E: I don’t know about you, but I kind of feel like this episode was beautifully wrapped present to the fans. Alicia back as the center of the episode? Yes indeed! Want more Peter? Got him. Want more time with the Florrick kids? Check that wish off the list. Lovely moments between Will and Alicia, with one of their patented eye contact conversations? It’s brief, but beautiful. Missing some of the more colorful and fantastic characters from last season? Here for your pleasure. Disastrous seeds planted earlier in the season? Wreaking the havoc we thought they would. Gasp-inducing betrayals? Oh, yes. Oh my, yes. Thanks, Good Wife team!
What’s the paper that Derrick Bond has just set in front of Alicia? It’s her peer review, complete with little boxes and essay sections. Oh, God, really? What kind of sick freak is he, anyway? Who thinks that’s a good idea? I keep going back to Will’s comment about the Lord of the Flies.
Ever the helpful mentor, Derrick informs Alicia that her coworkers think she can be standoffish, and that she works “leisurely” hours. (Let’s all remember back to that conversation she had with Jackie last year: “I won’t be late – just around 11.”) “I think you’ll find it tough, but honest,” he notes. Isn’t tough but fair the cliche here? How exactly is it going to make her feel better to know that he thinks the toughest criticisms are true? But don’t get too down, Alicia – they also think you’re diligent and professional, and you can work on the rest. It can help you improve yourself.
“Improving my standoffishness?” she wonders, and Derrick looks down at his lap, a bit testy that she isn’t receiving these pearls of wisdom with delight. “Take this seriously,” he warns. It’s important because the “real” review (occurring at a later date) will help determine salary. Say what? Also, I think it’s a stretch to insist that “the partners” want peer review to be the method of determining these important things.
And with that, everyone’s favorite divorce attorney David Lee bursts dramatically into the room. “O-kay,” he says, smiling down at Alicia, “let’s go.” I love Lee! Zach Grenier is the greatest. I am bouncing with joy at his return. Derrick does not share my exuberance. “I need Alicia,” Lee tells the glaring man who is ostensibly his boss, “let’s go!” “Actually,” Derrick replies, laser beams practically shooting out of his eyes – or is it ice?, “we’re not done here.” “Oh yes, peer review. How adorable. Let’s go!” Lee snarks, gesturing to Alicia. It’s funny; Lee is surely being hideously rude and disrespectful, which is not anything I’ve ever been to a boss, but I can’t help agreeing with his reasons if not his demeanor. And I guess I admire his nerve. Derrick continues his silent, icy glare. Poor Alicia doesn’t know which way to turn. “Oh, you’re staring at me. I must be in trouble,” Lee notes dryly, unconcerned. He cedes Alicia to Derrick, telling her to meet him at a downtown address and not to dawdle. Derrick returns to his lecture.
In the lobby of a sleek downtown hotel, Lee waits with two flunkies (one of whom looks like a lawyer, and one of whom looks like a model), listing the other law firms who’re waiting there as well. “Hey, Bethany,” he smiles, nasal, “great day for a bake-off.” Heh, excellent. It’s sort of a little reference to Cary and Alicia – their job competition was widely referred to as the bake-off, though not as much on the show as in the press. Bethany, a snarky blonde, points out that Lee has left his “big guns” at home, implying he’s at a disadvantage in the bake-off without the partners. “My God you’re right, what was I thinking?” David responds without a trace of regret. I just love him. Seriously, I love him. Bethany passes on gossip that one firm was tossed out after five words (“I’m surprised she gave them five!”) but Lee is more interested in Alicia’s arrival, calling out to her loudly. “Ah, the celebrity factor,” Bethany grumbles. “Good luck, Bethany,” David growls insincerely, and poor Alicia’s utterly puzzled by the whole thing. What on earth are we doing here?
“We only have a minute. The real key here is the 31 million dollar divorce, but we also have a DUI,” Lee informs Alicia. He wants her to handle the DUI aspect, to be cheerful and deflect attention back to the divorce. Lee takes a folder of notes from the model-looking flunky and shoves it at Alicia; who are we talking about, she asks, but he doesn’t answer. A fashionably dressed assistant tells Lee it’s their turn, and “she” will only see two of them, so of course flunkies Tim and Randall remain in the lobby. Chic assistant walks and talks, explaining that cell phones must be off “in the room”; on cue Alicia’s phone rings. Peter’s wondering if she might be free for lunch (aw, cute – have we ever seen that? now that’s what you ought to be doing, Peter, spending the time to rebuild your family life) but with the meeting, she has no idea and can’t talk. He’s walking with Eli outside a sleek steel building, and she’s riding up an elevator to meet the client. Turns out the Democratic committee has called him for a meeting. Alicia’s thrilled; Peter sees it as the cavalry riding in, since his campaign is almost out of money. Eli hits him for admitting that in a public place, even if no one’s close enough to hear. Peter asks about the peer review (again, good for you for remembering, Peter, and then remembering to ask) but Alicia’s at the suite, and has to shut off her phone. “Don’t mention the bulimia,” Lee hisses to an entirely befuddled Alicia.
“David Lee from Lockhart, Gardner and Bond,” the assistant announces. They’ve walked into the living room of a stunning suite with high ceilings, warm modern furniture, and enormous windows looking out onto the river. It’s a glorious view. The furniture’s neutral, but the art on the wall is bright and vivid. Room service is depositing a lunch cart, and a slender middle aged woman picks from the various offerings. “Your name’s not above the title, Mr. Lee,” the woman laughs, “everybody else sent partners.” “Everybody else sent people who’ll abandon you after the first meeting,” Lee laughs back. Score one, Mr. Lee.
“Milla, Sloan, sandwiches!” the blond woman calls out, talking over Lee as he introduces Alicia. So to get her attention, he brings up Peter. Ugh. Alicia whips her head a few degrees, and sighs in embarrassment and horror: the woman, Mrs. Burchfield, shrewdly notes the distress without comment. “Would you like to sit?” He doesn’t bother to hide his glee. Score two, Mr. Lee.
As Lee sits, and begins to discuss strategy for the divorce, Alicia glimpses an issue of Rolling Stone with SLOAN stamped in all caps across the bottom. There’s a picture of a young girl with dark hair, wrapped in white fur. Lee lays out a play for $300,000 a year in spousal support (which, er, is that for him to pay, or her?). Lee stops when a young blond girl enters the room, but Mrs Burchfield, who wants to know about the real cash, waves him off. “Both my daughters know all about it.” Lee explains that he’ll put the money into a trust, as a sort of fiction to isolate it from the father; the blond girl lands on the couch and burrows in. Mrs Burchfield strokes her daughter’s arm absently, listening to the plan to keep her soon-to-be ex running his restaurant in L.A. while she controls the 31 million through (presumbably) Sloan.
“And the DUI?” asks Sloan, in layered tanks and a sequined cardigan. She’s pale, with bright blue bits in her long dark hair, and she’s played by tween-comedy tv star Miranda Cosgrove, the lead character in iCarly. Alicia, Lee notes, has handled high profile DUIs before. Alicia and Sloan exchange slight smiles by way of a greeting. “So how much trouble am I in,” Sloan questions, plunking down on the sofa on her mom’s other side. “A lot,” Alicia replies, making Lee blanch. “Really? The other guys thought it was an easy dismissal,” Sloan tells Alicia. “It’s your third DUI. They were just trying not to scare you.” Which is to say, they really want your business – and no, if they told you it mattered that the previous two were in California, think again. “It doesn’t matter. The State’s Attorney is going to want a felony conviction and 25 days in Cook County.” Ugh. Sloan’s got her bare legs up in her mother’s lap, as they sit with the windows and the gorgeous view behind them. Mrs. B rubs Sloan’s feet. “They’ll want to use you as an example. It’s an election year. You’ve achieved,” Alicia pauses for the best possible words, judgment evident in her tone, “…the wrong kind of fame.”
Sloan smiles appreciatively, and snorts “that’s diplomatic.” Cosgrove plays Sloan far more understated that what she must be used to – those live action Disney shows are ridiculously overblown. “I’m trying very hard,” Alicia admits with a smile. If she weren’t? “I would say this is not L.A. People here are less forgiving about underage drinking.” This she does not say with a smile. Sloan fidgets, not meeting her eyes. Mrs. Burchfield looks alarmed, but doesn’t intervene.
“So you’re famous?” Sloan asks, changing topics. Alicia’s head snaps up. “No,” she insists, but Mrs. B, it seems, has been paying attention. “She’s the wife of the guy last year who resigned… with the prostitute…” she prompts to Sloan, who looks thoughtful. (Okay, right now. It was not one prostitute! It was many! If it was one, it changes almost everything that happened in the first half of season one, not to mention the whole dynamic of the Florrick marriage – one emotional affair, even with a hooker, being deeply different from serial cheating. I am so not interesting in anyone re-writing the basis of the fantastic show I love! Okay, I know, I’m overreacting to one scant mention, but I feel like there’s a tendency with the writers lately to focus on Amber rather than the storyline as they had previously written it. First off, it’s rewriting history, and I hate it when shows do that, and second, it’s not a better story! So cut it out, people!) “Do you have kids?” Sloan wants to know. Yes, answers Alicia through a case of mental whiplash. “Do they want autographs?” Sloan offers with a smile. “Funny, that’s just what Alicia was saying on the way up, she just didn’t want to be rude.” Lee interjects smoothly.
Down in the lobby (emptying of the other lawyers, blown away – briefcases in hand – like the rejected nanny candidates in Mary Poppins), Lee laughs and gloats. “You gotta love the law.” He turns, thinks. “Alicia, good job.” “Thank you!” she replies, then twists her face around, looking for the most diplomatic phrasing again. “Mr. Lee, can I ask you – this peer review thing for Mr. Bond…” He waves it off. “It’s small minded people making small minded decisions.” Too right. He stars walking again. “Yes,” worries Alicia, “but I heard they’re basing our salaries on it. Could you talk to Mr. Bond and tell him how I did?” Uck. I hate to see her begging for a good grade like this, as much as she hates doing it. Lee stops and considers, then shakes his head. “Naaaw, I don’t like him. But good job anyway.” He walks off, leaving a distressed looking Alicia alone, as usual.
A rotund bald man opens the dark wooden door to his office, and leads a line of dark suited men including Peter and Eli inside. “So Rahm, huh?” Peter asks. “Rahm,” agrees the bald man, “the fun never ceases.” Peter and Eli slip into leather chairs in front of a desk; the bald man sits behind. “So, Frank,” Eli begins, “we hope this means that the Democratic committee is coming off the sidelines.” “We are, actually,” replies Frank affably. “Good,” says Peter, “a three way race is a bad thing.” Ah. I thought they were all Democrats. Makes sense. Does that mean when we say election, we’re really talking about the primary? “We agree,” concurs Frank, pinning Peter down with his gaze. “That’s why we need you to drop out.”
Peter looks stuffed.
“We don’t want Wendy Scott-Carr in,” Frank continues, as we watch Peter’s face. “She’s a loose cannon. She’s trying to jump the line.” Ah, that’s right. The line. Heaven forbid some upstart doesn’t wait their turn and pay their homage to the Cook County machine. Why not back Peter, Eli asks, and Frank says it’s because he’s down 5 points in the polls. Really? It’s nothing to do with him being a national joke? (Also, how much polling data can they possibly have?) “But look at the trend,” smiles Eli. Frank does not care to look at the trend, whatever it might be. “The trend can kiss my ass.” Peter looks deadly serious. “Look, Peter, we like you. But let’s be honest. Childs is the incumbent.” Of what, 9 months? “He’s got the power of the office.” Could that really be such an advantage? Surely Peter had been the State’s Attorney for far longer than that. And why is Frank pussy-footing around the whole hooker/corruption/jail time cloud? Surely that has to make a difference.
Peter rises to leave, re-buttoning his suit jacket. “Look, you’re counting on the African American vote to win, right?” “You’re making a mistake,” Peter non-answers. “Peter, if you were in my position you’d make the same one. Wendy siphons off your black vote, you and Childs split the white vote, and she wins – all you do is play spoiler?” Wow, they really think Wendy can win, huh? Fascinating. “Be a good soldier,” Frank the head of Chicago’s Democratic Committee finishes, “and we’ll guarantee you my job in 6 months.” Now that has their attention; Peter and Eli’s heads whip around, eyebrows on alert. “That’s right. The Howard Dean deal – yours for the taking.” Eli turns back to look at Peter, who hasn’t blinked.
The noise is the first thing that hits you. We’re looking out at a courtroom from the judge’s perspective; Alicia and Sloan Burchfield, wearing a white tweedy designer suit, come into view. The judge – a middle aged woman with short brown hair – tells the gallery to calm down. An ASA pops up – it’s Renee Goldsberry, Geneva Pine from Hybristophilia and Painkiller – and begins what might be an arraignment proceeding on the DUI. “It’s quite simple, your honor,” she starts, “Miss Burchfield was found with a blood alcohol level of .15, almost twice the legal limit. Now,” Geneva smiles, “I don’t care how Mrs. Florrick dresses her… ” Of course Alicia cares, and objects, and the unnamed judges agrees. “It still indicates a flagrant disregard for the law. We ask for 45 days in Cook County Jail.” Ouch. That’s even worse than Alicia expected. Alicia questions the validity of the alcohol test, since it was taken two hours after the incident; Ms Pine quickly insists that ‘retrograde extrapolation” is a valid and often used mathematical formula that reasons back to the blood alcohol level at the time of the accident. Not so, says Alicia, if all the variables aren’t taken into account. What variables, wonders the judge? Bulimia, your honor.
Oh my. Sloan and mother (back in the gallery with sister Milla) look alarmed. I’ve love see the face that Lee might have made if he was there. ASA Pine is contemptuous. It seems she’s on to something, however. “The plain fact of the matter is that the prosecution can’t tell if my client was drunk at the time of the accident, or merely starving.” Good for you, Alicia! I love it when she comes up with stuff no one else would even consider. ASA Pine is, of course, less enchanted. “We demand that the blood alcohol…” Alicia begins, but her words stop as Cary Agos strides silently up to the judge’s bench, and shows her something in a folder. “Bulimia, huh?” Sloan takes the quiet moment to begin, but Alicia shushes her. “I don’t know what’s going on, but whatever happens, don’t say a word.” The judge hands a paper back to Cary, who walks toward the defense table.
“Sloan Burchfield, you’re under arrest for attempted murder, a Class X felony with the minimum sentence of 6 years in prison.” Alicia rolls her eyes, but some uniformed officers stand Sloan up and handcuff her. “Come on, Cary, don’t you think that’s overreaching just a little bit?” “Miss Jurisa Morgan is in the hospital with 4 broken ribs, from when Miss Burchfield tried to murder her last night with her vehicle. That’s not an overreach, that’s attempted murder.” He heads out of the courtroom. “Six years,” he repeats, and the credits roll. Woah.
Peter’s bending over the kitchen island. “Eli’s trying to cobble together some loans,” oh, that’s not good “and he wants to know how much we can put up for the campaign.” Alicia gulps from her coffee mug in surprise. Do they have any money they can put in? Does he mean from her salary? “I said at this point nothing – but if I took this job…” Grace and a friend walk into the kitchen, laughing, and Peter sends her away. Politely. Grace leaves with smiling good grace. “If I took this job, Chairman of the Democratic committee,” Alicia smiles big at his emphasis, “it pays $400,000 a year. You wouldn’t have to work.” He’s been looking down, but peeks up to see her reaction. Dude, you get that she likes her job, don’t you? I’m sure she could do without the added pressure of being the breadwinner and potentially funding your campaign, but she doesn’t want to give up her job. She likes working. Hell, you like her working. The camera tightens in on her face as her face tightens up. “I’d barely have to work.” Oh, now there’s a job recommendation. Plus, if you took that job, you’d have to give up on the other one, so the whole campaign debt issue would be moot. “It’s basically a pay off to have me drop out. But it’s a lot of money.” You can hear him shaken by just how much. Because it is a lot of money. They can’t possibly mean the National Democratic Committee, can they? I can see the local committee caring, but there’s no way a disgraced local pol would get the same deal as Howard Dean, even if he does come from Chicago. So if it is local, how can they afford to pay like that? Politics is just gross. (I’ve looked it up, and the Cook County DC CFO makes 230,000 grand a year, so maybe it’s near plausible after all.) Alicia looks terrified. “What do you think?” he raises his eyes to her again, and somehow, under his gaze, she relaxes. “What do you think?” she returns, pointing the question back at him like a therapist would. “I hate it,” he says. “Then don’t drop out,” she says with assurance. “Run. If you have to xerox pamphlets at Kinkos, do it.” Ooooh, two brands in one sentence! Impressive. And that is how product placement ought to be done. She smiles, kisses him on the cheek, and heads off to work.
“Hey,” he says, low. He catches her hand and pulls her back so their faces are close. “Thank you,” he murmurs, low and sexy, and slowly leans in for a real kiss. She kisses him, but it’s really a peck on the lips, and she stops his face with her hand, then pats his shoulder and walks away. He watches her go. He’s not happy. There has been progress – 6 months ago she could hardly have been in the same room with him without flinching – but things are not what they once were. He doesn’t seem exactly angry (though that’s how I first read his expression) or just frustrated, but he’s not happy.
It takes a moment to recognize that what we’re hearing isn’t English; there’s some CGI animation, and a screen cap that reads “Sloan’s Drunken Club Brawl” over Asian writing along with a picture of what might be an album cover – or another photo from Rolling Stone, since she’s wearing the same fur wrap, sitting on a golden throne with a red guitar. The animation shows Sloan attempting to kiss a blond guy who rebuffs her, while his girlfriend’s head sprouts either cat ears or devil horns and she howls with rage. What is this, Grace asks her friend as they lie on the floor watching her laptop, and where did you find it? “It’s some Taiwanese channel. They were showing it at Campus Faith,” the friend says. (They have Campus Faith at private high schools? I thought that was a college thing. Also, isn’t that weird subject matter for a religious group? And what time is it anyway, if Alicia’s going to work and yet Grace and her friend are home?) “It’s about Sloan getting arrested for trying to kill Jurisa Morgan.” Sloan now has what are definitely cat ears; the two girls catfight. Lovely. “You should see the one they did of Tiger Woods.” Do they do this on every scandal? Naw, says the friend, a slender girl with olive skin and large eyes, just the big ones. Her eyes get even bigger as they watch the animated Jurisa lay down in her back seat; while a venous Sloan runs to her car and rams Jurisa’s vehicle. Flames shoot from her eyes. Yikes. The girls can’t help but laugh. “I wonder if they’ll show your mom,” the friend gasps, like that would be coolest thing ever. “You know, as a lawyer.” The girl clearly relishes the thought. “You’d be famous.” What, and the Florrick family isn’t infamous enough? Are you kidding? Slam! Jurisa’s head in covered with bloody bruises. Sloan tosses a wine glass out the window and drives away. Into a fire hydrant.
“You have to get your mom to introduce her to us.” “Sloan?” Grace asks, disbelieving and bit contemptuous. ‘Why? She’s so, like, Disney channel.” Hmmm. This is very frank for the big television appearance of a Disney channel star. But perhaps they can be more dismissive since this isn’t ABC. “Not any more,” the friend says, avid, “didn’t you see that stuff on TMZ? The lap dance?” The last phrase comes out sotto vocce, which is a little adorable for kids trying to act grown up and above it all. The next animated clip shows a weeping Sloan hand cuffed behind the defense table, while a male judge (ooh, gender bias!) bangs a gavel. “Hey, that’s your mom’s arm!” the friend enthuses. “Your mother’s arm is famous!” They giggle, and it’s incredibly silly and really cute at the same time. In case you were wondering – I certainly did – the website they call Animoder takes its inspiration from Next Media Animation TV, a real site that’s basically exactly what’s shown here. What a revelation. I had no idea. It’s totally hilarious; I’m particularly a fan of the clip about airport scanners. I dare you not to laugh.
Our perspective switches from the animation (and the girl’s laughing faces) to a pixelated cell phone video, in which someone is called a stupid skank (presumably Sloan, for going after Jurisa’s boyfriend); Sloan and Jurisa, their glittering outfits reflecting the flashing club lights back at the camera, get right up in each other’s business. “You better get out of my face!” There’s shoving. Alicia watches, impassive, as Kalinda -blazing in a tight red blouse – stands over her laptop. Ah, it’s inevitable, isn’t it, the cell phone video of a celebrity that ends up on youtube? Er, Vidtrope, sorry. The video was posted anonymously, and yes, shows Sloan fighting with Jurisa Morgan, daughter of Bulls point guard Greg Morgan. Derrick looks impressed – by what, that Will can identify the children of former Bulls starters? I mean, how hard is that, knowing your city’s starting players, especially if you’re obsessed with basketball like Will is? The partners are all in the conference room with Alicia and Kalinda and David Lee. What, Randall and Tim didn’t get invited? ‘1999 to 2004,” Derrick nods, and yes, he’s impressed by Will’s sports trivia knowledge. Diane and I both roll our eyes.
Kalinda fills us in on what the Animoder video has already shown us, minus the cat ears and the burning eyes. Jurisa decides to sleep off too much drink in her BMW: Sloan got into her black Escalade and smashed into the beamer. Three times. And then, yes, she drove off and took out a fire hydrant. Alicia’s going to meet with Sloan soon and get her statement. “With a partner,” Lee says with his hands up. Attempted murder puts even a thirty million dollar divorce on hold. I’ll go, says Derrick. “Don’t you have all those important peer reviews to do,” Lee retorts, dry and snide. Derrick doesn’t appreciate his wit, but Diane appreciates the conflict it causes. “No, I’ll do it, ” Will offers, “I love Sloan.” “Big fan?” wonders Diane. “Haven’t you heard? She’s not just for kids anymore.” Ah, it’s so Miley Cyrus. Alicia smiles in – yes, appreciation of his wit. Will wants to find out if anyone else at the club could have been mad at Jurisa and had reason (“reason?” because it was such a reasonable action?) to smash up her car. “Also,” notes Alicia, “it’s only attempted murder if Sloan knew Jurisa was sleeping in her car.” Righto. Perhaps she didn’t. Right. “It’s only criminal damage to property” if all she thought she was doing was wrecking another person’s car. Lovely. Of course, that’s certainly an “adult” rock star behavior, the reckless disregard for property. Kalinda’s on the case.
A little thing like an attempted murder charge can’t keep Sloan out of the recording studio – or perhaps it’s more motivation to get the songs out now, in case she really does have to serve 6 years. “Before it’s begun, the party’s over,” she sings, and yep, that’s precisely right, sister. “Like a general, waiting on an 8 year old king,” Will tells Alicia from what might be the control booth. (Shouldn’t there be sound engineers, even if she’s just practicing?) She smiles. “I heard peer review was rough,” he adds, eyes still trained forward. She looks toward him, and quickly turns away; he peeks over at her as soon as her head’s turned. “A bit,” she agrees. “How important is it?” “We’re trying to figure that out,” he admits, turning again. “Why, do you think it’s stupid?” We know he thinks it’s stupid. And of course she has to think it’s stupid. It is stupid. “I think…” she hesitates. “…it encourages people to denigrate each other to save their jobs.” She nods, raising her eyebrows to imply that there’s nothing she can do about this truth. “I read your reviews,” he says, facing forward. She looks in surprise. “You didn’t,” he says. Of course she didn’t. We see her back, as she gazes up at him, then looks down, suddenly conscious.
“These are the lawyers?” question an impolite young woman in a bronze sequined jacket, eating Chinese food out of a delivery box. She’s followed by another girl in blue. They’re both wearing too much make up. “Yes,” says Will, “and you’re the entourage.” She wrinkles her nose into an insincere smile. Will extends his hand, and she slaps hers into it. “I’m Corey.” I’m wondering if Corey’s excess of eyeliner is supposed to hide (or, from the make up department’s point of view, highlight) the fact that she’s not actual as young as she first appears. As Alicia glares at the girl in blue, Corey cops an attitude with Will. “If you know someone is going to lie, you can’t put them on the stand, right?” Oh, dear, that’s problematic. Will stares at her, aghast. “You can’t knowingly put someone on the stand to perjure themselves, no. Why?” “So it’s just best not to know?” Corey replies mysteriously, but Mrs. Burchfield walks in with an entourage of her own. “There you are! Alicia!” Will continues to glare at Corey. “My God, what a day.” So true. Alicia introduces Will, and Mrs. B’s thrilled to see him. Perhaps he’d be interested in what Milla has to say? Milla, looking back and forth between her mother and Alicia in this way that makes her words suspect (especially in light of Corey’s startling question) , explains that she was at the club; Sloan had called her, sounding tipsy, and “Paige” told her to drive over and bring Sloan home. “Paige who, who’s Paige?” Will wonders, giving Milla his full and intense attention. “Me,” laughs Mrs. Burchfield. “We’re just informal here.” Paige turns back to her daughter. “Tell them what you heard,” she coaches, making us all very nervous. Milla again gives her mother a questioning look before speaking. Maybe she’s timid, or maybe she’s lying, I don’t know. “This Jurisa girl said she was going to the bathroom to do coke, not to her car.” Will’s brow, it furrows.
Sloan lounges on a leather couch, plucking at her guitar aimlessly and without particular skill. “So you don’t remember anything from when you fought Jurisa at the club to when you woke up in the hospital? Will asks. “Yeah,” she says, unconcerned. “I sort of blacked out.” Alicia struggles for words. “And at what point did you see your sister at the club?” Will looks back at Alicia, nervous. He knows where she’s going. Was Milla even there, or was this whole thing fabricated by her mother (and maybe sister) to help Sloan out? “Milla,” Sloan questions in surprise. Yes, Milla, there because Paige sent her to pick you up. (How old can Milla possibly be, anyway? I wouldn’t have said she was old enough to drive.) Sloan looks over at her mother, who is stroking Milla’s hair. “Don’t put her on the stand, okay?” Sloan is decisive, assured where her sister is timid and frail, fierce in her instruction to Alicia. “They’d say anything to keep me out of jail.” Yeah, that’s what we thought.
“We’re opting for a bench trial,” Will explains to her and to us. “We think a jury would be too quick to pre-judge.” With his thanks, Alicia and Will rise to leave. “Did you like my song,” Sloan asks, with a bit of the artist’s megalomania. It takes Alicia a minute to even understand what she could mean (“What, the one you just played?”), but yes, she does like the song. “I’m trying to party less. It’s just part of the trying to climb out of the Disney Ghetto thing.” Alicia nods. How familiar might she be with Miley Cyrus, I wonder, and the routine leaking of compromising pictures to give teen stars a boost with the adult market? “My look’s too… innocent,” Sloan shrugs, shaking the blue streaks in her hair. The assistant from the hotel arrives with a clipboard, and an assistant of her own bearing a feathered dress for a photo shoot. “Time to get into uniform,” she says, rising, with a touch of bitterness. Alicia surveys the scene sorrowfully.
A pianist plays the blues on a baby grand, not in a smoky jazz club but in a brightly lit church. Eli Gold walks through, steeling himself, to the great surprise of Pastor Isaiah. Pastor Isaiah! How I’ve missed you! And how I love your natty outfit – chocolate vest, blue tie, purple shirt. I’m sure that makes him sound like a clown, but he doesn’t look like one. Looks like he hasn’t missed Eli, though. “Mr. Gold, what are you doing here?” Those words can indicate surprised pleasure, but Pastor Isaiah – while polite – does not say it like that. “I’m humbling myself,” Eli says, putting his hands in his pockets. “Really,” says Isaiah, genuinely surprised now and grinning. “That doesn’t sound like you.” “Peter needs you,” Eli begins. “And he gets me, every for spiritual guidance,” Isaiah answers, firmly but kindly. “No,” says Eli, getting to the humbling part, “He needs your endorsement. He’ll lose without it.” Isaiah looks at him clearly. “Mr. Gold, I don’t endorse, you know that.” Eli nods in defeat. He does know that.
Up past the organ, a man lounges on the pews. ‘Eli!” comes a warm, bass greeting. “Pastor Easton,” Eli smiles. “Just Jeremiah these days,” Isaiah’s father smiles, extending his hand, “how’re you doing?” When first we met Pastor Easton, he was in the process of stepping back – or stepping down – to give his son his church. He introduced Peter and Isaiah to help Peter’s cred with black community. “Fine,” Eli responds automatically, shaking Easton’s hand and then running his own slowly through his hair. “Actually not so good,” he admits, shaking his head. “I need you to talk to your son.” “About an endorsement,” the old veteran says with a knowing air. Eli smiles his ruefully assent. “Yes.” “Having problems with Wendy Scott-Carr,” nods Jeremiah. Ah, he knows how all this works, former Pastor Easton. “Haven’t lost it,” Eli compliments. “It never goes away,” agrees the jovial older man, raising his eyes to the heavens. “You know, religion fades, but politics never goes away.” Say what? Is this a crisis of faith, or just an aversion to retirement? Either way it’s an ominous pronouncement for a man of the cloth. Eli contemplates the church roof and all it implies. “Well, I can talk to him,” Easton says, hand extended once more, “but my son’s his own man.” Any thing you can do is great, Eli assures him. “For a friend, sure,” finishes Jeremiah, with his first calculating look in an odd conversation.
Back at Lockhart/Gardner and Bond, Diane fields a call from someone who’s heard that the old firm is breaking up. Nonsense, she says. It’s “the usual garbage ” – “I hear that about a dozen firms a day. Why would someone be asking that now, I wonder? Oh, interesting – the someone in question is Bethany, whom Lee bested for the Burchfield’s business. Diane narrows her eyes as she watches Derrick tossing himself a basketball in Will’s office.
“I think it’s a bad idea, Derrick,” Will says, pulling on his suit jacket. “Not if we handle it right,” Derrick disagrees. Handle what, wonders Diane. Derrick, oddly, defers to Will to explain things. “Derrick’s heard rumblings from litigation about family law getting a pass on peer review.” Now Derrick speaks up for himself. “David Lee runs his department life a fiefdom, and we indulge him,” he explains, and it’s clear that the strongly emphasized “we” does not include Derrick. Will isn’t cowed in the least. “We indulge him because he’s making money in a down economy, we can’t piss him off.” “It’s not about pissing him off,” Derrick states quietly, “it’s about being stronger together, moving as a unit.” Both men look to Diane for her opinion. She considers, calculations marked vividly on her face. “I think his department should be under peer review. We’re all in this together, right?” Will’s a bit stunned. “Good,” smiles Derrick, tossing the basketball to Will, “Thanks. I’ll get right on it.” Will’s left with the ball and a puzzle.
Judge Richard Cuesta (David Paymer, making his fourth appearance on the show) bangs his gavel furious. “Sheriff, escort out those two gentlemen of the press. As promised, when you disrupt my court, you lose a seat.” Alrighty then. “Think of it as our own little game of musical chairs.” Nice. “This is a trial, gentlemen and ladies,” he continues testily. “It is not a show, being performed for your amusement.” We see the players – Will and Alicia for Sloan’s defense, Cary for the prosecution. It’s nice to see Will and Alicia at a table together; it’s been a while. (Although, hmm – are we going to see Derrick in the courtroom more? It’s mainly been depositions, witness prep and the conference room for him, no?) “Likewise, counselors, I have been informed that both the defense and prosecutions witnesses have been living tweeting this trial.” Sloan, who is clearly texting or tweeting under the table, looks self-conscious. “You are all under an electronic gag order. No texting, no tweeting, no Facebook, is that understood?” What, we’re not calling it Facebranch today? Or is it that they can say the name, they just can’t show it’s content? I suppose if they said Facebranch (the website they’ve created for various plots, a stand in as Animoder is for NMA.tv) it’d be more jarring and confusing, even if more consistent. Alicia sees Sloan move her phone further under the table.
Jurisa, on the stand, tells Cary that she clearly remembers telling Sloan she was going to sleep in her car. ‘And she was all ‘what do I care, bitch?'” The defense looks grim. “And I was all, do not start with me…” Judge Cuesta jumps in, not wanting to hear this particular conversation rehashed. And what did you see after going down for your midnight nap? “Her. In her caddy. Slamming into me.” Ouch. (But, hmm, likely? If she was in the back seat, and getting slammed, would she look? I’d be hiding and protecting my head, or trying to get out of the car, myself.)
In a dark, wet parking lot, Kalinda compares the accident report to the actual layout. Her cell phone camera flashes blue. She takes one picture of scrapes on a beam, and then is drawn to noises at the entrance to a club. She uses the smart phone to set up a date on Fourbooth (an “facebranch” style stand in for Foursquare) with a young guy in a sweet leather jacket calling himself Reserve82. “I’m the mayor,” he says modestly. He’s a regular, and he’s amazed at how “mad-jammed” the place has been since the “Sloan thing” happened. He was here for it, of course. He’s always here. That’s why he’s the mayor. “So you saw the fight?” “I had a front row seat. Right over there. And the other one, too.” Ah, no Kalinda’s not just pretending to be interested. This other fight starred our friend Jurisa and her boyfriend.
Cut to more grainy cell phone video of Sloan, giving the infamous (but pretty PG) lap dance. Grace minimizes it; wow, she’s got a laptop and a computer for her desk? I’m jealous. Also, her room is adorable. Animoder is still up on her screen. She bites her lip, staring at the screen (surrounded by cutesy little stickers) . Finally she sits down and types her father’s name into the search field. It’s there, of course. She waits, apprehensive, and then clicks on the video with her super cute striped mouse. It begins with her parents at the ubiquitous press conference. Grace looks to be on the verge of tears as the animations show Peter dallying with Amber, but when it implies he has a foot fetish, and nearly eats Amber’s toes, she starts to laugh instead. The laughter is cleansing.
Bang goes Judge Cuesta’s gavel. David Paymer’s in a snit, and his face contracts like a dried apple witch’s. “Shut up!” He tosses out another offender. The Sheriff’s deputies are placing boxes in the seats lost by the chattering -erm, viewers? audience? – so when he says losing a seat, he means it. Wow. Will gets Jurisa to insist that Sloan was the only person she fought with the night in question, knowing it to be a lie. Nice work, counselor. He exchanges tiny smiles with Kalinda. “So you didn’t fight with your boyfriend that night?” Her face freezes. “That was a personal matter.” Oh. Right. Of course. You get to have “personal matters” excluded from your testimony under oath. Riiiight. “Hitting your boyfriend is a personal matter?” Cary objects, and Will states his opinion that Jurisa fights a lot and might easily have enraged more people than Sloan. (Isn’t the question just as much who of those Jurisa fought with might have the temperament to be vengeful?) “Only one who was driving Sloan’s car,” Cary opines. “Others who were driving black Escalades,” Will counters, yelling a bit. Oh, Cuesta’s not going to like that, and indeed he doesn’t. He announces testily he’ll allow leeway, but only because he’s curious. Could the black paint on your car have come from previous accidents? “Nu-hah,” she insists. “Excuse me, does ‘nuh-uh’ mean no?” Cuesta interjects. Jurisa nods. “Then say no!” he pleads. Such a cute little grumpy fellow, that Judge Cuesta. Jurisa turns back to Will. “No!” she says, loudly and flatly. Will walks back to Alicia. “It was a brand new car, and it hadn’t been in any previous accidents.” Alicia hands Will a slip of paper, which turns out to be her valet slip from the night in question; there are marks on it which indicate places where the car is damaged (so the valets don’t get blamed for them). “But those are scratches,” she asserts. So again, she gets to decide what counts and what doesn’t count? She’s coming off as pretty entitled and not, let us say, scrupulously forthcoming. Bad witness, Miss Morgan, bad witness. “From bumping things, not from previous accidents!” She leans forward, yelling into his face. Have I mentioned she does have that one arm in a sling? No abrasions on her face, though. Cary rubs his eyes with his thumb, and Alicia, noting this, smiles. They know they’ve broken her credibility. Some of the scratches occur right where Sloan allegedly hit the beamer. I’m just not sure the scratches make an adequate defense; this girl is too vain to drive around a truly banged up car, and if the beamer was hit hard enough to break Jurisa’s arm, it’d leave a serious mark on the bumper, too. “She did this to me!” Will’s already done. Sloan is totally pleased with her lawyers. “You’re the man!” she whispers to Will. “I am the man,” he replies.
Eli walks down a city street toward the campaign headquarters, checking his phone. As he nears the entrance, a car door opens, and he looks up to find Wendy Scott-Carr, dressed in a blue gray wool coat over a tomato red – I think it’s a dress? We don’t see her from the waist down. “We should probably talk,” she tells him. “I need you. To beat Glenn Childs, I need you – as my campaign manager.” Woah! Excuse my saying it, but the girl has stones. I’m stunned that she’s got the temerity to poach Peter’s staff at his very doorstep. And she’s got this vulnerable thing when she does it – well, it’s very impressive. The fantastic thing about Wendy is how different she is from anyway else here. She’s not trying to out-bluster the boys club; she’s sweet talking them to their doom. “Maybe you haven’t noticed,” Eli tells her, gesturing at the bevy of blue Florrick signs, “but I’m working for a campaign.” “Yes,” she laughs gently, “and I should probably wait until it’s officially over, but I need somebody now.” Ouch. Eli’s face drops. She’s not just poaching – she’s a vulture circling a dying lion. A polite, genteel vulture, but a carrion eater just the same.
“I know that the Democratic Committee has rejected Peter, and I know your reserves are almost exhausted.” Eli heaves an enormous sigh. “You’re asking me to abandon him,” he asks, outraged. “I am,” she agrees evenly. “Join me.” He looks away, then back, considering.
Oh, she’s good. She’s very, very good. If it wasn’t for that leaked deposition, I’d be 100% in her camp.
Zach and Grace sit at the kitchen island eating breakfast. “So does she wear panties?” Graces asks between spoonfuls of cereal. Oh dear God. “Who?” asks Alicia, baffled. “Does Sloan wear panties? Paris Hilton tweeted that she didn’t wear panties to court yesterday.” Now, is this supposed to be Perez Hilton? Cause I can’t imagine that Grace would follow Paris Hilton on twitter. And how would Paris Hilton know, anyway? Sloan told her, and then she told the world, rather than Sloan just tweeting it herself? (Oh, because of the gag order?) Still, it seems more likely to be something Perez Hilton would comment on.
Actually, what am I saying? I know nothing about what Paris Hilton may or may not tweet. So whatever. But Alicia, you should have taken that phone away when the judge first announced the gag order.
“Well, I don’t know, but my guess is that she did wear panties,” Alicia answers. That’s a lot of panties in the last two episodes, don’t you think? “She said that Sloan flashed the judge.” Oh, ick, seriously. Alright, Grace said “she”, so that’s not just a mispronunciation of Perez. “I think you should stop reading Paris Hilton’s tweets,” Alicia rightly notes. “I think you should move her computer into the living room,” Zach snarks. Ah, Zach, how I’ve missed you. Alicia hides a smile with her coffee mug. Grace wants the low down on Sloan, and Alicia’ not forthcoming. “Is she nice?” Alicia considers. “She asked whether you guys would want autographs,” she offers are proof of her client’s thoughtfulness. “You told her about us,” Zach quavers. (Really, has his voice always been that unsteady?) No, Alicia explains, she asked if I had kids and then offered autographs. “What did you say?” Grace wonders. Um, don’t you already know, since you don’t have one? “I said I didn’t think you would.” Wow, even after Lee said you wanted them? You know, I think that’s kind of rude. If someone offers something like that, even if you’re sure that your kids aren’t interested, you say “of course, thank you so much for asking.” Am I wrong? Isn’t that the polite thing to do? I mean, maybe it’s weird for someone to foist their autograph on you, but surely it’s not kind to essentially respond “no, my kids are too old to think you’re cool and they don’t like your music anyway?” What harm could it possibly do? It’s not as if Sloan’s going to come over the house to make sure they’ve got framed headshots of her on on the wall.
Anyway. Grace is appalled. “Alicia!” she cries. And now it’s Alicia’s turn to be appalled. Her head rears back,”What?” “Mom,” tries Grace again, “I want one.” Not so fast, girlie. “No, that’s not what you said, you said Alicia.” Alicia’s totally taken aback. Grace tries to smile her way out of the dilemma. “No, it was just for emphasis.” “No no. No emphasis. I’m Mom.” Hee. Grace switches tacks. “Can I meet her?” “No,” says Alicia, worked up, “she’s just a client. Since when did you become so interested in Sloan?” “She’s famous,” Grace blushes, and, ick. Seriously. I do not like this direction they’re taking her character. Politics is cool, I like famous people – next week she’ll pull a Jenny Humphrey and try to become a queen bee. Ick. Zach shakes his head in disbelief. Alicia heads out to work, telling them she loves them and not to “knock over any liquor stores today” – hee. “I love you, too, Alicia!” Graces sends out as a parting shot. Alicia stops dead in her tracks, chewing on the side of her cheek. “It was a joke – joke!” Grace pleads, trying to cut off the criticism she can feel coming. Alicia chooses to walk away. “Nice,” Zach laughs at his sister.
Yet another peer review form slides across Derrick’s desk. “Go ahead. That’s your copy. I think you’ll find it tough, but honest.” It’s exactly the same wording and delivery from his conversation with Alicia. The difference? As the nervous lawyer reads, Lee swings open the door in high dungeon, sort waddling into the room. “Hello, David,” Derrick says, his gaze averted as if it pains him to look. It seems to me that they’re both acting like children here. “I am… in the middle of a meeting.” Lee fires off some insults; is Derrick’s office big enough to fit Lee’s second assistant? He just doesn’t know. Derrick asks his own assistant to put David on his schedule. They’re standing face to face now. Kind of like chickens or peacocks, getting into each other’s personal space, puffed up on their own self-righteous indignation. No need, Lee proclaims. “It’s this simple. You peer review even one more of my people, I take your job.” Oh, nice. You know, if you could have taken his job, Lee, they’d never had to have make a merger to begin with, would they? Bond, bless him, is not backing down. ‘They’re not your people,” he says. Lee emits a single burst of low, dangerous laughter, and walks out.
Diane writes at her desk. Lee walks by as if heading into Will’s office, then backtracks to her door. “We should talk,” he rumbles. She looks over, sees that Will was there in his office, had Lee preferred to speak with him. “We should,” she agrees.
Back in court, Alicia sneaks a glance at Sloan’s lap. Panties? No panties? How can you tell? She’s not flashing anyone now, at least. Cary calls Corey Lutz to the stand – yes, entourage Corey of the sequined metallic jacket. Alicia and Sloan startle in their seats; Will, not so much. Corey, in shiny gold this time with lots of cleavage, heads for the witness stand with an extremely self-satisfied smile on her face. How can they be surprised? Don’t you have to list your witnesses in advance?
“Just say it’s your mom,” that friend tells Grace as they wait in line, not for a club but for the courtroom. “That won’t matter,” Graces hisses, but the friend doesn’t agree. They’re at the front of the cue, so the gentleman from the Sheriff’s office simply lets them in when space opens up. “Aren’t you part of the Sloan entourage, Miss Lutz,” Cary questions as Grace and her chum tiptoe in the door. “I don’t like that word,” Corey purrs, “but yes, I think of her as a friend.” Right. “And yet you were faced with a moral dilemma here, weren’t you?” “That’s her,” whispers Grace’s friend, craning to see. “Her hair’s longer than I thought,” Grace observes. It’s unusual to see the action from the back, through so many people’s head. This is a neat choice, and I appreciate the variety it gives us. “Ya huh,” Corey answers Cary, and of course Cuesta insists she clarify what that means for those who prefer formal English. He’s so cute. Corey Lutz used to be Sloan’s back up singer, the friend tells Grace and us. Corey’s insisting that Sloan confessed to her (what!), but the girls aren’t particularly interested in that. So cool the way this is all underplayed. “Where’s your mom – I just see a guy.” “I don’t know,” Grace wonders, thinking perhaps she’s picked the wrong day to flaunt her connections, “maybe she’s not here today.” Sure, says the friend. “Maybe she’s not a real lawyer. Maybe she has, like, a secret life.” I bet she wishes sometimes she had a secret life! But no – Alicia rises up to cross examine Corey, and the girls beam.
“You know the penalty for perjury, don’t you, Miss Lutz?” “I do,” she smiles sunnily. “That’s why I’m telling the truth.” Alicia smiles back. “Good. So let me just ask you one simple question. How much do you weigh?” There’s silence, and an objection from Cary, of course, for relevance. “Your honor, the credibility of the witness is the only question here.” “Okay,” Cuesta grants, “I’d like to hear the answer.” “What was the question?” asks a suddenly terrified Corey. She’s so much more flat and nasal when she’s scared. “Your weight? How much do you weigh?” “I weigh a hundred and ten pounds,” Corey insists, trying to recover her swagger. Cary drops his head to his hands in horror. What, she’s a tiny, super skinny girl, how much can she possibly weigh? And how would he remotely know? “Are you sure? Because this copy of your license says you weigh a hundred and twenty two pounds.” Wow, her license is specific. Is that normal? It’s not like they weigh you at the DMV. “I’ve purged since then.”
“I see,” replies Alicia. “Then let me ask you one more question. How old are you?” The camera flickers from Cary to Will to Sloan, who’s starting to smile despite what must be an unpleasant betrayal. This question is even better. “What do you mean?” Corey asks, her face blank. Uh, what do you think she means? Ah, these Hollywood types, always preferring to create their own reality. So unlike the humble, sober people of Chicago. “I mean what’s your age.” Corey shoots a panicked look over at Cary. “Twenty two?” she assays brightly. Heh. She even says it as a question, as if what she’s really saying is “would you believe 22?” “Your license says you’re twenty eight,” Alicia reveals. “I know,” fidgets Corey, “it’s wrong.” Really? Cool. Alicia shoots a look at Judge Cuesta, who reminds Corey that she’s under oath. She knows. My God, really, is she so terrified of being her own age she’d be willing to go to jail to deny it? That is some serious crazy talk. “The DMV is all screwed up,” she persists. “No further questions,” Alicia finishes. “Your mom’s bitchin’,” annoyingly unnamed girl tells a smiling Grace.
“Let me tell you why I’m here,” Wendy Scott-Carr says, seated in a shiny wooden pew, making poaching attempt number two. Wow. Serious stones, this woman. “I think you should endorse me, Pastor.” She’s talking to Pastor Isaiah, of course. His head is back, and looks like the proverbial deer in headlights. (Interesting that the black male characters on this show respond to her so negatively, isn’t it? She annoyed Derrick as much as Lee does.) His father sits off in the distance, listening in. She lays out her case, and it’s largely one of access and patronage. Not that she’s the best candidate, but that she’ll give his church value for his endorsement. “I’ll make this my home. I’ll be here, in these pews, listening to your concerns.” You know, that’s lovely, but how could a State’s Attorney get funding for his soup kitchen? Seems outside her purview, no? “It’s… it’s real access.” She acknowledges his ties to Peter. “I would agree to wait until Peter quits the race to announce any endorsement.” Isaiah looks genuinely scared of her. He has no questions, just thanks for her presence. “I think both of our mother’s worked for Dr. King,” she adds. He can only nod and walk away. Is she hitting him where he lives? Maybe. Jeremiah watches him leave; Wendy heads over to greet the older man, her smile seeming more genuine.
Eli – walking outside campaign headquarters as usual – gets a call on his cell. Holy Moses, alert the media. It’s Pastor Isaiah. He won’t even let Eli speak, he’s bursting with his own news. Eli stops suddenly. “Yes, we still want your endorsement,” he repeats. Oh, I guess they will alert the media! “YES!” he shouts to himself, covering the phone, howling on the street. Awesome.
Back at court, Sloan’s standing and looking out at the back of the courtroom. Her highlights are looking very blue. She’s watching her mother have an animated discussion with the assistant, whom the imdb says is named Debra Knox (played by Sue Cremins who – neat – once had a guest role on Canterbury’s Law, Julianna Margulies’ failed legal drama from a few years ago). “Are you okay?” Alicia asks, noting Sloan’s abstraction. “I’m the tough one,” Sloan explains to Alicia. “Milla’s sensitive,” she says, jerking her chin up to indicate Milla burrowing into Mom’s fur coat. Sigh. “We’re doing well,” Alicia reassures her. “I know. Thanks.” You know, for a supposed bad girl, Sloan is polite, considerate, and well spoken. How crappy is it that could be seen as a disadvantage for someone because they also have a good voice and write music? Too bad she doesn’t want to sing country like Taylor Swift.
“Mom!” calls a voice from the crowd, and Grace and nameless scurry expectantly over to the table. Alicia is embarrassed and upset. What are they doing? How did they get here? At first I thought she was overreacting, but I can see how it would feel incredibly unprofessional to have your kids stalk your celebrity client. “We took the bus. Shannon lives right by here.” Ah, she’s nameless no more. But wait – isn’t Shannon the girl whose mother didn’t want them to be friends? The one Jackie sprayed with her own garden hose? (I wish that were a metaphor for something, but no, it is embarrassingly true. Did I write that? How can I be embarrassed by Jackie’s behavior? Too damn invested in this show…) Yes, it totally is. How weird that I didn’t recognize her at all, even though she’s basically the only friend of Grace’s we’ve ever seen. The actress is Paulina Gerzon, and it’s definitely the same girl. Crazy. Maybe she’s just changed a lot since Lifeguard, or maybe it’s just been so long that I forgot her face. I mean, I’m pretty sure they weren’t being allowed to speak the last time we saw them.
“Shannon really wanted to meet her,” Grace explains. “This isn’t how we do things. You ask me, and I bring you!” You know, Alicia, she kind of did ask you this morning, and you quite clearly said no. Not that it’s a justification. At this point Sloan steps in to smooth things over. I wonder if that’s something she’s used to doing, what with being the strong and responsible one. When not passing out drunk, that is. “Alicia – this is your kid?” Alicia bites down on her lips, and switches gears. “Yes,” she admits, “Grace, this is Sloan. Sloan, Grace.” Sloans smiles, satisfied. She’s got on a striped shirt front under a black sweater dress with puffy sleeves and a square neck, which is really cute. “Your mom’s a great lawyer.” “Thanks,” blushes Grace, reduced to triteness in front of celebrity as we plebes so often are. “I really like your music.” Does she? I kind of doubt it (even though it seemed like perfect adequate pop). After some staring and nudging, Grace introduces Shannon. “Can I ask you something?,” Shannon wonders. Sloan is a little taken aback. “Me?” she questions in surprise (which, why?). “Sure, what?”
“Do you believe Jesus is Lord?” Alicia’s head snaps around in horror. “O-kay. Thank you, Shannon.” “If you could just read these pamphlets, you have such an impact on kids…” Alicia has Grace hustle Shannon outside, and insists she’ll be out to talk to them in a minute. She’s mortified to have Sloan’s privacy invaded under her watch. “Don’t be mad,” grins Sloan. “I get that a lot.” “No, she should have told me,” Alicia insists. Sloan has more questions. Grace is 14, and that’s not high school in her case, it’s middle school. Oh, poor honey, for that to be such a mystery to her. (Although it’s a reasonable mistake – more people than not are 14 as high school freshmen.) “She seems older,” Sloan tells us, grasping for the right word. “She seems nice.” She is nice, Alicia agrees.
And just like that, the joy is over. Cuesta hurries -practically lurching -back to the bench. “Everyone front and center now!” Will speeds into the room, doing damage control. Cary follows at a more leisurely pace;well, that can’t be good. We didn’t know, Will says. “Oh, because that makes it better,” Cuesta snaps waspishly. Cary asks to revoke bail. Overreaction, pleads Will. “To a clear defiance of my orders, really, counselor? Then what would the proper penalty be for this?” He reads from a sheet of paper. “Corey is such the bitch. Went pantie-less in court just to rebel.” Oh, Alicia, you should have taken that blackberry away. What were you thinking? She turns to look back at Sloan, whose hands are clasped demurely.
“I’m sorry your honor. It was for my fans. It won’t happen again.” She’s polite, and the funny thing is, you believe her. She’s just not one of those snotty kids with attitudes who can occasionally put on an act to charm adults. I’m reminded more and more of Christina Aguilera proclaiming how “Dirrtry” she is, or Miley Cyrus attempting to prove she “Can’t Be Tamed“. It’s especially unseemly with teenage girls being essentially pimped by their parents, moving in an instant from America’s sweetheart to loudly sexual divas. The resemblance’s not by accident, of course.
Judge Cuesta is having none of that, and is going to ship her off to jail where armed guards will prevent her from tweeting. Ah, Alicia, if only you’d grabbed that blackberry when you had a chance! Sloan begins to plead. “Young lady, your whole life people have allowed you to make excuses. Well that ends today.” The bailiffs move in, and Sloan begs, and cries out for her mother, to no avail. “Mom, tell them no,” she begs as she’s clamped in chains, “Mom!” The scene closes over Alicia’s stricken face. Not, it should be noted, Paige’s.
Peter bursts into a doorway. Shiny Frank, in his David Caruso moment, pulls of his reading glasses. “I just wanted to drop by to respond to your kind job offer.” Great, says Frank, let’s get together a press release for Friday. How about right now, Peter suggests. Frank’s confused. “My announcement,” Peter deadpans. “Kiss my ass.” Frank shakes his head. “Stupid, stupid mistake, Peter.” Peter grins his devilish grin. “I don’t think so. I have the Lord and Christ endorsement. Why don’t you ask Daley what that means to the African American community.” “You’re lying,” Frank huffs. The edges of Peter’s lips curl up. And then he walks out, gently closing the door behind him.
Nicely played, sir. You can just see Frank grabbing his phone in a hurry.
Kalinda -in an extremely short skirt – walks Will and Alicia through the office. Will needs another suspect. Has Kalinda found any of Jurisa’s enemies? Turns out there were three other Escalades there that night; two can be ruled out as undamaged, but not the third. It belongs to a rich Iranian college drop out, Dinoush Nikad. Will’s intrigued. “Please tell me he went back to Iran.” Kalinda smiles, nods. “He went back to Iran.” Kalinda pulls out a picture of a strongly Middle Eastern (read Muslim) looking man with a bushy beard. They grin at each other. He looks the stereotypical rageful suspect (if not your average club goer). Alicia’s kind of horrified, and yes, it’s ugly. Promise me we won’t find his car undamaged someplace, Will begs Kalinda, and you know if he’d been talking to Blake, the Evil Boyscout would have taken it as tacit instruction to find and trash the car. Which is not what Kalinda’s going to do, and not what Will means, either. He just doesn’t want to pursue this avenue if it’s not plausible and so can come back to bite him. I can’t promise, she says, but I can’t find it either. Great, Will says, racing to find a way to plant his suspect in testimony.
First, however, he’s got to get by Derrick, who’s staring into Diane’s office, watching her animated conversation with David Lee. “What’s up,” Will wonders. “They’ve been talking a lot.” Lee sees them, and waves with a coy little wiggle of his fingers. “So?” “Something’s brewing,” Derrick predicts. Gee, Derrick, I wonder why you think that? “You’re being paranoid,” Will tells Derrick, thumping him lightly on the shoulder. Derrick’s convinced otherwise; he glares darkly into the office. Well, you can’t say Will didn’t warn you not to piss Lee off, but you went ahead and did it anyway, didn’t you? They told you the peer review was a completely stupid idea that could lead only to disaster.
In a dark prison, Alicia sits at a table with Sloan Burchfield. We see them first through mesh, which casts ominous shadows. Sloan looks understandably dejected. “Can you tell them I’m not like that? Tell the judge it’s just an act. I’m not a bad girl.” Oh, love. She’s composed, even dignified despite her prison jumpsuit, but very distressed. Alicia nods. “I will.” I think they both know it would be a fruitless exercise. “Is my Mom here,” asks Sloan, her voice breaking just a tiny bit. Alicia’s surprised, but rises to look. “I’m afraid,” Sloan confesses. Alicia stops and rubs her shoulder: “I know, honey, I know.”
Alicia steps through the forbidding metal door, to find golden Milla waiting outside it, wrapped in shearling or soft wool. “You going in?” “Not yet,” the little girl confesses, eyes darting from Alicia to the door, nervous. Will and Kalinda explain to Paige that they need to place their suspect of choice at the club, preferably fighting with Jurisa. Had Milla seen anything? It could really turn things around. Alicia looks askance at this plan. Paige, looking strained, twitches, considers. Slowly, she asks the question. “Milla, you said there was another fight at the club. Did he… look like this guy?” Will’s face is avid, alive with his desire for the “right” answer. Not good, people, not good. “Yeah,” says Mila, looking at the proffered photograph, and Alicia closes her eyes.
Home at last, she takes off her shoes, sighing with the pleasure of it. Alicia sits on her bed, rubbing her foot. “Sorry about today,” Grace says, standing in the doorway in her pajamas and adorable blue starry bathrobe. “I didn’t know she’d do that.” Yeah; despite the Campus Faith mention, I was caught pretty off-guard by it, too. (I have to admit – I laughed hysterically, but I guess I think it’s also impressively brave. Shannon’s an odd character, though. Her Christianity seems sort of glommed on to her celeb loving goofiness, don’t you think?) “That’s okay,” Alicia tells her, “how are you?” “Me,” questions Grace, like there’s someone more important there. “I’m good.” “You’d tell me if I was working too much, right?” Alicia questions. Aw. I love their conversations. Grace wraps herself in the bathrobe and hops onto her mother’s bed, proclaiming “I’m going to be a lawyer.” Really, says Alicia in surprise and disbelief, sounding more like she’s talking to a younger child. Okay, this is totally making up for the shallowness of the morning. “You were great today in court.” Alicia smiles, crinkling her whole face. “I didn’t feel so great.” “No, you were great,” Grace confirms, nodding hard enough to bounce the bed a little. “Sometimes I don’t like everything I have to do,” Alicia confesses. Of course she’s going to feel that way now. What kind of things, Grace wonders. “I don’t know, like pretend something is true that isn’t.” Grace considers the issue. “Sounds like school,” she says thoughtfully. Nice comparison, Grace. Alicia’s comforted by it. and puts her hand reassuringly on Grace’s knee. “I’m going to have to go to a good law school, right, like NYU or Georgetown?” “To be a lawyer, yes,” Alicia nods. “And what else? Like what should I study now?” Grace is dead serious; you almost expect her to pull a notebook out of her bathrobe pocket. It’s truly the loveliest moment. Alicia promises her books on the subject, then caresses her daughter’s face and hair.
Sloan Burchfield watches her sister on the witness stand. Alicia gently elicits the new story. Milla, fragile as ever, draped in pearls, describes watching Jurisa go to her car, followed by the beard man, Nikad. She’d previously seen this dude fighting Jurisa, she claims. Cary rolls his eyes, smirking at the obviousness of it all, and Will looks like he’s trying not to notice and is very, very serious and no, not at all worried that his witness is perjuring herself. Milla ran into the parking lot and saw a black car racing away. “There were like, these sparks when it hit a wall.” Kalinda pricks up her ears. Why are we only hearing about this now, Alicia wonders? “I wanted to, but my sister worries about me being in the spotlight.” Kalinda’s on the case right now, looking at the photos she took of the parking lot. Cary quotes Sloan’s recent Rolling Stone interview to start his questioning. “Yeah, in high school, Milla and I were always covering for each other.” (So how old are they supposed to be now, anyway?) Is that what you’re doing now, Milla? Cary tries to poke holes in her story as Kalinda flips through diagrams and reports.
“Milla did it,” she tells Alicia, back in her office. Alicia’s head clicks up in surprise. “She wasn’t lying about being at the club. She was too drunk to drive, so Milla drove. She was the one who rammed into Jurisa’s car.” How do you know, Alicia wonders. “Because the police never said anything about the Escalade sparking as it scraped the wall on the way out,” Kalinda illustrates with her cell phone picture. “She knew that because she was driving the car.” Or in the car, I’m sure the prosecution would say. If Cary had thought of it. Sloan’s injuries (that’s right, she was hospitalized too) are consistent with being the passenger seat, not with driving. Ah. So that’s why the diagram caught her attention. The bruises are along a seatbelt line – but if the belt was over your right shoulder, not your left. “I also tracked Milla’s cellphone records,” Kalinda continues, explaining that she made two calls to Paige right after the “accident.” Oh, love. Poor little fools. “She crashed the car, phoned her mother, and her mother told her to get out of there.”
Which means that Sloan was actually blacked out (huh! didn’t believe that for a minute) and has no idea she wasn’t driving, or that her family is letting her take the blame. Bad enough when it was only the DUI (which wouldn’t even have applied to designated bad driver Milla) but for attempted murder?
Glowing a gorgeous fuschia coat, Wendy Scott-Carr waits outside the Florrick campaign offices once more. Eli smiles widely in greeting, dapper in a beautifully fitted blue suit. “No,” he says, hands in his pockets. “You sure?” He nods. “You know the person I mistrust the most? The one I steal away from someone else.” He gives her a significant look, eyebrows raised, and she averts her eyes. “If I betray Peter, you’ll never trust me. I’ll never trust me.” Who knew there was such loyalty – and even ethics! – lurking inside that hollow chest? They say a gracious goodbye. She turns, car door open (when did she get a driver, I wonder, and how can she afford one?), wanting to know who he got. Looks like Joe Kent’s endorsement didn’t mean that much after all. “Pastor Isaiah,” he replies, “endorsed us yesterday.” “I don’t believe you,” she responds, echoing Frank. Is it because Lord and Christ doesn’t endorse, or because no one thinks they’d pick a white candidate over a black one? “Believe!” he says expansively. She’s worried, which we’ve never seen.
Sloan and Alicia sit at the prison table, with Alicia explaining the painful truth of the accident. Interesting that Will isn’t there, no? Kalinda finishes breaking the poor girl’s heart: “they decided to let you take the blame for the false DUI.” It is funny, isn’t it – the angelic looking sister isn’t drunk, she was just being foolish, petty and vengeful. Sloan licks her lips, taking it in. Her eyes are red, though we haven’t see her cry. “So they left me,” she realizes, staring at her hands. “What do you want to do, “Alicia asks. “How long would she get?” Because she already testified that she saw Jurisa in the car, it’s likely to be two years. (I don’t get it. Is it less without the multiple DUIs and prior record? Should the attempted murder still be 6 years? Or is that just what she’d serve of the six year sentence? Or that they wouldn’t thinks it was really a murder attempt? Also, you’d think there’d be extra time in there for perjury.)
Alicia says she’ll call the SA’s office and explain. “No,” says Sloan, “I wanna think about it.” “Sloan, as your lawyer,” Alicia begins, but Sloan cuts her off. “I wanna think about it,” she repeats stubbornly. She shakes her head. “She couldn’t survive in here.” Looks like you don’t have much to think about, then, Sloan. She turns her face from them, and walks out.
Alicia sighs into her hand. “She’ll come around,” Kalinda believes. “To what? What’s the right thing here?” the mother of two asks, meditating on this Sophie’s choice. Kalinda shrugs. “She didn’t do it,” she says, as if that were the obvious and only factor. “You would let your sister go to jail?” Alicia quirks her head. “If she was guilty,” Kalinda nods. They stare at each other for a moment, Kalinda without embarrassment, Alicia in amazement, her mouth open. If it were Owen, Alicia would do whatever she could to protect him. Without question. Even if she had been set up to do it.
“Have you ever thought about buying Diane out,” Bond asks with a false nonchalance, leaning against a cabinet in Will’s darkened office. Will takes a minute to back away from his laptop. “Why would I?” “She has an aging client list,” Bond offers as a peculiar reason. Isn’t everyone? “It’s just as healthy as mine,” Will defends her. Well, that’s nice to see. “Yours is diversified,” Derrick protests, and Will correctly calls this as paranoia about David Lee. “Just ignore him,” he offers. Derrick announces he’s going back to DC for a few weeks (good – would you please take Blake with you?) and “I’m coming back with something big, something that could change this firm, and I want you on board.” What does that have to do with Diane? Derrick enjoys his mystery, and won’t tell Will what the vaunted big thing is. “What is it,” Will zings, “a space ship?” Ha. But he can’t banter with Derrick like he does with Diane. Derrick doesn’t have much of a sense of humor, does he? Derrick wants to build a “legal bohemeth” – blah – a “Chicago/D.C. alliance that will overshadow all others, and I want your help.” Well, that was all the point of the merger originally, right? I’m glad he’s getting back to his D.C. connections, since that makes larger sense for the story (and because, frankly, he’s a bit of a drag) but what’s with the whole drama? And what would be the point of booting Diane? Is he that much of a control freak? Maybe. “Think about it,” he says, and he walks out so we can see Diane and David Lee in what’s at least their third deep conversation of the last few days. Will’s face contracts in confusion and perhaps even distress.
This show has genius, genius set design. The L/G & B office is a masterwork. I can’t say it too many times.
The same piano rings out a few last notes, this time of gospel music, to Pastor Isaiah’s joy. His father walks up behind him, wearing a suit instead of a sweater. “Son,” Jeremiah says. A phalanx of sharply dressed men walk down onto the church floor. “What’s up,” Isaiah wonders. “Well the church board is unhappy with your endorsement, son,” Jeremiah tells him seriously. “Really? Was this before or after you talked to them?” The men – presumably the church board (though I’ve never seen any kind religious lay group that wasn’t largely composed of women) – arrange themselves in two intimidating, silent line behind Jeremiah. “They don’t understand why you prefer Florrick over Wendy Scott-Carr.” It actually looks like a genuine question. Pastor Isaiah addresses his answer to the board, not his father. “She put politics before religion. He didn’t.” “They think you’re putting your own personal feelings before the church.” Hmmm. What would be the church’s interest, exactly? In favors from Carr? In supporting black candidates? I genuinely don’t know. “And what do they want?” The son has made it clear he knows where the power rests. Jeremiah takes a moment to answer. “They want me, son.” The camera backs away so we see Isaiah standing alone against Goliath.
Woah. Oh. My. Gosh. Betrayal really is the name of the game this week, isn’t it? And there’s no saying who’s bad or good. Jeremiah made his son a king, and now he’s taken that kingdom away. Does he truly care about the church, or the issues? Is he bored, and longing for his old power? Does it matter, when we see the son cast down for the father’s ambitions?
Two girls clasp hands. Hand cuffs descend on two slender wrists. “You didn’t need to do this,” Sloan says. “I know,” says Milla. “I wasn’t going to tell!” “I know,” repeats frail-looking Milla. They stare at each other. Sloan fights tears. “Take care of Mom, okay?” Milla seems to be holding up. “It won’t be that long. Visit me, okay?” She loses her composure. They hold each other, sobbing. Alicia leaves the room, giving them a moment of privacy. Paige waits in the hall, looking strained, wringing her hands a bit. Sloan comes out into the hall, wearing her dress from the day she was imprisoned. Paige, sniffling, moves toward her, calling her name. Sloan, dignified, stalks right by; she gives her mother only a look of disdain. Alicia averts her eyes.
Grace sleeps beneath a warm red blanket. Alicia takes the book from her hand, softly rubs her daughter’s hair. She smiles softly, and turns out the light.
So the more I think about it, the more I like this episode. I liked all the mother/daughter stuff going on here, and the work on positive and negative role models, as well as the almost fairy tale like dichotomy set up between the two Burchfield sisters. The fair one is good, the dark one evil – or so we’re set up to think. The reality is different. I’m stunned by all the reversals and double crosses, which is kind of cool. I’m really annoyed with Derrick, first for his insane peer review concept and then for his maladroit handling of my fourth favorite lawyer at the firm. We’ve already lost Patti to a sitcom, Colin Sweeney is in jail, Tascioni’s missing in action; I can not stomach losing another big personality from last season. Whatever your space ship is, Derrick, I’d rather have David Lee any day. But I am thrilled at the number of loose ends picked up here. Peter’s frustrated that his road to marital harmony isn’t smooth. Will does still think well of Alicia. Grace eventually decides she’s not a scatter brain; I’m touched by her ambition to join the bar and be like Mom, but just as much, I’m thrilled by her ability to look at the animation of her Dad and laugh. She’s separating out her relationship with him from the media version. Miranda Cosgrove is a better actress than I’d have guessed – her worst work comes in the fight scene, and that might have been on purpose, since the whole hedonistic rock star attitude was an act to begin with. So, good work all around.
My distress at Will not confronting Blake about beating up a witness in last week’s trial is balanced by my joy at not seeing Blake at all. Woot! I mean, for true, that is a good thing. That is a Martha Stewart, full page spread in a glossy magazine kind of a good thing. There was dirty low down dealing, but somehow it all feels so much cleaner without the presence of Campbell’s Soup Spawn and his evil rosy cheeks.
Without adding any actual spoilers, I want to note a few odd things about the preview for next week. First of all, a subplot from this week comes to a shocking and highly significant fruition, and could cause tremendous and exciting complications. So, okay. And they pick up a thread from last season that many in the fan community have been missing. So, hurray! It looks like a stunner. But who else is weirded out that they showed two different pratfalls? This is not a show that has pratfalls! What’s going on with that?