Dr. Booth replies, but chief among them was her jealousy.  “She was very very jealous in the last month of her too short life.” Ah, there’s that word.  Canning’s been priming you for that word for quite some times, ladies and gentlemen of the jury.  She thought her husband was sleeping with somebody, Booth tells us.  Who might that be, Canning wonders. And, youch.  Hold your horses, boys and girls.  She thought he was sleeping with her daughter, that’s who.  Caitlin looks down at her lap, breathing hard.  Diane and Alicia freeze. Will shakes his head.  “Of course, this was just her suspicion.  It doesn’t mean there was any reason to suspect,” Booth cautions, but the damage is done.  Things get worse when Canning gets Booth to explain that Mrs Fenton found her daughter’s panties in her husband’s possession.

Seriously, yuck.

Caitlin cries out a tearful apology to her lawyers in a conference room.  “So it’s true – what the therapist said?” Alicia asks, because she’s the best person to play the heavy without being a heavy.  “No!  My step-Dad was – I am so sorry.”  She can’t even meet their eyes, and I’m reminded, again, that she’s only 18.  Diane looks upset for her.  Once, her step-father stole her underwear.  It wasn’t a big deal (not a big deal!) but she told him to stop.  Oh, gross. I can see someone wanting to go the rest of their lives pretending that didn’t happen.  “So there were no sexual relations,” Derrick asks point blank, and Caitlin responds strongly that there were none.  Her mom, however, had confronted her, and that their conversation resulted in Caitlin arranging to leave home.  Wow.   Can you imagine the burden all of this would put on that girl, especially in light of what came next?  Of course she signed up for the class action suit.  If it’s the pills, then it isn’t Caitlin, isn’t something Caitlin somehow did to make her step-Dad abuse his position within the family.  It’s not her fault.  I can’t imagine how badly she needs to know it wasn’t her fault. “I didn’t want to be the test case, I really didn’t want to be.”  Alicia insists that it’ll all be well.

Will sees Blake walk by, and a single note rings, unnerving.  He follows Blake into the elevator and sets him onto Dr. Randall Booth.  “Anything specific?”  “Everything specific,” Will returns.  “We need to knee cap him.  Whatever you can find.” You know, sometimes there isn’t something to find, Will.  Not that it isn’t worth looking, but can you bet the bank on something being there? “Whatever we can use in court.”  The Evil Boyscout’s on it.  “Kalinda’s been snooping around about me,” Blake adds, ominously.  “Don’t worry about it,” Will tells him.  Blake is worried anyway. “If you say so,” he smirks.

‘Wendy is fantastic,” sings the banjo cartoon; Eli and staffers 1 and 2 smirk at his tv.  “Well, it is pretty catchy.”  The screen cuts to Wendy being interviewed on CBS’s The Early Show. “It’s difficult,” Wendy says, chin up, “but I think that’s just modern politics.”  Eli smirks more.  The interviewer asks everyone’s question – why?  That’s not the image we have of you.  “About a year ago, I was diagnosed with Stage Two breast cancer.” Eli’s eyes go wide and his spine stiffens straight up.  He leans forward to catch her words. “Not even my best friends knew about it. And I had to undergo a double mastectomy.”  Eli drops his head in his hands.  I’d like to think some of that was for the cruelty of what he did, and human compassion for what she must have suffered, but I’m sure he’s just realizing he’s made her twice as strong by exposing this vulnerability.  As she continues to speak about her battle, Child’s campaign operative (manager? manager) stomps in frustration, and calls off anyone leaking to the video.  Too late, dude, too late.  Waaaay too late.  “I just wish we would return to the issues,” Wendy tells us all, her head held high, bruised but not battered.  And, wow. How is anyone going to beat her?  Grace grins hugely at her laptop.

I don’t watch The Early Show (when I do watch morning tv, it’s the Today Show) so perhaps someone else can tell me; do they tend to have political candidates from state races on to respond to internet cartoon ads?  They certainly have regular people on the Today Show, especially after some sort of extraordinary event or buzzed over moment (like the mom who wrote this blog post), so perhaps it’s possible?  I mean, maybe if the video had gone viral, but it wasn’t remotely that funny.  Just mean.  Unless there’s a local Chicago version of The Early Show?  Now that would make more sense.  Is there even such a thing anymore as local morning shows anymore?  I think FOX has one in my city, but that’s it.  Otherwise it’s just silly brand synergy that has them using CBS shows in such an unlikely way.

Okay, enough speculation. Now to the show.  Back at the State’s Attorney’s Office, Cary flips through a file.  “So, what have you got,” Kalinda asks casually, moving to shut the door.  Cary has to wave her down.  He banters a bit about keeping the streets clean despite Lockhart Gardner; he’s not without his bitterness. “Yep – I can feel the moral clarity pulling me in,” Kalinda snarks.  Aw, that’s so nice.  She’s been begging so much this episode, and I don’t enjoy seeing her on the defensive.  Cary has found Blake an interesting read (and he’s enjoying toying with Kalinda about it, too).  In Baltimore, Cary says, Blake was working too jobs.  Does Kalinda feel sympathy, what with her whole Childs/Florrick history? As tangled as that seemed, Blake’s side job was even more murky; he worked for MS13, Baltimore’s biggest meth gang.  Ugh.  That’s charming.  Is that where he picked up so many bad habits? I’m still appalled by his information gathering techniques from the last episode.

How does Cary know about the gang?  Blake was actually arrested back in Baltimore, but Bond got him off.  Wow.  I’m still puzzled as to how Will fits in to all this.  Is there any possible way that this could be misconstrued, I wonder?  Long running characters on this show tend not to be so clearly villainous; there’s always more gray than black or white.  We already know that he’s a thug, but this is a whole other level of nasty.  Kalinda wants a peek at the file, but Cary won’t share.  ‘Got a lovely little viper’s nest going on over there,” he cautions her as she leaves.  “Hey, if I were you I’d be careful.” She nods, and thanks him, and heads back out into the fray.

“All I can say is my involvement with this Wendy cartoon has become a distraction from the real issues of this campaign,” Childs’ campaign manager intones piously into a slew of microphones.  Eli and Jim watch from Eli’s actual office.  “A toast to a fallen comrade,” Jim says, raising a beer bottle at the screen. Gee, I hope it’s not still morning!   They both raise bottles and drink.  “Could have been us,” Eli shakes his head. Well, guess you’re lucky that Peter’s conscience forces you to be extra underhanded, huh Eli?  “Not a bad days’ work,” Jim says.  Eli pretends to surprise, but admits that yes, he pointed the press toward the “real” culprit.

I’m curious.  How did Moody find out how much Scott-Carr paid?  Did he ask what that sort of surgery costs, or was it her costs in particular?  It sort of sounded like he got her financial statement. I don’t know about you, but the way he explained it made it sound like she was paying out of pocket, and $19,000 is an awful lot of money to just hand over in cash.  On the other hand, reconstructive surgery would be covered by health insurance, while a boob job for aesthetic reasons wouldn’t, and wouldn’t her health insurance information be on the bill?  So that all seems weirder.   Part of me feels like Eli should have known Wendy wasn’t the type, but the payment issue could have confused matters, so I’m willing to give him a pass.  He gets his best grade of the fall for devious cunning this week, despite getting caught out like that, for making his opponent do the dirty work for him.  Dude covered his tracks, and I appreciate it.

Grace watches the campaign manager, finally identified as Patrick Sturgess, resign his job.  She’s really pleased.  She folds up her laptop and goes looking for Peter.  She doesn’t find him, but she does find three different blue shirts of varying hues on his bed. She hangs up the shirts, and straightens the bed, pleased to do this small service for her Dad.

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely thought there was going to be a larger point to this scene – that Grace was going to find something in Peter’s room, perhaps.  Lipstick on his collar?  Evil campaign materials?  Is it supposed to show us that she’s not mad at him anymore, because the cartoon was pinned on Childs’ campaign?  I guess.  I generally find the explanation behind Grace’s behavior a bit lacking; this could have been a more compelling storyline if given more time, or if Chris Noth had been involved in the episode, but I feel like more than anything – more than Grace being mad at Peter – we got to see Grace looking up at Wendy as an example of purity in politics, and being invigorated by that.  So the little touches about it coming from a place of anger (particularly anger that had nothing to do with the cheating and corruption charges, which you know have to still bother her) seemed ever so slightly off. If for no other reason than the anger at the cartoon couldn’t have happened before she went to the rally.

You know what that plotline could have used?  A little bit of Jackie.  Can you imagine Jackie’s reaction to a glowing Grace in the enemy camp?  Not that I wish that on Grace, but it would have been hysterical.

Back at court, there’s a new witness, a young woman with her hair cut like a Vulcan and a thin black scarf around her neck. She’s a former patient of Dr. Booth’s.  For some reason, Mr. Canning objects to that, but Judge Parks isn’t interested.  But we’re all interested to hear that this woman is the reason why Booth moved to Wisconsin.  “I was his patient and he slept with me.”  (I’m not saying it was right in any way, but doesn’t the construction seem odd?   Not that they slept together, but he was the one having the sex, as if it were done to her and not by her.  But that’s one of many reasons why therapists aren’t supposed to go there – because their patients may have a diminished capacity to resist sexual overtures.  Uck.  Dr. Booth, you seemed like a nice guy; sorry to hear that you’re not.)  Canning grimaces.  Booth, it seems, moved rather than stay and face charges.  And that was enough to make her not press the charges?  Odd.  Kalinda arrives, and asks Will (watching again) how he got a hold of this witness.  You can imagine how much she likes the answer.  “And do you have an opinion about Dr. Booth’s veracity,” Alicia asks.  Canning wins an objection, but he doesn’t want to question the witness.  He’d prefer to recall Dr. Booth to the stand, to rebut this testimony, but Booth has been hospitalized after a break in at his office.  We get a quick shot of Kalinda’s face, and after what he did to Lara’s apartment, well, it’s surely not surprise that Blake might break in and end up in a fight. It makes me furious, though, no matter how nice Caitlin is or how unprofessional Booth might be.   We can’t be party to this kind of thing, people!  It is so not cool!  Judge Parks won’t delay the trial until Booth can rejoin them.  Canning, done with it all despite how nicely he’s picked apart their case, wants to talk to L/G & B about a settlement; Parks gives them five minutes.    Diane starts a smile.

“So he said, what do we need to end this right now?”  Diane proclaims, champagne flute in her hand.  The Lockhart/Gardner and Bond crew has spread out over some sort of loud, swank,  club with elegant chairs and red lamps, traditional without being fussy.  “I love when they say we,” a recumbent Will adds.  ‘This was during the five minutes recess,” Derrick wonders. Oh yes, says Diane.  “The clock was ticking.” She’s enjoying her moment in the spotlight immensely. “So I said very simply – as if it were the most natural thing in the world – you want to settle the whole class action?  Forty million. I thought he was going to come back at ten. He comes back at 30!” She folds almost in half, she’s so filled with the hilarity of it all.  The lamplight glitters off the wine glasses and the curved, gilded furniture edges.  ‘Little did he know we’d take twenty!” someone – Will? Derrick – laughs.  “So we settled at thirty five!”  Everyone laughs, and Diane and Will clink glasses.  ‘Thirty five million dollars,” Will repeats.  “Of which we get to keep seven,” Derrick gloats.  “We buy another floor of offices,” Diane plans. “Two floors,” says Will, “with a gym,” which is really rather too much, but it’s fine to talk big now. They’re happy.  They’ve done what they hoped for, their best case scenario as Diane expressed it at the beginning of the hour, and it certainly wasn’t easy even with the truth and the science on their side.    Will can be frugal tomorrow.

A tipsy Alicia tries to pep Kalinda up. “You act like this is end-of-the-year boring.  This is big.  So smile!”  Kalinda’s not casting off her worries as she normally might, not today.  “No, Kalinda, a genuine smile,” Alicia insists.    “Look, there’s Blake,” Kalinda notices.  Aha, says Alicia, you’re jealous that he’s the one who cracked the case this time. (Ouch – straight shooting, right to the heart!  Kalinda’s getting it from all sides this week.)  Yep, that’s it, Kalinda says flatly.  Come on, Kalinda, that’s certainly part of it, even if it’s not the larger part.  (I do wonder that no one at the firm has made the slightest noise about the doctor being hospitalized.  Are they so used to Kalinda’s normal methods – flirtation, technological wizardry, close observation, intelligence, schmoozing – that they just don’t imagine Blake could go there?) “Oh, look,” Alicia squealss delightedly, her face lighting up like a mean girl spying an friend wearing a knock off designer jacket.  “Blake’s got a date!  I’ve got to see what kind of woman dates Blake, come on!”

Giddily, Alicia grabs Kalinda by the hand to pull her out of the wing chair, and drags over to meet Blake’s “date”.  And of course, the date is Donna Seabrook. Do you think this would have happened if Kalinda hadn’t gone back to warn Donna off Blake?  I’m a little afraid she brought this on herself.  Donna explains that Blake just dropped by to invite her on her way home from work, and that she and Kalinda know each other from the State’s Attorney’s office.  Poor Alicia. You don’t know what you did, not dropping Kalinda’s hand fast enough.  And it’s funny – not only because Donna clearly has the wrong impression, but because Alicia is never physically demonstrative.  Her colleagues may joke that hand holding is her job, but it’s hardly ever literal. Donna begins to compliment Alicia in a really alarming way.  “You’re really pretty. If I wore heels like that, I would tip over.”  Does she not read the news or watch tv?  Because she doesn’t seem to recognize Alicia, when everyone in this city recognizes Alicia.  I kind of wish Alica got a chuckle out of it, but she seems oblivious to Donna’s jealousy.  Poor Donna – she’s not Corey Flood anymore – she’s veering into her sad sack/crazy role as John Cusack’s ex in High Fidelity. “Your jacket. I like it!”

Kalinda pulls her aside, but it’s far too late. “Fine. Let’s have a moment.”  Kalinda’s lack of interest pulls Donna apart like the pervert Bay never could.  The contrast from the beginning of the episode is frankly shocking.  Blake laughs at the mess he’s made, then congratulates Alicia on a job well done.”Yeah, I was pretty bitchin'”Alicia nods, waving her glass. Clearly that was not her first bit of the bubbly.  They both snicker.

“Wow, she’s totally not your type,” Little Miss Complimentary tells Kalinda in fake surprise.  Uck.  I suppose they had to know what they were getting when they hired Lili Taylor, but I don’t like this use of her at all.  Kalinda explains in vain that Donna is totally off base.   Wouldn’t it be easy to tell Donna who Alicia is? Not that you can’t be married and be a semi-closeted lesbian, of course. That would kind of explain the philandering husband (not to mention the whole staying with the philandering husband thing), and it’s not like Donna’s in a rational place where she can listen to Kalinda.  Oh well.  “You’re trying to get back at me,” Kalinda says gently. “What Blake?  Oh, you did say something about a Blake, didn’t you – I forgot about that.”  Oh, so you expect her to believe you just went out with a total stranger not knowing the connection?  A stranger who’s a man? The passive aggressive thing makes me want to yak.  I’d like to think you’re too old for that sort of behavior, Donna, but not everyone grows out of it, I guess.

Kalinda wants to take Donna home, but Donna – who seriously has to be deep in her cups at this point, despite having just arrived – is having none of it. “You’re not connected to me any more,” Donna snipes, “and I’m not connected to you.” She leaves, to drink beer and make small talk – or worse – with Blake. Blake and Kalinda share a glare, and then Kalinda’s left to stand alone. She looks worried, and small.  Not to sound like Blake, but I’m not sure why Kalinda cares so much whether Blake knows who she’s dated. If there’s a juicy secret (like, oh, Kalinda’s real name, family background, or the reason she’s created a fake identity for herself)  that Donna knows, we have yet to get a hint of it.   And I just don’t like how petty Donna is.

Speaking of small, Louis Canning cuts through the crowd.  It’s funny, because I don’t think of Michael J. Fox as being as short (or Julianna Margulies as tall) as they’ve looked in this episode.  Maybe it’s those heels.  “Mr. Canning,”  Alicia bows graciously, offering to point him in Diane’s direction.  “You fought well, sir,” she smiles, a bit patronizing.  “Yes, yes I did,” he replies, his dander up.    “Better luck next time? ” she offers.  He laughs.  She laughs.  “Why are we laughing,” she wonders.  “Well, because we’re funny,” he says.  “Mrs. Florrick, you think you were my equal in that courtroom.  You were new math, and I was advanced trigonometry.”   ‘Ah, well,” she says, taking a swig of her champagne, “too bad trigonometry lost.”   “I didn’t lose,” he asserts. “Lockhart/Gardner stumbled their way into a 90 million dollar law suit.  MRG Pharmaceuticals asked me to lower you down to 50 million.  I landed you at 35.  I’m going home with a bonus of 1.3 million, and stock options.  That’s not losing.”  His word leech the joy and satisfaction right out of her face, one by one.  “But hey, maybe I’ll see you again sometime, we can mix it up in court.”  He boxes his hands at her.  “Have a nice party.”

Right, cause that’s gonna happen.  She looks at Diane, smiling and shaking Canning’s hand, with horror. The cartoon jingle plays over the credits.

And there it stands.  Poisoned Pill, while perfectly serviceable, doesn’t quite stand up to the brilliance of recent episodes.  It’s just not as tightly written; there are more loose ends than usual, more nagging questions.  The personal aspects are either underplayed (Grace) or oddly dragged out (Kalinda), and like the jury, we’re so focused on Fox’s twitches that we miss the forest for the trees.  I can’t even decide if I believe Canning, to be honest.  I guess perhaps I do?  I just don’t understand how L/G &B could have a $90 million lawsuit on their hands and not know it.  Didn’t they know what they were suing for?  How could those figures be so different?  Of course, Canning clearly knew – from eavesdropping at the coffee cart – what range Diane would consider a win.   What I’m unsure of is why MRG had such different expectations. Of course, Canning could have just said that out of spite and wounded vanity, but I was a little surprised he folded where he did.  Without Caitlin on the stand to refute the suggestion of an affair, her case (and credibility) felt compromised.

And of course, after last week’s enthralling moral dilemma, there’s less philosophical meat to sink your teeth into.  We’re flatly presented with bad big pharma, and antidepressants that kill.   Ripped from the headlines, we get it.  Canning made an interesting case about jealousy, with unpleasant details from the particular family’s life, but there isn’t a real exploration of the idea, which is an interesting one.  Can a drug plant feelings in a person who otherwise might not have them?   If Canning’s contention is true, does it follow that the drug can’t intensify normal feelings to an irrational and obsessive pitch?  But the episode didn’t leave me obsessing about the issue, the way VIP Treatment did.

What I really want to know is this: does Alicia share Canning’s depressing, maybe/probably true morsel with her colleagues, or suck it down and carry the burden herself?

Ah well.  Very good – great in parts – but I would say not wholly engrossing.  Perhaps it’s because the script is more focused on Canning’s brilliance, and Fox’s performance, than it is on Caitlin and the suffering of the plaintiffs.  Or maybe it’s because, while we see the partners filled with passion to win the case, we don’t see quite enough compassion for the victims.  And for the second week in a row, there’s less Alicia than usual, and there’s not a moment of Peter or Tammy.  Any romantic tension rests completely on Kalinda’s shoulders, and Archie and Lili Taylor don’t share the same heat (at least in my opinion) that Archie does with essentially everyone else.  Either way, the episode definitely improved on my second viewing, especially as I started to tear to the complexities of the case. It’s a sign of The Good Wife‘s standard of quality that an episode like this one can actually be a slight let down.

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50 comments on “The Good Wife: Poisoned Pill

  1. Michele says:

    As a recovering addict (two 1/2 years) of prescription pain killers, would I find this show entertaining?

    • E says:

      Well, I think the show is terrific, and the episode isn’t about addiction so it shouldn’t be emotionally loaded for you to watch. I would certainly recommend it.

  2. Angee says:

    Thank you E! I thought it was just me but I really feel this episode was off and sub-par in comparison with VIP Treatment. It a good in spots but not great episode of The Good Wife I did not like Donna at all and like you was wondering how Kalinda would be interested in her in the first place.
    Also, I know real life politics has gotten mean and petty, but how does having breast augmentation surgery negatively impact Wendy’s ability to serve as State’s Attorney? I thought the video was juvenile, tasteless and cruel. It says something tragic about the loss of civility in politics that even a fictional show would think that kind of video is fair game.
    Question, is the point of this storyline to make Wendy seem perfect and Peter and Childs’ campaigns as bumbling idiots. I wonder when will they mention that Wendy probably leaked the deposition?
    Can we please lose the Blake/Kalinda storyline and go back to Alicia/Kalinda/Cary as the three amigos?
    What is going on with Will? I understand that they are trying to make him a morally complex character, I get that, but if the writers are not careful they are going to make the choice between Peter and Will a Hobson choice (no choice at all). Did Will actually indirectly ask Blake to assault Dr. Booth or do think Blake just went there on his own?
    We really needed Peter and Jackie in this episode and have they not discuss the tracker situation with Grace? It was terrible how they had Canning sucker punch Alicia at the end, especially when it is not that often we get to see her relaxed and happy.

    • E says:

      Hey, Angee! One of my good friends (MMGF, who occasionally comments here) started watching the show this season. When another friend mentioned she watched this ep for Michael J. Fox, he quickly cautioned her that it wasn’t the best introduction to a truly great show. So it wasn’t just you and me.

      It’s true I didn’t speculate too much about what Will knows about Blake’s tactics, but I’m worried about it. I would like to think that he expects Blake’s m.o. to more like Kalinda’s, but if he knew that Booth would end up hospitalized, or is in any way okay with that, then I am definitely not okay with him. I have to hope that Blake went there on his own, and that Will just doesn’t know what a cart blanche meant. Given that, however, it has to be as obvious to him as us that Blake beat up Booth, right? So if Will doesn’t confront him…

      I think the biggest flaw in the way this show deals with Zach and Grace is inattention. People in general – and teens in particular – make a ton of mistakes organically. It’s frustrating to see kids mess up because smart, loving parents are too busy to give them the information they need to make good decisions. Not that this doesn’t happen all the time in real life, too, but I would LOVE to see a scene where Peter and Alicia sat the kids down and gave them an explicit lesson in being campaign savvy. Just a heads about what situations might be pitfalls.

      And, let’s see. I don’t think that having the breast augmentation would affect Wendy’s ability to be a good State’s Attorney, but that’s not the game. Like Eli said so well, for small sins we need a big microscope. They were attacking her brand. I totally agree, it was completely vile, though I guess I see where it came from. That’s exactly why good people stay out of politics…

      • E says:

        I should note that I don’t think Peter and Alicia talking to the kids about political pitfalls would actually stop them from making mistakes. Life doesn’t work that way. They might make different ones, or do what they were warned against. I just wish the parents’d put in the effort, you know?

  3. Lisa says:

    “I wonder what that could possibly be.”
    I’m just halfway through the recap but I laughed out loud reading this because this was my exact response to Eli telling Alicia that he would bring her something good next time. Would his telling her about the voicemail that he deleted be good news or bad??

  4. Kiki says:

    Hey E! 😀
    Great recap as always!! However this week we do not see quite eye to eye hehe. But thats ok cause we cannot always agree on everything 😀

    -I thought the episode was really good, I wont say I liked it more or less than VIP Treatment, I felt it had a different focus which I really enjoyed. The highlight for me this week, was Kalinda and Donna. I loved them together, just loved it! I do see the chemistry between these two, and I see the history. (remember this is not the first time Donna’s name comes up ;)) I think I liked Donna cause I saw her pain and disappointment in Kalinda, I think she knows Kalinda better than any of us now. (and I think she also loved Kalinda) All the things she said about Kalinda where right on the money, are all things we all known about Kalinda but it had not been said on the show before. Which is why I absolutely loved bringing her character in. You can tell Donna is jealous and hurt, and at first I do not think she is being petty, I just think she wants Kalinda to know is not ok to just walk out on her four months ago. My questions is, what the heck did Kalinda do to Donna to hurt her like that? And then that kiss at the bar, super hot lol! I loved Kalinda’s face when Donna pulls away lol.
    The end scene with Donna was a bit strange, how does she know Blake, I do not think Kalinda led him there, I do believe Blake knew about Donna before Kalinda went to talk to her. However what is D/B connection? Is she do one telling Blake things about Kalinda?Not sure, I found this who story line pretty fascinating.
    Also Donna has to know who Alicia is, I mean she works at the SA after all. I think Donna is jealous but I do not necessary think she thinks that A/K are together. Not sure exactly what Donna really feels there with Alicia.

    -On the topic of Grace, I totally completely agree with you. Her behavior was a bit odd, did not seem to fit very well. But at least they are doing something with her that is a bit more meaningful. Did you notice how much more and more every day, Grace is more like Alicia, so strong. Love it! But yea, you point about Grace are very good, totally agree.

    – As for Wendy being a saint, I just cannot stomach that, I am sorry, but nobody in Chicago is that clean! No way Jose!! And she did leak the deposition, why is nobody talking about this???????

    -Eli was great indeed this episode. Letting others take the fault, nicely done. Loved that A/E scene 😀

    -One issues you did not write much about in this whole B/W connection? what do you make of that? What do you make of Will telling Blake not to worry about Kalinda? that was pretty sketchy to me? Did you not find that strange?

    -Alicia was great as always! No A/P, I wonder if the writers are ever going to give me that conversation? lol

    But yea overall, really enjoyed it. Good episode, good character development. And more questions then answers like always especially with Kalind/ Blake and Will!

    Thanks for writing it E! You know I look forward to your reacting each week 😀 😀

    • E says:

      Hey, Kiki!

      So you know, even if we disagree about Donna, I think we’re on the same page on one aspect. I think Kalinda would make a terrible girlfriend, and anyone looking to ‘domesticate’ her would end up with their heart lacerated. I’m sure everything Donna said to Kalinda was richly deserved; it just didn’t make me like her, because all we saw was passive aggressive guilt-tripping.

      And yeah, there’s lots of discussion below about the whole Will/Blake/Kalinda thing. I’d like to think that Will simply believes he could talk to Kalinda and ask her to leave Blake alone. I’m not sure he’d be right. And I’m very upset at the idea of Will surrendering completely to the dark side. I think we’re overdue for an episode with more Peter, more of the kids, and with more of Will’s good side.

      I really like that they’re making Grace more politically active, and I’m dying for her to interact more with Peter on the subject.

      • Kiki says:

        Hey E!!!

        “I think we’re overdue for an episode with more Peter, more of the kids, and with more of Will’s good side.”

        You are so right about this! All these things are long overdue!
        And yes they took Will to the dark side especially in that elevator scene, I think his strategy during the case was not wrong thats Will after all. But that whole Blake conversation made him to dark indeed, I think maybe the writers should pull back a little bit with that. Will is a great lawyer and a good guy, but he does some shady things, but that whole Blake thing was too much.
        And yes the kids are way overdue, is about time we say some interaction between Peter and his kids, a Grace/Peter conversation would have been great. And of course I agree with you, we need more Peter in my life lol.

        And can you believe is Monday already? the new episode is tomorrow already lol! I love this show 😀

        • E says:

          It’s funny, right – because we got some really nice Peter scenes in VIP Treatment. It’s just that they were with Tammy. 😦

          We haven’t even seen Zach since Breaking Fast, and it’s been longer since he’s actually spoken. Is that the last time we saw Jackie, too?

          • Kiki says:

            Indeed we did have some nice Peter scenes but they were all with Tammy 😦 hehe I deserve some A/P love, all they do is suffer! lol

            Yup we have not seen Zach or Jackie since Breaking Fast! The writers just have so many characters ti juggle, I kind of wish they will start trimming down a bit.

            And yes you are right! Time goes by so much faster especially when we can discuss stuff here with so many smart people 😀 I love coming here! 😀

        • E says:

          And, hurrah for having smart people to discuss it with – it makes the days go by much quicker.

  5. E.C. says:

    Not that it’s important, but for those of us who stress over details, Donna’s name first came up in episode 8? 9ish? of season 1 (the one where Alicia went to retrieve the receipt for the diamond bracelet she got from Peter), so that was probably when they were together. She answered Kalinda’s phone (a gesture Kalinda didn’t appreciate, I’m guessing), and that was all Alicia ever heard of “Donna” … until now.

    As for not re-calling Caitlin to the stand, I’m guessing they probably didn’t feel like it was worth the trouble, since as it stands, the psychologist’s testimony is still secondhand and subject to some doubt. If they re-call Caitlin however, she would probably have to confirm in front of the jury that those were indeed her panties that her step-father pilfered. Which is perhaps a step up, but still icky like you said. Also, pretty sure Blake’s last name is spelled Calamar, like calamari.

    • E says:

      Wow, thank you, I had completely forgotten about that phone call!

      What I had been thinking of was this. Do you recall when Kalinda first kisses Detective Burton, and then disappears the next morning, but not because of an overnight with him? That’s what I was wondering about. Was she with Donna, and feeling guilty for being physical with someone else?

      • Lisa says:

        I think you’re referring to the Kalinda/Burton interaction in Unplugged. Will notes that she’s not there in court and then she shows up at the comatose rocker’s house late and distracted. There was a bunch of stuff that was cut out from that episode that explains Kalinda’s absence. And you’ll be glad it was cut. Apparently the writers wanted to make Kalinda a little more vulnerable. So right after she kisses Burton in his car she ends up getting bitten by a bee!!! And she’s allergic to bee stings. She has to have Burton drive her to the hospital, even passing out on the way there. That’s why he’s talking about her vulnerability issues later in the bar with a smirk. The writers realized how silly all this was, even if a bit late, and decided to chop that whole thing off. Kalinda needs to be more vulnerable but I’d have gone with something other than bees. And the Arrested Development fan in me is reminded of GOB saying “bees!!!”, “BEES!!” over and over.
        But since they didn’t go therev(it was touch and go there), I guess any theory is valid now.

        • E says:

          Oh, bah. I’m so glad they cut that (and man, do I need to get the dvd). I like my incorrect theory so much more.

          • E.C. says:

            My guess is that Kalinda had already broken up with her long before she started her flirtation with Detective Burton. The phone call came up early in the first season, and Detective Burton only showed up in the latter half. So I doubt there was any such drama. Also, one gets the feeling that Kalinda and Donna weren’t together for very long, because Kalinda is not that kind of person. And for all the reasons you mentioned, Donna does not seem like a compatible fit for Kalinda.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Thank you E as always for the recap.
    I just have to put in my 2 cents that so far it was the least entertaining/engaging tgw episode EVER for me. It also kind of made me realize that I am not that into this season so far. This is kind of a relief since I was borderline obsessive last season 🙂
    1. The whole Grace thing is totally unrealistic. i don’t live in Chicago but seriously is the State’s Attorney race really gonna be that big of a deal that high schoolers think it is “cool” I feel like even if it was a govenor race some of the campaign storylines are a bit of a stretch. Like the today show for a State’s Attorney canidate??? I am open to argument here but I just don’t see it so it is annoying.
    2. Totally not not ANY of the new characters, kinda feel like they are dragging our show down. I know most people agree about Blake but I am not into any of them. I want to see Alicia with Kalinda and Will and Diane with some sprinklings of Eli(but last season Eli), Cary and Peter
    3. dropped storylines….fbi investigation, etc.
    4. This hint of Will going completely to the dark side. I will so not be o.k. with that. Grey is o.k. I kinda even like it but please writers, don’t go that direction with Will. Stop even acting like you might.

    Sorry for being a Debbie Downer just had to get all that off my chest. Everything can be totally fixed with just a few good scenes next week 🙂

    • koz says:

      +1 about Will. After 2X6 I can only beg that Will has nothing in common with Blake’s drugdealer’s past and has not ordered to hospitalize the doctor.
      And I feel irrtateted with the writers because such beahaviour of Will is out of character. As he said in season 1, he does not help orphans, but this?!!!

      • Lisa says:

        Thanks for reminding me about that scene from Lifeguard Koz. I think it sums up his worldview perfectly. He knows how the world functions and he has to survive in it so he takes some of it in his stride. But there are lines that even he can’t think of crossing. He was so disheartened when he found out the truth about Baxter, and that quickly turned to anger. I can’t believe that Will is a man with no morals. Lifeguard wasn’t even an episode where an unnatural aura was being shone on him. He spent the better part of the episode trusting his friend and debating all the consequences for the firm. But when it is wrong, it is wrong and he didn’t turn a blind eye to it.

        • E says:

          I’ve been thinking a lot about Lifeguard, too, because it really does point to Will as a man with morals. (I think, honestly, his speech earlier this season about family and responsibility to his business talks to his morality, too, even if he sort of structures it in an atypical way.) That was key because Baxter was his friend (a friend he’d loaned an enormous sum of money to, without caring about getting it back) yet still couldn’t step over that boundary of selling children.

          I feel a bit like Lara, wanting to believe in Kent’s goodness, so she just will. I’m hoping and praying that the next episode shows Will taking Blake to task and saying that assault and battery wasn’t really what he meant by “whatever it takes.” It wouldn’t surprise me if Will just thought he was okaying a Kalinda style less than perfectly legal spying expedition. I can’t, I just can’t, imagine he really meant it was okay to hospitalize a witness. And I can’t believe the Kings mean to change L/G &B that much.

          • Lisa says:

            You can also estimate Baxter and Will’s closeness by how easily Baxter reads Will on the basketball court and Will’s faith in him. He did know Baxter well on that count, Baxter was not a racist after all.
            Despite all that, once he found out what Baxter was guilty of, there was no question of giving him a warning or talking things out with him. It was jail for him straight away. So yes, Will did have morals once upon a time.

  7. Lisa says:

    I completely agree with Jennifer here. Thanks for the wonderful recap E!! I have to praise your tolerance just to be able to recap this one. I still haven’t given it a second look. The first time was hard enough. And just like Jennifer, it made me realize that a lot is not working this season like it was last year. And most of it is just not dropped stories, it is much loved characters taking turns for the worse. Not becoming more interesting or percolating deeper but just getting annoying. It started with Cary becoming one note scheming and vengeful of Alicia. He’s on the redemption path though. Then it was Eli who lost his golden touch almost completely. He’s almost solely used as comic relief now to choke on stuff or to bluster around and drop his phone and such. Then it was Kalinda who’s suddenly hiding some deep dark secret about a false identity and goes apeshit on cars. And now it’s Will. I can’t wrap my head around Will granting permission to rough up Dr. Booth. If this is the new Will then I’m just going to have to create a fiction in my head that the old Will is dead and this is his evil twin – Drill. Because this one is a tool. Violence on a largely innocent man is not something S1 Will or even Will up until S2 Episode 5 would have been okay with.

    • E says:

      I’m inclined to think that all of this is a distraction, in a way, from the central triangle. It’s been largely compelling, but they’ve gone too long without even an inch of movement on the various Will/Alicia/Peter fronts, and that’s starting to show.

      And, of course, they chose to replace that drama with Bond (who is still a complete enigma, about whom we know virtually nothing) and Blake (who is utterly vile and without any redeeming qualities) and Tammy (who, okay, could be cool) and Donna (who is a loose cannon and in my estimation completely unlikable). Dramatic, yes. But show me someone’s good side soon, please, won’t you, writers?

  8. Lisa says:

    And I’m also with Jennifer on the new characters needing to leave the show if they can’t add anything and only take away from whatever we used to enjoy. I was enjoying the show despite Blake but he’s oozing toxicity and it’s making everything else around him noxious as well.

    • E says:

      You’re so right. I kind of enjoyed Kalinda getting bad ass on his car, because he’s just so awful, but the more I think about the Will thing – and the longer he stays, mucking up trouble for no reason other than his own intrinsic nastiness – the more frustrated with him I get.

  9. Angee says:

    Amen Lisa! I’m with you and Jennifer, I do not like the direction they seem to be taking with Will. I hope E is right and Will didn’t appreciate how far Blake would go, but I doubt it considering what did to Lara’s apartment in VIP Treatment, the way Will approached Blake in the elevator on Poisoned Pill and Will telling Blake not to worry about Kalinda digging into Blake’s past. I wonder what Will’s knows about Childs that he could leverage against Cary during Alicia’s deposition?

    • E says:

      Well, but if Lara didn’t complain, then he wouldn’t know, would he? Especially since it was Diane who sent Blake.

      Not that I’m not worried, too, but we don’t have any reason to think Will knows about Lara’s apartment.

      • Lisa says:

        I was basing Will’s knowledge on his past connection with Blake that the show has implied so far. Will doesn’t even know Blake went to Lara’s place, does he? But he may know Blake used to work for a meth gang. Will’s brushing aside of Blake’s anxiety about what Kalinda may discover seemed to indicate that Will is well abreast with whatever it is that Blake is hiding and he’d handle it. He wasn’t in the least curious as to what it could that has gotten him so antsy.
        It’d be easy for the writers to wipe this little tryst in the elevator away. I just hope they address it. Either Will is behaving in an odd manner in the elevator because of their history, or he knows Blake’s methods and is still enlisting him. As long as Will doesn’t suspect Blake’s methods to include violence I’m fine.

        • E says:

          It’s a good point. I’m so curious to know how Blake and Will know each other, and how much Will really knows about Blake’s methods.

          I was just assuming that Will’s confidence about Kalinda meant that he felt sure he could call Kalinda off. But it’s a good question – maybe he thinks that whatever Kalinda finds wouldn’t mean that much? Puzzling, puzzling.

      • koz says:

        But he knows about doctor, he was told in the court about it. Now he HAD to confront Blake about it and if he does not, I donna, I will be very dissapointed.

  10. music says:

    Good! I’m glad everyone one is speaking up about Will joining the dark side and their overall disappointment. I had a huge case of this last season in the episode where Will wanted to work for the urban drug lord and Dianne was almost in tears about it.
    In this epi it’s almost worse, Diane and Will are finally on the same page, but it’s about money from the settlement! I feel that is why Poisoned Pill was so weak. Everyone’s motive was gain. Remember Unorthodox where the firm teams up to help Stern’s daughter against the con couple and in the process help consolidate their marriage?
    Now that was reason for a good episode: Altruism. Who cares if S. L & Bond got 35, 50 or 90 mil? That is just greed. They weren’t really being of service there.
    To Help Abigael maybe? Not really. Will chose her because her beauty and vulnerability could easily persuade the jury, he thought. The larger woman just wasn’t worth his time.
    As a poster said, the pharmaceutical company is responsible and needs to pay. End of story. There is no ethical dilemma here, as opposed to VIP treatment, as you rightly mentioned E.
    Those were some long forty something minutes to get to a final settlement that just wasn’t riveting.

    • Lisa says:

      They’re a huge law firm struggling hard to earn survive in a bad economy. I’ll give them a pass at trying to earn some hard cash at times. There’s a greater altruism of letting their employees have their jobs there as well. But the way they went about it in this episode, culminating in Will sending Blake off to deal with the doctor was just too much. They can play dirty as long as it is restricted to the courtroom and mind games. Anything more than that is overt and unneeded.

    • E says:

      While I agree with Lisa that it’s okay for the firm to want to make money, I think you’re both getting at the same thing when you talk about the lack of altruism, and she talks about Blake poisoning the atmosphere. We’re not really seeing anyone at their best, are we? It’s just kind of upsetting, because we’d like to believe – do believe? – that the main characters are at their core good people. So it’s hard.

  11. justicethedog says:

    thanks for the recap; may I share my observations

    1st, this episode was so dark on several levels: the case, the company’s defense, MJFox struggling to speak :(, Diane and Will strategy, Kalinda losing to blake (come on, it’s Kalinda, she s supposed to be winning every time), the attack on Carr’s operation
    the general feeling is there s something wrong

    Donna’s character makes sense bc she’s supposed to be K’s weakness that Blake’s plays against her (it was classic bait/chase/kill). If she wasn’t a mess, she wouldn’t be a problem

    my understanding of Grace in her dad’s room is that the shirts represent the character since Peter is not in this ep, that’s it.

    Will has always been presented as the lawyer with no morals (especially the beginning of season 1), he softened a bit later (Heart episode) but I’m not surprised at him going after witnesses,
    what I didn’t like is Diane having the same attitude

    The show suffers from too many characters, definitely, Bond saved their firm but he’s pretty useless otherwise (the only potential storyline he has is either seeing a “corrupted past” brought up (through blake the calamar)and mentoring Alicia (why? btw), the writers should start working on that fast bf it gets really annoying.

    • Lisa says:

      Donna doesn’t make sense to me because I can’t see how her relationship with Kalinda started or sustained if she were always this needy. Maybe the breakup turned her into the whiny, passive aggressive person that she seems to be now, but if not then I can’t see Kalinda giving a person like Donna the time of day.
      As for Will, I have to disagree that he has been shown to have no morals. He definitely has his own code and it may be different from Diane’s but it hadn’t involved getting people beaten up. Was he willing to send dangerous men after potentially damaging witnesses before? Had he ever done so? No. And many opportunities asking for a similar action have presented themselves. In fact he seemed pretty disgusted with himself by the end of Fleas. And there’s a lot of difference between defending someone you know to have killed/maimed someone and doing it yourself.

      • koz says:

        +100, and he has never appreciated illegal actions of his detectives and was not quite ok even with Kalinds’s methods (quite soft in comaparasion with Blake’s ones) to get the informations (let’s remember Heart epi when he scolded Kalnda for breaking Patty’s phone). He turned away from his friend when discover he sent kids to the prison for money.
        I don’t belive Will could order to beat the witness. That’s just… not my Will.

        • E says:

          You know why else it isn’t Will? Because it’s stupid. It’s not long term thinking. L/G &B would get a reputation as thugs, and it would adversely affect their business long term, and I can’t believe that Will would jeopardize the long term interests of the firm for short term gain.

          Of course I’d rather that not be his main motive for not being a thug…

        • justicethedog says:

          “I don’t belive Will could order to beat the witness.”

          His words were “we need to kneecap him (the witness)”

          it was clear his intentions were no good

  12. music says:

    The tone of the elevator scene was uber menacing. It was Will getting back at Cunning, in for the win, crushing whoever got in his way.
    In fact it was also tone of the whole episode, Alicia suggesting to make medicine sexy, cuing in Will’s thoughts. Yeek. They really are made for eachother, not in a good way.

  13. music says:

    Hee.. I wrote that on purpose of course (:
    Here is a another brain teaser for you since you are so alert today:
    I looked up the word Poisoned pill on Wikipedia and found several meanings, scrolled down to the last one, the political, and found this: “to create a no-win situation for the bill’s supporters”.
    That’s what it seemed like for B, L, and G, a no win situation, don’t you think?

    • E says:

      Of course you did! You know, like the way I call you PM Music. 😉

      And oooh, I love that. I think most of posters here would agree with that as summing up the episode nicely.

  14. music says:

    You know E, I switched over to writing on this board only at night just so I can live up to my namesake. AM Music doesn’t sound as sophisticated and worldly somehow. Which of course describes me up to a tee(:
    I hope everyone enjoys # 7 tonight!

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