E: Holy guest star filled episode, Batman! I can’t even believe the number of plots this episode (and its director, Josh Charles) juggled!
And even more amazing? It was a damn good episode! Real movement on the political front (even if they spoiled it last week in the promo), a moving case of the week, and – eeeeee! – Alicia goes out for drinks! With the right person!
Just in case you didn’t know you were in for a three ring circus, the Lockhart/Gardner reception area is packed like we’ve never seen. Lawyers mills everywhere. There’s a pregnant woman at the desk, and the small couches are packed. In the middle of one – no way – sits marvelously no-nonsense military Judge Leora Kuhn, reading a novel. On the couch across from her, it’s – oh God – Nick Savarese, clicking his tongue and tapping his hands. “Afghanistan,” he says to her, jerking his chin up. “Iraq?” Excuse me, she asks, whipping off her reading glasses. He points to himself with both thumbs (ick, what a loathsome affectation). “Coalition of the willing. Basra.” Huh. I thought he was lying about being a soldier, given the timing, but since the term refers to the first Gulf War, it’s actually plausible. Unlikely, given his complete and utter lack of discipline, but possible. I could see him as a poor kid itching to get his hands on a gun.
Ah, she says, and asks after his division. “Second Battalion, Royal Welsh.” He nods. “You were testing me, weren’t ya? Though I was lying?” She shakes her head. “Never,” she replies fervently. Wow. That’s a tone of voice we’ve never heard. I love what a completely different world the military is. Then Nick stands to give Mandy his seat; she demurs, but is clearly thrilled by his gallantry. Which is super creepy, given what we know of him. I wouldn’t wish him even on someone as whiney and ethically challenged as she is. Another guy immediately sits down in the seat, but Nick orders him out. He likes to be the boss, Nick does. As he heads off to stalk Kalinda, Maddie Hayward hops off the elevator. Good lord. I think my head is going to explode.
Alicia heads Nick off, saying they’re ready for him. “So, are you feeling good, Alicia? Are you feeling lucky?” EW. About the bid she is – she thinks he’s in great shape. I’m not a huge fan of the pleats in her suit jacket (or the collar) but the crimson color of course is regal and gorgeous. Cary’s on the phone in their office, talking to the state right now. Why not use the word “we,” Nick pouts – you’d be getting 5% of a 25 million dollar contract. (Good grief! That’s a serious contract. Wanna ask me how much I care that the firm needs that money?) “I think we’re in very good shape, Mr. Savarese,” Alicia repeats, glaring, and finishes with a nasty little smile. Ha.
And, Cary’s through. “Are you sure?” he asks the person on the other line. “Don’t do this,” Nick shakes his head. “Well, find out more,” Cary begs, hanging up. Excellent news, everyone! The contract went to Streckler Automotive. “I’m going to sue them,” Nick snaps, kicking Alicia’s desk and making her jump. Trying to pacify Nick, Cary points out that Nick’s bid was a close second. “They cheated. I had a black partner.” Oh Lord. Alicia explains that having a black partner isn’t exactly a bullet proof shield; Streckler had racial diversity too, as well as a female partner. “Here’s what I want you to do, I want you to check out Streckler and Do Da – whoever they are, because they paid someone off.” “You paid someone off,” Alicia drawls with exactly no sympathy, leading Nick to howl (and not without reason) “Whose side are you on?” Oh, Ick. Nobody’s on your side.
On his way to his office from the elevator, Will freezes. What did he just see? Did he see what he thought he saw? Yes. Yes he did.
“Your Honor?” he asks. “Yes?” Judge Kuhn answers in her typical measured way. “Um, why are you here?” he puzzles. “To court martial you,” she answers calmly. Then she smiles. “Hahaha,” he mumbles weakly. To see Alicia Florrick, she explains, taking mercy on him. He’s horrified that she’s been left waiting, and quickly waves her out of the reception area.
“Are you Maddie Hayward? The CEO?” Mandy leans forward. Heh – Maddie was sitting next to Judge Kuhn. I didn’t even notice her. Crazy times. And yes, she is. After a fake half-apology, Mandy presses Maddie for a quote about Peter’s alleged affair. For Maddie, her phone is an inadequate shield; it doesn’t stop Mandy from intruding. We don’t see her give a quote, however, or anything more than a calculating look. She just blinks.
Again, I know I said this when Maddie Hayward and Clarke Hayden were introduced, but what’s with the similar names? Mandy and Maddie? Really? Was that necessary?
When Alicia sits down with Judge Kuhn in the conference room, it’s with some surprise. “I know,” Kuhn admits, “this was a bit spontaneous.” Who even expected those words, spontaneous and Kuhn, to fit in the same sentence? The judges shocks everyone further by imperiously dismissing Will. But I’m just a fourth year, and he’s a partner, Alicia sputters. Even so, Judge Kuhn declares evenly, it’s you I want. “Thank you,” she tells Will. After an awkward moment, Will manages to spit out a “you’re welcome” and backs out.
The moment the door closes, a torrent pours forth. “I was on a panel, studying the mainstreaming of gender in the military,” Judge Kuhn begins. Alicia listens, hands clasped, biting her lips. “And there was a speaker who had an issue our panel could not address. I would like you to meet her.” Um, okay. “She’s a member of the JAG corps, and she was attacked last year while in Afghanistan.” Uh… What this means is that Kuhn wants Alicia to represent the victim of attempted rape in a civil case. I find myself a little lost here, Alicia admits, blinking, “Who is she suing? She can’t sue the military.” No, but since the attacker was an independent contractor, she could sue Martinell Industries, the company which employed him.
Ah. Contractors in the military. Good thorny issue, that one.
There wasn’t deemed sufficient evidence for a criminal prosecution, Judge Kuhn goes on – hence the suit in civil court. Oh, says Alicia. But why me? The last time I argued a case in front of you it didn’t go so well. (The first time it did, though, in addition to being a much better episode.) Everyone deserves a second chance, the judge says softly, and she almost – almost – smiles.
When Eli gets off the elevator, his gaze is buried in his phone. He’s not smiling when he hears Mandy’s sharp voice barking out his name, but when he turns to face her they’ve got equally catty grins on their faces. “Mandy. Here to exercise your particular brand of gotcha journalism?” he snarks. She follows him through the office. Why is she here, anyway? She’s printing the story. “You’re printing a story you know to be untrue?” he glowers. “No,” she says, preening, “we’re printing a story that’s becoming a topic of conversation.” Whatever gets you through the night, lady. Only because some blogger sharing an apartment with his mom put it out there, Eli sneers. “When did the mainstream media become such a bitch of the blogosphere?” Good quote, Mandy replies thoughtfully. Maybe she’ll put it in the online edition. I almost expect her to pull out a Quick-Quotes quill. The article comes out on Monday, she gloats.
Oh, and Maddie Hayward was here. Eli’s eyes pop, and he surges around the hall wildly as if expecting to find her hiding underneath the console tables. Oh no, she left already, Mandy explains, clearly relishing her tale telling way too much. Is that why she came in person – in case she had an opportunity to gloat, confuse or belittle Eli? Maddie wasn’t here for you anyway, she crows. Eli shoots daggers at her with his eyes. And then he explodes to find his desk moved out of his office and replaced with a large conference table and at least three busy lawyers.
“I am still a partner here,” he snaps at Clarke, who’s flipping through legal sized sheets stapled together. “You can’t just give away my office!” Clarke doesn’t even look up from his paperwork. “I can,” he declares, eyes fastened on a chart, ” and I did.” HA! Love it. I love his calm tone in the face of Eli’s histrionics, too. Oh, maybe I spoke to soon; he glances in Diane’s direction and shakes his head at the papers, saying “well, this sucks!” Um, okay. Diane’s taken aback, but when Eli starts pleading for her intervention, it’s made clear to him that since he’s going to be spending his time with the campaign, the firm needs his office space more than he does. So true. Even so, he continues with his righteous indignation and threatens to take his business elsewhere until Clarke points out that he makes money even while not being here, and he won’t get that kind of deal somewhere else. Eli throws up his hands, defeated, and leaves.
‘Well this is just stupid here,” Clarke waves his papers at Diane, tosses them on the table and heads out into the hall to complain to Cary. Puzzled by Clarke’s mood, Diane can’t decide which to do, dig through the papers or lip read.
Presumably at the army base we visited before, Judge Kuhn introduces one Captain Hellinger to Alica Florrick, the civilian lawyer they discussed. Oh yes, a very spare, glammed down Amanda Peet says, shaking Alicia’s hand, but she’s decided to do this on her own. I understand, good luck, Alicia smiles, but Judge Kuhn pulls Captain Hellinger aside and quietly insists. I have to argue this motion in two hours, Hellinger says. At least let her read the brief, Leora holds fast, and pulls a slightly embarrassed and reluctant Alicia over to do so. Military discipline is a funny thing; the Judge Colonel actually forces Hellinger to ask nicely for the help she doesn’t want.
As Alicia speed scrolls down her laptop, Hellinger wrings her hands. “It’s just a motion to compel the production of a witness. Nothing too elaborate.” I can see that, Alicia answers rather coldly. Kuhn shoots her nervous protegee a look that say “calm down, back off.”
“I’m trying to keep it simple, just…” Now Alicia’s the one giving the look. She finishes up, and Kuhn gives her an inquiring eyebrow. “Well?” Hellinger asks as Alicia closes the laptop. “It’s well reasoned,” she concedes, and the nervous soldier exhales. “Thank you.” For all that, Alicia continues, the motion will be denied. “Cook County judges don’t decide merely on reason, they decide on fear of being overturned. And they have nothing to fear here.” Hmm, that’s interesting. I suppose it would be very refreshing to be Judge Kuhn and not have to worry about that. “They can sense when something’s been written by a novice. No offense – but that’s what you are.” Hellinger is offended, if quietly so. She’s had 12 years in JAG, which is more experience than Alicia has. On the other hand, none of that experience is with civilian judges. “The writing is too perfect, too neat – you have to pull back on all the adjectives,” Alicia concludes. Are you serious, Hellinger asks, looking to Kuhn for support with this craziness. And it does sound crazy.
“What do you suggest, Mrs. Florrick?” Kuhn asks. We find out that the attacker, Ricky Waters is somewhere in Afghanistan, and Martinell Securities won’t say where. “First off, you don’t ask them,” Alicia smiles. “They’ll lie either way.” And how do I find out without asking them, Hellinger wonders. Alicia smiles again, and this smile’s more friendly, less mocking. “Consultation’s over. Am I hired?”
Eli’s walking outside with Kalinda, thanking her profusely for helping. He wants anything, no matter how small, on Mandy or Synth magazine or the publisher or anybody, something he can build on. At a certain point, he knows he’s talking to himself. “Kalinda, are you here with me?” Yes, but you’re maybe not on the same planet. “Are you being investigated by the feds?” she asks him in a dizzying subject shift. “What? No. I don’t know. Am I? Everybody’s investigated sometime. Why, what’re you hearing?” Okay, the permutations he went through in that one speech? Masterful. Dismissive, suspicious, scoffing, paranoid, reasonable – it was very impressive. I’m not hearing anything, she says; she passes him the photo Nick allegedly found in Lana’s apartment Eli and Kalinda talking.
He looks around, genuinely alarmed, as if he expects photographers to be lurking in the bushes. ‘Where did you get this?” She can’t say. Hell yeah she can’t say! My secret psycho husband says he found it when he broke into an FBI agent’s apartment because he’s jealous that we occasionally sleep together. Right. That would go over well. “Kalinda, what the hell?” he hisses. “It’s from a federal investigation – the question is, is the photo about you, or me?” Good question, Kalinda. I still reserve the right to think Nick could have lied about how he found it, but sure. We know Peter’s already shown up in at least one federal investigation, so if Lana had it, it could be about Eli and not Kalinda at all.
Kalinda’s next stop is the courthouse, where she passes Alicia Ricky Water’s address and telephone number. “Thanks,” says Alicia, but as she’s tucking away the address, she notices something’s off and calls Kalinda on it. I love that they’re at a place where Kalinda’s relaxes enough for it to be clear that something’s wrong. She’s not willing to say what it is, though. I’m just busy, she lies badly. “Your husband lost his bid,” Alicia tells her, preventing her friend from leaving. “He won’t be doing business in Chicago.” Is that a smile? Kalinda leaves without a word, and Alicia can’t tell what that means. Is Kalinda pleased by the news? Upset? We can tell Alicia’s pleased, that much is certain.
And, man, I really hate those pleats or whatever they are around her collar. Yuck. I usually adore Alicia’s clothes (I know it’s just business wear which is typically not that fun, but that jacket from last week, I’m still not over it) but not today. It’s very distracting.
Ah, but I can’t contemplate even last week’s jacket forever. The rather daffy Judge Charles Abernathy bangs his gavel, getting my attention and Alicia’s as he welcomes everyone to court “on this unusually hot November day. And if you don’t mind my saying – Global Warming 1, skeptics 0.” Ha! I love Judge Abernathy. He’s such good value for the money. I can’t believe we get him and Judge Kuhn in the same episode, that’s just beyond delicious. He beams at his notes for a moment before asking about the motion, which Alicia stands and delivers. Abernathy leans over to welcome Captain Hellinger to his court. “I have great respect for all those in uniform no matter how our government sees fit to employ them.” Excellent. Hellinger has no idea how to take that.
So, you’re looking get this guy transported back from overseas, Abernathy summarizes the brief. But no – Kalinda’s new information reveals that Ricky Waters is actually in Northbrook, a mere 12 miles away from the court. Well that’s convenient. Oh, except he’s going back to Afghanistan in 48 hours, so Alicia wants the subpoena expedited. How does the defense feel about this, the judge wonders. Is it true? Ha – it’s the great Brian Dennehy with his wonderful, craggy face for the defense – that’s Bucky Stabler to you, and don’t bother with any of that “Mr” nonsense. Bucky is the good old boy to end all good old boys.
The truth is irrelevant, Bucky claims. (I love it – it’s not “you can’t handle the truth” but “you don’t have to handle the truth.”) He’s going to bring up Ferris, Hellinger hisses, scribbling frantically. This, we find as Alicia rolls her eyes at Bucky, was a precedent setting court case which gave military contractors immunity from civil suits. Oh. That must be nice. Hellinger’s holding out her notes, but look at that – Alicia doesn’t need them. She launches into a tirade about how Martinell needs to prove that they were doing military work when the incident was committed. “And unless Martinell can prove that the military ordered this rape…”
“Excuse me, that’s offensive,” Bucky interrupts. “No,” declares Alicia, “the offense here is that you are trying to protect one of your employees from facing his accuser in court. Captain Hellinger has served her country for 12 years,” Alicia turns to the judge, “at the very least, she deserves to face her rapist.” “Accused rapist, counselor,” Bucky jumps in. Attempted rapist, I’d say. “Ah yes. Accused rapist, thank you,” Alicia sneers, sitting down. I’m ready to rule unless you have more arguments, the Judge tells Bucky, who launches into a little speech about modern warfare. Lines are blurred, Waters will be serving in the line of fire, so he deserves the protections of a soldier. (So why can’t the military try him, then? Surely there should be some sort of mechanism to punish wrong doers? Or is Waters subject to military justice and there wasn’t enough evidence to bring the charge?) It’s exactly on this point of law that most rulings to the contrary were overturned, Bucky notes. Hellinger’s mouth drops open, and Alicia calls him on the blatant way he pitched to a judge’s fears. You might as well have sent him a death threat, she snaps.
Abernathy, however, would like to hear testimony on how closely aligned Martinell is with the military. So much for being ready to rule! I guess that jibe hit home. When Alicia brings up the 48 hours deadline, he throws up his hands. “I understand that; we can do a lot in 48 hours. If it’s true that Mr. Waters is subject to the military hierarchy, I will conclude that he and Martinell are immune to lawsuit.”
As Alicia sits to gather her things, Hellinger looks over at her with a respectful smile. “You’re good,” she says. I’ve had a lot of experience, Alicia shrugs. “Take a compliment,” Hellinger commands, and Alicia smiles. “Thank you.” Alicia looks down at her, pleased, and nods decisively. “Let’s win this.”
Hey, check it out – Kristen Chenoweth and her cheekbones are back! For real, do you think that woman ever eats? Her face looks so drawn. “So I get the fluff piece and Mandy Post gets the real story?” she snipes at Eli. “The false story,” Eli corrects her. Why am I here, she wonders aloud. “What do you know about Mandy Post?” Eli asks. “What do I want to know about Mandy Post?” Peggy wonders. Seriously, her cheeks are so sunken, and those cheekbones are so round, especially with her hair pulled back into that super tight pony tail. Yikes. What Eli wants Peggy to know is this; Mandy has a cousin who was accused of molesting his daughter during a nasty custody battle. “O-kay,” Peggy replies, in the most fabulous “why are you bothering me with this crap” tone. Mandy’s cousin’s 9 year old testified against him, and he was convicted. “Eli, are we gossiping here, or are we working?” Ha! You have to love a journalist who knows the difference. To Eli, the point is that Mandy had an axe to grind against the man ultimately responsible for prosecuting her relative. At first, Peggy thinks this is hogwash as Peter didn’t prosecute the cousin personally, but Eli thinks there’s worth in a take down story anyway. And I suppose if you add in the fact that Mandy (or as Peggy venomously calls her, “my competitor“) used the blogger to get the story published even when key facts proved inaccurate, well, maybe there is some traction. It’s all pretty base, but you can see her chewing it over.
And that’s when Jackie wanders into headquarters. Eli rolls his eyes. “Mom, just one minute, okay?” Peter calls from the main office, where he’s standing with a phone under his ear and coffee in his hand. “I’m fine,” she says, “I’m always just – fine.” Uh oh. Peter’s on the phone calling Alicia, warning her about the story. Ah – it must be the next day, because she’s wearing a much nicer beige suit. Thank heaven! He’s warning her about Mandy’s impending story; people might call her for comment. Is it bad, she wonders. Pretty bad, he confirms. “They say you approve, that we have an open marriage.” So she went ahead and printed all that anyway, huh? I guess it’s just Alicia’s word against Indira’s. Have you heard from Maddie, Peter wonders. No, because she was going to give Alicia space. “You must be hurting for money,” Alicia sympathizes. No, not yet, Peter says; “you know these things always come around.” Except when they don’t, but okay.
Jackie starts fighting with the woman who brought her into the room. “No, I’m not going to come down!” she howls. “Just one more thing,” Peter asks his wife, “Jackie is firing another caretaker. Have you got any other references?” Ha. Alicia doesn’t, but she does have an idea. “Try a man. Just a hunch – ask the hospital if they have any men.” Well, duh! Somebody’s got Jackie’s number. Of course she’s always been more respectful of and interested in men than women. Men she can defer to. Peter agrees to try as he watches (and then heads over to intervene) Jackie physically shove the younger black caretaker out the door.
“Is everything alright?” the very twitchy Captain Hellinger asks Alicia in the courtroom hall. “I don’t know,” Alicia tells her, “but I have given up on caring.”
Ha! Love it. Love the new attitude. She is such a different person from when we started; it’s really amazing to what this pressure cooker has made of her – or what she’s made of herself through the constant pressure.
On the stand is Ryan Hood, founder and CEO of Martinell Security, a deeply complacent man perhaps in his late forties or early fifties with thick slicked back hair. Wow, the big guns are available, huh? I guess I can see what’s at stake (general immunity from prosecution) and how that might merit some of the busy man’s time. Bucky asks Hood how long he’s been contracting. “Since the beginning,” he says. We’ve been there in Iraq and Afghanistan. “How nice for you,” the liberal judge mutters under his breath. Excellent. Bucky brings up the fact that Martinell not only supplies the army but “essentially” fights alongside it. “Essentially,” Hood weasel words. He’s got this irritating habit of throwing back his head back and to the side as he thinks about his answer. The army, he says, isn’t big enough for what it’s trying to do, so they need us. “Martinell, Blackwater and now Academy fill the gaps.” In the field, Martinell employees answer to the army chain of command.
“So these lawsuits, these subpoenas, tend to complicate national interests?” Bucky offers. Definitely, answers arrogant Hood. It’s his contention that American lives will be endangered if Ricky Waters isn’t in Afghanistan teaching anti-insurgency techniques. (Not so much that he wasn’t able to go on leave, though.) The judge seems annoyed by Hood’s overstatement.
“Good morning, Mr. Hood,” Alicia begins her cross, then stops. “Or – what rank would you like to be referred to?” Come on, Bucky objects, and the judge just asks her to move on. “Mrs. Florrick, I think I get your general point.” How could you not? She wasn’t very subtle. “Mr. Hood, what is the penalty for insubordination in the military?” I don’t understand, he narrows his eyes, what insubordination? Does that matter? Well, perhaps it does. She’s specifically looking at what happens when Martinell contractors refuse to go into combat with their units, something which apparently happened in 2011. Ha. As in, having it both ways. Why weren’t those men court martialed and detained? “We weren’t ordered, we were asked,” Hood weasels. “Oh,” cries Alicia, “I’m reading from a general order, not a general ask.”
‘Well, I think order was being used generically,” Hood parses, “we considered it an ask.” Because they didn’t want to patrol the Anbar province? And then Martinell went on strike. “I wouldn’t call it a strike,” Hood squirms – but Hellinger has the email for Alicia where he did call it a strike to the high command. “Well, that was a joke between friends,” he drawls. Ha. He’s got an answer for everything, this slippery fish. “You went on strike with the military to ensure the protection of your employees?” Alicia presses. Yes. Yes he did. And if a soldier had refused a patrol because the area was unsafe, wouldn’t he be court-martialed? “That’s not a fair comparison,” Hood shakes his head. Why not? “Because… those were… exceptional circumstance,” he says.
Okay. Abernathy has seen enough. “Mrs. Florrick, I think you’ve made your point. For the current circumstances, I will grant the subpoena.” Bucky objects, but Abernathy won’t even let the words out of his mouth; Ricky Waters has to show up by 3 or be subject to arrest. Shazaam! Captain Hellinger looks elated. “We won!” she trills. “Oh, not yet,” Alicia cautions. “You don’t understand,” Hellinger gasps. “Seeing him in court, we won!”
And that’s when I knew they would lose.
“It’s still crap!” Clarke declares, outraged. Diane really wishes he’d refrain from that language. She’s at a loss over his emotional outbursts, and I’m must admit, they seem out of character. So she goes to the best source she’s got for inside information; Cary.
“I’m glad you’re in here,” she begins, waving her hand to indicate the office he shares with Alicia, “and I’m glad you survived the slaughter.” So is he, Diane, so is he. “I seem to have a few lives left, thank you.” Then she gets to the point: Clarke seems to really like you, she says, and he doesn’t like many people. “Well, I don’t seek him out,” Cary squirms. She knows, which makes it more striking. “I wonder if you knew what happened to him; he’s become angrier and more abrasive with us.” Cary squints at Clarke, who’s out at a table looking through more papers, and back then at Diane. “He’s starting to care,” he explains. “On the Bishop case, he enjoyed participating, he wants something like that, he wants something to build his life on, he seems to think Lockhart/Gardner might it.” It’s not his firm, Diane replies, aghast. “Oh, I know,” Cary assures her; he’s not agreeing, he’s just explaining. Well, would it be so bad if he wanted to join you? You could use a financial wiz keeping you on track. You know you could. Anyway, Cary will talk to him about it all.
And in return, Diane will talk to Will; Cary thinks Will still harbors ill will (as it were) against him. Why hasn’t he been assigned any criminal cases? (What, the hooker/nursing student wasn’t a criminal case?) Reasonably, Diane agree this is a waste (yes, hello!) and promises to rectify it. Diane makes way for Alicia; she and Cary both leave the conversation looking pleased.
What was that about, Alicia wonders. “Oh, partner stuff,” Cary waves her off. (Hmm.) Then he springs an unpleasant surprise. It turns out there’s a way to invalidate Streckler Automotive’s winning bid. Ah, interesting. Extra interesting that Cary didn’t go right to the client with the information, isn’t it? One of the partners there is a former government employee, and didn’t wait the requisite amount of time before bidding on a state contract; they were a week shy of the two years required because the bidding had been moved up a month. Okay, that sucks. Nick, who was a close second, would get the bid. “If we want,” Cary says carefully, giving Alicia a significant look. Indeed. Neither of you want, even with that cozy five percent profit. “If we want Nick Savarese still to be a client,” Alicia confirms, and Cary nods. “I’ll take care of it,” she nods, decisive.
So, okay. Can’t wait to see what that means. I wish someone would take care of Nick that quickly and decisively…
Hey, look, it’s the State’s Attorney’s Office! They still have the set! I was beginning to wonder. A bearded man waits in one of the leather chairs. “Mom,” Peter says, hustling a reluctant Jackie into the room, “this is Christian.” He pronounces it Christy-ahn. The hirsute fellow leaps to his feet, reaching out for Jackie’s hand with both of his. His Spanish accent is thick. She stares at him for a moment.
“You’re a man,” she observes. Um, thanks? Yes, but he’s also a licensed nurse. “Christian? What’s Christian?” she says, pronouncing it Chris-jan, “Mexican?”
Oh, Jackie, dear lord.
No, he says patiently, Cuban. With a pained look, Peter answers his cell phone, leaving the two alone. “I don’t need help,” Jackie insists. “Good,” says Christian, “then I won’t supply it. I’ll just collect my paycheck.” And wow, he makes $40 an hour, $45 on the road – that’s better than I’d have guessed for home help, although he does have that nursing degree. It’s not Cary’s 440, of course, but Jackie still thinks it’s too much. She doesn’t want the help – she wants to campaign with her son, and gives him big time puppy dog eyes in a vain attempt to change his mind. All it does it make him feel guilty. Of course he wants her help, he says. “I don’t like him,” Jackie hisses. “You haven’t given me a chance,” Christian points out.
She turns on him. “Don’t eavesdrop!” “Don’t talk so loud when you gossip,” he shrugs, unphased. I could totally kiss him for that, beard and all. Peter’s impressed. “Give him a chance, Mom,” he says, giving her arm a firm squeeze, “give him a chance.” Peter goes back to his call as the two eye each other warily.
“You okay?” Alicia whispers to Captain Hellinger. Yes, she says, but her eyes track the figure whose steps we can hear but cannot see; Ricky Waters takes the stand in his own defense. Ricky’s good looking in a particular way, young, with a skinny turned up nose; he’s played by Gossip Girl alum Brian Smith and gives off a bit of the entitlement vibe you might expect, a whiff of privilege. (Somewhat ironically, Linda Emonds – Judge Kuhn – also has a recurring role on the pampered teen drama as a headmistress; make of that one what you will.) Bucky thanks him for coming as if he had a choice. Sure, he says, but it must be some sort of misunderstanding; Laura, he calls out, I never did these things! Ah, he’s one of those. Much too nice a guy to ever have done such a thing. Don’t you address my client, Alicia snarls. “And when you do refer to her, it’s Captain Hellinger.” Alicia’s righteous anger (not exaggerated for its effect in court, as her responses sometimes are) helps a little color return to Captain Hellinger’s face; Waters replies “yes m’am” immediately and apologizes.
His version of events is this; Captain Hellinger negotiated contracts from infrastructure, and sometimes they saw each other around the base or at the MWR – the Moral Wellfare Recreational Center. On the night in question, the two had drinks at a party for new reservists (“including myself”) and they returned to their mutual offices at a hospital, where the alleged attack took place. His story from here – predictably – is that she was drunk and concocted the charges when he resisted her advances. Hellinger looks daggers at him. Her side of the story (which is to say, the truth) is that he tried to leverage his friendship with a superior (a Major Hart) to make her sleep with him to avoid a demotion. Laura Hellinger actually has to be reprimanded for commenting; I can only imagine how difficult it would be to keep silent. I never attacked her, he says, and I couldn’t have, I was sending an email at 00:10 that night, look at the times codes.
Okay, now that part’s weird to me, because he gave a different version of events with a similar timeline. We left together, I rebuffed her advances. And now he’s saying her version couldn’t have happened because what, they hadn’t spent enough time there? How much time do you need to try and force yourself on someone? That makes no sense to me. “I’ll have our investigator look into it,” Alicia whispers to Hellinger, “he may not have sent the email.”
“He sent the email,” Kalinda declares, dropping a gray folder in front of Alicia. Ah well. I still don’t get how that proves or disproves anything. Kalinda has all the emails from that hospital for that night. “They got that to you fast,” Alicia observes. “Yeah,” sighs Kalinda, who’s wearing a gorgeous forest green dress with a sharply asymmetrical neckline. “evidence that works against us they always deliver fast.”
As they walk and talk, Alicia brings up the fact that the attack was never specified to the minute and that he could have done both. “There’s something else,” Kalinda says. Um, is that good or bad? Very good. Someone sent an email from the neighboring office around the same time, which makes it very likely there was a witness to the attack. Um, okay. That actually makes me mad. If that person heard anything, shouldn’t they have intervened? Or come forward afterward, when the Army said it had insufficient evidence to prove the charge? “Let’s subpoena him,” Alicia says, sending Kalinda charging back down the hall, “and I’ll get on with…”
And that’s when she sees Maddie Hayworth standing awkwardly in her office.
Cary’s there too, but he very quickly excuses himself. Alicia circles warily. Maddie smiles and says hello; Alicia’s greeting chills. The words are friendly, but you can see that her trust is gone. I tried to see you earlier, but you were busy, Maddie explains. “It’s fine, Maddie. It really is. You’re not giving money to my husband; it’s fine.” It’s so not fine. Alicia drops her folder on her desk for emphasis. Maddie stammers a bit before straightening out her words. “I thought it only fair to warn you before I announce.” What’s that you say? I so wish they hadn’t spoiled this last week. “My candidacy. I’m running against your husband.” The scenes fades to commercial with a close up on Alicia’s disbelieving, disappointed face.
“Alicia,” Maddie continues, “I know this will probably affect our friendship, but I really believe this campaign needs a woman.” Alicia’s shoulders rise and fall as she tries to control her outrage through her breath. “I thought your husband could represent our interests, but after this week, after this last story, I know you say it’s a lie…”
And that is why Alicia and Maddie are not friends and have never truly been.
“…but women always…” Alicia cuts her off. And thank God. “Maddie,” she says coolly, “you don’t need to explain anything.” That’s right, because you’re less than nothing to her, do you get that? Is Maddie being disingenuous, do you think? Why is she even bothering to apologize? Does she somehow think she and Alicia could stay friendly through this? If she can say to Alicia’s face that she believes Alicia has an open marriage (to the point of chatting with Peter’s women mid-dalliance) ? Unbelievable. Alicia keeps cutting her off. “Okay,” she sits, “maybe we could still talk?” Whenever you want, Alicia replies in a tone that means “when hell freezes over.” You can see that Alicia just wants Maddie gone, that there’s no more good will. “I’m sorry,” Maddie claims, “the issues are too important to delay.” And they weren’t before? But of course Alicia sees that there’s good political timing here. “It’s not personal,” Maddie pouts. “Just business,” Alicia agrees, queenly and cold.
The very second Maddie’s out of sight, Alicia speeds out of her office and down to campaign headquarters. Eli’s thrilled to see her – this must be a rare occurrence, her showing up unexpected – but not with the news she brings. She has to repeat it for him: Maddie Hayward is running against Peter for governor. “She doesn’t feel he represents female issues.” She’s timing it to the affair scandal, Eli realizes. Well, duh. And she’s going to pull from his female support. And she has her own money. “And one last thing,” Alicia admits, and you see her strength in her anger here – her anger at herself and her quickness in admitting it. “She befriended me and we – talked.” You…? Eli hushes. “Yes,” she nods, “I shared some things she could possibly use.” Eli’s mind immediately goes to Will, but that’s not it – it’s how she felt about Peter, about being in the public eye, about where he’s weak on women’s issues. Oops. Eli wants to debrief her, as if she was returning from a spy mission.
“And Mike Kresteva needs to keep his hands off senior’s medical benefits,” Jackie tells a fellow with a laptop, distracting Eli and getting into a fight with Christian about the location of her glasses and her ability to read without them. It’s very cute, old couple style bickering. “Don’t even ask,” Eli rolls his eyes at Alicia. I love that they’re so chummy these days. I’ll deal with this after court, Alicia tells Eli, watching Christian point two fingers at his eyes and then at Jackie’s. The problem’s in Eli’s lap now. You can tell that actually makes her feel better.
Alicia and Laura run after Judge Kuhn, explaining that the witness they need – one Sergeant Wade Compton – is still in Afghanistan. “We think this sergeant heard everything,” Hellinger says, but command is resisting bringing him back. I know that, Kuhn replies, but I don’t know what you think I can do. Request he be sent back to testify, Hellinger pleads. “Captain, you know why I can’t do that. That exceeds my authority,” Kuhn answers, looking upset. Hellinger may be chastened, but Alicia isn’t. “Maybe you could make an extra effort given your previous sympathy for Captain Hellinger’s situation?” It’s beyond my ability, Kuhn reiterates, and Hellinger leaves. Alicia does not.
Is there something else, Mrs. Florrick, Kuhn questions sternly. Alicia looks livid. “You know what’s going on here. The Army doesn’t want her to win. They’re siding with Martinell because they don’t want their contractor undercut.” Damn. Yes, Kuhn agrees. That’s her understanding. “She’s being pressured to quit, did you know that?” Now that hits home. “I didn’t know that. But I understand,” she says. Woah. So why won’t you help?
“Mrs. Florrick. Stop playing with my emotions. I know what you’re saying. And if it were in my ability to help, I would.” Alicia does not look satisfied at all.
“He’s reading the Steve Jobs biography,” Cary smiles at Diane from her doorway, hands in his pockets. What? That’s why Clarke’s so testy – he’s emulating the famously difficult genius. I’ve seen managers at the State’s Attorney’s office do the same thing, Cary shrugs. It wears off. He’ll talk to Clarke. Hah. Alicia might be hand holder in chief, liaison to Eli; Cary’s now the chief trustee wrangler. Oh! Diane has two criminal cases for Cary, so it’s a happy conversation all around.
Alicia blows out a deep breath and sticks her whole face in a glass of red wine; you can see her relax as the fumes hit her nose. Peace! Finally! Even in a crowded bar. She tilts her head awkwardly. “Thanks for doing this,” she says – to Kalinda! Yes!
And this is the time on Relatively Entertaining when we dance! Excuse me for a moment.
Ahem. Alrighty. “For having a drink?” Kalinda asks, “sure.” Oh, love. It’s so much more than that. Well, first off, Alicia has news. ‘There’s a chance the winning bid could be invalidated.” No pulling punches here, huh? “My husband’s bid?” Kalinda clarifies. Alicia explains. “So – he’ll win the bid?” Kalinda ponders. Only if we tell him, Alicia replies – and they don’t have to tell him because he asked them to investigate possible payoffs, not inappropriate connections. Kalinda smiles at the distinction; Alicia’s such a lawyer. What she also is is a really good friend. “Do you love him,” she asks; when Kalinda answers no, it’s hard to believe her. “Then?” Alicia prompts. “I… I have difficulty being away from him,” Kalinda confesses.
Alicia considers this. “Is he dangerous?” she asks again. This time, Kalinda doesn’t deny it. “Sometimes,” she agrees. Sometimes? Well, I guess even that admission improves on her previous assessment. “Shouldn’t you stay away, then?” Alicia asks reasonably. Kalinda shrugs. She knows she should; she just can’t follow through, that’s the problem. Just then, Alicia gets an odd – is it a call, or text? – from Judge Kuhn.
So, remember that panel she’s chairing on mainstreaming gender in the military? Well, they decided to reconvene to interview a witness. A Sergeant Wade Compton. And the panel has only one question for him, asked with their thanks for coming all the way from Afghanistan to answer it: what do you think of the mainstreaming of gender in the military?
Uh, it’s good?, the slender big eared fellow answers. Alicia and Laura suppress smiles. And he’s dismissed, again with thanks. Alicia (resplendent in a black suit) flashes a big smile at the judge, who nods judiciously at her.
As he leaves the courtroom, Captain Hellinger moves in. “Sergeant Compton, do you have a moment?” “I seem to have a lot of moments,” he sighs. Hee. “What do you need?”
We find out in court that Sergeant Compton serves as the liaison between the Army and the private contractors during training at Camp Dwyer. His office can be found at the 35th Combat Hospital, on the first floor, which is as promised just where both Captain Hellinger and Mr. Waters had their offices. Did that put you in a position to hear anything on the night in question? Bucky objects, saying that would be hearsay. Surely hearsay is different from eavesdropping? (I always think of hearsay as something someone else told you they saw, not something you personally observed.) Ironically, this is not why the exception is overruled: Alicia points out that any negative comments Compton makes against his Waters (who is technically his boss) would be “admissions against interest” and so not considered hearsay. That seems a bit backwards, no?
He heard an argument. About what? “Well, Mr. Waters, he wanted to have sex with Captain Hellinger.” She resisted, physically. “I heard them struggle. I think he ripped his clothes. She kicked him. And then he called her a bitch.” Bucky turns in his seat to glare disdainfully at Waters, sitting in the gallery. It’s such a great contrast; Bucky’s face looks as if it were carved roughly from a rock, but there’s so much character and intelligence in it. “A nasty bitch, I think is what he said.” Waters bites his lip. “And then she ran out of there.” And why didn’t you come forward until now? “Well, it’s like you said. Mr. Waters is kind of like, my boss, and he’s close with my CO, so…” You feared for your job, Alicia suggests. Yes. He did.
Of course, what I want to know is not so much why he didn’t come forward after it is why he didn’t step forward to stop the attack in the first place. I can’t decide if that’s a compliment to Captain Hellinger’s competence as a fighter, or a complete and shameful act of cowardice. He certainly looks ashamed, returning the clear, implacable gaze of Captain Laura Hellinger.
Bucky does a rather theatrical rereading of his notes. Seems like you remember this very well, he begins – so do you remember what time it was? He does. He’d emailed his girlfriend around midnight, because of the time difference, so he was waiting for an email back when he heard the fight. It took place at roughly 00:15 – which is 12:15 to the rest of us. “What’s he after,” Hellinger asks Alicia, and he’s quick to show them. I almost feel like she shouldn’t have had to ask the question, since they were careful to say the party at the MWR was for new reservists; Waters, a reservist, was called to active duty starting at midnight that night. Therefor his actions were the problem of the military and not Martinell’s.
“Objection, Your Honor!” Alicia stands. “What could you possibly object to, Mrs. Florrick? You proved your point,” Bucky waves his hand. “Mr. Waters attacked your client.” Waters objects vociferously from the gallery. As the saying goes about horse shoes and hand grenades, it doesn’t matter if it was a mere 15 minutes after midnight – he’s protected by Ferris because he was officially working for the Army. You know what I mean about the horse shoes – he’s either Army or not. There’s no such thing as close. Okay, but if he was a reservist, he could then be subject to a military court, right? Because he’s actually military and no longer a contractor. And since no charge was initially brought, it wouldn’t be double jeopardy, right? I’m just saying. Furious to see victory slip through her grasp, Alicia appeals to Judge Abernathy, but there’s nothing he can do.
“I wasn’t watching the clock,” Hellinger tells Diane and Alicia, “I was trying to get out of there without being raped.” Of course, Diane agrees. “That’s not the issue. The issue is the length of the assault.” That’s Diane and Alicia’s strategy; look to the length of the assault. They can make the case that from the drinks at the MWR to the attempted rape, it was a single attack. “I can’t lie,” Hellinger squints at them, puzzled. I love how Army people on TGW are so pure and otherworldly – the ones who aren’t evil, that is. “It’s not about lying, it’s about more fully remembering a past event,” Diane coaches. You can see Hellinger being repulsed.
“I know – it sounds like a rationalization, but it’s not,” Alicia explains, reading Hellinger’s face. “You were hit on in the bar. You pushed him off. You maybe even laughed – not because it was funny, but because it’s the easiest way to make him go away.” Right. But he didn’t go away, and she wasn’t alarmed until he followed her into her office. Is her fear the issue? You can certainly argue that his intent to sleep with her despite her lack of stated interest started at the bar. Anyway, I can see why Alicia sees this as a real point of debate.
Legally, his intent doesn’t matter, Hellinger explains. It only matters if I experienced it as one attack. How fascinating. Why is it, I wonder, that it’s about her perception and not his intention? I can’t decide if which is a more reasonable standard. “You need to stop thinking as a lawyer,” Diane tells her client. “We’re your lawyers. You need to experience it as a woman.” You can tell from the look on her face that this is the last thing Hellinger wants, that thinking like a lawyer might be the only thing keeping her head above water.
“So when Mr. Waters first propositioned you, it was at the bar at the MWR,” Alicia asks the Captain. Yes, she says from the stand. “What did you do?” I said no, Hellinger says. There it is, at it’s most simple. I said no. What did he do? He persisted. “It’s like he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He was drinking, he got angry…” In the gallery, Water shakes his head. I left the MWR because his behavior was scaring me, she goes further – which surprises me a little. There’s got to be so much bravado involved in being a woman in the Army, even in the JAG corps; you’d think this kind of admission would go against the grain. (And of course goes against what she just told us.)
Anyway. The aggressive persistence at the bar took place around 11:30. Alicia finishes, looking at Bucky as if she’s scored the winning point.
But of course she hasn’t. He summarizes the strategy; it’s a sustained attack, it began before midnight, so Martinell Security is in fact liable. Okay then. So why did you send this text to your friend Lt. Parisi? “Leaving MWR now. CK was blitzed. LMAO. So happy I’m off tomorrow. Off to catch some Zs. Night, girl.” The message is timestamped 11:52pm. It was sent on her way back to her office. CK? No one explains this. “It doesn’t sound like you were in fear for your safety, walking back to your office – does it?” Bucky demands. Alicia rubs her brow with her fingers, knowing they’re done for.
“Damn you!” Mandy Post grits her teeth and yells at Eli, sticking her neck out as if she wishes she could bite him. “Get in line,” he half laughs, surrounded by his staff at the campaign headquarters. “I got fired,” she informs him, outraged. Well, that is a surprise, though I really don’t know why she’s coming to him for sympathy, other than our need to find out this information and see Eli gloat. Why, he asks, eyebrows up. “I don’t know, they thought it was unprofessional that I was pursuing a personal agenda.” I can’t believe they took Peggy’s story that seriously! That’s kind of amazing. “You sicced Peggy Burn on me like an attack dog, and now I am out.” Oh well. You set out to ruin a man’s career and you got yours ruined instead. I don’t think she really had a personal agenda other than that desire to break a scandalous story, but I don’t feel sorry for her.
“Well, look at it this way,” Eli smirks. ‘The good news of a 24 minute news cycle is that they’ll all be on to something else soon.” Ha.
Somehow, she is not mollified. Oh, girl. What kind of validation did you think you were going to get from him? She walks off, confused and defeated. “If it’s any consolation, I do feel a tiny bit bad about it,” he says once she’s out of earshot. Hee.
And, woah. Jackie – dressed in a long, beautifully draped grey cardigan and even more beautifully draped pink scarf, sits on one of her son’s leather couches, giggling, while Christian whispers in her ear. Woah. There’s no denying Peter’s a little freaked out. “Oh you kidder,” she flaps a hand at her caretaker, the other pressed to her lips. “No, it’s true – I’ll teach you the mambo, it’s so easy.” I’m reminded very strongly of Jackie getting drunk with Owen’s boyfriend. Never thought you’d see the day when she didn’t find you the most interesting man in the room, did you, Peter? She’s a bit like an infatuated school girl. Come on, let’s get the car, she says, and Christian heads out. She turns to Peter, absolutely glowing. “You were right. I just had to give him a chance.” Oh, that’s me, always right. “Sometimes a mother has to listen to her son,” she finishes, beaming. “Thank you.” I’m not sure Peter wanted to be that right.
She greets Eli on the way out, who’s temporarily puzzled by her cheer as well. She’s happy, Eli observes, and that is weird. “She is,” Peter muses, nodding.
Judge Kuhn walks into court just in time to have Judge Abernathy ask everyone to sit. “I have given this a great deal of thought,” he begins. “And I want you to know, Captain Hellinger…” oh, you know that’s bad news. Not that we didn’t know it already. “…that I am truly sympathetic to your plight.” Bucky’s face is hilarious. “To be denied justice in military court was tragic.” Uh oh, Hellinger says, ducking her head. “To be denied justice again in civilian court is just cruel.” Alicia reaches across the table to clutch Laura’s hand. “But I’m afraid the Supreme Court has spoken very clearly in Ferris, as much as I may personally disagree,” Judge Kuhn looks pained. Well, stoic as always, but sad beneath it – or am I just projecting? Alicia shakes her head, appalled.
“Mr. Waters was an Army reservist at the time of the attack, and therefor is immune from liability. As such I must dismiss the case.” Waters throws back his head, biting his bottom lip in relief this time; Hellinger bravely nods her understanding of his reasoning. Waters extends his hand to the company lawyer. “Thank you,” he says, “thank you Bucky.” One of Bucky’s assistants rolls her eyes at her boss, and he puts his hand on her shoulder and follows her out, ignoring Waters utterly.
And I guess that wasn’t enough for him, because he crosses the aisle. “No hard feelings,” he says to Captain Hellinger’s back; she whips around like that girl from The Exorcist, pale in fury. “Step back!” Fierce Judge Kuhn places herself between them before Hellinger’s even out of her chair. Waters looks the tiny woman up and down before saying politely “Yes, Colonel.” The two women stare at each other. Are there tears in the judge’s eyes? She’s done so much to give Hellinger this day in court, and the day is lost. There’s a tightness around her mouth – such a tiny mark of her feelings – and she can’t speak on the first try. “Captain,” she says, her voice thick with emotion. “Colonel,” Captain Hellinger nods, almost giving way to a smile – but the kind of smile that happens before you cry, not when you actually find something funny. Judge Colonel Kuhn leaves. Stiffly, Hellinger sits.
“We’ll appeal,” Alicia immediately comforts her client. “No,” says the Captain, “no appeal. I’m done.” She stuffs her papers into her briefcase. I’m so sorry, Alicia leans in, her voice tremulous and low. “Hey,” cautions Hellinger, trying to cheer Alicia, “we got him into court. That’s more than I thought we’d do.” Alicia nods, unsatisfied, as Laura finishes packing her bag. A beautiful, tender piano begins to play as Alicia begins to sort her own neatly placed possession. Suddenly Hellinger lifts her head. “What do you do? When it’s all over?”
And there it is. She’s committed herself to righting this wrong, and she’s failed. She won’t get justice. How does she just give that up? What do you do when you’ve hit the impassable wall? Alicia smiles. “You start up again,” she says. Hellinger searches her face for the answer. That’s right; you two could talk. Alicia’s wrongs will never be righted; she has to transcend them instead, and she’s learned how to do it. Let her show you how. You could be friends.
And because it’s such a perfect segue, we leap to Peter in an office, where he’s making campaign calls. “Done! Any more money calls, Eli?” he hollers. No, just Maddie Hayward skulking in the shadows. “There are always more money calls,” Eli snarks from an outer office, oblivious to her presence. Peter, however, has come alive like a shark. He hasn’t moved, but everything about him tenses, predatory.
“Maddie Hayward,” he drawls, rather like a scene out of a James Bond movie (though I can figure out if he’s supposed to be the villain or the hero, leaning back in his chair like that). “The competition.” Well I couldn’t just let you run away with it like that, she says lightly, crossing her arms and leaning against the door frame. “Your inner feminist demanded satisfaction?” he sneers, and it gets under her skin a touch; something like that, she replies. “Well, first of all, Maddie,” and his voice thickens with contempt, “I’m going to beat you. Then I’m going to beat the Republican, Kresteva.” I don’t think so, she counters; I have money, people like candidates willing to spend their own money (really? I don’t think that’s always true – often it looks like some dilettante just trying to buy the seat) and even if he manages to beat her, he’ll be too wounded to take out Kresteva. She has another plan. Eli listens, breathless, in another room. “You drop out and run as my lieutenant governor.”
What, she says – it’s a good position and you’d be good at it. Is that even a real job? Something more than the ceremonial? He lifts the corner of his mouth; she should know better. “You used my wife,” he says, giving her the chance to explain; instead she looks at her feet. “You befriended her, and used her.” I didn’t use her, Maddie replies, too late. “I befriended her. I didn’t know I was going to do this.” Ah, your motivations are such a mystery, even to yourself? Peter just stares her down. “You know, I can trust a cynic, and I can trust a con man,” he tells her, “but I can’t trust a hypocrite.” She squirms a little under his righteous wrath. “Because the hypocrite doesn’t know when she’s lying, and that’s the most dangerous of them all.” So that’s a no, she snaps. “That’s more than a no,” he answers, “that’s a never.”
Okay, she says, a tone you use when you’ve taken your hands off something after being yelled at, see ya out there. As she slinks back into the shadows, Eli takes her place leaning against the doorway. “Well?” he says, apprehensive. Peter sits in a pool of light in the darkened office, radiating energy and focus. “Let’s get started,” he growls.
Peter really is at his best running down a challenge, isn’t he? He comes alive in this totally different way. The words that suggest themselves to me invariably have to do with hunting: he’s a shark, a big cat, a predator. He has this tense stillness which burns with energy. Great job.
Really, I think everyone was on their game here. There’s a fabulous interview with Josh Charles where he describes working with Linda Emond, helping her craft that deeply emotional moment in the courtroom, which was just the most heartbreaking, lovely thing. Such a good case! I’m not a particular fan of Amanda Peet, but I thought her stripped back work here was excellent. I want to spin out this fantasy scenario where she’s able to get a case brought against Waters now that they know about Sergeant Compton; I know they won’t, but it’s not like Colonel Kuhn to stop fighting for the truth. I found the entire case particularly emotional and affecting. These Army episodes always have the air of an anthropology class, though, don’t you think? It’s an utterly foreign system and we don’t know the rules. This time, I think they used that disconnect well.
Speaking of using, Kristen Chenoweth had a viciously lovely little scene; I like how the writers used her failed, post injury arc to finish off Mandy. Very clever. Diane, Cary, Kalinda and Clarke were all used sparingly but to excellent effect. I was even okay with the tiny bit of Nick the Dick, especially since Kalinda has the chance to kick him to the curb now. (Not that she will.) And Brian Dennehy! No, it was super smart acting and writing all around.
Speaking of Mandy, we’re assuming the story has been killed once again, right? But I’m sure not forgotten. By the way, you could argue perhaps that Maddie didn’t set out to use Alicia – even though she went out of her way to befriend a friendless woman and will use the information she got from her – but I’ll never forgive her for saying that women with cheating husbands always say they’re lying. If she knew anything about Alicia, she’d know better. Alicia does hold Peter accountable, and she can distinguish truth from lies, even if she doesn’t do with that truth what most people would expect. That was like a knife, that comment. Really upsetting. It’s intriguing that Peter’s greatest political opponents have all been women, isn’t it? I love that. Not that Childs isn’t a great character, but he was never as smart or challenging as Wendy. And Kresteva’s flat out evil; Maddie’s something richer, figuratively as well as literally. It’s interesting, too, the theme running through the episode of truth, of lying in court and lying to yourself. Maddie, Waters, Mandy – even Laura Hellinger debating what version of the truth to put out. Really meaty and interesting.
All in all this episode really impresses me with just the right proportions of diverse characters, of personal, political and office storylines. And now that we know Nick will receive the heave-ho even sooner than expected, I’m hopeful that this season can bring us some really excellent things. What do you think – am I right? Alicia and Kalinda drinking together has to be a good omen, right? Will we see a return to season one level greatness?