E: Maybe Friday of last week, the brick dropped. The title of this week’s episode is clearly military code for the three letters which begin the words; I knew that right off. So I don’t know why it took me a while to realize that those letters actually stood for something I already understood.
So. Unexpected but largely excellent guest stars, so that’s good. Alicia takes a little action on her own behalf this week, which is really refreshing, and also, frankly, a profound relief. I know I’m not alone in being frustrated by her passivity. It’s about freaking time she stepped up about something! But still, controversy and convoluted plots swirl around her without her knowing it. Dana and Kalinda continue to toy with each other and Cary’s heart. Peter pulls the noose tighter around Will’s neck, with a bit of an unexpected twist. Diane makes an ultimatum. And, as Ken Tucker notes over at EW, Alicia remains completely ignorant, outside the fray.
And then we’ve got two cases which we don’t care strongly about. Or at least I didn’t; I can’t speak for you guys. I wanted to care about the non-cheese issue, I really did, but I honestly don’t feel like I know what happened, and we didn’t spend nearly enough time with the client to get a real sense of her, and that just annoys me.
Pale, slender hands punch a keyboard; on the soundtrack, a cello or base plunks. (It’s totally not, but it sounds like the opening to “She’s As Cold As Ice.” Seriously.) There’s a screen with satellite footage of irregular housing blocks. Back Scanner, the computer screen proclaims, and Yaw Limit. We focus in on a truck parking on a street. Tiny people walk up and down the street.
The white hands move a mouse; a red circle appears around the truck. Enemy Combatant 4-9-5 appears scrawled next to the truck now, as if hand written. On the other side of a door inscribed “Department of Defense General Counsel” a man enters the number 4-9-5 into his computer, while watching the truck on a large screen. As he does, the people near the truck are circled in red; Non E-Cs, 4 adults, 1 minor. All the men in the room now stare at the screen. They scan the area; there’s a large mosque 110 – feet? yards? – away. The focus tightens on the truck, and as it does we see another person racing toward it on a bicycle.
And then the truck explodes. And the front of the nearest building falls off.
The cyclist and the tiny figures on the sidewalk have been wiped out with the explosion. But as we watch in silence, a knot of burning people flee the building next to the burning truck. It’s hard, if not impossible, to see how many there are. But we can see that they’re all on fire.
As the cello plinks, a red-headed woman watches them burn, her hair pulled back painfully tight.
And, plink goes the elevator button at Lockhart/Gardner. The receptionist and passing staff members stare nervously as – well! It’s our old friend Captain Terrence Hicks the unassuming JAG hero from Double Jeopardy! Aw, I like Patrick Breen. He asks for Will and Alicia. I’m still creeped out by the tiny burning people, though. Shudder.
“Twelve counts of murder,” Hicks says, and Alicia rears back. Will can’t believe it, either. “Twelve murders? I – what did your client do, shoot up the base?” I expect you’d have heard about it already, Will, if it were that. “Sergeant Elkins works a the UAS division.” That’s short for unnamed aerial division – which is to say, drones. “Sergeant Elkins in charged with disobeying orders, and firing two hellfire missiles on 12 unarmed citizens in Wiziristan, Afghanistan.” Ouch. Clearly what we just saw, but it’s hard to say what was true, isn’t it? I mean, were there orders? We didn’t see any, either to fire or to wait. Either way, Elkins clearly fired at the truck and not the people.
Though from the people’s perspective, I’m sure that distinction is meaningless.
“And you’re defending him?” Alicia asks incredulously. “Her. Yes.” Hicks agrees. “So why do you need our help?,” Will wonders. “We’re still not very qualified to argue in military court.” “You did it before,” Hicks reminds Will, who smiles self-deprecatingly. “Yes, but not very well.” That’s debatable, Hicks believes, which is sweet. They did manage to prove Simmons’ innocence, despite their lack of experience and despite Will being in the brig part of the time. Will and Alicia smile pleased smiles.”Due to the seriousness of the charge, Sergeant Elkins is insisting on civilian support, and I thought you would do the least damage.”
Well, way to take that compliment back!
Sorry, sorry. He didn’t mean that the way it sounded. “I am so sorry, Captain,” Will begins. Captain Hicks interrupts, saying that Elkins has money. “From her family.” Will’s still ready to turn down the case, but he stops to take a phone call from Kalinda. Or at least, the identity of the caller becomes clear when he gives a shifty look to make sure there’s no one in the hall and whispers “So what have you found out?” Yay! You DID ask for help! Oh, thank heaven. What a relief that he’s not being a complete idiot. “You’re being investigated,” the tinny voice comes through the phone’s speaker. “Thanks, Kalinda,” Will snarks, sitting down and unbuttoning his jacket. What a pain suit jackets must be for men. Every time they sit and stand, they’re always unbuttoning and rebuttoning them. Button, unbutton, rebutton. It’s exhausting. “Anything else?”
Kalinda explains about the Lemond Bishop connection. “I know,” Will agrees. “If we drop him as a client, will they back off?” Kalinda’s about to answer, but Eli opens a door and hisses to her. Next too the door is a large placard with the word “Conference” (among others) on it. “Don’t worry,” she says, giving Eli the “one minute” finger. “They’re backing off already. Peter’s no longer in charge of the investigation.” Who is? They’re guessing Cary. Aaaaaaand they’d be wrong. It’s not like Kalinda to be this wrong in this many ways. I mean, think about it. When was the last time you put the words “Kalinda” and “wrong” in the same sentence? (Not including “x is so wrong for Kalinda; x is not worthy!” style statements.)
“What?” Will wonders. “Yeah, he’s worried about conflict of interest, his wife working under you.” Sigh. “He really backed down?” Will can’t believe it. And shouldn’t believe it. “I hear someone confronted him on it, this conflict of interest,” smiles Kalinda. Right.
So, is Cary her source? “No. Someone close to him. Someone else on this investigation.” Around this point a chirpy blond walks by – oh, hello, Amy Sedaris – and trills “Hello, Miss Sharma!” Kalinda’s confused and distracted, since she doesn’t know the chipper chirper. “Where are you again?,” questions Will. D.C. “Ah yes. Cheese, our most important client. Tell Eli not to screw this one up; we lose cheese, we lose the quarter.” She smiles. “Will do. No, go exhale. Do something nice for someone.”
Which means that Will – under the impression he needs to pay this (false) good fortune forward – is going back into military court.
“We thank the USDA for their time as they consider which food guide to recommend to Congress,” Diane begins smoothly as Kalinda enters the conference room. It looks a bit like a congressional hearing; USDA members sitting up behind large desks, looking down the petitioning folks (in this case, Diane and Eli). There’s ornate wood paneling on the walls. “Our argument is simple; go back to the pyramid.” Ah, the food pyramid. That previous guide was “bold, simple, understandable.” And also put greater weight on carbs than the powers that be now want. Diane explains that they have teachers and parents who will testify to the problems of the new system.
“That’s the school teacher?” Eli whispers to Kalinda, who’s sitting next to a blonde in a purple silk blouse with a plunging neckline. It is. “She looks like a Bond girl,” Eli complains. Hee. “She’s a fifth grade teacher,” Kalinda confirms. “I don’t care, she doesn’t look like a teacher, they won’t listen unless she looks like a teacher.” Well, she does look like a Barbie, but still. “Tell her to get a sweater on or something.” Baffled by this notion of dressing demurely, Kalinda’s no help, so Eli steals Diane’s glasses mid-sentence. Hee! Now all he needs to do is have Barbie up her hair up. There’s no greater movie/TV show disguise for beauty than glasses and a bun. “The new design, my plate,” Diane continues around the interruption,”is confusing. What are grains? What is protein?” Really? My four year old (who, granted, is a big fan of cooking shows) has the concept of a protein down pat. I say grasping at straws, Diane. Also, isn’t that just going to make it sound like your teacher isn’t very good at her job?
And there it is, a multicolored plate next to a cup of dairy. “We would argue that this is a product of aggressive lobbying from the produce industry.” As opposed to aggressive lobbying from the cheese council, one of the panel members asks snidely. “We don’t deny that we’re lobbying, Undersecretary Brattle, but we would deny that that’s all we’re doing.” On the bench beside her, Mr. Walsh blanches. “As you can hear from Miss Vicky Evans, a school teacher from Nebraska,” Diane begins, and Bond Girl Barbie stands up. Her sexiness is not a whit dampened by Diane’s glasses, especially when she wiggles to straighten her skirt. Diane’s face is a wonder. “She can, uh, talk of the difficulties she has with My Plate…” Yes, let’s hope she can talk.
But the panel doesn’t so much find it necessary for her to speak. “Why don’t we just call this what it’s about? Cheese! You’ve lost two billion dollars a year because of the new, more accurate guide.” Mr. Walsh – you know who I mean, the cheese CEO who used to play Brenda and Brandon’s dad on 90210 – can’t stand it. “Are you kidding?” he bends to the microphone, all Eli’s media training wasted. “More accurate? You have dairy in a cup, how is that accurate?” Well, good point. “It’s not a cup,” one of the panelists replies patiently. “It’s a smaller serving.” And that is a load of crap. It’s a small round object placed to the left of a plate, where a glass would be. “You can’t put cheese in a cup,” Mr. Walsh fumes. Hee. “You don’t drink cheese!” No, or yogurt either, although I suppose that does come in cups. “There was no room on the plate,” another panelist explains. You know, they’re playing this for laughs, but I can see why members of the dairy community would be upset by this.
“Are you kidding me? It’s a cartoon, it’s not a real plate! Who’s paying you off, the produce council?” Oh, now you’ve done it. Dude. Is there not another CEO of another cheese company you could have put in front of this committee? Not doing yourself any favors today, Eli. Diane tries to calm him down. The chair calls an end to the debate, and claims they’ll discuss the issue before making recommendations to Congress.
“Hey, what’s going on with your boss?” Eli asks the perky lady. Amy Sedaris, conservative coif stiffening above her head, reassures him he’s got the chair, Henschel, in his pocket. He merely has to appear fair. ‘We were supposed to get a yes on the pyramid,” Diane growls. Yeah, like that would happen. “He didn’t expect the pushback from the undersecretary, that’s all.” She’s wearing a white, round-necked jacket over a black skirt and she looks fusty and political. Amy Sedaris is wearing pearls, seriously. Eli gives her a suspicious glare. “Is he trying to shake us down?” Perish the thought, Eli! “Oh yes, Chicago. I forget. The secretary doesn’t ‘shake down.’ He’s on your side. This is going to conference next week. The food pyramid will be reinstated. Trust me.”
Kalinda certainly doesn’t. “That the secretary’s aide?” she asks Eli. Yes. Why? “Then how does she know me?” She doesn’t know you, Eli insists. Well, you can think that, Eli, but Kalinda’s going to go figure out what’s what. She shadows Amy – which is to say Stacie, the aide – into an office, where she finds an enormous fruit basket, a gift – of course – from her friends at the Fruit Association. Dun dun da! The smoking gun! The smoking banana? Anyway.
Back on a base, Will and Alicia are announces, drill sergeant style, by their client’s guard. Wearing a t-shirt and camo pants, pale, slender Sergeant Elkins stands at attention, salutes, swallows. Captain Hicks introduces them. “Hello, Gina. Do you want to sit?” Will gestures broadly toward the seats. She won’t, but after an awkward second, Will decides he and Alicia aren’t going to conduct business that way, and so they sit. “These murder counts, they’re all a product of your work at the Predator UAS installation in …” “Nevada,” she supplies, still alert, hands behind her back. Hicks, too, is standing. “Addis Airforce Base, sir,” “And you do what there?” Will wonders, looking up. “I’m a UAV operator. I read and respond to real time, on-the-ground alterations as detected by the UAV sensors, and control the Predator targeting systems.” Alicia raises her eyebrows. “The missiles?” “Yes m’am,” confirms Elkins.
“Your commanding officer accuses you of inaccurate and unprofessional reporting as to the presence of 12 unarmed civilians, resulting in their deaths?” Will reads. Gina’s left nostril flares in something like anger or contempt at about the word “unprofessional,” but her emotions are quickly concealed. “Yes, sir, that is accurate,” she replies, unblinking. Will stutters a little. “It’s accurate that that happened?” She restates her answer: “No, sir, that’s accurate as to the charge.” Will looks at Alicia. “So what happened? …I wish you would sit down,” he can’t help but ask. The camera is nice and low, so we get that disconcerting feeling of looking up at someone who won’t even meet our gaze.
“There are occasional delays in transmission of text alerts and censored relays. I received the information too late, sir.” Hicks, who’s been leaning quietly against the wall, explains further. “The transmission is logged as on time, because it indicates the time it was sent, not the time it arrived.” “Is there someone who can corroborate that, Gina?” Gina doesn’t understand the question. Really? How literal is the army supposed to be? “Is there someone who saw the delay in the transmission?,” Alicia rephrases the question.
“Yes m’am. As I already informed Captain Hicks, my pilot saw it too. Lt. Ventura.” “The pilot in the drone?” questions Alicia in confusion. “No m’am, from the ground. We remotely operate the Predator UAV from Nevada.” So that would make her the gunner, essentially. Will would like to talk to the pilot. “M’am, unfortunately military justice moves very swiftly. We’re struggling to catch up.” They stand to leave, gathering their things. Gina hasn’t relaxed, but she stammers at their exit. “Go ahead, Sergeant, ask the question,” Will offers. “Are you taking my case, sir?” She can’t meet his eyes; it hurts to see her. Will steps up, his voice calm, reassuring. This is the Will of the long, wordless gazes. “Do you want us to take your case?” She does. “Then we will,” he proclaims, his brown eyes serious and filled with concern.
“She looks like she’s fifteen years old,” Will tells Alicia once they’re out in the hall. “She’s terrified,” Alicia agrees. “One thing I don’t understand,” Will turns to ask Hicks, “is why are they prosecuting this? I mean, there must be hundreds of deaths in similar drone mishaps, why prosecute this one?” Good question. Which is not to say that I’m in any way against the army taking civilian casualties seriously, but why this? Why now? “I have no answer for that,” Hicks replies. So. Okay. Let’s talk to Ventura, then.
“Get me the dairy people on the phone, all of them,” Eli instructs as he walks back into Lockhart/Gardner. Ah, cheese. I was so amused the first few minutes of your first appearance on this show, but now, the very sound of your name makes me shudder. “Where did you go? I need your help with the produce people. I heard they got a new lobbyist and I heard he’s as good as me.””She is,” agrees Kalinda, already sitting across from his desk. Gee, let’s guess where this is going. Eli hasn’t figured it out, though, so Kalinda has to break it down for him. “Secretary’s aide, Stacie Hall. She flipped sides. ” He can’t believe it. “No conference call! I’ll call them later,” he belated yells out to his minions. “Are you sure?” he asks Kalinda. Oh, she’s sure all right. “Yep. She played you, Eli. She left the USDA to become a lobbyist for the produce people.” “Produce or fruit?” he wonders. “Fruit. The USDA were never going to go back to the old pyramid” – hello, I told you! – “they were just trying to shake down the dairy guild.” Wow, that’s so cold. And, how much could they even shake them down for? Kalinda leaves when her phone rings.
“Having a hard time staying away from me?” she flirts, so we know who that is. Her in at the SA’s office. “Yup. You are just irresistible, Kalinda,” Dana Lodge smiles, her feet up on a desk. Dana’s calling to set up a meeting with Diane. “Really? Why?” wonders Kalinda. “Our investigation into Will Gardner,” Dana explains. “I thought you guys were winding down?” Kalinda asks, rightly suspicious. Oh, we are, Dana professes. “We are. Just dotting a few Is,” Dana pretends, picking lint off her pants. Okay, says Kalinda. “I’ll see what I can do – and you’ll tell me when the investigation heats up again.” “Oh, you will be my first call,” Dana snarks.
Cary siddles into the office. “You want me out of your chair?” Dana asks, uncrossing her feet and moving them off what appears to be Cary’s desk. “No, stay comfortable,” he answers. “Who was that?” Dana savors the name, plumping her lips around it. “Oh. How nice for you two,” Cary smiles. Oh, dude. Dana’s so good at getting under his skin, isn’t she? “Yes, she is quite the conversationalist.” Cary agrees. “We’re going to stay in touch,” smug Dana volunteers. “You got her on speed dial?” Cary grumbles. “Oh, thanks for reminding me,” Dana smiles, thumbs flying on her cell phone. She sums up the call for Cary, including her promise to relay news. “Then give her a call; we’re getting a special prosecutor today.”
Dana turns in the doorway, genuinely surprised. “Who?” Which is when Wendy Scott Carr appears in the doorway behind her.
“Me!” she smiles, in her bright but gentle way, and walks through the doorway. Cary’s mouth hangs open.
She introduces herself unnecessarily. Dana can barely remember to extend her own hand to shake. “Peter appointed you?” she can’t help asking. Wendy laughs her tinkling laugh. “I think he felt that the person who ran against him, and lost, was a safe bet to be objective in a case involving his wife.” Um, right. Because that would be the first thing most people would assume. “Of course this case doesn’t involve his wife,” Cary, still stunned, corrects. Clad in a royal purple suit with ruffles on the jacket front, Wendy’s looking tiny and sweet as always. But she talks like a shark. “Actually, we don’t know that yet,” she notes coolly, and, yikes! “Let’s just see where the evidence takes us.” She smiles like the sun. “Shall we get to work?”
Oh, dear. I knew the special prosecutor was going to be a bad idea. I have a feeling this is going to be spectacularly bad for Will – but probably pretty great for drama.
Another drill sergeant is apparently serving as the bailiff in military court; he calls the court martial to order at a full yell, introducing Judge Leora Kuhn. Hee! We’re really having a full Double Jeopardy repeat, huh? “Are there any other judges in the military?” Will hisses to Alicia. “Sit!” the judge instructs those assembled, “except you.” Except Will. Ha. That’s familiar. “Mr. Gardner, isn’t it?” It is. “What were you saying?” He doesn’t get it. “Yes. As I entered court, you saw fit to say something to your co-counsel. Mrs. Florrick,” she nods, much more pleasantly. “What were you saying, Mr. Gardner? I would like to get it on the record.” Oh, ouch. Not an inch is she going to give. “Apologies, your Honor. I was commenting ‘are there any other judges in the military?’.” Ha! Does he get points for honesty? The prosecutors exchanges pleased glances.
“Good,” Judge Kuhn replies. “To answer your question, yes, there are. And yet here I am again. Happy days.” Oh, boy. So not good. Do the least damage? Are you sure about that, Hicks? Kuhn asks the prosecutor, Captain Moyer, if he has any objections to seeing civilians on the defense. “No, your Honor, we welcome it.” Right, because they haven’t even been there a minute and they’ve already screwed up. “Although it is a bit crowded at the defense table,” he jokes. “I imagine you can hold your own,” she remarks – and yes, one extra lawyer seems unlikely to do him in. She asks for pre-trial motions. “You take it, she hates me,” Will whispers to Alicia, having not learned his lesson.
And because he didn’t, Kuhn asks once more what he said. “Yes, your Honor,” he stands and explains, “I told Mrs. Florrick ‘you take it – she hates me.'” Eeeeek! You’ve got to admire his willingness to take the hit, anyway. I suppose he doesn’t think he’s got anything to lose at this point. Alicia peeks up to see how the judge will take it. Kuhn stares back, stone-faced. “You wound me, sir,” she declares at last, not seeming the least wounded. He shrugs and sits. “What do you have for me, m’am?” Judge Kuhn asks Alicia. They want the pilot (Lt. Matt Ventura) transported in as a witness for the defense. Does the prosecutor have any objections? “No, your Honor. In fact, we’ve already transported him as a witness for the prosecution.”
All three defense attorneys whip their heads to look at Elkins. “Well that’s awkward,” Judge Kuhn notes dryly. “Isn’t it?” Alicia rolls her eyes.
“What’s most important is that we run an ethical and clean investigation. That’s the best way to honor the State’s Attorney’s directive,” Wendy tells Cary. Cary bites his lip, looking skeptical, as well he might. “I understand you have evidence of theft and bribery?” “Not evidence,” he’s quick to clarify, “suspicions.” Dana can’t agree. “More than suspicions. The 45 thousand dollars Will Gardner stole…” Cary’s still not going along on the witch hunt. “That was 15 years ago,” he reminds them, “the statute of limitations is expired.” And it’s also not in their jurisdiction, but I guess that’s not necessary to add. “What about the connection to Judge Baxter?” Dana won’t let go, and here we’ve landed on Wendy’s favorite part.
“Yes,” she says, “I think we should start there.” “No,” Cary declares, and shock reigns on both women’s faces.”We don’t need that to get to Lemond Bishop.” Wendy smiles. Oh, those smiles. “Yes, well, that’s what I most want to talk about.” Her words are precise, clearly articulated. “I know we wanted to use Mr. Gardner as a stepping stone to his drug dealing client, but I believe we should use Mr. Gardner as a stepping stone to Mr. Gardner.” Oh dear. Cary looks less than pleased. “I understand we have a source in Lockhart/Gardner?” I do, says Dana, the investigator Kalinda Sharma. “Good,” smiles Wendy, “cultivate that.” As if Kalinda would ever say something to betray Will!
“Hang on a minute,” Cary interrupts. “Wasn’t the directive of this investigation to pursue drugs, Mrs. Scott-Carr?” She – wait for it – smiles. “It was, and we could be concerned about mission creep here.” Cary rolls his eyes. Ya think? “But Mr. Florrick has given me the autonomy to set objectives. And looking at the evidence, I believe the more profitable direction is judicial corruption.” Oh, nelly. Do you suppose that means she’s picked up from Peter that the point is to get Will in whatever way she can? “How does that sound?” “Good to me!” Dana wiggles her eyebrows, avid. “Me too,” Cary assents.
Oh dear lord. You know what they say about frying pans and fires…
“So you saw the alert from the ground commander warning that there were civilians in the vicinity?” We didn’t, but the rather dashing Lt. Ventura did. Or claims he did. “There are sometimes delays in the transmission of such alerts, did you experience any delays?” No, sir. “Then why did the accused ignore the alert?” “Objection!” Will roars. “It’s not determined yet that Staff Sergeant Elkins ignored anything.” Judge Kuhn tilts her head, narrows her eyes, and stares at Will. Let’s get ready to be shocked. His objection is overruled. Oh, so shocking. “I don’t know why Sergeant Elkins ignored it, sir. I was stunned when she fired on the target.” Elkins eyes dart over to Ventura’s face. He looks back. Moyer thanks Ventura for his testimony and his service to this country, which makes me want to vomit a little. Maybe that’s not fair, but it seems unnecessarily pointed in a room full of serving soldiers.
Alicia asks for a five minute break, so they can figure out how to approach Ventura, but the judge won’t allow it. Shocker! Alicia does actually look shocked. As she moves to cross, Will reminds her to use Ventura to ask the questions. She sets her folder on a podium, and begins. “Lieutenant, have there been other civilian deaths due to drone maneuvers?” “Other Afghan deaths?” Ventura qualifies. Yes. “How many?” He has no idea. “But there have been civilian deaths? Not intentional civilian deaths, accidental.” “Yes. Our drones are accurate, but we can’t control everything that happens on the ground in Afghanistan.” Right, like when someone chooses to ride a bike down a street. You know, the bike rider seemed like the most obvious reason to wait to me – leaving aside the 5 people they’d seen walking down the street. So, maybe she did pull the trigger at the wrong moment? Alicia addresses the jury directly. “In fact, aren’t civilian casualties such a common occurrence that they’ve been assigned the slang term ‘squirters’?” Okay, I think I want to vomit now for real. Judge Kuhn closes her eyes.
“No, m’am, that’s incorrect.” Judge Kuhn’s eyes fly open, furious. “I’m sorry, my apologies,” Alicia replies speedily. Was that really a mistake? Did she say that just for effect? Is he lying and she’s not going to go after it? What was that? “In the week before the arrest of Staff Sergeant Elkins, weren’t there 8 civilians killed in the drone attack on the Al Qaeda operative Amad al Dasari?” “I believe 9 were killed,” Ventura corrects her. “9. I’m sorry,” Alicia continues. “And how many drone operators were arrested in that attack?” “How many?” Ventura squints at the absurdity of this question. Moyer nods at his very annoyed witness. “None,” Ventura snaps. “And how many prosecutions and arrests have resulted from any of these Afghan deaths?” Alicia gestures broadly. It would have been better if they had a ballpark number of deaths, don’t you think? Ventura’s contempt is clear. “None,” he’s forced to answer.
“So, I’m trying to figure this out. You’re in a trailer 20 miles north of Las Vegas, you do consider yourself part of the battlefield in Afghanistan?” Of course. “And like many of these men and women,” Alicia gestures to the jury, “you’ve been in battle, even though you don’t have any war wounds to show for it?” Yes indeed. “So Staff Sergeant Elkins was in battle too, wasn’t she?” Ventura glares at his former coworker, and she swallows, looking even more terrified than usual. “Yes,” he admits grudgingly. “So this is a prosecution of a soldier who accidentally killed a civilian on the battlefield, isn’t it?” Moyer objects, and Kuhn sustains it. “That’s okay,” she nods, “I think the jury understands.” “Mrs Florrick!” Judge Kuhn reprimands in outrage. Alicia gives a hands off motion, and backs away from the podium.
“Yes, that’s right, keep it casual,” Eli mutters under his breath as he watches Stacie Hall prance across a crowded restaurant, glad handing the room. “Don’t see me until… hark!” “There you are!” she chirps, as if she’s missed him from mere feet away. Her hair is down, and she looks much less like a news anchor from the 90s. “I’ve hurried over here, rehearsing my apology. Can I just say, I am so sorry?” She sets down a thick leather folder and sits at his elegant table for two. Eli sits, his hands primly clasped, as a waiter sets two plates down in front of them. He actually, literally twiddles his thumbs. “Oh, did you order me something?” she wonders, momentarily confused. “Just a little cheese and fruit,” he waves. She guffaws into her plate. “You are such a kick, Eli! Well I hope this means you forgive me!” “I do,” he lies, “I blame myself for not seeing it coming.”
“Oh, come on,” she waves, “there was nothing to see. I was just offered the fruit association yesterday!” Right. Totally out of no where, I’m sure, and how shocking considering your previous loyalty to cheese! “Smile, Eli, so I know you’re okay!” He obliges. “I’m not going to let you go, you’re too cute to let go!” Really? Seriously? She talks like this to adults? I half expect her to pinch his cheeks. It’s like Billy Crystal imitating an old lady. “No, you’re the cute one,” he says through gritted teeth. And then he changes topics, because really, who could stand to continue? “Did anyone ever tell you you have a pre-recorded voice?” She’s slightly thrown again – and so am I. What is that, Eli? “One of those credit card voices that tell you your call will be answered in the order received?” Oh, okay. An automated phone system voice. I guess I can see that. Those tend to be perky women’s voices, though perhaps not quite as perky as hers. She stares for a minute before sending high pitched laughter to the high ceiling of the staid, elegant room. “I gotta borrow that! So, when you called me on the phone,” she switches topics, stealing his cheese, “you mentioned something about us working together?”
Why yes, he did. “The dairy guild and the fruit association are natural allies. We have a mutual enemy,” he pitches. “Vegetables?” she guesses sharply. Yes. The fruit’s natural enemy is a vegetable? “You lost real estate.” He pulls a flyer out of his jacket to display the My Plate chart. “Vegetables gained real estate at your expense.” “That’s what I keep telling the fruit growers! Well what do you propose?” What you keep telling them since yesterday? Right. Eli proposes combining their lobbying efforts. As if. “I want to say yes, Eli,” she clasps her hands together, “but you can’t keep going after the pyramid!” That’s right. No one is going back to saying that carbs ought to be the basis for the American diet. So what should we do, he wonders. “Well, without acknowledging we’re a ‘we’ yet,” she begins, putting air quotes around the ‘we’, “you should create a new diagram.” Huh. Indeed. A little late for that, maybe, but okay. “Do you mind if we do?” “Show it to me! Fruit and cheese are natural allies here!” The fruit plate in front of her seems untouched, while the cheese slowly disappears. She winks and giggles, sipping her water.
“She said yes, Eli?” Diane’s skeptical over the phone, sitting behind her desk, business-like in a tailored white blouse. “Yes, but she’s lying,” Eli grumbles, “She’s either already talking to the vegetable lobby, or she’ll use our interest to up their interest.” Heh. “You got all of this from yes?” Diane deadpans. Hee. Eli wants to talk to the bread people, which seems both completely natural (in a culinary sense) and utterly foolish to me – why tie yourself to a sinking ship, nutritionally speaking? Plus, as Diane reminds him, the client doesn’t want to go there. “I’ll talk to them. It’s the only wait to beat this lady.” “We’re not trying to beat this lady,” Diane observes, worried about the direction he’s taking, “we’re just trying to do well with our clients.” Stacie snaps her phone shut, and so Eli ends his call. Diane’s not pleased.
Back at the base, an Andrew R. Galecki introduces himself on the witness stand. “I work at Langley,” the fresh faced young man in a civilian suit explains. He’s in military intelligence, and was part of the “decision to shoot chain” on the drone maneuver we’re here about. Yes, he agrees, “the kill chain.” Well, nothing euphemistic about that. “The defense has argued that there are many deaths in drone maneuvers, and this is just one more, is that true?” Well, not exactly, Moyer, but okay. “There is in fact collateral damage in drone maneuvers, but most of these deaths are taken into account in the kill chain algorithm.” Oh, well, that makes me feel better. Alicia’s head whips up. “You’ll have to explain that,” Moyer asks. Cute young Galecki compresses his lips, looking for some diplomatic words. “We take into account the strategic value of eliminating a target, the potential to damage to civilians, and the proximity to Mosques, schools or hospitals.” I guess that makes sense, but it’s so calculated and cold blooded to give the choice to a mathematical formula. “This is all entered into a computer algorithm with determines the worthiness of an attack.” And just like that, some child walking down the street with their parents is written off. Sometimes civilians are expendable, Moyer leads the witness. Yes, Galecki agrees, sometimes the value of killing an Al Qaeda target is more important than civilian lives.
Well, that’s lovely. Moyer specifically brings up the 9 civilians deaths in the drone attack the week before, and Galecki agrees that this wasn’t murder because his computer formula deemed it an acceptable loss rate, which was validated by authority figures in the kill chain. Well, good to know. “We were willing to risk more deaths because Mr. Al Dasari was such a danger to the United States.” I’m sure that’s a great comfort to those families, sir. Alicia rolls her eyes in disgust. “And the second attack, initiated by the accused?” Moyer points to Elkins. ‘That was not a sanctioned attack,” Galecki claims. Does he mean it wasn’t sanctioned at all, or just that she jumped the gun? Because I’m pretty sure the argument is the latter, but he’s making it sound like the former, right? Also, what it looked like to me was that the real “extra” casualties were inside the building, where we couldn’t see them, so there wouldn’t have been a last minute order to abort. ‘We sent out an immediate transmission when we saw children in the area,” Galecki notes. We didn’t see that, did we? Well, we saw a note about one child, but not multiple children. Alicia looks at Gina, who looks ready to cry. “The accused too it upon herself to fire anyway.”
You know, I get that there’s a right and wrong time to fire, but it’s creepy that it’s a computer that makes that decision.
“How many women are on the jury?” Will squints at the paperwork in his lap, conferring with Hicks and Alicia back in his office. “6,” Hicks tells him. “We should argue she’s being prosecuted because she’s a woman,” Will decides. “It’s not true, and even if it were, it wouldn’t matter,” Hicks declares, horrified. “Why is it not true? The pilot isn’t being prosecuted, none of her commanders, all men.” Hmm. While the blame certainly goes down the chain, she was the one who pushed the button. Assuming there really was an alert – which we can’t confirm – she would carry the blame. “Do we know that?” Will thinks so, asks Alicia to check the transcripts. But you haven’t addressed Hicks’ fascinating contention that it wouldn’t matter. “It won’t work. The panel will consider it… whining.” “What defense would they not consider whining?” Will smiles. Alicia peers intently at her laptop. “Whadju find?” Will asks, noting her expression. “Um, nothing,” she declares, slamming her laptop shut. “Would you excuse me for a second?” She hightails it out of the room, laptop clasped to her body, practically hopping in her short skirt. She sets the laptop on the deserted reception desk, and watches a webcam video of Jackie, trying to find a way into the laptop. Odd angles of the old woman’s face glare at the screen, her mouth prim and self-righteous and angry. It would be funny if it weren’t so infuriating.
Livid, Alicia slams the laptop closed again and stomps away.
Dana and Kalinda toss back shots at Kalinda’s favorite bar. Look at those two, each so secure in her own strength and position, certain they can get more out of the other woman than they’ll have to give, certain they can win. “It’s not going to work,” declares Dana. What’s not going to work? “Seducing me,” Dana explains. Oh, right. “I don’t want to seduce you!” Kalinda replies. “You don’t?” Dana pretends to be wounded. “No. Too easy,” Kalinda flirts. “Hey! I mean, what’s the point anyway, I don’t get it,” she snort. “Without a penis involved, that’s like – baseball without a bat.” Ha. Kalinda would be delighted to explain things to you, dear. “Well, you get it when you get it,” she says. “Oh, deep,” Dana laughs. There’s slow jazz playing in the background. “It’s different. A woman’s lips and… when you get a woman excited, it’s not like a man.” Kalinda seems to be lost in a sexy reverie. “I hope not!” Dana adds eventually. “It’s not aggressive. It’s slow. Suspenseful,” smiles Kalinda, her tiny Mona Lisa smile.
Dana grins. “You wanna hurt Cary?” No, Kalinda says quietly. “Yeah you do,” Dana decides. Does she? I’m not sure. Like she said in the previous episode, I don’t think she’s that calculating. “That’s okay, he wants to hurt you, too.” That might be closer to the truth, because Cary is that calculating. Except, I don’t think it’s all the way true, because he really doesn’t know what he wants from Kalinda (or rather, whether he should want what he wants). “Yeah, and how does he want to do that?” “Through me,” Dana claims, and I don’t believe that for one second. He wants the two of them as far apart as possible, and Kalinda knows it. “How’s he going to do that through you?” challenges Kalinda again. The bar is dark, so we only really see the light reflecting off honey colored skin; Kalinda’s cleavage, Dana’s bare arms. “There’s a special prosecutor – Wendy Scott-Carr.” Kalinda grimaces. “Yep.” Course that’s got nothing to do with Cary, but Dana’s picking her words really closely for the ones which she thinks will have the most effect.
“And we’re not going after Lemond Bishop, we’re going after Will Gardner.” “On what?” Kalinda asks. “Bribery. Banging judges. Did I say banging?” “You did!” Kalinda grins into her glass. Dana is, or is playing, rather drunk. “I meant bribing. I need ta – get a cab. Where’s my money?” She starts to ooze off the barstool. “I got it,” Kalinda waves, but Dana insists. And then stumbles.
Kalinda, of course, catches her. “You alright?” she asks, and slowly, Dana looks up.
The next thing we know, we see women’s shoes on the floor, and hear Dana panting. “I said it would take more than a few shots to get me into bed,” she breathes, spinning and lowering her head onto a pillow. Oh my. “Then what?” Cary asks. We see only their faces. Wow, I really wondered who Dana’s lover was going to be. “I asked her what it was like to make love to a woman,” she recounts huskily. This is really odd bedroom talk, considering. She kisses his fingers. “You wanna know what she said? That when we get excited, you can feel it.” She lowers his hand. “She wanted to touch you,” Cary replies, and I can’t tell if it’s a statement or a question. Dana decides to demonstrate.
A man sets a black tool box down on a wooden floor, opens it, and pulls out – yes! A new lock for the Florrick apartment! Excellent. Absolutely excellent. Alicia, it’s about damn time. After thanking the locksmith, Alicia joins Zach, who’s performing a diagnostic on Alicia’s computer. “So what were you looking for?” “Well, just seeing if someone was looking through my files.” He pulls up her history for the day in question, Saturday, which happily proves that the answer is no. “Your webcam was on, but that’s about it. What’s up?” he wonders.
She sets down two keys on the kitchen counter. “What’d she do?” Grace asks. “Nothing,” Alicia lies, saying she wants to set stronger boundaries. Well, yes, that’d be good. Also, woohoo, Zach and Grace together at last! I miss them talking to each other. “I think your grandmother missing being more involved in our lives, and I wanna – talk to her about that.” Dad has her pick us up, Grace informs Alicia. “I know, and I’ll talk to your Dad, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to change that.” Hmm. Zach, who is far from dumb, takes a measuring look at Alicia’s laptop. As Grace is speculating (correctly) that the point is to keep Jackie out of the apartment, Zach puts it all together. “She went through your laptop,” he realizes. “What?” gasps Grace. “Grandma went through Mom’s laptop,” he asserts, more confident. “I don’t know that,” Alicia cautions. Yes you do! I don’t even know why you bother to hide the truth from them. ” I just don’t know. Your Dad and I are being very good to each other these days…” or so you can think… “and I just don’t want Jackie getting in the way of that.”
“What was she looking for?” Zach wonders. I wonder, too. Did she think she’d find a sex tape? Dirty pictures? Love emails? “I don’t even know that she was,” Alicia reiterates. She tells them to use the new keys, and call her if there’s any trouble. But what is it Grandma wants, Grace presses. Alicia hesitates. “I think your grandmother wants sole custody for your Dad,” she guesses. “What?” Zach’s shocked. “Mom, we’re not six.” “I know,” she sighs, “she wishes you were.” “Is she looking for things you did wrong?” Grace asks. “I don’t know,” Alicia confesses. “I just – I want to be safe, you know?” We do, Alicia. “Is there anything on there?” “No!” Alicia stares at Grace, truly wounded. “Are you alright?” She will be once she gets this figured out, she claims, but it’s all messing with her. She’s forgotten to be uncomfortable at home, and isn’t enjoying remember what that feels like.
“We have to watch Grandma,” Grace tells Zach as they head to the elevator on their way to school. “I know,” Zach agrees. “She’s such a bitch,” Grace sums up. Indeed.
“Your call is very important to us,” Amy Sedaris’s voice tells Eli over his phone, “Please stay on the line, and it will be answered in the order in which it was received.” It’s her, it’s her voice, he declares to the minions working at a table near his office. No Legal Aid folks in sight. The minions stare up at him blankly. “Bread, Eli!” Diane yells across the office.
“Our interests are identical,” Diane tells the bread lobby. “Bread,” she gestures to one side, “dairy” over on the other. “You have suffered the most from the My Plate design. Bread used to hold a prominent spot on the food pyramid. Now it is classified as grain.” So what do we do, CEO Walsh wonders as the chief bread man nods. “Combine our interests,” Eli suggests. “It’s not going to help. It’s all about vegetables these days.” So true. Eli has a thought. “What food holds most sway over Congress? What food receives 3 billion a year in food subsidies?” Seriously? That much money? Wow. We all know the answer, but Walsh supplies it; corn. “That’s right. Corn has always been classified as a vegetable, but it’s just as much a grain.”
So, wait, you’re going to try to get corn to class themselves on the less desirable side of the plate? As if! I’m sure people are already trying to do this, and corn lobby (I’m sure there’s such a thing, or who else would be running those pro-high fructose corn syrup ads?) must be fighting it tooth and nail.
Alicia’s back in military court; behind her, the male lawyers are chatting. “How are you, Gina?” she asks, turning to look at the woman beside her. Gina gulps and looks straight ahead, as usual, refusing eye contact. She’s fine, she claims. “Are you in touch with your parents?” Yes. “Are they coming?” No. Alicia stumbles for a moment. “Is there anything I can do for you, anything at all?” Slowly, Gina turns to look at her lawyer. “No,” she says, in a voice no longer trying to deny its gentleness, “thank you.” This poor girl. Her hair is pulled back so tightly, it looks like it hurts, and her features are so delicate, she looks like she could smash like china. And with her slender hands, she’s killed children. We’re really only arguing about whether it was her choice or someone else’s.
All rise, the bailiff screams. So ridiculous. Staff Sergeant Nora Swan introduces herself on the stand, and reveals herself as a structural engineer and also Gina’s bunkmate. “And what did you observe your roommate doing on the morning in question?” “Ingesting adrophan,” Bella’s cousin rats out her roomie. This is a prescription med which counters sleep deprivation – in other words, some kind of speed. “It keeps you awake.” Yes, sir, Moyer, sir. “But it can also overstimulate, cause someone to overreact. ” Alicia leaps to her feet with an objection, so Moyer offers to rephrase. “Have you ever been warned about the after-effects of adrophan?” She has. But cousin Bella was warned about vampires, and look how well that took hold. “It can make you jumpy. React too quickly to stimuli.”
Now that it’s Alicia’s turn, she changes the direction of the questioning. “Sergeant, where did Staff Sergeant Elkins get these pills?” Nora blinks. “They were… mine,” she grits out. “So you have a prescription for them?” Alicia’s all steely. No, of course not. “But you were taking them, these pills that tend to overstimulate?” She was. Why? “Well, we were on double shifts on some days in maintenance. You know it’s the only way to stay awake.” “And you were fine with the risk of being overstimulated?” Moyer objects; Alicia puts up her hand, and offers to rephrase, winning a smile from Will. If Nora didn’t have a prescription, where did she get the pills? (From Carlisle, maybe?) She does not want to say, but Alicia leans on her. “If you didn’t get them from a medical specialist, you must have gotten them from somewhere.” Loyal soul that she is, Nora thinks it’s rather outrageous that Alicia expects her to rat out her supplier under oath. “I – I’d rather not say.” “Yes, and I’d rather not ask,” Alicia counters ruthlessly, winning another smile, this time from Captain Hicks.
Someone in the unit gave her the pills, Nora admits, and Alicia’s happy to leave it there if Nora will admit that everyone in the unit takes them. She admits it. “Isn’t it an open secret that adrophan is taken by everyone from fighter pilots down to…” Moyer objects. “Your Honor, calls for speculation.” “Actually, I don’t think it calls for much speculation at all!” That puts Kuhn right up on her high horse. Alicia ends her questioning; Judge Kuhn shakes her head, probably irate at the insult to the military. Alicia nods briskly to Gina as if she’s won a victory? Has she? It’s so hard to tell in military court. So far, she’s simply proved that Gina did what everyone else does, not that it makes her any more or less responsible.
And oh, wow. Now we’ve got Diane meeting with Wendy Scott-Carr. Awesome. “My parents always wanted me to take the corporate path,” Wendy smiles beatifically, looking around Diane’s sumptuous office. “But you were the rebel?” Diane asks coolly. Ha. As if. Wendy smiles. “I tried being a defense attorney, but I realized, I didn’t like guilty people.” Wendy wrinkles her smooth brow at the vile thought. “Not that you do,” she adds. Diane grins. “Oh no, I do. I love them. That’s why I work here.”
Can we stop for a quick standing O for Diane? And also for Christina Baranski? That line delivery, it slays me. I’m in awe.
“This isn’t going to go well, is it,” Dana asks Cary. They’re outside in Diane’s reception area; Dana sits, and Cary stands next to her, craning his neck. “That’s where I sat when I was waiting for them to fire me,” he comments about Dana’s chair. Ah, Cary’s personal trivia, because it’s all about him, and hallowed in his memory. “Really?” she asks, and proceeds to spit out some gum (gum? to a professional meeting?) and stick it under the chair.
“Do you have children, Diane?” Ah, Wendy’s go-to, children and motherhood. No, Diane does not. I love Diane’s slim black dress. “Well, I found the best way to raise mine is to tell them exactly what is expected of them, how they misbehaved, and what they have to do to get back in my good graces.” Damn, is Diane supposed to be the kid in this scenario? Wow. That’s seriously ballsy. And also stupid. “I didn’t even know you had graces. And suddenly I seem to be out of them,” Diane smiles calmly, and Wendy gives a fake laugh. “Actually, I’m talking about your partner.” “Oh,” says Diane, “Will. Actually he’s in court right now.” She’d be happy to pass on your message, however.
“Diane, I’m leading an investigation into legal bribery. There are three judges who are receiving payment in exchange for their decisions.” “Really,” purrs Diane. “Who?” Wendy won’t answer directly. “We believe the nexus of that bribery scam is Will Gardner.” Do you really? Do you have even a shred of proof of that? Diane laughs. “It’s always nice to see how my tax dollars are being spent.” Wendy’s not ready to give up. “Mr. Gardner has a Wednesday night pick up game involving lawyers and judges. At these games, he’s introduced judges to bookies for the purposes of illegal betting, the judges quickly get sucked into bigger bets, at which time the bookies forgive the bets in exchange for friendly sentences.”
“One thing I’ve noticed about prosecutors, Miss Scott-Carr,” Diane observes, “is that they tend to treat accusations as fact.” Yes, but holy crap, who’s even made these accusations? Doesn’t it seem like an incredibly elaborate lie? Damn. “We know your hands are clean, Diane,” Wendy leans forward. Diane mocks her. “How do we know that?” “You’re right,” Wendy leans back coolly. “We don’t know your hands are clean. We can demonstrate your hands are clean by talking to us.” Oh, good luck with that. Is she some little girl who’s going to cower under your intimations, Wendy? I don’t think so.
Kalinda walks toward Diane’s office, eyes on her phone. “Oh, look at this!” Dana trills, “my two favorite people.” Damn, the girl really likes the game, doesn’t she? Cary and Kalinda greet each other curtly. “Did you get home all right?” Kalinda asks Dana solicitously. “I did,” she nods. “Ooof, hang over.” “Nice jacket,” Kalinda observes of Dana’s tight fitting cognac colored leather jacket. “Thanks,” Dana smiles,”I think it’s the same label.” Is that what the kids are calling it these days? Kalinda smiles. They all turn to see Diane escorting Wendy to her door. They thank each other pleasantly, but the chill in the air? Oof. They might as well be playing Darth Vader’s theme. “Where’s Will?” Diane asks once the others have left. He’s parking. Diane heads back to her office to stew alone.
Or to get her coat. She meets Will at the elevator. “Do you have a minute?” she asks, but without waiting, presses the button.
And then they’re on the roof for the royal showdown. “You’re being investigated,” she tells him. This time, there are tables out on a probably fake lawn. “I know. It’s winding down.” Kalinda’s really dropping the ball on this one. She knew about the special prosecutor last night,so why doesn’t Will know? What’s up with that? “It’s not,” Diane informs her partner. “Peter Florrick just assigned Wendy Scott-Carr as a special prosecutor.” How does she know? “She was just in my office, trying to turn me against you,” she says. Will’s still stuck on old news; ah, Will, how quickly the world turns. “It’s about Lemond Bishop. They’re trying to use me…” “It’s not,” Diane cuts him off. “We need to get out of the Lemond Bishop business.”
“Will, it’s not,” she insists. “They’re coming after you.” He scoffs, full of bravado. “They say that just to scare you.” He wishes. “They say that because they have something,” Diane insists, “judicial bribery.” She raises her eyebrows. “What?” He’s truly stunned. “Your Wednesday night basketball games. She thinks you’re introducing judges to bookies?”
“What?” he asks again.
“The judges bet, they can’t pay, the bookies relieve the debt in exchange for a lighter sentence.” On the bookies or for L&G clients? Both, I suppose the scenario goes. “I don’t want you to say anything to me, but I want you to take care of this.” She sounds so lawyerly and authoritative, doesn’t she? “I will not let this firm go under because of some SA fishing expedition.”
“Diane, it’s not true,” Will cries, hurt. “Of course it’s not true, that’s not the point!” she exclaims angrily. She looks him full in the face and commands him. “Make it go away.”
He crunches his eyebrows, denying this magical ability to stop the investigation. She steps closer. “Stop it,” she says quietly. “Stop?” “Alicia,” she hisses.
Oh. That. Will looks away.
Diane continues to pound nails into Will with her quiet, well chosen words. “Peter Florrick is coming after you because you are sleeping with his wife.” He makes a face, tries to hide. “Don’t lie to me. It is wrong. You are her boss. He is the State’s Attorney. And even if it were not wrong, it’s not smart.” Will looks down. He can’t deny it. “Stop sleeping with his wife,” Diane commands him again, so quiet and so powerful. “Do you understand me?” She leaves, the ghost of a smile showing that she cares. As she walks away, he punches the metal column he’s been leaning on. Then he brings his hand to his mouth.
“You, gentlemen, are a grain; you are not a vegetable,” Eli’s voice rings out at the corn lobby. “In fact, other vegetables gain more by being associated with you than you with them.” He’s in an enormous conference room, where the walls are decorated with enormous pictures of corn. There is, I kid you not, the glowing form of a corn affixed to the enormous conference table. It’s truly, er, corny.
“That is why you’re left with My Plate. Where is corn? You are subsumed with vegetables!” Better than being subsumed by grains, no? At least the vegetables get the lions share of the plate. “But we aim to change all that. With this,” Eli flourishes, pulling aside the My Plate poster to reveal a cartoon of a human body. Grains – with corn in the center – make up the torso. The right arm is proteins, the left (or sinister) arm, sweets, one leg vegetable and the other fruit. The head – oh my, what a surprise – is dairy.
“Corn is at heart to reflect it’s prominence in the American diet,” he proclaims. “It is to all our benefits to rethink the current food chart.” He hands out a snazzy pamphlet featuring the new diagram. And it’s then, when he’s asking for their help plying Congress with the new plan, that he hears Stacie Hall’s tinkling laughter. “Uummmmm….” he falters.
“Eli!” It’s a party in the hall. It’s a party where ever Stacie Hall is. “What’re you doing here?” Eli asks. Oh, just hanging around with a few friends, she smiles, greeting fellow party goers as they pass. Seriously, there’s a real carnival atmosphere, like they’re all at the State Fair and isn’t the weather fine? “So you’re trying to pull them on board?,” he surmises. Oh, perish the thought! “Well, it is produce,” she grins. What about us, he moans. Fruit and cheese? Really, she sneers. “That was our agreement,” he claims. “You know what the polite thing to do is when you’re dead?” She gives him a patronizing look. “Get a shovel.”
Have I mentioned that there’s a giant painting of cavalry soldiers on the wall facing Judge Kuhn? Now, as Alicia sits and waits nervously for Will, we see that there’s a scroll along the bottom with the words Fort Sheridan. Is that where we are? Alicia and Will both look grim, and the music is serious. He swallows, a tiny motion, and I’m wondering if he’s going to say something to her about the craziness that’s going down, or if he wants to. Hicks, however, joins them too quickly. “We think you should take Ventura,” Will opines. Why? “The sexism angle will go better coming from you.” Yeah, except he thinks that’s a fruitless avenue and doesn’t believe it. “We’re afraid that it’ll seem like outsiders meddling if we go tough on him,” Alicia adds. Yes. Quite correct, I’m sure it would. But even if Hicks argues it, it’s not going to work, is it? After staring for a minute, his reply is merely “Understood.”
“Thank you for returning, Lt.Ventura.” I have so much trouble taking someone with the name of a pet detective seriously. It’s unfair, but there it is. Ventura nods coolly.”Uh, you have testified that there was no delay in the transmission from the kill chain, and that, uh, therefore, Staff Sergeant Elkins overreacted?’ His papers seem to be escaping the confines of his folder on the podium. “Yes, sir,” comes the response. “Good. Um, okay, so, um…” Hicks flounders. “Have there been transmission delays in the past?” Perhaps it is his plan to look like a bumbling idiot? “Have there been? Yes, but there wasn’t one here. Sergeant Elkins ignored the order.” Ventura shows his lack of patience plainly. Probably doesn’t know that Hicks is a hero on the actual battlefield. “I see. And is that why you started an online petition in the spring, opposing the integration of female forces into submarines, because females can’t take orders?” Judge Kuhn looks shocked, though by what exactly I’m not sure. Moyer objects for relevance. “I… sustained,” Kuhn sighs.
“Lt. Ventura,” begins Hicks, who has now moved the podium across the courtroom, “you worked with other female airmen in the UAV complex.” Yes, definitely. “And you have no issues working with female NCOs.” Alicia nods. “No, of course not,” Ventura asserts. “Why?” “Because I’m asking you a question,” Hicks demands with calm but implacable authority, and, damn. That was impressive. Will smiles. Hicks asks after a Staff Sergeant Montoya, and that makes the contemptuous Ventura squirm. Someone who used to work with him “who has since been removed.” Oooh, chilling.
“And she was removed because you complained about her,” Hicks argues. “No sir, she was disruptive during our shifts,” Ventura insists. “You had her replaced,” Hicks rephrases. “No, I told my commanding officer and he replaced her,” Ventura clarifies, not really helping himself. “Understood,” Hicks shuts him down. Nice. “And how many other NCOs have you worked beside without incident?” “Dozens,” Ventura proclaims. That’s a decent amount of non-commissioned officers. “This was my first incident.” “Female?” Hicks asks. “Yes, but that’s incidental,” Ventura insists. “So it’s incidental that among the dozens of NCOs you’ve worked with over the years, you’ve had complaints only about two females?” Ventura looks quite annoyed. “Yes sir!” “Who works with you now?” Hicks asks. Let’s guess. He doesn’t understand. “Now that you’ve had Sergeant Elkins replaced…” Moyer objects. Kuhn sustains.
“Now that you’re working with someone other than Staff Sergeant Elkins, are there any complaints?” “No,” Ventura answers, “I work well with people.” Hicks asks the next question starkly, stiffly. “Is Sergeant Elkins replacement a male or a female?” Let’s guess. Wait for it! “A male,” he admits grudgingly. Judge Kuhn’s displeased. “Understood. Thank you for your honesty,” Hicks finishes.
Staff Sergeant Gina Elkins has looked straight ahead the entire time.
And next we see the beautiful sight – so much prettier than the courtroom – of Jackie’s key not fitting in Alicia’s door.
Alicia opens the door, smiling. “Hello, Jackie,” she smiles. “Alicia!” Jackie’s flustered. Is it because she’s self conscious that she maybe shouldn’t be there, or is she just flustered? Does she guess what’s coming? Or did you just not expect the guard dog protecting the chickens, little fox? “My key seems to be sticking,” she explains. “I know,” Alicia purrs. Jackie’s face falls. “You changed the locks?” she gasps. “I did,” confirms Alicia. “Would you like to explain why?” Um, you’re not her teacher, Jackie, or her mother, and even if she were your child, she isn’t a child anymore. “I would,” Alicia answers forthrightly. “I don’t want you in here anymore.”
It’s an understatement to say that Jackie’s taken aback. “You don’t want me picking up Zach and Grace?” “I don’t, but I can’t control what Peter needs from you.” “What you need from me too, Alicia,” Jackie hisses. “But I can control my home. I don’t want you in here, Jackie. I don’t want you going through my things. I don’t want you in my computer.” Impressive, don’t you think, that she manages to maintain a largely pleasant tone while making it clear to Jackie that she knows?
“You’re hurting your children,” Jackie asserts, obviously feeling she has to go on the offensive (since she’s clearly in the wrong in that particular instance). “I might be,” Alicia agrees, “but that’s between me and them. And I would never take your word for it.” Okay, that was kind of poisonous in tone. “They’re not safe with you,” Jackie sneers. What the hell does that mean? Oooh, I just wanna pound her face. (No, no, did not just publicly confess to wanting to beat up an old lady…)
Alicia just laughs, her arms folded. “Go ahead, Jackie, reach into that bag of tricks. What do you have that could hurt me.” “Zach is dating Eli Gold’s daughter,” she begins. Which I’m pretty not sure is true, but I’m also not sure what her point is if it were. Also, what, is she saying that given her way, she would forbid that romance? “Oh, my gosh, that’s terrible,” Alicia snarks. “They were in your bedroom!” Alicia blows out a breath. “Should I get a chair for this?” Hee. “Grace goes into her bedroom with her tutor and locks the door.” Okay, we totally didn’t see that. “It would help if you got your facts straight, Jackie; there’s no lock on Grace’s door.” “She pushes a chair against it!” If that’s true, that would actually merit a conversation. Not that I wouldn’t want to lock Jackie out, too.
Darn it, where has Owen been through this whole mess, anyway? Bring back the not so cool Uncle!
“Look at me, Jackie. Look at my face.” Alicia paints on a smile. “You no longer have the power to wound.” Jackie pulls her head back, a cobra who’s missed her strike. “They’re your children. You need to be their mother.” Which is to say, you need to be their stay at home mom? And, if she was, then you really would never get in the house, would you? “Good night, Jackie,” Alicia says pleasantly. How satisfying to see Alicia close the door in Jackie’s face!
Alicia slumps back against the door (as much as someone with her ramrod straight posture can slump) and exhales in relief. Thank heaven that’s over with. But it’s mere moments before she has an idea and springs into action. “Zach?” she asks the son who’s busy typing as ever. Yes? “Grandma drives you over to Dad’s place now?” “Yeah, why?” “Get your coat,” she says, “let’s buy you a car.” She leaves him to stare at his screen in wonder for about a half a second, before he sprints through the door after her.
Ah, the perks of warring parents. There can be a few.
“No, I understand, I’ll just keep in touch,” Eli sighs bitterly, slamming his phone into the receiver. “That doesn’t sound good,” Diane comments from the doorway. “We’re out of the dairy business. The cheese people want to change the direction – they’re going with Stacie Hall.” Eli rolls his eyes, slumped down in his chair. Unlike Alicia, Eli is really, truly slumping. “I explained that she made no sense because she represents fruit, too, but they thought a nonsensical plan made more sense than I did.”
Oh, yes, very very bitter and pouty, Mr. Gold. Diane, wearing a very flattering printed dress, seats herself across from him. Eli purses his lips. “I need something to drink,” he declares, pushing out of his chair and looking in a cabinet. “Well don’t get morose,” she tells him. “Why not? It deserves a little wallowing, doesn’t it, four to five million between us?” Well, yes, that’s a bit of a loss. “Nora, why don’t I have scotch?” he fumes. “Win them back,” Diane orders simply, and he turns to stare at her. “Oh yes, you’re right, what was I thinking?” Hee.
“Do men really have that much success in their lives that the first setback that comes along, they get all weepy?” He looks at her in abject horror, sitting down nearby so he can just stare. “I’m not weepy! I’m… I’m tired,” he sighs. “It’s hard, doing this. I don’t sleep at night. I stare at the clocking, thinking about this, thinking about nothing else, and it’s not productive time, it’s stare at the clock time.” She nods in understanding. “You can always give up,” she offers. Ha. “Can I just have a minute to feel bad for my self?,” he cries out, aggrieved. “Yes, I’m sorry,” she assents. “I don’t like losing,” he confesses. “I’m always looking for when things start to turn south.” Huh. That’s right, folks; Eli is as insecure as he’s always seemed. Aggressive people so often are. “What if it’s now?”
Diane nods as a minion sets up a bottle behind Eli. “Eli, we’re going to wallow for a few hours now.” She crosses in front of him and grabs the bottle. Wow, that dress should not work, but it really does. “We’ll drink. I’ll put you in a cab. You will sleep it off. You won’t feel good in the morning. You will come in late, but you will come in. We’ll sit, and we’ll talk.” She pours. “You’ve been lording it over us up until now.” “I have not!” he exclaims quietly. “Yes you have, don’t argue,” she cuts him off. Love love love Diane.”You are brilliant, but you’re not God’s gift.” She pours a second glass. “We’ll sit and talk, we’ll hatch a plan, and Stacie Hall is going to rue the day.” She sits on the arm of a chair. “And that’s a fact.” She hands him his drink. “But, for the moment…” she smiles. He drinks, and she drinks after him.
Damn! Diane to the rescue! This is clearly her week to clean up after the idiot men around her who can’t deal properly with the women in their own lives. And she is doing a smashing job of it. I LOVE seeing Diane get so much screen time. I want to do a little cheerleading routine through this whole monologue.
“Members of the panel, have you reached a verdict?” Judge Kuhn asks. They have. “Staff Sergeant Regina Elkins, please stand,” the judge instructs as she unfolds the slip of paper. All three members of the legal team rise with Gina, Will and Alicia not quite as precisely as Hicks. “In the case of the United States versus Staff Sergeant Regina E. Elkins, of murder under section 118 of the code of military justice count 1, we the panel find the accused guilty.” As Judge Kuhn reads the rest of the guilty verdicts, Elkins struggles against tears. Alicia puts a hand over her elbow, trying to pass on strength and comfort. Alicia rubs Gina’s back, and hangs her head as the verdicts keep coming.
After, Alicia waits on a wooden bench outside the courtroom. Judge Kuhn notices as she walks by, and turns. “You thought it was unjust?” she assesses. Alicia rises and walks, slowly, to face the other woman. “Yes,” she says, her voice rich with emotion. “Why?” “She was scapegoated. She’s being sent to prison because she’s being scapegoated for an inaccurate drone program.”
“No,” insists Kuhn. Gee, I wish the case was this clear to me. “She was convicted because she did wrong.” “She was a woman,” Alicia asserts, and the judge rolls her eyes. “Oh, please,” she says. See, you should have listened to Hicks. Even though it’s very possibly true. “Do you know what that defense says about the thousands of women who serve honorably? We don’t want that defense.” You mean you don’t want that problem to be real. And as honorably as you serve, sometimes, it could be real. “This isn’t about want, this is about truth,” Alicia insists. “And the truth is, there are twelve people dead because of Sergeant Elkins actions.” Indeed. What’s maybe interesting here is how much you care. “”She went to work incapacitated by drugs and she killed twelve people.” Why is the drug angle so much easier to believe than sexism?
Alicia remains stone faced as Leora appeals to her honor. “Six children. You didn’t ask one word about them.” Alicia blinks. Well, that’s not really her job, is it? “They’re dead. They burned to death.” And it’s good that people care, even if it’s worse that they caused it. “Children like yours. Children like mine. Their mothers are mourning them right now.” Alicia looks away. “She may be pushing buttons,” the emphasis being, of course, that she’s merely pushing buttons, “but they are dead, and they did nothing wrong.” Kuhn nods vigorously. “This was a just verdict, it was, and she will serve time for that.” I can’t imagine how she won’t serve her whole life, not for 12 counts of murder. “The problem with a charge of scape goating is that it doesn’t acknowledge that at a certain point, you have to hold people accountable.” Yes, but at what point? That’s the real point, isn’t it? ‘That is what’s happening here, that’s all.” Alicia looks shaken.
“I have to go now. Good night, Mrs. Florrick,” Judge Kuhn adds, and clips away over the marble floor. Alicia walks away herself, her footsteps echoing through the hallway.
Ugh. So what was the point of this all, anyway? That in the age of Predator drones, even a tiny, scared looking little girl can be a murderer? Why did they prosecute this case, and decide in this instance the deaths were murder when in so many others, they’re acceptable damage? Is Elkins truly guilty, and should we cheer her incarceration? Is the murder charge fair, when really they’re trying her for disobeying orders, since the Army clearly doesn’t care about a few more corpses, more or less? If 5 people would have been okay according to this algorithm, why is she being charged with all 12? Was she really hopped up on speed? Was Ventura lying and biased against her because of her gender? When you’ve worked so hard to prove you’re as tough as the guys, do you just ignore gender bias because to admit it exists would be to acknowledge your inherent vulnerability?
I don’t know. I can’t help thinking there wasn’t any last minute order to wait, because the extra people were inside the building. I wish we’d seen physical evidence of the other. I can’t help thinking that everyone is lying, and covering their asses by sacrificing Elkins. But then again, why bother to even scapegoat anyone? Is there anyone watching those civilian death totals who would have noticed or cared? Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s stellar that Kuhn does care. But, I don’t know. It feels a bit late and a bit disingenuous to be self-righteous; does the military really have a leg to stand on, here?
But I get many of those impressions from closely watching the video at the start. Can I rely on that? It’s too murky for me. I guess I like coming out of the cases feeling like I know more about the situation than when we started, and I don’t feel like that here. Maybe it’s weak of me, but I can’t figure out what the writers were trying to say here, and that annoys me too. I’m not really happy with either side. I mean, if it’s not okay to kill civilians – and damn it, it shouldn’t be okay! – then how is it fair for them to pick and choose when it’s okay to kill civilians? Bah. If it’s wrong, why isn’t it always wrong? Would this have been less wrong if Elkins had made the mistake they allege higher up the kill chain?
Ugh. Alright. I’m stopping, because this is just too upsetting a subject. The good stuff: Diane! How wonderful was she? And it’s about time she’s got some meaty stuff to work with! Also enjoying Kuhn, and even Hicks, though they gave him so little to do this time. Speaking of giving someone little to do, was it worth it to bring in a talent like Amy Sedaris for that role? I don’t know. I was underwhelmed. I will say, though, that I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Diane and Eli.
And, hmm. Wendy Scott-Carr. It’s lovely to see her back, and her take on the case is terrifying. Talk about mission creep and overreaching your objective! Then there’s Diane and Will. What on earth is he going to do? I thought for sure there would be some sort of conversation with Alicia, some sort of decision, but no. Still, they choose not to decide.
Finally, the love triangle. It’s kind of nice to have a new love triangle here, and I infinitely prefer Dana to Blake as a foil for Kalinda. But – is Cary Alicia in this strange mirror? Or is Kalinda the one who’s holding the real power?