E: Oh, heart. How will I live? Did we need the brutal reminder in the title of marriage vows made and shattered? Even when Alicia has been broken down, ground down as far as she can go, she’s still fierce and dignified. There’s power in her, which is wondrous to see, but oh, the pain. I didn’t really want to write about this episode, to be honest. It’s just really, really sad.
Last week’s news anchor hesitates before declaring Peter Florrick as the new State’s Attorney, and the hotel suite explodes with jubilation. Ah. Another of the overlapping openings. Alicia smiles oddly, considering the momentous change, bemused and thoughtful and mostly pleased, until that myopic wretch Andrew Wiley piously insists that it’s always better to know the truth, no matter how much it hurts. So easy to say, sir, when you are not the one who will be hurt. She’s annoyed, but not taking him seriously. And again he speaks the fateful words; Peter’s affair was with a woman named Leela. Again, we see Alicia’s world fall down. She staggers out of the room like a sleepwalker, like the Lost survivors on the beach stumbling about in confusion, unable to process their abrupt transition into a new and devastating reality. How is it that Wiley has followed her tenaciously all day, and yet doesn’t come after her now? Clearly he senses – not what he’s done, because we don’t see any remorse, but that he’s somehow struck home. Oh, my poor Alicia. I could have lived without seeing that again. Thank God they cut that short before you started to cry.
Alicia returns to her silent apartment, the stillness unnatural after the noisy, operatic swell of sound at the hotel. She looks around herself, at a loss. Nothing looks familiar anymore. She looks for answers in the refrigerator – rather as she did in Heart, come to think of it. Then the ticker tock of the soundtrack breaks the silence; the idea clicks in her head. She purses her lips slightly, sucking in her cheeks as she chews on the idea. She slaps her bag down on the kitchen island and turns so we see her determined face in profile, filmed from below, so she looks heroic and resolute.
And the next thing we see is Alicia reaching into a drawer for tape, and using that tape to recreate a box. She’s packing, tossing toiletries in one box, burrowing through drawers, taping, smoothing down the tape. And just like that, Alicia’s inviting movers into the quiet apartment and gestures at a small mountain of boxes. And the next thing we know, the 24 Hours moving van is off through the dark wet streets of Chicago, following Alicia’s car, and last week’s Pink Lady (now in a black trenchcoat) is showing her an sleek, modern apartment with a loft and great views. “Don’t worry. Real estate is a 24 hour job,” she chirps. That’s gracious of you, Pink Lady – you really are good at your job. “Congratulations, Mrs. State’s Attorney,” the Pink Lady says warmly. Alicia accepts rather than explain. The place is furnished – there are lamps, and paintings on the wall, chairs and couches. Pink Lady gives her pitch – 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, very close to the court house, $2,800 a month, likely less if Alicia will let her bargain for it. This must all seems strange; why would they want a smaller apartment? But she doesn’t get in the way of the sale, and Alicia doesn’t want to wait. The money is fine. She wants the lease. Now. Pink Lady’s amazed. “When you decide you really decide,” she laughs. Honey, that is true in so many more ways than you know.
Which, can we all just say wow? She never even changed out of her party dress – I sure as heck would have – and she’s just erased Peter from her residence. Less than 3 minutes into the episode, their marriage is just – disappeared.
Peter – possibly at his campaign headquarters, since the backdrop includes enormous pictures of his own head – tells the assembled minions that Wendy Scott Carr has conceded. Aw. I’d have liked to see her one last time. An anchor named Rob Johnson (from, of course, CBS 11) has Jackie on camera. She’s got red confetti on her head banded head, and she’s just ecstatic. “You must be a very proud mother tonight,” the anchor notes, and Alicia mutes her mother in law to avoid the gushing response. She dials her cell phone instead.
“Hey babe, where are you?” Peter wonders, a finger plugging up his other ear so he can hear her. “I found a place,” she tells him carefully. Not a house, an apartment, and yes, she’s there now. He should come. Okay, he says. Can you give me an hour for things to wind down? She can. She gives him the address. We see Peter on the tv behind Jackie’s head, which now is covered with blue confetti. Alicia seems as if she’s setting a trap, almost, she’s so careful not to spook him, not to clue him into her intentions. He’s going to come.
A strange picture fills the screen – circles and squiggles and patches of color. It’s replaced by an anatomical rendering of a female body with annotations in red pen, and then an ultrasound with notes on it too. These items come from a case file. Alicia flips through them, still wearing her wedding band. Then there are documents: Marjorie Garrett – liver transplant approved. The next document begins: “We regret to inform you” That’s never good. There are photos interspersed: Marjorie’s a mother, and a singer or performer of some kind. And photos of cute (but edgy) Marjorie in a hospital bed and gown, smiling bravely, terrible circles under her eyes. Cheery homework, Alicia, on this vigil you’re holding for your marriage.
There’s a noise at the door. Alicia gathers her things, and lets Peter into the apartment.
He leans in the doorway, smiling in that rakish, charming way he has, his arms braced against the doorframe. “You are so funny,” he smiles, snagging the keys from her hand and swaggering into the room. “Is it big enough?” Well, for her purposes it is. He walks into the living room full of boxes. She looks horrified, clutching her notes to her chest, her lips trying to form the words but not succeeding. It looks like it hurts.
“This is your apartment, Peter,” she spits out finally, her voice is low, gutteral, like we’ve never heard it, like she’s a different person. He turns, beginning to be confused.
“I’ve moved all your things here,” she continues. “What?” He’s paying attention now. “You’ll have to use your cell phone for a while before they get the phones connected, and I’ve paid your first three months rent.” He’s stunned.
“I don’t get this,” Peter puzzles, bewildered, spinning in place.
“You slept with Kalinda,” Alicia explains. She watches his back, waiting for the denial that doesn’t come, and then composing herself.
“Look,” he begins. “No, don’t, Peter” she stops him, almost pleading, “this makes it easier. So please just take your keys?” She extends her hands to him, begging him to be civil and let her go.
“Alicia, I need you,” he begs, moving toward her. Wrong tack, buddy; guilt is not going to sway her. Don’t tell her what she owes you, not now when you owe her so much. “You slept with my best friend,” Alicia wards him off, enunciating the words carefully. “It was before she was your best friend.” Now, again, even if it’s true, that’s so not helpful.
“Oh, God,” she gasps, unable to even look at him anymore, stunned by his presumption. “Look,” he continues smoothly, “I’m not trying to make excuses…” So why does it sound exactly like that what you’re doing? “But you know I’ve changed.” Alright, that’s fair. He turns the full force of his puppy dog eyes on her, but she’s still looking away. “I love you. Love. What can I do to make this better?” She raises her eyes to his face, aching. “Nothing,” she answers, whispering, on the verge of tears. Her face warns him not to ask again, and she drops his keys on a side table and flees the room. He stands amidst his boxes in the strange apartment, the change of altitude showing on his haggard face.
Back in her kitchen, Alicia stands at her island, leaning on her hands, looking at a clock that reads 5:30. Her lips quiver, and she collapses, weeping, her head in her hand. I just want to hide my head.
But this is Alicia we’re talking about, and she’s not going to cry all day. She wipes her face, and throws her folder up in the air, slamming through the apartment. She grabs Zach’s ipod dock from his room, and soon a base line blasts through the apartment. “I thought I was a victim, that people hated me.” Well, that’s the right song for her: Beast’s “Mr. Hurricane.”. She puts on her make up, brushes her hair, buttons up a new suit for the day, pulls herself together. “(Broke out of the harness)/let it go let it go now/(stumbled in the darkness)/turn on the lights y’all/(overcame the madness)/then take your pills/ (finally righteous)/I love the beast, y’all.” Her anger and frustration and new sense of power have put a wicked crispness and spring in her step. Slam goes her front door. The good wife has officially left the building.
Aaaaand Patti’s back! Patti Nyholm, love of my life, the amoral empress of awful, that twisted little wonder of the world. Oh, come on, Martha Plimpton – I’m happy you have your own shown, but you were born to play this role. It’s really a shame you can’t do it full time. Her hair, I’m forced to note, looks a little too short, but I’m oh so happy to see that snarky, smirky blonde head pop up into my tv screen.
“Excuse me, your Honor, do I really have to say it?” Yes, you really do, Judge Parks insists. Judge Parks! I really like Judge Parks. And – would you look at that? There are all sorts of ports behind his head; we’re back in the hospital, just as we were in Heart. Get out of town. “Lockhart/Gardner’s gotten into the nasty little habit of pushing legal agenda through emergency injunctions.” She gestures off to her right. “You can decide something that hasn’t happened, your Honor, and as my opposing council is well aware, there is no liver available yet, so there is nothing to enjoin…” Alicia cuts her off. “But as Miss Nyholm well knows, when a donor’s liver does become available, there is only a 12 hour window of viability, and that is what Miss Nyholm is counting on!” Patti tried to interrupt Alicia, but Alicia refuses to yield the floor. She stares at Alicia with amusement and perhaps also respect. Diane, watching with her glasses on, seems clearly impressed by Alicia’s vigorous tone. “You have no idea what I’m counting on,” she says lowly. “You’re counting on that liver being transplanted into another patient, and at that point there truly will be nothing to enjoin.” Patti’s still smiling, as if she were stunned by Alicia’s unseemly insistence. “Can I have my turn now?” Parks asks. “Yes, your Honor,” Patti laughs, again to imply Alicia’s the crazy one taking up all the time and making up conspiracy theories, “I wish Mrs. Florrick didn’t think she was arguing before the Supreme Court.” “And I wish,” comes Alicia’s voice, “Miss Nyholm did.” Judge Parks overrules Patti’s objection. Yay!
Alicia walks over to the Marjorie of the paperwork, who sits, supported by her hospital bed. This is quite a large patient room to fit the judge’s table and one for each set of lawyers. We learn that Marjorie’s liver began failing two years ago; one week ago, she was told she at the top of the ORSN list and was a match for a new liver from a brain dead “donorcycle” accident victim. “I know I sound like an expert, but you get informed really fast when you’re this sick.” Marjorie’s tired and short of breath; she’s wearing a khaki jacket with bright embroidery on it over her hospital johnny, which lends her a sort of hippie vibe. There’s a child’s drawing in sunny yellow tapped up next to her bed. You were told you would get this liver, Alicia has her confirm. “You can’t believe how happy we were,” she gasps. “My son – oh!” Marjorie presses her hand to her midsection, her face clenching. “Sorry. He’s … five. I haven’t told him that there’s a problem yet.” Everyone but Patti, and the young man at her table, looks sympathetic. Kalinda motions to Diane from the doorway. And what’s the problem? “I don’t know,” Marjorie nearly cries. “All I know is that my name was removed fr0m the ORSN list.” Alicia sees Kalinda at the door, and her face turns cold. “And what has the doctor told you will happen next?” The woman nods from her sick bed, stunned by the news. “Without this liver, they say I have three weeks.” Oh, Marjorie.
Diane whispers to Kalinda in the doorway, asking how long the donor has left. Kalinda’s on it. “How’s Alicia doing?” “She’s got Patti on her heels,” Diane grins, and Kalinda gives a cute little smile in her (ex?) best friend’s direction. Poor little fool.
Kalinda follows some people into another room – a normal sized one – where a doctor explains to them that the motorcycle accident has severed “his” brain stem. Wouldn’t the family know this, if Marjorie was matched with the liver a week ago? “Is he in pain?” an older woman asks. “No,” admits the man, “but there are people in this hospital who could benefit from this terrible tragedy.” Mom is not having any of that, and orders him to back off. And rightly so, really.
“I’m so sorry,” a sweet looking young nurse tells Kalinda, perhaps assuming she’s part of the bereaved family. “That’s okay,” Kalinda sighs, and the girl offers to help with whatever she needs. Since that’s information, Kalinda asks immediately about a mysterious hubbub at the end of the hall. Making space, maybe? Otherwise, why move beds with no patients on them? Florence Nightengale is on it!
“They won’t allow their son to be unplugged until his brother comes home from Afghanistan to see him,” Kalinda explains to Diane. “I know I sound like a ghoul for even asking this,” Diane admits, “but how long?” Three days, ghoul. Which is good for the legal wiggle room, but maybe not so good for Marjorie, and clearly, extremely tense for everyone.
“Objection! Asked and answered!” Judge Parks sustains Alicia’s objection, and Patti sneers about rephrasing her question so as not to offend. “What did your doctor, Dr. Laughton, tell you was exactly the reason you were removed from liver contention?” And now, here’s an ugly facet of transplant work; she can’t get the liver because she needs it too much, because she’s too sick without it. “A new liver would be counter productive,” she repeats. “And you might only live another six months with the liver,” Patti adds. Damn. That’s so not encouraging. And so not cool. And you have to consider that, right, if you’re in the business of handing out human organs? “Yes, but he wasn’t sure.” Sshhh, Mama Patti understands. “And I’m sorry to ask you this, Marjorie. There are only so many viable livers available for transplant. Wouldn’t it be better to implant it into someone who has a better chance at survival?”
Marjorie draws in an unsteady breath. “I spent some time in a hospital the last year, and I know doctors speak of objective and subjective criteria. Dr. Lautner’s opinion was subjective medical criteria.” Once she finishes her cross, Patti recognizes a gaunt man outside the hospital room door, and asked to end for the day. Alicia leaps to her feet, denouncing these delaying tactics. Patti says one of the witnesses has been called away on an emergency, and Alicia, recognizing the ploy, calls foul. The judge agrees, and grants a two hour lunch during which Patti better produce the hospital administrator.
“Alicia, thank you,” Marjorie says fervently. Alicia takes her hand. “It’s my job,” she claims, deflecting praise. Marjorie stares up at Alicia, amazed. “No. Not like before. You’re – fighting for me.” Surprised and pleased, Alicia considers this unintended consequence of her personal turmoil.
“Change of plan,” Diane informs Alicia out in the hallway. “I want you to question the hospital administrator. I think you’re getting under Patti’s skin.” Diane looks quite delighted by the prospect. “So keep it up!” Patti, meanwhile, is in furious conference with the tall, gaunt man and her younger colleague a few yards off. As Diane walks away, Patti too leaves her colleagues, her face incredulous. Which, being Patti, is usually a lie. She stops for a moment, incredulous, but then notices Alicia, and bursts into action.
“Phone your boyfriend. Tell him I need to ask him something.” Patti smiles her nasty little smile. Alicia refuses to admit she knows what Patti’s talking about. “Will Gardner? Tell him I need to see him in 30 minutes or I’m on to the next.” She walks off, leaving a very suspicious Alicia behind.
“What?” Will barks across his desk. “It’s good to see you,” Patti prompts, obviously enjoying toying with him. “And you,” he concedes reluctantly. “You’ve been working out!” This makes him laugh outright. “How’s the kid?” he asks, friendlier. Alicia’s sitting next to Patti. Very odd, this. And, hmm, in this lounging position, Patti looks a bit like she hasn’t been working out. She begins her tale. “I’ve been fired.” What? “By whom?” Will’s clearly assuming she means by a client, but no. “My firm. My law firm,” she explains. “The law firm I spilled blood for? They fired me, just this afternoon. A senior partner informed me.” Ah, the gaunt man. Okay. Alicia and Will are puzzled by this confession. Is she looking to play for our team? “I’m looking to sue,” she reveals. Ah, of course you are. “8.6 million. They fired me because I’m pregnant.”
“Really?” Will wonders, “you’re pregnant.” So that was a bump I saw. (I swear I really did notice that on the first viewing.) “I am,” she says, then narrows her eyes at his disbelief, “it happens.” “Are you thinking of populating a small island?” Okay, Will, that’s one of the best lines you’ve had in eons. And really, it is somewhat fast for someone, particularly for someone who doesn’t seem to be married and also – well, you just wouldn’t think she’d like kids, would you? But she must. Crazy. I guess she’s at the age where you can’t really mess around with fertility. And – is it rude of me to say that she gets a lot of work mileage out of being pregnant? I can almost see her getting pregnant just to use the belly and the baby as a prop.
Anyway. “Five minutes,” she says, taking off her watch and laying it on Will’s desk, “and then I go to Quinn & Holland. I think they’re still in the building.” Alicia’s weirded out. “So, you go from fighting with us in the morning to hiring us in the afternoon?” “Yes,” Patti says plainly, “why do you find that so confusing, Mrs. Florrick?” Hee. The nastiness, there’s just no one like her. God, I have missed Patti. She’s so freakin’ awesome. (Hmmm. Is it inconsistent of me to love Patti and hate Becca? Is it just that Becca uses sex instead of her brain to achieve her ends, or that Patti’s depravities are reserved for her work whereas Becca’s are all social?) “Will doesn’t find that confusing, do you?” Will laughs. He’s not confused. “You’re using our suit, our donors suit, to get your firm to pay up.” Alicia nods in understanding, and Patti laughs. “That is so adorably calculating. Maybe I just think you’re good lawyers!” Right. (You know, she’d never admit it, but she must think so, or she wouldn’t go to them no matter how well placed they were to annoy her former firm.) “You have four minutes.”
“How did it go today?” Will asks Alicia. Well, she answers. Judge Parks likes us. “We have three days until the liver becomes available.” Yes, Patti agrees, but you don’t know what my firm has coming. And you can’t tell us that, or you’ll get disbarred.
“True,” Patti concedes, “but I’m human! And pregnant. And who knows what a pregnant woman in my state might say?” Hee. Maybe she doesn’t like babies. Maybe she’s just having another one because it’s so damn good for her job.
“Give me a taste,” Will smirks. “We know you’re using this donor case as a stalking horse for a malpractice suit against Harbor Hospital.” Will shakes his head, denying it. Well, this seems like familiar territory, doesn’t it? They stare at each other. “The hospital administrator? He’s not out on an emergency.” Oh, nice. That’s so very Patti. I remember her sitting in the parking lot in Heart, pretending to be stuck somewhere else. “You wanted to question him, didn’t you Mrs. Florrick?” Alicia gives Will a tiny nod. “You have three minutes. Do you want my case or not?” The soundtrack ticks. Will furrows his brows, then leans forward, his elbows balanced on his desk, assessing. “They didn’t really fire you because you were pregnant, did they?” “Of course they did,” Patti insists, giving away nothing. “But it makes a good story anyway.” Will picks up her watch, glares at it. “Then let’s sue,” he decides.
Jackie walks the halls of Lockhart/Gardner, hands folded primly over her leather handbag, looking – as usual – as if she expected to catch a disease if she touches anything. Her delicate features are set. “Hello Alicia,” she beings pleasantly. Alicia looks up from her desk, and greets her mother in law coolly. “May I sit?” “You may. But in fifteen minutes I have to be in court.” Jackie sits, undeterred. She sniffs, and raises her head high on her slender neck. “Why did you do it?” Alicia must know what she means, but she’s got no patience and, it seems, no interest in coddling Jackie. “You’re in my office, Jackie. You must have come here for a reason. I won’t be put in a position of guessing.” Ouch. Jackie’s tone betrays her anger less. “You broke up with my son.” Broke up with him? They’re not fifteen. This is a telling word choice, indicative of the way Jackie infantalizes Peter.
“I dropped your children off, and Peter was not there. He was in an apartment you moved him into.” Yes, Alicia admits, smiling. She probably would have gotten along better with Jackie if she could control her face during these lectures. “So you waited until he was elected, and you made your move.” What? “What move do you imagine that might be, Jackie?” Alicia leans on her desk, and I’m with her. What does Jackie think her game is? She’s waited till he got a job so she’ll get spousal support? “I have no idea. I am not in your head. Your children were looking for their father.” Okay, Jackie really is befuddled. And definitely mad. Alicia calmly replies that she’ll explain things to Zach and Grace after school. “And poison them with your bias?” OUCH! Okay, seriously, is it really bias? His cheating makes her biased? Alicia’s voice becomes dangerous. “Be cordial here, Jackie, or I will ask you to leave.”
The monster-in-law sighs and changed tactics. “You and I have had our differences, Alicia,” she says primly, “but I’ve come to respect you, and, and admire aspects of you.” OUCH! Alicia smiles to herself. Oh, Jackie. You can’t be nice even when you’re trying to be. “But my son is hurting, and I cannot see him hurt on the day he should be happiest. I have never seen him so destroyed.” Should we assume Peter told Jackie the cause of the so called ‘break up’ and she doesn’t care (plausible since she didn’t seem to care about Amber), or that he’s kept his misbehavior to himself? Perhaps the latter. “This is a private matter, Jackie. It is not for you to get involved.” Alicia’s quiet, calm. “I’ve watched Zach and Grace for two years now!” Well, that still doesn’t make you part of their marriage, Jackie. Alicia thanks her for her service – and then, shockingly, cuts her loose. Or at least, it shocked me. It makes sense – why would she keep meddling, officious Jackie around if she’s not going to keep Peter? – but still it shocked me. And it completely shocks Jackie. “My children are grown. They don’t need your help. But thank you, and I’m glad you got time to spend together.”
Damn. Well, okay, that solves that issue. No nanny necessary. 15 and 14 is definitely old enough, and they’re basically trustworthy – but, are they going to cook dinner for themselves now? Will she cut back on her hours? Wow.
“How can you talk this way,” Jackie gasps, cut to the core. “Because I am this way,” Alicia replies, steely, staring Jackie down. “Because your son made me this way.” “My son loves you,” Jackie insists. Alicia just smiles, and starts packing her things. “You will see your grandchildren, don’t worry, Jackie, I will make that happen. And thank you.” She turns for a moment to meet the older woman’s eyes. “You were a life saver when I needed a life saver.” She’s momentarily without anger or sarcasm. “But that’s over now, and I need to get to court.” Damn.
“Damn you to hell,” Jackie curses, guttural. Alicia considers answering her, but decides against. Instead, she leaves without a word.
Well, that went poorly.
Patti’s former co-counsel is back in the aqua hospital room, insisting that L/G’s only there for their class action suit. “I don’t care,” Parks declares, annoyed, “I still have to adjudicate the case in front of me.” Right so, Judge Parks, rightly so. I really like him. Diane explains about the chicanery with the hospital administrator, who – it turns out – is at his vacation home in Michigan. “We ask that your Honor compel his presence in court or censure opposing counsel for their deception.” The young ambitious blond and the gaunt senior partner exchange meaningful glances. “Mr. Rota?” Patti prances into the hospital room, her heels click clacking on the linoleum floor. Rota’s tongue tied. “Your Honor, we have no… knowledge of this location.” Diane helpfully provides it for them. Patti smirks from the back.
Rota and the gaunt man try to get Lockhart/Gardner thrown off the case because of Patti. “It’s come to our attention that our retired [ha!] co-counsel has hired Diane Lockhart in a suit against us.” “Really?” wonders Judge Parks. Patti smiles enthusiastically, and wiggles like a little kid sitting on her hands. “What happened there?” “Our firm found it necessary to relieve Miss Nyholm of her responsibilities, and she has since hired their firm to sue us for damages.” Is this true, Miss Nyholm? “Oh yeah. It’s really quite dramatic.” Hee. She’s totally gotten under Rota’s skin. “I’m sure you can understand, your Honor, Miss Nyholm knows our stratagems and all the specifics of our defense.” Judge Parks can’t tell her who to hire. “Yes, but you can insist on a strict division between her case and this one.” Yes, and so he shall. Does Miss Nyholm understand this? She does. Rota looks like nothing so much as a teenager embarrassed by his best friend’s older sister relentlessly teasing and hitting on him. “Your Honor, she just grinned and winked at us when she said that!” Hee! We didn’t see it, but of course we believe it. “I did not; I don’t wink.” Perish the thought! “Without grinning,” Parks grits his teeth, “do you promise to keep these two cases separate?” “I do, your Honor.” I now pronounce you two unmarried cases. Problem solved.
“This is so unprofessional,” the gaunt man grouses. “Please talk to my lawyer,” Patti instructs him, waving her hand loftily at Will, who introduces himself. Rota interrupts to say that Patti needs to go through arbitration before she can sue them. Yes, says Will, and we’ve got a mediator all lined up. “Well, unfortunately,” the gaunt man, Mr. Andrews, postures, “my schedule won’t clear up for the next several weeks.” Yet you had time to leap into this case? Right. What a shame, Will shrugs, because that doesn’t work for us. “We need you to meet now.” Or? “Or Patti and I are going to have a very long conversation about class action suits.” “And you know how we pregnant women like to talk!” Andrews won’t negotiate with a gun to his head. Hmmm. You know who he is? Lex Luthor’s father from Smallville. “So don’t. Just negotiate.” “Not if you were the last man standing, buddy,” Andrew claims, with a very Wild West shoot-out air.
Slam goes a thick folder onto a table. “Welcome to arbitration. I’m retired Judge Loni Goslin. This is an automatic process designed to encourage the free exchange of grievances” Oh, goodie, that sounds delightful. Rota, Andrews, Alicia and Will all sit at L&G’s conference table with Goslin at it’s head. I must say, though, the editing really sizzles here. There’s energy, snap. I’m loving fierce Alicia and I’m loving the show. “And where is your plaintiff, Mr. Gardner?” Ex-judge Goslin sounds like a snippety elementary school marm here. Coming any minute, your Honor. “I really must insist on punctuality.”
Andrews decides to go right ahead, and shows the judge a provision in Patti’s contract which calls for a mere 50 grand pay out. He snickers at her much larger ask. “That provision doesn’t cover punitive. You fired her because she was pregnant.” Andrews thinks this is absurd. “I’ve never heard such completely and utter hogwash. We fired her because she was alienating clients, we were losing people. As you can see from this grievance report, Miss Nyholm has extreme mood swings, moments of temper flashes…” Will cuts him off with some documentation about pregnancy and mood swings. So that’s our case; not that they said “we’re firing you because you’re pregnant” but “the pregnancy symptoms are the reason”. Interesting. “Oh, come on,” Andrews gripes, “you yourself complained how she uses her pregnancy.” Well, she sure enough does do that.
And, perfect timing for her entrance as always. In she comes with apologies and stroller. “I am so sorry I’m late. I was changing diapers. What a mess!” Goslin swivels in her chair, and her crisp attitude melts. In a good way. “Oh my goodness,” she coos to Patti’s one year old daughter, “look at you with your little hat!” It really is cute – red, with a large pink rose on it. “Isn’t that sweet? I knitted it myself.” Ha! Patti’s evil is kind of used for good here? Kind of? Either way, it’s even more enjoyable when we’re on her side. “And what a big girl you are, aren’t you?” Wow, Goslin is bit much with the baby talk. Rota and Andrews roll their eyes, but Will gets to enjoy Patti’s shamelessness for once. “I’m sorry, I thought I’d have day care today.” Patti apologizes again. “Nooo, it’s okay. Isn’t it okay?” Will flips up his legal pad so the opposing team can read it. On it is written $8.6. Heh.
‘I don’t know how you do it, Tori. It must be hard working here.” Kalinda’s talking to the sympathetic young nurse again, as they both watch the donorcycle hooked up to his many machines. “Sometimes. I try to look on the bright side of things. Sometimes there isn’t a bright side, so…” she sighs. “You have to just go home. Take a shower. And wash it off.” Kalinda considers this. This sounds pretty familiar to what Canning told Alicia a few episodes back, doesn’t it? “Oh!” Tori remembers “I asked about that commotion yesterday. Someone was coming in for an operation… I guess he must be pretty big.” It’s clear she means VIP big. “So we had to clear some space.”
Hospital administrator and twitchy little bunny Kevin Haynes introduces himself on the witness stand. He’s played by the highly recognizable Matt Molloy. “And how was your emergency?” Diane snarks. Rota, of course, objects. Parks makes Diane apologize. “Mr. Haynes, tell me who Jeffrey Birkoff is.” Rota shoots Andrews a worried look, and Haynes stumbles a bit before explain he’s Tori’s Mr. Big – an internet CEO, multimillionaire who’s donated his big bucks to Harbor Hospital. Well. That looks bad. “Objection, your Honor. I’m not sure what this has to do with this case,” Rota says, standing. “I’m not sure why, either, so why don’t we find out together?” I love Judge Parks. His growling drawl is just awesome. “Was my client, Marjorie Garnett, removed from the donors list so that Mr. Birkoff could receive the liver?” No no no, Haynes rushes in. Cary Agos knocks on the door, lightly, and Kalinda steps up to speak to him. “But Mr. Birkoff is being flown in right now to receive this liver, isn’t he? Room in the donors suit is being made for him, isn’t it?” Ha. There’s a little play on the concept of donation there that’s fun. Sure, he says, but that has nothing to do with Miss Garnett being denied the liver. Riiiight. Marjorie gives him a hard look. “The allocation of organs is an object matter governed by the ORSN computers. The only relevant factors are organ compatibility, age, and …” “The advancement of the disease,” Diane cuts in, “which is determined by a specialist.” That’s right. “So the computers put Miss Garnett on the top of the list, and a Harbor Hospital doctor removed her from it?” Oversimplification, Haynes sputters, but yes. “Did you know that Mr. Birkoff donated 600,000 to this hospital?” From the looks of horror congealing on Haynes face, I’d say he did. And he knows just how bad this looks. Oooo, how dastardly on the part of those villainous hospital execs! Also, wasn’t Alicia supposed to be doing this cross?
“You’re far away from home,” Kalinda nods to Cary. “I need your help,” he replies. He wants to know if there’s going to be room for him at Lockhart/Gardner. “Peter Florrick isn’t going to want the guy who made an enemy of his wife.” Well, don’t speak so soon, Cary. Also, I really feel like you and Alicia have buried the hatchet. Does he really know her so little that he thinks she’d lobby Peter to fire him? Ridiculous. At any rate, Diane was sniffing around him earlier, but he thinks Will might be reluctant. (Well, I seem to remember some pretty stiff demands that I’m not sure Diane was dancing over, either.) Could Kalinda talk to him? Wow, that’s one sexy look she gives him in reply. I’m not even sure she means it to be sexy; her confidence is just so freaking fantastic, you know?
“Really?” Will tells his phone, “I’m not sure that’s going to fly with Miss Nyholm.” One million, he mouths, and she’s typically, hilariously dismissive. Alicia walks into the conference room as Will’s replying to an accusation. “Of course Miss Nyholm didn’t tell us about Mr. Birkoff, we have our own investigator!” He shuts the phone off and looks over at Patti. “He hung up on me,” Will says in mock incredulity. That’s so cute. He and Patti are such fun as a duo. “I don’t think he takes you seriously,” she says, with a hilarious one sided sneer. “Or you,” Will agrees. Well aren’t you the cutest little underdogs together! Patti pops up as her baby starts gurgling “ma ma ma!” through the baby monitor on the conference table.
“She’s a piece of work, isn’t she?” Will asks Alicia, shaking his head in wonder. “And yet she has her moments,” Alicia admits. That she does. Will remembers to congratulate Alicia for Peter’s win. Little do you know, Will, little do you know. “I saw his speech; it was good. Are you excited?” Ha. She does an admirable job of appearing fine. “I’m… busy,” she prevaricates, and he accepts this without question. “I bet he will be too. Why don’t you take a week off after this, spend some time with him?” Somehow, I don’t think spending time with Peter is on the top of her list right now, but I’m starting to feel like she’d rather die than admit it just yet.
Patti’s voice crackles over the monitor, and Will reaches out to turn the sound off. “No,” Alicia reaches out, “turn it back up!” She sits at the table, and they both listen to Patti tell her little girl a fairytale. “….many wonderful machines. And all the machines cost a lot of money to keep up, and so the king had to keep using the machines, and charging for their use.” “Good story,” Will comments, and Alicia nods in agreement. “And when all the kings horses and all the kings men came to the castle, they were charged exorbitant prices…”
The Florrick teens sit on their couch looking uncomfortable. Alicia sits across from them, composing herself. Grace looks at her lap, steadfast. Zach breathes in deep to calm himself, just as his mother’s doing. That’s cool. One of the freakish and amazing things about having is seeing yourself and your spouse in, not merely their looks, but their mannerisms and even word choices, and that was a neat little moment. Anyway, Alicia tries to begin, but just as with Peter, it takes her a few tries before sound actually comes out of her mouth. God, poor woman. “Your dad and I have separated,” she spits out in a rush. Her voice wobbles again, but there, she’s said it. “You – what?” Zach’s doing the same sort of lip fish flap Alicia’s been doing. “Why?” “Because…” Alicia looks up at the ceiling, trying to be perky and downplay the truth, “we decided it was time.” Riiiight. Well, Jackie sure didn’t have to worry about you poisoning the kids with your point of view, Alicia. And, you know, I respect that on the one hand, and totally disagree with the lying on the other. There’s not a lot more significant in child’s life than their parents divorcing; doesn’t it seem unfair not to tell them why? “I don’t understand,” Zach questions reasonably. Which is to say, his question is reasonable. I’m sure he’s not feeling reasonable about it. “Why now?” She looks like she really, really wish he hadn’t asked. Alicia and Grace are both breathing hard. “Because… I wanted to now.”
Zach shakes his head, not straight back and forth, but all around in small, spasmodic movements. “This was all just to get dad elected, wasn’t it?” “What?” Alicia asks in shock. Of course they think that, Alicia. Everyone is going to think that, especially after what you said on tv two or three days ago. “Staying together, and then the day after the election, you get separated.” Thick though he might sometimes might be, Zach can add two and two. God, I’m just not sure why Alicia is trying to protect Peter here. I mean, after everything that’s happened to him, to reveal that he had another affair two years ago – not with a prostitute – that can’t be so devastating, can it? Everyone already knows he’s a cheater. But now she and Peter look like they colluded to rig the election, which has to be worse, right? Or at least, really not good. And considering that the press already have a whiff of the Leela story, isn’t it only a matter of time before it all comes out? If they’re eventually going to find out, shouldn’t it be from you, Alicia? “But that is not the reason why,” is all she’ll say.
“Then why?” Grace demands. Alicia considers how best to say it. She exhales. “I needed to see if… the marriage would work. And it hasn’t.” Grace’s bottom lip starts to quiver. “Your dad has moved into an apartment,” Alicia attempts an upbeat, matter of fact tone, “a few miles away.” “My God, we’re those kids,” Zach huffs in disbelief. “No, you’re not those kids, you’re our kids,” Alicia responds fiercely, but Alicia, he’s right. “I know this is hard, but I need you to deal with this a little while longer.” What does that mean? Deal with what? “So what do we do?” Grace asks, on the verge of angry tears, “just go back and forth?” The tears start to spill over. “I don’t know, we haven’t worked out the details.” She sighs again. “But I need something more from you. People are interested in us, so I need you to keep our current situation from anyone outside the family.” Man, that’s a terrible burden – and one teenagers seem very unlikely to be able to bear. Grace not even tell Shannon? I doubt it. I can see Becca trying to tweet it immediately if she knew, so of course Alicia’s right, but still. “Because it’ll hurt dad,” Zach realizes. Yes. “And it could hurt us too,” Alicia adds. How painful that Peter’s no longer part of that us. “I think that there’s a lot of attention… to… to families like ours, and I don’t want to feed that.” Alicia smiles for them bravely.
“But mom, it’s lying,” Graces accuses. “That’s hypocritical!” “Yes. And you two are old enough to understand that. We don’t lie here. We don’t lie to each other.” What would you call what you’re doing, then, Alicia? Aren’t you undermining yourself by not telling them the truth, by protecting Peter at your own – and their own – expense? “But when people want to hurt us, it’s sometimes alright to … not tell the full truth.” Oh, Alicia. Giving that dreadful, practical advice is killing her, just killing her. “You understand?” She’s still trying for upbeat. Zach nods. “Grace?” “Mom,” her daughter pleads, whispering in desperation and horror, “you need to protect us more.” The statement hits Alicia like a bullet; she gasps, and then her eyelidss start flapping and she’s crumpled over, crying, her hand closed over her own mouth. “I’m sorry, mom, I didn’t mean that!” Grace’s panicked. Zach looks at his mother in horror. They’re an interestingly stiff family; maybe it’s a waspy thing, or maybe it’s their ages, because my kids would be hugging me now. “I love you so much! You never asked for any of this, and I just want… we’re going to be good,” she declares, trying to smile through her tears. She reaches out to both of them, holding them in. They stroke each other’s backs. “We’re going to be good!”
Oh, honey. That was hard. That was so hard.
“Okay, so here’s where we stand,” Will tells Kalinda. “Patti’s pointing us in a direction, but not filling in the blanks. So see what you can find out about hospital overtesting.” Hey, it’s Kalinda you’re talking to. She’s already got a source. She starts to leave, but turns back. “Hey. You should give Cary a chance.” Will looks up from his paperwork. “Chance to what?” “Chance to come back here,” she says, looking right at Will, no hesitation.
Alicia heads to Will’s office but she stops cold when she sees Kalinda in the room. She stops as if she’s hit an invisible wall, and turns around, gasping. She can’t face her friend. She tries to walk away, but she can’t do that, either. She turns back only to have Kalinda nearly bump into her on the way out. Their conversation is lopsided. “Hey!” “Hello.” “Hello? Everything alright?” “Yep! Gotta… get to work!” Kalinda acts as if all’s well, but peeks into Will’s office as she leaves. Of course she must be walking on eggshells now.
Soon enough, she’s back in the hospital with Tori, faking messed up paperwork on her own fake hospital bills. “I was looking at the bill, and I was surprised to see tests on there that I don’t remember approving.” Approving? That’s an odd word choice if she’s not pretending to be a doctor. “CT scans?” “That sounds right.” “Was it Dr. Laughton?” Yeah, Kalinda lies, sensing a story coming on. “He can be a bit overcautious when it comes to the radiation scans,” Tori confesses. This means he’s profligate with the tests and cautious with his patients. Turns out he’s been warned for it. Kalinda should just challenge the bill. And the poor schmucks who don’t know that will just have to pay, huh? It’s pretty easy to make hospital administration (and especially billing) look villainous there, at least.
“Thank you,” Kalinda responds, and starts heading out – but Tori asks her to lunch instead. Kalinda’s shocked, and now poor Tori’s embarrassed. “No, no, I’m sorry, I just don’t meet that many nice people.” Now Kalinda’s embarrassed because she’s using someone who seems kind and honest. And of course because she’s not so nice herself, not the way Tori sees her. Ouch. “That’d be nice,” Kalinda says, “give me your number.” Tori’s heart-breakingly pleased.
“I don’t believe it,” Eli declares, sitting in front of a campaign poster. “It’s true,” Jackie’s voice assures him. “Why?” “Because she’s selfish,” Jackie grouches. “Oh, stop it,” Eli shuts her down immediately, and rightly so. What a petulant little child you can be, Jackie. “She won’t forgive him, she won’t swallow her pride, it’s easier to leave him.” Nothing easy about it, Jackie. The campaign posters are coming down, actually. Ah, campaign office. I’ll miss you. “Jackie. It isn’t the 50’s. What did she say?” Hee. “Alicia? She said nothing. And Peter won’t say anything either, but he’s devastated. Eli, I need you to talk to her.” Oh. Good to know. Except I kind of wish Peter would man up and just take responsibility here, so Alicia didn’t have to be so stupidly self-sacrificing, even in the ‘break up.’ Also – ha. Eli really is the go between in the Florrick marriage. “You need me?” ” She likes you. You can explain things. You know it’s bad for Peter. It’s bad for home. It’s bad for work.” Eli looks thoughtful. That’s true enough; can you imagine if he goes back to the influence for hookers mode? Very bad for work, that kind of thing.
But there’s nothing bad about Patti’s blond, rosy cheeked baby, sucking down a bottle in her mother’s arms. Should I feel bad for suggesting she’d have another baby just so she could use it for work? Naw. She’s singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” “I’m sorry, your Honor. This is the only way I can get her to fall asleep.” “Oh, that’s okay, really,” Judge Goslin enthuses. She could not be more in love with baby Bite Me. (I still get a snicker out of that exchange from Heart. Will:”What’s her name?” Patti: “Bite me.” Will: “Is that Dutch?”) “Let me guess. You couldn’t find day care. Again.” Andrews observes tartly. Yep, that’s our Patti. She’s shameless. Rota’s ready to introduce something into evidence “we were hoping to avoid.” “Oh, I’m sure you were,” Will agrees snidely. Me too, Will. They wanted to do all this quietly, he claims, “because, the truth is, we discovered that she was stealing clients.” Perish the thought! Patti, hanging out her own shingle? Really? Well. Ex-Judge Goslin looks at Patti, aghast.
“Well?” Will asks, over in his office. “Of course I was trying to start my own firm, because I knew they were trying to fire me.” “Yeah, but they weren’t trying to fire you because you were pregnant.” Will motions for someone to come in. “They were trying to fire me because I have a working vagina.” She shoots will a challenging look, daring him to dispute her. Snort. Only Patti. And God, her challenging stares are just so – unchallenged. “And Jerry Maguire Rota out there is their new Golden Boy.” Huh. Wouldn’t that make him more Bob Sugar to her Jerry Maguire? Anyway. It was Alicia at the door; she stands by Will, slim in a bright blue skirt suit. “Of course it was about my pregnancy! Is there an email out there saying that? No. Would you write that email, Will? But you’d still do it!” Wow. I hope not. “Take all the cases away from the pregnant girl, and give them to the new Harvard boy with the penis.” Well.
‘Where are we?” Will asks Alicia. Cross examination of the hospital administrator. “Hit them hard.” He nods toward Patti. “What happens there scares them here.”
“Hello, Dr. Laughton. You’re Marjorie Garnett’s specialist?” He is. He’s also the man who was lobbying the donorcyle’s mother for his liver, and also the actor Christopher Shyer, who has a more regular gig as a Visitor on V. What he’s not, however, is the hospital administrator. “And you’re the doctor who decided her condition was so extreme you removed her from transplant consideration?” Oh, he wouldn’t like to put it like that, not in front of God and Marjorie and the judge. “Well, I was the doctor who examined her, and tested her, and found that her liver tumor exceded 5 centimeters, which is normally the cut off for patient viability.” How ugly is that? He’s sitting in front of a living, breathing human being, telling the world calmly that she’s not viable. That’s some kind of sick. “How many CT scans did you run on Marjorie?” Rota leaps to his feet, objecting on grounds of relevance. “I’m asking about Marjorie’s care; it seems essentially relevant.” The objection is overruled, and the witness may answer. The answer is three. “Why?” “Why did I run three? Sometimes I like to be more thorough.” And sometimes you like to be less thorough? Or not thorough at all? “You seem to frequently like to be more thorough,” Alicia pronounces. “Didn’t the hospital warn you about your overuse of testing?” A man whispers in Andrews’ ear, and yet again Rota rises to object. “This is a fishing expedition!” Judge Parks rides in to the rescue. “Okay, I admit to being lost here – what fish are you afraid Mrs. Florrick is chasing?” Judge Parks! Why, sir, that was impressive. “She’s attempting to use an on going investigation into Harbor Hospital to…” At this point Andrews fake-coughs so loudly that Rota’s forced to turn around and look at him. “I think the word you’re looking for is overtesting,” Alicia suggests brightly. Rota wants to talk to Alicia in private, and Judge Parks is in favor of anything that leads to a settlement. Alicia and Diane hide their smiles. Alrighty then!
In the hallway, the defense gives Diane and Alicia the down low. “We have a sworn affidavit from the donor bank,” Andrews says smugly. Smug seems to be his natural state. Well, he is a Luthor. “We knew nothing about the next potential donee on that list. We were completely blind!” Diane’s unimpressed. It’s Dr. Laughton’s blindness – or lack there of – that’s the key. Even Laughton couldn’t have known, Andrews insists. Well, I don’t know about that – he could have guessed, anyway, if he was the person treating Birkoff, that he had a good shot, and why would Birkoff donate to this hospital if he didn’t get treated here? But yes, it would never have been a certainty.
“We still have you on over testing,” Alicia counters. Yes, squeaks red faced Haynes, “and we’re vulnerable on that. But that still doesn’t change the fact that you’re stealing a liver from one worthy candidate to give to another.” Well, surely they’d be stealing it back? Diane points out that Birkoff has 10 months, while Marjorie only has those three weeks. And a good point it is. “I’m fighting your suit, Miss Lockhart, Mrs. Florrick. And you wanna know why?” The music swells as the camera focuses in on Haynes pointy, balding head. “Because we’re right. This is not about saving the hospital money. This is about preserving the integrity of the donor list. Marjorie Garnett is near death, and she needs to accept that fact. You two do as well.”
Okay, now I’m confused. The dastardly villains aren’t villainous or dastardly any more? Hmm. I kind of like that. It still seems incredibly unlikely that Birkoff just happens to be a big financial donor and next on the list, but okay.
“I heard,” Marjorie wheezes from her hospital bed, “we have twelve hours.” Yes, Alicia admits. She’s convinced the hospital really didn’t know about Birkoff. Crazy. “We haven’t given up yet,” she insists. “I know,” says Marjorie, the survivor’s vigor in her tired eyes and a smile curving her lips, “I haven’t either.” But still, she’s disheartened by the news that they can’t go after the hospital for stealing the liver on purpose. She breathes heavily, watching some – perhaps her mother – play with her son out in the hallway. Marlin Ireland – who looks so darned familiar, but according to the imdb, isn’t – does a terrific, terrific job here. “You know, I loved being a mother,” she almost cries. “If I had it to do all over again, I would have done it differently.” Oh, poor honey. “Really?” Alicia asks, looking at the many photos of Marjorie on stage or cavorting with friends, “looks like it was fun.” Marjorie giggles. It was fun. “Well, I wouldn’t have done it all differently.” Alicia looks at her, compassion in her eyes, and Marjorie breaks down. “I don’t want to die,” she confesses, her eyes first wide and then constricting with tears. Alicia sits down and grasps the dying woman’s hand. “What will he remember of me?” Marjorie wonders, heartbroken, but Alicia doesn’t hear her; she’s too busy noticing the lattice work of tattoos that snake up Marjorie’s arm. She looks at the photos of Marjorie on stage, covered in the thorn-like tattoos, Marjorie with her band, Marjorie on an album cover. “Has Dr. Laughton seen these?” she asks. ‘Oh yeah,” Marjorie answers, “he says I was quite the partier.” Alicia looks at Marjorie in shock.
We hear Cary before we see him. I probably say stuff like that a lot, because they do that a lot on this show. I like it. “It’s just odd,” he’s telling Diane as Will sits down next to him in Diane’s office, “the last time I was here you were firing me.” Well, hon, you’re going to have to get over that right quick if you’re going to go back to work there. Diane notes the amount of water under that bridge. Will begins the pitch; Cary’s done really well at the SA’s office, they’re looking to expand and maintain a “balance of personalities.” Will looks at him significantly; Cary has no idea what this is supposed to mean to him. Good news or bad? “I guess I’m wondering, will you still fit in here?” Ah. Diane smiles. “Well, I have done a lot growing, while I was away. I want to fit in. Wherever I go.” He has done a lot of growing while he was away. Remember how terrified of litigating he was at first? He’s come into his own in so many ways. And he seems to have moved past his resentment of Alicia – he can be cordial, and he even cares about her getting hurt. So, yeah. “And you won’t mind coming over to the dark side?” Diane’s smiling her little Diane smile as she says this, and then she chuckles. “I think I’d find it a challenge,” he answers, like that’d be a good thing. “And you’d be willing to come back as a second year associate? That wouldn’t feel like a step down?”
And now we’ve come to a halt. No, Cary is not pleased with that idea at all. He thought he’d be a third year. Well, says Will, you didn’t have your second year here. “It’s only a title, Cary,” Diane steps in soothingly. “We’d still offer all the perks and salary bumps I discussed.” Which were pretty sizable, if I recall correctly. He’s not having it, though. “Sorry. Look, I’ve seen the way third years treat second years, it’s not just a title. ” Diane explains that he wouldn’t be the only rehire, and how can they give him that title when they don’t plan to do so for anyone else? “Think about it, Cary,” Will adds. “And Alicia will be a third year?” Duh. Well of course she would be. Do you expect them to dock her a year to make you feel more at home? Will shoots Diane a warning look; clearly this was the source of his first question. And, damn. This bugs me. Couldn’t prove anything about Cary’s maturity now! What the heck! He seems to have forgiven Alicia – so why does he still lord over her? Cary looks to Diane, too.
“Eli, I have to prepare for a cross examination,” Alicia tells him, pacing her office. “This will only take and minute, and besides, it’s important.” She’s not snippy or cold with Eli as she was with Jackie, but she stands her ground. “I’m about to argue for a woman’s life, is it more important than that?” Eli freezes. “Okay, I thought I could top that. No.” Hee. They sit, and he lets her rifle through her things before saying quietly “You separated from Peter?”
Alicia turns to him. “Peter told you that?” she asks quietly, more emotional. Is she touched by the thought of Peter caring, or just sorry for him? She’s not all anger, clearly. “No,” Eli snorts, “Jackie.” Well, at least the two of them will always have Jackie. Alicia huffs, and Eli raises his eyebrows in commiseration. She tells him he’s got until her phone rings, and he bites his lip before beginning. “Is it irrevocable?” “My decision to leave Peter? Yes.” He nods. “Wait, does that mean it will change, or…” “No,” she says sadly, so it’s all nice and clear. It’s irrevocable? Wow. I – wow. “I don’t want to ask you why,” Eli begins, “but you do know this will look politically motivated. Not the separation, the marriage.” She nods. Yes. God, of course it will. “I’ve already talked to Zach and Grace. And you should talk to Peter. It will hurt everyone if this becomes a big thing.” Okay, I’m pissed off at her now. It’s going to become a big thing because of course it’s going to come out – and you’re not talking about it! The truth is a rational explanation for your actions, but unless you actually tell it to someone, then it’s not going to seem like it. I know you’re private, Alicia, but you’re not stupid.
Honestly, how does she think she could go on tv and say what she said and then just leave? Of course it looks bad. It makes her looks like a cynic and a liar and a cheat. Damn it.
“Yeah, okay,” Eli agrees. Wow, he’s waaaaaay more restrained than I would have been. Of course, he doesn’t know what the issue is, but still. His restraint here is impressive, and it’s indicative of how much he cares for Alicia and how much he understands her. It’s a mistake, and it will come back to bite them all, but it’s impressive. He does still have a card to play – couples counseling. She’s so not interested. “I know I’m not the best advertisement for it, but my ex-wife and I went through it, and it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought.” “Thank you,” she says, “and thank you for not trying to talk me out of it.” “Should I try?” he asks, half seriously, but her phone rings. “Gotta go,” she says. “Go save a life,” he tells her. Heh. She’s not Meredith Grey, but I bet she’ll do fine.
Dr. Laughton the evil alien sits on the stand. Alicia wants to know who Michael Orr, Cheryl Kirk, and Gabriel Elba are. The answer: Laughton’s patients, all of whom suffered from liver failure like Marjorie. But unlike Marjorie, they got livers – and only one CT scan. Turns out that three other patients – LeeLee Basi, Cynthia Hickey, and Linda Gould (also his patients) did not receive livers, but were given 3, 4 and 5 CT scans a piece. Does that make sense – he tests people more before turning them down? “Which is odd,” Alicia notes, “because the last three patients, including my client, are almost 20 years younger.” Age is not always a determining factor, Laughton notes, but Haynes (in the background) bites his lip. “Yes,” Alicia agrees, “but appearance seems to be.”
Alicia offers up a sheet of photos. Rota objects, which Parks sustains, but Alicia’s undeterred. “Dr. Laughton, of all your patients, these are your only four patients with tattoos and body piercings.” Laughton looks, but claims not to remember. “In your examination of Marjorie, you asked her how much alcohol she consumed in her youth, is that correct?” Probably. “And why is that important to know?” He considers. “Well, it’s not essential to know, it helps contribute to a fuller picture of the patients lifestyle.” And here’s the big issue with liver transplants particularly, isn’t it – do some people not deserve a new one if they’ve wrecked their own through a profligate lifestyle? Who was that famous baseball player who got a liver transplant despite being a life long alcoholic? I seem to remember an outcry and debate following that. “Well, as a doctor – how shall I put this?” Laughton sighs. “Any way you want,” Alicia replies with a smile, handing him the rope to hang himself. “Lifestyle matters to the future health of the patient.” But it seems clear this isn’t Marjorie’s lifestyle now, right? So it should matter (even if it were ethical to take into account, which I’m not sure it is.) Alicia cuts to the chase. “Are you likely to downgrade the status of a woman you blame for her liver condition?” That’s another wrinkle, too – the people she’s listed have all been women, haven’t they? He denies it. How to explain the extra CT scans, then? “I don’t think I have to explain. I’m a very careful doctor.” Diane and Alicia exchange excited looks, and Haynes closes his eyes.
“This is the most I can offer,” Haynes announces in the hall. “I’m having another doctor look over the first cat scan, and if he doesn’t find anything irregular in Miss Garnett’s test, then hopefully we’ll have time to reassess.” “Not much time,” Diane observes, looking at her watch, “six hours.” “Then I better get going,” says Haynes, and he does. They wheel Marjorie out after him. “There’s a chance,” Alicia says, grabbing her hand. “Oh my God.” “Nothing certain yet,” Alicia cautions, and lets Marjorie and the gurney go.
“Thank you, Mr. Haynes, for taking another look at Dr. Laughton’s overuse of CAT scans, and determining there was bias there.” Everyone’s back in the conference room. Andrews clarifies that in this particular case – admitting nothing for the class action – Haynes reversed Dr. Laughton’s decision on humanitarian grounds, to save Marjorie’s life. Hurray! Now let’s hope she lasts more than six months. It still doesn’t look good, Will cautions, and we’ve got Laughton on at least four cases of bias. “My guess is that bias is in eye of the beholder.” Um, maybe. Well, good thing we have a former lawyer of yours with us, Will smiles, hands folded. Andrews smiles back. “I’m sorry I’m late – are we all playing nice in here?” Patti asks, pushing her stroller into the room. “Very nice,” Andrews agrees. Aaaaaand she sits down – next to Andrews.
Will’s jaw slides open. “You!” “Yep,” she says cheerfully. “They fired Rota. And asked me back. Isn’t it great? With better benefits, so, I dropped the lawsuit.” Patti does it again. How I love that woman. She’s such a happy little shark, you can’t help but love her. Well, that’s me, anyway. Diane and Will are finding it really hard to love her right now. “But thank you so much, Will. Really. It probably wouldn’t have happened without you.” We’ll object to this in court, Diane insists, but Patti’s pretty sure that won’t fly now, not since they argued so nicely for her ability to separate her cases. Will laughs in appreciation, and Patti favors him with a quick – and possibly real – grin. “So. Shall we get started?”
Her part in the day’s work done, Alicia arrives home to find Peter in her kitchen. She steps back involuntarily, and shakes her head. “No,” she pleads. He stalks toward her. “We’re talking,” he says, one hand on the island. “We talked,” she pleads vainly. “We’re talking some more,” he insists, and I think that’s fair. How many years were they together? Surely they should each at least get to make their case, even if it’s all for nothing now. She walks out of the kitchen. At first I think she’s going to lock the apartment door, but no – she wants to have the fight out in the hallway. “I don’t want our children hearing this,” she says, arms crossed. Let’s hope your door’s not still being bugged and filmed, then. I kind of like that this discussion will take place there; we’ve spent a lot of time looking at that door for the last two years, after all, and had a lot of time to contemplate what it means to be on one side or the other. He shuts the door, and the numbers 903 flash as the light changes. He exhales loudly, and slaps his hands together. “I phoned a marriage counselor. Her name is Anne Garberdeen. She’s very thorough, she seems very smart.” Alicia is unimpressed. “And I’m going to start seeing her next week. I don’t want to lose you, Alicia.” He looks at her seriously. “If you asked me to give up the State’s Attorney’s Office today, I’d give it up in a heartbeat.” Dude, don’t you wonder how different things might have been if you’d done that when you first came out of prison? But of course she’s not going to ask you that. “Lucky me,” she rumbles.
He looks like he really thought all of that would make a difference, and he’s clearly disappointed. “I know you’re hurt. I know you’re angry.” “No, Peter,” she replies, cutting him off. “It’s a no.” What is? “Everything. Counseling. An explanation. Everything you ask. Anything you say.” OUCH. Damn. I get it, but I really feel for him here. Yes, obviously he cheated and then lied about it, and I don’t feel for that, but he’s genuinely worked hard to change. He sighs, looks away, walks forward and then finally turns, leaning against the wall.
“You’re sleeping with Will, aren’t you?” Woops, there went my sympathy. She’s shocked and hurt. “That’s what this is about, isn’t it? You and Will.” He lingers over the last phrase, determined to hurt her with it if he can’t win her back. (Actually, I doubt he’s even really thinking here. He’s impulsive, and now he’s just going with his emotions.) “There have been three people in this marriage. Every moment of the last two years you’ve been thinking about him – go ahead and tell me that’s not true.” She’s stunned. “Oh my God, the gall,” she exclaims. “I’ll take the blame, I’ll take it happily.” And yet you don’t sound too happy about it, Peter, since you can’t argue your way out of it. “But you share that.” She looks at him, pained. “Is that why you’re here? To disperse blame, really? That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.” It’s really awful. Badly done, Peter, badly done. “Are you divorcing me?” He cuts to the chase. “I haven’t decided.” Now, if she knows it’s irrevocable, how does she not know if she’s divorcing him? Isn’t that what irrevocable would mean, divorce? “Well please let me know when you’ve decided,” he sneers.
“Yep. You and Kalinda, I’ve got her number too.” Peter stops stomping toward the elevator. “She’s blameless in this,” he tosses off without turning.
Alicia follows him, striding furiously through the hall. “Oh really? Did you rape her?” Peter sucks in his lips, trying to bite down on his temper. “She didn’t even know you then.” “She knew you were married,” she counters, and there are tears standing in her eyes.
He nods. “It’s okay. It’s alright, Alicia. Have at it. You’re the injured one, no one else. There’s nothing anyone can say, right?” Um, hello, she IS the injured one, you complete arse. What happened to making your case? “Yes there is,” she pleads as he steps in the elevator, begging for the right words to bind them back together. “So say something, Peter. Say something. Say something that will make me fall in love with you again!”
He pushes the button.
“Goodbye” is all he says. “Yep, you’ve got that right,” she snaps, spinning away from him, charging back to the apartment.
Well, that went poorly.
You’d expect the episode to end with that climactic conversation, but it doesn’t. Instead, the scene changes to Peter’s campaign office, where Peter sits at his desk, growling on the phone. “You’re thinking of the old Peter Florrick, because I’m not in the favor granting mood today.” He hangs up the phone, glum and twice as bitter. And this, as luck would have it, is the inopportune moment that Cary Agos has come to plead for his job. “I’m not making any hiring or firing decisions,” Peter waves his hand without even looking at Cary. “I understand that,” the younger man begins. “You understand that,” Peter drawls, “yet you’re still here.” Heh. He may be a complete bastard, but he’s an entertaining one. “I don’t want you to be biased against me because of my first job.” Well, you have to give Cary points for trying. Peter explains that jobs will be kept based on seniority and departmental needs.
“I just, I know Alicia and I , we’ve had our differences,” Cary insists, and Peter’s eyebrows go up, and Beast’s “The Hurricane” blares abruptly in the background once more. “At first, I thought the best thing would be to just let it go, but I think it’s better to explain things.” Yes, well, I wish Alicia and Peter and Kalinda agreed with that philosophy, Cary. It is the smart thing to do. “And you know Alicia from?” “Lockhart/Gardner” Cary explains. Dude, did you know nothing of your wife’s life? Did she not tell anyone about the bakeoff? Man. The music takes over, and we hear the driving refrain again as Peter gestures for Cary to sit. Alicia may have beaten him to his first job, but it looks like she’s gotten him hired twice now by men seeking to hurt her. Damn it, Peter, are you really going to sink that low?
The music screams. “(Broke out of the harness)/let it go let it go now/(stumbled in the darkness)/turn on the lights y’all/(overcame the madness)/then take your pills/ (finally righteous)/I love the beast, y’all.” Peter and Alicia, both thinking they’re righteous, have broken the harness that bound them together.
Okay. Let me get this out of the way. The case was vintage Good Wife and I loved pretty much everything about it. Excellent acting, funny guest stars, affecting story, good vs. evil set up that ends up to more nuanced, with Alicia finally saving the day through her intelligence and intuition. Hurrah! But you didn’t come here to talk about the case, did you?
When the Kings said they were looking for a reboot quality, they meant it, didn’t they? Seriously, what is this new world we’re living in? Honestly, before we started seeing the promos for “In Sickness,” I did not expect this. I thought well, can she leave him for something she’s ostensibly already forgiven him for? As much as it was clear she was utterly gutted, I didn’t think the answer was yes. Oh, but it is. It really is. I guess I can’t blame her. I know the anti-cheating factions will be rejoicing, and the pro-marriage fans will be weeping. It feels messy and complicated and awful, and seeing this – nothing feels right to me, watching a marriage end, especially with such bitterness and anger and cruel accusations. Don’t hate me (I’m thinking of you, John Graydon), but I’m sorry to see it. I’m not going to downplay the devastation of infidelity. I’m not saying I see how she could stay married, just that the ending of a marriage is a sad thing, and it should be, shouldn’t it?
Alright. I know that Chris Noth is on Broadway, but I got more and more angry as the episode went on at the lack of Peter. The final scene between them was explosive, no doubt, and rather exquisitely painful (or perhaps I mean painfully exquisite). Was it enough? I don’t know. I could almost listen to them fight for a whole episode. Yet I also want to hide my head under a pillow. So maybe less was more here? In the end, I think he might have made a difference, but he chose bitterness and perhaps even revenge instead. Oh, Peter. You couldn’t have brought up the therapy again? Talked to Pastor Isaiah? But I don’t know. Maybe there really is not way to get that love back, no way to put together what was shattered.
You might remember I’ve mentioned this author that I love, Lois McMaster Bujold; she’s the one who asks “what’s the worst thing I can do to this?” and then does it. I’m sure I’ve said that the Kings clearly subscribed to her school of dramatic invention. In one of her books, a woman ends her miserable marriage after finding out that her emotionally abusive husband has embezzled money from his job. I couldn’t help thinking of that scene watching this episode. The woman, Ekaterin, decides she’s going to leave without engaging her husband in any kind of debate about what he’s done wrong, because the debate would give him the impression that she can be moved. She knows he will accuse her of infidelity, just to get her to respond. She’s going to try to be matter of fact and as cordial as possible so he doesn’t lose control. But there’s nothing left to be moved; she’s reached the end. Alicia doesn’t explain to anyone the perfectly logical reasons for leaving Peter, not even to her children (who, quite frankly, deserve to know; it’s not even like they have innocence to lose when it comes to their father’s faults). She takes the blame onto herself, because she owns her decision. There’s no argument about whether she should have stayed, whether she has the right to be upset after she ostensibly forgave him for Amber, whether it’s fair to make a distinction like that between Kalinda’s one night stand and his long term prostitute/mistress. Whether it’s right or wrong, she’s come to the limit of herself, of what she can stand. She simply lets people know that she is done.
Another perfect thing Bujold says of this character is that her breaking point is in a non-standard location. I don’t think the people in her world will understand (especially since, duh, she’s not telling them why) but this is true of Alicia. This one betrayal – even though it’s crept out of the past, the period she’s refused to ask about or look into too closely – was just that shade too far.