E: I’m not sure there’s anything I hate more on this show than dropped plot threads. They drop a bomb like Canning buying up all of Lockhart/Gardner’s debt – Louis Canning, who vowed to eradicate the firm last season – and they’re not even going to mention it? Are you kidding me? Tell me these are airing out of order, because this omission is as ridiculous as this show has ever been.
Of course, fans of The Good Wife are used to this little dance (after all, we first learned of the federal investigation around Peter in season 1), and we’re a plucky bunch of dancers. So even though I hoped to see something different, I can remain calm and dig into the actual contents of this excellent episode, which was by turns some pretty funny, pretty emotional, and pretty steamy stuff.
In fact, we start the episode with literal as well as metaphorical steam; Alicia’s making pancakes, and the steam off the griddle matches the scene going on in her mind. A sunlit room, blinds, a black camisole, but who is Alicia on top of? Confusing. It’s not the bathroom rendez-vous from Thanksgiving; honestly, I can’t even tell if it’s a man or woman. Don’t tell me that much more went on in Minnesota than we saw! Oh, I know, it’s likely a fantasy and not a memory, but woah, iiiiinteresting.
And there’s Zach (hello, buzzkill) glued to his laptop at the island, waiting for the pancakes, checking out stuff about the campaign. “How’s your father,” Alicia asks if casually, but as the audience already knows, Zach doesn’t work with Peter when he works for the campaign. As Alicia calls for her daughter and bickers pleasantly with her son about his homework, Zach gapes at the screen, suddenly horrified. As Grace appears, disdaining breakfast and hugging her mom, Zach sprints to call Eli. “What’s he doing?” Grace wonders. “I don’t know,” Alicia declares, griddle in hand, “I’ve given up on parenting. How’d you sleep?” Grace slept well, thank you very much. “You look good,” she tells her mother with surprise. “Your hair – it’s cool.” It is rather flippy; Alicia mugs happily. Aw!
Zach, meanwhile, tries to get Eli pulled out of a conference call/press briefing, where the latter is introducing new “strong second” Jordan to the press corps as California Senator Barbara Boxer’s chief of staff (impressive) who’s worked on three California Senatorial campaign. (Which, hmm, makes him an interesting fit for Chicago in mid-winter, no?) “Hello, print journalists,” Jordan leans toward the speaker as Eli’s assistant waves his phone. “How does it feel to perpetuate a dying medium?” They laugh. I don’t find it so charming, myself. “Does this mean the candidate has lost faith in you, Eli?” a woman’s voice asks. It means we’re expanding, Eli explains, but looks up as his assistant returns with a whiteboard, on which she’s written “Zach!!!!” Hee.
“Let me backstop that,” Jordan adds. ‘There has been absolutely no loss of confidence in Eli.” Does the press know that Eli’s under federal investigation yet? I’m going to guess not. As Jordan calls Maddie’s recent uptick in the polls a “novelty bump,” Eli finally gets on the phone with Zach. At first Eli’s snappish, but it turns out that Maddie’s campaign left a link open on their website to “internal political documents.” Do tell! “It’s an easy thing to do, but I got a screen grab before they closed it.” Eli ought to be much more excited than he is, don’t you think? But then Zach has to put Eli on hold, because another call’s coming through. “Oh, sure that’s why I’m here,” Eli snaps.
“Mom, do you know an Elsbeth?” What, the delightfully daffy, certifiably brilliant Elsbeth Tascioni? Of course she does! Alicia stops fiddling with her cool hair and reaches for the handset. Oh, yay – I love Elsbeth! Zach immediately gets booted of the house phone, and is forced to call Eli back on his cell. Oh, the indignities of being a teenager. It turns out that Elsbeth (talking over a landline herself in a busy office) needs Alicia’s help on a case – a contract arbitration for her client Anna, just a few hours work. (Okay, not that I’m not thrilled we’re doing this, but surely she has colleagues at her own firm?)
“We’ve got everything under control, there’s nothing to worry about,” Eli poopoos Zach. “Maddie Hayward is going after race, racial bias,” Zach cries out, clearly upset that Eli’s not grasping the seriousness of this. There’s no racial bias, no worries, Eli contends, but Zach reads off the screengrab that Maddie has two black ASAs willing to say that Peter’s biased against them. Why don’t you just send Eli the flipping screengrab, Zach? They’re just trying to get us to chase our tails, Eli shrugs, it’s a bluff – although you can see in his face he doesn’t quite believe his own words. “I don’t think so, Eli,” Zach shakes his head. ‘When did you start talking to me like I was a peer?” Eli wonders. Ha! Wisely, Zach returns to calling him Mr. Gold. Okay. Send on the screen grab, Eli says, and I’ll look into it. Alicia, too, finishes her call and walks off to dress for work, a slice of bacon in her hand. “Nice having breakfast with you too!” Grace calls out, sitting alone, again.
Maddie Hayword is definitely not alone: she’s laughing, the center of attention in a large room full of old and middle aged men in business suits. Oh, I stand corrected, there’s one other woman. “That joke was written for me by my staff, so they appreciate your laughter,” she admits, creating another wave of said laughter. At the back of the room, Jordan and Eli lean against a bar and smirk. “Now this is no joke,” she continues. “I love business. I am not the type of feminist who doesn’t want you to make a dollar. I want you to make money. With women. And African Americans.” Ah, there it is. Zach was dead on. Eli looks up from his phone, concerned. “And Latinos. I think racial bias is an impediment to business.” Jordan looks over to Eli, wondering where the hell that came from.
After her speech, Maddie shakes hands with – woah, Peter. I wasn’t expecting that, somehow. She wants to talk about debates, and she wants to have four. Eli says one, however, and Eli speaks for Peter. Gosh, one is awful high stakes, huh? President Obama would have been in a lot of trouble if he’d stopped at one. Peter, however, is prepared to leave it at that. “Say hello to Alicia,” Maddie offers as a parting shot, and for a minute I think Peter’s going to lose it. He turns back to stare at her; “I will” is all he says.
After Peter relates the debate conversation (which seems so school yard, somehow), Eli brings up the racial bias issue. We think she’s looking at preferential hiring at the State’s Attorney’s office, he explains. Let it go, Jordan shakes his head. “Race is a scab, you don’t pick at it.” Huh. “We think she has a couple of ASAs who’re going to go public,” Eli cautions. “Public about what,” Peter frowns, “and who’s we?” Well may you ask, Peter. Eli explains about Zach findings the confidential memos on Maddie’s site; it takes Jordan a minute to realize who Zach is. Talk to the ASAs, Eli insists, see if anyone’s disgruntled. “Just let it go,” Jordan repeats. Um, okay. Now that I’m looking for it, he does seem to have a bit of a laid back Californian vibe. Does he really believe that, or is he just setting himself up as opposition to Eli? Peter will take their conflicting advice under advisement.
Meanwhile, Alicia’s arrived at a police station. When she asks at the desk, she’s sent over to the right – and eventually she finds Elsbeth at the back of a large room.
Where she’s waving cheerily from behind bars. “Over here! Hiiiiiii!” “Oh boy,” Alicia mutters under her breath.
Turns out Elsbeth was trying to question one Simon Facile (oooh, excellent name). “He was giving a Q & A after a speech, and he had me arrested! I’ve never been arrested in my life!” She puts her hand on Alicia’s arm. “And then I turned around, and – this is nice!” Our favorite attention deficit sufferer has been distracted by the fabric of Alicia’s inevitably black jacket. What is it? Tahari, Alicia thinks, naming the designer. (Sigh – I love Tahari. I like that cream asymmetrical top, too.) So, Alicia begins to put Elsbeth back on task, you want me to cover a case for you? Ah yes. She brings us up to speed, completely with hilarious squinty eyes and overly dramatic pointing. Mr. Facile is the CEO of a sneaker company (Erobos) who’s reneged on a 5 million dollar contract with Elsbeth’s client Anna; arbitration begins in 2 hours. Yikes! Elsbeth’s bond hearing is at 2, so she’ll hoping Alicia can cover a few hours. Just then a really, really sad looking blond (improbably wearing a business suit) starts to cosy up to Alicia.
“This is in Skokie?” Will puzzles over the phone. Yep, on a Friday, Alicia tells him (and us). They don’t do bond hearings on a weekend, Will explains, walking and talking through the office hall. Despite what Elsbeth thought about 2 o’clock, Alicia needs to get her transported in the next 20 minutes or poor Elsbeth will be stuck in the clink over the weekend. Ugh. Well, then, Alicia asks, can you handle the contract arbitration while I try to spring her from jail? Unfortunately he’s got a deposition. “Can someone else there handle it? It’s Elsbeth Tascioni.” Will stops in his tracks. “It’s Elsbeth, that’s the lawyer your with?” he exclaims, surprised. Yes.
And because her name and talent are a magic talisman, Will’s deposition disappears; next we see him walking to a very leggy young woman sitting upright on a bench in the courtroom hallway, wearing an orange dress with a maroon cardigan, looking pale and a bit bereft. He introduces himself, explaining that his friend Elsbeth asked him to help her today. Why, cries Anna (it sounded like her last name was Bidet, but that can’t be right, can it?), horrified. Er, Will admits, she got arrested for harassing Simon Facile.
“She’s not coming?” Anna repeats. Just for today, Will tries to soothe her, but it doesn’t really work. “I’ll ask for a continuance – but don’t worry. Your endorsement contract is iron-clad. This is just a formality.” Those sound like some famous last words, Will! “You won two silver medals, they can’t argue performance. Now if I can’t get the continuance, I’ll argue today and Elsbeth will take over on Monday.” Anna nods, biting her lip. Behind Will, the CEO walks up to the courtroom door. “You got her arrested?” Anna calls out. Don’t talk to her, Simon, Facile’s lawyer cautions. Then he introduces himself to Will, pelvis first. “Morgan Croft,” he says. “Sorry to lose Elsbeth as an opponent.” Did he understand how brilliant an opponent she is, or is he being a prat? “She was … very entertaining.” I see. Total prat. Anna leans over Will’s shoulder. “Can you beat them?” she growls. “Yes,” he agrees.
That’s right; we need to have Elsbeth’s back in all things.
Her nail polish prim and pink, Anna blazes down the track in Erobos’s commercial. “Why chase boys?” the screen asks, “when you can pass them?” Okay. Not bad. I’ve definitely seen this kind of advertising. Will clicks off the commercial, and we see five people gathered around a table in a courtroom; Morgan, Simon, Anna, Will and presumably the arbiter. Erobos filmed the commercial last December (er, does this mean 2012?); though it never aired, Will contends that’s not a reason not to pay her for doing it. Indeed. “Now we understand that they’ve overextended themselves with endorsement contracts, but that’s no reason my client should suffer.” Huh. Interesting to be arguing from the creditor’s point of view, huh Will? The arbiter seems convinced, but Morgan has a trick up his sleeve. They want to void the contract on cause; Anna being banned from a race due to doping.
Her eyes just about bugging out of her head, Anna essentially calls Morgan a dirty liar. (Okay, she didn’t, but you know that’s what she’s thinking. I mean, look at her outraged face.) “Anna Bodet has been banned from Monday’s world trials.” Ah. Bodet, not Bidet. That’s better. ‘I have not!” she replies, completely offended. “AADL released their findings last night; Anna has been accused of using dexytetrazolone,” Morgan continues, and Anna’s jaw gapes open even wider. “I have never doped!” she gasps, astounded as Morgan insists she’s been banned from Monday’s race. “My parents would kill me before they’d let me dope.” Um, putting it that way makes you sound slightly less virtuous. “The AADL disagrees,” Morgan finishes, “and if Anna misses her race on Monday due to this ban, her contract is voided.”
Well, wouldn’t that be convenient!
Will frantically dials his phone as he and Anna leave the courtroom. “You have to get me Elsbeth,” Anna insists – and indeed, who brings more hope to the hopeless? You know, in a non-theological sense. Elsbeth, for her part, is clinging to the bars of her prison cell. “This was all a set up,” she shakes her head, as if the prospect excites her. No, Alicia replies, puzzled. Seems pretty obvious, Alicia. “I can’t get a bond hearing until Monday, and Anna has to appeal the AADL decision over the weekend in order to run on Monday. They knew this was gonna happen.” Yeah, I’m with you, Elsbeth. This is so not an accident. That Morgan looks like someone to try dirty tricks when he doesn’t have the facts in his corner. (Not that we don’t try dirty tricks, but I’d like think ours are a little less extreme!)
“Will’s going to take the appeal,” Alicia starts to explain. “I like Will,” Elsbeth smiles hugely. “Uh, I do too,” Alicia agrees. Elsbeth veers into a tangent about his very very sad suspension. “He’s going to take the appeal to the, uh…” “CAS,” Elsbeth supplies, back on track. “Court of Arbitration for Sports. Tell Will that the CAS doesn’t run like an American court; it has a whole set of rules based on Swiss law.” Okie dokie; Alicia will also work on getting Elsbeth transferred back to Chicago to get a weekend bond hearing. Elsbeth snaps, shooting her fingers out into little finger guns. “Good. What am I going to do?” Sit tight, Alicia says, we got it.
Sounds like more famous last words, no?
Frog-faced Judge Thomas Politi’s laugh rumbles through his empty courtroom. “You know what the lesson here is, right?” He’s got one of those tough guy Italian accents, and he doesn’t even have his robe on. “Never get arrested in the suburbs on a Thursday night.” Wouldn’t that make this Friday, and so shouldn’t he be in robes? Also thanks, that’s very helpful; Alicia delicately explains that she was looking for help in transferring Elsbeth, and not helping him write a joke. Somehow, she missed the 2pm transport (how is that even possible?) and we don’t want her stuck in Skokie. The judges stares sadly at the food he’s brought with him, and starts cracking his knuckles. “How’s Peter doing?” he asks – only it comes out “How’s Petah doin’?” Heh. Good, she smiles hopefully. “Betcha that bitch is nipping at his heels, huh?”
Yeah, Alicia doesn’t like that crack quite so much.
Politi stands and walks down the bench to a phone. A phone on the judges bench? Cool! Who knew? Happily, this spares Alicia from having to form a cogent reply that conceals her obvious disgust. “Hey John. This is Tommy, upriver.” Of course he pronounces it broadly – “rivah.” All seems to be well as Politi instructs John to send an additional transport to “drag her ass up here,” but of course nothing’s going to be that easy. We do have 44 minutes to fill, after all. “You gotta do what you gotta do,” he grunts into the phone, and upon hanging up, explains to Alicia that Skokie’s decided Elsbeth needs a psychological evaluation (oh crap) and can’t be transferred until that’s done. “I can trump a lot of things, but I can’t trump insurance issues. You tell your client to pass the psych eval, and I’ll get her up here.”
Ah ha ha ha ha ha. Psych eval? What a complete and utter disaster.
Anna and Will walk through a concrete block hallway, as he explains he’ll have to at least take the start of the hearing until they can get Elsbeth out of the pokey. And it looks like the only place the CAS could find to hold the hearing was – the side of an indoor track? Weird. There are no hotels in Chicago? Not that it isn’t more visually interesting… “It’s a three judge panel like any other appeal, we’ll be fine,” Will insists; Anna is not soothed at all.
At first, I think that I’m not understanding the speaker’s thick accent, but then I realize no, he is actually speaking French. Well, okay, I guess that makes sense – it’s one of the official Olympic languages and probably is the same for international sports bodies. A man who looks quite a bit like a Gallic, long haired Clancy Brown introduces himself as the head of the judging panel, a Monsieur Villapique. The prosecutor (or opposing counsel, or investigator, or whomever) answers back in French, referring to the first speaker as “Monsieur Le President” and referencing being in the US. And that’s as far as my high school French gets me. Will’s baffled; obviously Anna was right in continuing to worry. She’s never been to a CAS hearing, so she’s just as lost as he is. On his right, the head judge continues, is Ciccone of Italy, and on his left, Heinrich of … well, presumably it’s Germany, but that’s when Will asks His Honor for permission to speak.
“I apologize for interrupting. I don’t speak French.” Villapique’s jaw drops. “You… don’t?” I know, I’m shocked too. No, Will explains, this is all new to me. Yeah. We maybe should have at least talked to a sports lawyers, one who specializes in such courts? Did a little research online? I kind of love that Will the sports guy is so out of his depth, though. After a flurry of French, Villapique explains that Mr. Plunkett of the Anti-Doping League has agreed to conduct the panel in English for Will’s benefit. (Yeah, and with an unnecessary, snotty slam on the American education system thrown in; sorry that French isn’t as relevant to world commerce as Mandarin or Spanish these days, boys, but there it is.) Aren’t you sweet? Nice for Anna that she’s going to get to understand the hearing, too.
So now everything’s set. “Please proceed, Mr. Gardener,” Villapique sits, leans forwarded and folds his hands, perfectly attentive. Excuse me, Will wonders, his face blank. Proceed with what? Your defense, the judge explains. We are so not in Kansas anymore. “What is the charge?” Will asks. The answer’s not going to help much. “There is no charge. Miss Anna Bodet [totally sounds like Bidet again] has been banned from Monday’s race due to her use of boosters, dexytetrazolone; if you have no defense, then there is no reason for a hearing.” Well that feels ass-backwards. “Yes,” Will replies through gritted teeth, “but Anna has passed every drug test, including the one last week for Monday’s race, Your Honor! ”
The doping agency’s – er, agent? – Plunkett explains that she technically did pass the test, but then “ghosting” was found in her sample.” No one looks illuminated. “Her B sample had the same markers in it as the notorious six.” Amid significant looks from the judges, Anna explains that these are 6 runners banned from the race for using boosters. Plunkett goes into minute specifics: the tester found a surge of ICSH (interstitial cell-stimulating hormone) the fingerprint for boosters. The judges start conferencing in rapid French; Plunkett joins in. Will objects.
“There’s no objection here, Mr. Gardener – this is not Law & Order,” Villapique sniffs. Ha ha. “How do I express my displeasure with something that has transpired, Monsieur Le…” You may speak it me, Villapique tells him. Given that we’ve already established I flunked out of French, Will tosses up his hands, it seems unfair to conduct “colloquia” in a language unknown to Anna and I. Of course, the judge agrees. Mr. Plunkett was just saying he has a witness to a courier bringing Anna drugs during the Olympics. Um, yeah, I think that would be useful for her to know! Anna scrunches up her cute face in outrage as Plunkett hands Will the witness’s statement. “Well, then we call this witness to the stand,” Will frowns at the paper. “There is no stand, Mr. Gardner, ” Villapique smirks. “Well then to the chair in the middle of the room,” Will shrugs. Ha! Love it.
And the really annoying judges start conferring again in French. Seriously? When Will interrupts (still stumbling over whether he should call them all Monsieurs Le President, ha) he’s informed they’re debating whether to grant his request. You know, now that I think about it, he’s unlucky that the German and Italian judges can debate fluently in French and English; otherwise, they’d have to get some interpreters in there, which would actually be helpful if only to give him the extra time to grapple with the unfamiliar process. Wait, Will wonders – what do you mean, grant my request to call the witness? By a two to one margin, Villapique smirks at Will, we’ve decided to call the witness. As the proceedings are momentarily suspended Will tells Anna that he’s off to get help. Too right, Will; you need it bad.
Diane leans back in her desk chair, unfolding a pamphlet wistfully, dreaming of a visit to a spa. Why aren’t you getting hot rocks placed on your back right now, Diane? Couldn’t justify the shoot to the network? She hesitates and scrunches up her lips before picking up her cell phone. “Will, how’d the deposition go?” Wow, she’s out of the loop. “What,” she cries, as he fills her part of the way in. “Yes,” he exclaims fiercely, “how’s your French?” She recites something with a rollicking French accent; she practically out-Frenches the French actor playing Villapique. Great, Will says, I need you at a sports hearing.
Scoffing, Diane says she’s got a massage scheduled in two hours. He pleads; the CAS panel is speaking in French, Diane! Why are you doing this again, she wonders. For a friend, he says. Will, it’s the weekend, she whines. (Except it can’t be that late on Friday, can it, if it’s still light out? 3pm on Friday is still the work week.) Another time, she shrugs. Will doesn’t want to bring out the big guns, but he will. “It’s Elsbeth Tascioni,” he bursts out. Diane takes off her glasses. “Where?”
Aw. That made me a little teary. We love Elsbeth!
“You are one of the most brilliant lawyers I have ever met,” Alicia tells a happily giggling Elsbeth, as a preamble to prepping her on how to pass the psych eval. Again, aw. Elsbeth’s touched, and it’s charming. Alicia’s tips are also rather illuminating, since I have very little knowledge of psych evals. (What comes to my mind at the phrase? Mean, squirrelly Mr. Sawyer from Miracle on 34th Street.) Apparently, the examiners ask lots of questions, and leave big pauses to make their subjects uncomfortable, prompting them to talk and sound nuts. Uh oh. Her goose is so cooked! Actually, I imagine a lot of us would have trouble letting that kind of silence sit. “I’m not supposed to talk?” No, Alicia answers carefully, but not as much as you normally would. ‘Do I talk too much?” Elsbeth replies, stricken. No, poor Alicia responds, “I just think it’s best to be… circumspect.” You can see Elsbeth picturing herself as Mata Hari – it’s cute and horrifying at the same time.
That said, Alicia turns to giving sample questions. “Do you resent being given advice?” And no, it doesn’t matter what advice. See, I would suck at this, because I’m all about nuance, and the conditions of a situation. “Of course not! I love getting advice. Does that make me seem non-committal?” Elsbeth wonders. Oh, hon. “That’s fine, just don’t worry about it afterward.” Like I just did, Elsbeth realizes. Yes. Of course, she looks crazily pleased with herself that she understood Alicia’s point. Sigh. I’m going to say it again; she’s so screwed. Give me another one, Elsbeth cries, patting her lap in excitement, but when she gets it (do you like to keep active, and are you easily bored), it’s the same story of double guessing once again. “That’s a tough one, because it’s a compound question! But I guess that’s the point.” Yes. That’s the point. “They want my mind to chase down the two tracks.” Yes, that’s why they ask them that way, Alicia confirms. So weird. Why does Alicia know this, I wonder? “So, it is best to just let the silence rest.” Elsbeth doesn’t respond, which wasn’t quite what Alicia meant even if it does make her laugh. “Exactly! Good, very good!”
“Thanks for doing this, Geneva,” Peter rumbles, sitting kitty corner to our favorite ASA in one of his brown leather chairs. “Doing what?” Geneva sneers. Ah, Miss Pine, how I have missed you. “Talking with me, helping me.” He offers her refreshments, which she declines. After an awkward pause and a few false starts, Peter asks the big question. How is he doing on racial bias, anyway? Oh, you asked the right person, Peter Florrick; she’s the straightest shooter on this show. He admits it puts her in an uncomfortable position (what, because she’s so retiring with her opinion?), but he really wants to know. “I need to self evaluate. There will be no repercussions one way or another – none. So, how’m I doing on racial bias?”
“You’re asking about racial bias in the office?” Yes, he is. “And you want me to speak honestly?” Yes, he does. Ha ha ha, I’m just loving this. He is going to get such an earful. “And with no reper….” he starts. “You’re racially biased,” she interrupts. God, I love her. He misses a beat; you can tell he honestly wasn’t expecting that answer. “I am? What do you mean by that?” Oh, she’s going to tell you. “You have fired five African Americans and promoted two Caucasians, that is racially biased.” Coincidence! he cries, and she smiles painfully. You’re right, she sgreess, although it’s obvious she’s saying that only because he’s her boss, and he knows it. He apologizes, and asks to start over; she sighs wearily and shoots him an almost pitying look. “Cary Agos was not ready to be promoted to deputy.” That is quite possible; being a good lawyer doesn’t make someone a good administrator. “Matan Brody was.” Sorry, but Matan Brody is an ass, and he will never be ready to not be an ass. “I was.” Geneva, on the other hand, is not an ass, and she’s a far better lawyer than Matan. “Together we had two decades more experience, but you promoted Cary because you liked him.” Peter looks thoughtful and a bit embarrassed.
“You fired Wendy Scott-Carr, you demoted Dana Lodge…” Peter tries to interrupt. “You might have had reasons – there are always reasons!” Well, one thing you can clearly say is that Peter let both women stick their necks out as part of his own vendetta against Will, and then slapped them down for it. I wouldn’t see that as racial bias so much as really really bad – even poisonous – management. He put them in the position to dig their own graves, although after her failed candidacy, there probably wasn’t a way for Wendy to work under him well. And when you add them to that poor guy Peter fired for having sex in Peter’s office – after Cary had promised immunity for a confession – well, it’s not a happy record. She could rightly bring Laura’s hiring into this morass as well. “It’s about who you listen to. That’s the key.” Who’s his deputy now, I wonder, and why isn’t it Geneva?
“Let’s say that you’re right,” he offers. ‘What should I do?” She perks up. “Rethink!” she suggests. “Review all promotions, return all hiring to meritocracy.” Oh, and that Minority Rights Coallition that offered you a speaking gig? Speak to them, you idiot! He closes his eyes, realizing he’s offended minority groups already. “Your opponent is going.” Peter opens one pained eye to look at Geneva. “You should talk to them. You’re a good talker.” That he is! “Talk to them.”
“Chenise Jayes,” a young woman with gold hoop earring and a leather jacket explains, adding that she was the anchor on the US 400 meter relay and I think Anna’s roommate; I say I think, because somebody protests while she’s speaking. “We know who she is!” Of course, Will concedes, “thank you, Your… monsieur.” Ha. Well, the audience didn’t, so that was a neat moment of using necessary exposition to give us more information about the court’s attitude as well – and that attitude seems to be that it’s not really a court and it’s silly to take things seriously. Will asks Chenise to explain to the court/the audience the circumstances of her seeing a man give Anna drugs. “Yeah,” Chenise says, hunched over, her hands pressed together between her knees, “it was the night before we left for London. An Asian guy in a Cubs cap shows up around 2 in the morning.” Anna closes her eyes and exhales. Is it wrong of me to immediately think, well, that’s not AT the Olympics?
“He was talking to her, all hush hush, and handed her a bottle of pills. And then Anna went into the bathroom.” Will wants to know if she saw the pills – she didn’t, she was on the couch – and whether they couldn’t have been vitamins or aspirin. “We had all that stuff in our room,” Chenise says. Hmm. “So you didn’t know this guy, you’d never seen him before?” Not at the time, but she’s found out since: “It was Nelson Kimura, one of the notorious six.” And the French starts flying again. Diane squints at the panel, and then stands.
Excuse me, she begins. “We are not stumbling our way through anything, and we ask that you show our defense its due respect.” Villapique stares at her, shocked, and offers his apologies. “We have not come here to be pre-judged, and we ask nothing but that you listen to us with an open mind.” Ciccone already has his hands up in defeat, but Diane continues with a French quotation: “Prejudices have no place here.” No indeed, agrees the head judge, his interest (Villa)piqued. “Ask for something,” Will hisses. What, Diane wonders. I don’t know, anything, Will replies – clearly looking to test her power over the panel. She asks for an overnight recess. She gets it. Along with a date, I’m sure, if she wants one; she and Villapique make almost comical French googly eyes at each other.
“All those years I disparaged French as a pointless class, I take them back, ” Will apologizes to the liberal arts curriculum as he sits next to Anna in front of Diane’s desk. Ha. “Nice job,” he finishes. Diane grins, triumphant – but she also wants Anna to explain how she knows Kimura. A sprinter on the team, she says. “Did he bring you these drugs?” No, Anna shakes her head vigorously. “Did he bring you anything?” This time the girl bites down on both lips and shakes her head silently. Hmmm. “But he meant something to you?” Diane guesses astutely, and Anna deflates. “My boyfriend,” she admits with some embarrassment, “before the Olympics. We’re not together now.” Wait, what? If he was her boyfriend, why didn’t Chenise know him? Since she and Chenise were at least staying together in the US just before the Olympics, presumably training together for the relay? Why would that have been a secret? “He was your boyfriend, but he didn’t bring you drugs,” Will assesses. Yes. If you lie to us, we can’t help you, Diane smiles. I’m not lying, Anna protests, seeming very sincere. “There were no drugs. Nothing happened!” Diane raises an eyebrow at Will.
“And you don’t believe her?” Alicia asks over the phone. Anna’s hiding something, but who knows what. “Maybe just the boyfriend’s drug use,” Diane theorizes. Maybe she’s hiding the drugs for Kimura, Alicia suggests. Either way, they need to know or they can’t defend her; Diane wants Alicia to ask Elsbeth again if there’s anything she can think of. Elsbeth, who is currently having her psyche evaluated. Ick. “And Diane,” Alicia finishes, “thanks for doing this.” Diane sighs. “Hey. It’s just the weekend.”
Despite implying to Diane that she couldn’t interrupt the evaluation, Alicia eases into the small room. “Do you feel guilty about drinking or using chemicals,” a dour looking man asks Elsbeth, raising his eyes with a challenging look. “I don’t feel guilty about drinking,” she reasons, “which I do do….” Oh, shoot, she’s off. You can see the wheels turning. “but I don’t use chemicals, by which I imagine you mean chemical stimulants, so it would be impossible to feel guilty about that.” She smiles, pleased with herself. Good work, Elsbeth! I thought she was going to be totally sidetracked by “doodoo.” The examiner turns his head to the side and narrows one eye. Wow, he really wants her to fail, doesn’t he? Hilarious and deeply wrong.
Oops. She cracked – laughed. “Why did you laugh, Miss Tascioni?” the examiner asks, sucking in his lips. “I don’t know – your pause seemed funny to me.” Gee, I don’t know – could that be because it was?! But he invites her down the rabbit hole. Why did it seem funny? What do you mean, the oddity of human behavior? Ridiculous. No one would pass that kind of exam, especially if talking and thinking are what make you fail it. She and Alicia exchange painful, awkward looks. Her jaw falls open. “Yes, Miss Tascioni?” the examiner prompts. There’s a sharp intake of breath.
“She was pregnant!” Elsbeth gasps.
Now she’s really lost the examiner, not that it even matters at this point. Tascioni rushes out of her seat to Alicia. “ICSH is the male equivalent of LH, luteinizing hormone.” OH. Wow, I actually get that. If I recall correctly, that’s the hormone that promotes the growth first of the follicle that produces an egg, and then the sustains fertilized egg until the egg attaches to the uterine wall – a super early indicator of pregnancy. “A pregnancy related hormone! That’s why the unexplained hormonal surge, it wasn’t drug use, she was pregnant.” The examiner turns snappish (“Miss Tascioni! Do you mind?”) but the women ignore him. But that can’t be, Alicia puzzles. That was ten months ago at the Olympics. She doesn’t have a… Oh, Alicia. Elsbeth holds up her hands. “I know, wait,” she cries, inspiration working its way to the only possible conclusion. “The pills her boyfriend brought her, what if it wasn’t boosters, what if it was mifepristone?”
Okay, I hadn’t heard of that drug before, but I know where this is going and so does everyone else. “And that’s why she doesn’t want to tell us.” Yep. “You have to go talk to her,” Elsbeth grabs Alicia’s hands, tugging on them, pleading. “You have to tell her she has to tell the truth.” Alicia rushes out, Elsbeth takes a moment to celebrate, brushes off her hands, and then scoots back to her seat under the beady eye of the examiner. “What was the question again?”
Diane advances on Anna, her lips pursed. “You have to tell them,” she declares. Anna’s leaning against the window, her eyes red, her arms wrapped around her body. “That I had an abortion?” She turns down her mouth. “No, no, I can’t.” Will sits on Diane’s desk. “Anna, you didn’t dope,” he explains patiently. “You terminated a pregnancy. You need to tell them.” I can’t, she spits out, as if the very words hurt. “Your family?” Diane guesses. She’s quite the astute guesser, Diane. “My parents, my, my sister,” Anna stumbles. “They’ll understand,” Will soothes – wrong for what is that, the fifth time this episode? It’s such a knee jerk reaction with him. At some point you’re going to have to stop telling people things will be fine when they won’t, Will. “It’s worse that you were doping.” No, she shakes her head. “It’s not worse.” Of course it isn’t. Will, clearly her family is pro-life; think about what that means. “Not to my family, not to me. I wanted to medal,” she cries, her soft voice full of contempt, her eyes filling with tears. “I was pregnant, and I wanted to medal.” Faced with her shame and anguish, Will and Diane hang their heads.
“Here’s the problem, Anna,” Diane says slowly. Anna’s tries desperately to contain the tears, her face contorting with the effort. “We can defend you with the truth. If you tell the truth, you will get your five million dollar contract, and you will run on Monday. If you don’t, you will lose both.” So the money, or your family’s respect? Which will it be? “Then I’ll lose both,” she chooses, her chin lifting, resolute. “I can’t break their hearts, and this will.”
“So what do we do?” Will asks. “You need to help me win this,” Anna replies, decisively. “With a lie?” Will replies. Oooh, judge much? You’re not going to bat an eye at the abortion that’s destroyed her emotionally, but the lie that bothers you, Mr. Lawyer? Gee, how can you possibly defend a client with a lie? We’ve never seen that before. (Not that the lie in healthy, mind you, but that’s another discussion.) “If that’s what it takes,” she agrees.
Alicia sits on a bench at the police station in her gorgeous red coat (the sign of a bright new day), chatting with someone on the phone. I’m just checking in, she tells Peter, who’s on his campaign bus with Eli and Jordan. She’s trying to get a lawyer out of lock up; he’s watching his two top men argue about whether he should go to the minority rights event. Wait, he says. What did you say you were doing? Alicia explains about “a lawyer friend” being stuck in Skokie. He suggest she get a judge to order a transport, she explains about the failed psych eval. Hmmmph, he growls. “Want me to make a call?”
Her head lifts in surprise. “Could you?” He would, but when he hears that it’s Elsbeth, he has to take the offer back, since she was the one who won his retrial. “It’s going to look like a political favor now,” he sighs. “Not a personal one,” Alicia nods in understanding. Let me think about it, he says. No, no, that’s not why I called you, she stops him. Why did she call? She gives the most adorable smile. Because she wanted to talk to him, that’s all. Aw! “I was just checking in.” Oh, he says. Well, why don’t you come the bus, and we’ll grab something to eat? We’re in Morgan Park. “If I get a break, I will,” she beams.
Oh, and he’s got another idea she can try to spring Elsbeth. Question the arrest itself. “Make it a constitutional issue, and the judge will have to transport her.” Nice! She loves it. “See ya,” he chirps, and she hugs the phone to her chest, still smiling.
“Thank you for answering our questions, Mr. Chesterfield,” Diane addresses a witness sitting on the chair in the middle of the room. “Dr. Chesterfield,” he corrects, irked. (Hey, that’s Dr. Freeman from Copper! Nice casting. I like it.) “Ah,” Diane says, then apologizing in French. “I don’t speak French,” Chesterfield glowers. My mistake, Diane admits, shooting a coy, insidery glance over at Villapique. Damn, she is just so good. So you’re the chemist who tested Anna’s sample? “I’m lead chemist at Edgar labs,” Chesterfield sneers. Wow, dude has a serious attitude. “We test and interpret samples for all U.S. athletes.” So that’s a yes? Yes. Turns out that Chesterfield is the one who discovered the booster scandal; he’s quite proud of discovering that and dexytetrazolone.
And after you found this substance, Diane asks, did you test it? No, Chesterfield admits, causing the judges and Plunkett to look at each other, ruffled. Edgar labs has subpoena’d the labs in China which produce the drug, but haven’t yet gotten it. “So you’ve never seen this substance, never touched it, never held it, never tested it – how can you be positive it even exists?” Um, yeah. Nice try, Diane. “Think of contrails from an airplane, m’am. They don’t just appear. Something had to make them.” Diane (clad in a marvelous gold brocade jacket) points at her client, who wears a gray cabled sweater. How does he prove that Anna used it when she denies it? “Does she have contrails?” Diane smirks at Villapique, giving the word “contrails” a French twist – but duh, obviously she does.
“If we’re going to argue in metaphors,” Plunkett interjects, “then contrails are enough. They were enough for Lance Armstrong…” Uh, is it your turn to argue, Will snaps. “This isn’t about arguing,” Plunkett smirks. “These Chicago lawyers continue to think this is an adversarial proceeding.” Ha ha ha ha ha. Yeah, there’s nothing adversarial about this! Oh, Will huffs. “Our mistake. I guess we should all agree Anna is guilty?” Ha. It’s so true. “This is not an American court, Mr. Gardner. There’s no need to be at each other’s throat. This is not Rambo.” Then he starts spouting in French again.
Diane leans in to translate for Will; rules don’t require absolute proof to keep her from running. That’s lovely. “We have to find another way.”
So get ready for the day to be saved; they’ve got Kalinda sitting down with Elsbeth in Skokie. Hee. It’s about time they called in the cavalry. Will and Diane have their intrepid investigator reviewing Elsbeth’s trial notes, and she has a question. “Diane? Diane’s on it too? She’s so elegant,” Elsbeth interrupts, sighing. “Yeah,” Kalinda agrees, taken aback. “What does that say?” The note looks like binary code – 0010. “That? That’s background on Dr. Chesterfield.” Er, okay. “What happened with him?” Contrails, Kalinda sighs. “Yeah. He loves his contrails,” Elsbeth observes, wringing her finger tips. “The problem with doping charges is that the burden of proof is reversed. You have to prove you’re innocent.” Yes, that IS a problem. Then Elsbeth goes still.
“What? ” Kalinda wonders. “Where’s Alicia?” “She’s trying to get you a trial downtown, but what were you about to say?” Kalinda prompts. “Me? Oh yes. Tell Will and Diane they have to attack the three pillars.” Kalinda’s baffled. ‘It’s the way they substantiate doping charges. Pillar one, analysis. I guess we lost on that one. What’re the other two?” Uh, I don’t know, Kalinda mutters. “No, I’m asking myself,” Elsbeth replies, her eye seeing something entirely different from what’s in front of them, one finger still in the air. “Confidentiality, and, uh, Chain of Custody.” Chain of custody, Kalinda queries. Excellent. “Like a three legged stool; you knock that out, the CAS falls over.” Excellent! Thanks, Kalinda smiles. “Do you know what?” Elsbeth asks, her hands clasped. What? “I hate depending on other people!”
Kalinda smiles, this time with a real feeling of fellowship. “Me too,” she agrees ruefully. But hey, that’s when the transport for downtown arrives. Have you ever seen anyone so thrilled and adorably eager to be cuffed? “Yaay!” she squeals, bouncing over to the officer.
“Now, we all know that I have made mistakes,” Peter tells the audience at the Minority Rights Coalition. “But I wanna learn, and that’s why I’m here speaking to you, the Minority Rights Coalition.” Three debates, Maddie presses backstage. “You do the voters a disservice if you give them anything less.” In the gubernatorial primary? Ugh. “Yes, that’s what this is all about, doing the voters a disservice,” Eli scoffs. “We’ll consider three,” Jordan nods. ‘We will not!” Eli cries. “You give us two town halls, we’ll consider three,” Jordan continues mildly. This is not an official negotiation, Eli snips. “Why not, Eli, what’s wrong with three?” Eli wants to discuss this with Maddie’s minions; Maddie won’t send a minion to do something she can do herself. “Write my own speeches, spend my own money.” I should introduce you to your own words from the beginning of the episode, Miss Folksy. “Why don’t we just shake right now on three?” Notice she did not promise the two town halls. Jordan extends his hand. “No, not right now,” Eli fumes. Peter, meanwhile, is getting booed. What did he just do?
“My office prosecutes more African Americans than any other group, and I wanna know why!” he thunders. Eli turns in horror. The cries from the audiences get louder; Eli slinks away, presumably to get a better view of backstage tv. “President Obama promised a discussion on race in this country,” Peter pushes onward, “we’ve never had it.” Jordan sidles up to Eli. “I’m not the type that likes to point fingers, Eli,” he whispers, “but you should listen to me more. I know what I’m doing.”
Slamming the door behind him, Peter stumbles onto his campaign bus, head in his head. “Court’s at 9 tomorrow,” comes a voice from the side; it’s Alicia. She slinks toward him, beautiful in her black dress. “I should have her out by noon. Okay, gotta go.” He sighs. You have a break? Yeah, she does, though it’s taken all day for her to have it. “You alright,” she wonders, because clearly he’s not. “Yeah,” he tries to shake himself out of his funk, “it was just a bad speech.” Yes. Certainly did not go down easy. “You have time for a bite?” he asks, stepping toward her. She considers this. “Sure,” she offers, unable to contain the naughty little smile that tells him that food is not what she’s there for.
And there they are, up against the wall of the bus, as some sort of rousing French anthem (Edith Piaf?) blares in the background. Woah. I mean, woah.
And then bang goes the door.
They stop moving.
“Come on, Peter, it’s not as bad as you think,” Eli calls out, his palm pressed against the door. Ha. I need a minute, Peter tells him as Eli continues to plead. “Just a minute?” Alicia questions, her voice low and rumbly and so sexy. “A campaign minute,” Peter promises, and Edith Piaf trills again, and poor Eli backs away in outrage as the bus begins to shake.
After, Peter collapses on the couch, winded, as Alicia pulls her pantyhose back on. The framing is so Mrs. Robinson. “Okay, I’ve got to get going,” she grins, adjusting the bottom of her dress. As she swings on the red coat, she cannot stop beaming. “What?” Alicia asks, looking at his face. “Nothing,” he replies, clearly spent. “Do I, uh, have to ask how we’re doing?” He grins, utterly puzzled. “No,” she replies, and you can hear the smile through her voice. “Okay,” he answers. “So we’re just – where we are?” As she belts her coat, she considers. “Do you want us to be somewhere else?” Oh no he doesn’t! Just checking, he backs down. She loves unsettling him, you can just tell; it’s like they’re dating again, and everything’s on her terms. She leaves, but she will take a water with her, at least. As Alicia sails off the bus, she runs into Eli, still waiting at the door. “Oh, don’t worry,” she grins into his stunned face, “just the wife.” She pats him on the shoulder and scampers off on her merry way, leaving him gaping, blinking and astounded.
That must have been a lot of fun. And I actually think I mean shocking both men as much as the sex.
“That isn’t true, Your Honor, it is a constitutional matter!” Alicia protests to Judge Tommy Politi. “No, Your Honor, it was a stupid matter,” Geneva Pine harrumphs. Man, do I love her. The back story, finally, is this: Simon Facile was speaking at Braddock University and invited questions. When he refused to answer her, Elsbeth attempted to continue the conversation and followed him to his car, where she was arrested for harassment by the campus police. Judge Politi, slumped over, sleepy and annoyed, props his head up with a hand under his chin. It doesn’t look like he’s enjoying being pulled in on a Sunday. Alicia contends that the campus police didn’t have jurisdiction on that floor of the garage. Jurisdiction is a constitutional issue? Wow, that’s kind of nutty. Morgan’s in the background, and he gives the hilariously outraged Geneva tips. Turns out the garage is leased to the University by a bank. “Your Honor, if we’re sinking to this level of ludicricity…” Geneva begins.
“Ludicricity?” The judge repeats, annoyed and captivated by the made-up word. The University is entrusted to safeguard the garage, Miss Pine insists. ‘Not the second and third floors!” Elsbeth whispers urgently, shaking Alicia’s arm. “How do you know that?” Alicia whispers back. “I don’t know! I don’t know how I know half the things I know!” Elsbeth hisses. Ha! Love it. Alicia explains that the second and third floors are for bank customers only, and Miss Tascioni was arrested in the third floor stairwell. Love seeing Elsbeth whisper this last behind her hand, like Politi isn’t going to know she’s feeding Alicia information. Alicia smiles, feeling sure she’s proved her case. Geneva’s arms are crossed, her back straight, her ponytail flying back and forth as her head whips from the judge to Alicia to Morgan.
“Okay,” Politi sighs, “here’s how we’re doing things. The four of you get all of your whispering out of the way. Go outside the court and discuss everything you want to discuss. but come back in here in twenty minutes with your best arguments, and Miss Pine?” Geneva turns away from Morgan to look at the judge, high ponytail swinging. “I have to say this. I’m inclined to toss this arrest, because I too think it’s stupid.”
“So,” Diane begins in the front of the three judges of the CAS. Diane reads a form to Dr. Chesterfield, who looks highly put out to be back on the not-a-stand, and it’s clear she’s attacking the chain of custody. The ISCH burst, similar to the notorious six (note he says similar and not the same) was found in the B sample from 7am July 20th. Diane reads that according to the rules, all samples have to be shipped to approved testing facilities on the same day they’re collected, and she has proof that Anna’s sample was sent a day late – in fact 5pm on the 21st. In such a case, the ADL code states that the sample has to be discarded. Well, sometimes the courier is closed, and these things happen, Chesterfield explains. They were closed all day on the 20th? “There’s no violation as long as the sample remains in our facility.” That’s when Kalinda and her short black leather skirt pops up with proof that it didn’t; “Merci, Mademoiselle,” Diane smirks, and Ciccone the Italian judges watches Kalinda’s bottom as it returns to her seat. The testing facility was closed, Diane explains, so the sample – and presumably all others collected on that day, which you’d think they’d have been more on top of at the Olympics! – had to have remained with the technician.
“Objection!” Plunkett calls. “I thought there were no objections?” Will snarks. “There’s no scientific way that the delay in delivering the sample could produce a false positive,” Plunkett insists. So, letter of the law, or common sense? The judges discuss amongst themselves in French. “Judge Villapique says the sample should still be allowed,” Diane tells Will and Anna. Why? “The delay was a technicality.” Ciccone seems to disagree, best as I can tell from his body language; Heinrich tosses up his hands like he doesn’t care. “The Italian judge is for us; the German is against us, but not as strongly. Villapique says this is what comes from these Rambo tactics.” What is it with him and Rambo, Will wonders. “Does anyone even watch Rambo anymore?” I doubt it. The panel rises to take a 30 minutes break to discuss the issue. “We need to flip the German,” Will realizes. “Where’s Tascioni?”
And there’s Judge Politi sitting down, the twenty minutes up. “Here we are again,” he sighs. “What’s your argument this time, Miss Pine?” She stands. “While the state continues to maintain that the campus police’s jurisdiction includes the parking garage – all levels of said garage – their arrest on the third floor also qualifies for the hot pursuit exemption.” What, they chased Elsbeth through the garage? “Your Honor, please. If I may borrow the ASA’s word ludicricity,” Alicia begins, as Elsbeth frantically scribbles on note paper. “You may not,” the judge thankfully declines. “I’m banning that word.” Speaking of words, I don’t know what Elsbeth thinks she’s writing, and neither does Alicia, because it looks like a series of loops. It’s not helpful, no matter how emphatically Elsbeth points to it.
The hot pursuit doctrine only comes into play, Alicia explains, in an emergency situation when things move too quickly to contact those with proper jurisdictional authority. How was this an emergency? Miss Tascioni threatened a guest lecturer, Geneva insists. “He fled, she followed him, verbally assaulting the victim while he tried to get to his car.” Yeah, I’m still not sure that’s illegal. If she left, then she wasn’t harassing him, and nothing was preventing him from getting in his car and leaving – yet another way we can see that he was behind the arrest. “Okay, okay, thank you, everyone. I think we’re gonna make history here today, spending more time on less,” he cuts everyone off, maintaining a straight face. “And yet, I have come to my decision.” They wait. “Afterward you can all appeal to the Supreme Court.” “He’s going to rule against us,” Elsbeth realizes, turning to Alicia in a panic.
“It was a legal arrest. The campus police, loathe as I am to give them any kind of a win, did step out of their jurisdiction, but with cause.” He holds up a finger. “And I’m …” That’s when Alicia stands and asks that he let Elsbeth go down the hall to bond court. “No, Your Honor,” Geneva interjects. What does she care? “Respectfully, this court lacks the authority to overturn a Skokie psychologist’s determination of her mental state.” Well, points out Alicia, they determined she was too risky to transport in Skokie, yet here she is. If you don’t grant this petition, they’ll drive her back to Skokie and back here again on Monday. “This is bureaucratic insanity!” Yes, cries Geneva, but it’s the law. This emergency hearing is the crazy part in her opinion – it was just a ploy to get the defendant here.
“Your Honor, all we’re requesting is that you allow my client to walk down the hall.” Alicia walks down the hall with her fingers. Hee. Geneva’s so annoyed, she wants Alicia sanctioned. “Stop it,” the judge bangs his gavel and holds up one hand, very Diana Ross. ‘Seriously. Stop it. Please. Go find some criminals to prosecute. And defend!” Everyone looks chastened. “Jim. Please escort the defendant down to bond court so she can post bail.” Elsbeth jumps to her feet, thrilled. Geneva starts to complains again. “Come on Miss Pine,” Politi bellows, “when the law’s an ass, someone has to kick it!’
And those are words to live by. Awesome.
Elsbeth hugs Alicia, squealing. “You can do all your crying and hugging down the hall,” the judge grumbles, nodding to bailiff Jim. “Get her outta here.” As quickly as they can scoop up their things, they go.
“Thank you all for the fervor and passion you brought to our proceedings,” Judge Villapique wags a finger at those assembled as he and the other judges sit. “It has been quite dramatic.” Will and Diane exchange a look at this exuberance; if this wasn’t enough to tell how the verdict is going to go, note how Heinrich isn’t looking at Anna. Studiously not looking at her. We’ve decided against your chain of custody issue, Villapique announces. “It’s in your own rule book, you can’t just decide,” Will protests. And yet, Villapique is unmoved. “It’s our discretion to apply the guidelines as we see fit,” the judge informs Will, “depending on the unique set of facts. The ruling stands.”
Always ready to take on a bully, Will refuses to let that stand. So your rules are now guidelines, he asks. Someone – I think it must be Plunkett, because we can’t see anyone’s mouth move – starts to answer in French, just as a voice echoes through the building. “Hello? I’m coming! I’m here!” comes a voice, and Will turns to see Elsbeth Tascioni running through the track, shoes in her waving hand. Diane explains first in French and then in English that they have a new lawyer joining them; Elsbeth too begins to make her excuses in French. We’re conducting the hearing in English, Will tells her, and she slumps ecstatically in relief. And then she remembers who she’s talking to, and throws her arms around her former client, calling out his name. She hugs Diane, too, with a sigh for the latter’s elegant dress. “I’ve just been really moved by you guys doing this!” she explains.
So much for old home week; Judge Villapique is annoyed, so they have to wrap up this touching moment. Diane takes Elsbeth’s coat, and after settling the remarkably unrumpled clothes she’s spent the last 4 days in, she introduces herself. “My name is Elsbeth and I am late because I got arrested.” Er, okay, I’m not sure they needed to know that unless you’re going to explain how this was timed to sabotage your client and her contract negotiation. “And I have one more witness – Dietrich Klein.” Mr. Klein, the cyclist? Villapique asks, puzzled. “Why is he here?” To speak regarding the CAS rule application, Elsbeth explains. I don’t think we need to hear that witness, the head judge waves his hands. In French, Judge Heinrich asks something to the effect of why? What’s wrong with Klein? Ciccone wonders, too. We ask for consensus, gentlemen, Elsbeth cuts in. Put your hands in the air! After a long look, Ciccione raises his hand to join Heinrich. “Judge Villapique, you’re out voted,” Elsbeth observes sweetly. “Two to one.”
And now Klein sits in the stand that’s not a stand, and he seems pleased to be there. We find out that two years before he was accused of using banned substances. Like Anna, he appealed, to a panel gathered in Lusanne. And how’d that go? Heinrich leans as far forward as he can, clearly fascinated. “There was no evidence, but the panel confirmed my guilt. Two to one. Judge Villapique convinced the Egyptian judge to switch his vote.” Villapique turns away, and Plunkett protests that this line of reasoning is irrelevant. Elsbeth hits on the main point again. Judge Villapique was on your panel? Oh yes. “I think Mr. Plunkett makes a very good point,” Villapique interjects. “The relevance has not been established.”
You were the one, Heinrich asks, outraged. Uh oh. Villapique tries to dismiss the witness. “You pushed our cyclist out?” That’s confidential, Villapique protests. Except if Klein waives his right to confidentiality, Elsbeth points out, which he just did. She’s correct, Ciccone adds, getting in on the act. So, again, who convinced the Egyptian judge to vote against you? Him, Klein points. Uh oh. And, guess what? When Klein was stripped of his title, who got it? A French cyclist. Villapique makes this marvelous “well how was I to know that?” face; it’s quite perfect. “This is nothing to do with it,” he points his full arm at Elsbeth. “I’m appalled by the insinuation!”
“You should have recused yourself,” Ciccone comments gently. “He cheated!” Villapique protests. “He didn’t deserve that medal!” Heinrich whips out his French again. I’m sure French is the lingua franca of sports, but there’s this really nice power calculation in making the bossy head judge French; everyone’s speaking his language rather than their own, even Heinrich as he launches into a tirade about Villapique’s inappropriate behavior. Klein, Anna, Diane and Will all seem to really enjoy watching the shouting match. “I just realized,” Will says, stunned, “you’re Rambo.”
She so is.
“President Obama promised a discussion on race in this country,” Peter insists in a videoclip on ChumHum. Wow, he just was not his smooth self trying to talk over those boos, was he? “Now why would I want to hear that?” Peter grumbles. Why indeed! “Because it went viral,” Eli explains quietly. Oh, crap. That’s awful! I mean, not that we hear him say anything particularly untoward, but he must have, right, or the audience wouldn’t be quite so ready to rend him limb from limb. “Because people are calling you brave, standing up to special interests.” What? Viral as a good thing? That’s … unexpected. “Let’s wait til the polls come out tomorrow,” Jordan cautions, stretching. “Yeah,” Eli sneers, whipping his head to look Jordan in the eyes, “let’s wait. The polls will prove what the editorials are already saying.” He turns to Peter, fervent. “This is your Sistah Soljah moment. You spoke truth to minority interests, so when those two ASAs go public, they’ll be seen as sour grapes. You’ve inoculated yourself!”
“Yeah, that’s some win,” Jordan nods, and Peter switches attention from one aid to the other. “Winning by pissing off minorities!” I’m inclined to vote with Jordan here (and it really reminds me of a West Wing episode, the one where President Bartlett deliberately pisses off the Environmental lobby), although I still wish I knew what else he actually said. “Here’s the thing that some people never learn,” Eli hisses. “We are not teaching a fifth grade ethics class. We’re here to win! Win pretty, win ugly, it’s still winning.” Wow. Jordan looks at Eli with a placid, almost curious expression. I haven’t warmed to him particularly, but as a personality he’s really a appropriate foil. Then he just walks off, leaving Eli to stew.
“Go easier on him, Eli,” Peter steps in, admonishing his senior aid. “Why?” Eli snaps. “Because we need him,” comes the quiet answer, accompanied by a long and serious look. “Why?” Eli barks again, trying to retain his outrage. Do you want to get into this now, Peter wonders. I want to know why we need him, Eli insists. “You’re being investigated,” Peter’s forced to say, and Eli goes white, his lip actually trembling. He can’t come up with a reply. “Then you know why.” Peter walks away, hands in his pockets.
“To my friends,” Elsbeth says, clinking glasses and laughing back at Lockhart/Gardner, “thanks for getting me out of the suburbs.” “Don’t thank us,” Will shrugs. “Especially when you see the bill,” Diane jokes. Yeah, I can imagine getting both name partners on a case over a weekend would produce a pretty sizable bill. Alicia sees Eli skulking out in the hall, and goes to meet him, champagne flute in hand. “Eli, what’re you doing?” Nothing, he grumbles. “Okay,” she responds before asking again. “Eli, what’re you doing?”
“You know I’m being investigated?” he wonders quietly. She does. “And you know I’m being edged out of the campaign?” No, that part comes as a surprise; immediately Alicia’s manner becomes more contrite and open. He screws up his face, looking in at the laughing partners. “And you guys can’t represent me because you’re being investigated.” Now that bit she did know. “I need a lawyer to represent me,” he nods. Yes, he certainly does – so he calls out. “Miss Tascioni! Got a minute?” Alicia steps aside to reveal Elsbeth, glass in one hand and a green bottle (Perrier?) in the other. “Sure!” she chirps, smiling brightly.
YES! BEST ALLIANCE EVER! LOVE IT! Rambo to the rescue!
So even though I was annoyed that this aired concurrently with the Golden Globes and delayed by the football playoffs and by the frustrating lack of connection to the previous episode, I think this was pretty fantastic. I cared about the case, I loved the humorous aspects, I loved all the beautiful little characters and the crazy trek through the CAS on the one hand and the dirty delaying tactics on the other. So fun. I can help thinking this episode might have made a little more sense if it had aired closer to the Thanksgiving episode. I mean, I know it couldn’t because of the Eli stuff, but I feel like the Peter/Alicia interlude would have worked better closer to their original rendez-vous, don’t you? I mean, why did it take her nearly two months to want to get back on the horse? Um, so to speak. And I’m bothered by the omission of last week’s revelation, really bothered.
Still, I suppose it’s not worth being mad at.
Okay. Peter and Alicia are dating; wow. As cute as that was, I can’t help thinking that she’s doing the same thing she did with Will; she’s making it all about sex, and not about their relationship with each other. She’s not letting him in. She really needs to learn how to do that if she’s ever going to go back to being happy, don’t you think?
Also, should Alicia’s pancakes have been sending off steam if they weren’t burning? And did the timing of the episode feel off to anyone other than me? Why were they treating Friday – the first day of the episode – like it was a day off work, like the weekend was already here?
Anna’s story speaks to me strongly. I come from a very pro-life family, so this is an issue I’ve been aware of my entire life. I actually remember being a young teen and thinking about that issue – what if you were a female athlete (even a married one) and got pregnant while you were training for the Olympics, which only come every four years, and so you lost your only chance? I was definitely one of those kids who think a lot about ethical/moral/philosophical dilemmas, what you would do in the worst possible situation, and this always struck me as a particularly devastating one. I can’t help thinking, too, that it would be typical of a male run panel – and drug company – that none of them even thought about a woman’s differing body chemistry when they judged these test results.
On the other hand, that’s not to say I couldn’t pick apart the way the show put elements together. Why didn’t Chenise know that Anna and Nathan were dating? And how early did they leave for London? I have had children, and horrible horrible morning sickness, and – sorry if this is TMI – I’ve also had a miscarriage. Obviously I don’t know, but I can’t help thinking that an abortion at this stage would probably feel like a miscarriage. And in that case, I would so much rather be pregnant. A miscarriage hurts. Even atrocious morning sickness (the worst case scenario) wouldn’t have slowed Anna down as much as the massive cramping the abortion would probably have caused. It’s hard to see at that stage why she’d even think she would better off – track is the second week of the Olympics, so Anna’s first race was probably the 400 meter individual heats on August 3, two weeks after the troublesome drug test. She certainly wouldn’t be showing or unable to run that early in a pregnancy. But then again, I suppose if you haven’t been pregnant before, you wouldn’t know. And I’m not a elite athlete, and they’re probably differently attuned to their bodies than the average person, so I can’t really claim to know about that part of it; I just have to follow the thought down the rabbit hole.
What about you? What did you think? Are you replaying the trailer love scene over and over again? Are you thrilled to see Eli hire Elsbeth? And what the heck do you think Peter said to the Minority Rights Coalition?