E: Shut the front door! Did Alicia just give out her final rose? Did she finally, finally, pick a side? I am seriously astounded. Did that really just happen, for good and for ever?
I can’t even believe it, after all this time. Maybe because that episode was a lot more about her emotion for the guy who got discarded than the guy that she picked. Or maybe I’m just mistrustful of the writers? Yeah, there’s no maybe about that, I am straight up mistrustful. Argh! But the emotion of it all! I’m not sure what I was expecting besides more of the actual gala, but what I got has left me walking around with my mouth hanging open.
Speaking of which, the episode begins with Peter in his white tie and tails checking his phone, standing in front of a scarlet robed Cardinal, and Alicia having her top of the stairs moment, glorious in her red dress, walking toward him. No. Wait. Oh my… wow. That wasn’t a top of the stairs moment. I didn’t get it the first time, but she’s walking down the aisle toward him, and he’s standing with a priest behind him. That wasn’t staged to evoke Cinderella at the ball, which was my first thought; that was a wedding. Or, as it were, a renewal of vows ceremony. But I’m getting way, way ahead of myself.
Alicia smiles to herself as she walks down the hallway toward her husband, clearly enjoying looking at him and anticipating his pleasure at seeing her. She smiles, even laughs. “What?” he asks, wanting to be let in on the joke. “Nothing,” she giggles, “you just look… presidential.” My. We’re not ambitious at all, are we? But I suppose you wouldn’t say someone looked gubernatorial – it’s just too weird a word. Before Peter can take the compliment or demure it, Eli bursts upon them, dressed as we saw in the end of Invitation to an Inquest. “From your mouth to God’s ear!” he burbles. Ha. Look at you, Eli Gold in tails, Alicia smiles, snagging a glass of white wine from a passing waiting with a tray, which is odd since her preference is normally for red. Granted, her preference is probably just to be drinking. “What?” Eli answers defensively. Poor Alicia. “Wow. The men are really sensitive tonight,” she observes, restating her compliment in more easily digestible terms. “You look good, Eli.”
Eli dismisses this pleasantry without a thought, instead giving a worried frown to Alicia’s wine glass as she takes a deep swallow. “I swear, Eli,” she snaps, “if you start clocking my alcohol intake, I’m going to do shots.” Peter smiles appreciatively; I choke. What I wouldn’t pay to see that… Blinking, Eli backs down. “Now would we all like to know our goal for this Shamrock Dinner?” Eli asks, causing Peter’s eyebrows to reach for the ceiling. Have a good time, he suggests hopefully. “No,” Eli shoots this pathetic suggestion down; his contempt is delicious. “At the end of the night, Cardinal James is going to make a choice. He’s going to going to shake hands with one candidate, and he’s going to hug the other.” Alicia frowns in confusion. I’m confused, too; is this a Church sponsored event? Is that why the Cardinal’s holding court, surrounded by priests in red beanies? “Historically, that hug means a bump of 800,000 Catholic votes. You need those votes to beat Kresteva.” Alicia rolls her eyes. So do I. I don’t have stats on Catholic voting trends in the entire country broken down by state, but here in Massachusetts, we do not all vote as directed by the Cardinal (which is to say, Republican, because of abortion and gay marriage), much less based on a hug he might give to one candidate or another, and I get really annoyed at the suggestion we do.
“So I shouldn’t mention abortion?” Peter asks with faux-seriousness. Alicia’s unable to suppress a snort, which draws a sharp rebuke from Eli. “You are St. Alicia,” he reminds her. “I know you don’t like that, but you are. So please tonight, just go with it. You’re seen as a paragon of faithful wives.” She shrugs expressively up at Peter. “You stood by your man, you never strayed…” Eli’s face falls at Will’s gentle “Good evening, everyone.” Ah, Eli. That’s right. We know right where Kresteva is going to aim his lance if he can find this chink in Peter’s campaign armor. St. Alicia compresses her lips and doesn’t comment on the horrible timing. Proving his social skill far exceed the others, Peter is the one to greet Will after only a minor hesitation for the timing. I’m not sure this is a purposeful good v. evil costuming decision, but tempter Will wears a black tie instead of the requisite white despite Alicia’s joke from the last episode. Gah, now I can’t stop decoding their clothes. Is Alicia wearing red as a scarlet letter? Does the black tie simply distinguish Will as being outside the wedding party, as it were? Must. Stop. Over-analyzing.
Where was I? Oh yes. The rivals shake hands, with Eli quaking between them. Will thanks Peter for the invite (who did throw this party? weirdness); Peter thanks Will for promoting Alicia. “Oh. Well. No thanks necessary. Everything she earned, she earned on her own,” Will declares. Thanks for the helpful definition of the word earned, Will. Peter looks down at his wife awkwardly. “Okay,” declares Alicia, taking refuge just where you’d expect. “I’m going to go find a bar.”
But no sooner has she exchanged the white wine for some of her preferred red that it’s made clear that the liquor is no protection. “Alicia Florrick,” her nemesis oozes up behind her. “Mike Kresteva,” she grumbles. “Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I thought I’d find you at the bar,” he insinuates before ordering a club soda with lime. No attempt to play nice here! “Oh, that’s right,” she sneers, “you can’t drink.” Not can’t, won’t, he says. Oh, that’s not how the recovering alcoholics I know put it. Interesting. And gosh, we haven’t’ seen him in so long I forgot that we knew that about him. We did, right, or is that new information? “Still holding a grudge, are we?” he wonders. “What grudge?” she asks, deadpan. “You didn’t do something wrong, did you?” After he calls out a greeting to a passing couple, he sets him glass down on the bar.
“No, I didn’t,” he smiles. “You’re in a funny mood.” She shrugs; she’s decided life’s too short not to be honest. “Hmm, let’s see how that goes,” he snorts, his hair looking rather wild and his eyes calculating. “What’s your husband’s strategy for beating me?” Her arms crossed, her wine glass at her chin, Alicia tells him. Unwise, Alicia. Why play with a snake when you can just walk away? “Using me, my status with women, to take the female vote.” Ah. So you just painted a big old target on your own chest, Alicia. Good job. “I like this side of you,” he smirks. “And what about me are you worried most about? “Hmm,” she thinks about it. “Your psychopathic ability to lie and pretend it’s the truth?” She tilts her glass, her smile as wide as it is fake. “Really?” he wonders. “You do Mein Kampf proud,” she finishes, drinking.
“There must be some kind of conversational equivalent to Godwin’s law because we’ve been talking for less than a minute and you’ve already compared me to Hitler,” he observes. Yeah. Not making any effort to hide her hostility, is she? No thought to playing it cool so he can’t see he’s gotten under her skin. “You know the problem with bad people?,” she asks him, “They use the arguments of good people.” Er, what’s the good argument in this scenario? “The problem with good people is that they think of themselves as good people,” he counters. Yikes. “Okay. Well, this has been fun,” Alicia lies, tipping her glass toward him. “Die choking on your own blood, please.” Oh, okay. Wow. “That’s nice,” he replies.
And that’s when Joe DiMaggio – sorry, Will Chase from Smash – asks if she has a minute. “Ah, is something wrong?” she asks, carefully setting her wine back on the bar. No, he says, we just need to talk to you for a minute. The “we” is two uniform cops waiting at a discrete distance. “My,” Kresteva grins maliciously, clearly thrilled, “is there something I can help you with, detectives?” No, Detective DiMaggio demurs, “some with me?” Holding up her train, Alicia does.
“Your Eminence,” Mike coos to Cardinal James, hands in his pockets. “Mike! How are ya! Beautiful evening, isn’t it?” Why do I recognize that voice? Holy cow, it’s Holling from Northern Exposure! (That is to say it’s John Cullum, who also played Mark Greene’s father on Julianna’s other Emmy winning drama, er.) “It is that,” Mike agrees. “What was that all about,” the cardinal wonders, glancing over at Alicia, speaking with distressed animation to one of the uniform cops. “Oh. Mrs. Florrick. The detective just asked her to go with him. Peter Florrick’s wife.” It’s odd, muses the cardinal. “I hope she’s all right.”
Looking down with a faux-sympathetic face, Mike Kresteva does what he does best; he makes stuff up. “I hope it’s not about her son again,” he pretends to care. And without a word, he walks off.
“What is it?” Alicia asks Jolting Joe. “We have a time sensitive matter,” he says, “we’re going to need you to look at some evidence.” She presses a gloved hand to her collar bone. “Is it my kids?” she worries. No, no. Don’t relax for too long, Alicia. “One of your clients was murdered tonight,” the detective explains.
The camera looks down from above; men and women bundled into winter clothing pass on the sidewalk beneath. Alicia sits impassively in a police station, watching the footage on Joe DiMaggio’s computer until suddenly Dr. Walter Bishop walks into the frame, texting or checking his phone, and just as suddenly a bulkier man walks up beside him, pulls out a gun and without so much as a word or moment of hesitation fires in Walter’s temple. It’s a matter of seconds, one or two; Alicia rears back with the shock of the blast. Bishop falls forward onto his knees, head bent forward as if praying. “Oh my God,” Alicia cries.
DiMaggio rewinds, focusing on Bishop’s curly head. “That your client,” he asks. Her mouth hanging open, Alicia stares at the screen. “Yes,” she gasps. “Matthew Ashbaugh?” the detective confirms explicitly. Yes. He keys the video forward until we can see a man in a coat with a hood shadowing his face holding the trigger over Walter’s – I mean, Matthew’s – shoulder. “Do you recognize that man?” No. What about the vehicle? It’s a black sedan, sleek, and the license plate is obscured by the scaffolding which seems to hold the camera. The killing took place three hours prior on State Street.
The detective is far more interested in asking questions than in answering hers or allowing Alicia to grieve. “Did Mr. Ashbaugh have any enemies?” Yes, Alicia replies with quiet frankness. “He did?” the detective seems surprised, which is maybe odd considering events. “Who?” Alicia raises her eyebrows. ‘Many,” she answers. She shakes her head, not able to winnow down the list. “The thing is, Mrs. Florrick, we’re afraid that that man is still out there.We have reason to believe he’s not done killing tonight.” Yikes! No wonder they dragged her out of the party! She reacts with surprise. “Evidence,” the detective replies elliptically, “at the scene.” Wow. What could that possibly be? Did he leave a note on the body we can’t see? “I, I can’t go into detail at this time,” he adds, then reprimands some very loud colleagues on the other side of the room. Please don’t break into song. “Lawsuits often breed grudges, Mrs. Florrick,” he goes on; she nods, agreeing, “so could you tell us which cases you worked on with him?” Well, she winces, there were 18. Good lord.
18 cases, he repeats in surprise. Yes. He jots this down in his notes, shaking his head with surprise. “And how many of these were on-going?” he wonders. 18, she repeats. Detective DiMaggio brings his hand to his mouth to cover his surprise. “He was very… litigious,” Alicia offers.
“Doug, come on,” another detective calls out, beckoning DiMaggio. Aw, does that mean I should stop with the baseball names? Sigh. He’s up to interview a witness, but he pushes a small yellow pad in her direction, asking that she write down the name of any potential enemy. “Anyone you think might want him dead,” he pleads. Alicia’s eyes are wide and aching as they return to the sight of Matthew Ashbaugh’s body curled on the sidewalk. Slowly she pulls off her long black opera gloves, remembering.
“Why do you want to sue?” comes her voice from a flashback; Alicia’s in her office, her old unlamented bangs back, discussing a case with her now dead client. “His dog’s barking,” Ashbaugh nods, leaning back in his chair in a pose much more reminiscent of Denethor than Walter Bishop. (Weird, isn’t it, how actor’s great roles leave traces on us, layering all their subsequent work with these echoes of the past?) “That must be difficult for you,” Alicia deadpans, drawing a pleased smile from her client. And, no words. Hmm. He simply sets a little black textured box on her desk, which is – playing classical music? He travels with his own soundtrack? Does he think he’s setting a mood? O-kay. That’s peculiar, even for a man who’s spent the last five years playing the king of peculiar.
What are the damages, she asks. “Loss of consortium,” he replies, his voice rich and thicker than Walter Bishop’s watery quaver, the words rounded by his native Australian accent; she corrects his pronunciation. “With who?” she asks. “Anyone I might want to consort with,” he offers. Ha. Alicia laughs. (I laugh too.) “You’re laughing. Why’re you laughing at me?” he wonders. He doesn’t look any less pleased.
And now they’re walking together out of her office. “Because you seem intent on making enemies,” she cautions him, “you can’t sue the phone company!” “This is America,” he grumbles, “you can sue anybody.” Ha. How bad is it that she’s actually discouraging him from bringing her billable hours? “We’re not done with your other two lawsuits,” she complains. “It’s called multitasking, Alicia,” he gripes, spinning around and speed walking with her backwards. “Now look at me, I am talking to you and I am designing the architecture of a new encryption software.” And here I was thinking he meant walking and talking. Okay. “Well you are much smarter than me,” she answers. “Well maybe I should look for another lawyer,” he teases. “Yes, please,” she begs, hands pressed flat together as in prayer.”Fire me, please.” Ha. The classical piece floats behind their every word. “No, no,” he smiles, turning again and putting a hand on her back, guiding her off somewhere,”you’re not getting away from me that easily.” Flash cut to the present, where we see that despite her protestations, she remembers him with great fondness.
She looks down at the notepad, it’s pages legal yellow. “Alicia, this is Mrs. Matthew Ashbaugh, a designer with Baltech, a web-based streaming program,” Will introduces the two. I really like that these flashbacks aren’t linear; it’s much more realistic. Oddly, though, the camera’s looking up at Alicia and Will and the ceiling, as if it were a person seated next to Matthew. “Oh, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” she cries. He looks up at her as if entranced, but the only word he gives in response is “why?” A test? She blinks. “Why… is it a pleasure to meet you?” she guesses. He nods. “Because you’re a wealthy new client and I want to make a good impression,” she declares forthrightly. Will huffs, but Ashbaugh’s slow smile, which somehow curves up his cheeks without moving his mouth very much, shows this was a good gamble.
She notices that little black box, set on the chair next to him, the one where the camera would be. “You travel with your own music?” she asks. “Yes,” he nods. “Don’t you?” No, she smiles, again bracingly decisive. Will looks from one to the other, a bit awkward. ‘Well I’ll leave you two to get better acquainted,” he decides, perhaps patting Alicia on the back, and goes, leaving Alicia and Matthew smiling at each other.
Then they’re in the main conference room – it’s like a dream – sitting across from each other. ‘My problem isn’t the music, it’s the music over and over,” Alicia bites. “Don’t like Bach?” he asks placidly. “No, I love Bach,” she replies, still sharp, still annoyed, still holding her ground, “but I don’t love the same Bach song over and over.” Oh, she didn’t. “Mrs. Florrick,” he responds, quietly shocked, “Bach song?” She rearranges her arms on the table. “Why do the smartest people hide their learning,” He wonders ruefully. Um, she’s a lawyer. Maybe she’s just never taken a music class (it’s not like they’re mandatory past 8th grade) and doesn’t know whether this is a concerto or a fugue? I suppose I would have just called it a “piece” since I don’t know either. “To compensate for those who show off their learning,” she snaps, leaning forward, reaching for the box.
They smile at each other, at an impasse. “I play the same Bach ‘song’ so that they’ll get bored and stop listening to it,” he explains. “Ah,” she smiles, “so the CIA is listening to you?” This is amusing mockery from a woman whose phone has probably been taped by the FBI for years. ” The bliss of the unparanoid,” he grins a lopsided, wrinkled grin, not offended in the least by her disbelief. “Lucky me,” she smiles back.
“So how we doing?” Detective Doug DiMaggio wanders back to his desk, where poor Alicia sits in her glorious ballgown, her skin pale and glowing in the dark room. Isn’t she cold? Everyone else has jackets or sweaters on. He startles her to action, and silently, her eyes enormous in her white face, she slides over the notepad. She’s filled the page; it looks like 24 names, maybe more. The detective nods, surprised. “All of these?” he asks, bending over the desk. She nods. “Did he have any altercations with any of these…enemies?” Without saying a word, she raises her eyes to his face.
And then the flashbacks flood back. A man in a brown suit throwing himself across the main conference table, trying to wring Ashbaugh’s neck. “Any exchange of words?” Then in court, there’s a another man thwacking at Ashbaugh with what looks like a two foot long, crooked orange ice cream scoop, once again attempting to throttle him, screaming “you’re killing him!” as Alicia vainly tries to step between. Back at the police station, we see her putting asterisks next to almost every name on the list; DiMaggio’s forced to call for reinforcements. “Mrs. Florrick, we’re just trying to narrow focus,” he attempts. ‘Did he ever say anyone was trying to kill him?” She gives them a bleak face.
And we’re back in her memory, where she’s shaking with peels of helpless laughter; you can see she’s practically crying with it. “You laugh now, Mrs. Florrick,” Ashbaugh tells her seriously. “I do laugh now,” she squeaks. “But one day you’ll be identifying my body in a morgue, and then you’ll know.” What will I know, she wonders, mostly containing her amusement. “Everything I’ve said is true.”
“He said that?” Detective Doug asks, disbelieving. She nods. What was he referring to? “He said that Mossad was out to kill him.” The detective’s mouth forms a round O, and no words.
His partner hands over a thick binder, and that prompts a clear thought. “One of his on-going cases was against Chicago P.D. for harassment, is that correct?” It is. “Can you tell us what he said about that?” The detective smirks as he says this, in a peculiar and insincere way. Why on earth is that relevant? Do they actually think that it’s likely that Matthew was killed by a cop – likely enough to question her about it when they’re ostensibly trying to triage her rather unwieldy list of suspects? Alicia picks up on the oddness of this, and asks to make a phone call. “Now?” the detective asks, staring at her. Yes, now. “Why?” “I need to make a phone call,” she repeats herself, her smile politely firm.
“Alicia?” comes Will’s voice. “Where are you?” Will, of course, still stands in a gracious ballroom adorned with gilded paneling and crystal chandeliers, in front of tuxedoed musicians. He beckons Diane to him, and she walks over, her hair a sleek, wide helmet and her dress a bright royal blue, glittering, with a long sleeves and a ballet neckline. “Who is that?” she wonders of the phone call. “It’s Alicia. She says Ashbaugh’s dead.” Wow, this has not been a good few weeks for their clients. “Ashbaugh? Our Ashbaugh?” she frowns in shock. “He was murdered on State Street,” he adds before putting Alicia on speaker phone; he holds the phone down toward the camera (which is looking up at them). My, the coffered ceiling is lovely. “Can you hear us now?” Ha ha. How many times did he have to say that to make sure he had a straight face? “Yes,” Alicia answers, “they want me to talk about our cases to help them find the killer.”
“Our cases?” Will asks. Well, duh! Why else is she there? That is a little odd, right – I mean, is that the first thing the police do when someone’s murdered, call their lawyer? How would they know three hours in that would be helpful? The police angle still seems weird to me, but perhaps they’d heard of him. Ugh, sorry, it just seems odd to me but there’s nothing to do but go with it. “Our cases with Ashbaugh?” Will asks uselessly; you don’t think they’d be asking about your cases for Dina Gross, do you? “Yes,” Alicia says, pacing in front of a St. Patrick’s Day reveler being brought in, “including the police harassment case.”
Will and Diane give each other one of their looks.
“You’re worried about attorney/client privilege?” Diane wonders. “Yes. Are we still bound, given our client’s new… status?” Alicia asks, her free hand milling. Will shakes his head. “The privilege survives death,” he declares, but Diane shakes her head, disagreeing. “With some exceptions.” Will doesn’t think this merits. “With survivor approval?” Diane guesses, clearly wanting to help. “Okay,” Will decides, ” we’ll try to contact the surviving family, see if they’ll give an allowance.” In the meantime, Diane instructs the pacing partner, “be circumspect. You can talk about anything shared outside the attorney/client relationship, not covered…” Alicia smiles to see Laura walk in to the police station; Eli comes and pulls Diane away for an urgent conference with Peter. “Call you back,” Will bends to his phone, and they end the call.
Laura gives Alicia a wolf whistle. “Nice court attire,” she smirks. “It impresses the judges,” Alicia deadpans. Hee. I really like their friendship!
Diane, Peter and Eli sit in a cluster of enormous leather wing-back chairs; the grouping’s got a cozy mens’ club feel to it, what with the fireplace in the background. Peter begins by thanking Diane for her indispensable help in debate prep. “It was fun,” Diane replies, then hedges her bets.”I’m not sure I’ll be a good stand in for Kresteva.” Practically barking with laughter, Eli throws his head back against the chair. Peter concurs.
“So?” Diane prompts them. Oh my gosh, they aren’t really going to offer her the Lieutenant Governorship? Because that would be so cool. “So,” Eli picks up the lead, “you’re aware that Justice Ludwig was killed in a car accident two weeks ago?” Um, yeah. “We represented his wife,” she reminds them. “Yes,” Peter agrees, “which leaves open a Supreme Court seat.” Um, yeah? “Which tradition leaves to the governor to fill.” She leans forward. “Do you want me to offer some names?” she asks. “No, I want you to offer your name.”
Oh, wow. We know a judgeship has been one of Diane’s ambitions since Lifeguard back in season 1, but let’s just say, she was not expecting to be offered one now. (I can’t help wondering about this, because you’d think that whoever is currently governor might have something to say about this appointment, right? But I guess that’s another pointless quibble. It’s not like she can take this job, either.) Finally she laughs. “I think that’s a positive response,” Peter smirks at Eli. Hmm. Lot of smirking going on this episode. “No no – I just – me? To be a Supreme Court Justice?” She can’t believe it. Just a guess but perhaps that’s because (at least as far as I know) they’re usually picked from sitting judges? At any rate, Peter’s serious. “Yes,” Eli gives her the naked truth, “your politics mesh with Peter’s, you know people with money, and your name means something to the people we want to court.” Well, that’s a lovely mouthful of flattery there, Eli. At least buy the girl a drink first!
Ever the suave one, Peter steps in to make nice. “More importantly,” he says, one hand cautioning Eli, “I think you’d make a damn good judge.” Yes, Diane definitely likes that idea. “I am bowled over,” she nearly stutters. “Great,” Peter smiles, “so say yes.”
I have a business, she qualifies. One she’d have to relinquish if Peter wins and she gets the job. In the background, Will talks to Cardinal Holling (er, James). Because Peter’s getting pressured by the Democratic Committee to pick someone else, they want her decision tonight. Yipes! She stands, sparkling, to take stock of her life over the next two and a half hours.
So you know why I’m here, Laura sits down across from Alicia and asks. “I can guess,” Alicia smiles. “They’re afraid I’ll fall back on my attorney/client privilege, and you’re here – as my friend – to coax me into disclosing?” Yes, Laura smiles. “And being a lawyer myself I can walk you through why it’s not attorney/client privilege.” Because the client is deceased? “Among other things,” Laura explains. “The other things being you could help find the killer, which seems particularly in the client’s interest.” You do have her there, but she sticks to the line that Will and Diane want her to be circumspect.
Let’s see how far we get with that, then. Did Ashbaugh ever mention someone named Edward or Eddie Lomax? Frowning gently, Alicia asks why; just one of many possible leads, Laura replies diplomatically. Just from the way she breathes, we can tell she knows the name – and indeed, we see another flashback of a young cop pinning Ashbaugh to a courtroom wall, warning that if he brings up Lomax again, he’s dead. “I’ll kill you, do you hear me?” Alicia won’t answer, and Laura jostles her fist, making comedy out of her disappointment. “One more question. How ya doing?” Alicia breaks into an enormous smile. “How’m I doing? Good! You?” Laura’s good. “Do you need a ride back to your party?” Yes. “I should probably call my husband and tell him where I am,” she realizes. Yeah, probably! It’s good to explain why the police dragged you out of a party. “And, um, maybe we can talk sometime later?” Sure, says Alicia, stopping dialing. “What about?” Oh, you know. Just stuff. “Advice,” she mouths as Peter picks up the call, “nothing really.”
Sorry about bailing, she says. Something came up with a client. “How’s it going?” Oh, it’s going good, I think, Peter tells her, phone to one ear and hand over the other. But he can’t shut out the party; Eli buzzes over to let him know the Cardinal is free. I’ll see you when you get back, he says as Eli drags him ruthlessly through the crowd. “God!” Eli growls as Peter hangs up. Oh, Eli.
“Your Eminence,” Peter greets the Cardinal. “Mr. State’s Attorney, what an honor,” the Cardinal replies, hand on Peter’s shoulder. Oh no no, the honor’s all Peter’s. “And your lovely wife,” the Cardinal wonders. “Where is she?” Called away for a moment, she’ll be right back, Peter replies glibly. “Yes,” the Cardinal says seriously. “I’m sorry for the difficulty.” Peter’s at a loss. What difficulty? “My nephew had the same issues,” the Cardinal adds, “but I’m glad you’re facing it head on.” He fist bumps Peter’s shoulder as Eli looks on in shock. “Drug addiction is a, a difficult thing.” Peter nods, utterly confused; the lower half of Eli’s face registers his confusion and surprise (mouth hanging open) but his drawn-down eyebrows are all fury. The conversation is broken up by bag pipe music.
“Are you sure you’re going to be okay riding a motorcycle in that?” Laura jokes as she and Alicia button up their coats. “You don’t have a motorcycle,” Alicia asks, amused. “Wouldn’t it be great if I did?” Laura grins. Yes. Yes it would. Alicia’s nearly laughing when Detective Doug rushes through the station, calling out to her. He pulls the two women into a private office and shuts the door. “We found the car, the killer’s car,” he tells them, wringing his hands. “Great,” Laura enthuses. “So we’re half way home!” “There’s a problem,” he says, taking in a deep breath. “The car had a GPS, we ran the address the killer entered into it.” He turns to Alicia, who doesn’t understand. “It was your apartment, Mrs. Florrick.”
Of course Alicia immediately calls her apartment, and at first, it seems deserted. You can see her panic rising until finally her daughter answers the phone. “Grace,” she gasps, her voice breaking. “I… this… ah… sorry, are you alright?” Yes, she was just away from the phone. How cute does she look in that scarf? “So everything there is all right? Is Zach with you?” Yes, Grace repeats, picking up on her mom’s tone like a barometer. Are you at the party? “Yes. Uh, no,” she stumbles. She asks Grace to get Zach and stay with a set of neighbors, but it turns out they’re on vacation. Damn. “Mom, what’s wrong?” Alicia doesn’t stop for that. “I need you to go downstairs to Zach’s car, and drive over to Grandma’s.” Grandma’s here, Grace answers. It only takes a few seconds of confusion (there? Jackie?) for Grace to explain that it’s Veronica hanging out with them, and no sooner does she say it than a remote control car appears, followed by a howling Veronica at the controls and Zach running behind.
“Is that Alicia?” Veronica calls out, running the car into her granddaughter’s feet. “She got us presents,” Grace giggles. “That’s so bad,” Zach laughs, red faced, as Veronica repeatedly smashes the car into Grace. “Put your grandma on the phone,” Alicia instructs, and so Grace leaps over the car to do it; Veronica hands control over to Zach and takes the handset. Alicia waits impatiently until her mother stops laughing. “Alicia, I just dropped by. I brought them some more age appropriate presents this time,” she chortles.
“Mom,” Alicia begins, “I want you to do something for me that’s very serious. I want you to drive the kids to y our hotel, okay, please?” Now, Veronica wonders? “There’s a situation, there may be danger at my apartment, the police are on their way now, but with the parade on State Street…” Snapping into action, Veronica tells the kids to grab their things; Alicia sighs in relief. We can see what I think is a really tall hooker behind her at the police station. “Can you put Zach on the phone?” Of course, says her mom. “You have such an exciting life!” I think Alicia would prefer it to be a little more sedate, actually.
Sidebar, but what’s the best course of action here? They could run into the gunman outside just like Ashbaugh did; they might do better behind a locked door. On the other hand, if the shooter is coming for Alicia, then perhaps her children could slip out and he wouldn’t even notice them? That is all.
“Hey, Mom,” Zach takes the phone. “She’s fine, she’s not causing any trouble.” Yeah, turns out that’s not the biggest worry about tonight after all. “Ah, I need you to do something for me. Grandma’s not that… responsible,” she says, talking over some guy who appears to be dressed up as an old fashioned cop and serenading the room with “Wild Rover.” “And it’s St. Patrick’s Day, she can be a bit, crazy.” She’s all right, Zach defends his grandmother. “I know,” Alicia tries to explain without sending everyone into a panic, “but if she asks you to do something that doesn’t make sense, you can disobey her. Okay?” She practically has to shout over the crooner, who’s gotten a little too close for comfort; thankfully Laura’s there to guide him away.
“I want you to disobey her,” Alicia repeats, “but right now I want you out of the apartment.” Yeah, cause that’s not elliptical or anything. “I have to go, I’ll talk to you later,” she finishes, hanging up.
“That your kids?” Laura asks, having dispatched the crooner. (Yes.) “They alright?” (Yes.) Laura takes her into – well, a small office, anyway, the same one or another one. “You know attorney/client privilege may be waived if the attorney’s life is in danger?” she asks after shutting the door. Alicia nods, and then describes the scene between Ashbaugh and the cop, that someone mentioned Lomax to him. “An Officer Nozowitz?” she recalls. Did this have anything to do with the lawsuit against the police? “I don’t know, I did witness Nozowitz throw my client against the wall, and threaten to kill him if he ever mentioned Eddie Lomax again.” Laura writes it all down, and runs it out to DiMaggio.
“Still no word from Ashbaugh’s family,” Will tells Diane. ‘What was that about.” “What what what about?” she wonders, still stunned from her tet-a-tet with Peter. Really, what’s the deal with her hair? Is this 1965, or an Aquanet commercial? Are we trying to make her look like Darth Vader? So distracting. Still stunned, she spits out their offer, and it’s Will’s turn to be stunned and speechless. “It would mean stepping away from the … our partnership,” she whispers. Will gives her a rueful smile. He’s already told her how he feels about this, though; he’d never stand in her way.
“When did you get religious?” Veronica demands of her granddaughter as they trudge through the street. “Why is that so weird?” Grace wonders. ‘It’s not weird, it’s just unusual for our family,” Veronica replies. I love that she asks the questions everyone else tip toes around. “Is it your father?” Is what my father, Grace puzzles. “The religious thing!” Veronica presses. “No,” Zach steps in, “it’s all her.” “You know, Grace,” Veronica continues as if Zach had never spoken, “your father has issues. It’s always the philanderers that go to Jesus.” HA! Zounds. That’s awesome.
Well, hold that thought. Both Veronica’s car and Zach’s have been blocked in by double-parking partiers. We can hear the Irish music out in the street. (I’m really enjoying this bit of local color. Fun!) Okay, over there, Veronica points to a building across the street with green neon shamrocks above its windows. ‘That’s a bar,” Zach helpfully points out, causing me to snarf my drink. “Don’t worry, they’ll let you in,” she insists; they can wait there until the cars get unblocked. Which will be what, 3 am? Grace and Zach look at each other, and you can see Zach thinking this is just the kind of thing Alicia warned him about. “I’m not trying to get you drunk, I’m trying to get you warm,” Veronica returns to say. “Come on!” With a worried look at each other, they follow.
And the crooner is back with more of that maudlin, Danny Boy-esque music. What’s with the black checkered cap? Is this, I don’t know, a real cop in a fancy uniform, or – okay, I’m just going to go with it. Alicia’s seated at a table in what’s probably an interrogation room instead of an office; Laura lets her know that they’re bringing Nozowitz in for questioning and that they’re going to provide her protection. Do they really think a cop is behind this, out of all the other possible options? Man. Alicia rubs her hands together in worry, and Laura offers to stay with her. “Please!” Alicia says, gesturing at the chair across from her. “So, what was the advice?” Laura looks lost. “Before? You said you needed some advice.” No, Laura gestures like a baseball umpire, some other time. What, because you’re both so busy now? Come on, Alicia needs the distraction. “You’re here, I’m here, and we’re being serenaded.” Laura shoves the singer out and closes the door on him. Thank you! Alicia suppresses some giggles.
But she prepares a serious face for Laura, to show she’s paying attention and ready to give good advice. I doubt she’s prepared for this slightly embarrassed question, though. “What do you think of Will Gardner?” Laura blushes.
Alicia’s face goes blank. “What do I think?” Oh, Laura, you have no idea. “Yes – he’s not seeing anybody, is he?” No, I don’t think so, why, Alicia replies after only the tiniest hesitation. “I don’t know,” Laura whines. ‘Sometimes I think he’s pursuing me, then I don’t know…” Yeah, you’re talking to the right person about that. “…sometimes… is he reluctant because we’re on the opposite side of cases, is that it?” Alicia shakes her head no. “I mean, we’ve faced each other a few times but not a lot…” I don’t know, Alicia replies, her voice dropped down.
“I hate this stuff, it’s so high school,” Laura meanders. ‘Are you sure he’s not seeing anyone?” Yes, Alicia says with such decision that it catches Laura’s attention. “Does he know that you and I are friends?” Aw! Sorry, I just like that she said it, that she acknowledged that they’re friends. Again. Alicia and Laura are friends! “I don’t know, why?” Alicia thinks about it, and then smiles. “You should ask him out,” she suggests.
Augh, Laura spits. “I knew you were going to say that!” Hee hee hee. That’d be totally adorable if it wasn’t also worrisome for reasons Laura has no idea of. Are you absolutely sure you’re not setting yourself up for another Tammy, Alicia? A Tammy that you actually like? You should do it, she presses. “Seriously, I think he’d be receptive.” And that’s when the Irish Tenor bursts through the doorway again, hanging on the frame to sing “My Wild Irish Rose!” Who is this guy? Part of a drunken pipers band, maybe – I’m thinking that’s what the uniform is, what with the little fringed pouch in front. Anyway, enough! “If you ever need advice,” Laura offers, attempting to push the fellow out the door again and getting waltzed around for her troubles. “I’ll know where to yell,” Alicia promises. Then she heads to the back of the station for the ladies room.
“Nozowitz,” she hears a voice say as she’s passing by the lockers, “she said your name, Nozowitz.” “I barely knew the guy,” the officer in question replies; he’s sitting, and Detective Doug stands, and Alicia hides in the shadows by the wanted posters, listening. “You gotta be kiddin’! She fingered me?” Um, no. “She said you got in a fight with him,” the detective corrects. “He’s better off dead,” Nozowitz barks. “He deserved it.”
Yeah, because that’s totally the attitude I’m looking for in my law enforcement professionals. It’s so very ‘protect and serve.” Also, it’s an excellent way to prove your innocence.
Alicia heads back away from the lockers. Not that I want her to play damsel in distress, but when is Peter going to show up? If she’s being hunted, and if the police are letting this Nozowitz get away with comments like that, then how is her State’s Attorney husband not the person she wants backing her up? Isn’t it a natural reaction to let him know, for herself and for the kids, regardless of the strings he can pull? “You’re not wearing green,” the Irish Tenor notices. “A pinch to grow an inch,” he adds creepily, making pinching motions with his fingers. Um, dude, she could sue you for that. Are we supposed to be amused by this? She spins (just saying, but I would not turn my back on that moron) and picks up her phone. The Tenor cackles, but he looks truly hurt when she gives him the cold shoulder.
And then we have shoulders that are bare, and warm. “Me? I’m a massage therapist,” a sultry brunette smiles at Kalinda at her bar. “Really?” replies Kalinda. Really, the girl grins, her eyes glinting. Oh. Well. Not dating Cary, apparently. Or at least not exclusively. Good to know. But then Kalinda’s phone rings, and she gives her new friend an apologetic eye roll before answering. It’s Alicia, of course. (But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t called Peter, right?) “Kalinda, I need your help,” she pleads.
Kalinda (who’s wearing this fantastic sparkly top with long sheer sleeves under opaque cap shoulders) looks over at her date. “Right now?” If you can, Alicia asks, and so despite the smoldering look and the girl delicately playing with her hand, Kalinda gives a rueful look, and heads out. Now that’s a real friend.
Hey, look, they do have tables at this dinner! There’s actual dinner – amazing. Eli sits down next to the loathsome Mike Kresteva. “So you’re the one spread rumors,” he accuses. Bingo! Is that Mrs. Kresteva on the other side? If so, she’s very much in the same physical mold as Simone Canning. “Oh, I’m the one,” Mike settles back, elbow over his chair back, “what rumors are we talking about here, Eli?” Eli glares back at his most pugnacious. “Zach Florrick being arrested on a drugs charge.” A white gloved waiter tries to top off Mike’s glass with wine, and he has to block the hand. He asks for a bottled water instead. “I saw Mrs. Florrick being talked to by two policemen, and then I overheard the detective mention pot and Zach Florrick, and that’s what I repeated when asked,” he explains, turning back to the table. “That’s a lie,” Eli growls. Duh! Are we surprised by this in any way?
“What is it with you people calling everyone a liar?” Kresteva asks, thumping his newly acquired water bottle onto the table. “Sometimes the truth doesn’t bend to your will. Sometimes things happen which you wish hadn’t.” Yep, psychopath is the right term. “It’s such a pointless lie, too. Zach wasn’t arrested. The facts on the ground will contradict you immediately, so, why?” The bagpipes moan in the background. “Just because Peter can intimidate the State’s Attorney doesn’t mean an arrest for pot didn’t happen.” You’re good, Eli smiles. “Oh, yeah, you think so?” Kresteva smirks.
“Peter can’t deny this lie,” Eli realizes. Yes, but- ugh. Irritating. “Why, because his son was pulled over by Madison County PD, who found marijuana shake in his car, and then Peter intimidated the State’s Attorney into dropping the charges, you mean that’s why its hard for Peter to deny?” A passerby slaps a hand down on Mike’s shoulder, saying how much he’s been missed. Oh, yes. Mike is such a good old boy, pressing the hand and promising to be back in touch. Eli compresses his mouth, then stares into Mike’s eyes. “This will be a battle to the death,” he declares melodramatically. Oh, Eli. how I love you. “No, you know why it won’t,” Kresteva says, reaching for the water bottle as the strains of Amazing Grace bleat from the bagpipes. “Because I have the truth on my side, and the truth always wins.”
What’s fourth year Cary doing at this dinner? There’s no way. (Wearing a black tie, no less; I can’t help thinking neither he nor Will would make that mistake.) Other than arguing with Kalinda, that is, and making sure they don’t have to film him at the office, which is where he would absolutely be. “It’s important,” she presses. She’s looking for the dirt on Eddie Lomax and Officer Nozowitz, and he’s attempting to put up one of those Chinese firewalls they’re so fond of; when he went to the SA’s Office, he never talked about L&G cases, and now that he’s back at L&G he can’t talk about State’s Attorney stuff. Seems fair, and he sticks to it after he hears about Ashbaugh’s murder, but it’s a different story when Kalinda explains that the murder was headed to Alicia’s apartment. Aw.
Cary leans in, unhappy to be breaking his code. “We investigated Nozowitz,” he admits, “for corruption, taking drug money. IED was looking into him, and they asked us to consult.” He takes a fortifying swallow of what looks to be scotch. “And do you know anything about a man named Edward Lomax,” she coaxes. “Yeah, drug dealer, but he was shot and killed in the fifth ward, he has nothing to do with Nozowitz.” Hmmm. “Well, Nozowitz seemed worried about having his name associated with this dead drug dealer,” Kalinda ponders.
“Be careful, Kalinda,” Cary cautions. Thanks, she shrugs (crooked cops? she’ll take them with tea and chop them into cucumber sandwiches), and walks off. He reaches behind him and grabs her hand. She looks down at him, her expression agitated; he doesn’t turn, and she leaves.
“That’s not good,” Alicia says into her phone, looking horrified. “No,” Kalinda agrees. “And that’s the only time you saw Nozowitz with Ashbaugh?” The investigator’s walking outside on an uncrowded street. Yes, says Alicia. Had Ashbaugh ever mentioned Nozowitz and corruption? No, though he did spend a lot of timing dwelling on the police connection to Mossad and the Unibomber. Um, okay. “And what about the fifth ward murder, did he mention anything to you about that?” Alicia goes still, remembering; Kalinda, who seems to have arrived at her mysterious destination, will call back.
“Matthew, you act as if I’m omnipotent, I can’t get you everything,” she says over the phone, back in the days of those bangs. “I’m just asking for the police report, that’s all,” he asks, “get your investigator on it.” Rolling her eyes, Alicia says Kalinda’s busy with other things. “What is the case again?” A shooting in the fifth ward, he says as Will swoops in to kiss Alicia on the ear. OH. In the flashback, she smiles, curls into her lover’s kiss; the memory snaps her back into the present day, making her very uncomfortable.
There, in the middle of the police station, Alicia relives moments spent beneath white sheets. Kissing Will under the covers. His hand on her hip, her flat stomach. In the present, she closes her eyes against the onslaught of passionate memory. His hand back on her hip.
A phone call breaks her reverie, and she shakes her head, starting to pace.
“Alicia, you there, hello?” comes Ashbaugh’s rough voice. Yes, she answers, clearing her throat. “Alicia, this is life and death here. The fifth ward street shooting. Can you have someone look into it?” Will pops out from behind Alicia, and starts nuzzling her again. “Yes,” she promises as Will begins to undress her, “um, Matthew, I’m going into a meeting. Can I get back to you?” Yes, he agrees, his voice urgent, but get back to me quick. Oh God. Because she doesn’t have enough guilt about Will already, now she’s going to think that her client died because she opted for afternoon delight instead of investigating one of his seemingly crackpot causes? “Mmm hmm, okay,” she says, hanging up so she can kiss Will.
“Everything all right?” Laura calls out, breaking into Alicia’s mental sexy time. Yikes. “I, um, yeah, what? What’d you mean?” Poor Alicia isn’t waking up easily. No, you just seem far away, Laura tells Alicia (you have no idea). At any rate, they’re questioning Officer Nozowitz now. Oh, I’m sure that’ll go far. “Good, good,” says Alicia, stumbling for the words. “Good.” For the first time, I think the folds on her gown make it look a bit like a sheet, redolent of sex and long lunches spent in bed.
“Why’s he want the police report?” Will asks, laying on his stomach on the bed. He’s wearing a white t-shirt, and Alicia’s draped over his shoulder. Maybe he thinks we can use it in the suit against the police, she theorizes. “You’re suing the Chicago PD, again?,” Will asks in surprise. Yup. Oh, Will, how little you know. “Will,” she leans over to his ear and whispers, “you’re the one who gave him to me.” And a fine gift he is, I’ve no doubt. On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a never ending supply of law suits… (Hey, it’s just a song parody, I’m not making a statement.) She wants him to look into the shooting. “Please,” she begs, “he’s driving me crazy.” Will looks up at her as best he can. “What do I get,” he whispers. ‘What do you get?” she repeats. Yeah. What does he get? In answer, she bites down on his ear.
Alicia twitches out of the spell – but the number she goes looking for in her phone is Will Gardner’s.
“David Lee becomes name partner?” Will wonders out loud, clearly thinking through options with Diane. No, she groans, and too true – can you imagine what a disaster that would be? “Then who?” Diane doesn’t want to talk about it anymore; “I feel like I’m cheating on you,” she confesses. Aw. “You found someone better,” he pretends-pouts. It makes her laugh, as he’d hoped, and as she’s telling him that he doesn’t need another name partner, that he should just be Gardner & Associates, his phone rings.
Still no luck, he tells Alicia, clearly still thinking about Ashbaugh’s heirs. Quickly she brings him up to speed on the threat. “I’m going to come down,” he declares, speeding through the party. “No, Will, I’m fine,” she protests. She was just wondering if he remembered anything about the fifth ward murder. We can talk about it in twenty minutes when I’m there, he says, and at her protest (“I’m okay!”) he insists. “Want me to tell Peter?” he asks. “No, no,” she explodes. “He’ll want to come too, and he needs to concentrate on tonight.” WHAT? Alicia Florrick, that man is the father of your children; you owe him that information. Should his career really go in front of that? “I’ll see you in a few minutes,” Will declares, game face on.
He walks by Peter and Eli on his way out; they’re standing in front of a spectacular curved staircase. To no one’s surprise, Peter wants to go after Mike Kresteva and talk some sense into him, and Eli thinks its a bad idea. Because, you know, you can’t talk sense to a psychopath. “You can’t!” He just lied about Zach, Peter counters. “The trouble is, it’s a lie with a bad fact. You intimidated the Madison County State’s Attorney on exactly this kind of pot charge.” “There is no pot charge!” Peter nearly yells through gritted teeth. Wow. He’s lucky not to have stopped traffic with that comment. He’s clearly furious. “You know how to battle a lie?” Eli asks. “With the truth!” Peter almost howls. “No,” Eli frowns as if Peter’s being unforgivably stupid. “With a bigger lie.”
Mike Kresteva chooses this moment to saunter by; they nod and greet each other by name. Peter turns to watch Mike jaunt up the stairs. What, says Eli, suspicion in his voice. What are you going to do? “I have to go to the men’s room,” Peter declares. “Peter, let it go,” Eli cautions. “Let what go? I have to go to the men’s room.” Riiiight.
Some sort of very Irish drinking tune (think Irish rock, like the Dropkick Murphys) plays loudly in the shamrock and green-be-decked bar where Veronica sits with Zach and Grace. “I love Irish songs!” she enthuses. I love her scratchy, rough voice. She’s just so fun. “I think I’m secretly Irish.” (My first though is, what, of course you’re Irish, but then I realize Cavanaugh is merely one of her married names.) She debates getting one of those tests done where they can trace your ancestry genetically. “I think I’m Moroccan, Italian and Irish,” she muses, rubbing her chin. Behind the kids, someone vomits violently; they spin, but Grandma doesn’t bat an eye. “Alicia keep you on a pretty short leash,” she wonders. Ha – they have sodas with little umbrella straws in them. I loved drink umbrellas. No, Zach frowns. “You go off on a lot of adventures, don’cha?”
“I have a boyfriend,” Grace boasts. “Oh my God!” Veronica mocks her grandchild. “I didn’t know he was your boyfriend, since when?” Zach interrogates his sister, which is really cute. “Since he asked me,” she replies, defensive. “That’s not what you said to mom, you said he wasn’t!” Have you kissed, Veronica interrupts. Yeah, Grace blushes. “Oh. Young men are such great kissers. They’re so anxious. It’s like food to them.” I could not stop laughing, she’s just so into it; like her daughter, Veronica get a little lost in the memories. “You didn’t tell mom you slept with Becca!” Grace snaps, causing Zach to nearly expire of embarrassment. Interesting; should we take that to mean he didn’t sleep with Nisa? Probably. “What, you said I didn’t tell Mom,” she scoffs. “Why is it okay for you and not for me?”
“We’re all family here,” Veronica interjects. “Have you slept with him?” No, Grace answers vehemently, mortified. “There’s nothing wrong with that,” Veronica waves. “I mean, your mom was pregnant with you when she got married.” Both kids just about die, their eyes going wide. Seriously, she did not just let that slip casually. Damn. Zach leans forward, jaw dropped. “What?” I’m with him. That stuns me. “Oh, you mean you didn’t know? Yeah, she was two months pregnant.”
The dates don’t match, Grace points out. “They changed the date,” Veronica shrugs. Oh, wow. Family secrets! Somehow I doubt Alicia’s going to appreciate her mom spilling those particular beans. “I remember when she called your grandfather. ‘Oh, Daddy, Daddy, what’re we going to do?'” Er, Veronica and Daddy were long divorced by then, so why does she remember that? You can see how this is totally rocking the kids worlds. “And he said ‘Do you love him?'” She smiles at their shocked faces. “Your mother was very adventurous when she was your age. She liked the bad boys.”
Oh my lord.
Okay, can that be true? I mean, first, is she implying that Peter was a bad boy and Alicia shouldn’t have married him? I suppose that’d be consistent, even though I get the impression that Veronica doesn’t object to bad boys on principle. And, wait, does that mean that Will and Alicia never got together at Georgetown because he was too NICE? Also, Alicia wasn’t a teenager when she married Peter – that’s the part that doesn’t track for me, this idea of super-reliable, cautious Alicia being a sexy rebel teen. Not that it’s impossible, it’s just too much like Veronica for what you’d think she’d be comfortable with. Although of course you can’t take everything Veronica says as gospel, especially when it comes to Alicia’s feelings; she’s definitely an unreliable witness. No, what’s rocking MY world is the idea that she sort of had to marry Peter. That flat out blows my mind. I mean, I always thought that he swooped in and swept her off her feet, but I never thought she went into their marriage out of anything other than her own choice, so to learn that there was duty mixed in from the very beginning… Wow. I’m totally freaked. The kids are silent as their grandmother drinks, and the green festival dances on around them.
Mike Kresteva, meanwhile, is washing his hands and headed back to the party. Wow, that’s so weird for a public men’s room – there’s a shelf in front of the mirror stocked with tooth paste and all sorts of toiletry items. I’ve seen that at some weddings, but usually in a more fancy way. Kresteva literally looks like he’s in someone’s house.
As is his wont, Peter leans on the doorway, sipping his drink. “Mike,” he nods. “How’s your son?” Kresteva asks, brazening it out as usual. “Eli says you’re worried about what I’m saying. Are you worried about what I’m saying?” No, shrugs Peter. “I’m not worried,” he advances on Mike, using his glass to punctuate his thoughts. “I mean, I think you’ll say whatever you need to to help you.” Quite so. He turns and sits on the edge of the sink. “I think you’ll say whatever you want reality to be.” The last stranger exits the room. “But, you’re not provoked,” Kresteva weasels, twisting back and forth. Peter guffaws. “Is that what you’re trying to do, is to provoke me?” Naw, Mike lies. “Just seems that people have their limits. Either their wives, or kids, their moms – in your case, maybe all three.”
Now that doesn’t just make Peter laugh; he actually snorts. “Am I being funny?” Mike wonders – perhaps that’s not the usual reply he gets when he threatens people’s families? It’s all so odd coming from Chandler Bing. Anyway. “No,” says Peter, “I was just remembering that Eli said the way to battle a lie is to make a bigger lie.” As Peter drinks, Mike huffs and pretends he understands. “And you disagree?” No, says Peter, setting down his drink. “You know the way to battle a lie?” “No,” replies Mike, snickering, but I have a feeling you’re going to…”
And that’s when Peter punches him right in the nose.
Yes! Mike staggers back and falls over, his limbs flailing wildly, ending with his torso leaning against the bathroom wall. “Are you crazy?” he yells in complete disbelief. Now that was Chandler Bing! Hands in his pockets, Peter stares down in compete calm and indifference. “Actually, this is the one moment I’m not,” he replies, contemplative. Oh my God. I wish had pom poms, I’m so thrilled. I cannot even believe that just happened (and I saw it happen in the previews a month ago.) “You can’t hit me!” Mike cries, his voice a petulant little boy’s. “You’re right,” Peter observes, ever so reasonably, “you’re right. So I must not have.” Oh, how I love that he’s fighting fire with fire, using Mike’s favorite dirty trick against him.
“You just did!” Mike rails. Somebody has clearly become too used to bullying people too nice to properly combat him. “Are you sure? It makes no sense for me to hit you,” Peter puzzles mildly. Oh, I like this. I like this very much. “My nose is bleeding, I’m on the floor, my nose is bleeding!” Hee hee hee. “Yeah, I can see that, but there must be some other reason for it,” Peter says, shaking his head. He walks back to the sinks and knocks his glass onto the floor.
Immediately, Mike Kresteva understands what’s happening. “No no no,” he says, scrambling ineffectually to regain his feet. Instead he lands on his face, re-injuring his nose. “I… I’ll sue you!” Good idea, Peter agrees, and walks out the door. “I’ll see you outside.” Mike pants in impotent outrage.
At the bottom of the stairs, Peter meets a pair of tuxedo-ed security guards. “Gentlemen, would you go up and see if Mr. Kresteva’s all right? I’m afraid he’s had too much to drink and he fell down.” Yes sir, they say, checking their ear pieces. Wow. Smiling, Peter sails over to Eli. “That’s a Cheshire smile,” Eli frowns. “No, that’s a real smile,” the candidate corrects him.
It’s real on my face, too, Peter. And a long time coming.
By way of contrast, there’s nothing pleased about Will Gardner’s frowning visage as he storms through the crowded police station looking for Alicia. “Hey, it’s James Bond!” a voice announces – which oddly enough, turns out to be the Irish Tenor. Who knew he could speak? “Alicia, are you all right?,” he asks as he walks into her little interview room. Yes, she laughs, you didn’t have to come down here. “I know,” he says, because that’s not the point, Alicia. “What are they saying?” “The police? Nothing, to me,” she shrugs. “But I think it has something to do with the murder in the fifth ward.”
He closes the door, looking out into the room at large to see if they’re being watched. “I looked into it,” he says, and his manner really is rather James Bond. “The cops never found the shooter. It was a drug theft. 8 pounds of coke missing.” Hmm. Missing from whom? Do they suspect police involvement, I wonder? Laura clicks through the station house, but stops, looking more upset than necessary to see Will and Alicia speaking. Is this professional concern, her crush, or confusion at his presence? Does it unnerve her that suddenly Alicia seems to be having a really good time?
“So how’s the party?” Alicia smiles. “Loads of fun,” Will replies, and Alicia unleashes one of her rich, rumbling chuckles. She shakes her head. “You look good,” she declares appreciatively, causing him to fuss with his jacket. “I do? Thanks. You do too.” She smiles harder. “No, you really look good,” she insists, “rushing down here…” she giggles a little. His eyes turn serious; what does she mean? Is she mocking him? Is she coming around? Then there’s a sad smile and a big sigh and she looks down and up and into his eyes. “We were good together, weren’t we?” He nods, his dimples coming out, but he has to look down at the table before he can answer yes. Her smile is wide but terribly sad.
She looks out in the main office where Laura sits at a computer, pretending not to be looking in at them. Will looks at her in confusion, in anticipation. She looks down, steels herself, looks up. “We’re keeping each other from moving on,” she tells him, eyes wide. This is perhaps not what he was expecting. “No, we’re fine,” he denies, looking away, so she looks away too, unable to meet his eyes when she declares “no we’re not.” She bites down on her lips, and then when she finally raises her eyes she can’t look at him, and her eyes are near to overflowing with tears. “It’s past, and I’m pretending it’s not,” her whisper cracks.
“Alicia,” he begins, “I’m fine.” His mournful eyes tell a different tale. “We have a residual … something or other, and we’re dealing with it.” I’m being selfish, she chastises herself, and the look on his face just about breaks my heart – it’s surprised and quizzical and so very sorry. “I mean, even talking about it here, I’m being selfish.” His eyes seem to be filling with tears as well. She takes a moment to explain. “I’m back with Peter.” He looks markedly more teary. “Now this has to end,” she finishes, her voice catching on the ‘has”.
Aching, he watches the table. “Can you just decide that?” he wonders, not raising his eyes. Again, she bites down on her mouth. “I can,” she replies firmly. Then she swallows, and when she speaks again, she whispers, her voice breaking. “I have to.” And that’s when Grace’s special ring tone calls out (Mom, pick up the phone! Mom, pick up the phone!) and she smiles at him as if to say, see, this is everything I’ve been telling you.
“Then okay,” he nods, and his voice sounds like tears. I have to get this, she says, and he nods again, holding up a hand as if in defeat.
“Grace, what’s wrong,” she answers. Do her children only call when something’s wrong? “You were pregnant before you got married?” Oops! The extreme change of topic and the unexpected exposure is too much; she can’t respond. And it turns out that she doesn’t need to, because Grace has a follow-up accusation. “And I was an accident?” (That’s one of those funny things that bothers you when you’re a kid; when you’re a parent, you realize it makes no difference at all.) Her mouth hanging open, Alicia simply cannot come up with the words.
“Nothing beats Bali,” Veronica observes drunkenly, slumped onto the table across from Zach. Literally every other person there is dressed in green, carrying green beer and green glasses and wearing novelty hats. “The water is so clear,” she remembers, chin on her hand, “like glass. And the men.” Oh God. “They’re so advanced.” She’s lost in the memory. “Sexually.” Oh God. Poor Zach! I can’t even. How uncomfortable must that be? He turns his head, as if he can’t believe he’s sitting in a bar on St. Patrick’s Day listening to his grandma maunder on about sexually enlightened Hindu men.
“You didn’t want a second child,” Grace charges Alicia over the phone. Wow, nobody’s having a good five minutes here. “We very much wanted a second child,” Alicia answers, raising her eyes as if asking in disbelief how she could be dealing with this question now. “Where’s your grandma? Is she there?” Annoyed, Grace glances over at the table in time for another stranger to hurl loudly right next to her. “Grace,” Alicia wonders, hearing the unfortunate retching sounds, “Where are you?”
“Grandma, Mom wants to talk to you,” Grace hands over the phone, and with a mild oath Veronica clambers over the vomiting boy in the striped green sweater. “Look, we went out to the cars, but the were blocked by the traffic,” she begins to justify herself. “Mom, I need you to do something for me,” Alicia commands, not wasting time with reproofs. “Look, Alicia, I didn’t expect to take care of the kids tonight,” Veronica excuses herself. I know, Alicia soothes. “That’s why I’m asking nicely. It’s a little before nine, and I need you to walk four blocks to the Aster Street Mansion.” It’s not even 9? Wow, this has been an eventful evening. The Aster Street mansion, Veronica repeats. “Yes, that’s where the party’s at. I’m going there now, and I will meet you there.”
“You’re not angry?” Veronica asks. Alicia waits a moment, fighting for composure. She gets it. “I will meet you there in 15 minutes.” In other words, watch out, Veronica. (And well you should, implying to Grace that she wasn’t wanted. As if Grace doesn’t have enough Grandma issues to begin with…) She hangs up, blows out a deep breath, and turns to see Will talking to Laura, who’s fiddling with her bangs. Awkward awkward awkward!
“Detective Young! How are you this fine evening!” Kalinda calls out, chasing DiMaggio down as he steps into some sort of locked yard. He smiles. “You’re not getting a look at the shooter’s car, Kalinda,” he shakes his head. She pleads, hands in the fencing. “Come on, Doug, let me take a look!” We’re working here, he replies, shooting her down. “Yeah? Checking for connections to Nozowitz?” He throws his head back, no longer watching the forensic tech who has his head in the trunk. “Kalinda, you know there’s no connection.” If there isn’t, why did the police keep bringing it u p? Ugh. “You’re protecting your detective,” she says, and the mention of rank surprises me a little because if he’s a detective, why was he wearing a uniform? “No,” DiMaggio declares, “you defense attorneys think that because he’s wearing a badge he must be guilty.” Again, you were the one harping on the connection, Doug. “But Nozowitz was working undercover for the DEA at the time. He’s innocent, Kalinda.”
Well, then, there’s no issue, is there? You still have that unusually massive list of suspects. Kalinda rushes down the street to get a better view of the front of the car. Even with a set of construction lights, she’s not getting a good one. “Hey,” she calls, “what year Lincoln is it, Doug?” He looks up from his notes. It’s a 2006 Zephyr. “Now leave us alone.” Oh, he should be worried about the look she’s giving him. “You know the odd thing about the 2006 Zephyr?” He has no idea. “It doesn’t have GPS.” She runs away, and he watches her go, frustrated at being caught.
Also, damn! Wow, that’s bad. I can’t believe he would make that up. (I mean, okay, it could be customized or having one of those little ones you pick up at Best Buy velcroed to the dash, but yeah.) He’s going to lie to the State’s Attorney’s wife? And all for what, so he can press her for her cooperation a day or so earlier than she might otherwise have given it? That’s a little short sighted, no?
“I’m sorry, I had no idea,” Laura apologizes. Will’s livid, but it’s nothing to the ice in Alicia’s face. “So who knew? Who lied about Alicia being a target?” What else did Doug Young lie about – this urgency, that the shooter would kill again? What was the point? Not that there’s anything wrong with him wanting to catch a killer, obviously, but to have Alicia there in the first place was a little weird, right? “Woah woah woah – where you going?” Detective Young has the termerity to ask Alicia. Really, buddy? I think an apology might have served you better. You sure as heck don’t have any right to hold her – she’s not a suspect or a person of interest or even a witness, for heaven’s sake. “Hey, we needed to catch a killer! Course I’m going to do everything I could do get information from you.” Wrong tactic, buddy, now and obviously then. You started out with her good will. “That’s right, she says, “everybody was just doing their job, and all I can tell you is to go …. yourself.” The Irish Tenor lets a high note rip to cover the profanity.
“I’m so sorry,” Cardinal James walks over to a very disheveled Mike Kresteva, still clutching a dinner napkin against his bloody nose.”Mike, I heard – how’re you doing?” The Cardinal lays a hand on Mike’s shoulder. “Not great,”Mike grouses, displaying his puffy proboscis, “Look at this! Look at this! Can you believe this?” Aw, you’ll be fine – it happens to the best of us,” James placates the irate politician. Mike the perpetual wolf-crier looks up over the napkin, puzzled. “What happens to the best of us?” he asks, suddenly in less pain. “Oh, a little tipple,” the Cardinal mimes sipping a drink,”a little spill… It’s St. Patrick’s Day!” He grasps the younger man by the shoulders, smiling. “It’s forgivable!” Um, lapsing for an alcoholic isn’t so much about being forgiven (it isn’t about the size of the tipple), but I can see he’s trying to be nice.
Unfortunately, that’s not the reaction that Mike wanted. “Your Eminence, Peter Florrick hit me,” he proclaims, hands waving, pointing wildly at his own face. The Archbishop of Chicago just laughs. The laughter incenses Mike. There’s blood on his shirt, and his hair is wild. “No, what, he wants you to think that I was drinking and fell down, but it was his drink, he put it there,” Mike declares, miming the events. “He wanted it to look like mine!” I know, I know, the Cardinal pats Mike, before rushing off to accost Alicia, who’s still in her coat.
He catches her attention in the hall. “Mrs. Florrick! Alicia! Hello!” His cloak flaps as he walks toward her; in her red gown and black ruffled coat and his red cloak and cassock, they’re fascinatingly reverse images of each other. Particularly with the ruffled coat, she looks as if she’s stepped out of Anna Karenina. Not a happy thought, that. “You’re the one person I haven’t spent a second with,” he smiles enthusiastically. She bows. “Your Eminence!” Oh, he coos, old school. I had to look it up online, she admits, which delights him. “So,” they walk and talk, “either your son has been arrested for smoking marijuana, or the police needed your help with a murder.” Oh, Alicia, this day just doesn’t quite. She’s horrified. “The latter,” she explains, “I don’t know who told you about the former but definitely the latter.” Cardinal James nods placidly. “Yes, that’s what your mother said.”
“My mother?” Alicia stops, freezing in shame. “Yes, Veronica – she was here,” Cardinal James recalls, looking around the room for her. I can’t help snickering. “Just to be clear, she likes saying things for their shock value.” Is that an excuse or a warning? He chuckles. “Oh, I know,” he agrees. Oh Lord, what did she SAY?
Oh God. As if Kresteva talking to the Cardinal wasn’t bad enough! “It was so nice to meet you, Mrs. Florrick!” he grins, and toddles off.
“What was that, what did he say?” Eli appears at her elbow as if he’d apparated there. Will you people leave the poor woman alone? “Nothing,” she calms him, “everything’s good.” Or so you might think. “Peter hit Kresteva,” Eli admits, his voice low, flashing a small smile at Alicia which disappears before she can even register it. (I can’t even type that without giggling. So glorious!) “What?” Alicia cries, stunned. Eli repeats himself: “Peter hit Kresteva, but everybody thinks he fell so play along.” Peter fell down, she guesses, bewildered. “No no no – Kresteva fell down from drinking. He has a… bloody nose.”
Turning to look at Eli, Alicia starts to smile. “Are you serious?” He is. “Did you see it?” she asks avidly. “No,” he grins, wheezing in excitement, “but I heard it was epic.”
And an entirely different epic ends with the still, curled form of Matthew Ashbaugh, fetal in death. Kalinda watches the footage with the Irish Tenor singing softly in the background. Over and over, she watched the killer get into the passenger seat of the car he must have stolen (or else we’d know who he was, right?). Something long and orange nearly falls out to the curb. Detective Doug leans over, a little too close, his hands on the desk at her sides. Have I mentioned that I hated his character on Smash and he’s doing a fine job living up to that distaste? “Make yourself comfortable,” he says, but when she doesn’t’ bite he just sits down next to her. “Look,” he begins, “Nozowitz is a tough cop, but an honest one, and this crap about him being tied to the killing…” Shut up, she commands him, and he does. “You convinced me.” Why, how’d I do that, he wonders.
“Our client sued a lot of people, he made a lot of people angry,” Kalinda explains. Yes, we know this. “See that, that object?” she points to the wiggly orange line. Yes, he does, but he has no idea what it is. You ever heard of FetchFar, she asks; he hasn’t. “It’s something that dog owners use to fling tennis balls so that their dogs can chase it,” she explains, making him laugh. Okay, he says, probably because he hasn’t seen the flashbacks we have, so for his benefit Kalinda explains about the client with the barking dog. The one who threatened Ashbaugh in the first flashback with that very same orange stick. (Those things are awesome, by the way.)
“Are you kidding, you think this is about a dog barking?” Doug Young scoffs. Ah, have you learned nothing from the late and unlamented Detective 98 Degrees? Kalinda is always right, Doug. “Have you ever met a dog lover?” Kalinda asks, giving him a very significant look. I have, and I can confidently say that even the couple who compare themselves to these folks wouldn’t think of murdering someone for their dog. (Or at all, but definitely not for their dog.)
“Mom!” Grace calls out amidst all the elegant people. She sitting on the formal staircase, framed by the amazing wrought iron railing, a china plate with cake balanced on her knees. Tucking up her skirt and coat, Alicia sits down next to her youngest child. “Where’s grandma?” she wonders. “I don’t know,” Grace answers. “She was talking to some guy.” Well, of course.
Alicia takes a deep breath and then begins. “I was pregnant when we got married,” she confesses. “And we were emba…” she reconsiders her phrasing. “No. I was embarrassed. So I changed the date of our wedding.” What does that even mean? Did they celebrate their anniversary on the wrong day every year? It must have a been a small wedding and they must have no long term friends to call them on it. Fascinating. I always pictured a big to do. “And me?” Grace asks. “You were not an accident,” Alicia smiles. (Would that really be so terrible? Does she think her parents don’t love Zach, even though he obviously was an accident? Accident doesn’t mean unwelcome. Oh well. I’m quibbling. I get it.) “We wanted you.”
“Because you thought I’d keep you together?” Oh, honey. Do you think that Alicia was unhappy for that long? Never. “No, Grace,” Alicia smiles. “But… we’re the reason why you’re… not with who you wanna be,” Grace replies. Oh my God. Wow. I thought Zach knew something, and I know they talked to each other, but that comment just floors me. Alicia merely looks uncomfortable. “I don’t want to be the reason that you had to be responsible!” Um, too late for that part, honey. I mean, not in that context, but she’s your mom. She’s responsible. She was responsible before.
“Grace,” Alicia begins, looking into her daughter’s eyes with a small, brief smile, “listen to me. This isn’t’ about responsibility.” Her smile grows. “This is about… love.” Aw. She rubs her daughter’s back, searching for the right words. “I loved you before you were born,” she says, her voice thickened with tears, “and I loved Zach before he was born.” Grace reads the truth in her mother’s face. Alicia sniffles. “And I love you even more now.” She leans in, willing Grace to understand. “And Dad?” Alicia looks down, and it seems as if she’s looking for the right way to say it, but it turns out that the right way is easy, whether it’s a reaffirmation of something old or realization of a change or re-categorization of something entirely new. “I love him,” she gulps. Grace smiles, and Alicia enfolds her, cheek to cheek.
“Peter!,” the Archbishop of Chicago calls out. The State’s Attorney turns expectantly, Eli and Alicia watch with hope, but Cardinal James merely grasps him by the elbow in a very friendly handshake, and moves on. Sigh. Oh well. I’m sure the punch was worth it anyway. Eli swings his arms open in wistful defeat. “Oh! Here you are!” Veronica and Zach join the odd little party on the stairs, Zach doing a little round about walk behind Alicia only to sit on Grace’s other side. “Hi Mom,” Alicia grumbles, then gets up to go have a little talk with Grandma. Duck!
“Uh oh,” Veronica snarks. “No uh oh, I just want to talk,” Alicia replies, her dress trailing out behind her. “Mom,” she begins. “No no no, it’s not what you think,” Veronica defends herself, “we had an adventure.” Just keep telling yourself that, lovie. “I mean, they’re such great kids. They’re so funny, they make me laugh.” Do they? Did you stop embarrassing them long enough to find that out? The compliments disarm Alicia, as intended. “Though I do think you might be protecting them too much.” That’s up to me, Alicia replies firmly. “No one is saying it’s not,” Veronica responds (how nice to have it both ways, criticize and then say it has no weight). You need to let me give you just a modicum of advice, she insists. “You need to treat them the way I treated you.” Oh, like that has a chance in hell of appealing to her. Alicia takes off her coat and gives her mother a death glare. “I know you don’t want me to see them, but I have to see them. And whatever you say, whatever you do, I’m gonna see them, if I have to sneak into their schools, I’m gonna see them.”
“Mom,” sigh Alicia, exasperated. Of course she doesn’t’ want to stop Veronica from seeing them. Nice fast talking, Veronica; I think you’ve confused the issue so much that you’ve taken the fight out of her. Veronica sets down her drink. “Maybe I’m getting senile , but I like them.” Why would being senile make her like them? I’m baffled. “They remind me of your father.” For the third time tonight, Alicia’s tears threaten to overflow. “I know,” she agrees, thinking.
“Okay,” she gives in, “I was going to rip into you, Mom, and we’re talking tomorrow, because you can’t use the truth to undercut me with my kids!” “You’re right,” Veronica admits, “I’m sorry.” Her response stuns Alicia, who blinks and stammers in her disbelief.
“There you are!” Peter rumbles, interrupting the moment. “Oh, I had to step away,” Alicia understates. Son-in-law and mother exchange tense, terse greetings. “Would you like to dance?” he asks his wife, hand on her back. I would, she smiles, and – handing her coat to her mother – follows her husband to the dance floor. She’s beaming, and their partnering is smooth and easy. “You know, this is like our wedding,” he says, her laughter rippling out. (Argh! Did they have a big, Jackie-approved society wedding or not?) “So no Cardinal’s hug?” she asks. Don’t change the topic! No. “I’m so sorry,” she tells him, and she is. He’s philosophical. “Ah, look, if life is about getting a hug then I’m in the wrong business.” Heee. You got that right.
“Thank you, by the way,” she smiles adoringly up into his face. “For what?” he wonders foolishly. “Punching Kresteva,” she grins. “Oh,” he shakes his head, looking confused, “I couldn’t have punched Kresteva. I wouldn’t make sense for me to have punched Kresteva, so I must not have.” Before she can laugh at this wonderful illogic, Eli scampers up to them. “He shook Kresteva’s hand too!”
What, Peter asks, and he and Alicia part enough for us to see Eli quivering with delight. “He didn’t make a choice. He didn’t hug either of you. First time ever! We are in uncharted territory here.” Oh, well, good, replies Peter, and goes back to waltzing with Alicia. Blinking, Eli tries to circle around with them. “Well you’re both taking this very casually,” he twitters, and somehow the two grow more regal in comparison. “Eli,” Peter intones, “I’m dancing with my wife now.” Okay, Eli replies, flustered. ‘I’ll go worry about the campaign now, and you… dance.” Oh, Eli. Think of it this way; you wanted them back together, and here they are. Let them flaunt it a little.
But as her head almost rests on her husbands shoulder, Alicia can only remember poor slaughtered Matthew Ashbaugh. Is the band playing his song? “Why not settle,” we see her say in flashback, “why are you making so many enemies?” He doesn’t answer. “This is for you,” he says instead, pushing a cd toward her. What is it? I can’t believe she’s even asking that. “Bach,” he says, winning a sweet smile, “I thought you’d enjoy it at home.” Thanks, she squeaks, and as she looks away, we can see that he’s glowing in adoration. “Let’s settle,” she says, “okay Matthew? It’s just a dog barking. You don’t need the money.”
“I’ve never needed the money. It was always about the process,” he tells her. She flicks out her fingers. “What process?” His eyes cast down, he tells her. “Being with you.”
Oh. She raises her eyebrows, wondering if he’s serious, surmising that he is. “Matthew,” she begins, soft. “That was a joke,” he lies, and she searches his face. “Are you sure?” Yeah, he says. “I’m sure. Suing because I like being with you … wouldn’t make sense.” Oh wow. The choice that seals his fate, made from a helpless love too strange a truth to be believed. The way this script folds back on itself breaks my heart. “Okay,” she agrees to disregard his words, then draws a great breath. “I’ll be right back.” Bach plays us back to the ballroom.
“Are you all right?” Peter wonders, noticing her abstraction. “Just a memory,” she smiles up at him. “Of what,” he wonders. “Nothing,” she lies, and they cuddle in, cheek to cheek. For a precious second, her eyes close, but when they open, they’re haunted.
Thud. You can scrape me off the ground any time now.
This episode. Good lord! I could sleep for a week. That was completely exhausting, recapping every little twist of that – it’s officially my longest recap ever. I swear they pack more into this show than into a container truck, and more emotion than – I don’t know what. I can’t think of a comparison that isn’t glib or rude.
Uh, let’s see. Add this to the list of performance I’ve adored by John Noble, which includes, oh, everything I’ve seen him do. Eccentric, sweet, heart-breaking, done in by his own mad crush. And of course the amazing Stockard Channing couldn’t be more welcome as emotional guerrilla Veronica; the woman knows how to throw a conversational bomb, you have to admit. It was really wrong of her to tell Zach and Grace some of what she did; although I can’t imagine when they would have found out if she didn’t, it still wasn’t her secret to tell. Of course, it’s just as much about us knowing, isn’t it? But man, what does it all mean?
Random Catholic trivia. Cardinal James’ actual job title would be the Archbishop of Chicago – the hierarchical leader of the local diocese (ie, organization/administrative area). Not all archbishops are made into Cardinals, but generally when you become the Archbishop of a major metropolitan area (Boston, New York City, etc) you’re also made a Cardinal. Just in case you were wondering why I used those terms interchangeably (other than being bored of calling him the same thing over and over).
So do you all view this episode cracked down the middle in shipper lines, or is anyone else as unsettled as I am? Well, not the whole episode. I’m sure that Peter punching Kresteva in the kisser had universal appeal. (The first time I saw the punch, back in the first preview for the March episodes, I actually thought Peter was punching Will; I found this much more satisfying.) But as far as the romantic plot, I do wonder. Do all A/P shippers believe that Alicia has absolutely and irrevocably chosen Peter, and all A/W fans believe it’s just a matter of time before her attraction to Will overcomes her increasingly complicated objections? I have to say, I’m not absolutely sold in either direction. She sounded pretty damn definitive, and seemed incredibly relaxed and happy dancing with Peter – but she’s sounded definitive before, most notably when she kicked Peter out and told him that they were never, ever ever getting back together.
I can’t help being really bothered by some of her actions. First of all, if all she cares about with Will is the sex, then she’s right in letting him go. It’s not fair to him, because it’s clearly not just that for him. But is that really all that it is for her? Would she be crying if it were? Will she regret the advice she gave to Laura?
Also, what the HELL was up with her not calling Peter? I mean, laudable and lovely that she wants to solve her problems by herself, but this isn’t like the pilot light going out on the stove. I can say with complete confidence that no matter what he was doing, it would not have bothered him to leave it, and that she couldn’t let herself rely on him in her hour of need, or let him help her and the kids? Really frustrating, that subservient political wife thing. Oh, don’t bother him, he has much more important things to think about than a killer tracking down his wife. Are you kidding me! It masquerades as thoughtfulness and self-sufficiency, but really it goes back to that refusal not to let herself be vulnerable again. Its not about her needing him to save her, it’s about her letting him participate. If you’re going to be with him, then let him be your husband!
Which brings me to the question; did she let Will come because it’s easier to trust him, or because it would be too painful – and too important – to rely on Peter again and thereby risk being hurt?
Did anyone else think it was interesting that when reacting to both men in the their formal wear, Alicia’s words to Peter put his appearance into a political context, and Will into a more personal one? That’s strange, right? I can’t decide if this entire episode is an elegy of sorts for Will and Alicia, a final Valentine to their shippers, or if it’s a set up for her to fall back in with him again. I know, I know, it seems pretty clear and straightforward. She put it out there. Insisted Will forget her, told him she had recommitted to Peter, told Grace that she loved Peter. But, I don’t know. I feel like I wanted something more romantic out of her decision – her telling Peter instead of her telling Grace. I mean, that would be a scene to remember, right? Not that she’s remotely a mushy person; I’m the mushy person in this scenario. But wouldn’t you all want to see the look on Peter’s face when she says she loves him and wants to be a family again? Why didn’t we get that? Are we going to later? Maybe I just don’t trust The Good Wife to do anything straightforward.
And yes, while that’s definitely it, I can’t help finding it curious that the episode focused so little on the man she ostensibly chose. Instead, the episode lavished us in Will/Alicia romance. A love letter to the romance, or a promise for forbidden love to come? Frankly, it reminded me of Meredith and Derek euthanizing their dog in season two of Grey’s Anatomy before the apocalyptic Prom episode. And that we found out Alicia was pregnant when she and Peter got married, and that she falsified their wedding date for her kids! Does that mean she and Peter had a quicky wedding because she was pregnant? That she was maybe never sure she wanted to be with him, even though it made her happier later? I can’t help feeling that this compromises their love story from an ideal standpoint. And, hello, shades of Caitlin D’Arcy, pregnant at her wedding! I know the stay at home choice was supposed to be a parallel, but I had no idea it was quite that on the nose.
So is anyone else still stuck in the middle with me, or did this give you guys the clarity you’ve been wanting? I keep going back and forth, but I think you have to err on the side of Alicia choosing Peter, at least for the moment. Am I being as paranoid as Matthew Ashbaugh? And where oh where do we go from here?