E: You know that face that a wild animal makes when you surprise it (say, with your car)? How they freeze and look at you, their heart beating out of their eyes, terrified, not knowing whether it’s better to run or to hope you haven’t noticed them? Pretty nearly every character in this episode makes that face at one time or another.
The first thing we see is the small of a woman’s naked back, with a man’s hands grazing the lacy top of her black panties. The screen turns black. We flash to her head, but her long dark hair and her arm obscures her face as she leans over her lover. The light is hazy, glowing and white. The sounds – rustling sheets, stroking hands, sharply drawn breath – are crisp. Black again. We see Alicia’s head thrown back, her hair in her face, her eyes closed. She sinks down a little, moans. She is completely abandoned. Black. Alicia rolls onto her back, and Will, shirtless, bends down to kiss her. She touches his face.
And then, just like that, we see Alicia lying alone in bed, clutching one pillow to her chest and clawing another one, disoriented, shaking her head to clear the images from it. She pants; she looks down at the pillow and immediately drops it, closing her eyes, whether from mere embarrassment or total shame I can’t tell. (I also wonder whether she was reacting to the fact that she was dreaming about Will, or that she was making love to a pillow.) And then there’s a knock at the door. Uh oh! Alicia struggles to a half sitting position. “Yeah?” she answers faintly. My first thought is that of course it has to be Peter; the timing’s just too terrible. In the shadows of the doorway, we see a girl with long brown hair instead, wearing pajamas; it’s not Grace as we might expect, it’s Shannon. Turns out that the other bathroom is clogged. Can she use the master bath? Okay. Shannon does this springy little jog to the bathroom. Once her audience is gone, Alicia flops back on her bed, still stunned.
(Now, I know the previews showed this, but I totally thought it was a fake out. I was certain it was Tammy and Will, simply intercut with the images of Alicia in bed so it looked like she was having a sex dream. But no. Alicia actually had a sex dream about Will! Whoa.)
Grace, in pajamas and a thin hooded robe, sits at the kitchen island. “Can I go to the jamboree?” Grace whispers. Alicia’s grabbing the pot off the coffee maker. “Why are you whispering?” “Eli said to. It’s something Shannon’s going to next weekend. It’s a Campus Faith jamboree.” Alicia sits down with her mug, looking impassive. “It’s not what you think, it’s like a social,” Grace pleads quickly. Alicia sighs loudly as she settles into her seat. “You don’t even have to believe in it or anything,” Grace finishes. So why does she want to go? I suppose it’s enough that Shannon’s going and enjoys it. Alicia wraps both hands around her cup and inhales the hot coffee instead of answering. “Why did Eli say we should whisper?” Eli thinks Peter needs rest. Because of his debate. Alicia puts down her coffee mug with an expression of chagrin as if – really? – she’d forgotten about the debate. Perhaps she’s still disoriented from her dream.
“Thank you, Mrs. Florrick,” whispers Shannon, who’s popped back from the bathroom. “Would you like some french toast?” Grace hands Alicia a prettily made a up plate, made by Shannon. “Tell her about the jamboree,” Grace hisses. “Tell Mom about the jamboree,” Alicia invites. “It’s really cool, Mrs. Florrick,” Shannon begins. Looking wide eyed and desperate, Grace trains her eyes on Alicia’s face, watching for the smallest sign. You sing songs and play games, Shannon enthuses. “It’s good for pre-teen self esteem.” Hee. That’s such a line it’s adorable. (But Shannon and Grace are 14, right, so they can hardly qualify as pre-teens.)
“The toilet’s clogged,” Zach informs everyone. Grace shushes him but quick. “We’re trying to let Dad sleep!” “Eli said,” Alicia adds, cutting into her french toast. Zach might just have rolled his eyes on the way to the fridge – or perhaps he’s just very sleepy. Shannon’s distracted by the mug shot in front of Alicia. “That’s this guy who killed his wife and her new boyfriend,” Grace explains. “Allegedly killed his wife and her boyfriend,” Alicia cautions. Ah, ever the party line. “They’re going to execute him tonight,” Grace helpfully adds, “unless my mom’s appeal works.” “Unless the firm’s appeal works,” Alicia corrects. The phone rings, and Zach sets down his glass, swallows his mouthful of orange juice, and runs to pick it up. “Shut up!” he says to Shannon and Grace as he passes, though they’re just smirking. (Unless – were they making kissing noises?) “He’s got a new girlfriend,” Grace leans over to confide in her mother. “Study partner,” Zach corrects as he brings the phone to his ear. “Okay, could you guys just stop growing up so quickly,” Alicia asks, fork and knife in hand. “This is really good,” she tells Shannon in delighted surprise, gesturing with the silverware. “I told you,” Grace reminds her inaccurately.
“It’s some guy, Callagan?” Zach guesses from the phone. Alicia chews; then her eyebrows shoot up. “Kerrigan?” Zach shrugs, his hair in his eyes. Alicia gathers her things (giving Grace a bit of the fish eye, as if she’s afraid her daughter would go through the trial notes looking for lurid details) and runs away with the phone; Grace and Shannon lean in for the dirt. “He got jealous that his wife was divorcing him so he burnt down her home.” Shannon, little scandal monger that she is, doesn’t miss a beat. “I wish I lived here,” she sighs, hands clasped. I’m not saying that she’s like Becca by any means – she’s intrigued by ugliness, but not tempted to practice it – but she’s an oddly evangelistic gossip girl none the less.
Back in her bedroom, Alicia sits down with the phone. “Yes, this is Alicia Florrick.” Jason Kerrigan of the 7th Circuit Board of Appeals introduces himself. Is everything all right, Alicia wonders? Yes, Jason tells her. “You filed the final habeus petition for Carter Wright last night, is that correct?” Yes, it is. You can see Alicia becoming more and more perplexed. Her eyes dart around the room, wondering where this is all going. “I was wondering if you were going to be filing an addendum before tonight’s execution,” Jason cuts to the chase. Alicia’s eyes close. “I’m sorry,” she starts, shaking her head slightly, “can you repeat that?” He can. “Will you be filing an addendum to the brief?” Alicia makes the trapped animal face. She opens her mouth, but can’t figure out what should come out of it. “Mrs Florrick?” Kerrigan prompts her. Yes, yes, absolutely we will be, she says, leaping to the proper answer. Let me just phone you back. (Translation: Oh my God, I have to call a partner to figure out what the hell is going on here!) He begins to demur, pleading pressure, but then assents, telling her to phone back within the hour.
She dials a number, but then hesitates, looking to the ceiling for guidance. She finds courage instead in the mug shot of Carter Wright, tucks up her knees, and dials again. The picture goes quickly to Will, clad in a brown leather (or is it suede?) jacket with aviator sunglasses, the wind in his hair and guitar rock blaring as he speeds down a highway in a mint green vintage convertible. A convertible? In Chicago in the winter? Really? Ah, well, it looks cool, at any rate. The car is glorious. I’m in love with the tufted leather seats. A high school friend’s Dad had a classic mustang; it looked like a Barbie car, and every once in a while the dad would let us take it out for a spin on a summer night. Magical.
Erm. Anyhow. Will looks very annoyed as he turns off the radio and pulls on his bluetooth. His lips compress in displeasure. “It’s Saturday, I said no calls.” “Oh,” comes Alicia’s voice through the headset,”I’m so sorry, Will, it’s Alicia.” He’s immediately relaxed and contrite. He thought it was work. Little do you know, Will, little do you know. ‘What’s wrong?” “Nothing,” she downplays, “I mean, it might be nothing. Last night, I turned in the appeal to the Carter Wright execution. And at,” she turns to look at her bedside clock,”approximately two minutes ago, the Seventh Circuit clerk phone me back.” The camera returns to Will for his reaction as Alicia continues “and he asked if I had an addendum.” She puts the full force of her puzzlement into the statement. Will stares down the highway as the soundtrack throbs. He pulls onto the shoulder.
“Tell me what he said exactly,” Will instructs her. “He phoned me,” and she’s making circular motions with her hands, “and he told me he received our appeal, and he asked when he could expect an addendum.” “You never said anything about an addendum,” Will repeats, the wind ruffling his hair. “No!” It looks like sunrise behind him. “But.. did he phone the office?” No. She’d left her home number with it, since it’s the weekend. (You’d almost think she’d leave her cell, wouldn’t you? Of course, that wouldn’t allow them to set half the episode in her apartment.) “Where was it left?” Will asks, and at first I think he means the buck slip (or whatever legal term Alicia just used) with her number on it, or the appeal, or something, but of course he means the conversation. “I told him I would call him back about our addendum,” Alicia tells him, making crazy faces like she’s totally out of her depth and would he please tell her what to do now? “Good,” Will says decisively, and he makes a plan. He’ll call Diane; Alicia should stay by her phone. He peals off the shoulder back onto the highway.
A phone rings inside a silver locker, the kind you might see at a bus station – very like the ones the Muppets attempted to use as a hotel in The Muppets Take Manhattan. Diane, slim in all black, turns. “Can I go back and answer that?” she asks a guard, and he assents. A visitors pass bobs, clipped to her belt, as she unlocks the locker and pulls out her phone. “What’s up? I thought you were off the grid?” Will explains without preamble. Diane freezes. “You’re hearing me, aren’t you?” “Yes,” she says, sinking into a seat. “What did Alicia say?” That we had an addendum, of course. “Good girl.” Where’s Will now? (And don’t you wonder where he was going by himself? He doesn’t seem like a person who spends his down time alone.) “On my way back. I’m going to try to pull in everyone I can on a Saturday.” Diane – still discombobulated – is at the prison. She’s come to calm Carter. No, she doesn’t know the clerk at the Seventh. “He didn’t say anything else?” Diane can’t believe it, but it’s true. “Hopefully Alicia can get more when she phones back.” Maybe one of us should phone back, Diane wonders, but Will doesn’t think so. “Naw, this guy is breaking the rules trying to tell us there’s something we missed without actually telling us there’s something we missed.” He’s afraid of scaring Kerrigan off. “He might also be telling us we have an opportunity,” Diane says, rising with hope. “Last Hail Mary appeal,” Will agrees. He’s sending Kalinda to Alicia, and wants Diane at her phone. It’s 8:20. She’ll call back in a half hour.
Diane is buzzed through a door made of iron bars. I’m just noticing she’s got on a black turtleneck under a slim black zip up jacket with military details on the shoulders. She looks remarkably similar to the prison guards; the black is certainly Death Row appropriate, but I can’t think why she’s trying to look like the guards. You’d think Carter could use a little brightening up. Or maybe it’s a not so subtle reminder that as an officer of the court, she takes part (if unwillingly) in Carter’s execution? I don’t know. I’m clearly over thinking things.
Anyhow, she walks into the holding area, her hair slicked back far more than it had been a moment ago. She steels herself before going through the last door; we see her walk toward it slowly, through the tiny window. She’s accompanied by three guards; one unlocks the door, one enters before her, and the third stands back with her, watching. Yikes. There’s a strange air of ceremony to it all. A bearded man sits at a table, staring up at a window. He doesn’t look at the door. He doesn’t look until Diane has rounded the table to stand in front of him. The door closes.
“Hi,” says Carter Wright. “Hi,” Diane returns, a little awkward. Should she smile? Is that wrong, considering? She’s unsettled. How is he holding up? “I slept,” he offers. She approves. Would you sleep, if you believed it was your last night on earth? (I wondered that the night before I graduated college; do you waste any precious time sleeping?) He stares down at his lap. Then he asks. “You hear anything?” She doesn’t tell him. “The judges didn’t say anything?” He can’t quite believe that. They only got our papers last night, she says. His brows furrow. “I got the warden to agree to a phone call with your daughter,” she offers, leaning one hand on the metal table. “Yeah,” he says, looking to the light again, “It’s okay. It’s been ten years. I don’t even blame her.” Blame her for what? “Ruby’s moved on.”
Zach swings open the Florrick’s front door (ah, front door, we’ve hardly seen you this season!) to reveal Kalinda, expressing some disapproval over the phone. He takes in her boots and slick, sick leather jacket and her general Kalinda stunningness, and he just can’t figure out what this wondrous creature is doing at his door. It’s hilarious. She asks for Alicia, and he waves her in. He’s still in his pajamas. “You work with my Mom? ” he questions, alive with the wonder of it all. She does. She heads off, paying no attention at all. We can see there are built in book shelves covering at least two walls. I was a bit surprised that there were only two bathrooms, but still, I just love this apartment. It’s pretty stunning.
Diane walks out of the prison. “And you’re sure the clerk said addendum, not amendment?” Alicia, walking around her bedroom with Kalinda, is positive. She’s still clutching her coffee mug with both hands. “Okay, you have to make sure you don’t seem overly anxious for information when you call him back.” We pan out to see the prison, which is quite large, and made of steel and brick. “That’s right,” adds Will, driving his convertible over a bridge, “the most important thing to do is sound casual.” But keep him talking. The more we learn the better. Diane adds more instruction (find out what part they need to amend), and Kalinda watches Alicia pace, growing more tense by the second.
“I think that Alicia should play this one by ear,” Kalinda interjects. Her lilac top is crazy flattering, with an awesome triangular neckline – I can just imagine how Zach will stare if he sees this. “Yes of course,” Diane agrees, realizing that she daren’t psych Alicia out. “Anything he give us will be helpful.” After all, for all her experience in the law, this can’t be easy or normal for Diane either. She’s clearly emotionally involved. “Good, Kalinda,” Will agrees, “keep us on your cell.” Alicia, now dressed for the day in a red sweater, sits on her bed looking intimidated. She fusses with her paperwork. “You okay?” Kalinda asks, sharp as ever. Alicia, looking pale, nods. She’s not okay, but won’t stop her from doing what she needs to do. She dials, holding the phone out from her ear so Kalinda can listen too. “Seventh Circuit Appellate Court,” answers Kerrigan. “Oh hi,” squeaks Alicia, before reminding him of their previous conversation. “Yeah,” he says shortly, almost curtly, and before she can begin her pseudo-casual questioning, another voice comes over the phone, making demands of Jason. Should she call back? No, he’s not too busy. “I was here, just going through our appeal, and I wondered what section you were referring to.” The two women wait avidly; what will he answer? Will he answer at all? “Which – what?” “I can’t recall which section, ah, you said that you felt was incomplete,” she extemporizes, shrugging and looking up at Kalinda in confusion. Kalinda covers the phone and tells her to call back. Kerrigan says that if there’s an addendum to file, “he” needs it by six. The “he” in question is not Kerrigan himself. He pauses. “Do you understand?” No, she doesn’t. Yes, she claims, “but why don’t we talk later, you sound busy.” “Stay by the phone,” he tells her conspiratorily. Click.
Kalinda goes back to Will and Diane immediately. “Well,” says Kalinda, “We have a deadline. 6 pm.” Deadline really is the word. Diane sighs. “Great. We’ve got 9 hours to figure out what we missed, or Carter dies.” Alicia’s eyes widen in horror and she sighs.
Will walks into the packed conference room back at Lockhart/Gardener & Bond. There’s easily an excess of twenty people in the room, clumped in intense conversation, most of them wearing sweaters over crisp, pressed button downs. They look like they’ve stepped out of a Ralph Lauren ad, and it seems a bit much for a weekend. Julius attempts to get everyone to settle down. He fails utterly. Unlike everyone else, Julius is wearing one of his beautiful suits. Excellent. Instead of raising his voice above the din, Will upends a box of documents and sends it sliding down the conference table. That works.
“Thank you for your attention,” Will huffs quietly, a bit angrily. The jacket is definitely suede, and he’s got a navy hoodie under it and a plaid shirt beneath that and t-shirt (in purple, maybe?) underneath it all , and he looks ridiculously hot. I love him in casual clothes. “There are two possibilities here, ladies and gentlemen. Either we overlooked something,” he says with all the fire and decision we didn’t see in On Tap, “OR,” he holds up a finger, “we are being pointed to an opportunity.” The staff likes the second idea better. They clearly don’t think they missed anything. He leans forwards, both hands on the table, looking out at his assembled minions. “This clerk is telling us we have a chance.” Julius looks thoughtful. “So. We have 9 hours. Nine hours to save a man’s life.” He pins them all with his glare. “Legal Aid – this case came from your team, so I want you to go down to the 27th floor and go over every sentence, every word, comma. Did we miss anything? Executions have gone through because of a typo,” he barks, and man, I hope he’s exaggerating. That’s horrific. The minions begin leafing through their papers again. “Lockhart/Gardner people, we need to look into this clerk and the three judges of the Seventh Circuit. Is the clerk acting on his own he, or is he acting for one of the persuadable judges?” Julius has a question: “is there anything in their background that suggests where we should focus our appeal?”
“We only need to focus on two judges,” Alicia’s voice interjects from the space age looking conference phone. What, Will says, disbelieving. “Well the clerk said he needed the addendum by six.” Ah. Indeed. Will sics his minions on those two men. And what does Kalinda know about the clerk? Kalinda heads over to her notebook; as she reads statistics from it (Jason Kerrigan, aged 24, educated at Harvard and Yale, captain of the water polo team, interned with the Innocence Project in 2008) Zach opens the door, looking to use his mother’s bathroom. Alicia waves him in but he’s absolutely struck motionless by Kalinda. Is it cruel of me to be totally amused by that? You can just see the cartoon eyes bulging out of his head. Alicia watches this – particularly the way he can’t turn away even as he walks past – silently and without comment. Will latches on to the Innocence Project as a good sign for them; maybe Kerrigan sees something in the evidence that we don’t. They should contact someone who knew him there.
Alicia can’t help laughing, though it’s not at her son; “The Innocence Project in 2008? You know who worked there? Cary.” Great, Kalinda exclaims, and she tells Will she’s got a source. She hangs up. “You’re not going to try him,” Alicia scoffs. “Of course I am,” says Kalinda, because she’s Kalinda. Cary’s animosity against the firm and the Florricks doesn’t seem to apply to Kalinda. “He won’t help us,” Alicia believes. Kalinda dials, shoots Alicia a look that says “oh yeah? watch this!,” and crosses her arms as the phone rings.
In front of a glorious brick building swagged in ivy, a dozen or so people are getting a tour by some dude who thinks the building is a dorm. “I have a crush on you!” a young girl says pertly. She’s got on a short skirt and a long sweater, which a cropped jacket and a bright blue scarf. Cary’s wearing skinny black pants and a black wool coat. “No you don’t,” Cary drawls, downplaying this revelations. “I’m not a kid anymore, Cary, I’m 18,” the girl tells him, totally uninterested in the tour. “Molly, you’re my first cousin,” and, ew! “.. and your parents are trusting me to show you around Chicago universities.” Don’t people usually get over their crushes on family members when they’re, you know, 5? Super creepy, Molly, super creepy. “What? I looked it up, it’s not even incest.” Did she seriously just say that? (Can you imagine how hard the actress must have laughed – and also maybe cried – when she got that script? That’s hilarious.) “Oh boy,” says Cary, pulling out his phone. He dismisses Molly the cousin. “Hey Cary,” Kalinda says, managing to be a perky and a lot sexy at the same time, “guess what I need? “Ah, Kalinda,” Cary sighs, “I imagine you want something I can’t give you till Monday.” Kalinda rolls her eyes. “I can’t wait till then. Look, I need to know everything about Jason Kerrigan,” she asks, cutting to the chase. As she does, Zach leaves the bathroom, and he can’t help checking her out as he does. It’s too funny. Cary states the obvious facts we already know about Jason. “Yeah,” Kalinda cuts in, smirking, “you two worked at the Innocence Project together.” “No,” Cary retorts. “Yeees,” Kalinda won’t let it go, “2008?” “No,” Cary reiterates, “I mean you’re not getting anything from me. This is about your death row appeal.” Peter – dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt – walks to the doorway of Alicia’s room, and she jumps off the bed to go talk to him; Kalinda moves closer to the bathroom as she coaxes Cary. The case, it turns out, is in Indiana, so it’s not as if Cary would be going against his office.
Cary is not buying. “Look, here’s an idea. Come back to the State’s Attorney’s Office. Start putting these wife killers onto death row instead of getting them off.” He chuckles to himself. “As good as you are at getting people off.” “You didn’t really say that, did you?” Kalinda questions (and rightly so!). Cary grins and hangs up the phone, chuckling even more, heading back to his would-be girlfriend.
“What’s going on?,” Peter asks Alicia from their hallway. A Hail Mary appeal, she tells him. He nods in understand as Shannon and Grace, now dressed, move by them on the way to the kitchen. Jim Moody’s in the kitchen, among other people. Peter’s wearing a plaid flannel shirt, and like Grace, I like him much better in a suit. “Okay. You want me to get Mom to take care of the kids?” She smiles in appreciation of the concern, even if it’s mostly a joke. “Definitely, cause that’s all we need here,” she laughs. It’s a really cute moment. Peter senses Jim waiting at a discrete distance: “Jim has to take me through the debate prep.” She nods and apologizes that she now has to work and can’t help. He’s gracious about it, and heads off to the kitchen.
“Did you try the french toast?” she asks, not entirely ready to cede him to his staff. “Yep. Five times,” he grins. She laughs, and he walks away. “Peter?” He turns, and she hesitates before asking him if he knows anything about the appellate judges. Which one? The men. He walks back toward her with his hands in his pockets, which somehow rescues the his clothes from being bland. “Any reason they would tip on a death row appeal?” Her eyes are trained on his face. He considers. “Well not Oxley – but I heard that Glendon got remarried and is going soft.” He looks up to her face. “Glendon?” He nods, raising his eyebrows, half smiling. “Don’t say it came from me.” “You have to keep your tough stance on the death penalty?” she smiles. “It’s the only way to win,” he grumbles, and she’s amused.
The doorbell rings. “And see, there’s Jackie,” Alicia jokes, “you only have to think her name and she appears.” She flourishes her arms to suggest magical powers, and it’s all such a nice conversation. “No,” laughs Peter. Then she opens the door. And it is Jackie, fretting about having left her keys. Alicia stares at Peter, her eyes bugging out of her head. Really it makes all the sense in the world, Alicia. Political mom Jackie isn’t going to miss out on sonny boy’s big day!
“Glendon? I thought he was law and order,” Diane exclaims from the prison yard. “I just got off with Kalinda and Alicia,” Will tells her, striding purposefully through the buzzing office with the Evil Boyscout in tow. “Turns out he married a religious anti-death penalty type.” Diane starts pacing. “Then we should be pursuing actual innocence!” she proclaims, excited. “Our arguments were too technical.” Well, that would explain why Kerrigan couldn’t point them to one incomplete section. “Glendon wants to go our way but he needs innocence to hang his hat on.” Will agrees. He and Blake are going to mine the trial transcripts (currently down with Legal Aid) for possible suspects. “Hey,” Diane interrupts urgently, “one thing – don’t let Legal Aid run with this, okay? I argued for Legal Aid to pursue innocence and I think they fumbled.” Will can do.
“Hello!” Will exclaims as he walks down the stairs. “I hope to learn each and every one of your names,” cute, Will, very cute – he snags a pad of paper from a passing fellow (Derrick would not approve!). “But in the mean time, we’re taking lunch orders for sandwiches, so if you have a moment…” He nods significantly to the Boyscout, who’s entered a room with evidence boxes in it. Will promises to pay for the meal, and the cash strapped Legal Aid lawyers start lining up, allowing Blake to sneak off with the documents. This is very funny, but it’s also a little silly. Are they really not going to notice several large boxes being gone? Not to mention the fact that Blake still needs to walk up the stairs, and the stairs are open to the entire office.
Oh well. I can’t imagine Legal Aid would actually try to stop them from saving Carter, do you? So it’s cute, but odd. I did like Will winking at the Legal Aid staff as he oh so casually blocks the door, though.
“They’re going to try to bully you, provoke you,” Jim Moody tells Peter as they sit with their debate prep notes. The Florrick apartment looks nearly as busy as L/G’s office. “They smell blood in the water and they’re going to try to tear you to pieces.” A staffer with a too nicely pressed shirt and sweater (I mean, seriously, I know TV shows aim to be “aspirational” but this is ridiculous) stands between them, offering a plate of food. Jim waves him off (“stay out!”), then calls him back. “Is that french toast?” It is. He wants it. “Leave it and go,” he barks. Hee. Good for you, Shannon.
Peter wants to review his position on capital punishment, not because he’s going to change it but because he correctly surmises that any decent reporter will be able to figure out that his wife’s working on a death penalty appeal, and try to ding him with it. (I think his answer the last time he was asked that – that a good prosecutor isn’t looking for defense lawyers to be dumb, but to beat them with the facts – might do. Also it’s an easier situation because it’s Indiana, not Illinois.) “They’re going after family,” Jim explains, taking a momentary break from his french toast, “because they see you lose your cool when they go after family. Don’t!” Both men take a moment to digest. What the heck style of debate is this, anyway? Is there a panel of reports instead of a moderator? Questions submitting by the press? Why is Peter worried about what reporters will ask rather than what his opponents will say? “You always get quiet when you’re angry,” Jim notes, which is interesting. “Just keep talking. Change the subject.” Peter glares at his plate.
“Ruby,” Diane says, as the wind whips around the prison. “It’s just me here. No family.” Oooh, guilt trip. Ouch. “There’s nobody else. Ruby?” Cars pass on the street, and guards walk through the parking lot. “I just… it hurts so much,” the girl on the phone confides. “I know,” Diane tells her. Of course she doesn’t really, but the distance can be a good thing sometimes. “But if you don’t see him, I think in a week, or a year, it’ll hurt more.” She’s so right. It’s good for Carter, yes, but how can Ruby let him go without seeing her father one last time? What’s life, if you don’t care enough to be that hurt? “He keeps saying he’s innocent,” Ruby questions. Does Diane believe him? The camera closes in on Diane’s hesitant face. “I – I don’t know. I wish I could tell you one hundred percent that he’s innocent or guilty, but whenever I’ve been one hundred percent certain about anything, I’ve been proven wrong.” Okay, that’s a stupid thing to say. I can’t imagine that’s true, that every time she’s had a belief it’s been destroyed? Ruby’s standing at her car, one hand on the door and the other on the roof, her phone at her ear, tears in her eyes. She’s no older than twenty. She’s shaking her head. “All I know is,” we hear Diane continuing, “no one should be without family when he dies.” Ruby pounds the car roof with her delicate fist. She swallows. “How long to I have,” she asks, sounding even younger. “To get here? Three hours. They only allow visitation until 2.” So it’s already 11am, which means their 9 hours are down to 7. “I don’t think I can make it, I’m in Avon.” “Come,” Diane pleads. “I will talk to the warden, just come, don’t go home.” Ruby sighs. “I look like a mess.” She doesn’t, of course, though she’s not starched and pressed, or dressed to impress like cousin Molly. She looks like an ordinary (beautiful) girl, in jeans and a fleece, with her hair in a ponytail. “Come,” Diane says with a tone of authority.
Julius Cain tosses a picture of Carter and a much younger Ruby on to the L&G conference table. One month after Caroline divorced Carter, her apartment building burnt down. There’s photos of the room, with an enormous brown mark shooting up from an electrical outlet. “It was deemed suspicious. Carter had no alibi for that night, and he had the motive.” And that’s enough to put someone on death row? Does that not strike anyone else as shocking? It’d be nice to have an alibi, but the state has to prove Carter did it. Carter doesn’t have to prove he didn’t. His not having an alibi only means he might have done it, even if he was jealous that his wife had a new lover. It doesn’t prove he did. The only other suspect interviewed by the public defender (and ugh, statistically it’s not for nothing that Carter is black and that his case was argued by a public defender; as I understand it that’s true of a disproportionally large segment of the death row population) was an old business partner of Carter’s, Frank Gephardt. He testified that Carter and Caroline fought constantly, and he had an axe to grind. The business apparently didn’t end well. Will posits that Frank could have set the fire not knowing that Carter had moved out. Seems plausible. “Find him,” Will tells Blake,”don’t go in hard, keep me in touch.” Ugh. Does the warning mean Will knows about the beating? Ugh.
“You understand, Miss Lockhart, the protocols for lethal injection are regimented and exact,” a middle aged, balding bearded man tells Diane as she follows him into a watery yellow office. “You’re asking me to break my own rules.” “I am, sir,” Diane says, forthright but polite. “I’m asking you to make an exception and let this man see his daughter before he dies.” The prison warden looks sympathetic to her plea (and also maybe a little taken by her), but he wants something in return. “The last hours are very hard for any man,” he hesitates, looking away, and it’s kind of nice to see that he does care about that, “and Mr. Wright will be emotional if he sees his daughter; I need you to calm him. I don’t want trouble getting him to the gurney, understand?” Oh. Ick. God forbid someone not wanting to gently when you kill them. How do you do that – talk someone down so they’re easy to execute? I mean, I can see why the warden would prefer that, and it doesn’t make him a monster. The whole business is ugly, that’s all. “To the best of my ability I will,” Diane promises. “Do you agree to extend the visiting hours?” Warden Barkin’s secretary interrupts them with a call from the anesthetist. Diane presses, but the Warden doesn’t want to commit, which leaves Diane hanging around his office, a witness to the secretary transcribing his phone conversation. Now it’s her turn to make the deer in the headlights face. Warden, you should have just said yes, you control freak, because a wide-eyed Diane’s just seen something very important which you’re going to wish she hadn’t.
“I just think we can get a delay with this,” she tells Will from the prison yard. Will’s shrugging back into his jacket. “What’s it called again,” he wonders. “It’s called sodium thiopental, the first part in a three drug cocktail. It’s the barbituate to put him to sleep.” “And they’re out of it,” Will asks, writing the name on his hand, “how can they be out of it?” “It expired. The executions are so infrequent that it expired, so they’re switching to another anesthetic.” Will’s off to court to request a delay. “Oh, and ask Carter about Frank Gephardt,” he remembers as he presses the elevator button. “Who’s that,” Diane wonders, excited, “is that the new suspect?” It is. As he’s waiting for the elevator, Julius walks by; Will requests his tie. Well, it’s not going to actually go with your shirt, Will, but I suppose it’s better than nothing. Julius looks puzzled but immediately complies. Diane will ask, but she’s terrified. ‘I wish we had another week,” she sighs. “You’re telling me,” Will agrees, trying to pull on the tie without dropping the phone.
“Maybe I just won’t go to college,” cousin Molly says as she and Cary exit a modern glass building on a large grassy expanse, totally different in style from their first stop. “That’s an option,” Cary admits wryly. “Become a vagabond and write about your adventures.” His pocket rings. “I thought this was a weekend,” Molly pouts. What, people don’t get phone calls on the weekend where she lives? “No weekends for the wicked,” Cary quips, and directs her over to some seating. “Cary, this is Barry Scheck. Do you have a moment?” Cary grins over at Molly, who can’t hear and wouldn’t get the joke even if she did. “Sure. Let me just hang up with F. Lee Bailey on the other line.” “Okay,” says Scheck without skipping a beat. Okay, now that is hilarious. Clearly Cary does not believe it is Scheck. He even shushes him, until both Molly and Cary are seated under a little canopy. “Okay, Barry old buddy, what can I do for you?” He laughs at his own joke. “You know about the Carter Wright appeal, don’t you?” Cary laughs some more. “Do I know about it? I’ve got tickets. I’m headed there right now. In fact I’ve got an extra ticket if you want to join me?”
The camera cuts away to the actual Barry Scheck walking on a beautiful wintry beach, a little isthmus of black rocks behind him. He does his best David Caruso imitation, whipping off a pair of dark sunglasses. “Cary!” he barks. “This is Barry Scheck.” Does he get that a lot, I wonder? Cary does not believe, and ask for the voice with the helium. Scheck doesn’t have that distinctive a voice, at least here, although he’s a pretty decent actor. Better than Vernon Jordan, and he wasn’t bad. “Okay,” says Scheck, his Chicago accent starting to shine, “let me start again. Lockhart/Gardner needs your help on a death row appeal. And I thought, because if your internship at the Innocence Project…” and now Cary starts to look worried “and my friendship with your father, that you might want to help out for a few hours.” “Michael,” Cary asks, slightly panicked. “No,” Barry insists, “Barry.” Cary tilts his head slightly. “This isn’t Michael in Vice?” He’s much slower on the uptake than Alicia. “No. This is Barry Scheck in – here,” Scheck tells him, looking around the lovely beach. Cary starts to apologize and, stuttering, to explain. There’s a quick cut to Cary and Molly walking off the elevator into Lockhart/Gardner. “What do you need?” Cary asks a bemused Julius Cain.
Next, we’re visiting Grace’s bedroom. “Hold them like this,” Shannon explains, putting her palms together like the angel in a Christmas pageant. Grace busts out laughing. “I can’t!” she giggles. “Yes you can,” Shannon insists. “Just like this.” “But I don’t believe it,” Grace explains. “You don’t have to,” Shannon tells her, “you just do it and it works.” Oh dear Lord. Shannon, honey, there’s a difference between religion and magic. “It’s like a genie,” Grace observes of the hand position, though it’s true of Shannon’s personal theology as well. (Also, does anyone over 3 really hold their hands like that anymore? It looks like the kind of thing people who aren’t religious think people who are would do.) “I’ll pray,” Shannon concedes, sitting on Grace’s day bed in front of her totally awesome curtain sheers. They’ve got little silhouettes of geese on them, and leafy branches. They look a bit like those fashionable book covers, and I covet them. The drapes, not the books.”What’s the name of the guy who’s being executed?” “I don’t think you should do this,” Grace says, rising, uncomfortable as if they were using a Ouija board. “Why?” Shannon wonders, and indeed, what does Grace think it could hurt? “I don’t know, it just feels weird.” Well, that’s fine. She’s allowed. Maybe it does seem like a Ouija board to her, as if they’re messing with strange powers and possibilities. Okay, I’ll do it, Shannon reiterates, and pulling up her hands like a icon of a saint, she does. “I just need to ask you Jesus – please save this man’s life, this man on death row. Only you know his real heart, but I just ask that you stop this from happening to him.”
Okay, I’m not going to quibble with the theology of that. “Carter Wright,” Grace relents. “We just pray that you stop this from happening to Carter Wright. In Jesus’s name I pray.” Grace watches avidly. I think she’s drawn to the depth of Shannon’s certainty, and no doubt to the simplicity of this wish fulfillment theology. “And my Dad’s debate?” she adds, hedging her bets.
“That’s your husband, Mrs. Gephardt?” Blake asks, sliding an enlargement of a license across a diner counter. “Ex,” smirks the former Mrs. Gephardt, wearing a typical fifties-style dinner waitress uniform, polishing a glass. “Oh. Sorry,” Campbell’s Soup Spawn says insincerely. “I need to talk to him. Do you have any idea where he is?” She smirks. “I know where his ashes are, does that help?” Oh. Wouldn’t you say that before the ex part? Blake’s not happy at that dried up lead, and sits down in a huff. “Why, did he owe you money,” Mrs-Ex drawls. Blake explains why he’s there. “I knew it was something like that. He’s going down tonight, I heard” she says, uncomfortable. “Midnight,” Blake confirms, as if he actually cares. And maybe he does. Why do I have so much trouble assigning normal human feeling to him? (Well, I guess, ambition is normal. And rage.) “Carter poached Frank’s clients, took ’em with him to his new company. Frank never forgave him. “Do you have any reason to believe that Frank had something to do with the fire?” Blake’s grasping at straws. “I got reason to believe anything about Frank ” Blake looks momentarily hopeful, “but, no. He was with me that night. At the movies.”
“Okay, that sucks,” Will responds over the phone, walking in an empty courtroom wearing Julius’ clashing tie. “Well, she’s willing to say whatever we want,” Blake adds, “I can pursue that if you like.” “No,” says Will, and hurray for that. “We have another path. Head back to the office. We have a lead on the clerk.” Will hangs up without any of the niceties. He dials again. “We struck out on Frank Gephardt. What do you know, Cary?.” Cary, in a loose gray sweater, wants it know from the start that he’s not a resource they can tap into whenever they like. Julius (back in the room at L/G) nods. “Understood. What can you tell us about your old friend, Jason Kerrigan?” Cary considers. “Jason read an article on the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, and it moved him.” Cary picked up a pad of paper. “He wrote a paper about flawed science in government cases or something like that.” He’s scribbling frantically. “Now, the Harvard Review never printed it, but it’s probably sitting in a draw somewhere.” (Or a file in someone’s email – isn’t that more likely? Maybe Harvard likes to be traditional.) Can you get us a copy, Will needs to know. Cary thinks he can. He tears off the sheet and hands it to Julius. Nice.
“Alicia, Kalinda, you guys still on?” “Yeah,” says Kalinda, who we see sitting with Alicia on the edge of the latter’s bed. Really? They’ve been listening in to all his calls all day? Crazy. (Um, also, I think I’m crazy, but the way he lingered over Alicia’s name just sent shivers down my spine. It’s probably just because he’s trying to keep his voice low; I don’t think he was actually trying to say it in any particular way. Or maybe I’m just hung over from the dream sequence.) “You know what this is about?” Eureka! “The arson science,” Alicia breathes. Kalinda nods. “Methods for arson investigation have developed over the last ten years.” “Track down the arson expert from the trial,” Will says, clearly expecting someone to walk into the room at any moment, “see if his story has changed.” Alicia and Kalinda look at each other. Have they stumbled into something real here? Without a word they stand and move across to opposite sides of the room.
Diane, in her slim black weekend clothes, checks her slim black watch. It’s twenty minutes of two. She’s sitting at the table in Carter’s death watch room, and he’s looking out the tiny window in the door. “Is she coming?” “Yes,” Diane tells him as he moves back toward the table. “The warden will make an exception if she gets here. Soon.” “When?” Carter asks, pacing. “Soon,” Diane replies evasively. As if he isn’t counting the seconds of this day already? “Miss Lockhart, thank you for staying with me. But I need you to talk to me like I’m an adult.” He’s polite, and calm, but very intense and sort of bristly. Well, maybe that’s just the beard. “You’re right, I’m sorry,” Diane apologizes, and looks him full in the face. “Ruby needs to be here by three. She’s driving from Avon. It will be close.” She nods. He nods. “Thank you.” He pauses, then begins again, jerking his head toward her. “Now, why were you asking me about Frank Gephardt?” Diane continues her eye contact, and considers the wisdom of sharing the truth. “There may be a chance our appeal is finding traction with the Seventh Circuit.” His eyes grow larger, startled, and he blinks rapidly. There’s that face again. “They’ve asked for additional materials and we’re trying to supply them.” When he turns his head, you can see the water in his eyes. He walks slowly to the door, swinging his arms. She starts, opens her mouth to begin, stops, starts. “I don’t want you to be disappointed.” He turns fiercely, his body filled with tension, and sits across from her. “That’s my business. You just tell me everything, and I’ll worry about my disappointment.” They lean in.
“I don’t care if a horse tranquilizer is just as affective as sodium thiopental – the law doesn’t allow..” “Counselor, watch you tone and your sarcasm,” the bored Honorable Judge Ilya Petrov interrupts. It’s funny how Will comes alive in court. Peter exudes power all the time, but Will’s energy is so different, coiled and played down, then unleashed when he’s on stage. Peter in his more contained moments is merely that, contained, caged; Will’s passion goes underground. Which makes them what, a panther and a bear? Certainly they’re both predatory. Will apologizes. “The law doesn’t allow for a shell game with lethal injection. This is the very essence of cruel and unusual punishment.” The judge ignores this gross overstatement and addresses the young prosecutor. Both of them are dressed normally for the day. “Mr. Cowan, I understand you…” Petrov has looked up from his notes to find that young and inexperienced Mr. Cowan is still sitting. “Mr. Cowan, please stand. ” Ooops. Cowan does. “I understand the state has an interest in making this execution date. But why can’t the state order more of this drug?” Good question. This isn’t the sort of thing we think about, is it? It’s a nice little window into a world that’s usually shrouded by emotion and demagoguery. “Espira is a publicly traded company, your honor, and the only manufacturer of sodium thiopental in the country. They’re back logged on orders…” “No,” interrupts Will, “they’re concerned their drugs are being used in this manner.” Petrov interrupts Will in his turn. “Counselor, your passion is noted and it is dismissed. Please. Stop.” Cowan takes the opportunity to sing the praises of the replacement barbituate. Now there’s a phrase you don’t often hear. “Mr Gardner is merely attempted to stall an execution which over ten years has resisted every appeal.” Well, yes. Will looks defeated. “Be that as it may, you have other options open to you, don’t you, counselor?” Petrov asks. “If you want this execution to proceed, then you must acquire what you require from neighboring states; otherwise the execution will be delayed until you do so.” Ilya Petrov bangs his gavel and Will dives for his papers and, of course, his phone.
Alicia and Kalinda search, with less success than you’d expect, for Dr. Todd Grossman, the arson expert. Well, that’s not true. I would expect you could Google him and find him without all that much difficulty, but maybe that’s not true if you don’t know where he currently practices. Wouldn’t arson investigators have websites? Wouldn’t he want potential clients to find him, if he routinely testifies as an expert witness? Ah, he has moved.
“All I need is one vial,” Warden pleads over his phone. “Within the next 8 hours. The execution’s at midnight.”
Back in Alicia’s bedroom, Kalinda has finally found the right Grossman. “And when do you expect him back?” She sinks back down, disappointed. “No, it’s just that it’s very important.”
“I understand,” Warden Barkin tells an unknown counterpart. “We’re having the same trouble. No, California’s too far.” I guess it’s too late in the day for same day shipping, huh?
“What?” Alicia asks her dejected colleague. “It’s just that he’s getting on a plane to Florida. His aide is going to try to stop him.” Kalinda’s been kneeling at the side of the bed; she stands up now. Alicia exhales loudly. “I think I need to take a breath.” She puts her hands to her face, blows air out. “You know, you’ve been different lately,” Kalinda observes. “I’ve been different?” Alicia answers impassively. Yes. “It’s probab – one second.” Alicia sprints to the kitchen, pulls two beers from the fridge. That’s so goofy. I don’t think of Alicia as a beer drinker. She passes Jim Moody and Jackie arguing over Peter’s tie for the debate. (“This one is going to strobe on tv.” “And this one is ugly.”) She pulls out a yellow striped tie which presumably will solve all their problems. She speed walks through the living room, where Grace and Shannon are curled up on the couch. “I’m praying for you!” Shannon calls out. Alicia looks like she’s bitten into a lemon.
She returns, plunking back down on the bed. She hands Kalinda a beer and opens her own. Oooh, I’m excited. (Speaking of which, I bet the Alicia/Kalinda shippers loved seeing the two of them sitting on a bed together all day.) Is she going to tell Kalinda what she heard on the wiretap? Okay, I’m totally excited about this. If she needed liquid courage, that’s got to be it, right? They both lean back against the pillows. Kalinda looks expectantly. “Life has been playing tricks on me lately, and I think it’s best not to take it seriously.” Alicia raises her bottle as if making a toast. Kalinda nods, giving one of her penetrating looks. “Is this about work, or is this about Will?” Kalinda waits expectantly. “There’s a man sitting somewhere, 75 miles from here. He knows that in 9 hours he’ll be dead. I can’t wrap my head around that.” Kalinda rolls her eyes a tiny bit as Alicia wusses out. So do I. Talk to your friend, damn it! So instead of trying to wrap her head around it, or around her own problems, Alicia turns the tables. “What does Blake have on you?” “Have on me? He doesn’t have anything on me,” Kalinda lies, taking a swig from her bottle. “Okay, I need to drink.” Alicia says. She does. Kalinda snorts. She hesitates a moment. “I didn’t like my life before, so – I changed it.” This is the most honest we’ve maybe ever heard her. Her voice even sounds different. Alicia’s head spins around. “You changed it?” Kalinda nods. “How did you change it?” Kalinda declines to go into specifics. “In ways that Blake is trying to use against me.” Alicia considers this. “Are you in trouble?”
“No,” Kalinda says, and perhaps that would depend on whether we’re talking about her changing her name, which may or may not be perilous, or the fact that Blake framed her for attempted murder. “Were you in trouble?” Again, what’s trouble? “No,” Kalinda answers unconvincingly. “It’s just that when someone changes their life, it’s usually because they’re in trouble.” Or because they’re bored or dissatisfied, but we take your point. The camera pans out, catching Alicia mid gesture, which is startling after the facial close ups. “Like how you changed your life?” Kalinda redirects the conversation to Alicia’s life. Touche! Alicia startled into laughter (I’m sure she never thought of it that way), and Kalinda smiles.
And the phone rings. Dang. I wanted them to keep talking!
Oh well. Turns out that the arson expert had already made his flight, but he’s got a stop over at – of all convenient places – O’Hare. I’m sure Shannon would find that significant. Hello, deus et machina! Kalinda will have to buy a ticket in order to do it, but she’s going to find him and discuss matters between his flights. “Good talking to you,” Kalinda says, and heads out. And at the door, she meets Zach, dressed this time. “Hi,” he says, bravely attempting to engage her in conversation. She says hi back, and smiles to herself as she closes the door. He cranes his head around to catch the last glimpse of her. Hee!
Diane’s back in the prison parking lot, but for once she’s not alone. Ruby’s finally arrived. “I’m late,” she says as Diane rips opens the car door. “No, no,” claims Diane, propelling her toward the building, “thank you for coming.”
“How’s he doing,” Ruby asks as they go through the series of barred door. “He’s trying to stay strong.” Ruby’s eyes get larger and larger, and now Diane really does need to shepherd her. “I think seeing you will be difficult, but, ah…” As they turn down the white corridor, Warden Barkin blocks their path, his hands clasped. The guards have closed the door behind them, and it echoes.”It’s 3:20, m’am.”
“I know, Warden, sir, but she just got here,” Diane answers with real panic and emotion in her voice. “She rushed from Avon.” “Yes,” says the Warden, implacable, “and I said I’d extend visitation by one hour, till 3.” “I’m sorry, I rushed,” Ruby starts, her delicate feature twisting in horror. She’s steeled herself to do this thing that she feared so much, and now, to be told she can’t? She left too late and that’s her chance, gone? Diane grabs her by the shoulders, calming her, setting her aside.
“Warden, please,” she begins. “M’am, I live in a world of rules. I don’t cut corners, I don’t try to bend the truth. I make an agreement and I stick to it.” “It’s only fifteen minutes,” she begs. “No m’am. It’s not,” he replies, clipped, angry. A door of thinner steel bars slides out of the wall between them. Ruby begins to cry.
He steps closer to the barrier. “I was sympathetic, m’am. Miss Lockhart.” Hmm – I sort of got the impression that he liked her, and now I’m wondering if that’s part of his anger here. “But you took advantage of my sympathy and used my phone call with the anesthetist to delay my protocol.” Well, God forbid anyone delays his protocol! I’d try to have empathy for his position, perhaps, except this implies he was hoping to hide the truth about the replacement drug and cut corners, so no, no empathy. Ruby watches it all, and Diane is devastated. “That’s when I lost sympathy,” the Warden finishes spitefully. He spins on his heels and walks away.
“No, I’m sorry, it’s my fault, not hers,” Diane cries, vainly calling out to the Warden’s retreating back. “Warden, please.” The mustachioed guard who waited in the hall with Diane before she was first allowed in to see Wright watches them now. He hesitates a moment, then surges to the grate. “Stay here,” he tells them, his voice low and urgent. “What,” Diane asks, confused. “Stay here and don’t say a word. You’ll see a glimpse of him coming down that hall.” Ruby closes her fingers around the door. Diane exhales. She thanks him fervently. He gives them one final look, and walks away. This moment of kindness was to me the most moving of the episode. Ruby strains for a glimpse, trying to hold in her emotions.
A phone rings. “Warden Hyatt,” a man answers. He’s standing outside a house on a leafy street, dressed in a casual coat, jeans and a flannel. It’s Barkin, and he’s looking for help. “You have an LI tonight, don’t you?” Barkin explains he’s been ‘slapped with a last minute injunction because his sodium thiopental is three days out of date.’ Well, fine, I can see that this would be irritating, but uck. “Do you have any we can use?” “Yeah, I probably do, but I’m spending the weekend with my daughter.” He grins off to the side. “We’re going camping.” The camera turns to a five year old sitting in a packed car. (Really? At 3:30pm on a Saturday? Isn’t that a bit late to start? And not for nothing, but this guy is not young to be the father of a five year old.) “I wouldn’t ask if it weren’t important.” Hyatt deflates a little. “I can send somebody to you,” Barkin offers, but no, Hyatt knows that would take too long. He’ll come. “Next weekend, baby,” he tells the little girl as he stands by the car door.
This scene fascinates me. Wright is not Jack the Ripper. Why is it so incredibly important, so vital that they execute him now? Does it really matter so much? I get that the Warden Barkin is in love with his protocols and doesn’t like having them disturbed, but Hyatt? He seems very sweet with his daughter. He’s married. He seems like a stand up, gentle guy. He doesn’t know anything about Wright, either. Not that you can’t be a nice person and support the death penalty, of course, but again, what on earth is the rush? Is it to prevent fiendish lawyers from finding a loophole? Ugh.
Music begins to play (Josh Ritter’s “Here At the Right Time“), and the three guards walk into the clean white room. They carry chains. They attempt to bind his arms as he sits, but Carter flails; they back away, and he stands on his own before letting them wrap the chains around his waist, handcuff his wrists to the chain, and then link the chain to his feet. He limps out of the door, one guard at each side, their arms wrapped around his. “Tell me I got here at the right time,” the singer pleads, just as Ruby catches a glimpse of her father. “If I did it’s probably the first time.” Wright begins to buck and sway, struggling to run to Ruby as she pounds frantically at the mesh door. Ruby moves to the side, to get the last view of her father in life. Carter Wright raises his eyes to the heavens, shaking his head. Father and daughter cry in agony. As the last door clangs shut, Ruby flings herself into Diane’s arms.
“Welcome,” says Michael Patterson, moderator of the live Democratic Cook County State’s Attorney’s debate. Now that’s a mouth full. We see on tv at the airport, where Kalinda is passing through security. The intimidating looking TSA agent is not amused by Kalinda, somehow, and keeps delaying her. Poor Kalinda can see the gate, but the agent sees her looking and gets suspicious. It looks for about a half second like Kalinda’s going to try and flirt her way out, but that just gets her a more aggressive pat down.
In case you weren’t familiar with the stereotype about the eldery and technology, Jackie can’t figure out how to record the debate. Zach comes to the rescue. Jackie leaves the TV in his capable hands, and pops over to call Grace to watch with them. And what does she see? Grace and Shannon praying together, clasping each other’s hands. It’s Jackie’s turn to make the deer in the headlights look. She’s horrified. What is it with these people and religion?
“I’m wondering if I should call him back,” Alicia wonders (over the phone) of Jason Kerrigan. “We’ve only got an hour.” No, says Will, back at the office, the drug issue might give us enough time. He peeks though the glass walls at Cary, Molly and Julius. “How’re you doing,” Alicia asks him. “I hate this,” he admits, looking out at his empty reception area. “Being powerless.” Alicia smiles in sad understanding. She’s got the debate on, without the sound. “He saw his daughter today, Carter did. That’s something.” “That is more than something,” she nods emphatically. There’s a moment of shared silence; Alicia bites her lip. “Will?” “Yeah?” “Could – we talk some time?” Will comes alive to the nuance in her voice. You can see his mind starting to churn. “We can talk any time.” “No – we need a moment.” She lets that soak in. “Just a moment when things aren’t so all over the place.” “I guess that wouldn’t be now,” he agrees. “No,” she smiles.
Aaand, now it’s Neesa who needs to use Alicia’s bathroom. She introduces herself on the way. Now this is a “study partner” Alicia could come to like, I think. (What is up with that school and the study partners, though? Very, um, romance inducing, that.)
A pleasant, slightly robotic voice announcing boarding for a flight to Orlando just as Kalinda makes her way to the gate. A man folds his newspaper and stuffs it into his bag. “Dr. Grossman, do you have a minute, please,” Kalinda asks. The startled man looks up, and good lord, it’s Sir John Marbury of The West Wing, the British ambassador that the women loved and the men loved to hate! He’s otherwise known as actor Roger Rees, and he is very, very surprised to be addressed in an airport in a strange city. “Do I know you?” “I’m working for the Carter Wright defense team, and I really really need a moment of your time.”
Meanwhile Hyatt, his minivan, and the sodium thiopental arrive at Wright’s prison. It’s still daylight.
The pleasant announcer makes the last boarding call for Grossman’s flight. “But the science has changed, sir,” Kalinda insists, “the arson science has changed.” He shakes his head. “Yes, but the physics hasn’t.” He explains that the V pattern we saw previously on the crime scene photos can only occur from arson. “Yes, but this can also indicate the presence of a knob and tube wiring burn off.” Grossman looks – flabbergasted? Caught out? Shocked she’d know the science? “Are you in the trade, miss?” No, but she has read Jason Kerrigan’s article (and she’s observant, and smart, and remembers everything including previous experience with arson), which discusses how older buildings like Caroline Wright’s can behave differently from what used to be expected. Okay, so the v pattern isn’t always what we thought, but there are other brown stains which indicate accelerant in the hallway. She chases him toward the door. “These brown stains are just as likely to come from flash over burns.” She throws up her arms. “You know about the changes in arson science – you know what I’m saying is true.” “No, I don’t,” he replies, snippy. “I know what you’re saying is possible, that’s all.”
He walks away again.
“And all Carter Wright needs is what’s possible,” she replies, doggedly not letting him go. “Look, at the trial you said that you were 100% positive that these stains were proof of an accellerant. Now, if your opinion has changed…” He shakes his head, not wanting to meet her eyes. “There are other people you can ask.” He tries again to leave. “No sir,” she says, twisting so she’s facing him once more. “There are other experts you can get!” He’s panting with the desire to escape her. “Not in an hour, not with your authority,” she tells him. “No, I’m sorry,” he says, reaching out his boarding pass to the agent at the gate. “No, I’m sorry,” she retorts, snatching the pass and pining him down relentlessly with her eyes. “I can’t help you!” “You can help me. You’re responsible for Carter Wright being on death row, it’s your responsibility to correct that mistake.” He twists and turns, looking for a way out of that responsibility, from the admission of culpability. “You’re not getting on a plane, you’re going to write an affidavit to that effect now. You just need a moment to realize that this is the right thing to do. Why don’t I give you that moment.” She hands him back his boarding pass.
Alicia types fiercely into her laptop as the debate plays in the background. Will’s on the phone with her, and they’re checking the time. Kalinda’s getting the affidavit, the staff at the office is writing the addendum, and Alicia’s doing the preamble. She’s going to phone Jason momentarily to tell him it’s on the way. Cary and Molly head out, the truce over. “You two taking off?” Will asks. “Yeah,” snarks Cary, “unless you have floors that need sweeping.” Ah, Cary, I miss you. I really miss this side of you. Will grins at him wryly.
“Mom, come in here,” Grace calls from the living room. “They’re talking about you.” Alicia turns to the tv from her frantic typing. “I’m not asking about the past, I’m asking about the future,” the moderator asks Peter, who is wearing the yellow tie. Alicia turns the sound up. “Well, I’m here to talk about the future of Chicago, so if you have any questions about policy, I, I’d be happy to …” he sounds a bit stuffed. “But isn’t that hypocritical?” the moderator asks, getting a bit shirty if you ask me. “You sell yourself as a happily married candidate. So I ask you again, sir. Has your wife forgiven you for your infidelity?” “Mom, are you coming?” Grace wails. Seriously, Grace, do you think she’d enjoy listening to this bit? Alicia turns to look at her TV. “Mr. Florrick? Sir?” Peter looks dark and angry. “My marriage is none of you @$^%#^ ing business,” he replies. He stares into space for a moment, then looks down. Oops. “Sir, I – are you aware of what you just said?” The moderator is pretty much beside himself with glee. “Yes,” says Peter quietly, and Alicia can’t contain her smile. “Yes, yes I am. Do you have any more questions?”
Zach opens the front door to Kalinda. “Hi. It’s me,” she says, smiling. Oh, don’t taunt the boy, Kalinda. “My Dad swore on TV,” he offers up. Oh my gosh, I cannot stop laughing at the cuteness of that. Kalinda will not be detoured from her destination. “Nothing?” Kalinda asks Alicia. No, nothing. She’s supposed to get a call with the decision, though. She’s organizing the papers strewn all over her bed. “You get back to your life, I’ll wait,” Kalinda tells her. “No, this is my life,” Alicia says, gesturing at her work things. Ouch, I think. The phone rings, and she picks it up, expecting that it’s Will with the decision.
“This is Jason Kerrigan of the Seventh Circuit of Appeals. I have Judge Jerry Glendon with a question for you. Do you have a minute?” Yes, she does, and so she holds. “Get Will,” she whispers to Kalinda, “it’s Judge Glendon.” Kalinda’s fingers fly over the phone. She fills Will in. “He what?” They’re all shocked. After a brief silence, Alicia’s phone crackles to life. “This is Judge Glendon, who am I speaking to?” “This is Alicia Florrick.” “Thank you for taking my call, do you have a second?” “Yes, of course I do,” she stumbles, “it’s just that I’m a second year associate, I just delivered the addendum – actually not even the addendum, I delivered the first…” “Shut up!” Kalinda hisses at her. Glendon starts wondering if he’s talking to the wrong person, and why Jason gave him the phone, but Alicia pulls it together. “Well, I’m reading the new affidavit from the arson expert, Dr. Grossman. He seems to have left a window for this being, see..” “An accidental fire, yes,” finishes Alicia. Kalinda relays the questions to Will, who through Kalinda instructs Alicia to push for innocence. “And you talked to him today?,” Glendon says of Grossman. “One of my associates did – and I, of course, talked to him afterward.” Kalinda walks Alicia through. Why aren’t you a lawyer, Kalinda? Is it too confining a role? Because your instincts are amazing. “So my question is this. Well, actually, you know what I’m going to ask, don’t you?” And here, where it matters, Alicia has the right answer. “Yes I do, your honor. He’s innocent.” The music swells. “Carter is innocent.” We flash to Will’s face, then Kalinda’s, waiting in the darkness. “Look, I can order a new trial, I can deal with the heat, but why should I trust this doctor if he so easily changed his mind.” Alicia stands up to the challenge. “Because he didn’t so easily change his mind. He changed his mind in the face of a man’s innocence. So much of what we do is uncertain, your honor,” she pleads softly, echoing Diane’s confusion from earlier in the day. “So much of my day is working between right and wrong.” Her voice becomes thick with tears. “But this has to be right. To do this to a man – ” she takes a second to compose herself so she doesn’t cry. “It has to be right.” “Thank you m’am. Good night,” says Jerry Glendon, and he hangs up. Alicia turns away from Kalinda until the mutinous tears have pulled back. “You did good,” Kalinda reassures her. Alicia shakes her head. She’s terrified of this responsibility. “You did. Trust me.” Kalinda leans forward so Alicia can see the sincerity in her eyes; Alicia smiles through her discomfort.
The mustachioed guard opens Carter Wright’s door for the Warden. Carter stands on his feet. “Got the paperwork from the court,” the Warden says. Wright’s brows raise and his mouth opens when he realizes what that means, but he can’t make a sound, the relief is so overwhelming. He falls down into a chair. The Warden walks away, and when we see the doorway again, Ruby fills it. “Dad,” she asks tentatively. She runs to him, sits in his lap; he clutches her back, and then holds her small face in his hands. The episode starts it’s denouement where it began, with an embrace; the actions are similar, but a world apart. Carter Wright’s too stunned even to cry or laugh or smile yet.
A television report explains the last minute reprieve. Grace listens over her computer in wonder. Alicia watches in happy triumph. As the reporter describes how the case had resisted ten years of appeals before our team (and Jason Kerrigan) tackled it, Alicia clicks it off. This has been a good day. She runs into Zach in the living room. Did she catch the debate? Yes she did. “He swore on tv,” he tries again, and the confession wins a smile from his mother. “It was cool,” Zach adds. So funny. Neesa congratulates Alicia on the appeal. “I want to be a lawyer, too,” she confides. “International law.” Sounds great, Alicia tells her. Definitely better than Becca. “I wanna get an earring, Mom” Zach says out of no where. Well, out of no where to Alicia’s mind, anyway – it’s clearly to impress Neesa. Alicia can’t hold a straight face, and after her day of strain, she burst into laughter. “No, I’m serious. Just – just one ear.” She smiles tolerantly. “Where’s Grace?” Ah, I love the way she refuses to be drawn into drama. Grace is in her room. “Bard Pitt has an earring in one ear,” Zach sends off as an ill advised parting shot. Alicia waves at him, not even turning around. Was that really supposed to convince her? That just slays me. Alicia opens Grace’s door to find her daughter kneeling on the ground, leaning on her bed, her hands clasped and her head bowed in prayer. And the episode ends with Alicia’s startled face, and Grace’s bent form.
Do you think that Alicia prayed that her parents not divorce and has hated God ever since? The level of hostility – especially from a largely under-reacting person – surprises me a little. It’s consistent, of course, but both the show and Alicia tend to treat religion as a disease, and this puzzles me. Maybe, as someone who is religious, I just can’t get it. I mean, of course she’s going to care what Grace does, but the intensity of her discomfort surprises me. After all, there are much worse things (at least from my point of view) you could walk in on your fourteen year old doing. I’ll be interested to see how the next episode starts. If you care, Alicia, you have to talk to Grace about it! You can’t make her choices, but as her parent, it’s your job – your most vital role – to inform them. The show has not been good about picking up threads like that lately, or providing a consistent picture of parenting.
Given all this, it fascinates me that Alicia went to a Catholic law school. I went to a Jesuit college like Georgetown, and spent nearly a decade working at similar institution, so while I can’t speak to Georgetown per se, I can tell you that faith typically informs college life. There’s an emphasis on service and responsibility which fits with Alicia’s sensibility, but is clearly tied to religion. It wouldn’t be conservative, or overbearing, but it would be there. I don’t know. I just find it all curious. Am I overreacting?
Kudoes first off to Christine and Archie for a beautifully acted episode, and to the fantastic guest stars. So maybe it wasn’t the most water tight plot. Diane seems to have a strong relationship with Carter, but it’s not clear how long she’s actually been involved or why. I suppose she simply has a few pro-bono hours to add to something Legal Aid generally ran? It’s hard to imagine her being involved with a case this flimsy and not having an effect, even if Legal Aid fumbled. (Perhaps that was the point of him calling her Miss Lockhart and not Diane. That makes it even more poignant that he had no one else to stay with him, though. He’d been utterly abandoned.) This conviction resisted appeal for 10 years, and all they had was that they were sure it was arson, and he was the likeliest suspect? Honestly. That seems so circumstantial to me that I can’t really believe it. I certainly don’t want to believe it of our legal system. The episode was perhaps more restrained than I might have expected given the subject matter, but the restraint served to highlight the moments when characters actually lost control.
It was nice to see our cast in different locations, and different clothes. It was fun to see Kalinda meet Alicia’s family (although I know she’s been to the apartment before, very early on – interesting that no one remembers her.). It was pretty excellent (yet also a little heartrending) to see Peter swear on television. And it was infuriating that the writers dropped the thread of the “Peter Beat” video. Sometimes this show puzzles me. We’ve got a terrific episode here, but the last episode ended with a shocking development and the writers chose not to deal with it. What’s up with that? There’s no way this family could have failed to address that issue. So why do we have the debate instead? I’m not saying it wasn’t a good moment. I’m not saying that life stops when you have a family emergency. But still. You can’t detonate a bomb like that video and not show us at least a little debris.
Speaking of puzzling omissions, where was Eli? Lately Peter can’t walk down the street without him, and now he’s not around for debate prep? And do you think that Peter did himself more harm than good with the swearing? Did he just admit to the world that Alicia hasn’t truly forgiven him? Is he still thinking of that failed kiss? Does he think it’s hopeless? Is that where his anger comes from?
Also, don’t get me wrong, I think Alicia needs to talk to Will. But – what does she say? “I randomly eavesdropped on your conversation through a wire tap and I think you maybe said something important emotionally and didn’t just ditch me like I thought and now I think you think I ditched you? And now you’ve moved on? And oh yes, I’m still married, and I don’t know that I’m prepared to leave my marriage, but I think I love you?” I mean, seriously, I do not envy her having that conversation. Sure, it could be astoundingly, exquisitely romantic, but it could also be awkward and pointless, and either way is bound to be painful and confusing. She has no reason to think he’s not in love with Tammy and in a committed relationship with her. Would it help her to know the truth, no matter how painful, even if it turned out to be that he did love her but has made a clean break? Would she feel better if he knew she never got his message? Would he? If she’s not ready to leave Peter (and I’m not convinced she is) then what does she gain by talking to Will? Her insistence that work, not home, is her real life complicates this picture even more.
Also, how long do you think we’ll have to wait for that conversation? And is Peter planning any kind of desperate bid to win back Alicia’s heart?
So what did you think? Did you like it? Love it? And what are we going to do until the new episodes start airing next year?