E: Sweet holy Mother of God. Now that, my friends is a tv show. I think I need a cold shower for my brain, if that makes even the smallest amount of sense. I mean, good lord! We found out what Blake and Bond are up to! We found out what Blake has on Kalinda, and man, it’s a doozy! Alicia had a fantastic, fantastic series of conversations with her brother, who is – hurray! – moving to Chicago where hopefully he’ll be available to stir up trouble on a regular basis. Cary, Kalinda, Will and Diane are all in kick ass mode! And – eep – Alicia brought up the voice mail! OMG. I think I need some sort of a cooling helmet so my brain doesn’t overheat and rocket right out of my head.
And also perhaps a small grave to bury my heart in. Talk about hurting so good! Those twisted choirs of angels, my friends? They are singing.
The episode opens with a shot of a palm tree in a brilliant blue sky. The shot widens, and we see a glorious ocean vista; we’re on a hill looking down on a white beach and hills dotted with houses. Standing at a large window is a woman in white, with long loose curls and a drink in her hand. It’s a glorious 76 degrees where she’s at.
“How nice for you. Here it’s a balmy 10 degrees, but it’s going to get chilly tonight,” Diane drawls, pacing in front of her own window. In less than subtle contrast, there are snowflakes swirling lazily, and Diane’s clad in a dark suit with a fur collar and genuinely enormous stiff hair.
“So anyway, I was supposed to fly in tonight for these depositions,” says the woman, turning around and revealing herself to be Rita Wilson, “but O’Hare’s all messed up. I just need you to carry the ball; it’s routine, nothing contentious.” Sure, soothes Diane, though I can’t help laughing at the thought of O’Hare being closed for this delicate little snow shower; we can see blue sky between the skyscrapers, for heaven’s sake. Folks’re made of far sterner stuff in Chicago. What’s the case? Rita grins delightedly, biting down on her straw as she draws out the words, savoring them: Patric Edelstein.
Diane freezes, as motionless as her hair.
“Get Will,” she whispers to her assistant, who glides off silently. “You know, Sleuthway.com?” Rita adds into Diane’s stunned silence. Duh, recovers Diane. “Kid’s a billionaire – a Mark Zuckerberg in the making.” Well, I’m glad we got that out of the way. Let’s acknowledge our debts, people. 4.2 billion in assets, Rita gloats, settling back into her desk chair. There’s a rather large white statuette of a pagoda on her desk, which balances the visual of the palm tree behind her head. “Have you been following what’s happening with this movie?” “What, the one about him? Yes. He says it’s untrue,” Diane notes, standing in front of the piddly sun shower. “It is untrue,” Rita says with all the conviction of someone parroting the party line. “And defamatory. And he wants to sue.” “He knows how hard it is to prove defamation?” Diane and her shining helmet of hair admonishes.
“He does,” replies Rita. “He’s suing because he wants the world to know he’s suing.” Does that mean it’s a crusade? “Mmmm,” Rita shrugs, “3.2 million in billable hours? A very lucrative one.” Diane’s a little taken aback. This doesn’t seem like the Rita she knew. “You used to be into Guantanamo detainees.” Really? She screams something, and civil rights attorney it is not. “Yeah,” she purrs slowly to Diane’s amusement, “that was before alimony.”
“Patric Edelstein?” Will repeats, amazed. The two are standing at a coffee station in one of the firm’s amber hallways. Diane’s pleased, but also regretful that Rita only wants to “rent them for a week.” “I don’t get it,” Will wonders, so that they can make sense of all this for the audience. “He’s in Silicon Valley, the studios are in L.A., and the depos are here?” Good question, Will, because that’s sure not obvious. Diane has an explanation for it, though. “Viola is forum shopping. Illinois is friendly to defamation.” Oh. Interesting. Is that true in real life? Also, it’s nice that Rita’s character has an actual name. “It’s not friendly enough. We lost the Duke Roscoe case last year.” OH. Right, I remember that one – cable news talking head drives woman to suicide. Yuck. Anyway, it looks like they got closer than anyone else has, which is why Viola called them to fill in. They remember that Cary and Alicia worked on that case, so Will’s going to pump Alicia for details and strategy ideas. Ahem.
“I’m thinking of bringing him back,” Diane adds. Huh? Will’s quite surprised. “Really? How’s that work? He’s burned a few too many bridges, hasn’t he?” Reparable, thinks Diane. Eh, I dunno about that, Diane, but even if it was, I think you’ve lost him to the other side. He’s so fond of the moral clarity. “Some bridges aren’t so easily repaired,” Will shakes his head. Is the problem that Cary hates Alicia, or that Cary’s resentful of Will, or that other members of L/G &B are offended by the way Cary’s using his ex-insider knowledge to beat them? I guess I’m with Diane; I think those obstacles could be surmounted if Cary actually wanted to come back. Which he doesn’t. They’re not going to fight about it, either way. They’re too cute for that now.
Will dials Alicia and asks her to stop by his office when she’s back from lunch; something big’s come up. Cut to Alicia’s astounded face under a knit cap. She’s hideously embarrassed he needs her for something important, because she’s not at lunch. Heaven forbid she not jump when he asks! She’s in Owen’s car, being teased by her younger brother. She’s gone for a whole week; could it wait until Monday? Huh- where is she for a whole week? “Well right now Oregon, but it’s not for fun,” she qualifies, since second year associates aren’t supposed to take vacations or have fun. Owen swats her, offended. “I’m helping my brother move to Chicago…” YAY! “…so if you need anything….” But before she can offer him life long fidelity or her first born, the call cuts out.
Owen wants it on record that he is fun, and even driving cross country with him in the snow must be considered as such. Alicia wearily tries to explain that it was work, and of course her boss can’t think for a moment she might use her vacation time to enjoy herself. “Will? Will Gardner?” Owen goes on a tear with it, sinking his teeth into the subject like a dog worrying a bone. “That name again, like a guilty little computer churning out the same name: ‘Will! Will!” Seriously, the mockery flies so fast I can’t see that he even breathes. “He’s my boss,” Alicia responds, aghast. “Oh I know,” Owen says archly, “sultry eyed Will.” Hee! Also? Ha! Alicia denies this. “What are sultry eyes anyway?” Ew! Owen demonstrates, checking his sister out, doing a real “how you doin'” face, and it’s laughable and horrible and horribly funny. Keep your eyes on the road, Mister! He makes a big cheese face to finish. “Oh, that’s it,” she responds, snidely, “you caught him exactly!” Alicia points to a deeply rustic looking Entering Iowa sign, failing utterly to distract her brother with the milestone marker. You used to be more subtle, he says. Let’s discuss this Will character. Miss Kevin? she counters, and that’s more subtle, but it’s also kinda mean. Not that he doesn’t deserve it.
“Nope,” he lies. “I like new beginnings. I’m going to miss Oregon, though.” What, his ex owns the entire state? Well, Oregon’s loss, our gain. “Why is it that all your music is Gospel?” she wonders as the car radio begins to play “Victory is Mine.” Which, yes, that’s not the expected choice, and it’s likely to be ironic, but it’s still fun. I really like the music, anyway. Owen grins vastly and starts jerking his neck to the music. It’s infectious, and so is he. She can’t help but smile along.
Less charming (though at least brightly colored) is the programming code that fills up our screens. “Mr. Edelstein,” a voice begins, attempting to recall the young billionaire’s attention from his work. “Mr. Edelstein!” The young man, his thick curly brown head bowed, finally looks up. “Yes. I’m sorry,” he says, a fresh faced alternative to Jesse Eisenberg’s dour, stinging Mark Zuckerberg (as indeed the real, fresh faced Mark Zuckerberg is). “What was the question?” In contrast to The Social Network‘s young turk, he seems polite, if inattentive. “You were in the midst of discussing damages,” a slightly exasperated F. Murray Abraham is a shiny suit prompts. Abraham plays with his glasses. The suit – beige – looks like the wrong weight for winter weather, but his lavender paisley tie is a thing of beauty. No, corrects Will, “I think he was in the midst of discussing the emotional toll.” Oh. Edelstein got lost in code while he was talking? That’s funny. Oscar winner Abraham rolls his eyes and shrugs. Fine, fine, he’ll let the man speak. Whatever.
And speak he does. “Yes, this movie shows me creating my website so I could pick up girls…” (Well, gee, that’s familiar.) “… despite the fact that I was engaged to be married and had no interest in picking up girls.” Well, okay, that diverges from the Zuckerberg story a bit. “It shows several of my friends referring to me as a creep and a jerk despite the fact these friends were inventions, and what’s worse it shows me being a creep and jerk. It would have been one thing if I had been a politician or a celebrity, then people would have other portrayals and articles to compare it to, but they don’t, they have this movie. And they think it’s true.” Ah. Yes. I would be upset about that too.
“You’re saying that you’re not a public figure, Mr. Edelstein?” F. Murray questions in disbelief, his head cocked, his eyebrows up, both hands holding his glasses off the table. Will cuts in to affirm that lack of status, but the shiny domed Californian is having none of that.”Look, I know the legal point here. If I’m not a public figure, my lawyers only need to prove negligence, not malice.” Will and Diane are impressed. Well, he is a boy genius after all. He’s been reading up on it. “It doesn’t make as much sense as code, but I get it.” Now Will’s laughing. “I’m a 25 year old computer programmer, I’ve never sought the spotlight, I don’t want anything but to do my job, I’m not a public figure, and, ugh, I don’t want to be one.” He folds his hands as if that’s the final word. You can wish, boyfriend.
“I sympathize, Mr. Edelstein, I do,” says the shark in the suit, “but this is a movie!” Well, let’s all bow down, then! “It doesn’t pretend to be a documentary.” Right, because no one would see it if it was. “It’s a creative recreation of events!” “Well, then,” says Edelstein, “they should have made up a name. They shouldn’t have used mine.” For the first time we can see that he’s hurt and upset. Will and Diane exchange more impressed, respectful glances.
“You’re good,” Will tell Patrick as they walk down the hall, and Will should know. As with movies, testifying isn’t just about being truthful, it’s about conveying that truth to your audience. When should he be back, the young billionaire wonders? No worries, you’re done, says Diane and her gargantuan helmet of hair. But no, he wants to sit in on the depositions, even if they are boring and take the rest of the week. (This from the guy who couldn’t keep away from fixing code while he was testifying? Riiiiight. I think they had him do that merely to parallel the movie scene, since it’s less in character here. Whatever.) “My mom got a call last week from my 8th grade teacher,” Patrick tells them, rapid fire. “I love my 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Heart. She said she just saw the movie and she was worried that money was turning me into a jerk.” I kind of love that ‘jerk’ is the worst thing he says; it shows you how sweet and mild the character is. Because, if you have seen The Social Network, jerk is probably not the word you would come up with for the lead character. It sure wasn’t mine. “I don’t get those calls. My mom does.” He’s focused inside his own head here, not noticing the elevator as the doors ping open behind him. He’s got the look of Justin Long to him, don’t you think? “I’ll be here this whole week because this matters to me.” Be back at 2 then, Diane tells him.
Once the doors close, she’s all strategy. It won’t work to argue he’s not a public figure, she says, and Will agrees. The public eye pursued him, so it doesn’t matter that he didn’t pursue it. “They can write anything they want about him.” Hmm. I wonder if you could argue that his company is famous, not him? I’d never even heard of Mark Zuckerberg until he made that monstrous donation to the Newark public schools just before The Social Network was released, in an attempt to mitigate the damage. “Too bad,” Diane shakes her head, “I like him.” It’s easy to see that Will does too. They walk away together, Will’s hand on Diane’s back. Wow. Better hope none of Bond’s spies are lurking nearby.
And speaking of the spy game, Kalinda walks into the ASA’s office to find Cary. Cary doesn’t seem happy to be found, not by her, not now. “Miss Sharma,” he twitches, his eyes flicking to the left. “Miss Sharma,” says Andrew Wiley, sliding out into the main office, introducing himself as the head of the investigation. She looks at Cary, puzzled, perhaps by Andrew’s highly casual dress. What investigation? The one into Dr. Booth, the therapist that Blake beat almost to death with Kalinda’s baseball bat. Does she have a moment? Why yes. She has several.
“Good,” says Cary. Blessedly, Booth woke up from the coma. That’s honestly a relief. This was very upsetting. Turns out the assailant wore a mask so Booth couldn’t identify him. “Or her,” adds Wiley with a severe look over at his buddy. I have trouble imagining that in a line up, even a coma patient could mistake tiny Kalinda for beefy Blake, even with a mask on, on height and body mass alone. “I understand that you were there the morning of the beating, that’s why your finger prints were on the glass?” That’s right. Ah, but it’s funny, Andrew says, Dr. Booth has no memory of you being there. “We thought that might be from his coma,” Cary adds helpfully, winning another dirty look from Andrew. As the investigator asks for details of their conversation (she’d been trying to see if his testimony held up, she says) a faint cry comes from Cary’s office. The noise increases, and Kalinda’s puzzlement and consternation, Andrew disappears briefly to lug out not the three year old we’ve met before, but an infant car seat, fitted with one of those zip up winter blanket covers. Kalinda backs away as if the baby were a bomb, and Cary suppresses a snicker.
Andrew hands Kalinda a picture of the glass, and expresses his surprise that her finger prints weren’t found anywhere else (door knobs, chair backs, etc.) Kalinda takes off her gloves and hands Andrew an infant sippy cup to demonstrate to Andrew how that might be possible. It’s cute. So, where was this baby when he was running around the last time, and where’s his pre-schooler now, anyway? Pre-school? Ah, whatever. I kind of like that they gave him another kid, even if it’s strains credulity that he had to bring one with him when clearly there’s been a babysitter taking care of the other. Andrew and Cary smile in appreciation. When Cary thanks her for coming in, however, Andrew still has questions. “Actually, there’s one last thing.” “That’s two last things,” she snarks. “One last thing after the other last thing,” he corrects himself. And this is the point where he asks if she brought the glass with her. It turns out that Booth owns a different brand of glasses – but according to their purchasing orders (and how did he get a hold of those?) this kind is all over Lockhart/Gardner.
Which, shouldn’t that totally exonerate her? Of course it does prove she’s lying about something, but why would she plant a glass with her own fingerprints at a crime scene? “That is odd,” she agrees, doe-eyed. “Any more last things?” No.
As soon as she’s gone, Cary looks grim. “Why didn’t you tell me about the glass?” he asks sharply. “Cary, thank you for this job. I am enjoying it, I am enjoying getting out of the house. Don’t you ever do that again.” Ouch. Let’s not forget, this is not a guy to cross. Let’s remember she’s not a suspect, Cary adds, not giving up. “The more you try to help her the more she is,” Andrew declares seriously. Kalinda heads out of the courthouse only to see Andrew welcoming Blake into the ASA offices.
Through a video camera, we see a red headed woman in perhaps her late forties giving a deposition. “Legally there was no reckless disregard for the truth,” she says, bored, staring down at her lap or the conference table or perhaps the rug. Yes, Will notes, you’ve said that five times. “Now your studio had a scene where Mr. Edelstein’s girlfriend broke up with him…” Will consults a booklet, “calling him a ‘loner joke’, but isn’t it true that there was no such break up because there was no such girlfriend?” The red headed woman hasn’t the foggiest, and she can’t be bothered to hide her contempt for the question. F. Murray Abraham rubs his head. “As the lead studio lawyer, wasn’t it your job to get the foggiest?” No, she tells Diane, “it was my job to determine if there was a reckless disregard for the truth.” Back to that again, are we? Patric Edelstein watches quietly. Is the studio claiming that Mr. Edelstein wasn’t engaged at the time? No, she says, I’m saying it’s irrelevant. Oh. That’s tricky. How’s the truth not relevant when you’re determining whether something is recklessly disregarding the truth? Diane agrees with me. “The truth is irrelevant?” No, says the lawyer, “the facts of Mr. Edelstein’s life were irrelevant.” Okay. I still don’t get that as a defense. What on earth is a reckless disregard for the truth if not that? She’s smug and contemptuous. “What was relevant was whether the film makers showed a reckless disregard…” “For the truth!” Will interrupts her, yelling. “You do understand these words have to mean something.”
“Don’t yell, Mr., ugh…” F. Murray says. “Gardner,” says Will, slapping a slip of paper down in front of his antagonist. “Why don’t you go ahead and keep that for the next time you have to ask.” Will really is much better when he has a purpose, isn’t he? “Look. Mr. Gardner,” Murray begins (and you know, they can tell us his name any time now), grandfatherly and smooth, “we’re here. We’re in Chicago. In 7 degree weather. We understand the need for some hazing. But is the shouting really necessary?” Hazing? Seriously? Ugh. “It isn’t,” smirks Will pleasantly, “but it makes it fun for us.” Ah. Now that’s the Will I love.
Cut to F. Murray standing in the door of Will’s office, his coach on his arm, clapping. “Very well done!” he applauds Will, in Salieri’s resonant voice. Will turns around from his desk, bemused and also on alert. “Thank you. Do you need something?” “I want to be your friend,” Salieri tells him, swinging on his coat. Huh? “I have a lot of friends,” Will smiles, hands in his pockets. “You can’t win this,” Murray replies, gesturing expansively, back to his soothing tone. “It’s defamation. You have to prove malice. You can’t.” Can I tell you how much I love the writing of this show? Look at his speech patterns, and then look at Edelstein’s run on sentences and tell me these people don’t know how to delineate new characters. Awesome. “Even Mr. Edelstein knows he’s going to lose. He wants the publicity of the fight, that’s all.” Salieri shrugs the coat over his shoulders. “Why don’t you do what we’re all doing; chalking up a staggering amount of billable hours.” Ah, the Hollywood way; money for nothing. Not in Chicago, buster. Well, not unless you’re a politician, anyway. “Come on – let’s be friends!” Salieri extends his hand, and Will commits to taking it.
“Where do you get a tan like that?” Will asks, friendly. I’m expecting the name of a salon, but no: Princeville, Kauai. Ah, Kauai. I love Kauai. Princeville is the ritzy part. “I have a beautiful spread. Three acres. If you’re ever out that way,” he hands Will his card, wagging his finger by way of invitation. “Thank you,” Will ushers him out politely, “I’ll see you tomorrow.
Then he closes the door, and dials his phone.
“Alicia. Sorry to do this to ya, but I need everything you have on the Duke Roscoe defamation suit. How quickly can you get to a landline?” “Um, soon?” guesses Alicia over the clapping hands and stirring rhythms of Owen’s Gospel Hour. “Cause we’re gonna win this,” Will tells her fiercely. “We’re gonna win this big.”
Well, like the man says. He’s great when he knows what he’s doing. And in Salieri’s plea for him to take it easy, he’s found inspiration and conviction. There’s a reason the studio doesn’t want Edelstein’s team on their toes. He doesn’t know what, but he can smell the blood in the water.
Will paces his office in his shirtsleeves. “We need to prove that the studio not only knew that the movie was untrue, but they were reckless about the possibility of it’s falsehood … they’ll never admit to that.” Well, if they’re clear that they made no effort to find out whether or not it was true or a complete confabulation on the screenwriter’s part, how is that not… oh, nevermind. Can we prove he was a private figure, Alicia wonders? No, says Will, shooting a sack through a small hoop, we’ve already tried that. Well, I bet you could burn up a lot of billable hours if you wanted to on that issue, counting articles and comparing them to film distribution and the likelihood of people seeing one over the other. “Where are you? The reception’s better.” “I found a high spot,” she says modestly.
Which, as it turns out, is the roof of Owen’s station wagon.
“Here’s the question,” she asks against the backdrop of forest hills and a frozen lake, “what does Edelstein want? He’s too rich to want money.” Good question, Alicia. “My guess is he wants and apology,” Will surmises, “but the studio won’t apologize.” Owen’s reading a book, leaning against the driver’s side door. “Wait,” Will freezes, “I don’t need the studio to admit reckless disregard.” “You don’t?” Alicia questions him and his sanity. “No,” Will grasps at his inspiration, “I need the screenwriter to.” And why ever would he do that? The sun sets begin Alicia. “Because he wants to. My guess is the writer wants to say it’s his story, not Edelstein’s. I think he’s pissed he can’t.” He shoots and scores again.
“That’s right, that’s what we did with Duke Roscoe – played his ego.” Alicia’s enthusiastic now. Well, if this writer is an Aaron Sorkin stand in, he’s sure going to have an ego. And I have actually read interviews and articles aplenty which support this view of Sorkin, if not The Social Network. I wish I could find the article where he boasted about adding the scene (possibly my least favorite and easily the most sentimental in the film) where Zuckerberg friend requests his ex-girlfriend, but certainly in the actual case of The Social Network, Sorkin does not shy away from his inventions. On Mark Zuckerberg’s wikipedia page, it does note Sorkin saying the following: “I don’t want my fidelity to be to the truth; I want it to be to storytelling”, and “What is the big deal about accuracy purely for accuracy’s sake, and can we not have the true be the enemy of the good?”
And this is going win Sorkin – not unjustifiably – an Academy Award next week.
“Get me the notes from the Roscoe deposition,” Will demands, as if Alicia drives cross country with her casefiles every day. Wouldn’t it make more sense to ask Courtney for them? But I guess there has to be some reason for him to talk to Alicia. She’ll have to find wifi. Soon as you can, he insists, and hangs up. Nice.
Alicia takes a moment to admire the scenery. “This is a pretty spot,” she decides, and it is. The ice, the snow, the pink and gold sunset, the wooded hills – all very pretty. “Yah,” agrees Owen, “I’ve been admiring it for a while now, out here in the cold.” Well, get in the car then, doofus. She laughs.
A horn honks, and Cary looks up. He’s standing in a snowy street; there’s a brick wall behind him, with snow stuck to it at chest height. The horn’s Kalinda, and she’s looking for Cary, leaning toward her open passenger window. Despite the fact that it sort of looks like they’ve arranged to meet, he doesn’t want to talk to her here either. “I can’t, I’m sorry,” he tells her, looking pained. The lights from her car shine off his leather jacket. “Why, what’s Blake saying,” she wonders, and it’s no surprise she can’t resist looking into that. ‘Kalinda, they’re already beginning to suspect you because we’re talking.” “Suspect?” she’s surprised. “The police. I’m not protecting myself, I’m protecting you, okay? Goodbye.” She looks pained, and if it wasn’t Kalinda, I’d say the water shining in her eyes was tears.
Owen and Alicia drive in the darkness to a Gospel beat. “I need to find wifi,” she frets. “Yah yah, there’s Starbucks on every corner here,” he blows off her quest, and narrows his eyes (a feat in and of itself) for the stuff that really interests him. “Sultry Will is Mr. Georgetown?” Ha! “Am I right?” He holds up a small leather bound book, which must have been what he was reading during the previous phone call. “I found my journal in the back seat. You were always writing about Mr Georgetown – is that him?” He lingers over the name, sing song, sing song. “Owen,” she says firmly, “please, I need to get wifi.” “Ah, talk to me, I’ll get you wifi,” he promises. “Get me wifi and I’ll talk.” Okay, he says, and attempts to talk her into borrowing wifi from networks they’re driving past, making an educated guess at default passwords. (I note they’re careful not to use the ones I’ve heard tech support people give, even though that’s where he says he’s getting the trick from.) “It’s like you’re throwing your soda can in someone’s trash.” She refuses, but it’s really moot anyway, because they’re not inside a network long enough for it to have worked. Because they’re in a moving car! Just saying, it’s a dumb idea, Owen. “You know what I’ve noticed about you,” he says, “you’re willing to do naughty things if I give you a little encouragement,” which seem to fly in the face of what just happened. She sighs, smiling.
Owen wants Alicia to look for more networks. And he wants to know what’s up with Will. “He’s. My. Boss.,” Alicia huffs in exasperation. “Yeah. But I’ve seen the way you two guys talk to each other.” She shrugs, defeated. “That is a … telling pause,” Owen seizes the opening. “I like Will. He likes me. We work well together,” she admits. “Making sweet music,” Owen jokes, ever ready for the lowest common denominator. But when she doesn’t answer, he’s stunned. “Alicia,” he asks, his voice serious for once. “I don’t know, okay? What am I doing? I like work, okay, I don’t want to screw up work.” Like everything else is screwed up, she doesn’t say, but the implication is there. She looked on the verge of tears for a second. Owen can barely process this evidence that his stalwart older sister is human. “Are you – are you sleeping with him?” See, he was teasing, but he didn’t really expect to unearth something like this. She shakes her head slowly. “But you want to,” he divines, and she’s slow to deny it. He exhales loudly. “I want to… not think about it, okay?” “Okay,” he agrees solemnly, and I just love the way he’s able to pull back and be serious when she needs it. Look, she points out as the headlights reveal the Grand Buffalo Motel, free wifi.
“Hey, big time FBI lady,” Kalinda calls up a darkened stone staircase. It looks like the front of a courthouse, and those are definitely the legs of Lana Delaney. Well, it’s been a while since we’ve seen Kalinda sucking up to someone. It feels odd. Ah, but it’s never enough for the rapacious Ms. Delaney. “I’ve missed you,” she says, “it’s been a while.” Yes, says Kalinda. You didn’t miss me too, ask Lana. It’s not pouting the way Tammy would do it; it’s a challenge. “At times,” is the best she’s going to get. “Look, I need something.” Ah, Kalinda, always cutting to the chase. Lana’s not having it, which reminds me strongly of Donna. “Of course you do,” Lana half laughs. Has Lana ever heard of Blake Calamar, of MS 13? I can’t help it, that sounds more like a city public school name than a gang. “I don’t know that name, but I do know MS13.” “And?” Kalinda prompts, but Lana wants her to beg for it. “What happened to the preliminaries? A girl likes to be wined and dined first!” Um, she does know who she’s talking to, right?
Kalinda takes a stab at it. “How’s work?” Now that’s just sad. “MS13 is growing. Now that gang is like a shark; it needs to keep swimming or it dies. And from what I hear, it’s moving to Chicago. It’s joining forcing with a local gang, a entrepreneur that you might know.” Who could that be, I wonder? “A LeMond Bishop,” Lana divulges, and Kalinda tenses. Shazaam! It all falls into place. Yuck. “Look, maybe we can help each other,” Lana says coyly, twisting back and forth. “What are you doing for dinner this Friday?” “Eating with you,” Kalinda answers.
“No, you know what I find funny?,” a man in a turtleneck sweater (never a good sign on this show; one has to wonder about the costume designer that way) tells the deposition camera pretentiously. “That you’re suing me, Mr. Edelstein!” Yes, that hilarity beyond conceiving. Do you hear me laughing? Do you hear me now? “Why not the director? Oh yes. That’s when you know the “film by” credit is a lie, when there’s a lawsuit.” Not for nothing, but Aaron Sorkin is famously, unpleasantly obsessed with credits. ‘Do you want that in the record,” Will asks facetiously. By all means, pseudo-Aaron Sorkin pronounces. “I’m Rand Blaylock, I am the writer, I had chicken salad for lunch.” Lovely. I should say, I love most of Sorkin’s writing, notably The West Wing and Sports Night, and I admire him greatly. And he’s written more than a few righteous intellectuals grandstanding for – and outraged to be in – depositions. So it’s kind of fun to see him doing the same, via proxy. (That does mean that Sports Night star Josh Charles should be write at home with this kind of dialogue, doesn’t it?) “Which research materials did you use for the scene of my client breaking up with his girlfriend, Mr. Blaylock?” Anyone who’s seen it will know that’s a searing moment in The Social Network. Blaylock smirks smugly and purses his lips.
“Research materials? These, right here,” he says, tapping the skull that encases his little gray cells. Your imagination, Will asks for the record. Yes. His imagination. “If that’s not a dirty word here?” Blaylock mimes looking around the room as if the secret police were coming to take him away. Not in the least, says Will, because of course that’s just what they want him to admit to. It’s funny; some movies are all about fidelity to the source material and research. Who would have thought that film makers would be more careful to be true to, say, Tolkein’s words than to a real living billionaire’s? “So you made it up?” Will confirms. “I did what writers have been doing since Aristophanes,” Blaylock says, putting himself in the company of the Greek playwright, the father of comedy. F. Murray (name his character already, jeez!) watches closely. He’s not napping the way he was with the studio attorney. “I made up a scene in which Mr. Edelstein breaks up with his girlfriend because I felt that it conveyed the truth of a character.” The truth of which character? Edelstein watches him, angered instead of Eisenberg-cold.
“The truth of a character, what do you mean by that?” Will asks. F. Murray breaks in. “I think he’s speaking artistically.” “I know,” snarks Blaylock conspiratorially, “they’re trying to use my artistic words against me. Don’t worry, I will be circumspect. Truth of a character means more than just factual truth, it means who is this person, how do they fit into a narrative.” Okay, so that’s completely right, loathe as I might be to agree with someone this disagreeable. And that sort of tweaking is inevitable, an essential tool to fashion unruly life into a discrete artistic unit, into a narrative. But. “What do you mean, ‘narrative’?” and that’s right on target, Will. “I’m trying to tell a story, and I need a character to help me tell that story.” Indeed. And here’s the million dollar question. “What was the story you were trying to tell here?” “The story of the internet. This age that we’re in, where people criticize each other anonymously, where all these tiny loners in their tiny little rooms order out for pizza and just flame at each other all the time.” And what does this have to do with founding a real company? Just wondering. Also, the whole internet is that? There’s no other story to the internet? Hello, Egypt. Right.
“Or when those same loners blog about your drug use?” Will steps in for the kill, attempting to prove anti-internet bias. Well, that bit’s Sorkin’s history, too. I’m not sure it matters to me personally whether or not Blaylock had an axe to grind; it’s his insistence on using a real person as a wholly imaged character to tell his fable that I object to. If Blaylock had to conflate people or scenes to tell the truth of Edelstein’s character, that would be one thing, but that’s not what’s happening. Of course, the law’s with Will and not me. Blaylock stares at Will. Then he smiles creepily and confesses. “Yes I’m guilty, lawyer man. You found it. Malice. This whole movie, it was just my attempt to get back at the internet.” He inhales deeply, loudly. “Take that, internet!”
“You wanted Mr. Edelstein’s character in the movie to show that the internet was alienating people,” Will adds. “Not just that, but yes, that.” Nodding, Will gets to the point. “It didn’t really matter what Mr. Edelstein’s real character was.” F. Murray steps in. Okay, I had to look it up, and thankfully the IMDB has his character name: Burl Preston. “He didn’t say that,” Preston says. Well, he kinda did, don’t you think? Isn’t that the reasonable conclusion? “Nor do I think that. I have a legal responsibility, counselor. There isn’t anything wrong with having a character express a theme.” No, of course there isn’t. “The First Amendment protects me from your stupid dumb ass questions.” Oh, lovely. Preston calls for a break, but Blaylock isn’t done pontificating. He knows what Will wants him to say. “Here, I’m going to say it. I don’t give a rat’s ass about facts.” Will glowers at him. “I give more than a rat’s ass – in fact, every breath I breathe, about truth. Shakespeare’s truth, Tolstoy’s truth, not this legal mumbo jumbo. That’s just graffiti on a Roman temple, forgotten in a year.” God, this guy is tedious.
“But there was no malice,” Burl Preston reminds him. ‘There was no malice,” Blaylock repeats, dashing their hopes. Bah. “You wanted to get back at bloggers, who anonymously criticized you for your drug use, by imposing those same characteristics of those same bloggers to Mr. Edelstein. But there was no malice.” That’s right, deadpans Blaylock. Right. “And you know what, God bless America, I’m free to do that. You know what, Mister Atticus Finch, you do the same thing. You write your own movie, making fun of me, my drug use, and then go get Mr. Edelstein to finance it.”
Will’s suddenly lost in thought.
“What,” says Blaylock, aware he no longer has his adversary’s full attention. Nothing further, Will mutters, and he leaves the conference room. “What, are you going to go finance your own movie?” Blaylock asks in a clear ploy to steer the center of attention back where it belongs. It’s too late. He’s lost Will completely.
“We’ve been going after the wrong thing,” Will tells Diane in the hallway. “Defamation?” she wonders. “Yes,” he says, “it’s unwinnable.” You know, nothing ought to be unwinnable, should it? I mean, if something’s illegal, then proving it shouldn’t be some sort of holy grail, should it? I don’t know. This is a tough issue. “So why are we going after something that’s unwinnable?” Will says it with a smile growing on his face, excited. “So what’s winnable,” Diane asks, intrigued, arms crossed.
“Diane and I decided to change the strategy and go after something winnable,” Will reiterates for Alicia over the phone. She’s sitting on the floor of her hotel room at the Grand Buffalo or another such rustic lodge, leaning on one twin bed with her laptop balanced on her crossed knees. “Right of publicity?” she wonders, surprised. And since I’ve never even heard of that right, I’m surprised along with her. We can’t win defamation, Will says, because it’s about intent, and right, how can you prove or disprove intent? But they don’t need intent, Will continues from the L/G &B conference room, to sue the studio for right of publicity.
“Why is that?” Owen wonders, laying down backwards on one of the beds so his head is upside, facing his sister. There’s a massive lamp behind them; its base is a cowboy on a horse. Alicia apologizes and introduces her brother. While Will apologizes for monopolizing Alicia, she gives Owen a sisterly slap on the head. It’s so cute. Like lots of other folk, Alicia does not casually touch people. But that’s what siblings are for, right? You can relax and react with them in a way you can’t with anyone else.”Oh don’t worry,” he says, “I don’t think she minds being taken away.” Alicia smacks him the head repeatedly until he runs off. Right of publicity sounds great to me, he jokes, fleeing. “Blaylock in his deposition said Edelstein had a right to make his own movie. And that’s the point. The studio used him to make money. And now they owe him that money.” Well, that is a nice end run around the whole “public figure” issue. Diane walks in with a precedent, Sam Moore vs the Weinsteins. “The only problem,” she says, “is that the studio can argue it’s a transformative work of art.” And you know they will. Preston and co might enjoy padding their billable hours, but they’re not dumb.
“Unless you start to chip away at it,” Alicia suggests. How? “Look into their product placement,” she proposes. Diane looks down over Will’s shoulder; he looks up. They are grooving on this idea, big time. Will ends the meeting with the injunction to read and be ready to meet in the morning at 8.
“There were other people that call, you know?” Alicia yells over to Owen, exasperated. “I know,” his voice comes out from behind the bathroom door. “I was trying to embarrass you.” Well, that would have been a lot worse if he was really trying. She sniffs, and hears him start to cough.
“Oh, come on!” She leaps to her feet and smacks the bathroom door. Hee. “This isn’t high school!” “What? This is medical marjuana,” he insists. Riiight. Now see, that would have really embarrassed her, if he’d pulled this stunt while she was still on the phone. “It is not! Owen, put it out!” “It is! I have bad joints,” he giggles, and I can’t help giggling too. Bad joints? Bwahaha. “This isn’t Oregon. Put it out, Owen, or I’ll…” she gets a sudden inspiration, and it’s a hilarious one. “I’ll call mom!” She waits a beat. “I’m dialing!” She is not. The door opens anyway, and as we see Owen in the doorway, we get a great look at the wallpaper, which consists of the outlines of buffaloes, as in a cave painting. Nice. Also, he’s wearing a reindeer sweater, which is kind of epic. “This is all mom and dad’s fault, you know. I had a rough childhood,” he sniffs. “This is how I cope.” “I don’t want to bail you out of jail,” she says, which is a little exaggerated – what’s he going to do, raid the hotel snack machine? He blows a big mouthful of smoke right in her face; she backs up and waves at it. “You never did it?” “Never!” “Not with Will?” he questions. “Will’s going to be your go to now, isn’t it?” When did Will become an it? I doubt he’d appreciate that. “No, I like the thought of you trying things, and breaking rules that you never broke in high school. Come on!” He waggles the baggie of pot at her. I am having wine, she intones primly, sitting on her bed. “And I’m very happy, thank you,” she tells him, crossing her arms and closing off her body.
A drawer scrapes open, loudly. It’s full of cables. A man in a fedora pulls wooden hangers around in a closet, searching. Cary leans on a threshold as an apartment we haven’t seen is tossed by the cops. “Search warrant,” Blake asks, and Cary draws it out of his suit jacket, hands it over. “Nice paintings,” he deadpans. “Thanks,” says Blake, “You wanna buy one?” “They’re yours?” Cary wonders. Always, the tone of surprise. Blake’s eyes flick up, enraged. “You’re hurting your girlfriend,” he advises. “Kalinda. You’re hurting her by doing her bidding.” Cary doesn’t do anyone’s bidding; he only works for himself. “We’ve got a lot in common, then.” Riiiight. The Evil Boyscout is not a puppet master. This plan between MS13 and Bishop, it’s not Blake’s plan. So not buying that.
“You see, I don’t mind this,” Blake insists as Cary makes himself at home in his desk. “Random searches, hostile questions – but I have friends, and they won’t like this.” Oh, of course not, big man on campus. Cary chuckles: “scary!” Blake paces between Cary and a gorgeous embossed fireplace. “I’m always intimidated by threats until I search people’s houses. Then I see what books they own. It’s hard to take their threats seriously after that.” He opens a coffee table art book to a large white lily, a Georgia O’Keefe. “I like this one. Don’t you? It’s just… so raw.”
Heh, I love it. And with the sound of a mewling kitten, Andrew Wiley appears, a fat pink baby strapped to his chest. He wants to know if Blake’s seen the warrant; he has. “But you didn’t need one, I would have welcomed you in.” It’s interesting that Blake tries to be conciliatory with Andrew, helpful and polite, but he’s all posturing with Cary. Jealousy? “We found an email on your computer to LeMond Bishop discussing ten pounds of office supplies.” Nice. “Here’s a copy,” Andrew offers, but Blake’s gripping his own hands together too tightly to care. “It’s not my email,” he insists. “Really? It was on your server.” Hacked, says Blake. Sure. “So you don’t know LeMond Bishop?” The baby’s fallen asleep over Andrew’s arm, her little head in its little white hat flopped forward. Well, he’s come across him at work, but their interaction are “all legal, and all licensed, and that is not my email.” He gets flustered so easily, this one.
“What, someone broke into your place to type an email onto your computer?” Cary steps back into the fray. Exactly. “Sure. That could happen.” Cary stares off at one of the many matted art pieces stacked around the cluttered but tasteful room. “I really like this one,” he says, making that sort of pained art critic face. It’s awesome.
Owen and Alicia are lying on their plaid twin beds. “Will phoned me to tell me something but I never got the message,” she says, hurried, as if the need to get it out – and level of freak out – is so great she can’t control the words. She’s also a little tipsy, and maybe even has a contact high. Naw, could that have been enough smoke? It’s not her normal speech pattern, though. “What,” he wonders nasally, snapping his book shut. His journal? Which makes me think; how many college professors have so few books they can fit them, as well as all the rest of their stuff, in one station wagon with room to see out of the back? Granted, he is a math professor, and most of those books are pretty small. Anyway. “Will phoned me to tell me something … passionate, and I never heard it.” Woah. She’s totally admitting this under the influence of something.
Owen tosses the book. How’d she never hear it? They start on a tangent about her ineptitude with technology, but that’s so not what she wants to talk about. “How do you know he phoned if you didn’t get the message?” She can’t say. It’s confidential. “Your love life is confidential?” Hee. I love it. “Do I talk to him, that’s the question.” She points at Owen to punctuate her words. “Do I ask him what he said.” Her eyes never leave the ceiling. “Do you ask Will what he said to you?” “Yes,” she says triumphantly, and man, she is so on something. “But he’s in love with somebody.” She closes her eyes. “I mean, not in love – in something. And she’s nice, I really like her.” Alicia glances quickly at her brother and start wringing her hands. ” She’s wearing this awesome white cabled cardigan, which I totally love. “And they like sports together. They’re always talking about ‘tree pointer dis, and tree pointer dat.'” She twiddles with the sleeve of the cardigan, doing a dreadful imitation of Tammy. She closes her eyes in embarrassment. “I know I just made fun of her voice,” and Owen plants his face in his hands, “but I do think that it would really be a mistake to ask him.”
“Oh wow,” Owen exhales, stretched out on his stomach now. Well, buddy, you asked for it. You wanted to see her as human, as rolling around in the mud with the rest of you – you got it. “Iiiiii’m conflicted,” she grouses. “You’re in love,” he mumbles, and that makes her sit up and take notice. Her regular voice makes a reappearance. “I can’t be!” “It happens to the best of us,” he sighs. She looks wild, puzzled, as if the idea had never occurred to her, as if Owen’s voice gives the idea a truth, and a reality, she couldn’t supply on her own. Fits nicely with the case about narratives that give us the truth of characters, no? She needs a narrator to tell her what she feels, to reveal what’s happening in her own heart. She draws her knees to her chest. “What do I do?” Funny that she doesn’t deny it anymore. “What do I want you to do, or what will you do?” Owen gives her the fish eye. She flares her nostrils. “Which one will I like more?”
“We get home,” he paints the picture for her. “You clean up a little, cause you’re looking a little rough around the edges. You comb your hair, and you put on something nice. But, you know, business like, not too slutty…” Oh, please, like she owns anything slutty? Ha. “And you got to him, and you say, ‘Will, I need a moment of your time.’ And he’ll be like ‘okay’ – like that, kind of manly like?” Well, indeed, his voice did deepen considerably. Also, that’s a far better imitation of Will than Owen’s comedy routine in the car – Will’s serious ‘I’m listening’ eyes are far more important to his character than any sultry ones. “And then, you say…” “Whuh?” mutter Alicia, fascinated, breathless, buzzing.
“I’ve been watching you for fifteen years.” She snorts, but he’s serious, entranced. “I’m tired of shoving love to the side, and serving other people. I can’t think of anything more important in my life right now…” Alicia nods in fervent agreement. “…than the feeling of your breath on my neck, your hands on my breasts …” Oh, he’s lost her there. That’s so not her style. And it’s not the sex alone that she’s thinking about. She seems to me to be possessed by the need to know what he feels, to hear the words she was denied. “I can’t do that!” “It’s Alicia time!” Ah, well, you knew he couldn’t be serious for that much longer. “Shut up,” she snaps, eyes narrowed, and turns out the light.
“Good to have you back,” Diane welcomes the red headed studio lawyer back to the deposition. The woman sits, her head forced back so she looks like an angry toad. She doesn’t speak. “Did you try to buy the rights to Mr. Edelstein’s story?” “Yes,” she recites without patience, “among others.” And why did he turn you down? “I imagine he can tell you that,” she replies, her gaze flicking at a politely smiling Patric, “but he said he didn’t want his story told.”
“Do you know what this is?” Diane asks, unfurling a black t-shirt up over her face. “That’s a t-shirt,” snarks the lawyer, “with a likeness of the actor who plays Patric Edelstein.” Over the man’s face are the words “Public Frenemy Number One.” Nice. Can’t see why he’d mind that at all. “Yes,” says Diane, folding the shirt, “I purchased it just downstairs not a half hour ago for $23.99.” So? A smile plays on Will’s lips. “Was it licensed by your studio, m’am?” Burl Preston, resplendent in a pink paisley tie and pocket square, tenses. ” I don’t think Mr. Preston has the answer to that,” Diane deadpans. “It was licensed by our studio,” she affirms, more put out than ever. “And you’re also selling a book about the making of your movie, is that right?” Preston can stand it no longer. “Excuse me, Miss Lockhart. We would argue a movie’s a transformative work of art.” Ah, here we go, the jargon starts. (I can see his point about the book, maybe, but not the t-shirt even with the actor’s face on it.) “And therefore impervious to any right of publicity claim by Mr. Edelstein.” Yep, there’s no dust on this one.
“A work of art and not a work of commerce?” Diane prompts. “Yes,” Burl Preston agrees. I love that name, and it’s really fitting. He looks a bit like he’s made of gnarled, burled wood. “The Supreme Court has shown great bias for the non-commercial expression…” Diane thanks him for backing her up. “You’re welcome. Anything to save us some time here.” Diane finishes scribbling in her note book and closes in for the kill. “So, m’am, talk to me about the product placement in the movie.” Preston’s jaw sinks toward the floor. “Objection!” he cries. “That’s irrelevant to this deposition.” Let’s have the court sort it out, shall we, Diane insists. The music ramps up. “M’am, could you tell me how many companies places their products in your movie?” Will has to pretend to be attentive. “23,” glares the lawyer. “My goodness,” smiles the formidable Miss Lockhart, “that’s a whole lot of artistic impression to divvy up.” She smiles her cat who ate the canary smile. “And how many products did these companies place in your movie?” Preston quickly calls a break for lunch and whisks his witness away.
“That was fun!” Will grins, walking quickly toward his office. “The last thing they’re going to want do is open their books,” Diane gloats. Patric thanks them profusely for making things more interesting than he expected. (And, I know it’s largely irrelevant, but it is not me who left the K off the end of that boy’s first name. What’s up with that?) Will claps him on the shoulder. “We’re trying to give you your money’s worth,” he demurs. Diane, on the other hand, charges back into the reception area between her office and Will’s, where Viola, bedraggled and furious, stands waiting. She’s wearing a fur collar the same tawny color as her hair, and they tangle together, giving the impression of a lion’s mane, fierce and ruffled.
“How dare you!” she fumes melodramatically. Huh? Viola sashays into the office, curls flowing in the air, and Diane closes the door behind them. “You’re trying to steal him. You’re trying to steal Edelstein!” Diane’s at a loss. “I told you it was a loser. I shared the wealth. I shared it with you, I could have shared it with anybody in Chicago.” Wait. She’s here about those billable hours. Is she actually mad that they might – win? Really? ‘We’re trying to win a case for your client, Viola.” Viola starts shrieking and shooting electricity out of her pores. “Oh no, don’t try to turn it noble. You were showing off for him!” I love Rita Wilson. She’s giving me shades of Sleepless in Seattle here, with Deborah Kerr and her shriveled little legs, somehow. I guess that pitch of her voice is just really distinctive. “And what’s worse? I have to hear it from Preston. I have to hear it from the opposition!” She’s practically foaming at the mouth. I can see why Preston called her, though; this upsets their nice little cynical time wasting apple cart. So, she sent the case their way not because they almost won the Duke Roscoe case, but because they actually lost it. “You heard it from our opposition because he’s afraid we’re beating him,” Diane explains, but it’s too late. “Just… go to hell! It’s no wonder they call you an ice queen behind your back!” Ha. I’m sure she’s been called far worse. “Where’s this coming from Viola? I’ve been nothing but straight with you.” Viola cuts her off; “You’ve been nothing but a conniving bitch!” She’s really rather unhinged. I half expect her to start pulling hair. “And another thing. You’re fired.”
“Miss Walsh!” a shocked voice calls, and Viola whirls around to see that Will and Patric have followed them into Diane’s office. Will looks quickly from one stunned face to another, not sure where this will all end. “You’re fired.”
Okay. There it is. Cool. You made Justin Long proud, buddy.
The depositions continue unabated. This time, Diane’s welcoming a car company exec. He’s worked for this unnamed company “ten happy years,” he sighs – “our tin anniversary.” Cute. “And you work in their product integration department?” Yes, and he negotiated with the unnamed studio to have his unnamed car company’s vehicles placed in their movie. Preston is displeased, but perky Mr. Tin Anniversary’s just joyful. “The 2011 LeHabre.” Interesting that this name sort sounds like a Buick name, right? Diane and Mr. Tin explain together that he paid for two passive uses – “beauty shots” of the car – and one integrated placement, where a feature of the car is mentioned. This is such a fascinating topic from a show which contains product placement, right? Or maybe I’m just overly interested in just about everything. Tin-man promotes the car’s features and could not look more pleased with himself. It’s as if he were licking imaginary jam off his own face.
How did you come to pick this particular movie on which to spend your company’s cash, Diane asks. “Was Mr. Edelstein’s name used in trying to convince you to place your cars in the movie?” Preston shifts uncomfortably in his seat. “Oh, yeah, of course,” Tin-man confesses jovially, and Burl Preston closes his eyes in annoyance. “It was either this movie or The Social Network,” he furthers. Well, I’d say it was silly of them to add in the name, as if two such similar movies would ever appear at the same time, but then I remember those dualing volcano movies. And the Earth gets hit by giants meteor ones. And the story of Christopher Columbus. And the two movies about the runner Steven Prefontaine, and the Truman Capote flicks. So yeah, I guess it’s not impossible. “Would you have agreed to pay the studio if the movie had been … not about Mr. Edelstein? For example, if it had been about a fictional computer programmer?” Tin-man laughs. No. Of course not.
“I think we can call a halt to this,” Preston proclaims, taking off his glasses in defeat. Will says they’re just getting started. Burl goes all grandfatherly again. “You won. Take yes for an answer.” Oh, I like that phrase, it’s very pithy. Will and Patric smile at each other.
“35 million dollars,” Preston offers, standing in a kingly way before Patric, Diane and Will, who’re seated. “And an apology,” Will reminds him. “We’re sorry,” says Preston, and everyone starts to snicker – even Preston.
In a lofty sky scraper, Lana Delaney entertains Kalinda Sharma. Lana’s wearing seamed stockings, which we get to see as she puts down the phone from, presumably, ordering room service. She always stays at this posh hotel, we find, on the government tab. “How nice, my tax dollars at work.” Well, maybe it wasn’t room service, because Kalinda has her head stuck in a menu. “So Blake Calamar, huh?” Lana’s lounging back in her chair, fierce and impractical black heels on her feet. Her tight white blouse is open low. Which is all to say, Lana is not being subtle. But then again, she never is; she’s nothing if not aggressively, relentlessly sexual. “That’s a new name to us.” “Really? I’m surprised,” Kalinda admits. “We’ve been juggling a lot of balls at the FBI – but I guess you have, too.” Kalinda looks away and smiles to herself; Lana’s a little outraged by that, and is inspired to take action. “I’m taking off my shoe,” she say, pulling at the shiny black leather. “See?” She waves the shoe so we see the red sole before she drops it to the floor. Kalinda can see.
“I’m stretching out my foot,” Lana She runs the foot up along Kalinda’s leg, and rests it on the seat of her chair. “I guess if you have to stretch, you have to stretch.” It’s sexy, but there’s also a weird dominance game going on. “I have an offer for you. Come work for me. It’s not good at Lockhart/Gardener. And it won’t be good for quite some time.” Ah, well. This again. “Your firm is representing Bishop. The drug dealer.” We are? Damn. I hoped the whole Church fiasco scuttled that, but yeah, I suppose Bond’s actual offer of allegiance was still too good to pass up. Maybe Bishop flipped on Church so that Bond would know who was boss. Anway. “Yeah, his legitimate interests. ” He has no legitimate interests, Lana laughs. She tries a little more trickery with her foot. “The firm’s in danger. Come work for me.” “We had this conversation,” Kalinda reminds her sometimes lover. “Why do you like men?” Lana asks, switching up topics. Ha. She seems really offended by that idea. “Why do I like men?” “Yes. Sex with men. Why do you like it?”
” I don’t distinguish,” Kalinda begins, but Lana’s foot shifts to the other side of Kalinda’s leather boot, and she’s silenced for a moment. Lana quirks an eyebrow. “You were saying?” She just enjoys exerting her power so much. “I was saying – Italian, Thai, Mexican, why does one choose one food over the other?” “Because sex is not food,” Lana says, disbelieving. “Because of love,” Kalinda explains, a bit contemptuous. “Or intimacy, don’t you want intimacy?” “No,” Kalinda says flatly. A phone rings. “I have to get that,” Lana says, never shifting her gaze from Kalinda’s face. “Then you’re going to need your foot back.” Touche, Miss Sharma.
Kalinda shakes her head as she leaves what I assumed was Lana’s hotel room. And now I’m confused, because Kalinda meets someone in the narrow hall. It’s the Evil Boyscout. “You following me?” “We need to talk,” he says. “Sure,” she shrugs, “let’s talk. Let’s all talk.”
The two face off in a swank bedroom with stunning city views. “What do you need,” she cuts to the chase. So does he: “you talking to the Feds?” I was having dinner with a Fed, she says. One Fed. “Why? Jealous?” She stalks toward him, but stops after a few steps. “Kalinda,” he begins, “the kids have all gone to bed, okay? It’s just me and you. The adults.” Oh, yes, you’ve been incredibly adult in what we’ve seen of you, buddy. So very adult. “It’s time to be honest.”
“So you start,” she says, and he gulps. Is she armed? She walks until she’s a few feet away from him, and raises her arms. He closes the distance, slides his hands to her waist under her coat, and runs them down her sides, kneeling to feel her boots. Her eyes never leave his face. Speaking of weird dominance games. “You missed a spot,” she purrs, and he puts his hands somewhere we can’t quite see, and finds it. “You unclasp it from the top,” she says, and throws a belt onto the floor. “My turn,” she says, and we cut to her throwing him spread eagled against the wall, his back to her and his leather jacket gone.
“You need more access?” he complains. “TSA,” she shrugs, “you know the drill.” “You wrote that email to Bishop, and you planted it my apartment for your boyfriend to find.” (Okay, does that mean this he wasn’t prevaricating – he really didn’t send the email? Huh.) She’s silent, and he feels the need to explain himself. “The ASA? Cary?” She’s having none of it. “You didn’t come to Lockhart/Gardner as an investigator. Come on. Honestly.” He turns, and moves in toward her, biting down a grin. “You wearing a wire?”
And now they’re in their underwear.
For the record, this is way more flattering to her than him.
“I’m a fixer,” he admits. “Bond wants something to happen, doesn’t want to know how it happened. It’s me.” “I didn’t plant anything in your apartment.” Hmmm. She seems sincere. So who did? “You should look elsewhere.” And what about dinner with Lana? Work poaching, Kalinda explains, giving him a partial truth. Then she volunteers some extra information. “She knows that MS13 is joining forces with Bishop.” The Evil Boyscout meets Kalinda’s eyes; all we see are his shoulders and the shadows hollowing out his collar bones. “What did Bond want you to fix?” “He wanted me to investigate everyone at the firm, see who was a threat and who was an asset.””Your connection to Will? What is it?” She leans forward, and though we can’t see them, it seems likely that she’s started doing something with her hands. Blake worked for Will at his first firm in Baltimore, and Will owes him. Ouch.
The dim light shines off their skin, and as they twist around each other, they’re consumed in flame and shadow until there’s no coherency to what we see. “You know, Donna thinks you prefer women.” “Sometimes,” she shrugs. “Depennnnnds.” They shuffled back and forward. Hands are definitely involved. Wow, this is like the porniest episode of this show ever, even with it’s past full of hookers and strippers and molestation and bathroom intimacy. And it is freaking me the heck out. Don’t put your lips on him! Yuck!
No no no, don’t do it! That’s not the actors, that’s me, begging Kalinda from my living room. My husband, watching his first full show this season, can’t see the objection, but I don’t have to tell you! This man is bad news, bad bad bad news.
“Where’s my baseball bat?” she wonders, gently rubbing her lips and chin along his jawline. Ah. Thank God. The girl has not lost her mind after all. “It’s in my bag,” he confesses, under her spell. “I want it back,” she practically pouts, and he leans back on the couch to pull it out. She runs her hands up the sides of it (and man, it’s much nicer to making dirty innuendos about the baseball bat’s shaft than Blake’s). “So you’ll lay off?” “Lay off what,” she asks coyly, and her hands are at it again. “Everything,” he moans. She gets her hands back on the bat. “Yeah,” she says, hypnotizing him with her eyes. She leans in for a kiss (yuck yuck yuck!) which amps up quickly. “Why do you care about Leela?” “I don’t,” she tells him. “Then, what do you care about?” he wonders. She backs up, and he’s about to get pissy when quick as a flash, she swings the bat with all her might, delivering a blow to his side or his kidney.
Damn. Thank the lord.
He falls to the ground on his arms and knees, gasping for breath. “It’s all right,” she says, shrugging into her coat.”You’ll have trouble breathing for a minute.” She dials what’s probably the hotel, saying her boyfriend has injured his chest and they should come up. “Wait,” he gasps, wreathing on the floor. “Blake? You trying to say something?” “Leela,” he gasps, and she puts the bat under his chin, twisting his body up to face her. “Yeah, you keep going with that. Why don’t you try taking a breath, mmm?” She leans in, and he pushes the bat away as savagely as he can manage. His words are staccato, punctuated by gasps. “I phoned… phoned… your husband.”
Dun dun da! You knew that the old Evil Boyscout (who was mushier than I expected, no?) had something good on Kalinda, but that’s fantastic. If I can speak from a narrative point of view, and not consider the feelings of the character, that is.
“You wanna come in?”Alicia asks Owen at the elevator in her building. No, he’d better get moved in, he says as he drops off some of her luggage. He thanks her for her help, and they kiss each other on the cheek. He smiles fondly at her over the knot in his grey-blue scarf. He starts to leave, but impulsively, she reaches for the elevator door. “What did you mean, what I will do?” Huh? “What you said about Will, you said what you want me to do, and what I will do. What will I do?”
“Oh,” he says gravely, and shrugs. “You’re a good person, Alicia. You pretend that you’re not, that this recent… unpleasantness has changed you, but it hasn’t.” He gives her a pitying look, as if all this is somehow a bad thing, as if he were telling her she only has a few months to live. “You are who you are. You… can’t cheat. It’s not in your make up.” She sniffs reflectively. “Thanks for the company.” He moves to hug her, but she puts her hand on his chest and pushes him back; she’s on the verge of tears, as if he really did deliver a death sentence. “See ya soon!” he burbles hopefully, knowing he’s hurt her. She walks away without facing him. Alicia breathes deeply, sucking back the tears, picks up her luggage and her keys and walks down the paneled hallway to her apartment door.
She surveys herself in the mirror, clad in a typical pantsuit. It’s not enough. We see her closet, filled with brightly colored shoes, and then we see her reflection in a new outfit; a fitted black dress with a square neckline which is still Alicia, still work appropriate, but severe and sexy at the same time. Like a sexy nun, if that could be a good thing. Her white skin and dark hair and eyes stand out starkly against the black; how can a person be so vivid in the absence of color?
“According to the lawyers, I have to say this,” Rand Blaylock tells a Charlie Rose-like interrogator across a round table, supercilious in the inevitable blazer and turtleneck. “My Patric Edelstein is not the real Patric Edelstein – to which I have my own legal, one word retort. Duh!” Will and Diane, watching the televised interview from Diane’s office, chortle right along with Blaylock and Charlie Rose’s stand in. “Yes, we lost a law suit. Yes, there is fiction in every fact. But you know what I hate?” “I think I know what he hates,” Diane smiles over her coffee mug. “Our litigious society, a world where lawyers find cleverer and cleverer ways to make end runs around the First Amendment.” “Hey,” grins Will, “he called us clever!” “What happens to writers and satirist,” Blaylock continues, “if every time they offend someone, they’re sued for right of publicity?”
“He’s not wrong,” Diane admits. “Of course he’s not wrong,” Will agrees. “The last refuge of of the loser is to not be wrong.” Ha. Alicia stops by the assistant’s area, nervously looking for Will in her subtly stunning dress. Has Julianna worn this in promotion, maybe? It seems somehow familiar. He pops out to greet her. “Hey! How was… everywhere?” Good, everywhere was good. ‘Well good job on the road,” he says, concentrating on some papers his assistant’s handed him as he walks back to his desk. She stays in the doorway. “The studio apologized, and we did pretty well.” I don’t doubt it. And you got a fantastic client, all for a week’s work.
Alicia makes it just past the door, hesitating, almost lurching, trying to force the words out of her mouth. “Will, I need a moment of your time.” There. It’s begun.
Will looks up, jovial. “Okay,” he smiles.
She walks forward to the leather chair that faces his desk, and leans one hand on it for support. “I never got the second message to my cell phone?” Somehow I think this is not the way that Owen wanted her to ask the question. She’s really not good at being bad. “I don’t know why.” Will, of course, has no idea what she’s talking about, but clearly thinks it’s something from this case. “No, you got everything,” he insists. She inhales courage with her next big breath. “The day of Peter’s press conference. You left two messages, but I only got the first.” His eyebrows draw down, and he moves around the desk. “I hate missed connections and that stuff, so,” and here she smiles widely, charming, but her voice drops low. “Can I ask what you said?”
He walks away from her and closes the door, sleepwalking, as if he were in a dream. For a moment I think the episode will end with the closing door, and I’m about to jump out of my skin. “My second message?” “Yes,” Alicia confirms. Slowly he turns to face her. “You don’t have to say,” she mutters, looking guilty for putting him in what’s clearly a tough spot, undone by the tension. Why does he not ask how she knows there was a second message, or why she’s waited all this time to bring it up? He shakes his head, looking terribly sad. “No, I will.” He closes the distance between them. “I said, I think you made the right decision with Peter. And I didn’t want us to be uncomfortable at work.” He offers the words to her with a slight smile, as a gift. Well, that’s what you said first message, anyway, you big lying liar. She’s hurt, and he sees it; he watches her face guiltily.
“Okay,” she breathes. She did all that for nothing. He won’t tell the truth, and she must feel like it’s because the moment has passed, because she’s finally brought herself to the point of doing this devastating, life changing thing, and she’s already missed the chance. “Good,” she agrees, breathing deeply till she’s composed enough to look him in the face and smile brightly. “And we’re not!” “We’re not,” he agrees gently, but still he searches her face. “Okay,” she says, still uncomfortable looking at him, “I better get back to work!” She moves past him, but on a sudden inspiration, he grabs her arm, and I – along with at least half the audience, I’m sure – think he’s going to change his mind and kiss her right there in the middle of a busy glass walled office. But no. “It’s good to have you back,” he says fervently. “It’s good to be back,” she replies in half truth, and walks out, leaving him to watch her retreating back and wonder if he’s done the right thing.
Well, that leaves us a lot to discuss. Now, I know lots of people care much more about the interpersonal drama than the cases, but I like a good mystery, and I like the details put into the best of them, the solidity you can feel. I loved this case, and do you want to know why? There was a legitimate, thought provoking issue behind it, one with acknowledged shades of gray. The whole polluter thing from last week? Overly black and white. Polluters are easy targets. I don’t care what Canning maunders on about; they were at fault and they should pay and they shouldn’t pay less than the flipping lawyer’s fee, for heaven’s sake. The First Amendment, though? Artistic freedom? Not so obvious. Oh, I know that the evidence was weighted pretty heavily toward Patric’s side, but still, pretty much everyone involved admitted the case was a big gray area. Artists shouldn’t have to worry about being precisely faithful to history, but isn’t there a line? Should there be? Is it different when that history was last year, when the people involved are still living? It’s outrageous that someone could take details of your life and turn it into something completely derogatory and that’d be okay. But that’s what writers do – embroider and structure the various truths they see, swirl it all up in their imaginations until it (hopefully) reflects universal, if not particular, truth. That’s what this episode did, even though it’s careful to merely parallel Zuckerberg, not ape his case in specific detail. There’s a bit of fun extra footage relating to Blaylock’s apology/interview on one of the show’s websites that might entertain you in the dark days until the next episode.
Also, we got to see Will and Diane working together at the top of their game, which is frankly thrilling to me. And even though Alicia was only marginally involved in the case, she still provided the winning insight. I could stand with a little more Perry Masoning after that run of depressing losses, so that bit was pleasant.
Now, on to puppeteer Bond and Blake the extremely well paid fixer. Okay. This makes a lot of sense (although I have to say, the guilt ridden white liberal in me wishes they hadn’t gotten a black actor to play Derrick if this is where they were always going with him), what with Blake and the hookers from early on, and the courtship of LeMond Bishop. How was it not clear before? Bond doesn’t want to dominate the Lockhart/Gardner folks just because he’s evil; he actually has a specific evil plan and an evil goal. Okay. So, how much of this misalliance is real? How much of Bond’s business is drug related? Is the superPAC even real? And how long can you have a foot in both those worlds before something on one side or the other gnaws off your ankle? I’m dying to hear Diane and Will and Lee plotting again with Kalinda, now that they know the real endgame.
I cannot explain it, but I find Cary all kinds of hot when he gets all chivalrous and in Blake’s face, even in his abstruse, overly intellectual and elitist Cary way. (Georgia O’Keefe; what a fabulous find in Blake’s library. Lovely. Mostly because O’Keefe famously makes her flower painting look like, erm, lady parts; Cary was not so subtly calling Blake a pansy.) It is weirdly, weirdly hot – even if Kalinda is way better at taking care of herself than Cary is at taking care of her. Actually, the fact that she doesn’t remotely need his protection makes his loyalty even hotter. Oh my God, what am I even saying?
I think we can all agree that Kalinda did some heavy lifting in this episode. She’s unreal. And she’s married! Oh my lord. Was it an arranged marriage, do you suppose, or did she just wake up one day and not want her life anymore? I can see Kalinda being a sort of fantasy concoction, the id at play, eating whatever kind of take out she feels like and then throwing the carton away. I can’t imagine his hubris, letting her get that close (and particularly giving her the bat back; dumbass). And the other part wishes he’d worked out a little more for the scene. Oh, mean, I know. He looks like a decent looking regular guy. He’s not a regular guy, though, he’s an actor. But mostly, I just can’t believe she’d go as far as she did to get out of his clutches. The girl is stone cold; it’s appalling and impressive at the same time.
It’s not a huge thing, and I know I’m hardly the first person to say this, but why does everyone on this show say “phoned” instead of called? Is it a Chicago thing? If it is, that doesn’t really explain Baltimore native Blake using it. Just saying, it seems odd. I don’t think I know anyone who talks like that. Wouldn’t you think the actors would point it out to the writing staff?
And, finally, Will and Alicia. He lied! He lied! He lied right to her face. And of course she knows he’s lying, poor love, because she’s heard bits of the tape. Is that better or worse? She knows that whatever he felt, he doesn’t want to feel anymore, maybe doesn’t feel anymore. It was a kind of Casablanca moment (in parallel to that earlier one), Rick sending Ilsa on the plane with Viktor Lazlo because it was the best thing, no matter what he felt. I’m not saying Will’s still in love with her (though for the purposes of the show, it seems likely). I’m not saying that it would have been better if he’d told the truth – it probably would have made everyone’s lives much worse – but still, it’s hard to root against the truth. But more importantly, it’s hard to see Alicia so crushed. Why she would want to follow Owen’s dare not to do the right thing, I’m not sure. It does make me think that her heart hasn’t relented or warmed to Peter the way it was looking it might. She just seemed so sad, so lost, and it’s great tv, but it makes me ache for her.
As for the preview, in non-spoilery terms – are you kidding me? I don’t care about guest stars! Oh, sure, I happen to love these guest stars, but that’s beside the point! I want Alicia to get soused with Kalinda and sob about her brutal rejection. I want to know what Will’s really thinking. Is he sure he did the right thing? Does Alicia feel better and more able to commit to Peter for having asked? Will she turn to him in her loneliness? Damn it! Why is it not Tuesday already?