E: This just goes to show that a foregone conclusion can still leave you in heart-palpitating shock. Did I know that was coming? You betcha. Did I expect it in quite that way? Nope. I think you will all understand where I’m coming from when I say that I screamed several times during this episode. Embarrassingly loudly.
Cinderella has nothing on the young paralegal whose point of view takes us down the busy hallway of Lockhart/Gardner; instead of doing the dishes, she’s bearing coffee for Cary, beset on all sides by various principles clamoring for her to assist them. This is the wrong deposition! I need help with my laptop! We need to move boxes out of Diane’s office! The requests are phrased kindly or not depending on the personality of the speaker.
“Hey, Chrissy, how are you?” Alicia beams, the first personal to address the young woman by name. Fine, fine, she says, before squeaking “Alicia, do you have a minute?” Clearly distracted, peeking through one of the glass walls in front of them, Alicia says she’ll be free in an hour, but when she sees Chrissy’s wide eyed, nervous face, she snaps back into focus. “What’s wrong?” Nothing, Chrissy very clearly lies, a little defensive, pearl earrings trembling. “It’s just – it’s hard,” she finishes. “I know,” Alicia encourages the younger woman, “but it’s great experience, and you’ll make a lot of connections for when you pass the bar.” Quick as thought, she’s distracted again by whatever’s going on on the other side of that wall. Chrissy begins to explain herself, but Cary’s beckoning urgently and so Alicia puts her off. I’ll be right back out, she says.
“No, it’s alright. I figured out what I want to do,” Chrissy shakes her head, her eyes enormous. Oh dear. Why does this sound like the kind of thing someone says before they kill themselves? Clearly it’s a significant missed connection. “What do you mean?” Alicia puzzles. “Nothing. Everything’s good,” curly haired Chrissy replies, quaking like a mouse. But she quakes off, and Alicia – too preoccupied with her day – pushes through the door. Making me literally fear for her life, Chrissy turns and stares in a panic at Alicia’s retreating back.
“We’re having trouble downloading files,” Cary tells his soon-to-be partner the moment she walks in. Augh, I love the color combination of his orchid colored shirt with the blue and red polka dotted tie; it’s an amazing visual play on the color purple. We should not be doing this here, Alicia squirms, rushing back to sit behind her desk. So they were waiting in her office. Honestly, I can’t tell anyone’s offices apart lately, other than of course the name partners. Oh don’t worry, Cary says, they all think we’re talking about the Zimbalist “depo.” Ah, the Zimbalist deposition. Is someone resurrecting Remington Steele?
“I spent the whole afternoon trying to download files to take with us, but there’s some kind of firewall in the way,” a co-conspirator we’ve never seen before (young, male, tallish, solidly built, South East Asian) informs Alicia, gesturing with one of Chrissy’s coffee’s. Do paralegals usually bring coffee? I thought they were higher on the food chain than that. “It’s David Lee,” Cary waves his hands, “he’s still suspicious that we’re leaving.” Carey Zepps paces in the background. Why do all three of them need to be here? Seriously, these people suck at being undercover. “The clients are coming with us,” Alicia replies calmly. “Once they’re with us, Lockhart/Gardner doesn’t own the files, the clients do.”
Cary, Extra E and Red Shirt don’t take quite the same calm view of it. What if L/G delays? What if they sue? (Oh my God, they’re so going to so sue you. For everything. I hope you’re expecting that.) Even if the clients sue to get their paperwork, Carey fears, L/G can just absorb the suit so that Florrick/Agos fails, and the clients come back. “Hey, we’re stealing the clients,” Red Shirt shrugs; Cary and Carey vociferously object. “Okay. Either way, they’re going to think we’re stealing ’em. They’re gonna be pissed.” There is no denying that, and everybody needs to wake up to the fact that Will and David are not going to play nice about it. Red Shirt shoots Alicia a significant look. And that’s when Extra E springs his latest brilliant plan on Alicia; a partner could get around the firewall.
“No,” she breathes, making E-less Cary sigh at her intransigence, “no, that would be wrong.” Just the new ones, Red Shirt pleads. “Diane’s cases?” And it’s at his serious, pleading look that David Lee barrels into the room. “What’s this?” he frowns. The Zimbalist deposition, Alicia replies coolly. “Oh,” he conceded defeat before launching into his reason for being there. “I need the paralegal, the brunette one, where is she?” What, is Alicia her keeper? “I don’t know,” Alicia frowns. “She’s probably helping Will in Diane’s office.” Yes, or helping Howard with his computer. Or throwing herself out a window. Okay, David grunts, then spears Extra E with a particularly sharp glare. “Good luck with the Zimbalist deposition.” Alicia and Cary both look ready to expire.
The tension is killing me! It just gets worse and worse!
And wow, Diane’s office really is fully of boxes. Her prized picture with Hilary Clinton peeks out of an open container, the perfect note of sad nostalgia. Box in hand, Will walks in on Viola Walsh surveying the detritus. “So this is surprising,” she notes. He raises his eyebrows, his voice and expression mild. “Hi Viola. How are you?” I’m good, Will, she sneers, because graciously unpleasant is how she rolls. “And it’s always good to see you. Especially in such a triumphant state.” Sigh.
After setting the box down on the conference table, Will turns back to Viola, smiling, and asks what’s she’s after. She flops into Diane’s desk chair (“may I?”), wheeling back; Will leans ruefully against the table, his arms crossed. “You know, Diane and I were great friends in law school. But we were always in competition. The same jobs, the same boyfriends, the same everything.” Smart girl frenemies, then. “So this judgeship is hitting quite hard.” Having listened patiently, Will finally smiles. “You want one,” he assesses. Viola laughs, delighted. “That would be nice,” she smirks, “but I feel her advancement started when she stole – actually you both stole a client from me.” Uh oh. She leans forward, smiling in delicious anticipation.
“Have you seen that paralegal, what’s her name?” David barks, interrupting without preamble, Alicia following on his heels for absolutely no sensible reason at all. No, Will shrugs.
“Oh,” Viola calls out as if she just remembered something important, “that’s why I’m here. Your paralegal. She’s suing you.” Will just stares. “Chrissy is suing us?” Alicia asks, stunned. “And Diane, and the firm.” Wait, “us” includes Alicia, distinct from the firm? Why? “A hostile work environment,” Viola informs them pertly. “That bitch, I can’t believe it,” David growls, the picture of impish hostility. Will puts up a hand, horrified, but Viola just laughs – no doubt please at how easy this suit is going to be. “No,” she chuckles, playing with the office supplies on Diane’s desk, “there’s a lot worse than that in the complaints. Something, unfortunately, that might upset Diane’s confirmation.”
“So this is between you and Diane, and we’re all just collateral damage?” Will asks. Well, that’d be new, Will; usually it’s people gunning for you. “No,” Viola smiles innocently, “this is between a firm and a paralegal, and we’re all just slaves to the facts!”
Bam! Bam! Bam! It takes a second to make sense of what we’re seeing, which is bullets hitting a target; Kurt McVeigh’s got Diane with a handgun. She’s closing in on the center of the bulls eye, and the kick she’s getting out of it all is undeniable. In typical Diane style, she’s dressed like modernized gentry in a red blazer that smacks of an English hunting coat paired with slim black pants and a white blouse that gives the suggestion of a cravat. Well done. You’re getting better, her fiance chuckles; she will admit, at least, to taking out her aggressions. “It’s a turn on,” he says, taking the gun from her. For who?
And of course that’s when her phone rings. It’s Will; Kurt encourages her to pick up, but it sounds a little passive aggressive to me. No, she smiles, advancing on her man, thrilling to be a little bit bad. “Finally I don’t have to take it.” She puts her hands on the back of his head and kisses him.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (er, Lockhart/Gardner), Eli’s popped up in Alicia’s office. Ah, it’s just like old times! I kind of miss that. “We have to talk about the inauguration,” he grinds out. “No,” she drawls, “You have to talk about it, I have to…” Aw, she’s treating him with contempt! I feel so nostalgic. Unfortunately, Extra E harshes my buzz by flashing her some spirit fingers. Six, to be precise. “What’s that about?” the Chief of Staff wonders. Six days, she sighs, sitting. Six? This has been the longest two weeks ever. I ask you, how many actual days did it turn out to be? Somebody should make a chart.
It turns out I’m not the only one feeling nostalgic. I’m going to miss this office, Eli declares, looking around him with narrowed eyes. Really? Because you’ve hardly spent any time in this particular office. If you wanted to wax poetic about the little couch in her very first office, then I’d be with you. “You sure you wanna go?” With that he’s got Alicia’s full attention away from the casework she had been scanning; she sets down the folder, puts her elbows on her desktop, rest her chin on her clasped hands and asks just what his problem is. “You told Nora you want the inaugural ball moved to the governors mansion,” he informs her, “but traditionally, it’s held at Exposition Hall, and I’m getting some trouble with the unions.” Alicia’s brows knit in puzzlement. (I, however, am thrilled. Nora! That’s the name of his assistant – it drove me nuts that I couldn’t remember that last week.)
“Wait, what?” she asks. “You want the governor’s ball moved to the mansion,” he summarizes, “but the unions are threatening to strike if we move it, because it’s a non-union house.” Wait, for real, the governor’s mansion is a non-union house? In Chicago? Isn’t Chicago the capital city of unions? “Eli, wait,” Alicia stops his little recitation, her words precise and clear. “I don’t know what you heard, but your office called me, and asked if it would be fine to move the ball to the governor’s mansion, and I told them what I’m telling you.” She leans forward, throws her head back, exquisitely bored. “I don’t care.”
And yet, it doesn’t sink in. “You didn’t ask for it to be moved to the governor’s mansion.” She favors him with a wry, weary look. “Does it sound like me to say that I wanted it moved to the governor’s mansion?” No, it does not. “Nora said that Mrs. Florrick insisted…” Eli swallows his words. That’s right. We all know there’s a Mrs. Florrick who cares about those things, and there’s one who doesn’t. “And there ya go,” Alicia smiles. “I have a partners meeting. Good luck,” she finishes, patting him on the shoulder on her way out.
Poor Eli, ever so slightly embarrassed, whips out his cell phone. “Nora! Is Mrs. Florrick there? No – the Mrs. Florrick that asked the inaugural be moved to the mansion.” He’s nodding like a bobble-head when a smiling Nora hands the phone over to – you guessed it – a very stern looking Jackie. “Hello, Mr. Gold, how are you?”
Why have they not come up with a code name for her? Like the Dowager Countess of Grantham or something. Wouldn’t that make life so much easier?
“Diane, my God look at you,” a voice comes as Diane and Kurt slice up large hunks of meat at a posh restaurant. In a happy surprise, she reaches up to kiss and clutch hands with a pair named Fran and Lyle. It’s been forever, she smiles. “Well, we were in Lyon in the spring,” Fran shrugs, “You look fantastic!” Thank you, grins Diane. “And this is Kurt,” she adds, clapping her fiance on the back as he rises to shake hands. “You must be the lucky gentleman,” Lyle greets Kurt warmly. “These are my oldest friends, Francesca and Lyle. I set them up,” she smirks. Lyle’s tall with a high forehead and longish gray hair, and he’s played by Robert Klein of Sisters, The Stones and a lengthy list of character parts that stretches back before I was born. “Blind date, right out of law school. Which reminds me, I heard Viola was in town, did you see her?” Ha ha ha ha.
“Viola Walsh? No,” Diane smiles, leaving out the whole frenemy bit. Thankfully Fran really doesn’t look into it too thoroughly; she’s more interested in why Diane and Kurt smell like they’ve been camping. (She does not skimp on the honesty;it takes a really old friend to tell you that you stink when you’re out in public.) “That’s gunpowder,” Kurt nods. Right, cause that’s going to go down well. Assuming Diane’s friends have political convictions like hers, and considering how hard it was for her to believe Kurt could have his, you know they do, Fran and Lyle belly laugh like he’s made the most absurd joke ever – and let’s face it, he kind of has.
We spent the morning shooting, Diane grins. Now, I’m a gun control supporter but I can’t help loving the shock on Lyle and Fran’s faces, the way their guffaws freeze and their mouths hang open. “Guns? Really?” Fran and her cute short hair are so cheerful and so shocked. She must be enjoying their horror, because Diane rubs their noses in it a little, volunteering the make and model. “Well, then, that’s a new side of you, Diane,” Lyle replies genially. It’s at this point that Will calls and Diane decides she has to take it, leaving Kurt alone with the cheerful couple; from the look he shoots her way, I’d say he wasn’t too pleased.
Long tall Lyle and Fran and her round little cheek bones move closer to Kurt as Diane moves away. “Are you a hunter, Mr…?” McVeigh, he adds, and Lyle stumbles to remember why that name sounds familiar. “You know, like the one who’s dead now!” he attempts to remind his wife, and they go back and forth, neither one completing a sentence. Riiight. Because you want to keep going from there. “The one who, you know…” “Blew up the Alfred P. Murrow Federal Building in Oklahoma City,” Kurt offers. Cause he doesn’t get that all the time…
Well, that’s done it for Francesca’s smile, which seems hardly fair. “Yeah,” Lyle agrees, much quieter.
“It’s your old friend, Viola Walsh, she’s suing us,” Will tells poor Diane. He’s standing in her office, bent over her phone, flanked by a large group of employees. “She got a paralegal to accuse us.” Well I don’t know what that has to do with me, Diane shrugs. How long have you been gone, woman? Bah. “You all pushed me out, remember?” Sigh. “She’s saying you sexually harassed her,” Will enunciates clearly so there’s no doubt.
She what, Diane stumbles. You weren’t expecting that one, were you? Neither were the rest of us.
How’s that going to look to your friends on the Supreme Court, Howard wants to know. “And this is what I say, she slimes us, we slime her,” David Lee enters the conversation, pacing, his blu tooth in his ear as usual. “We get Kalinda on this, find out everything in her past, everything we can use.” Diane’s still dumbfounded. “Who said that I harassed her?”
“Chrissy Quinn,” Alicia volunteers. ‘She says that you asked her to prostitute herself to a client,” Understandably, Alicia trips a little over that accusation. “That Cary showed her how he masturbates, and I asked her how she lost her virginity.” She rolls her eyes. “And I raped her,” Howard adds, leaning into view, “I don’t even know who she is.”
Backing away from the phone, Diane hears Lyle importuning Kurt. “Do you realize that the United States has the highest percentage of civilian gun ownership…” Ah. So that’s going well.
“Slime her,” David Lee repeats, “that’s what I say. This is blackmail, they want a quick settlement.” I hate to agree with David, but that’s clearly what’s going on – extortion to sabotage Diane’s confirmation. (So, wait, they confirm Supreme Court judges in Illinois, and they’re appointed by the governor, unlike regular judges there who have to run for that as an office?) “It’s Viola Walsh, Diane,” Will confirms, “she’s got an issue with your judgeship. Diane sighs; “Tell me what you need me to do.” Behind her, sweet looking Fran has her hand on her hip. “So you don’t think Sandy Hook changed anything?”
“I think,” Kurt bites out, “that the Second Amendment keeps everything from being changed.” Lyle presses on, despite the fact that they’re standing in the middle of the restaurant and that it’s clearly making Kurt uncomfortable. “But did you see those kids’ bodies, did you see the photos?” Wait, were there photos released? I thought they weren’t going to be? “What I don’t understand is how your guns could matter more than that.” Sing it! “I didn’t say that,” Kurt backpedals. Um, you kind of did. “You’re making that connection,” he tries to stop the flow of the argument, waving a finger at her.
And that’s when Diane comes back. And what a surprise; she offers for Lyle and Fran to join them, and yet mysteriously, they’d rather go to their own table. Of course, she does point out that she and Kurt are almost done (untrue), putting the onus on Fran and Lyle who are already eager to get away. We’ll call you, they say. Great, say hi to the kids for me, Diane smiles. Awkward!
Looking at Kurt, apprehensive, Diane drops the pretense. ‘Stimulating conversation?” He looks down in his lap. “Your friends have some strong opinions.” Why would you expect anything less? “So does my fiance,” Diane smiles. “You knew that about me,” he nods, taking a slug of water, still not looking at her. She smiles fondly. “I did.”
“If we settle for two million, insurance will cover 40%, but .. we may lose some clients,” Alicia tells the grim assembly of partners. “No. Then we fight it,” Will nods – and really, it was only ever Will who was going to decide. “Then we have to move quick,” David Lee presses his lips together, “so, who do we get to represent us?”
And there’s only one possible choice. “I’m sorry,” Elsbeth Tacioni apologizes, “I have to hit ten thousand paces or my bangle gets mad at me.” Elsbeth! YES! Waving her braceletted wrist at them, Elsbeth continues to walk briskly on a treadmill that sits in place of a desk. Hilariously, Will, Alicia and David are ranged opposite her like school children in a row; I love this visual so much, I can’t even. Will explains that they’re there to hire her.
Considering hiring you, David Lee cautions, and Alicia explains about the hostile environment suit lodged by a female employee. “And how long has this paralegal worked for you?” Wow, the treadmill really is Elsbeth’s new desk; she’s got a monitor and keyboard and a note board set up on it and everything. 2 year, Alicia answers, why? “I don’t know,” Elsbeth shrugs. “I keep asking questions till they make sense.” Cynical David takes a dim view of this, glowering, but Will and Alicia know better. Who’s representing Chrissy? “Viola Walsh, a lawyer from L.A.,” Will explains, “but she’s opening up a law office here.” Oh, fun! More Rita Wilson, please!
“Is she tall?” Elsbeth asks. Oh, I just love you, Elsbeth. About 5’ 7″, Alicia guesses. That’s the last straw for David, who mutters “you gotta be kidding me” under his breath. Will puts up his hand. “The worry, Miss Tascioni, is that we’re in a transition period at the firm and this suit could be used to hurt us.” Primarily Diane, and I want to hug them for not just screwing her over. Also, I love the flower stickers on the back of Elsbeth’s monitor. “So, you think this suit is about your transition period,” Elsbeth picks up, waiving a finger in the air. He does.
“Then we move fast,” Elsbeth decides, enthusiastically slicing through the air with her hand, “call this tall lawyer’s bluff.” David looks particularly sour. “Arrange depositions now. And I’ll get your investigator, um, Kalinda, right?” Yes, right. “Looking into this paralegal’s background. Slime her before she can slime you.” Ha ha ha ha ha. David Lee’s mouth twitches a little despite himself. “When can you start?,” he asks. Alicia glares over this belated agreement, but Will just smiles.
And the next scene opens with a smile – but it’s the smile on Peter’s official gubernatorial portrait, which Jackie’s having hung in a hall. “Good,” she tells the two men hanging it over a stunning ornate desk, even though it’s not actually straight. “And you can put the seal over there,” she points off to the side. Eli clomps up behind her in high dudgeon. “Do you think the seal would look good there?,” she points to the side. “Why there? Why not in the men’s room?” Eli snaps. Ha. “Mr. Gold,” Jackie laughs. “Take that down and put the Seal back in its place,” Eli commands the men over his shoulder.
Ah, it’s another return to the old days; Jackie and Eli bickering. You know, I can’t help noticing that Jackie seems a lot more firm and present, much more like pre-stroke Jackie than last season’s wobbly one. And nary a Cristian in sight! I wonder what’s up with that. Eli’s position is that replacing the seal with Peter’s portrait will send the impression to the press that Peter’s success has gone to his head, that he’s setting himself above the office. “He won, Eli. It’s not wrong to put such a beautiful portrait in a place of prominence.” Eli screws his face up in frustration. “Maybe it’s not wrong, Jackie, but it is stupid.”
And predictably, she’s totally offended. I know Eli likes to handle these thing himself, but Peter’s the one who needed to have this conversation with his mother. Peter could have said that in a charming, self-deprecating way, and it would have been fine, which would have been nice because Eli is right, but instead the consigliere’s hurt Jackie with his phrasing. “Perhaps you and I should have a little talk, hmm?” He gestures off to the side, and Jackie goes, arms folded over her chest, furious and defensive. “Put the seal back!” he hisses to the men in suits hovering beneath the portrait.
“Jackie!” Eli calls out, as Jackie stands behind Peter’s desk. I’m baffled by this, frankly; they seems clearly to be setting Peter up in his real office instead of a temporary one (the room is filling out with more personal decoration) and how is that possible? He’s not sworn in yet. Economy of sets, whatever, but that’s ridiculous. Anyway, Jackie’s picking through the items on Peter’s desk, which feels like it should be illegal. “We’ve had some times, haven’t we?” “We have, over the years,” she agrees. “And we’ve had some disagreements over the years,” he notes, taking a file out of her hands. Again – she shouldn’t be peeking, but he can’t just rip something out of her hands, either. She’s not three.
“Now your son is governor, so any disagreement results in bigger issues. So we need to stop.” He bangs some office supplies for emphasis. Dude! Cut it out! “Whenever you want something changed around here, no matter how small, no matter how insignificant, you have to ask.”
And that’s totally appropriate. I want to say that he can’t treat her like a baby, but even if he explained to her why she shouldn’t move pictures or inaugural balls, she probably wouldn’t listen. So, yeah. “Certainly,” she replies, dignified. No, he says. You can’t ask Alicia or Peter, you have ask me. “Not the little fairies that sit on your shoulder. Just me.” He smiles in elven glee.
“He’s my son, Eli,” she says flatly, head tilted in contempt. “You can’t keep me from speaking to my son.” I can, actually, he smirks. Don’t be a dick, Eli. It’s all so unnecessary. When will you learn that you can’t just mess with Jackie, you have to try managing her? “You don’t want to challenge me on this, Jackie. Not the campaign manager that got his candidate elected by six points.” Eli, you are delusional if you think she cares about the number of points you got her son. It’s like you listening to her tell you how many hours she was in labor or how many little league games she drove him to; your metric doesn’t matter to her. You cannot make a mother stop communicating with her child, and whatever else you want to say about her, Jackie’s not one to bend on something so significant. She essentially tries to kill Eli with her eyes. “I’ll talk to Peter,” she says. “Do that,” he smirks, repulsively confident as she walks out of the room, “I’ll have him call you in twenty minutes. The call will last exactly four minutes, so, keep it quick!” He revels in the sound of the slamming door.
And, nicely done – another door slams open. Hi there, Elsbeth enthuses; Kalinda looks up and gives the quirky, perky lawyer a baleful glance along with a very unfriendly hi. Heh. Oblivious, Elsbeth slaps her hands down on the table as she lowers herself across from Kalinda. “Christina Quinn. The paralegal who used to work here. I want everything that you can find on her.”
“Dirt?” Kalinda raises an eyebrow. “Yes,” Elsbeth growls in delight, “work history, sexual history, anything that would be… where do you get your hair done?” I love that even people who’ve worked with her before can’t get over Elsbeth’s ADHD. Lots of different places, Kalinda shrugs. “”I wish my hair would behave,” Elsbeth meanders. “It just flops. I flop it this way or that way,” she says, totally lost in her own head. It’s so clear why Carrie Preston won that Emmy and how well deserved it was.
“You knew this paralegal?” Elsbeth asks, coming back into focus. “The one suing us? Yeah,” Kalinda smiles. Smiles? Okay. Is she smiling at Elsbeth’s foibles? “What do you think of her?” That she’s very young, Kalinda volunteers. Oh – and this is an interesting tidbit. She accused “everybody” of improprieties except Kalinda. (It can’t possibly be everybody, can it?) “Are her accusations true?” No, says Kalinda, but when pressed, she adds that some behaviors are open to interpretation. Hmm. What does that mean? “Do you think sexual harassment is open to interpretation?” No, Kalinda shakes her head. Okay, Elsbeth grins as her bangle bracelet goes off: time to walk!
“Look at us, out to save the world,” Lyle laughs at a picture of him with Diane and Fran, grinning and putting rabbit ears over each other’s heads. “Who took that?” Viola Walsh, Fran recalls. Um, that seems unlikely, since the picture is a recent one. Actually, the whole conversation would make more sense if they’d done some technical wizardry on the photo to make them look like they were in law school.
“Soooo,” Diane begins, sitting down, “here you are in my apartment for the first time in five years, and I’m guessing you have something to get off your chest.” Lyle picks up the copy of Going Rogue that Kurt gave Diane as a gag gift a few years ago off of her shelf; I can just imagine what he thinks of that. “Are we that obvious?” Lyle wonders, stepping away from the shelf. “A bit,” Diane drawls, looking at Fran who stares at her, pocketbook clutched in both fists. “What is it?” Like you don’t know, honey.
“How well do you know Kurt?” Fran begins, and Diane throws back her head, laughing. Her green knit dress is so pretty – is that beading all over it? “What?” Lyle grumbles. “He disagrees with you about the right to bear arms,” she smiles. “Look. He disagrees with me about that. I disagree with him. It’s not a stumbling block.” Well, it kinda was, if you remember back. “But his views, Diane, all his views,” Fran sits down. “He supports Sarah Palin.” That’s hardly the worst thing he supports. “I know. I fell in love with a Palin supporter,” Diane chuckles, clearly expecting them to join in.
“It’s not funny, Diane! Did you see her, she’s back on FOX.” Lyle complains. To Diane, this is simply more cause for delighted laughter. You don’t watch FOX, she snickers, and he replies with perfect seriousness “They show clips on Jon Stewart.”
Oh my God. Now, my political sympathies are definitely with them, but what a beautiful send up of a certain kind of smug liberalness. I’m dying.
It’s not just that, Fran interjects, it’s his views on Obama and succession. Someone’s been doing a little Googling. (Or perhaps in this world, Sleuthway-sleuthing or Chum Humming.) What is this, an intervention, Diane asks, and Fran bites her tongue. “Issues matter,” she says, her collar standing up around her neck crisply. ” I know we’re all supposed to disagree and smile, and go home, and pretend it’s all some big tennis match, but people end up poorer. Guns end up killing people. Global warming keeps destroying…” So you’re saying I shouldn’t be happy, Diane cuts in.
“No,” Lyle replies, “what we’re saying is, do you really know who this guy is?” What they’re saying is, can you really be happy with someone whose values you don’t share? And it’s a valid question; Diane is the best judge of her own happiness, but most people who have strongly held views don’t end up in long and happy marriages to people who believe the opposite. “Do you know his religion, his politics?” His politics come as no surprise, at least. I don’t love the way they’re coming at her, but I hope Kurt and Diane have really talked out these issues. “Thanks for stopping by,” she says, checking her watch, still smiling, “but I actually do have to go to work.” Fascinating that she doesn’t ever say “because our good friend Viola has slapped me with a nonsense suit,” isn’t it? Let alone “you don’t get to tell me who to marry” or “when you get to know him, you’ll see that Kurt is a man of tremendous integrity and skill.” I don’t know if I’m proud of her forbearance or annoyed that she doesn’t address their concerns seriously.
“Please, just sit and talk,” Lyle pleads. Look, Diane sighs, if I fall into a life of addiction, feel free to intervene. “But don’t for this. Not for love.” Because love’s so unimportant? “The best advice you ever gave me, Diane, when I met Lyle, was make sure your love can survive outside the bubble. I give it back to you.” Ah, thanks for the title, Fran. The two old friends share a serious look.
Okay, so. Personally, I can’t imagine choosing a life partner who saw the world so differently from me. Of course, I love my brother and have a strong relationship with him despite deeply different political convictions, but that’s not the same as a spousal relationship. Being with someone who couldn’t understand and value the way I see the world? Diane and Kurt will have to respect and understand each other or it won’t work. That said is it her friend’s job to support her unconditionally and hold their tongues? I don’t think so, actually. But at the same time they shouldn’t assume they know Kurt based simply on one brief exposure to his political views. I don’t know that we as viewers know him particularly well, either (even though we can certainly speak to good qualities Lyle and Fran haven’t seen) but we can certainly hope Diane is in more of a position to know him than we are. Presumably they have talked about things like religion, their families, their expectations of marriage. Right?
So all that means, I think Fran and Lyle are right to be concerned, but they could have had that conversation in a much more constructive way.
Speaking of conversations that aren’t constructive, Chrissy Quinn’s getting ready to give her deposition. Our darling girl, Elsbeth Tascioni, rushes in and sits down next to her. “How long have you worked at Lockhart/Gardner?” she asks without preamble. As is her wont, Viola wags her head, sardonic. “Shall we say hello first?” she asks, hands raises, palms flat up in protest at this excessive incivility. “Hello,” Elsbeth beams. “How long have you worked at Lockhart/Gardner?” Ha ha ha ha ha.
“Two years,” she says. I didn’t really pick up on it before, but she’s got a very Marilee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God vibe. In contrast to the first time we met her, she’s wearing a low cut sweater instead of a high necked blouse. Who hired her? “Alicia. Florrick.” What were your duties? “Paralegal.” Thanks, telling us your job title, that’s very helpful. She looks kind of terrified, but that might just be her face. “Typing up briefs, researching cases, making copies, that sort of thing.” She has her hands tightly clasped in front of her, so perhaps it’s not just her face. “And how did you lose your virginity?” Oddly, Chrissy’s panic does not increase; she just continues to stare bug eyed at Elsbeth. So maybe it is her face?
To the surprise of no one, Viola objects to the relevance of this inquiry. “Chrissy alleged in her complaint that Alicia asked her how she lost her virginity, so I’m just asking, what was the answer?” Elsbeth’s face is alive with curiosity. She’s so freaking adorable! “I didn’t answer,” Chrissy replies, her eyes shifting from one lawyer to the other. Was there anyone else in the room, Elsbeth wonders.
It’s Alicia who answers, in her own deposition. “Myself, Cary Agos, our client, and six other associates.” Hmmm. Not only does that not sound like Alicia, it also sounds – just weird, really. “And the issue of virginity came up?” Viola wonders. Yes, definitely odd. ‘Well, it didn’t come up, ” Alicia backpedals,”The lawsuit was about someone selling their virginity online.” Well hello, crazy case. I wonder why we never actually saw something like that? I wonder if it was the kind of thing the writer’s room wanted to do but could never make work? “And the difference between implied and explicit contracts.” “In other words,” Elsbeth sums up, “you didn’t bring up virginity, it was the issue of the lawsuit?” Apparently so.
“Do you want to take over the questioning?” Viola asks wryly. “Sure,” Elsbeth gushes, much to Viola’s disgust. Heh heh. “Was virginity the subject of the lawsuit,” she continues. Yes it was. “And how did you come to ask Chrissy about her loss of virginity?” “The other associates were discussion their experiences, and I saw Chrissy laugh to herself. I thought she had something she wanted to share, so I asked her, ‘did she have something to add.'” Frightened rabbit Chrissy looks over at Alicia, quaking; Alicia’s answering look is stern but brief.
“Those were your exact words?” Elsbeth continues questioning. They were, Alicia nods. “Wow,” Elsbeth cries, sitting back, grimacing. “I can see why you’re suing.” Still lounging, Viola clicks her pen on and off, glaring at Elsbeth as if she’d like to stab her with the pen.
“Then what happened?” Viola prompts Chrissy, who we see through a video camera lens. We get that a lot with depositions. “Cary asked me to stay late on the Ginsberg case,” Chrissy squeaks. “This was a sexual case too?” Yes, this one about prostitution. “Lockhart/Gardner just seems to obsess on sexual cases!” Viola pretends outrage, because two is just such a monstrous number. “Is that a question?” Elsbeth asks, as she’s really wondering. “No, it’s just an odd observation.” Do you mean it’s an observation of something odd, or that it was odd of you to observe it?
“Then what happened on your late night working on the case?” Chrissy looks positively terrified. “Cary showed me how he masturbated.” Is that oddly phrased or what? I mean, not to get too personal but does she mean he showed her how he did it once? Shouldn’t it be masturbates, on the assumption that he hasn’t taken some sort of vow to avoid it? Gah, there’s no pleasing me with language today, it seems. “How did he show you?” Viola wonders. “With his hand,” Chrissy deadpans, her eyes like saucers. “Ugh – his right hand?” Okay. “And it was just the two of you?”
“Yes,” Cary nods as part of his own deposition. “And what was being discussed at the time?” Elsbeth wonders. A plea bargain, it turns out – and Cary had made a rude gesture to indicate that the State’s Attorney’s Office’s offer of that plea bargain was pretty poor. “A gesture of masturbation?” Elsbeth asks. Oh my Lord, hearing her say that slays me. “And by this gestures, did you mean…..this is how I masturbate?” Leaving the question open, Elsbeth performs such complicated gymnastics with her hands and her pen I can’t even follow it. “No, no,” Cary laughs. So what did he mean? Perhaps that they were being jerked around? “That it was a pointless exercise.”
“Strike two,” Elsbeth says, turning to Viola with a delightfully sassy and triumphant stare. “Maybe … maybe try something other than sex,” she suggests.
“Had you ever seen this partner?” Viola asks, her turn with the ball (and with Chrissy) again. “Howard Lyman? No. He’s the oldest partner, he only comes in now and then.” Seems like a lot more lately, doesn’t it? “And he sent you an email about a week ago. Can you read it?” Oh dear. A paper trail is never good. Chrissy, of course, can: it says “Chrissy, I need to discuss something with you. Please come to my office at one pm. Enter quietly and sit down at my desk.” Once more she looks around the room, twitching. I can almost see whiskers vibrating, as on a rabbit or a mouse, when she does this.
“You had no case with him?” That’s correct, yes. “And when you got there, what happened?” She gulps. “He took off his pants and exposed himself to me.” With a wag of her head and flick of her eyebrows, Viola leans triumphantly back into her chair. Explain that one away, Elsbeth!
“We have a problem,” Elsbeth tells Will. “Howard Lyman.” Will rolls his eyes, because of course Howard Lyman.
And that’s a giant inflatable rat with it’s paws out like Frankenstein. No, more like it’s doing the dance from Thriller. O-kaaaaay. “Look, I told you we’re not having the inaugural at the mansion,” Eli accuses someone out of frame, yelling over some protest chants. ‘We moved it to a union house. But you won’t call off the strike.” Oh, crap. The someone turns out to be Dan Lauria, the dad from The Wonder Years! Cool. He’s pissed off because Peter supported infamous union-busting Scott Walker of Wisconsin. No matter how Eli protests that Peter had to support a fellow governor, Teamster Dad is not buying it, and I don’t blame him; governorship or no, I don’t buy a Democrat who wants to be elected ever coming out in any way in support of Scott Walker. The unions are too important to elections. And in Chicago of all place? Ridiculous.
“Eli, unions in this country are endangered. Every time someone comes out in support of Scott Walker…” Teamster Dad leans on the blow up rat, listening to Eli rant, before finally admitting that the orders come from on high, they’re regional rather than Peter specific, and he has no say. “You told me it was about the mansion,” Eli hollers. “I got Jackie to back off the mansion, and now you’re saying…”
“Jackie Florrick?” Dad stops Eli, his tone utterly transformed. “What?” Eli snaps, befuddled. “Yes. Why?” The Union man takes a moment before answering. “How’s she doing?” NO! Oh, that is too funny. Especially considering what’s been going on with Jackie and Eli. Eli doesn’t get it yet, though. “Jackie, she’s fine. Why?” Teamster Dad gives him a long look. “Say hello to her for me, will ya?” he says, before limping off.
It’s not an awesome giant inflatable rat, but maybe it’s the next best thing; dinosaur Howard Lyman is up next! I love how they used last week’s episode with it’s Rockette anecdote to remind us what a dirty old man he is. Elsbeth and Kalinda wait in his office for the man himself. “What do we ask him?” Elsbeth wonders. “If he brought Chrissy here, and whether he took his clothes off in front of her,” the investigator states plainly. Suddenly, Kalinda jerks her head at Elsbeth. They’re not alone. Though we couldn’t see it at first, Howard’s asleep on a high backed leather couch which faces the wall – and he’s not wearing any pants. Poor Elsbeth shrieks and runs to the other end of the room, her hands tented over her eyes; Kalinda, unsurprisingly, doesn’t care. “Oh my God!” Elsbeth squeaks as Howard sits up, disoriented, wondering about the time. It’s one. “I don’t have a meeting till 2,” he grumbles, sitting up, trying to clear his head.
“You have a meeting now,” Kalinda insists. ‘We have a problem.” And she points to his bare knee. Oh, hilarity and horror.
“She came in here. I didn’t ask her to. I didn’t invite her in,” Howard, now standing, gestures toward his desk. “But you didn’t have your pants or your underwear on?” Elsbeth asks delicately; I love her precise, squirrelly little gestures, the way she rolls her fingers as she says “underwear.” Too funny. “I take it off for lunch,” he explains, flustered. “I take a nap. I get all sweaty and , you know, on my bottom half.” Finally locating said pants, Howard turns and bends to pick them up. Thankfully his shirt tails are quite long but Elsbeth flinches and averts her gaze anyway. “And, I did not keep her from leaving,” he continues, pants in hand. “Bitch screamed; I was only offering her some water.” Elsbeth can’t contain her shock at his unprofessional language; I’m horrified myself. There is a level to which working at any law firm could be construed as hostile – lawyers need everything right now, and can be pretty haughty and domineering about it – but to me the language’s another unnecessary layer. Maybe you’re well shot of this place, Alicia. “Dear God,” Elsbeth takes a deep breath.
“Look, I am the innocent party here,” Howard protest, gesturing with a fist full of pant. “The girl came in here and she tried to – she tried …” I seriously doubt she tried anything, unless it was to run away screaming. Kalinda gives him a pitying look. “I don’t know what she was trying to do,” he decides finally, his arms windmilling, boxers and pants wheeling. “I was just taking a nap.”
Gee, Red Shirt, could you look any more suspicious, biting your lip and looking over your shoulder like that? Dude, could you be less subtle? The second she sees him walking toward her in the hall, Alicia knows something is wrong and asks what it is. “I don’t know,” he says, still looking over his shoulder, “but they just got called into the partners meeting.” And there’s Cary in Diane’s office, gesturing angrily. “Damn it,” Alicia breathes. Indeed. “It might not be anything,” Red Shirt hisses. “You need to get those files.” Those things don’t really follow together, but yeah.
“Alicia,” Diane calls out. Red Shirt makes himself scarce and the two women walk toward each other. “Diane, how are you,” Alicia begins, all warm sympathy. “You know, I just got a glimpse of what my life would be like if I never started this firm,” Diane drawls, slowing taking off her sunglasses, her beaded dress glittering in the low light. “And?” Alicia wonders; Diane laughs. “I liked it. I liked a lot. Shall we?” They do, but Diane goes first, and Alicia rolls her eyes in horror. That’s so not what she wants to hear right now, in the middle of this dangerous game! As they head into Diane’s office, Alicia looks over her shoulder at Red Shirt. What kind of mess is she walking in to?
“I understand your frustration, but it isn’t what it seems,” Cary says, sitting in Diane’s office. Oh God. “It was a joke,” Extra E spits out, David Lee glaring down at him. What? What was a joke? “”A prank! That’s all!” In what way was it a joke, David grouses, arms cross, livid. “Look,” the real Cary confesses. “We all knew Lyman slept off his lunch without his pants on.” Oh my God, are you kidding me? They didn’t! That’d be offensive if they were in high school, but at you wouldn’t expect all teenagers to think through their actions. Cary Agos, I am sorely disappointed in you.
“We sent out some emails to some of the paralegals,” Extra E gestures, shame faced. Alicia and Diane look down at them, implacable. You sure you want to run a firm with these clowns, Alicia? “Not just the women,” Cary adds, because he’s only a partial idiot. “It was meant to…” Will cuts him off coolly. “So you sent this email from Howard’s account?” Yes.
“Still haven’t negotiated my exit package,” Diane reminds Will once the meeting has broken up, almost friendly but definitely challenging. “No, we’ve negotiated your package, you just haven’t accepted it yet.” Touche. “Do you want to talk or not?” she asks, tilting her head. His eyes terribly sad, he nods. He does. “Give me my gun control case, and let me finish out the Sonya Rucker contract, and I’ll agree to the terms.” (Her gun control case? That’s pretty funny, considering.) This is acceptable to him. “And you’ll keep your clients in house?” She’ll do her best to influence them.
“One more thing,” she adds. “Indemnify me against this case.” Hmph. “This Howard Lyman thing is b.s.,” Will insists. “Good,” she agrees, “then indemnify me.” I assume that means stipulate that she’s not to blame or involved? Can they do that? I mean, Chrissy gets to decide who she sues, right? Why would Viola let Diane slip out of her fingers when that’s the whole point? “Sure,” Will nods, his voice quiet, “whatever you want. Good luck.”
Shaking her head, Diane watches him go. She sighs. “Not with a bang,” she quotes; she doesn’t finish out the line (“but with a whimper“) but we know she’s talking about the end of her world.
So off she goes to her office to download Sonya’s file – but lo, she can’t! Someone else has accessed it on the secure server. Why would only one person at a time be able to access it? It’s but the work of a moment for Diane to discover it’s Alicia who’s got her electronic mitts on the file (God, the timing!), and but a moment more to charge into the latter’s office, demanding to know why Alicia’s poaching the information.
“What’re you doing?” she asks. Hmm. I was so caught up in the terror of the partner’s meeting with it’s threat of imminent exposure that I didn’t even notice how pretty Alicia’s violet colored suit is, but right now I’m pretty invested in paying attention to that and not the sick feeling that’s growing in my stomach as Alicia tries to pretend it’s not a big deal that’s she’s downloading one of Diane’s cases. After all the complete idiocy the boys and Robyn have displayed, I can’t believe it’s Alicia’s who’s going to give them away! Though Alicia steps back, she’s aroused Diane’s suspicions, and even though she’s leaving the firm, Diane’s definitely invested enough to follow through on those suspicions.
“Hi,” Kurt greets his intended in reception. “Oh,” she replies, surprised, “I have to stay a few hours.” Fine, he says, turning to step back onto an open elevator. “I wanna meet your friends, Kurt,” she says, and he spins back. “Your best friends,” she clarifies. Why, he puzzles. “Don’t you find it odd,” she smiles, “that we’ve been talking about marriage and I’ve never met a single one of your friends?” If he doesn’t, you should. Granted I think the rules of courtship are a little different when you’re their age – Christina Baranski is in her early 60s, which seems a reasonable age for Diane as well – but yes, weird at best.
“No,” he replies, which worries me more. ‘Is this about your friends yesterday?” Do you even remember their names, she wonders – ugh, even more worrisome! No, he answers, a honest as ever. “Is that important?” Sigh. Not to go all girly, but kind of. She doesn’t get bogged down in the details. “I wanna meet your friends,” she smiles, gives him a light kiss, and walks off.
Have I mentioned that this must be the following morning? That would explain the new bronze blouse, although if that’s the case I’m not sure why he mentions seeing her friends the day before and not two days ago? Maybe there’s a problem with using their wardrobe to tell time. Anyway, she walks by Alicia’s office, her eyes narrowing when she sees art that hasn’t been hung, rugs still rolled up and leaning against the walls, fabric swatches fanned out on top of a shelf.
Oh my God, I am going to have a heart attack over all this. Too intense!
Happily, we can focus on the lawsuit for a moment; Kalinda passes a file to a very pleased Elsbeth. In fact, she shares quite the little smilefest with Kalinda before the latter remembers to look serious. “Before Lockhart/Gardner, you worked at Hoffman/Ross, is that right?” It is. “And did you ever make an accusation against your boss there?” Elsbeth continues, handing the folder to Viola. “What, is this a fishing expedition?” Viola wonders. ‘Yes, it is,” Elsbeth nods, “luckily it’s a deposition.” Ha! Oh, she is the best.
“Did you make an accusation against your boss there, Chrissy?” Elsbeth presses. “Because we have the texts on your cell phone from here at Lockhart/Gardner,” Kalinda adds. “How very NSA of you,” Viola snarks. You have no idea. The cell phones belong to us, it’s not snooping, Kalinda shrugs. Just keep telling yourself that, honey. (Also, does everyone here get company cell phones? You’d think after Derrick Bond’s whole paperless office ruse to spy on workers they’d pay more attention to whose media they use.)
“Did you ever make an accusation against your previous boss,” Elsbeth asks yet again, and this time Chrissy turns her frightened rabbit eyes to Kalinda before timidly answering. “Not an official accusation,” she says delicately. “How about an unofficial one?” Elsbeth wonders. “He came on to me,” Chrissy protests. “Yes. You accused him of taking off your clothes in his presence.” Sigh. That’s when Viola breaks in to apply the brakes. “That is so dirty,” she snaps, and it all devolves into a shouting match about all the men everywhere taking their pants off.
“We got rid of most of the charges, and we lucked into something that neutralized the Howard Lyman threat, thank you, Kalinda!” Elsbeth paces as she tells Will ad Diane – seated next to each other on a small beige couch – and David Lee. “But we still have two problems,” she goes on before splaying her hands out over her stomach. ‘Do you mind if I eat? I missed lunch.” When Will waves her on, she unwraps something to munch on before dwelling on the two – okay, three – problems. First, she’s claiming that Diane prostituted her out. “I’ve no idea what she’s talking about,” Diane shakes her head. It certainly doesn’t sound like Diane.
“And that you, Will, created a hostile work environment by sleeping with underlings in your office?” Elsbeth waves a potato chip in his direction. Oops. “I can explain,” he says, which just doesn’t compare to “I have no idea what she could mean” as an answer. “Have you noticed I’m the only one in the clear here,” David Lee raises an eyebrow. It’s ironic indeed, considering that he’d clearly win the prize for L&G lawyer you’d least like to work for. No one pays him any attention.
Of course, that could be because Kalinda’s brought out a video from Howard Lyman’s IT file, another event involving his habit of sleeping pantless which he had filmed on his laptop. Lap seems to be the operative word – as in, the naked lap he invited a young woman to sit on. UGH. Diane’s practically ready to vomit. The girl in the video is one Lacy Aitkins, another paralegal. Have we ever talked about a paralegal on the entirety of the show? Why are they making such an impact this week?
“This should have no impact on this law suit,” Elsbeth hopes. “The fact that he approached another paralegal has marginal bearings on this case.” “Or you can tell yourselves that,” Diane adds drily, and everyone must know how right she is. “Thanks, Diane,” Will grumbles. David Lee’s considered opinion is that they bury the recording and fire Howard, and I have to say, that sounds good to me. Will and Diane exchange one of their telepathic glances.
And when they’re done, she follows him out of her office. She was wondering something. “I was looking into the partner decorating stipends. About a month ago, Alicia stopped decorating her office.” Sigh. All the obvious things that Cary and his cohorts did, and this is what’s going to sink them? “Did you ask her to stop?” Nope. Why. “I don’t know, it just seemed odd,” she observes. Wasn’t Alicia warned in the beginning that Diane wouldn’t be her friend if she flew too high? Fascinating.
“Lift,” demands a voice over a pulsing techno beat, and sea of blue exercise balls rise at his command. “Think of the ball as your grandkids.” Ah. An exercise class for the elderly – which is to say, Jackie. Why else would Eli be lurking here? I can’t believe he’s actually going converse with her in class. Happily for him, she’s on the other side of the room, tying her sneakers, this time with a floral scarf tied in her hair.
“I’m sorry, Jackie,” he mutters. “What are you sorry for, Mr. Gold? You made yourself perfectly clear.” She’s about to rejoin the class, but he needs her now. “I’m sorry because I had a change of heart. I find…” and here he deflates, gagging on the unpleasant reality, “I need your help.” No no no, she snipes, there’s too much chance of disagreement between us. “Jackie, I’m apologizing,” he snaps, getting louder and more upset that she makes him work for it. “And I’m telling you, you have no reason to apologize. You were right and I was wrong.” She pops back up, ready to pick up her own exercise ball. I don’t know about you, but I’m dumbfounded.
Also, do you notice that there’s still no boy toy? Does this mean Jackie’s fully recovered her facilities? Can that happen?
Pinching his lips together, Eli slips awkwardly between two rows of prancing women. “Okay, what do you want?” he snaps. “Control of the inauguration,” she replies coldly. Oh. So that was just a ploy. I’m way to straightforward for this. “Really?” Eli growls as the women pace back and forth around him. “Control of the ball,” he concedes. “And decorating of Peter’s offices?” Augh! “Agreed,” Eli agrees. Ugh! That’s awful! “What kind of assistance do you need,” she wonders, flapping her hands back and forth.
“You know the food union chief,” he asks. That title doesn’t’ ring a bell. “Ronald Erikson,” Eli explains. “Oh, yes, Ronnie,” Jackie smiles, almost blushing. “How is he?” “Here’s his number,” Eli says, passing her a slip of paper. “Give him a call.”
“I like Diane a lot,” Chrissy confesses, more animated and engaged than we’ve so far seen her. “I wanted to be like her.” Nice parting present, then. Thoroughly enjoying the situation, Viola smirks at Diane. “And you went to her because you liked her,” she prompts. “Yes. I know Mr. Gainsborough is one of her top clients, but I told her what he said.” That you looked hot, Viola prompts. “Yes.” Chrissy looks down at her lap. “And… he kept asking me my bra size.” Ew. She’s been exaggerating most things up to this point, but that does sound uncomfortable – not Diane’s fault, but uncomfortable. Interesting to think about this right after we’ve seen Eli beg Jackie to sweet talk the union rep, though. With a tremendously betrayed look on her face, Chrissy reports Diane’s reaction: “don’t worry about it – he meant it as a compliment.”
Diane sighs. ‘That’s when I lost my respect for her.” Yes, Viola turns her nose up in the air, I can understand that.
Through the lens of the video camera, we watch Diane say that Chrissy didn’t seem to be discomfited by Gainsborough’s comments. Of course Viola thinks that discomfort was implicit in Chrissy’s repeating the comment, but Diane didn’t see it that way. These are compliments, Viola sneers. “From a gay fashion designer they are,” Diane replies coolly. Ha ha ha ha ha!
Viola’s stammering reaction warms my heart; she tries to argue that Chrissy didn’t know Gainsborough was gay. “I thought she did,” Diane declares, taking her own turn to smirk. “He is a fashion designer.” Poor Viola would like to make this about stereotypes, but Elsbeth calls her on it. “You’re in a hole, Ms. Walsh. Best to stop digging.” This wins the quirky redhead a real grin from Diane.
“One million dollars,” Viola suggests to Will, Elsbeth and Alicia as her opening offering. What a shock that they decline! “It’s not going away,” she shrugs. “Pay us one million dollars and it will.” It’s a shame she doesn’t try a Doctor Evil impression. “You’re losing. You’re losing badly. We’ll make you this deal,” Will offers. “You stop right now, and we won’t counter-sue you for filing a frivolous lawsuit.” Well, we still have you in your office conducting sexual relations with underlings, Viola says, wrinkling her nose. Ah, I forgot, Elsbeth says, and then produces an affidavit from Tammy and Will saying yes, they had sex in his office, but no, she didn’t work for him. (As she’s explaining this, Elsbeth’s bangle goes off, so she stands and trots around the table; as she does, Alicia’s eyes flicker nervously.) “And this is the only time you’ve ever had sex in your office?” Viola asks. Alicia’s gaze could bore holes in the back of Will’s head as he folds his hands under his chin and confidently proclaims “it is.”
So of course, Alicia follows him into that office, hissing his name; startled, he shuts the door behind her. “That wasn’t true, what you just said,” she pleads. What? He’s puzzled. ‘That wasn’t the only time you had sex in your office!” He squints, puzzled, and she looks a little hurt. “You don’t remember.” Dude, you better! “No, I do,” he stammers, ” but … we didn’t have sex.” Thank you Mr. Clinton. “Are we defining sex more… restrictively, because as I remember it…” Her eyes bug with the memory.
“I don’t think we want that to get out,” he leans in to whisper. Oh, she agrees. “But your affidavit could prove problematic, because at the date and time we’re talking about, I was an underling.” He nods, considering. She looks ready to panic.
“Wait,” he says. “We did it in there, didn’t we?” he jerks his chin toward the back of the room. “Technically that’s not my office. It’s my bathroom.” Alicia, gorgeous in a black and gray modern tweed, looks back at the bathroom door and then back at Will. “Chrissy did only say your office, didn’t she?” she agrees, hope and relief dawning. “Yes, sex in my office. SO, we didn’t have sex in my office.” Good, Alicia smiles, her lips quirking. “Good.” Somehow, Will isn’t quite as pleased. He swallows hard.
“Thanks,” she says. He says thanks back without looking up at her, and he heads for his desk and she heads for the door and they pass each other, blind. “That was weird, wasn’t it?” she notes before leaving. “Talking about two years ago?” he asks. Wow, has it already been two years? Crazy. “Yeah,” he nods. “That’ll be on my mind for the rest of the day.” She smiles, playful. “Just the rest of the day?” she pouts, suddenly so sexy, and they can’t break their gaze, and he has no idea what to do with it. Happily for fans of the Florrick marriage, somebody knocks on his door. “We have another problem,” Elsbeth yells, arms pressed up against the glass at odd angles.
And, guess what it is – Howard Lyman. David Lee is annoyed enough to actually take out his earbud. Shocking! (I just love Elsbeth’s laptop; as she clutches it, it’s easy to see her 3D flower stickers.) “She’s crucifying me. It’s like McCarthyism all over again.” Howard was a McCarthy target? What? My respect for him might have just gone up. (From zero, but it’s something.) Guess what’s she’s got? Do I even have to say? It’s the film of Howard asking the other paralegal to sit on Daddy’s lap.
Sigh. You knew there was no way that was staying under wraps.
“That’s a lie! Where did this come from?” Howard protests. “You taped it, you moron,” David Lee sneers. Frustrated, Howard slams the laptop shut. This was the one you showed us, Will declares unnecessarily. “Yes,” agrees Elsbeth, also unnecessarily, “the one we were going to keep private.” It seems someone is feeding Viola the firm’s dirty laundry. “Now,” Elsbeth says, jogging in place, “the question is who.”
Good question, Elsbeth.
Honky tonk music tinkles at a country dive called The Winking Queen. “So, I shouldn’t bring up Obama,” Diane guesses, taking off her coat. “Bring up anything you want,” Kurt tells her, his focus on finding his friends at the busy bar, but it doesn’t help her confidence. “Your friends are going to hate me, aren’t they?” she frets. “I don’t want this to poison us, Kurt.” That’s right, stay in the bubble. “Then let’s go,” he says, willing to stand up his friends, “we don’t have to do this.” But no, she’s too curious to go home. Will it be as bad as she fears? She puts on a brave, smiling face and heads toward the bar. The smile fades when she sees that the three friends who embrace and greet her fiance, introducing themselves as the fire-breathing dragons.
Because, rather like the student she once found at his house, they’re all pretty twenty something girls in scant clothing. “Hi,” she breathes, hesitant, before extending her hand. And favoring him with a dark look.
Seriously, what was that about? How does he not have any friends his own age? I’m not trying to be a downer, but that is a big old red flag in my opinion.
“Well, that went well,” he says, glancing at her as he drives them home. “Yep,” she replies, savoring the word. “You didn’t like ’em,” he states as a fact. “You mean Jamie and Bobby and Tanya the skateboarder? Why wouldn’t I like them?” She’s a snowboarder, he gripes, which is definitely going to make Diane feel better. “And how did you meet them?” she asks; “in class,” comes the obvious answer. Sigh. The thing is, it sounds like she met Fran and Lyle in class too. It’s just that she wasn’t their teacher.
“Oh,” Diane replies quietly. “And is this class all women?” Ha. “You didn’t like that they were women?” God, Kurt, you’re so dense. Of course she didn’t. I can’t wrap my mind around this. Do he not stay in touch with his students once they turn thirty? Wouldn’t the last time have taught him better how Diane would respond? Clearly these girls know about Diane’s reaction to Miranda or they wouldn’t have introduced themselves as fire breathing dragons. “No,” she insists, probably lying, “I’m fine with the fact that they’re all women, it’s just that they’re in their twenties.” Yes. Good point.
“They are all excellent terminal ballistic experts,” he tells her. Is that a relevant criterion for friendship? Does he have no friends who are actual colleagues? I’m sure he spends a lot of time with his students but this doesn’t seem all that professional, for one thing. “Have you slept with any of those ballistics experts,” she snipes, and just like that she loses the upper hand entirely. Without a word, he pulls the car over.
When he does, he turns and gives her his full attention. “No,” he says. I thought this might make him angry, but it doesn’t; I think she’s embarrassed to have asked, though. “Why are we getting married, Kurt?” she asks him, on the verge of tears.
“Do you not want to?” he wonders. She stares, her face illuminated by the lights of a passing care. “I don’t know,” she answers. It’s not waspish, not angry; she genuinely doesn’t know.
And, wow. There in the darkness is the giant inflatable rat, its teeth glinting in the low light, with Jackie Florrick peering around it’s wide expanse. “Ronnie?” she calls out, and despite there being no protestors there, here he is, hiding on the other side of the rat. They beam at each other. “Mrs. Florrick,” he say, taking her hand in both of his. “What is this Mrs. Florrick,” she grins, “that’s new.” “Jackie,” he corrects himself, looking bashfully at the ground. Is he blushing? “I’m intimidated now, you’re the governor’s wife. Mother!” he corrects himself again. ‘I’m still good old Jackie O,” she tells him. Already she’s more normal and more appealing than we’ve ever seen her in five seasons.
He steps in toward her. “You remember that time on Georgie’s boat?” She gives him a coy look. “Yes, very well. Do you?” He blushes again. “We were a lot younger.” This time, the look is full on flirtatious. “We weren’t that much younger.” Wow. What the heck is their backstory? I’m intrigued. “I’ve gone gray,” he demurs. “Gray suits you,” she replies. He looks down at the ground again.
“Janice will be thrilled that I ran into you.” Oh. Interesting. I assumed he was single. Jackie nods, cooling it down. “Yes. She wouldn’t mind if I took old Ronnie out for a drink, would she? It’s been such a long time.” She smiles warmly; there’s a note of pleading, but also irresistible flattery and authority. She raises her eyebrows, waiting for his answer as if it weren’t a forgone conclusion.
Clad in gorgeous glowing blue, Kalinda waits impatiently for someone to get off the elevator the next morning. “You got a problem,” she says – ah, and it’s Cary who has this particular issue. “Only one?” he chuckles. As we’ve surmised, somebody here is feeding Viola Walsh inside information to help with her case. Why is this Cary’s problem? “It’s one of your rebels,” Kalinda says, nodding at Red Shirt who can be seen walking down the hall. Of course. And of course he’d leave a sloppy trail that was easy to follow.
“Kalinda, do me a favor,” Cary sighs. “I already did you a favor,” she glares at him. Delay telling the partners, he begs. “Give me an hour head start.” Thirty minutes is the best she can do.
And of course the thirty minutes finds Cary and Carey standing on either side of Alicia’s desk in her fish bowl office; Alicia’s sitting and the Red Shirt paces in front of his very pissed off co-conspirators. “We need clients,” he defends himself. “You don’t sabotage your own firm,” Alicia snaps; her gray silk blouse makes her look a bit like a British judge, all those folds at the neck. “Lockhart/Gardner isn’t my firm! Florrick/Agos is,” Red Shirt hisses. If I were them I’d seriously be reconsidering taking on someone that completely stupid. What on earth does he think he gained? “it’s so dumb,” Alicia yells, “they could sue us.” He must think that Florrick/Agos will prosper if he tarnishes the reputation of Lockhart/Gardner, making their clients easier to poach? That must be it. Idiot.
“They’re going to fire you in about ten minutes,” Cary states the obvious. “We need you to go along with it, don’t say anything.” This pill isn’t so easy for Red Shirt to swallow. “So I get fired, I lose my bonus, I’m out thirty thousand dollars!” Which you should have thought of before you sabotaged the firm that was still paying you, dumb-ass. “Well you shouldn’t have gotten caught,” Extra E yells at him. Um, no, he just shouldn’t have done it in the first place. “No, we should share our bonuses. There’s no reason I should suffer for helping out the whole team!” Oh God. He throws his hands in the air, completely self-righteous.
“Oh, helping out the whole team,” Extra E sneers, and the room devolves into yelling, and Alicia sits at the still center, shaking her head. What has she gotten herself into? Does she really want to throw her fate in with these contentious amateurs? “Why should I stay silent when they fire me?” the Red Shirt asks, bringing everything to a new low. Cary and Alicia can’t believe it. “So you’re threatening us?” Cary can’t quite believe it. “No, I’m telling you. We all shared the start up costs. We should share the bonuses.”
Cary looks to Alicia; what does she think? “I think we’ve got the mafia here,” she says. From outside the fishbowl, Diane stands still in gold and leopard print and watches the argument with great curiosity.
A pretty, professional woman talks business in a bar. It appears Diane is schmoozing with a client, hoping to get her to stay with the firm. She sounds – hesitant. Faintly positive. “You mean you’re not thinking of leaving?” Diane wonders; this wins her a coy smile. “I hear you’re thinking of leaving,” the woman smiles, making Diane grin down at the bar top. “For a judgeship. And if that’s the case, we might look around. Yeah. Why?”
Swallowing, choosing her words carefully, Diane begins. Has anyone approached them about changing firms? A new firm? Just the usual calls, the woman – Sonya Ruckers, presumably? – protests, but it’s pretty clear she’s lying. Could it have been some of our lawyers? Diane uses the old cop trick: it’s alright, she says, they told me. I know all about it. (Oh, Sonya. If that were true, she wouldn’t be asking!) “I don’t think I’m supposed to say anything until it’s official,” Sonya replies, officially confirming the rebellion. Damn, people are dumb.
“I understand,” Diane nods. “Alicia already told me that she’s taking you on, so, I’m fine.” Really, Sonya replies, shocked. As she should be! “Because a firm with the governor’s wife on the letter head is hard to pass up.” Though she tries to conceal it, having the suspicion confirmed shocks Diane into immobility. She makes speedy excuse and runs out.
“YES!” Eli screams, pumping both fists, running out to find Jackie in the reception area. She regards him coolly. “I don’t know how you did it, in fact I don’t think I want to know, but the union has backed off. They’re not going to strike the inaugural.” Eli Gold is pleased as punch. “I am so pleased, Eli,” she smiles, and then goes back to supervising the re-hanging of Peter’s “beautiful” portrait right back where she wanted it. Sigh. “He looks wonderful, don’t you think,” she smiles evilly. Eli blinks and bites down on his tongue. “And the seal?” “I don’t know,” Jackie says, but her face is dangerous. “Do you have a suggestion?” Eli doesn’t even have to look at Jackie to know better. “No, wherever you want,” he answers. “How about in your office?” she suggests.
Uuuuuugh. Much as I think he treated her with foolish and unnecessary rudeness before, he’s so right about this issue that I hate to see him being blackmailed into doing something that will hurt Peter. I just wish Jackie was better at taking advice on what would do that. It is certainly interesting to see her return to the major league, though, isn’t it?
Kurt McVeigh paces a courtroom hall, wearing a suit and holding a pair of calla lilies. Have we ever seen him in a suit, even when he was testifying? I’m surprised. “You got stood up, huh?” a guy in a hat asks. “I’m not sure yet,” he replies, giving the hallway the fish eye. “Hey, I got a sister you can marry,” adds Hat Man, who’s sitting on a bench with his arm around a girl. No thanks. One hopes his desire to be married in person specific! According to his watch, it’s 9:18.
And that’s when Diane walks in.
Her fiance turns at the click of her heels to see her sauntering down the stone tiled hallway. She looks – well, just like always, impeccably elegant in a skirt suit. She takes off her sunglasses slowly, apologizes for being late. “We good?” he wonders. “Always,” she replies smoothly, stepping in toward him and smiling her cat-that-ate-the-canary smile. He hands her the flowers, curves a hand around her shoulder blade, and guides her forward. “You know we don’t have to do this,” he cautions, stopping just a few paces later. “I know,” she smiles, and then puts one hand behind his head and kisses him. “Get a room,” Hat Man wolf whistles and smiles. Kurt just has time to glare at them dourly before he and Diane disappear inside a door which bears the inscription “Marriages and Civil Unions.”
Our darling savior Elsbeth Tascioni rushes down the halls of Lockhart/Gardner. I think we’ve seen this suit before – it’s royal blue with a fluffy white blouse strongly reminiscent of Austin Powers. She finds Viola Walsh in a waiting room and lays out her terms; if you drop the cases and pay our legal fees, we’ll just consider this settled, she says. “Really?” Viola tilts her head. “I’m not keeping score, but the last time I looked, I was ahead.” Indeed. “We just have one more witness,” Elsbeth volunteers.
And we can see through the video camera that the last witness is Kalinda, glowing in a red silk button down blouse. Now that’s interesting. “And, was it surprising to you that Chrissy sued everyone at the firm but you?” No, Kalinda says, prompting Elsbeth to ask why. “She liked me.” Kalinda explains. “In what way did she like you?” Elsbeth presses; in a lot of ways, it seems.
“And where did she like you the most?” Elsbeth shoots a knowing look at Viola as she asks. “In the copy room. In the pantry. Sometimes in the bullpen at night.” They have a bullpen? Despite claiming to be offended by all the sexual activity at work, Chrissy engaged in the same pursuits. “I know,” the investigator tells us. “Odd.” Hee hee! That’s all Elsbeth has; your witness, she tells Viola, but Viola has nothing but a glare. Okay, she says; she’ll go talk to Chrissy about it.
Sunglasses back on, newly wed Diane walks in. Some honeymoon! She stares at the sign that bears her name, listens to it being used to answer the phones. She whips off the sunglasses – thank you for this, David Caruso – and walks through the halls as the hole in the pit of my stomach grows wider. The music, too, ratchets up my dread. “Missing it already?” Viola asks, swooping down the hall in white. Diane heads to her office door, letting her gaze linger on the desk, the furniture. All her personal items have been packed away. She looks out at the view.
And it’s at this inopportune moment that poor, ill=fated Alicia bursts through her door. She can apologize, but it’s not going to help. “Sorry, I thought you had gone,” she says, as Diane’s eyes grow wide with rage and disbelief. “We’re settling with Chrissy,” she adds, hefting the folder with both hands. “Compromise.” Soon she grows tired of the cold shoulder and leaves. Slowly, Diane thinks it over. There’s Will in his office with a curly haired woman. Slowly, portentously, with whining music that frays my nerves to the breaking point, she walks to her door. Then she’s through her door, walking toward Will’s, slower than a bride on her wedding day.
“Joely, could you give me a minute,” Will holds up one finger and asks the curly haired woman. He’s seen the look on Diane’s face. Sure, Joely says, I’ll be right out here. She returns a few minutes later, knocks on his desk. ‘Stability,” she says, stabbing his desk with her finger.
Closing the door behind her, Diane walks into Will’s office, gulping. “What,” he asks, his eyes never leaving her face. Diane gathers her thoughts. “Alicia’s leaving the firm with Cary and she’s taking our top clients,” she says. Will simply frowns at her, uncomprehending.
And I don’t know about you, but I am equal parts terrified and thrilled about the epic confrontation that comes next.
Oh my gosh, there’s so much to say. Diane got married! I really hope this is a good thing. We get that Diane and Kurt are inside a bubble (and seriously, why doesn’t he have any friendships that have lasted more than a few years? That’s not promising), and of course the lawsuit exposed a lot of serious problems in L&G’s “law firm as a family” self-image, but I think the biggest bubble burst here is the 4th year rebellion. They think they’re going to just waltz out with their bonuses and L&G’s clients without any consequences. But man, the consequences are about to rain down.
Honestly, I can’t say enough about how this episode went down. Well, I mean, I’ve said a lot already about the various issues raised by the show, but what I mean is I can’t praise the team enough for how good this turned out to be. All the elements made sense; this week I kept thinking not about how accurate their information or tactics were or weren’t but whether the characters were making sound decisions, whether they would be happy. Even the stupid Red Shirt leaking that file to discredit L&G was believably stupid. Diane’s fight with her friends, Alicia and Will’s moment of flirtation, Kalinda’s hinting, Howard thinking it was okay to nap naked at work, Diane following the breadcrumbs to the truth. It was edge of your seat TV, this cat and mouse game. And now the mouse is caught.
I can’t help thinking how this war might fall out. If Will and Diane go after Alicia – sue her for the secure files she downloaded, for telling her fellow conspirators about the texts and Diane’s departure – will she hire Elsbeth to defend her? And if they do that, what do you want to bet that Peter will drop his support of Diane, leaving her back at the firm and incredibly bitter? Will the rebels turn on each other? Will Cary and Alicia be able to come together as leaders? Will Veronica lose her shirt on their new office, or can they make it work? Is it even possible for anyone to win here? I love that I don’t know. Let the fight for clients and control begin!