E: The question of the episode is sincerity, and – surprise! It’s a good one for a show about lawyers. Who’s for real? How do you tell? Has devious corporate shill Louis Canning sincerely seen the error of his ways? Has Tammy been truthful when she said she’d ditch Will as soon as their liaison stopped being fun? Are lawyers really just fat cats who care only about their own bottom line? Well, maybe we know a few of those…
Erin Brockovich, move over. Alicia Florrick’s in town, and she’s taking names. Literally. The episode opens with the shot of a pie (sweet potato, maybe?) sitting on a counter in a pretty blue and yellow kitchen, sort of french country/shabby chic. Alicia wants the recipe for the pie. She’s making a pitch to a woman in her late twenties or early thirties; most of the time, she says, bad things happen, and that’s just life, but sometimes, bad things happen for a reason. The prospective client, Laurie, eats up Alicia’s words. Just because you can’t see the poison buried in the ground, Alicia continues, doesn’t mean it can’t seep into your drinking water. “I went to Alicia because we didn’t cause this,” a blond woman in a purple sweater adds. “This was done to us.”
Uck. I might rethink that pie if I were you, Alicia.
Is it bad that when I saw that pie, I was incredibly disappointed that Peter wasn’t feeding it to Alicia? Is that wrong of me? I know, I know, it was the obvious thing for them to do (okay, not the pie per se), and I love that the show isn’t obvious, but I really wanted this episode to start with Peter and Alica getting ready for the day. It didn’t have to be any kind sexy pie-eating whatever. I just wanted – oh, I don’t know, and I didn’t get it, and I’m feeling pouty. Oh, crap. Does the law of conservation of Chris Noth mean he’s not going to be in this episode at all? Dude, you suck for wanting to keep your career options open.
Laurie of the pie and the floral button down morphs to another slender housewife in a prettily decorated (but not extravagant) house. This one’s wearing a cardigan. There’s a map involved, and we find out that a 102 families live in the area winged by two pesticide dump sites. (Seriously, this is one of those densely populated areas; I cannot imagine where they’d even find a spot to dump the chemicals. And clearly there’s no way someone could do that and not know they were going to hurt people.) Alicia’s talked to half of the families, and will get to the other half by the end of the week. Purple sweater blond has accompanied her here, too. “What happens if I sign?” cardigan lady wonders warily. “Then we bring suit against JNL Pesticides. They were negligent.” Negligent seems like such a thin word for people who poisons drinking water, doesn’t it? A third woman, this one with short brown hair, listens to Alicia name the chemical (sounds like cloridian, but there’s a real one called chlordane, so maybe that’s it) which was buried near her ground water.
“This won’t cost you anything,” Alicia soothes as the woman fidgets rather painfully. “My firm only makes money if we’re successful.” The woman rises from her kitchen table, looking fragile, waif-like in an sherpa lined hoodie which only emphasizes her frailty. “You can come,” she tells Alicia and Mrs. Purple. She brings them into a pink room with iridescent butterflies on the wall, stuffed animals clustered together. There are framed botanical prints on the walls, sweet striped curtains with gauzy white sheers, a quilt laid just so against the white crib, chocolate accents everywhere to cut the pink.
“I wanted three girls,” she says, leaning against a changing table stocked with baby toiletries, cause you totally get to decide that. “I’m an only child, and I wanted… noise in the house. Lots of noise.” Well, any gender and you can certainly guarantee the noise. ” I’m 26 years old, and I’ll never have a baby.” Oh. Oh. Alicia’s face mirrors back the woman’s pain. “Are you a mom?” she asks hungrily. Yes, Alicia nods, her empathy overflowing. “If you’re going to sue these people, I will do whatever you want.” The waif’s voice throbs, almost chokes with her anger and her frustration and her distress. “I will testify where you want, I will cry whenever you want, but it’s not for the money. I want them to know they hurt me.” They nod at each other. “Okay?” “Okay, ” confirms Alicia.
And then the homeowner’s cell phone rings. While she excuses herself, Alicia’s phone rings, too; it’s Will, checking in. These people are wary, Alicia tells him, so it’s good but slow. “They’ll climb on board when they smell the money,” Will tells her, cynically. Alicia disagrees. “It’s a conservative neighborhood. They don’t like lawyers.” Heh. That’s why I sent you, Will laughs. Nice. She puts a much kinder face on this sort of project, than, say, my boy David Lee would. Plus, Mrs. Purple came to them, right? So much more pleasant than the thought that they’re just beating the bushes to flush out clients.
Will Gardner – who’s standing in a bronze room in someone’s lavishly appointed house – lets Alicia in the preliminary core sample test data. The core samples, because they are brilliant this way, predict that the lawsuit could be worth as much as 55 million dollars. Youch. That could buy a lot of perfect nurseries for imaginary children. (Sorry, that was mean.) “You’re going to change a lot of lives out there. Just keep signing them up. Call me when you’re done.”
Diane sits on a perfectly appointed beige couch in a tone on tone pattern, sort of bamboo looking. There are bright orange throw pillows and some needle work floral ones. It’s all silk. There are mirrors, and crystal lamps. The set designers have shelled out a lot to make this place look very upscale, from height of the ceilings to the lighting to the textured wallpaper. There are also scads of fresh flowers. It’s also narrow, like a brownstone. Diane and Will are pleased with the progress of the civil action; David Lee (David Lee!) smirks about how they’ve made up. Heh. It is sweet. Any episode with David Lee in it is a good one for me. Also, how fascinating, that they’re meeting at someone’s place. I’m going to assume it’s Diane’s; it feels like her, somehow (we’ve seen her bedroom, but have we been in the rest of her house? I can’t recall), and we know it’s not Will’s.
“Isn’t it adorable?” Will agrees. “So are you on board?” No question what this little clandestine party is about, then. “If it’s about getting Bond out I am; otherwise I’m out the door to another firm.” It’s about getting Bond out. And in order to do that – maneuver out a name partner – they need a majority vote of the equity partners. And as luck would have it, the next meeting of said partners is Friday. Isn’t that convenient? Bond thinks Will is on his side, and will be dismissing Diane as spiteful; the idea is to take advantage of those things to swoop in with the vote. “And you have the vote, right?” Lee worries, as well he may. Diane thinks between the three of them, they do. “Family Law’s, sure, they’re ready to lynch him.” Heh – Lee belatedly realizes that was a poor choice of words. Diane wants Julius with them so it doesn’t look racist (which, I don’t know, but Diane owes him so I’m down with that), and Will’s worried that some of their votes might be soft. “Wolf, Adams, Howard, Neeka.” So we need to get them back on the reservation, Diane agrees. “Back on the reservation? Isn’t Neeka half Cherokee?” Hah. Excellent dig, Lee. Gosh, that man and his droll tone are such a delight. Will thinks the equity partners only care about their year end bonuses, so the new civil suit is the perfect incentive for them. But is that money real, Lee wonders.
Back in her sunlight kitchen, the brown haired waif Julie considers at a consent form. “Just a formality. For the court,” Mrs. Purple explains. Julie likes Alicia, but the phone call was from her friend Gail, who’s at her friend Annette’s house, right this very minute, listening to another lawyer deal come to talk about a suit. Damn. Alicia and Mrs. Purple are horrified, but Alicia can see that Julie does really like her, and so she smiles at the challenge. “Do you mind if we tag along?”
The camera focuses on the map of their subdivision, which dissolves into an aerial picture of the same neighborhood, radiating out from a swirly cul-de-sacs . Cool.
“It’s looks like we have competition,” Alicia speaks into her phone as she walks with Julie and the lavender lady down a busy street. “False alarm,” Alicia smirks. “The firm sent a car and driver. Talk about tone deaf. This community is gonna hate ’em!” Oh, honey, it’s so sweet that your memory is that bad. Who do we know with a car and driver? Alicia steps into a modest brick house and walks into an ugly surprise. Which is – ta da! – Michael J Fox reprizing his role as professional weasel and civil action buster Louis Canning.
“I just don’t want to feel exploited,” blond woman number 2 says to the assenting murmurs of a decent sized crowd, including one guy. She’s sitting on a brown couch with pretty cream, orange and beige accent pillows, a subtle contrast to Diane’s sumptuous home. Ah, Mr. Canning knows all about being exploited. “They see you as a victim, and they want to use that. They don’t see pain unless it can be packaged and sold.” Nice line, buddy.
Cardigan blond – presumably Annette? – notices Julie, Rosanna (Mrs. Purple) and Alicia. Ooops. That’s embarrassing. Now, now, she jokes awkwardly, I don’t want a lawyer smack down in my living room. Nonsense, Canning replies, leaping civilly to his feet, Mrs.Florrick and I are old friends. That’s one way to put it. They shake hands. Aaaaand, here it is – his schpiel about tardive dyskinesia and how it might make him move in silly ways. If I’m shaking, he says, don’t think Mrs. Florrick has me worried. Everybody chuckles, even Alicia. I won’t call her the devil, he says. “I just think you should go with the firm that has your best interest at heart.” Ah. There it is. Canning always has the little guy at heart – which is to say, himself. “Who’s your firm these days, Mr. Canning?” Alicia wonders”Me,” he answers. “I’m it. One employee. No overhead.” He compliments Annette’s plum cake as the assembled neighbors sigh and flutter their eyelids at him, besotted, even Laurie, the first woman we saw Alicia talk to. “And the town car and driver outside? Who pays his salary?” Alicia’s attempt to puncture this bubble of good will goes awry with a few noble sniffs about how poor Mr. Canning can no longer drive himself. Annette’s quick to reassure him that they won’t hold it against him; why, she has a brother with a crippled leg herself. Oh, that’s terrible, he says. “This is what I like about coming into homes like this. I see acceptance. This is what America has more than any other country. Acceptance.” Ah. Lovely. Talk about playing to conservative bias. Alicia can barely control her rolling eyes.
“So you’re working for the pesticide industry now?” Alicia asks Canning as they both head out of Annette’s house into the darkness. “Now why would you say that?” he replies. Oh, that’s right, that’s our Alicia, always cynical, always assuming the worst. “History,” she says pertly. “Last time we met you gloated about helping big pharmaceuticals.” “”Yes, and you defended the wife killer Colin Sweeney,” Canning correctly points out. “So you save JNL money by stealing our clients, and negotiating a lower settlement. ” She smiles. “Very smart.”
“Mrs. Florrick, you seem like such a nice woman on the outside, and then I get a glimpse of the darkness within.” Heh. Alicia gives a real laugh at that one. I’m on to you, she says, and I’m going to make you work harder. Yes, good luck with that. Good work attacking my car, he replies. That worked really well. “There can only be one class action,” she reminds him, still smiling. I’ll see you in court, he says.
Now, that’s moderately interesting to me, from a procedural point of view. I’ll be very curious to see how this plays out. Can I take the moment to say that I’m so pleased to see L/G &B back in civil court? Much as I love Cary, I’m deeply tired of losing all those criminal cases. Maybe we’ll have a chance here.
And speaking of playing, there’s a football game on tv, and some loud and even giggly action going on under a comforter on the floor. That would be the comforter we’ve seen wrapped around Tammy in episodes past. The phone rings. “No no no!” begs Tammy. “Consider it foreplay,” says Will’s voice – which, um, okay, that’s a goofy thought. Because it’s a delay? Or there’s wrestling to get the phone? Will snakes out of the comforter and grabs his cell; Tammy blows the hair out of her face and regards him, pouty. “Oh, I have this deposition,” she prattles in a fake voice. “It’s a continuance!” Hee. He shushes her, and attempts to blow the call off, but his face falls, and though Tammy starts frantically miming “no!” he commits himself to heading in. She’s outraged. “You know what I think? I think you’re gay.” Been watching Threesome, have you, Tammy? He snorts off any questions to his heterosexual virility. “I think your gay lover phones every time we’re about to have sex and calls you away.” Well, there’s a playground level taunt for you. “I’ll have you two over for dinner sometime,” Will says, kissing her and pulling his pants up. She smacks him in the calf.
Will joins Diane and Alicia in court, the Honorable Judge Abernathy presiding. Denis O’Hare, making his third appearance! I will say it again; it’s nice to be in civil court. Not that I don’t love the criminal cases, but still. Variety, spice of life, you don’t need me to tell you. The three range themselves against wee Mr. Canning, who like the cheese sits all alone. Daffy Judge Abernathy – the one who’s so liberal he occasionally bends over backward to prove he’s fair – gives a short lecture on blood donation, and dramatically rolls up his sleeve so everyone can admire his bandage, not to mention the blood drop sticker which indicates he’s donated that day. I leave it to you and your conscience, he says, obviously not realizing he’s talking to lawyers. (Sorry! Couldn’t help it. Not for nothing, but he’s quite right, guilt trip and garish sticker aside. The blood supply is dangerously low.) Everyone besides Diane (including Rosanna, behind our team in the gallery) sits. “Now, I understand we have a disagreement about a class certification today. Miss Lockhart,” he says with relish, “you are looking formidable today!” Hee. She likes. She clarifies the situation for him and us; both Canning and L/G &B want to file this suit on behalf of Falstrum community, the location of a “recent miscarriage and infertility cluster”. Uck. They hadn’t put that so baldly before.
Canning introduces himself with his stock lines about his condition. Lockhart, Gardner and Florrick are bored with the dog and pony show, but the Honorable Charles Abernathy (who has a sister-in-law with Huntington’s) is in awe. He can’t even imagine the bravery required to face the day. This produces even more eye rolling, to no avail. “Oh, dear God,” mutters Will under his breath.
“Your Honor,” Will interrupts, unable to bear the love fest any longer, “until very recently Mr. Canning was in-house counsel for MRG pharmaceuticals. For the last 8 years, he successfully defeated class actions identical to this one. It is our contention that he is a Trojan horse, helping to certify this class in order to destroy it.” Well, I never, says the judge, is this true? Much as Mr. Canning likes to be compared to something out of Homer, no, he can’t say that it is. Rosanna listens attentively. Yes, he used to be paid handsomely to demolish class actions like this one, but 6 months ago he quit because he learned “the error of my ways.” Alicia’s eyes roll all the way to the back of the court. Her head considers going with it. “I’m here representing myself as an advocate for this class precisely because I used to be on the other side.” And Judge Abernathy? He’s buying. He wants to see them all back in 4 days, and whoever has the most folks signed up will win the pot.
“Oh, and,” he admonishes them as he rises to go, “if you’re a blood owner…” They’re all prompted to recite “be a blood donor” along with him.
Where are we, Diane wonders. Up by 6 households, Alicia says. Our lives are all about numbers now, Will groans. This is new how? The fifty five million depends on getting those signatures, Diane reminds everyone, “so let’s go.”
‘We’re broke,” Peter Florrick says, as we look up at his face and also at the back of somebody’s head. Well, this is not news, either, but it’s giving Eli fits anyway. “We have cash on hand for three staff members through the election.” Oh. So they’re not actually broke broke? Interesting. They’re at the campaign headquarters, so theoretically they still have rent money for that space as well. We see the front of the other guy’s head to find that it looks more than a little like Jeff Goldblum, but younger, with more hair and very large rectangular glasses. Really like a cross between Jeff Goldblum and Jeff Probst. He chuckles ruefully to himself. “That’s the story of my life. I’m always recruited by the losing team.” Peter’s turns on his famous charm: “Yes, but we’re the underdogs, so we’re hard to dislike.” Ah, that must be it. And why is he deserving of that third paid position, he wonders? Because you quit Wendy’s polling firm, Peter explains. “We needed a cheap pollster and we thought you’d like to get back at them,” Eli cuts to the chase. I love that Eli is so devious and yet also so honest. It’s a peculiar combination, and yet Alan Cummings makes it work.
“Okay,” says pseudo-Jeff, his lips curling into an affable sneer, “they were lying to her. They told her she had the youth vote tied up.” Eli perks up. She doesn’t? No, she doesn’t. “Are you saying she’s weak on the youth vote,” Peter asks. “No. You’re strong.” Turns out that Jeffster was going a focus group during the debate, and when Peter swore, the under 30s exploded with admiration. “It was like watching a baby chick’s eyes open.” Right. Okay. I get it, I buy it, but man, we are so trivial as voters. “You shot to the low seventies and you stayed there. Kids thought it was honest.” Well, it certainly was that. But of course, the trouble is getting the youth to actually vote. They don’t generally show up. But – and here pseudo-Jeff looks significantly at Peter, who gets it right away – there’s a medical marijuana initiative on the books. “The youth vote is showing up to vote for Amendment 31.” Heh. Okay, that’s kind of a hoot. ‘We need to stop running away from prison,” Eli realizes. Wow, that is so fascinating. Pseudo-Jeff breaks it down: “Wendy gets points for being black, but she’s like… Donna Reid black.” Oh my gosh, that’s exactly right. She’s totally Donna Reid. Awesome. “You’ve been to prison. And that makes you hard-core.” Peter crosses his arms and does his best to look gangsta.
“Matt, come and work with us,” Eli effuses. “I don’t know,” Matt/Jeff snarks, “I was liking day time tv.” “Well,” says Peter, “we’re gonna put a nice big television in your office.” Peter’s got this sort of wolf-like tone, like he’s going to eat you alive and you’re going to like it. He claps Matt on the shoulder, grinning.
Back in Lockhart/Gardner’s conference room, Alicia has the map blown up and the houses color coded: Canning is red, and they’re blue. L/G &B’s up 7 households. Diane wonders if they’ll be able to use Canning’s background against him (and they certainly ought to be able to – that would make a difference to me): Alicia thinks that having Rosanna as their ambassador will help. “She says that people like Canning personally, but they’re open to hearing about collusion.” Will can’t believe that Canning is financing this whole thing by himself; Kalinda’s on it. And there go the partners for that important meeting; looks like it’s Friday. “Is something up?” Alicia asks Kalinda, after the significant looks Will and Diane give each other as they leave. “Something’s always up,” Kalinda astutely notes.
Diane actually bangs a little – knob? Wait, that sounds wrong. She smashes something so it sounds like a gavel, though it isn’t actually on a stick. (And that doesn’t sound any better, does it?) She calls the meeting to order, and after some pleasant formalities (Philip! Twins! Wait, that doesn’t sound right either) and cheers, they head straight for the big ticket items. “How’s everything with the Falstrum pesticides?” Derrick wonders. Diane goes cold. “Fine,” she brazens it out, “we’re lining up clients.” “Good,”says Derrick, smooth but deadly, “I heard there was a bump in certification.” I don’t dislike him nearly as much as I do Blake, but he’s working on it, isn’t he? “Judge Abernathy. He’s being, as is his wont, cautious, but we should know more by Tuesday.” The assembled partners (David Lee included) nod in understanding. “Anything on your end, Derrick?” Ah. Derrick will stand for his opening; thanks for the perfect pitch, Diane. He clears his throat pretentiously, and smiles. “I guess now is as good a time as any.” Wait, I thought this wasn’t going through for another two months? “I just got the go-ahead to announce our newest client. Americans For Growth. A new bipartisan super-PAC with guaranteed financing of $120 million.” Funny, I totally don’t think of PACs as being non-partisan. I think of them as being aggressively partisan, actually. Oh well. The room bursts into applause. Will and Diane look at each other with annoyance – today is clearly not the day for a vote of no confidence – and stand up with the rest of the hungry wolves. Er, sheep? David Lee golf claps. He does not stand. Well, he doesn’t have any motivation to hide his animosity, does he?
That’s Canning’s town car, isn’t it? Kalinda’s stalking him. She calls back to the office to note that he’s leasing a brownstone on the Gold Coast for $20,000 a month. Well, it’s nice to have money, isn’t it? “Leased?” wonders Alicia. Kalinda concurs that it’s odd; she’s going to see if there are cosigners on the lease, and how long he’s planning to stick around. Alicia’s in the pretty blue and yellow kitchen from the opening, the one with the pie.
A doorbell rings, and a pretty woman with pale hair ushers Kalinda – pretending to be a reporter – into her foyer. Cannng isn’t in, but he’ll be right back. Kalinda should wait. The woman introduces herself as Canning’s wife, Simone. She’s been instructed to make Kalinda at home and answer her questions. When we get a good look at her, it’s clear she’s expensively dressed (her clothes are casual but well made) and she bears a pretty strong resemblance to a young Tracy Pollan. I actually wondered if it was Tracy Pollan (Michael J. Fox’s wife) for a minute, but no. Simone walks off to get some hummus and pita (ethnically themed to aim in her guest’s general direction?) but Kalinda doesn’t want to let her leave. How long have they been together? Simone fears the answer would date her; “let’s just say we were high school sweethearts.” Oh please. If this woman was even born when Fox was in high school, I’d be surprised. (Okay, I looked it up. Actress Susan Misner is ten years younger than Fox.) “Is this more about work, or home?” Both, says Kalinda. Fire away, says Simone.
But before Kalinda can fire, Simone goes into a sort of one woman FAQ about dealing with her husband’s condition. Before Kalinda can tell her that she actually doesn’t want to pry into that, thank you very much, two little preppy munchkins run by them. Kalinda seems utterly gobsmacked by the notion that Canning could have reproduced. Jay and Bella appear to be about 5 and 8, which means these high school sweethearts took their sweet time reproducing. Kalinda asks to use the bathroom, and Simone takes off for the hummus and pita.
Kalinda, of course, has no interest in the bathroom, but runs instead to rifle through Canning’s office (handily pointed out when the children attempted to play in it). There’s not much she can lay her hands on, other than some notepaper with the heading “27 Equity.” And that’s when she hears Canning at the door.
They introduce themselves pleasantly (Kalinda having had enough time to pretend to be in the bathroom), and head to the living room. The place is really nice, and quite a bit larger than Diane’s. There’s a lot of dark wood, and very high ceilings. Are you getting everything you need? Well, anything you can say would help the profile, Kalinda fishes. “Oh,” he replies, twitching, “I know there’s no article. I’ve been expecting you – or someone like you, someone from Lockhart/Gardner.” Our girl does not like being caught out. “Are you finding what you’re looking for?” “I don’t know,” she tells him, “what should I be looking for?” Hee. I just love her. She always keeps her cool, even when she’s in a tough (or incredibly awkward) spot. “Something to use against me,” he supplies. Well, there is the matter of the very nice, preposterously expensive house. “Yeah,” he says. “I’m rich, guilty.” Obviously that’s not the issue; it’s how ill-gotten his gains are, and how unlikely he is to be a philanthropist now. “Oh, you mean from screwing the little man?” “More or less,” she nods. “Oh no, Woodie Guthry’s crying!” he snarks, and he actually makes Kalinda laugh. It was a genuine laugh. Oh, dear.
Why wasn’t he bothered by her showing up at his house? Because he’s only bothered by things he doesn’t expect. Smug rat. “Can I ask you a question? Do you think people can change?” No, she doesn’t. “So, once a corporate lawyer, always a corporate lawyer?” Six months is a short time to make that change, she notes. “Saint Paul did it in a second.” She draws back with delight at his hubris: “Oh, so now you’re Saint Paul?” That didn’t go over as well as he wanted it to. Simone arrives with a plate of pita chips and some hummus, and once he notices her, he prattles about how L&G is incompetent and will lose money for some very nice people. Hmmm. “Hey hon? Tell Kalinda why I quit my job.” Simone tries to demur; she gives him a look that says plainly she doesn’t want to talk about it. They both insist, so she explains, in an oddly chirpy tone of voice. “Well, uh, Louis was amazing. I miscarried.” Kalinda recoils in shock. “And that day he quit.” She beams down at her diminutive husband. “He decided he wanted to stay home and help me.” She kisses him and heads off. “Think that might be why I want to help a class action of women who miscarried?”
“I don’t believe you – it’s a trick,” Alicia says over the phone, as Kalinda watches the outside of the Canning brownstone. “It’s kind of an elaborate trick, having your wife miscarry.” Kalinda! I’m shocked. Since when do you believe in people? “It’s either not true or irrelevant. He’s in the pocket of the corporate interests, believe me.” Alicia – back at work, wearing a rather matronly red jacket with a black skirt – is astounded that Kalinda could buy his line for one second. “I think he’s getting in your head,” Kalinda observes. “I think you’re right,” Alicia agrees, “it’s still a trick.” Perhaps Kalinda will find that out when she checks into 27 Equity. They hang up.
Alicia heads into Will’s empty office. Tammy walks in behind her. “I hate being my mom,” she says by way of hello. She’s wearing a sweater with horizontal stripes and a wide leather belt. What’s really neat is that the stripes are the same width as Will’s blinds, so it makes this kind of odd visual trick. And, ah ha! See, the Erin Brockovich comparison was apt, and Tammy is holding up the cleavage side of the comparison. “Um, hi?” says Alicia. “Do you hate that? Being your mom?” “I’m not really my mom,” says Alicia, looking extra corporate and fusty next to Tammy. “I didn’t think I was either. Everything I did I ran in the opposite direction. ” Well, now that’s Alicia. “My mom spent half her life in tears, cooking dinner and waiting for my dad to return home.” Ah. I see where this is going. And fascinating, because it’s such a fundamental question for Alicia. Is she staying married just to prove she’s not like her mother? Tammy’s got herself set up with pastrami sandwiches and water bottles, presumably to make a nice picnic for absentee Will. “And here I am. Where is he?” Tammy doesn’t want to hear an answer. She wants Alicia to join her for lunch. “I warned him: fall for me and I’m out of here. Now look at me.” Yeah, well, there it is. Alicia’s wearing the most awkward face there is. She sits at Tammy’s insistence, but looks at the food as if it – and possibly Tammy – carried the plague. “What’s the point?” Tammy wonders, “I don’t want this.” Alicia searches her mind frantically for an appropriate answer (what do you say when your secret crush’s girlfriend wants relationship advice?) and comes up with the psychologist’s way out – a question. “What do you want?” Tammy does not know.
“Sometimes it’s best just to remain friends. That’s what I’ve found.” Well, that’s a fascinating answer from Alicia. Is this because she wants Tammy to break up with Will? Or is it really her answer? For him, or in general, back when she was dating in the late 80s or early 90s? Let’s just be friends, Will! She shrugs. Tammy seems supremely unaware that it’s an awkward moment.
Aaand, awesome. The next scene opens on a placard bearing a marijuana leaf, the logo of a website called Just Say Now. Hee. Peter’s voice sounds canned as he decries the lack of serious thought spent on this issue. He stands in a coffee house, surrounded by the youth vote, advocating for medical marijuana to be taken seriously. Huh. Can that be worth it for his numbers? There’s a label on the bottom of the screen which says this is being broadcast at Cook County College. Peter talks about the damage pot does to the legal system, and how he’s seen that, first hand, when he was in prison. Nice.
There’s a quick cut to a building with another logo – Pesticides and Chemicals JNL. Kalinda’s suborning a hot dog vendor hawking his wares across the street to call her when he sees Canning’s car head into the parking entrance. A hundred now, two hundred later. I think that’s a deal he’d be willing to make.
“We lost two,” Rosanna worries to Alicia,”the two I was worried about.” How did he know to go to those two? Rosanna doesn’t know, but he went to them first thing. Maybe because he’s good at his job? He’s been pressuring Julie as well. Well, Julie is the one who doesn’t care about money – but if JNL really is paying off Canning to low ball the claimants, then this is just another way in which they’re not taking the rights of these human beings seriously, treating them as people to be bought off. And that’s what Julie really cares about. The whole point of this sort of suit isn’t just restitution, because there is no such as restitution for the children you’ll never be able to have. It’s to make it hurt enough that the bastards don’t do it again. Alicia desperately pitches Julie, but it’s fine: Julie doesn’t want to sign with Canning. Why not? Because he’s been bad mouthing Lockhart/Gardner in a way Julie doesn’t appreciate. In something of a genius move, Julie recorded Canning on the nanny-cam she bought for her miscarried (not imaginary,boo me) daughter. I should add, too, that for her to have known she was carrying a daughter makes it likely she miscarried at least half way through her pregnancy, which is extra horrible.
The fluffy white bear carries some fascinating tales. Canning – speaking to a rapt audience as ever – explains that L/G’s undergoing a partnership battle for control of the firm, which clearly makes him the better choice. Will and Diane glare at the nanny cam video, downloaded to Alicia’s laptop. “I don’t know if it’s true,” Alicia says, shutting off the video, “but I thought I should bring it to you.” Will tents his hands. Everyone’s worried. How could he know this if Will and Diane didn’t spill it? “There’s a mole,” Kalinda says darkly, and they all lean back in their seats in horror.
“Half the convicts I knew in prison were there because of drugs,” Peter tells his listeners in the coffee house. Well, you ought to know – surely you and your office put most of them there! Eli, watching on vidtrope.com back in the campaign headquarters, worries to Matt that there aren’t enough hits. Matt’s not worried. ‘What does this do for our older constituents?” “It’s a dog whistle,”comes the fascinating reply,”no one else hears it.” Right. Come out in favor of legalizing or decriminalizing pot, and you wanna bet me that it’ll go over Childs’ head? I think not, sir. I respectfully disagree. Matt the pollster/Jeff Goldblum-Probst worries a lot more about another video entitled “Peter is the man” made by a marching band, some cheerleaders, and an incredibly dorky man in fancy dress, which is getting a lot more hits. Yes, that is vexing. We can’t have supporters who are dorks, not now that we know we need to be hard-core and bad ass. “He’s not black, he’s not white/he’s got a plan to make it right,” raps the middle aged white dude in the Revolutionary War costume (complete with gold lamme cumberbund). Really. Matt/Jeff (Mutt and Jeff?) can hardly control his laughter. Eli, not so much. The fellow’s called Neil Howard Sloan Jacobs (um, okay) and he’s sworn to make a new nonsensical dorkfest video every week until the election. “God, it’s like a hostage crisis,” Eli growls. Eli’s going to hunt down Neil Howard Sloan Jacobs to avoid the debilitating stain of being unhip, a la Hilary Clinton in ’08. (I think that’s a preposterous comparison. How many politicians are hip? Barack Obama was the exception; Hilary Clinton’s lack of cool wouldn’t have mattered in a race against John McCain or almost any other politician you can name. Except maybe her husband.)
Peter looks over Matt’s shoulder in time to be horrified by Neil Howard Sloan Jacobs, who is howling about a nightmare. “I know who to talk to,” he says, but it’s not about the video. It’s about being seen as bad ass. “A guy I met in prison,” Peter says, smiling hugely.
I don’t get it, Will says, looking at Canning, frozen mid-sentence. How did he know about the partnership fight? That’s not the whole of it, Alicia explains, because Canning’s been one step ahead of them all week. But only Will and Diane knew about the other bit. Well, and David Lee. Rosanna, Alicia theorizes. And sure enough, there she is, sitting out in the hall. She was there the day of the partner meeting, and she certainly knows the neighborhood well enough to advise Canning. That’s unpleasant, though, considering she contacted our firm in the first place. Kalinda will find out if she flipped.
Meanwhile, Kalinda’s found out that 27 Equity, a New York hedge fund, is where Canning’s gotten his financing, not JNL Pesticides. Will wears a broad, broad smile at this revelation. “It’s the newest thing with litigation. They did the same thing last year with the ground zero workers.” Um, ick. Lawyers borrowed $35 mil to keep that lawsuit going, at 15% a year. But why would you do that? “I think there’s a chance that he’s sincere,” Kalinda says apologetically, almost unwillingly. Alicia glares at her, not believing her friend could be such a chump. “Doesn’t matter,” says Will. “We still need to beat him in court.”
Kalinda takes another tack. How’ve Alicia and Rosanna been communicating? Via phone and email. “Let me check your computer,” Kalinda asks, and as she begins to look, the hot dog man calls up for his two hundred bucks.
Annette sits down in front of Julie in the gallery, presumably on the Lockhart/Gardner side, which is a little bit of a surprise. The margin of two alarms the partners, but it’s still a win. Alicia hops to the table with “I just gave blood” stickers for Will and Diane, who struggle to peel and pin them before Judge Abernathy arrives; Canning is already sporting his own. Where are we on the class overlap, Abernathy asks Canning. Iiiiinteresting that he addresses the question to Canning and not Diane, no? Though not everyone has decided, Lockhart/Gardner sees itself up 41/39. At my count it’s 40 all, Canning counters; that’s when we see Rosanna, that little traitor, sitting in his half of the gallery. She nods sadly to Alicia. Lovely. Good call, though, Alicia.
The dust may still be settling on the number of households signed, Will begins, but what’s clear is this – “just today, Mr. Canning colluded with JNL pesticides at their company headquarters.” The choice of words amuses Abernathy. “Really? Colluded, Mr. Canning?” Perish the thought, sir. They asked me to meet, and offered a settlement $2 million. He makes a subtle dig about L/G having the resources and manpower to follow him, when poor sad crippled Louis can’t afford to think of such a thing. Right. I bet L/G & B’s office doesn’t even cost as much a month as Canning’s house. “Your Honor, this suit is worth 20 times that.” Annette looks back at Julie in utter confusion. I don’t know about that, but it’s more than the nothing which is on the table now, Canning says, sounding quite pleased with himself. Abernathy chides him for bargaining before he actually has the case. Hey, they just offered me the money, Canning claims, sounding particularly weaselly. Canning believes in befriending the enemy, he says. “Because you intend to lower the deal!” Will yells at him. Well. You don’t see that in court that often. “I intend to get a deal. A fight takes time. Ask your clients if they’re willing to take that time.” None of them looked desperate to me, buddy.
Judge Abernathy calls them all to attention. “I’m glad to see you’ve all given blood; let’s not spill any here. It’s my purview to marry these classes, and that’s what I intend to do.” Oh. Nice. That’s going to make exactly no one happy. Abernathy shushes them, and raises his right hand. “By the powers invested in me by the state of Illinois, I now pronounce you one class!” The moment his back is turned, the attorneys rip off their blood drop stickers as one. Well, at least it proves they can do something in coordination, right?
Unable to get past it, Will’s still grouching about being married to Canning as he walks into Tammy’s apartment. He must have a key, because she’s doing stretches against the kitchen counter. “We’ll make the best deal we can, okay?” He’s so very very grouch about this. He apologizes for blowing her off for dinner, but then his phone rings again. She thinks she’s going to go on a long run instead of a short one.
“It’s not a leak,” Kalinda tells him. She’s sitting with Alicia back at the office. Canning, she says, put Spector Pro on Alicia’s laptop, which is a real key logger software; when you type, it comes out on someone else’s screen. Diabolical! Didn’t Lisbeth use that in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? One of those books, anyway. That is still a kind of a leak, though – just a leaky machine, not a leaky person. But how did Canning get a hold of Alicia’s laptop? When would he possibly have been able to do that? Is that twinning thing was something you can do remotely? “Can we prove it?” Will wonders. Well, says Kalinda, we can trace it, but then they’d know we traced it. Will narrows his eyes and is silent for a second. “You wanna use it?” Kalinda guesses astutely. Ah, she knows her devious boss well, doesn’t she? Will instructs Alicia to email Diane with the news that some of their scientific boffins recommend they ask for $70 mil; then Diane should up the asking price to 85. That ought to freak JNL out but good. The ladies are down for this bit of trickery.
Okay, says Will, slapping his phone down on Tammy’s counter, refreshed by arriving at a plan. “I’ll go for a jog with you.” Not so fast, hot shot. “I have a date tomorrow night.” What? “I have a date with a South African soccer player tomorrow night.” Will’s ebullience drains away. He thinks she’s kidding. She says she’s not. He tries to make light of it, but she won’t let him. “I don’t understand. Are you breaking up with me?” “No,” she says, in this way that kind of actually means yes. “Just putting things on pause.” (Hah – my kids say that all the time, and I’ve always wondered if other people did. Of course, my kids are talking about tag and not dating, but it’s still cute. Not to Will, of course. Just to me. ) “I didn’t fall in love with you,” he says defensively, which has got to be the world’s most hilarious way of trying to get someone not to dump you, ever. I know, she says, but maybe she’s not so enchanted to hear it as usual. No, no, she just wants a thirty day cool down period. What? “You told me not to fall in love with you, and I didn’t!” he insists a bit pathetically, and she literally runs away.
Okay, so everybody who told me that I shouldn’t believe Tammy when she said she didn’t want a relationship? You were right, and I was wrong to take her at her word. Because she totally does. Maybe she didn’t start off wanting a relationship, but all that playing house rubbed off. And I think he’d totally go for a relationship, too, but none of it is going to make him less of a workaholic. She said in the beginning she’d stay until it was fun; if she’s always waiting for him, she’s not having fun. So by her own rules, she ought to end it. But she can’t, and we all know what that means.
“You okay?” Alicia asks Will as he stares, unseeing, out his window. He’s shocked to find someone else in the room and he is very clearly not okay. “Am I? Yeah – why?” She looks down at him, a little amused. “Well, I just asked you what you thought a good compromise come out offer was, and you said ‘yes.'” Ah. Too lost in his thoughts. He can’t explain himself, though. You can tell he’s tempted, because they’re old friends, but no, it’s just too weird. “Life is complicated, isn’t it?” It can be, she agrees, still puzzled by the depth of his distress. “I don’t know what I want,” he tells her honestly, staring out the window again. Now that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? She looks at him sharply. “I’m very good when I know what I want. But when I don’t…” he looks up at her, confessing. “…I suck.” It’s very perceptive of him; he always works better with a goal or strategy. It’s also kind of adorable, in this little boy way. He does a very good job of communicating his dissatisfaction. She invites his confidence – is it work, or something else? – but he can’t bring himself to discuss it. “I need friends. I need like a fat buddy who I can tell things to and get drunk.” Too bad Matthew Wade is in jail, then, isn’t it? And that your judge friends turn out not to be so good for you? “I’ll work on that,” she jokes; does it hurt her feelings he can’t confide in her, or is she relieved not to have to hear about Tammy? Or is she just hoping to hear that it’s over?
“Will?” Derrick’s soft voice calls out, “do you have a minute?” Alicia graciously cedes Will to the Bringer of All That Is Evil. Will stands, almost as if he were in court, but faces away from Bond. I think he’s more comfortable acting as if he’s litigating whenever he’s facing an important issue. Derrick wants to talk to Diane about backing away from litigation. Why? “She’s letting her leftist activism get the best of her,” Derrick snarls, uncharacteristically expressing a personal view. Will thinks she’s past that point; maybe last year, but not in this economy. “Take over the pesticide case,” Derrick insists, but still Will resists. “She’s pushing for an 85 million dollar deal she’ll never win,” Bond persists.
Oh, my God, my stomach just dropped out. Holy crap. I was not expecting that. Oooops. I scared the hell out of the cat. Must control shrieking instinct, must control shrieking… The writers played this so beautifully. Even though it’s exactly the sort of thing Derrick would have Blake do, I was so concerned with Canning and his uncanny knowledge of all things L/G &B that it just did not occur to me.
Finally Will’s turned around, now that the conversation has exploded. “How do you know that?” Will keeps his cool, even through complete surprise. “How do I know she won’t win?” No, dummy. “How do you know she’s looking for 85 million?” Will plays this so well; he doesn’t ask it in a way which sounds suspicious, like he knows they’ve been cloned – he says it as if he doubts Derrick’s sources, or that Diane could be that dumb. “I just know,” Derrick says, downplaying it. “But you can’t tell me how?” “Trust me,” Derrick the Diabolical tells Will, “My information is solid.” Oh, he knows it is, Derrick, he knows it. “Alicia wanted her to come in at 70 million; Diane pushed it to 85.” Will makes a good show of being shocked by this. I’m sure he doesn’t have to fake much of that. This isn’t the first shock to the system he’s just had. Shaking his head at the outrageous gall of his partner, Will agrees to talk to Diane. Damn straight he’s going to talk to her! He glowers at Derrick’s retreating back.
Must control shrieking, must control shrieking…
No, I actually don’t want to control myself for just a moment. It’s completely and utterly plausible that Bond would bug his coworkers, and clearly Blake has the opportunity to do it. Of course he would do it. I almost wonder that it didn’t occur to anyone before. But man. Man, the dude is so low.
Speaking of shrieking, check out Neil Howard Sloan Jacobs and his heinous too tight 80s sweater. “Get out of here!” he crows, hands on his hips, overflowing with enthusiasm. “I will not… get out of here,” Eli replies, awkwardly trying to match the enthusiasm, and the way he says it makes me laugh unto tears. “Peter asked me personally to ask you personally.” Neil Howard Sloan Jacobs flaps his hands and swans about in his utter joy. It’s kind of endearing, even though it’s also embarrassing. When have we ever seen anyone so genuinely excited about Peter? (Er – Peter’s candidacy, that is.) So unironic? “That does not happen,” he says, fluttering in front of a baby grand piano and some cymbals – clearly, they’re in a band room. “That does happen,” Eli informs him, “and it’s happening to you.” Neil Howard Sloan Jacobs – played by Broadway vet Christopher Sieber -can’t believe someone saw what he posted, let alone someone from the campaign. He needed to do something. He wanted to make politics fun. And that, sir, is why Eli is there, offering you the very exclusive unpaid position of the liaison to the political director! Neil Howard Sloan Jacobs can – and will – send Eli anything, song or slogan ideas, you name it, as long as he doesn’t actually implement the ideas himself. Watch out, Eli, because you’re going to be getting a lot of glee songs for Peter! Oh, you poor deluded love. Eli apologizes for not being able to offer a stipend, but the good teacher wants to keep his day job.
Eli takes an uncharacteristic moment to ask Neil Howard Sloan Jacobs why he started all this. “Why? He spoke at the school about bullying. About making fun of kids? He said people see someone who’s different from them, and they never get a chance to really know them.” The teacher trains his puppy dog eyes on Eli. “And the only way to make life rich is, next time, have lunch with them.” Eli smiles. And it turns out, the mood in the school actually changed. “I never thought words could make a difference, just music – but he changed people.” It didn’t last long, but it happened. Eli’s visibly moved. “And that’s what makes this so great, that I will be working for him.”
“Nice meeting you,” Eli says, shaking hands, and you can tell he means it. Neil Howard Sloan Jacobs pats his cheeks, making the Home Alone Face in his surprise and joy.
Aw. That’s the sweetest thing! I wish Alicia had seen that, the way Peter can make a difference. I hope Eli actually finds a way to use this guileless soul, so he can feel like he really did contribute. Someone who can out-mug Alan Cumming and yet remain a believable human being! Impressive. This dude moved dried up cynic Eli, for God’s sake, and he really made you feel like wow, Peter can be a force for good! I was not expecting that.
On to less guileless souls and their contributions. Kalinda’s checked all the computers on the 27th floor, and found the software on Julius Caine’s and the aforementioned litigator Neeka’s. Conspirators Lockhart, Gardner and Lee grace Diane’s living room once more, horrified. Kalinda believes that the distribution points to Bond rather than Canning. “Two equity partners and one junior associate – why Alicia?” Lee wonders. Oh, silly David. Kalinda and Diane give significant looks, but it’s up to Will to reason out it’s Bond’s way of keeping tabs on him, given their “close connection.” Ah. I wonder if that’s why he offered to mentor Alicia, too. Man, he’s like this insidious worm, Bond. Did Will spill anything to Alicia? About this? Nothing. Lee asks Kalinda for a moment, but Will wants her to stay. Well, is there anyone who wants Blake and his puppet master gone more than she does? Plus, she’s always helpful. Will stands. “I think we should do the same thing to Bond we were planning to do to Canning.” Use it? You bet. Diane should write to Julius about getting to Bond’s weakest votes. “Get him to fire his own people!” David Lee twigs to the plan immediately. Yes, exactly. Nice plan, Will. Simple and effective and devious enough to feel really satisfying; they’re going to beat the puppet master at his own game. “We can’t pick off his votes,” Will notes. “But he can,” smiles David Lee. “I think I’m liking this. It’s going to be hard to go back to the law.” The fearsome foursome chuckles together like the cast of Star Trek on the bridge at the end of a show.
Whose face is that? Hip hop artist and actor Method Man! Good lord. This is the guy Peter knows from prison? Alrighty then. They’re small talking about how long they’ve been out. “Ankle monitoring,” Peter pulls up his pant leg to indicate, “not so bad.” “Been there,” Method Man nods sagely. Oh, my gosh, but that’s funny. Also funny: Eli does a double take in the outer office as he sees Peter’s guest. Why? I wish I had precise enough words to describe the shading of Eli’s many different faces of surprise, though. Peter and Meth ask after each other’s moms. Jackie’s good; Meth Momma hates her son’s last album. Ah ha. This is why Eli’s excited; Meth’s a recording artist in this universe, too. Matt, standing next to Eli, watches more coolly as the two ex-cons laugh about life inside. “So I guess I owe you,” Meth notes, getting down to business. Naw, says Peter, the legal advice was free. Maybe, but it was the best Meth’s ever gotten. (Gee, Peter, maybe you should refer him to Lockhart/Gardner if he’s so unimpressed with his current representation.) What does Peter need? He needs the youth vote. Both men bust up as Meth suggests a tattoo. (Ha – can you imagine Jackie’s face?) Peter was thinking an interview for the two of them. Oh, says Method Man, “I thought we were talking about a fundraiser.” Eli practically falls through the door. Doth his ears deceive him, or didst he hear someone with an idea for bringing in money?
Nice. Peter’s embracing the dark side, and he’s going to have a glamorous gangsta rap fundraiser. Well, it might be a dangerously old people alienating scheme, but I guess you have to use what you have!
“Just so we’re clear, we didn’t consider our offer to Mr. Canning to be a low ball offer. We consider it to be our offer. Our best, last and final offer.” Oh please. They’re not in kindergarten. No one starts with their best offer. “Well how nice for you,” Will snarks, clicking his pen as he sits at the conference room table, facing a phalanx of JNL lawyers and execs. “Then we’ll see you in court.” Hey, wait, says Canning. “We’re not trying to pick your pockets here – we just need to show the judge a hint movement.” Ha! I guarantee L/G &B has absolutely no concerns for the state of JNL’s pockets, so long as they are sufficiently deep. “No,” says Will, “we don’t.” Canning of course does not agree, so Diane asks to talk to him alone.
“Good job, nicely played,” Canning enthuses back in Diane’s office. “Oh, don’t even pretend,” Alicia groans. What, says Canning, we’re good cop/bad copping. (I like that as a phrase, don’t you?) No, you’re undercutting us, Diane points out flatly. “We’ll contest any low ball offer,” Will warns him, and the partners file out. “It’s a lucky world where 2 million dollars is a low ball offer!” Oh, don’t even try, Canning. Whatever. Alicia glares balefully. “Don’t you just look at them and feel something?” Alicia can’t stop herself from asking. “Excuse me?” She’s stopped him from following the others. “Those mothers. They miscarried. They can’t have children. Don’t you feel something when you hear them, or is your cynicism that deep?” Because yes. He’s gone into their homes, heard their stories, lied to their faces about what his aims are. “Mrs. Florrick, you don’t know me. You don’t know what my life is. I may have the greatest compassion for them in the world – or I may have none. It’s irrelevant. What I owe them is not my compassion but my ability.” Okay, fair point, but since your ability seems to be on the side of JNL, I’m still with her on judging you. “And that’s what I’m giving them.” He shuffles back to the conference room, leaving Alicia to look thoughtful.
Don’t be a sap, Alicia. He’s being vile.
And, good. She wasn’t fooled. Rosanna’s waiting by the elevator, and Alicia uses her people skills to elicit some vital information: Canning flipped their client by showing her a document from JNL – their internal analysis of what they’d be willing to pay out. Hmmm. Now how did he get such a thing? Unfortunately Rosanna doesn’t have a copy, and Will thinks it’ll be considered privileged. “No, it won’t,” grins Diane, her voice rich with understanding. Will figures it out. “We’ve got to get to Judge Abernathy!”
Civil Court turns into a chaotic, cacophonous mess. Judge Abernathy delicately refuses to be their referee. The JNL representative is timorous and quite peeved. It seems someone accepted their settlement offer of 2.4 mil, with a 1 mil reserve against future claims. Are you kidding? Will snaps that the offer was made to Canning, who stands small between Will and Diane. You don’t have a deal until I certify it, Mr. Foxman, Abernathy tells him. Foxman crosses his arms in pique. How much do you love that the pesticide company’s lawyer was called Mr. Foxman? With that big bulbous bald head and the tufts of side hair, the man looks like a fox. And tried to steal the eggs out of the hen house (sorry, in such poor taste) like a fox.
Lockhart/Gardner is attempting to introduce a witness – Carl Hobart, an analyst for – dun dun duh! – the hedge fund 27 Equity. Kalinda saves the day once again. “And you recently were sent a document by Mr. Canning?” Diane questions. Canning, in one of the more entertaining legal comic bits I’ve seen in a while, objects on grounds of relevance. But you can’t object to your own side! Canning glares at Foxman, who belated realizes he wants to stand up and object. Will and Alicia can’t help laughing. “I think I’ll overrule that on absurdity alone,” Abernathy stammers, which is just fantastic. Yes, Hobart was sent a document as collateral for a loan the hedge fund made Canning, to the tune of 4 million dollars. (Why did he need that monstrous a loan? Isn’t that nutty? How high can his overhead be, even with the car and the preposterly over-priced house? I presume JNL must be paying the astronomical interest for him.) And did the document name the amount of money JNL was willing to pay out? Canning stands to object once more. Foxman’s faster this time, but Abernathy’s still getting a headache. Rosanna is in the gallery and has switched sides yet again. Privilege, Canning howls. “That would be true,” Will agrees, “except Mr.Canning pierced his own privilege by showing this document to a hedge fund. He can’t have it both ways. Now, either it’s privileged or it’s not – and now, it’s not.” Oh, Will enjoyed that quite a lot. Judge Abernathy waggles his finger: “Now that seems like a particularly good point, Mr. Canning. You can’t pick and choose when privilege applies. Do you have anything else?” Canning looks over to Foxman. No, he doesn’t.
“Okay, I’ll admit it, nicely played,” he tells Alicia out in the hallway. He’s got rather less swagger than usual. Alicia thanks him graciously. Sure, she still has to make a deal, but she’s guessing it’s going to be easier now. A slight understatement, Alicia. “So, that was all cynical, right?” She can’t stay away – she can’t help wondering how he lives with himself. “You were just trying to lower the amount of the award?” Music swells, as if Canning is about to say something meaningful and maybe even true. Is this his real deal? “I think people were harmed here. And I think companies ought to pay for their mistakes. But I think companies are paying too much for their mistakes. And I think lawyers are helping people overstate the amount of harm. That’s all. So if that’s cynical, then… I’m a cynic.” Alicia squints and watches him trundle off.
Ah, Mr. Canning. Do I really need to break it down for you? So you think that companies are forced to pay too much, do you? That’s not necessarily cynical. But if it’s not cynical to misrepresent yourself to gain those ends – to use your personal story to garner false sympathy and compassion – I don’t know what is. Plus, you were talking 100 households, so divide that by $2mil for sterilizing women by burying toxic waste in a residential area? Um, hello. I don’t really know how you put a price on the ability to reproduce, or overstate its importance as part of the human experience. Surely there are cases where the harm is overstated, but is this one? I can’t see it.
A song begins to play, the New Pornographer’s “Testament to Youth in Verse”. The words “And the bells ring ‘no no no no no'” play out over the scenes to come, but there are earlier lyrics which are relevant, too: “And can we control ourselves for once/Keep our hands off each other, and our minds on the sum/Keep our hands off each other, and keep our minds on the sum of each other.” Will walks by Derrick’s office in time to see him give a conciliatory pat on the shoulder to some poor stiff who got caught up in his evil plan. “It worked,” growls David Lee, pretending to hold up the wall. “That’s one of his votes,” Will gloats to Diane, who’s pretending to read a binder; he pretends to read over her shoulder. “Looks like he’s sending him back to DC,” she says casually. “I love it,” rumbles Lee as he swaggers off. Diane and Will covertly share a low five. It’s delicious.
The bells still ring no over some super cute black pumps with tiny bows over the toes; Tammy’s got her legs crossed on Will’s desk. Will’s taken aback and wary. Tammy’s face is serious and apologetic. “How’s your South African soccer player,” he asks a bit coldly. “Fictional,” she admits, raising her eyebrows. He almost closes the door. “I don’t know what this is,” she admits fitfully. She’s worn quite the low necked dress. “I don’t like needing… anyone.” She can’t bring herself to say his name, but he understands. They smile at each other, and she slinks out of the chair. “It’s not commitment. It’s just… preferential treatment.” Tell yourself whatever you have to, honey. “I can deal with that,” he smiles, and she snuggles in as the soundtrack calls “no no no no no no.” She leans in to nuzzle his neck, and moans, throwing back her head and clutching his bicep. “You smell like you. You smell like Will!” He laughs delightedly. “I can do without it. But you have to be more gentle with me. I’m not as tough as I look.” He assents, and they kiss. Oh, dear. I recognize that goopy, soppy, sappy state of being. Tammy and Will are totally in love. They’re in love! Adorably in love, even. You know, I actually was not expecting that, and I so should have been. I’ve been thinking of her as a roadblock, not a true love triangle impediment, and she’s so much more.
The bells ring no over the door to the Florrick’s apartment. Ah, hall door, how much I’ve missed you! Oh, thank you. There it is. Since you didn’t start with it, you had to end with it. The camera moves to the master bedroom door, and behind it, as the singer wails “No No No!” once more (which seems to be laying it on a little thick), Alicia and Peter lie next each other in bed. They are not touching. They’ve got their arms over the covers, and they’re staring up at the ceiling (but not in that bliss out, we have thoroughly enjoyed each other’s endorphins kind of a way) but yeah, they’re not hideously awkward, either.
We’re climbing with 18-30 year olds, Peter tells her. Now there’s pillow talk for you! I snark because I love; that’s actually just what he should be doing, talking about his day. “Congratulations,” she says, tapping her fingers against each other. “Suddenly I’m hip,” he laughs. “I never thought you weren’t,” she smirks supportively. “The rapper Young Boxer” – ah, that’s what they’re calling Method Man? – “he’s going to do a benefit concert for me.” She’s got nothing. “So how was your day?” Somehow, this cracks her up; Peter turns onto his side so he can watch her face.
The episode ends with Alicia’s rich, rolling laughter.
And, fine, I’m not going to talk about because I know lots of people don’t watch the previews, but man, I am totally obsessed with the trailer for next week’s episode. One of the all time great guest stars! And the – oh, dear. I am extremely nervous on the behalf of certain parties. I kind of want to freak out. Oh my gosh, seriously, I don’t know how I am going to contain myself or what I am going to do for the next week. Hopefully you lovely people will keep me occupied!
So, let’s get down to business. We won! We finally won a case! Well, er, not that we got the actual case, just a bunch of pre-trial motions, but still. Is our luck on the rise? Don’t get me wrong, I love that the writers are willing to risk losing, It’s just, eek, three losses in a row? Thank you for breaking that streak. It was getting to be a little much. Also, much as I love Cary, and as varied as the last few episodes have been, it’s really nice to get a different kind of case.
And, hurrah! Even better than winning – no Blake! Yes. I can only hope that this absence is followed by many more to come. They can’t write this boy off the show fast enough for me.
I do like Matt the pollster, however, and it’s nice to see Eli with a staffer he likes, especially after the debacle of a few weeks ago. Matt’s smart, he’s got a specific and unique voice, and he’s terminally hip. Distinctive characters are much appreciated. I love it when a team comes together!
The partnership fight is dizzying fun; I could spin around like that all day. The spyware is a thrilling plotline, and for them to use it successfully against Bond? Love it. And I adore seeing snarky David Lee added into the rebellion. It’s a little funny to see Kalinda and Alicia just usher in, though; Alicia’s still largely our point of view character, so it’s funny to think of how much know that she doesn’t. And of course we expect Kalinda to know everything. I’m happy they’re both sort of in the know now. I suppose it would be too much to ask for Julius Caine’s involvement? But no, the universe would explode if he and Lee were in the same room at the same time. Or maybe that’s just the show’s budget.
Canning. Did he have his wife tell the miscarriage story to throw Kalinda off? Did he really quit his job just to “help her out” during a miscarriage? Does that seem implausible to anyone else? Nearly half the women I know have had miscarriages, and none of them – or their husbands – quit their jobs because of it. (Granted, none of them are as rich as Canning, but still. For that matter, did it strike anyone else as odd that these women are supposed to be childless, and of modest means, but none of them seem to have jobs? Just saying. I know that’s a petty bone to pick at, but it just struck me as atypical.) Of course, it’s a pretty nasty thing to ask your wife to lie about, but in order to be married to him, she’s not likely to be an ingenue, is she? So that’s what I think; Kalinda got played, and that’s tough to do. And I know I’ve made myself clear, but it bears repeating; there may be truth in Canning’s basic position, but his cunning removes my sympathy for him. I couldn’t consider his means moral even if I were entirely sold on his goals.
Another thing that doesn’t sit quite right with me is the hedge fund loan. I can totally understand why he doesn’t want to be seen as being paid by the pesticide company, though I’m not sure how many times that same trick can work. But $4 million? Why is his overhead so high? He couldn’t lease a house for less than 20k a month? For that matter, how long does he think this suit is going to last if he moved his wife and school aged children away from their home in New York, for a case nearly wrapped up in a week? And how will he get paid back for taking the loan out in the first place?
And then we’ve got Will and Tammy. The writers are either going to have to change the basis of the show, or eventually break them up, but man, this is a very nice twisty development. They just can’t play house without developing the feelings that go with it, much as they thought they could. And we can make a very strong case that this is in everyone’s self interest. Will’s happy, and Alicia won’t be tempted to leave her marriage for him. Now, of course, it’s complicated. Is Will really over Alicia? Does he love Tammy? Maybe he does. He’s clearly intoxicated by her, relaxed and charmed and happy. Can Will love Tammy and Alicia at the same time? Can Tammy really deal with Will’s lifestyle, or has she acted against her self interest now that he’s not just fun anymore, now that she wants more time than he can give? Can Will really change? I don’t think so, not the part of himself that feels responsible for his firm and works his hardest to do everything right. Is Tammy letting herself in for anything more than frustration and heart ache in the end?
Finally, was the point of the song that we’re all supposed to be revolting against the way things are? Tammy with Will, Alicia with Peter, Bond’s star sinking? I don’t know about that. Whether you ship A/P or A/W, you really can’t be in Bond’s camp. Either way, this was a great case, with lots of exciting developments in the over all plot. Good times!