E: They’re back! And when I say “they,” I don’t just mean Alicia, Will and Diane, oh no. Clark Hayden! Martha Reed! Louis Canning! Simone Canning! Frank Landau! Wendy Scott Carr! I guess I haven’t been watching a lot on CBS lately and missed all the ads for this episode, because their appearances came as a pleasant surprise.
Now, on the other hand, the title? Some weeks, we spend ages discussing the ramifications and nuances of the title. There are layers that resonate through the entire series. Any fan can tell you what it is to be a Martha or a Caitlin, for example. This week’s title, however? Not so much.
Oh. And. That ending? Kill me now, please.
It begins with a deposition. It begins with a view of soulless subdivisions, the same house iterated over and over again. It begins with photos of slimy, abandoned swimming pools in foreclosed properties, uncovered, clotted with leaves, rimmed with rust, thick with algae. And, though it takes a moment or two to tease out the information, it begins with a lawsuit against the Atlantic Commerce Bank involving decrepit swimming pools on five foreclosed properties. Cary and Will bicker over the pools with a bank executive and – looky here! – Martha Reed, Alicia’s would-be hire. Where Martha is, can boss Louis Canning be far behind? As he excuses himself from the meeting, Will makes a show of attention to sweet young girl named Kaley, who sits in the deposition with her mother. Is she all right? Yes, sir, she is. Kaley has the long, pale face and flowing tresses of a Victorian waif destined for the poor house or miserable death from tuberculosis.
Diane – her hair is a touch shorter, isn’t it? right? nice – waits for Will with a letter. Crisis du jour? They’re being drawn into mediation by one of their creditors. Who knew that could happen? They have five weeks left to get the rest of the sixty million, but someone’s upset about how they’re getting there. As the trustee trudges down the hallway, reeking with resentment, Will asks Diane to check with him. If they’re “on the carpet” for this mediation, he will be too. Even though Will hasn’t been pleased with the negotiations thus far (it’s like pulling teeth, he says), Diane’s hopeful that a 15 million dollar settlement against the bank will help their bottom line. 13, he sighs. “It would be nice to keep that settlement above ten,” she notes quietly, nicely avoiding any overt guilt. “I’m doing my best,” he shrugs, clearly stressed.
Does five weeks mean five episodes? Because I am so ready for this bankruptcy story to be over. I can’t see the show taking the extreme step of breaking up the firm, and while I’m interested in how they’re going to wiggle out of this preposterously deep hole, I’m also deeply fatigued by it. Learn how to manage your money and move on to something new. Please.
Back in the conference room, Cary continues his attempt to extract Martha’s teeth. Metaphorically. Jeesh, talk about exhausting. The point of all this bickering is that the bank was clearly a terrible custodian of these foreclosed homes; they left the pools open, which not only is a huge safety hazard, but left them a stagnant breeding ground for mosquitoes which then infected Kaley with West Nile virus. Nasty. Martha doesn’t think this is a reasonable case, but anyone with a pool can tell you that without proper maintenance, the mosquitoes do move in. (And weirdly, the one time I was almost empaneled on a jury was for a civil case involving a burglary on property which had been impounded, so this all feels plausible to me.) There’s no way we could have known that would happen, Martha protests. Uh, no. That West Nile mosquitoes in particular would nest there, maybe, but that the untended pools are a health hazard and would certainly spawn disease bearing mosquitoes? Absolutely.
Will waves a report at her from the CDC saying that those five pools were the source of the West Nile in that area. “We were not aware of that,” the bank exec waves. Oh, are you speaking for the whole bank, Will wonders. No. Unsurprisingly, Will’s real target is the CEO, who’s been refusing to testify. Ah, is that why Martha’s here and not Louis? Please add to the list of things this sacrificial lamb/underling executive doesn’t know is that the neighbors (including Kaley’s mom Mrs. Spence) sent a formal letter of complaint to the bank about the neglected pools. Of course he didn’t. “As you can see, it wasn’t addressed to me,” the completely useless fellow adds. Nope; it was addressed to CEO Wilkes Ingersol, and as happy chance would have it, he’s up to be deposed next.
White birch trees offer golden leaves up to a glorious blue sky. A quirky version of “Boom De Ya Da” (um, okay) plays in the background, praising the rolling hills and offering up love for everything. Slim, wrapped in a perfectly tailored black trench, Alicia stands in a valley next to an absolutely majestic wilderness lodge with a stone base and imposing black timbers. Sign me up for that work trip, please! It’s all up to you now, Will explains over the phone. “They sent it up the line to the bank president.” So no pressure, huh? The whole case and so the whole future of the firm? Ah, it’s all in a day’s work for our girl.
“I’m supposed to depose him in ten minutes,” Alicia tells Will. “How’s Minnesota?” Cary asks, listening in on speakerphone. Alicia thinks about it. “Quiet,” she replies, considering, standing in front of a white bed with a red plaid blanket in an enormous hotel room; she wears an exquisitely fitted orange-red blazer with large black buttons over a black skirt. “Ask the president if he ever saw a letter from the homeowners. If he lies, we got him.” Okay, Will, thanks for giving us this objective. Cary calls out instructions about notes and quarterly records, and Will reminds Alicia – again – that the fate of life the universe and everything is in her hands. Why isn’t he the one there, then? Other than the fact that he needs to be at home for this mediation that he knew nothing about, and that Alicia’s the main character of the show?
Wow, the foliage really is stunning. Look at those colors! Alicia’s black trench coat is the perfect foil for all those vivid leaves as she walks toward what is presumably a cabin outside the main lodge. At the very least we’re a week or two past Thanksgiving now, right? I wonder how long the fall lasts in Minnesota?
“Wow,” she snarks. “Look who’s here. Everywhere I turn…” Louis Canning pretends surprise, but we all know who it was going to be. “How’s bankruptcy,” he snipes jovially. “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” Alicia quotes. Well then you’re going to be really strong, he replies, and she laughs her throaty, Diane-like laugh. These two truly have the oddest relationship.
The two sit down with their paperwork in the posh, cozy cabin, waiting for the (bank) president. For the audience at home, Louis explains that they’ve agreed that the very busy man will spare three hours for this deposition. After that, he’ll have to go back to pressing work matters. “On vacation?” Alicia snarks. It’s a working vacation, Canning counters. “Working?” Alicia deadpans. “Chopping wood? Milking cows?” Hee. It’s hard work, Louis agrees, deadpan. Aw.
Anyway, three hours is fine with her, as long as it’s a true three, and Canning has the judge on call so she can rule on all objections in real time. He’s down with that. When he stands to make a call on the cabin’s land line, we see a court stenographer typing neatly in the background. How’s your cell phone reception, Louis asks Alicia, who dryly opines that hers in fine as long as she stands on her bed with her arms over her head. You know, as much as Cannings’ gleeful amorality frustrates Alicia, there aren’t that many people she relaxes enough around to make jokes.
Having informed Ingersol that they’re ready to begin, Cannings quibbles with Alicia over the exact timing of the three hours. Should it start when the witness walks in, or when he sits? Sigh. Lawyers. We see several dark SUVs pull up to the lodge.
“Wilkes Ingersol,” a thin, almost desiccated grey haired man in wilderness vacation clothes announces for the record. “I’m the president of the Atlantic Commerce Bank and a trustee of the Mercantile Exchange.” He’s played by James Rebhorn, whom you know from shows like Homeland, White Collar, Law & Order, Third Watch, The Practice, and even Juliana Margulies short lived legal drama Canterbury’s Law, as well as movies like Baby Momma and Far From Heaven. You’re a hard man to find, Alicia smiles. “Really?” Ingersol chuckles. “That’s not what my accountant says.” The three flunkies arranged around the room laugh like the sycophants they are. It’s like we’re on the deck of the Enterprise at the end of a Star Trek episode, the laughter is so canned. “We’ve been trying to depose you for fourteen months now,” Alicia can’t help but add. Why’re you wasting the CEO’s time with guilt trips, Louis wonders, but the great man waves him off and apologizes, sounding sincere. “I don’t mean to seem flippant,” he explains. “Thank you for arranging this deposition near my ranch. I hope you weren’t inconvenienced?” I’m fine, Alicia smiles like a shark. Ouch.
Before Alicia can turn to the foreclosed homes, Wilkes wants to make a little statement. “I understand that there are a lot of homeowners that are underwater. I understand that many home buyers were enticed into taking adjustable mortgages that eventually bankrupted them. But what I often think is that banks are made the bad guys in these equations, and that is unwarranted.” Oh. I see. So who was it that did the enticing in your view? Real estate agents, perhaps? Alicia tries to cut him off, unmoved by his self-justifying speech, but he keeps rolling. “But what I wholly condemn are any attempts to advance political causes through legal means.” Canning flashes his eyebrows at Alicia. Oh, seriously, they’re not going to go after Peter here, too? He’s talking about communities using eminent domain to deal with foreclosures, however, or Alicia’s firm “using the painful circumstance of this young child with West Nile virus to force us to change our methods on foreclosures.” Sounds good to me!
“I think you’ve been misinformed, Mr. Ingersoll,” Alicia interrupts. Kaley Spence isn’t suing him for 15 million dollars (“13” Canning interjects) because he foreclosed on her house. She apparently had a “promising career as a ballet dancer” and is not confined to a wheelchair. Oh, wow. That’s lousy. She really is the tragic Victorian waif. (Not that the Victorians let their little girls dream about ballet careers, but still.) “We don’t need the photos,” Canning groans, which is excellent coming from a man who trades ruthlessly on his own disability. “I think we do,” Alicia smiles sweetly. “Please leave them,” Ingersol asks. Huh. “She’s a lovely girl. I have a fifteen year old daughter myself.”
That’s when Alicia trots out Will’s favorite bit of evidence, the letter from the neighbors. Canning’s eyes bulge. “We have no foundation for the letter!” he protests. What kind of foundation do they need? Alicia points out that foundations are unnecessary in depositions. As Canning blathers about being sandbagged, a gray suited flunky whispers in Ingersol’s ear.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Florrick, we’re going to have to leave it there.” Alicia fumes and flutters, but he’s just received “an emergency text” and he needs to address it. You’ve only been here for three minutes! I only asked one question! “Two,” Canning interrupts. (Er, one, and it wasn’t even answered.) No, Alicia snaps. “The judge was explicit in her ruling. We made the effort to be near your ranch, you must sit down with us for at least three hours.” And I will, Ingersol repeats. “But again, this is an emergency. I’ll be back this afternoon at two o’clock. Please be patient, you will get your time, I promise you.” Foiled! Foiled! Over Alicia’s protests, Ingersol gathers up his things and flees. Canning stands to watch him go. “Well, that is unfortunate,” he observes.
No, no, I think you’re doing a swell job, Frank Landau tells Eli as they walk into the latter’s office. Hmm. Have you had work done, Frank, or lost a great deal of weight? Or just shaved your head? He looks really different, right? “We expected a bump in Maddie’s polling, she’s the fresh new thing,” Eli twitches. Yeah, we expected that too, Frank tosses off, unconcerned. “We’re still beating her 47 to 42.5, that’s outside the margin of error!” Frank knows. Huh. Interesting. Good for Peter that he’s holding off the challenge that well.
So if Frank isn’t worried, then why is he at Peter’s campaign office, bugging his campaign manager? We have a lot invested in Peter, Frank explains, and we want him to win. And you’re worried he won’t, Eli raises his eyebrows. I’m worried the sun won’t rise tomorrow, Frank snarks. “It’s a visit, that’s all.” Great, Eli replies, arms crossed defensively. Why don’t you come again soon?
“I heard something,” Frank cuts to the chase. I’m with Eli; this pussy-footing would be very annoying. Why waste your time saying you’re not stopping by for anything particular? Maybe he just likes to torture Eli – that, I could see. “Something that worried me. I heard your offices were raided.” Eli tries to reassure him that this is nothing, but of course no one believes that. “A raid is something – no raid is nothing,” Frank explains. Ah, Frank, you’re so funny! He’s wearing a very serious flag pin and stands in front of a Florrick for governor poster and even though the way he broached the topic is ridiculous, he’s got a reasonable concern. “It’s not about the candidate, it’s about you,” Frank declares, his chin up, defiant.
Eli closes his office door.
“There are forces within the Justice Department that do not want Peter to win the governorship,” Eli confesses. That is not a casual admission, or a small problem. “Now they don’t have the facts to come after him, so they’re coming after me as a stepping stone to him.” So they have the facts to come after you, Frank asks, implacable. Of course not – but they seem to think that if they lean on Eli enough, he’ll pop under the pressure. And he does look very worried, not least about what Frank’s going to propose.
Well, says Frank, we’re still behind you – but we think you need a “strong second” in case we have to take you off Peter’s campaign. Wait, Peter has no say in the matter? And that’s just excellent, because we know how well Eli plays with others. Especially when that person isn’t willing to kowtow and generally act like a subordinate, and what’s the chance that this “strong second” will? Frank, however, will not be moved. “I know you don’t like it, Eli,” he smiles smugly, “but you need a second.” You can see from Eli’s face as he swallows that the notion doesn’t taste very nice going down.
More of the tinkly camp song tells that we’re back in gorgeous autumnal Minnesota. It’s ten past two, and Alicia’s still waiting impatiently, tapping her pencil against her hand. Louis Canning is shocked – shocked! – that Ingersol hasn’t arrived yet. If you tell me one more time how busy he is, Alicia warns, I’m going to strangle you. The court reporter types away discretely; is she taking this down? The phone rings, and Alicia smiles ruefully as Canning tells his client that it’s alright. It’s an emergency, Canning begins. “Let’s call the judge!” Alicia grumbles, standing to put on her coat. Quickly, Canning explains that Ingersol has set aside 3 hours the following morning starting at 10 (even though there aren’t actually 3 hours after ten in the morning, but that’s fine, Canning’s bsing too fast to be perfectly correct) , has enjoyed meeting Alicia and won’t hold the ten minutes they met today (!) against the tomorrow’s time.
Not bothering to complain that Canning’s speech was far longer than the phone call, Alicia just wants the record to reflect that Mr. Ingersol refused to attend the court mandated deposition. “He didn’t refuse to attend,” Canning holds his hands up, serious. In an attempt to distract her, Canning tosses over a revised report from the CDC which admits the possibility of another cause for the West Nile outbreak. Some fun reading for her enforced overnight stay.
“A koi pond?” Will cries in disbelief. Yes, and this was from a non-foreclosed house, too. The report doesn’t claim the infected mosquitoes came from the koi pond, merely that they might have. “The bank gets its wiggle room,” Diane sighs over the speaker phone. Yep, Will agrees. We’ll take care of this part, Diane assures her; we just need you to get the bank president on record about the neighbors’ letter. The meeting’s set for 10, Alicia informs them, “but I think I’m getting the run around.” Will agrees; he thinks that Canning will wait for Alicia to go to breakfast, then claim they were ready to meet and Alicia was unavailable. Yep, sounds like Canning all right.
“Unfortunately, you’ll have to outwait them,” Diane agrees. “Stay close to your room so they can’t say you were out.” That’s when Alicia realizes she might have to stay for more than tomorrow. “We’ll get clothes and incidentals to you,” Diane promises – so thoughtful! – before noticing Clarke sprinting down the hall and rushing after him.
“Mr. Hayden! Hello. I’ve been trying to get you all day,” Diane explains, her voice low and pleasant. Clarke keeps up his speedy pace and doesn’t really meet her eyes. He’s been in meetings all day, he shrugs. (Doing what, I wonder? Now that he’s restructured them and isn’t conniving with a buyer, what’s he doing? Just checking on their progress?) “Do you have a minute?” she wonders. “No, I don’t,” he snaps, quite rudely. Wow. Thankfully Diane’s feelings aren’t so tender that she’s offended, and she follows him to the elevator bank. Was he notified about the mediation? He grimaces; no. But he’d have to be, she muses. “Mr. Hayden, is there something I should know?” she asks. As the elevator dings, he finally looks her in the face. “I requested the mediation,” he explains, stepping past her.
But why, Diane asks in confusion. Clarke sighs. He wants Will and Diane removed, because it’s become clear to him that he can’t sell the firm out from under them while they’re in control. Well, duh. Diane splutters. “Mr. Hayden, this is – we’ve been nothing but cordial.” This is not about cordial, he replies. You sabotaged the buyout I’d arranged.
“It was a bad deal, they wanted to break us up,” Diane cries. “Yes they did,” Clarke hisses. And that’s exactly the point. “You have creditors, you own them money. They are not interested in your self-fulfillment.” But you have to appreciate that Diane and Will are; that their goal is to make it through the bankruptcy in one piece. If they can’t during the court appointed time, surely that’s the time to sell them off? “They are interested in their money,” he continues. “Then let us make them their money!” she snaps. And that’s just what they’re going to be debating in mediation. A merger now would gain the creditors 70 cents on the dollar now; if it were me, I’d be willing to wait a month or whatever it is to see if I could get the full dollar.
To the gentle strains of “Boom De Yah Da,” Alicia wanders around a lovely little store on the resort property, periodically looking out to make sure Canning doesn’t come running. At the same moment, she and a slender blond woman reach for the same tube of toothpaste. “Oh, you take it,” Alicia urges, “I probably have more in my room.” She probably should since she’d planned to stay for one night already, right? (Not that she couldn’t be at the end of her travel tube. Man, why can I not stop overthinking things?) “I can split it with you,” the woman offers. “No, that’d be messy,” Alicia smiles, and they both laugh. Again, she peers out the window. The other woman natters pleasantly about the closest real store being 50 miles away before wondering if Alicia’s there for the air show. I have to bite my tongue not to ask through the tv if Alicia looks like she’s dressed for an air show. “There’s an air show?” she puzzles. I guess, the other woman shrugs, the desk clerk kept talking about it.
And that’s when Alicia sees Canning approach her door. She excuses herself, abandons her would be purchases, and gallops out the door.
“Mr Canning! Hi, I’m here, what’s up!” Alicia gasps, out of breath from her death defying scramble down the path. Those heels are so the wrong shoes for this environment, honey. Oh, he says, I was just about to leave you a note, waving the pad of paper in his hand. Just as Will anticipated, they were hoping to up the time of the meeting. (Alicia, why didn’t you shop for the toothpaste last night?) “We thought we’d missed you,” Canning finishes. You hoped, you mean. Oh no, Alicia shakes her head. She’s ready now. “I will meet you at the business center.”
And at the business center, the two sit at a round table, twiddling their thumbs. Or, sort of. “Must have been delayed,” Canning excuses his client, thumbing through his text messages. “That seems to happen a lot,” Alicia snarks. She paces the room, and I can’t help but drool over her leather blazer. Wow, so pretty. “I have a friend who is dying,” Canning tells her out of no where, tossing his phone on the table and stuffing his hands in his pockets. “Wants me to give the eulogy at his funeral. He just emailed me.” Alicia turns away from the window to look at her adversary; he looks up at her, all puppy dog eyes.
“He’s dying and he sent you an email?” His wife did, Canning explains. “I hate that people my age are starting to die,” he muses. “It’s really… horrible.” It is, Alicia agrees. “He was my roommate in college,” Canning goes on. “He … smartest guy I ever met.” He thinks on this for a moment before asking Alicia if she’s ever given a eulogy. She takes even longer before saying yes. She’s framed by the brilliant fall colors out the window as she explains (at his prompting) that she gave the eulogy at her own father’s funeral. (I have written a eulogy, but I couldn’t read it; I can imagine Alicia doing it, though, and we all can see why she would be the one.)
“I’m sorry,” Canning says, and Alicia shrugs. It is what it is. Her Dad was 60. Too young, Canning muses. Too right, Alicia agrees. “Am I upsetting you?” he wonders. Not a bit – but she does wonder why he doesn’t call Mr. Ingersol. “I’m not playing you, Alicia, he’s going to be here.” Riiiiiight. We’ll believe that when we see it. It’s Canning’s turn to wander while Alicia sits; when he calls, Ingersol isn’t coming. 2 o’clock this afternoon. Alicia gathers her things and makes her statement for the court recorder. “Let the record reflect that Mr. Ingersol has refused to appear at a court-mandated deposition, again.”
“You sure you want to do this?” Diane asks, poking a manila envelope and pushing across a gleaming desk toward Eli. Why wouldn’t he? Well, if he sues the Justice Department, it would probably force them to pay more attention to their case against him, Diane explains. This is your plan to avoid the second, Eli? I think it has some obvious flaws. He doesn’t think he’s got a choice.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting,” a soft voice which is totally not David LaGuardia’s. “I’m brand new on this case, and there was a disagreement on who should take this meeting.” Diane and Eli stare, eyes bulging, up at Wendy Scott-Carr, and then at each other. This was such a delicious surprise. I can’t believe I didn’t notice her name in the credits, even, but wow, wonderful. Good to see you again, she nods at her adversaries. “Oh, come on,” Eli sneers. “This is a conflict of interest!” Yes, and no doubt that informed the debate over who would take the meeting. “What’s that?” she pretends not to understand. Um, you ran against my client and I beat you, Eli points out.
“Yes, that’s true, two years ago,” Wendy replies in quiet disbelief. “You asked for a proffer against Mr. Florrick, that is a conflict of interest.” No, it’s what we call a vendetta. Wendy, on the other hand, thinks it’s not a problem because she’s rescinded the offer of a proffer; she thinks Eli’s alleged crime is too serious. He shakes his head, horrified. “God, no one disappears. They all come back, like zombies.”
Oh, good lord. Best. Eli. Line. Ever. Ha!
Diane hands over the manila envelope, and explains that they’re suing the DOJ for harassment. Wendy’ll have her assistant set up an interview once she’s read the complaint, she says. True to form, Eli can’t simply shut up and leave things to the professionals; he taunts that Wendy should have just beaten Peter at the ballot, and not tried to take him down in this back deal, back handed way. It’s not about Peter, she laughs, or being angry at Eli. “Do I look angry?” she giggles. No, but expressing your anger in a usual way is not your style. She’s just here to take on the dirty politicians. “You underestimate me if you think I’m working from bias,” she finishes gently. She’ll be back in touch once she’s read their complaint.
On a porch at the Minnesota resort, the blonde woman is hanging a small bag on a door knob when Alicia returns to her room. Aw, she got Alicia’s grocery items for her. How sweet! Next time, she says to Alicia’s offer to pay her back. Aw. They like each other. “I’m Simone,” the blonde introduces herself, extending her hand. “There aren’t many people around here,” Simone observes. “I know,” Alicia agrees, “it’s so strange that they built this big hotel up here.” Well, it does really seem like a ghost town. So, are you here on vacation? Simone asks; no, work is the answer (supported by Alicia’s armful of notebooks). My husband’s here for work, Simone smiles.
And that’s when the shoe drops.
“You’re probably the lawyer my husband’s here to meet,” Simone realizes. Can I be honest – even though we’ve seen Simone before, I thought the mystery woman would have been Ingersol’s wife or girlfriend or daughter. I’m just not on my game this week! “Are you Mrs. Canning?” Alicia puzzles, clearly finding it difficult to believe. But she is! (So where are the little Cannings? Not that they don’t have the money for a nanny, but still, overnight care can be hard to arrange in the middle of the week, and it’s not exactly an exciting place for Simone to be hanging around while Louis works. On the other hand, it is lovely, and if you wanted some time away from the kids to hike or read it or generally live in complete isolation it would be ideal.) “So are you Mrs. Florrick?” She is. “My husband speaks so highly of you,” Simone explains, her tone almost reverent.
“He does?” Alicia’s surprised and not a little suspicious. “Yes, he does!” Simone cries, as if she can’t believe Alicia could doubt it. And he’s been trying to hire her away from day one. “For a while there I wondered if I should be jealous,” she goes on, further astounding Alicia. “I’m joking! But we should have breakfast sometime. If we’re going to be here for a while.” Is it a coincidence that Simone looks like Tracy Pollan? Probably not. Pretty sure I made that observation the last time, too. Alicia tilts her head, again suspicious. “Are we? Going to be here for a while?”
But Simone doesn’t know – she is utter loveliness and completely without guile. She’ll call Alicia for breakfast. Great. Simone is half way down the porch when Alicia thinks of something, and calls her back. “I was so sorry to hear about your husband’s friend. The one who’s dying?” Ooops. Simone clearly has no idea what she’s talking about. Oh, my mistake, Alicia backtracks, and goes into her room, bemused by Canning’s peculiar lie and charming spouse.
Kalinda has a call in to Diane, to explain that the type of mosquito found in the koi pond couldn’t possibly have caused the West Nile infection. It’s not even the proper species. (If that virus is only carried by a particular species of mosquito, why wouldn’t the CDC know that? Weird.) She’s got an expert in the background, feeding her information she can’t pronounce. Goofy. He’ll go on the record to explain this, which shores our case back up. Diane is relieved, but more interested in why Cary’s chatting up Clarke in the hallway outside her office. “He’s getting Cary in line to testify against us,” she tells Will.
Meanwhile in the hall, Clark wants to make sure he and Cary are on the same page. I think we are, Cary nods. So Diane calls Cary in to her office once Clarke is gone. Cary insists Clarke was talking about clients, and Cary was just listening. Diane explains her concerns. “He didn’t say anything about that,” Cary demurs. Diane waves him into the chair next to Will, and asks how Cary would feel about testifying against Clarke.
What an unusual gold watch, Alicia! And look what it shows. “2:30! And here we are again.” Sigh. “Why don’t you go for a walk? I’ll get you when he comes,” Canning offers, checking his phone. Ha. This produces another Diane-style chuckle from Alicia. And then she baits him. “How’s your friend who’s dying? Have you heard any more from him?” No, says Canning, checking his phone, why? “Maybe you should call him,” she shrugs, pinning him down with her glare. “Maybe he’s dead.” Ouch! Wow, I’m surprised that she took that tack. “Excuse me?” he puzzles. “Oh, I’m sorry, am I being insensitive?” she wonders, leaning forward, hands clasped. “How’s the eulogy going? Maybe you could ask Simone for help on that one.”
Louis Canning smiles in slightly embarrassed understanding. “You met my wife,” he realizes. Gee, how’d you guess? “She’s wonderful,” Alicia relaxes into her chair. “Yes, she – she’s my better half,” Canning admits from the window. “She’s your only half,” Alicia snickers from the chair, causing me to snarf my drink. Ha! I love it. “Funny, she’d never heard of Ian Keyes, your roommate.” Funny, we never heard his name, either. Louis flaps his arms in defeat. “Yeah, well, I don’t share everything with her.” I’ll bet. “Your lies, for example? You don’t share your lies?” Alicia offers. Ha. Damn, I love her when she gets like this. Canning advances on her, smirking like a schoolboy. “No. Those I save for you.” Ah, I can’t help laughing. Love it.
Alicia smiles to herself, then shakes her head to clear it. “What was even the point? Of lying about a dying friend?” Yeah. That’s really warped, Canning. “I don’t know,” he shrugs, as if wondering himself. “It was a way of connecting. Didn’t you feel connected?” Dude, that’s just weird. Really weird. Almost sociopathic, lying like that. “How does a bastard like you end up with such a wonderful wife?” Alicia snaps. “Women like bastards!” Louis squeaks. “It’s like a challenge. Didn’t you notice that? Beauty and the Beast. It fits in with all those fairy tales you grew up consuming.”
Alicia laughs, offended, but what I can’t help thinking is that Simone is probably a lot like Alicia was before Peter’s scandal shattered her trust. Before that, Alicia was probably deluding herself about what a bastard Peter can be, just as Simone seems to think her husband is unreservedly wonderful. Now, don’t get all offended at me, Peter-fans. You wouldn’t want him as an enemy! We all know he crosses the line; not that I’d like to agree with him, but as Canning points out, Alicia likes that Peter and Will both get a little dirty. Louis has admitted he wouldn’t treat Simone the way he’s treated Alicia; family for him, and for Peter, and even to Alicia now, is a space apart from work life. The question is simply how far apart that worldly life is, how different that public sphere is from the private one.
Anyway. Back to the show. Alicia laughs hysterically at Canning’s representation of his wife. (And really, the idea of Canning as the Beast is pretty hilarious.) The phone rings, and she lifts a hand, waving at it. “There’s Godot,” she chortles, and I just about lose it. Best. Snark. Ever.
“Really?” Canning asks. “Let the record show,” Alicia gathers her things and repeats her spiel for the record. This is evasion number 4. Tomorrow at ten, Canning promises. Great, says Alicia, and she hands over a second revision of the CDC report, acknowledging that the mosquito couldn’t have come from the koi pond. “That’s the wrong kind of mosquito. The right kind of mosquito can only have come from the swimming pools.” So, square one, eh? “So, nice try, Mr. Canning, but you lost. And every day this deposition is delayed, the judge is getting angrier. So… might want to rethink your strategy.”
As she leaves, he dials the house phone. “Yeah, it’s me. I want you to look into something.”
Martha Reed, back at Lockhart/Gardner, has a few choice questions for Kaley Spence. I love that pale aqua cardigan, Kaley! I hope it’s comforting. Martha is so very sweet in her delivery, first using the Latin name for the mosquito and then explaining that it’s a very small bug. “You don’t have to patronize her, she’s not 8 years old,” Cary interjects. Martha looks a bit chastened, but then thanks Will and Cary for pointing out that this is the particular breed of mosquito responsible for Kaley’s infection. As Kaley looks on, concerned, Martha lays out diagrams of the 5 affected backyards. Thrilled that Martha’s willing to stipulate that the pools breed the disease bearing mosquitoes, Will doesn’t sense the danger till it’s too late. The mosquitoes have a tremendously limited range, which means that Kaley must have climbed a fence and trespassed into one of the backyards in order to be bitten. Ooops.
Kaley gasps out that she did once, with her friends. Well, Martha declares primly, we can’t be held liable for your trespassing. “This suit is over.” As Cary pats Kaley’s arm as she sniffles, Will tries to burn holes into the conference table with only his bitter, bitter gaze.
Poor, morose Will. It must suck not to know we’re only half way through the episode.
And there’s more delightful fun to come! Welcome to mediation, where Serafina Norvi (Tamara Tunie, the long time ME on Law & Order SVU) is setting the rules. You may all be bosses in this company, she says, “but in here, I am the empress.” Ha. Diane is amused; Will is not. At first, the combatants all state their positions: Clarke wants to remove Will and Diane so he can sell their company out from under them, Will and Diane want till the end of their term to try and pay back the money, thank you very much. Clarke’s actions undercut their fundraising, they contend. They’ve gathered $20 million, but as Clarke is quick to remind them, they’re 40 mil short. This is going to take some kind of act of God, Robert and Michelle. I don’t know how you’re going to write them out of this one.
Will lies that they’re about to get a lot of money out of Atlantic Commerce Bank, which Clarke rightly disputes. I don’t know how big the cut off the top would be, but even if they got the full 15 million themselves out of this deal it still wouldn’t fix the problem. Sigh. Anyway, Will’s decided that the problem is Clarke’s lack of knowledge of the law (evidenced by his contention that being in depositions isn’t close to a settlement) and seems to be petitioning the Empress for a new trustee. You know, it’s really sad how sour this has all become. It all seemed so hopeful at the start!
Alright, the Empress declares, holding up her hands. “This isn’t marriage court; I’m not here to make you like each other.” Ha. Although I don’t think that’s what people go to “marriage court” for, is it? She goes on to admonish Will and Diane; this isn’t about you or your company at all, it’s about your creditors.
Diane and Will have a complicated theory about that, actually, so it’s nice you brought it up, Your Honor. Er, m’am (since the Empress isn’t a judge). A consortium of financiers (Ensenol Equity) recently bought up all their debt, which they take to believe that somebody out there has faith in them. No one buys debt they think is bad, right? (Ignoring the mortgage crisis, obviously.) But by that logic, your former creditors are fleeing your debt, Clarke points out. Indeed. All we want is a week to marshal witnesses, Will asks. Let’s do it tomorrow, Empress Serafina declares, with a very judge-like bang of her gavel.
Meanwhile in the conference room, Cary directs everyone’s attention to a particular abandoned pool, one which had the added features of a waterfall and a grotto. Surely the waterfall wouldn’t be working in that state, right? Everyone, by the way, includes not only Mrs. Spence, Kaley and Martha but also at least one representative of the bank, who tells us that the grotto wasn’t boarded up after the foreclosure. “The neighbors said the waterfall feature was being used by skate boarders.” OH. Okay. Interesting. Dressed in a bright, pretty blue, Martha wonders where this is going. “Would you admit,” Cary leans over, “the pool was an attractive nuisance.”
Martha most certainly will not. “Kaley climbed a fence to reach the pool.” “Which makes it a text book case of attractive nuisance,” Will replies, sitting next to a terribly chastened Kaley. That poor girl. (This is so alarming; we have alerts about mosquitoes testing positive West Nile virus in my town all the time. I’ve never heard about this sort of damage before, though.) It’s the responsibility of the homeowner (in this case, the bank) to make sure children can’t be hurt on it. “Once again, there was a fence, and your client is not a child,” Martha snaps. Again, poor sweet Kaley can’t even look up. Ah, Will replies, but she was twelve when she was infected. “A very young, sheltered twelve.” “So you were sheltered, is that it, Kaley,” Martha snipes; Cary directs her not to speak to Kaley but to her lawyers. I’ll say!
And, eeeeee! That’s T.R. Knight sitting at a conference table, texting. I didn’t know this was his first episode! I’m totally psyched. He’s cut his hair, though, so he lacks George O’Malley’s floppy softness. He looks up to see Eli, peering down at him mistrustfully. “Well you sure are well dressed,” he says pleasantly, much to Eli’s puzzlement – and indeed, T.R’s wearing a hoodie under a chocolate brown blazer. “Thanks,” Eli grins without mirth or welcome. “And you are sitting in my office.”
“Ah,”Frank Landau rumbles, “I see you two have already met.” Well, not exactly. “Eli Gold, Jordan Karahalios.” Eli tosses his head back. “Oh, the boy wonder,” Eli faux-laughs. “Oh, I hate that name,” Jordan replies jovially, “the ever quotable Rahm Emmanuel, I’m never going to live that down.” Can you be a boy wonder at 35? I mean, he’s young looking, but he can’t be that young, right? (Ha. He’s not. He’s almost 40. And, as fate would have it, from Minnesota.) Turns out this is a courtesy call before Frank takes Jordan in to meet Peter. Oh, dude, do you want this to fail? Frank tries to pull Eli aside and explain that Jordan is the strong second, which should have been immediately obvious but somehow wasn’t. “I like Peter,” Jordan declares, grabbing a poster, trying to sound as young and raspy and enthusiastic as possible. In the poster, Peter’s got his jacket tossed over one shoulder. Interesting. “He’s not one of those processed sales jobs, he’s got grit.” Eli looks back in shock.
Jordan has had lots of offers, including one from Maddie Hayward, but he wants to give his time to Peter. “Yeah, she’s great. A little green, maybe,” Jordan shrugs. Also a little evil, but hey. “Think you two could work together?” I think Eli would rather die than share credit for a pamphlet, let alone Peter’s entire campaign. “I heard you like to work alone, Jordan,” Eli replies, presenting a calm exterior. “I do,” the boy wonder smiles cheerily, “but I also like learning from my elders.”
Alrighty. That went well.
Speaking of going well, Martha’s not ready to give up on Kaley and seems to be re-deposing her. I just want an idea of how you might handle certain situations, okay, the snippety lawyer asks. You can play “hypothetical situations” in a deposition? Wacky. Would she ever shoplift? No. How would she deal with being lost in an airport? Will looks annoyed. I’m wondering where this is going. Are you allowed to stay home without a babysitter? Um, she’s fifteen. “I can’t now, because of what happened to me,” Kaley admits, and it breaks my heart. Thank you, Kaley, Martha smiles.
Your client is old enough to understand right and wrong, Martha tells Will and Cary out in the hall, so the attractive nuisance law doesn’t apply to her. Um, hello. First, she was 3 years younger when she made the choice to climb the fence. Second, even at fifteen there is a difference between a child and an adult in the ability to understand the consequences of your actions. An 8 year old can give the expected questions to those answers; it doesn’t mean they have mature judgement. And third, even if Kaley knew it was wrong to climb over the fence, it doesn’t mean she deserved to be paralyzed and it doesn’t mean that Atlantic Commerce shouldn’t have taken the appropriate care of their property.
Okay, sorry for the soap box, but that pissed me off.
“That’s not for you to decide,” Will adds. Which, yes, that brings me to number four, which is that Martha has no training in assessing the moral capacity of minors. Bah. She thinks they’ll let a jury decide, and that settlement is now out of the question. Bah. “Damn it,” Will mutters under his breath.
“Still in a holding pattern,” Alicia sighs, sitting on her hotel bed and talking on the land line. I think she’s wearing her jacket from the first day, styled differently. “He’s supposed to be here in an hour, but I’m not holding my breath.” Yeah. If they don’t get Ingersol, Will asserts bleakly, the case will spiral all the way down the drain. “I think it’s about this merger with Corsica Pacific,” Cary suggests. Oh really? He postulates that Ingersol fears derailing a merger somehow and so is avoiding the deposition. Ah. Interesting. We can’t keep waiting, Will decides. Alicia needs to prove that the bank is stalling.
Which brings us, of course, to Louis Canning, clowning around in the business center, making a cat’s cradle with a large elastic. Bad news, he says. We’re going to have to move the session to this afternoon. Right. What a shocker. Instead of heading out, however, Alicia sits down and opens her binder. And yeah, it’s definitely the same jacket, this time with enough buttons undone to create lapels at the top. “I thought we would use this time to depose… someone else,” she suggests. Huh? Who? “For practice?” Canning wonders. Ha.
But no. Alicia calls in a woman named Rita Nevis, the maid who cleans Canning’s room at the Janesville Mountain Retreat. (The name seems to be made up, but there is a Janesville Minnesota.) Though Canning objects vociferously (hearsay!) Rita recounts Canning’s phone call to Ingersol instructing him not to attend the session. “I’ll call you when Florrick steps out,” she repeats. Casting about for a way out of this hole, Canning lies and claims he was talking not to his client, but his partners back in Chicago. Well, that might be plausible if you didn’t hear how long it took him to come up with the lie. That’s the trouble with transcripts.
Now for something completely different; Diane’s out to lunch with a guy we’ve never seen, a former political operative named Tobin Elstrom. He seems to think she’s trying to solicit him as a client, but oh, no. She wants to warn him that the Department of Justice is out for campaign manager blood. How altruistic of you, Diane. They’re looking at discounts for donations, she warns. “That’s just Chicago politics,” he smiles, stunned. “And since you were a lawyer prior to your work as Wendy Scott-Carr’s campaign manager, I thought that there might be some issues there.”
Damn, Diane. You have big stones, girl.
“This is about Wendy Scott-Carr,” Tobin realizes. It’s about all your campaign work, Diane demurs, but I don’t think that fools him. I don’t think it’s intended to. “Wendy Scott-Carr especially,” he guesses, and she shrugs. Then she gives him her card; he’ll think about letting her represent him. She walks out of the restaurant looking inordinately pleased with herself.
And, twinkle twinkle, Wendy’s phone rings. How nice to hear from you, Tobin, Wendy coos – but she’s not smiling when he fills her in, that Diane has him worried he’s going to be implicated in a DOJ investigation. “She wanted you to call me,” Wendy talks to herself out loud. Tobin’s confused. “She wanted you to call me, so that I would know if I pursued them on discounts for donations, they’ll pull you in.” Ah, poor Tobin. He looks like his head is about to explode. No, she just wanted me to hire her, he asserts. “No, Tobin, she didn’t. This was a warning shot across my bow.” Yes, and the last time they fired a warning shot at you, Wendy, you jumped the gun, overreached, rushed your case, and lost it. And consequently lost your job. So think about what you do next, please.
“So, what’re you going to do?” he wonders. “We ran a clean campaign, Tobin, didn’t we?” Well, yes, he grumbles, but nothing’s a hundred percent. Oh God. “No, we ran a clean campaign,” she insists. Oh, girl, you needed to heed that warning; his “yes” sound a lot more like “sort of” and even more like “if someone wanted to find something, they could.”
An owl hoots in the Minnesota night, and someone knocks on Alicia’s cabin door. If that were me, I would be freaking the heck out. Is Canning going to stop by a night? Simone? Ingersol? Someone out of a horror movie? Cautiously, she gets up off the double bed by the window and walks past the second bed to the door, and as usual wrapping her cardigan around her body defensively. But guess what? In the inside hallway, it’s Kalinda. “And clothes,” Alicia sighs happily. “And incidentals,” Kalinda smiles, holding up a brown paper bag just the right size for a wine bottle. Alicia’s responding sigh sounds close to tears.
And there they are, sitting on the two beds, staring ahead, glasses of red wine in their hands. Wacky. The headboards are carved. The moment is awkward, and weirdly familiar.
“God, it’s quiet,” Kalinda observes. Yeah. “You’ve had two days of this?” Kalinda looks around in horror. “And two nights. It’s not that bad, actually.” “Really,” Kalinda blows out a breath, “I’d kill someone.” Oh, is it silence that prompts that response, Kalinda, or just your own personal ghosts haunting you? Alicia smiles. It’s a nice nod to all of us wondering just what happened to Nick, a comment intended not for Alicia – oblivious as ever – but the audience. “You know what I miss about my old life, before the glamor of the law?” Kalinda can’t imagine. “The quiet. At home in the afternoons, I would drink every day at three o’clock a glass of red wine.” Kalinda looks spellbound and not a little appalled. “Waiting for the kids to come home. I miss the silence in the house at 3.” As opposed to 10? But I guess maybe you’d notice it more because of the abrupt contrast with what comes after? Or because she was out earlier, errand running and tennis playing and who knows what else? “Just nothing going on.”
“I miss this,” Kalinda says, turning towards her colleague. Aw! Does that mean talking and drinking with Alicia? It does, right? Alicia kind of snorts. “I’m sorry,” Kalinda apologizes, smiling ruefully. “I know,” Alicia nods. Aw! Kalinda looks down at her lap, smiling in this way that seems like she knows she can’t undo things. You know, she changes the subject, I don’t think Mr. Ingersol is going to be there tomorrow at ten. No, Alicia agrees, leaping at the new topic. “Cary thinks he’s trying to avoid a road bump in their merger.” The two reflect on this for a moment.
So, hmm. Canning called four local numbers, Kalinda recalls. Three were at the ranch, but what was the other one? “What’re you thinking?” Alicia wonders. “I don’t know,” Kalinda sighs. “Maybe there’s a real emergency.”
Cary Agos, fourth year associate, Lockhart Gardner, has been called up in front of the Empress. He’s wearing a blue suit and he looks unusually uncomfortable. Clarke stares at him, looking hurt. “Were you asked for your assistance by Mr. Hayden over the last three months?” Diane asks. He was. Oh. This is interesting. He spent about 10 hours a week helping, even. “And this was from your time,” Diane wonders. “As a fourth year associate, very few hours in the day constitute my time.” Ah. Indeed. But you managed? Yes, he did. Will narrows his eyes, glaring at Cary; it’s quite hideous looking, actually.
And what did he do in those ten hours a week? “He asked me to be his tutor,” Cary explains. You can tell he’s not enjoying this; Clarke shoots him a few covert, unhappy looks. Tutoring in what, Diane presses. “For the upcoming bar exam,” is the answer. Mr. Hayden had actually attended law school, but never attempted to take the bar. “Now working at Lockhart/Gardner, it reinvigorated him.” Clarke’s suit is plain and his tie solid blue, and next to Cary’s exuberant paisley, he looks even more sad.
“Did you feel you had any choice in the matter but to help him?” Diane asks. Cary considers this, as if the idea had never even occurred to him. No, he concludes.
Diane’s finished, so the Empress Serafina asks if Clarke has questions for Cary. Yes, he nods, quite quiet. You know that he considered Cary a friend, someone on his side. Even though he’s called on this on himself, I can’t help but feel sorry for him; I thought Cary liked him, too, but not more than his job. You say that fourth year associates have no free time, he frowns, yet you found the time to help me. “I didn’t feel as if I had a choice,” Cary protests, and you can hear his words driving spikes into Clarke’s heart. “You held sway over the entire company.” I offered to pay you, Clarke reminds Cary. Yes, you did, Cary agrees. He refused. “Did I ever state or imply that you would be offered preferential treatment for your help,” Clarke asks. No, you did not, Cary answers. He didn’t “state or imply” that Cary would be penalized for not helping, either. Clarke, I think you’re missing the point. The name partner’s point here is that you don’t have the knowledge to do your job, that you asked a junior employee at the firm to help get you up to speed. Whether you were appropriate in monopolizing his time is almost beside the point.
“Your Honor,” Clarke begins, addressing the Empress. “M’am,” she corrects. “M’am,” he repeats. “Lockhart Gardner has no shame in trying to besmirch my name for their own personal gain.” Diane smirks a little, while Will looks embarrassed. Oh, you poor sweetie. It’s not about the money, don’t you understand? They want to win. They want to do what they set out to do. They want to save their firm, and you turned yourself into an enemy in that fight. “It goes to their illogical passion for winning at all costs.” Hardly illogical, though at least this is closer to the right track. Why on earth are you expecting them to want to lose? “Once again, I ask that Will Gardner and Diane Lockhart be removed from their managerial positions at the firm.” The Empress will take his words under advisement. Clarke stands, collecting his dignity, but faces Cary with the most wounded, painful look. Cary meets his gaze, then turns away.
Guess what? Kalinda was on to something. I know this will surprise you, but it’s true. Ingersol is actually in Minnesota for experimental cancer treatments. OH. For the last several months, Ingersol’s been battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma. As Kalinda brings Diane and Will up to speed, the two of them huddled around one phone, Alicia puts on a new suit jacket at the back of the hotel room. It’s too funny, because usually when you see someone putting on clothes in the background of a shot, it implies something. Something – else. A gift to the Kalinda/Alicia shippers?
Anyway. Diane senses that this might be what they’re after. It’s not public knowledge, his illness, is it? No, Kalinda confirms. At Will’s bidding, Kalinda hands the phone off to Alicia, now neatly buttoned into her dark green blazer.
“Use it,” he commands. “They don’t want it to come out before the merger.” I know, she says. I’m on it.
Guess who else is on it? Wendy Scott-Carr, overstepping again. She’s come to Lockhart/Gardner to confiscate Eli’s files. Oh, and to let them know that since Eli worked there, it leaves them open to investigation as well. “That’s bizarrely tenuous,” Diane notes. And yet supported by the judge. “Thank you for the warning shot,” Wendy smiles delicately. “It gave me time to acquire the warrant.”
YUCK! Someone get Elspeth Tascioni on the phone, stat! And let’s hope this was the consequence Diane intended when she fired the warning shot. “This is so hypocritical,” Diane hisses, but Wendy just leads her flunkies off in search of Eli’s old files.
“Don’t worry, he’s coming,” Canning says, “he’s just a few minutes late.” Ah, where have I heard that before? The wind echoes through the valley. I’m not sure the court reporter has even bothered to show. But hey, here Ingersol is! “Oh ye of little faith!” Canning cries, throwing up his hands. Attired in another casual button down, Ingersol sits. “How’re you feeling today?” Alicia asks. Fine, fine, he says. Why? “Just a pleasantry,” she shrugs. Well thanks, he answers. She picks up with the letter from the community members complaining about the state of the pools; had he seen this? He takes the sheet from her and looks it over. I did not, he says. Yes, he knows it’s addressed to him. “If I read every piece of mail addressed to me, I wouldn’t have time to eat or sleep,” he jokes, and because he is so very very witty, his three flunkies laugh. Yep, that’s them in the background again. Lovely.
“So that answers that, Alicia,” Canning adds when he’s stopped laughing, “any other questions?” You can wish that’s all, Louis. Alicia’s green jacket looks almost black against the vivid fall colors out the window behind her. “Mr. Ingersol, are you aware that it’s an FCC violation to withhold an illness from shareholders?” Canning snaps to attention. “Objection! Relevance.” I love listening to them object during depositions, when there’s no actual referee to rule on their disagreements. “Your objection has been noted,” Alicia replies, her eyes never leaving Ingersol’s. “Are you aware that it is an FCC violation?” Yes, he is, but he doesn’t understand what it has to do with the law suit. “It has to do with your intent to delay, Mr. Ingersol.” She narrows her eyes, fearsome. Would this have come out if he hadn’t delayed? “Atlantic Commerce is a publicly held company, the shareholders have a right to know if the leader is facing a critical illness.”
Then she brings up the experimental clinic. “Objection,” Canning calls out. “This is beneath you, Alicia.” “No, unfortunately it’s not,” she confesses. Not that I’m so offended by her exposing a fraud, but somehow that silences Canning. “The emergency you were dealing with, Mr. Ingersol, was… uh, Miss Court Reporter, do you mind stepping out for a minute, please?” My name is Mica, the woman says, and with Alicia’s apologies, leaves.
“You’re being treated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and you didn’t want this knowledge made public before your merger with Corsica Pacific,” she spits out. Nice assist from Cary and Kalinda both on this one, but now it’s up to Alicia to take it home. The bank president looks grim. “This does not have to go on the record, Mr. Ingersol,” Alicia assures him. “We’ve been trying for weeks now to negotiate with Mr. Canning. And if you approve this settlement of 15 million dollars, the questioning can end right here.” Ingersol still looks at her, bleakly. Then he glances at Canning, who with a wave of his fingers conveys what amounts to a shrug. It’s blackmail, essentially, but they’re got Ingersol for sure.
In her sunny office, Diane’s got Eli on the phone. God, he must be having a massive hissy fit. Will stops in to give her the good news; twelve million, he says, three million to us. (They get a quarter of the settlement? Youch!) “As I was saying, Eli, unfortunately this changes everything.” Ah, so it wasn’t the consequence she desired. “Wendy’s doing this so you can’t be my lawyer,” Eli snaps. So call Elspeth! Do it! Now! I know, Diane agrees, but it worked; they legally cannot represent him now that they’re part of the investigation. She’s sent him a list of other lawyers, the best of whom will be expecting his call. Which better include Elspeth the fixer! “And so it goes,” Eli declares, hanging up the phone, “the endless cycle of Chicago investigations.”
“Hey, guys do you know when the old man gets in?” Jordan Karahalios asks the hoi paloi in the outer office. Oh, Jordan. Really? Really? “Eli! Let’s talk about debate prep!” Let’s, declares Eli, eyes narrowed. “Maddie Hayward is putting all her time into prep, that’s when she really wants to make her mark, and I looked at the schedule, and you – you barely have Peter down!” Ah, there’s nothing Eli likes more than to be second guessed. He nods to himself, trying to hold it together. Delightful.
“We received a settlement today of 12 million dollars,” Will tells the Empress Serafina. Diane follows up by explaining that Ensenol Equity has now finalized their purchase of L/G debt. She intends to honor their investment in L&G’s financial health. So as much as the Empress understands Clarke’s frustration at losing the merger deal, she finds the purchase of their debt too persuasive a sign. She wants everyone to keep working as before. Will rolls his eyes; ducky. Clarke can look for a merger partner after the five remaining weeks before the bankruptcy deadline.
Diane leans in to Will. We’ve escaped the executioner once again, she says. “For now,” he whispers, watching Clarke walk through the hall. “We can never meet the five week deadline.” So what’s their next move? “I don’t know,” Diane says. “We talk to the new creditor?” Will nods his agreement. “Get an extension?” Yep, that’s the idea.
Thunder crashes in Minnesota, and the rain pours into the flowing streams. And over the umbrella covered heads of Alicia and both Canning, all headed back to the city. “Alicia,” Simone calls out, “I’m sorry we didn’t get that breakfast.” Me too, Alicia replies with real regret. ‘You heading out?” They are. “Louis has business, so, no rest.” “I’ll be seeing you soon, though,” Canning declares ominously. Alicia tilts her head. “And why’s that?”
He looks back at her. “Oh, you didn’t hear?” Nope. “I purchased the Lockhart/Gardner debt.” Oh, no. “I’m your new creditor.” “You two will be working together!” Simone beams, and the soundtrack returns to the many natural features the writer of “Boom De Ya Da” loves. The mountains, the rolling hills… “That’s fantastic!” Simone trills. Somehow, I don’t think Alicia is focused on the beauty of the stars when day turns into night. I know I’m not. I’m thinking more like out of the frying pan, into the fire…
I think I’d like to cry now.
The financial troubles have just gotten exponentially worse, and who knew that was even possible? Good grief. How the heck wealthy is Canning that he could do that personally? And really? Let’s just say, holy crap! It’s a mark of how well the show ratchets up the tension that I’m so stressed; we know they’ll somehow wiggle out of it, even though I can’t for the life of me figure out how. Of course, I’m also rather annoyed with them for making me feel so tense when there isn’t anything actually at stake. No one thinks that Canning will actually succeed in taking over the company or grinding them into the dust or selling them off in pieces, even though he’s stated his desire to destroy them. Somehow, Will and Diane will pull us out of the brink, and it will be clever, and I’ll enjoy it. I’m just so bloody exhausted with the money story lines. When will they ever end?
Oh well. At least there’s no Nick.
So, what are you guys missing? What do you wish we were focused on? The romance? The promised young boyfriend for Diane? Jackie’s health? The kids? More politics? I love that they have T.R. Knight, but I can’t really figure out why they hired him if they wanted a boy wonder. I mean, he looks young, but people have to know he isn’t, right? Certainly not young enough to call Eli an old man. That aside, this could be an entertaining plot line; Eli hates to share, and seeing him worming his way out from under investigation and the odious presence of a “strong second” ought to be worth our time. Especially if Jordan has more up his sleeve than age jokes.
Do you disapprove of Alicia’s tactics in getting Kaley the money she deserved? I probably should be appalled, but after fourteen months of stalling tactics, I certainly don’t feel like the bank was negotiating in good faith. So, eh, whatever. Do you agree with me that Kaley deserved a settlement? Although, actually, what I’d want in her shoes even more than a settlement is a promise from the bank that they’d actually take care of foreclosed properties. I mean, how stupid, cost cutting on basic maintenance that would have cost them, what, a few thousand dollars a year (and kept the value of the houses up) traded for a 12 million dollar law suit, God knows how much in legal fees, and a young girl’s health? Stupid stupid stupid. I don’t doubt that such neglect is the industry standard, but it’s such a frustrating waste. Pay the bleeping pool-boy, asshats.
Alrighty then! See you next week, assuming that CBS doesn’t wake up to the fact that in addition to the usually crowded Sunday night slate they’re pitting the show against Downton Abbey and the Golden Globes; last year they postponed the Globes-conflicted episode, so I guess we’ll find out!