E: I’ve been terrified of this episode; excited, yes, but terrified of the storm of emotion, the humiliation, the aftermath of betrayal. Especially after last week, where even Cary came out looking like a buffoon. I lost faith that Florrick/Agos would ever be a reality – I feared that Will’s rage and heartbreak would drown them all.
But instead, “Hitting the Fan” turned out to be the most kick-ass, thrilling, edge-of-your-seat, fierce and uncompromising episode this brilliant show has ever aired, and I am just incredibly pumped.
For anyone wondering why Joely was stabbing Will’s desk with her finger last week, crying “stability,” and just who Joely was, wonder no more. It seems she’s a publicist looking for the firm’s business, and her pitch is that Lockhart/Gardner’s stability and happy family atmosphere will make it a pleasure to promote. Ha ha ha ha. Poor Joely. You’ve come on the wrong day if you wanted to avoid screaming and backstabbing, love. Through the plate glass wall, Will sees Diane approaching, mesmerized by her expression; he asks Joely to step out for a moment, and so she does, poking his desk with her finger for emphasis. Stability.
And as we saw last week Diane sleepwalks into the room and cuts out Will’s heart. “Alicia’s leaving the firm with Cary and she’s taking our top clients.” There are times in every life where you hear bad news and just blink, unable to comprehend the way your world has just shifted. It isn’t true, you think. It couldn’t possibly be true. “She… what?” is all the response he can muster, swallowing hard. Shaken as well, Diane explains about her meeting with Sonya Rucker. “She,” Will shakes his head, “with just Cary, right?” Oh, poor honey. No, Diane explains patiently, Alicia as well.
He opens and closes his mouth like a fish. “I … when?” He gulps again. “She’s a partner.” Diane is aware. “Yes, and she had a $10,000 stipend to decorate her office, and she stopped three weeks ago, spending only half.” It’s so like Diane to notice something like that, and it’s so fitting that Alicia’s integrity – her refusal to spend Will and Diane’s money – gives her away. “She has been planning this for three weeks.”
Will’s frowning so hard it looks like it must hurt.
“Will,” Diane begins, stepping forward, “I know this is hard.” Silently, Will stands, buttons his impeccably fitted suit jacket, and walks out of his office without a word.
“Document everything,” Diane calls out after him, her voice thick with emotion.
As he walks down the hall to her office, Will’s plagued by memories of Alicia. Alicia naked, wrapped around a pillow, grinning at him under a white sheet. Alicia in a red suit, smiling encouragement at meeting. And finally there’s Alicia in the present, sitting at her desk in a plain but well fitted gray suit, writing.
“You’re leaving?” he asks, and she looks up from her notes. “No, I just got here,” she replies lightly, but then she sees his face. “What?”
“You and Cary. You’re leaving?” She blinks, frozen now that the moment’s finally come. She tries to gather her faculties. “Will,” she begins. Are there magic words to make this go well? “No,” he cuts her off, walking into her office as if calmly, arms swinging. He doesn’t close the door. “It’s an easy answer. Falls into the yes or no category.” He walks toward her window. “You are Cary are leaving and you’re taking some clients with you?”
She closes her eyes, swallows before taking the plunge. “Yes.” He doesn’t react. “And you decided this three weeks ago?” Yes, she sighs, pain and guilt in her face where he can’t see it. “I’m sorry.” Still pretending to be casual, he flips through the swatch book on her console table, lingering aimless on it. “Of course,” he replies softly. “That helps.”
Grief still on her face, she tries again. “It’s time I tried something … new.” He nods, and walks over to her desk, slowly, mildly.
Then he surges forward and sweeps everything off of it. Books, phone, papers flying, the desk itself clattering as she leaps to her feet. Through the glass walls behind them, heads begin to turn.
He leans onto her desk, rage in every straining tendon, his voice still low. “I took you in. No one wanted you. I hired you. I pushed for you.” Will, she pleads, this is a business decision. Oh, you can tell yourself that all day, Alicia. “You were poison,” he grinds out through clenched teeth. “This firm got you back on your feet.”
“And I will always been thankful,” she cries. “And this is how you show it? By stealing our clients?” We didn’t steal anything, she insists, and again, you can tell yourself that all you want, love. “You have a fiduciary responsibility to this firm, and you were going behind our backs!” Will starts to pace, spinning and pointing at her in accusation. I didn’t go behind any back, she pleads (how can she possibly say that?) but he cuts her off, tripping over his own outrage. “You negotiated Diane’s exit package!” You asked me to, she shoots back, justly defensive. “And the whole time you knew you were leaving!” By now he’s actually yelling,
“Nothing I was doing impacted that negotiation,” she defends herself; he looks at her, shocked. “Oh God,” he breathes, voice low again, but painful, strained. “You’re awful. And you don’t even know how awful you are.” The one thing she could could say that he would understand – that she wants him too much to stay – she can never, ever admit, and so she tries something else. “This is how you and Diane started this firm!”
And now he’s yelling again. “Don’t you dare compare….” and here he stops himself. “Okay,” he nods, hand to his forehead, calming himself. “Okay,” he pants, turning back to her. “First of all, you’re fired.” He looks around the room, panting, and notices a cell phone on the floor. “Second, I’m taking this company cell phone until such time as….” Excuse me, she responds indignantly, that’s my personal cell phone; he’s still going to take it until he knows what clients she’s attempted to steal over it, because he’s sure as heck not going to take anything on her word ever again.
“You can’t do that!” she chastises him. “Get out of here, Alicia,” he tells her, his calm recovered. “Right now. You’re fired.” Though she’s initially cowed, she straightens her spine, looks him right in the eye, and tells him no. What? She gulps, and he tilts his head to the side as if he can’t possibly have heard her correctly, then starts advancing on her, reminding me somehow of Gary Oldman in The Professional. Shudder. Okay, calm down, E. “You don’t wanna push this,” he warns her softly.
“I’m a partner,” she declares, chin up. “You wanna remove me? You need the majority vote of the executive board and THEN you need a vote of the full board.” Wow. What’s the point of that? Obviously they’re going to vote to remove her. Somehow her intransigence hits Will where he lives; he sucks in his lips in this strange way that make it look like he’s ready to cry. When he spins to leave the room, he sees Robyn waiting in the doorway.
“I need you to stand here,” he tells her, “and make sure she doesn’t leave the room. If she tries to contact anybody, I need you to document it and call me immediately, can you do that?” That’s ironic. Yes, Robyn gulps. As Will rushes off, he calls over the phone for four security guards. Gulp.
As soon as he’s out of sight, Alicia rushes for her desk phone, and Robyn scurries forward to meet her. “What should I do?” the young girl whispers, alarmed. The phone doesn’t work, so Alicia asks for Robyn’s. “You want me to tell Cary or somebody?” Robyn wonders. “I can’t tell you what to do,” Alicia cautions. “At some point, you and I are going to be deposed about what we did just now.” Ah. Okay. “You have to do things on your own.” I’ll tell Cary, Robyn decides, but before she rushes off, Alicia explains that Will’s gathering the boards to oust her. “That will take an hour,” she whispers. “So hurry.” While Robyn speeds away, Alicia’s on the phone with the new office suite, making sure she’s got somewhere to go.
In the hall, Robyn encounters Carey With An E and the red headed girl – Beth? – from the original fourth year work stoppage. “They found out, Alicia’s being fired and we have about a half hour,” she hisses. “Damn it,” the Red Head replies in shock, “we don’t have all the files!” You download, Carey decides, I’ll get the contacts.
“We need a quorum, Howard, let’s go!” Will hollers, sticking his head in Howard’s doorway and banging on the frame. As we all knew he would be, Howard’s asleep on his couch with his pants off. “What?” Howard stammers.
Poor Joely gapes like a fish as Will thunders back into his office, hoping to redirect his attention. Should she stay? Go? There’s a rude, hairy guy in flannel waiting for Will. He’s still working on the partners only firewall, but Will wants him to shut down access to all the files by all associates, everywhere. Even the ones currently in use. “No one accesses files until I say so, and tell me the name of anyone who accesses files.” Will’s back out, physical file in hand. “Anything else?” IT Guy asks. “No,” Will snaps, then turns. Actually, he needs Alicia’s access revoked. “I’ll be with you in a moment,” he tells Joely smoothly, as she opens her mouth once more in vain.
“Told you they were planning something,” David Lee crows, brandishing his earpiece like the devilish imp that he is, “I told you they were screwing us!” “Yes,” Will placates him briefly, practically flying around the conference table, “and we’ll congratulate you later. We need to act now. Where’s Howard?” Present, the old man’s voice rings out, suddenly stentorian. Great, but they still need one more vote for a quorum. “How about Alicia,” David sneers, “She just needs to be here, we can still vote her out.” Ha.
“What’d she do?” Howard wonders, lost as ever; Will calls Diane in instead. Of course David objects to that too, but since no one’s signed Diane’s exit package yet, she can legally provide the quorum. Hmm. That detail is not lost on me. (I made my thoughts on that subject known last week.) “I immediately propose that the executive committee take to the full partnership the proposal to relieve Alicia Florrick of her duties.”
“Wow, really?” Howard asks. Really. “Diane discovered Alicia was planning to leave with Cary Agos and several of our top clients.” Which clients, David wants to know immediately. ‘We’re trying to find out now. All those in favor of relieving Alicia Florrick of her duties,” Will calls for the vote, and raises his hand. Some with their regret and confusion clear, all the executive board members raise their hands – all except Diane.
“You’re the one who found it out, are you really going to vote against it?” David snaps. Even for David Lee, who is pretty much permanently angry, who has never liked Alicia, there’s some extra special rage going on. What does it matter? You already have a majority. “Give me a second please,” Diane asks, no doubt wondering where this action will take her impending judgeship; she really only takes a second before raising her hand in compliance.
Out in the hall, the bearded IT guy has a hand up as well, trying to get Will’s attention. “There’s someone trying to download a file right now,” IT Guy tells Will as soon as the latter is out in the hall. Who? “Carey,” he says. “I know, Cary,” Will nods, but somehow IT Guy hears lack of a the silent E. “No, the other Carey, Zepps.” That was the whole point of giving them the same ridiculous name, wasn’t it, to have this one moment of insanity? Somehow Will manages to look purposeful and dominant rather than struggling. He gestures for the guards to join him. “Should I come back?” Joely calls out. “No, stay,” he barks.
Though he’s frantically typing, it’s clear that Carey’s seen the doom coming for him. “Carey Zepps, you’re fired,” Will announces as he blasts into the room. The pace of all this has been dizzying. “I need you to get out of the offices right now.” Carey slams the laptop shut and curls his fingers around it. “No, that stays,” Will adds. “You take nothing.” My car keys are in my office, Carey explains, not bothering to protest or defend himself, but no pity is extended; all his things will be packaged and sent to his home. “If you need your car keys, wait in the lobby. They’ll be delivered to you. Now get the hell out of here.” The two hulking security guards silently wave him out.
In the hall, he passes Beth, busily typing away on her own computer. He doesn’t give her away by so much as looking in her direction.
Robyn watches the goings on, shocked. “Zach,” Alicia asks over the phone, “What are you doing?” Going to school, he says. “Hey, have you seen my Lincoln essay, I can’t find it.” Speaking of civil wars! And no, she hasn’t, but she does need his help. “Look, you were talking about the cloud at my work, files being saved up to the cloud?” Mom, he says, looking for the essay, did you maybe put it in your room or something? (Just print off another copy, Zach, or email it to your teacher!) Very carefully, she ignores him. “I need all my company contacts and files saved from the company cloud to my cloud, my personal cloud, can you do that?”
He smiles to himself. “You have no idea what any of those words mean, do you?” No, she admits. “But do you…” she sees a war party – that is, the other two security guards – coming and spins so she’s facing the wall. “Can you transfer the files so I can use them at home?” Uh, maybe, but he’s on the way to school. Can’t this wait? No, son, it cannot. “Someone is trying to block me and I need to do it now. Do you need my password?”
“Okay, okay, I’m fine, I’m fine here, this is as far as you can take me,” Carey Zepps pulls his arms away from his pair of guards as they step off the elevator into the lobby. “No,” he tells them carefully as Cary Agos walks by, “I know you started firing people before I could download the files. I’m staying here.” Cary keeps his expression neutral, but he knows; game is on. I feel like they should be playing the Mission Impossible theme. “Let’s go,” demands one of the security guard. “You wanna law suit?” Extra E squeaks. “Go for it. Lockhart/Gardner doesn’t control the lobby of this building!” The doors close and reopen on Cary; he pounds the button for his floor, grunting at its defiance.
As Cary walks into Lockhart/Gardner, he sees David Lee instruction more goons to walk down the corridor and knock on every door, and quickly takes off in the opposite direction. “They don’t know I’m with you,” The-Fourth Year-Probably-Named-Beth tells him quietly before putting a finger to her lips. He frowns to see guards flanking Alicia’s office door, where Alicia sits at her empty desk across from Robyn, all her things still strewn across the floor. Frowning harder, he rushes into his own office and throws up his hands in disgust at the sight of his own papers flung along his desk, his laptop missing.
“You know what offends me most?” a voice comes from the shadows, startling him. It’s Diane, and she’s got his laptop. “The fact that I stood up for you. I got you hired.”
Dipping his head, Cary shoots her an astonished look. “That offends you the most, really? Not the fact that every fourth year was promised a partnership?” There’s her smug smile. “So that’s who you’re in league with? All the fourth years?” Though it’s something they should have been able to figure out on their own, Cary bites his lips. “No, I’m making a point. You brought this on yourselves.”
“The sad thing is, Cary, I was your mentor. If you had a disagreement, you could have come to me every step of the way. I was here to help.” Really? Like when Will was hazing him last year and literally made him work in a storage closet? His stare is incredulous. “Oh, come on, Diane, this is not a camp. When I came to your door, you didn’t want to teach. You wanted to know.” It’s amazing how you’ve misinterpreted every single thing, she smiles. Um, yeah, totally amazing.
“How did I misinterpret you fired me? The first time.” It’s becoming quite the episode for uncharacteristic rage. “I put more hours in than anything, I put my best work into this place, and you fired me.” Wow, is he genuinely still upset about that? “We fired you because of Alicia,” Diane snaps,” and you sure got over that quick.” Um, no. No you really didn’t; you fired him instead of Alicia, which is not the same thing at all. And his change of heart wasn’t quick at all. It’s interesting that this surfaces again as a grievance, though.
“I need to start something on my own, the same way you and Will did,” he changes tactics. “Then do it without our clients,” Diane growls. “They’re not your clients!” Cary yells back, red in the face. “When was the last time you looked at Chum Hum? When was the …” Finally, Diane steps into the middle of the room. “You’re taking Chum Hum?” Diane asks, so of course Cary backpedals that this is just an example. Good luck with that, Loose Lips. Will pops his head in, still followed by guards. “We’re ready!” She’ll be there in a minute, she says, and once he leaves Diane throws a paper down in front of Cary. “You make a list of all the associates leaving with you,” she insists.
“You can guess,” he sneers, throwing the papers off his desk. Oh well. I guess it’s already wrecked, but the act still disconcerts and distracts Diane. “If you don’t want all the fourth years fired, you list all the associates leaving with you. I am deathly serious,” she proclaims, and she certainly sounds it. Why do you care, he wonders aloud; you’re off to the Supreme Court. “Why does this even matter to you?”
“I don’t like betrayal,” she answers angrily, “and I like this firm. Now you write down the names.” She heads for the door. “And Cary, you’re fired.” He points to her. “For a second time.” “For a second time,” she echoes, “get the hell out.” She leaves, and he collapses forward onto the desk, lowering his head and shaking it. After a moment he looks up and across the hall toward Alicia, still trapped in her office.
There’s thunder in the large conference room where all the partners are assembled; Will has to yell repeatedly for their attention, and it’s a while before he gets it. He’s leaning on the white leather chair at the head of the empty conference table. “This is an emergency meeting of the partnership with one cause of action,” he explains. “We have a partner who is actively trying to steal our top clients,” he goes on. Arriving late, Diane leans over to him. “Chum Hum,” she tells him, and everyone near them gasps. “And as you all know, a partner can’t be removed without a majority vote of the full partnership.” So there they are. “I’ve just been told this new firm is making a play for Chum Hum.” Mindful as ever of their wallets, the equity partners buzz with anger and concern. “We will now entertain a motion to remove Alicia Florrick of her duties.”
In her office, Alicia sits in an almost trance-like state. ‘They don’t know what I’m with you,” Robyn muses. Should she stay on after Alicia leaves? “I can’t say anything,” Alicia repeats. “I think I can feel you stuff from the inside,” Robyn suggests, but as she does a young woman with long blond hair appears in Alicia’s doorway. What’s going on, she wonders, no doubt alarmed by the guards. “Candace, hi,” Alicia stands, surprised. “I forgot, we have a depo today, don’t we?” We do, Candace nods. “Can I come in?” Yes of course.
“Are you under arrest?” Candace wonders, looking askance at the guards. “I’m in the process … ” Alicia begins and tries to shut the door, but the most hulking of the guards opens it back up. “I’m forming my own firm, ” Alicia explains smoothly, leaning in with her arm around Candace’s shoulder, “and I think I’m being pushed out today.” Candace blinks – there’s a lot of that going on this morning – and walks slowly toward Alicia’s desk. “But I don’t understand, you’re my lawyer.”
“Will Gardner’s your lawyer too,” Alicia points out, sitting down behind her desk. “Yeah,” Candace nods, “but you’re the one I’ve mostly dealt with.” And there it is, the largest reason the fourth years are rebelling; it may sound entitled and maybe it is, but they are the ones doing the work. Um, not that Alicia’s an associate. “Where is this new firm? Can my case come with you?” It’s Alicia’s turn to look alarmed as Will approaches her door.
I can’t exactly answer that question now, she stammers. “Excuse me, Alicia,” Will beckons at the door. Alicia rises and walks slowly to him past Candace and Robyn, drawn up to her full height, with the air of an aristocrat walking up to the guillotine. She brushes the hair from her face, lifts her chin, and faces him.
“After a vote by the full partnership, you’ve been officially removed from your position.” He nods to the guards. “Gentlemen, will you escort her out, please?” They fall in at her sides as Will glides back. For once, the hall is filled not merely with her colleagues, but with silent, motionless ones. Everyone has forgotten their work in the face of these shocking events. People crowd forward to look at her proud, bowed head; she doesn’t meet their eyes. Somehow, it makes me think of how she started here, the walk out of that press conference, the constant feeling she was being discussed. Each guard cups one of her elbows and Will walks behind as the head to the elevator bank.
After pressing the button, the guards take a discreet step back to allow Alicia and Will a moment. “I want my phone back,” she declares, awkward, sneaking a hesitant look at him. Will’s voice has cooled. “After we ascertain whether there are Lockhart/Gardner materials on it, we will messenger it to you.” When the doors ding open, Alicia walks straight in; Will leans through the doors to hit the lobby button for her. Beginning to blink rapidly, Alicia takes the chance to say something. “This was never meant personally,” she sighs, tipping over toward tears. He stares back for a moment.
“I don’t give a damn,” Will says, and the doors close on his unforgiving face, and Alica’s lip begins to quivering, and then shake, and then gasp, and then the painful, painful tears spill out.
Thank you, Rhett Butler.
It can’t be much later when Kalinda walks in, thinking this is another average workday until she catches sight of Alicia’s belongings decorating her floor. And look, over there it’s David Lee rummaging through Cary’s papers again. You know things are bad when even Kalinda’s frozen in shock. Course correcting for the partners’ offices, Kalinda takes off in the opposite direction and stumbles on Robyn lying to Will about Alicia’s movements. Well, maybe that’s harsh; Zach isn’t an associate, and it was Robyn who warned Carey (for all the good it did him). Surprising no one, Will asks for a moment of Kalinda’s time – and tells Robyn to hang around.
“Where were you?” Will asks. At home, Kalinda replies, shutting his office door behind her. “What’s up?” They sit. “We fired Alicia, and Cary, and the other Carey. They were intending to steal our top clients.” Kalinda sighs; “Wow,” she says. “Yeah,” will agrees, before swallowing hard. “Now here’s what I need to know. Are you leaving with her?” “With Alicia? Um, no,” Kalinda replies, and it’s not very convincing. She sounds like a lawyer, parsing her words. “Because if you are, you need to leave right now,” he says, jerking his thumb toward the elevators.
“Well I’m not,” she replies, more convincing. You can see in his face how much it matters to him, that he needs her to stay and not because she’s as amazing as we all know she is, but because he trusts and relies on her personally. After losing Diane and Alicia, who does he have left? Howard Lyman? David Lee?
“David Lee says you are,” he counters. “David Lee says a lot of things,” Kalinda responds evenly. “You’re friends with Alicia and she didn’t tell you she was leaving?” Nope. (Wrong question, because Cary told her, and she and Alicia have never really recovered their confidence in each other.) “No. Clearly I wasn’t friend enough.”
Okay, says Will, leaning forward, one hand tightened into a fist. “”I need to know which associates are leaving with them and which clients, and I need to know fast.” Okay, she says, ready to do it. “You don’t know now?” No, she tells him, but she can find out. “Things are crumbling around here, Kalinda. I need to know who I can trust. Can I trust you?” You can, she nods, and he sends her off to sniff out the rebels. As she goes, Will chews on his thumb and notices David Lee herding a group of people we’ve never seen – including a man in a wheelchair – into Diane’s office.
“What’s going on? Who are they?” he asks Diane and David. “The associates Cary says he’s leaving with,” Diane looks up from the sheet Cary’s written on. “We’re lining them up to fire their asses,” David adds with the relish you’d expect. Will looks back at this firing line, which includes not only the man in the wheelchair but also three able-bodied African Americans.
“Cary’s screwing with you,” Will realizes, “He named them because they’re all protected classes and you can’t fire them.” Touche, Cary. “Damn it,” David Lee curls his lip in comic disappointment. I can’t stop giggling. Will suggest that the firm simply fire all the fourth year associates and get them immediately out of the building. “I’ll go,” Lee growls happily, and when he does, Will notices poor Joely still sitting on that little chair outside his office, waiving at him, and heads off to finally finish their meeting.
“So, about stability,” she meanders rather uselessly. “You’re hired,” Will says, clearly playing Donald Trump for the duration of this episode. I don’t know, Will. It’s good that she’s there, but her inability to switch her pitch doesn’t speak well to her crisis response capacity. “You’re our new publicist, I need you to start right now.” Certainly, she nods, her pleasure leaking out in the brief flutter of her hands. “We had to fire a partner. And she’s the wife of the next governor.”
Joely’s mouth hangs open.
Elsewhere, the major blood-letting has begun. “Alright,” David barks, rocketing into an office trailing security guards. “Okay, get up, you’re fired, let’s go,” he points at one of the original conspirators (John, right?), who closes his laptop in disgust. Before he can even slide his chair back, David’s snapped up the laptop. “Hands off the keyboard, you’re both fired,” he tells two more men, grabbing their laptops as well. Without a word, they’re hustled out. Are they conspirators or not? I have no idea. The pace is dizzying.
“Okay,” Will calls out, speeding into Diane’s office, where his sort-of former partner sits with a few unknown partners; David Lee walks in to hear the end of the instructions. “The first thing we do is call all the clients. Everybody get on the phone, all the partners. We split up the list. Across the hall… who’s that?” He notices Candace in the conference room. “The nurses’ deposition,” Diane explains. ‘That’s now?” Will asks, and Diane shrugs, because what can they do?
What do we tell the clients, Howard wonders from the sofa, snapping Will back into the strategy session. “We give the reasons for firing Alicia Florrick, and don’t just make it about the new firm.” What? “The reason has to do with performance.”
“She was stealing money,” David Lee immediately suggests. Oh my God! Slime them before they can slime us, huh? “No,” Diane cautions, almost derisive. “We can’t say that.” Because it’s not true and Alicia can prove it, or because after Mandy’s article about Will, it would taint the entire firm too much? Or because Diane is afraid it could impact her judgeship? “Next we go to court,” Will explains. ‘We get a restraining order against further pursuit of our clients.” They can do that?
“We can’t win that!” David grouses. “It’s not about winning,” Will explains, “it’s about slowing them down.” Oh. Okay. That makes sense. “It’s about an off-speed pitch.” Okay, now you’ve lost me. “They’d had one month to pursue our clients. Now we have the advantage.”
Ding! The elevator door opens, and a sullen John is lead out into the lobby by the inevitable pair of security guards. “Okay,” he tells them, pulling his arms away just past a set of bollards, “I get it. I can find my own way home.” As he heads for the exit he notices a cafe called Vintage, where his once and future colleagues have gathered to strategize, Alicia at their center. (Hey, and she’s flanked by the Red Shirt! He lived to fight another day! Let’s hope he’s not as irredeemably stupid and contentious as he appeared last week.) John steps in to join them.
And instead of tears and hand-wringing, there’s frantic activity. I’m so glad – I feared it’d be all soppy and depressing emotional fall out, but no. “Who else did they get?” Zepps wonders, “are you the last?” I’m trying not to be snippy about his inability to count. “Beth is still there,” John observes. And Robyn, Cary adds. “They can get us downloads.” Shaking his head, John explains that Will’s blocked downloads.
“How is everybody working?” Alicia asks; they’re not, John explains. “They’re too busy battling us.” Okay, Alicia decides. “We have to get on with all our clients, let them know we’re leaving a week early.” As a waiter interrupts them with cappuccinos and tea, Alicia cautions them that Will’s going to be doing the same thing (yep) and they need to move fast. “We have to move up our press release,” Cary adds, and Zepps will zip to it. Alicia has already ascertained they can move into the new offices the next day. “One thing you all lost is bonuses,” Red Shirt leans in to add. Somebody smack that dude upside the head. Not that I’m not ready to smack them all for blowing the element of surprise by waiting for the bonuses, but it’s not exactly helpful.
So of course the rebels explode into angry mutterings; proving her leadership skills, Alicia refocuses their attention. We must make those calls now. “Cary, are you on Chum Hum?” He is. “Who’s our second best client?” Someone named Vonerick, at SVI Holdings. Alicia takes out a phone to call him.
“Steve Vonerick,” a middle aged man states into a headset as he walks in front of massive screens in what looks like a stock broker’s office. His red suspenders and pinstriped shirt with its white collar give him that look. “No, I hadn’t heard,” he says. “Yes, we fired Mrs. Florrick, unfortunately,” David Lee oozes, pacing himself. “We discovered some … issues in her performance.” What issues, Vonerick wonders. “We’d rather not say, at least until the authorities look into it, but I want to assure you that we looked into her work on your account, and found no money missing.”
Oh my GOD! That slimy little toad!
“Mr. Vonerick! Hi. It’s Alicia. Yes,” Poor Alicia smiles into her phone, not knowing what’s waiting for her. “I’m not sure this is the best time for me to move,” he says, and so Alicia knows. As she tries to counter David’s lies about financial irregularities, Kalinda motions outside the door for Cary to join her in the lobby.
“Do you still want another investigator?” Kalinda asks, silhouetted against the glass doors. Um, I didn’t think he ever wanted two. Cary frowns, confused. “Look, Lockhart/Gardner is starting to crumble and Will is going crazy,” she says, hands flying. “He’s lashing out with you at everything he’s got, so, do you still want an extra investigator?” We have one, Cary replies (yes, that’s why she said “another”) but when she points out that Robyn doesn’t win cases, he can’t help but take notice.
“Robyn’s within our budget,” he shrugs. “That last deal you offered me? I’ll take it,” she says. No, he doesn’t understand this. He doesn’t believe she’d play him but he can’t see how this would be a genuine offer, either; she steps forward and quietly lets him know. “Lockhart/Gardner can survive without you, Alicia and half a dozen others, but it can’t survive without Diane.” Good point. “I can read the writing on the wall.”
And this it seems has persuaded him, at least most of the way. If she really wants to join them, she’ll need to get the Chum Hum files for them. “Where do you want me to bring them, here?” 155 Emerson, he says. Okay, she nods.
“We lost Vonerick’s hedge fund,” Alicia grumbles, angrily stabbing at the off button on her phone. “And the Paisley Group,” Zepps adds, “we’re being bad mouthed to the clients.” It’s Will, Alicia realizes. “He’s in commando mode.” So what do we do, someone asks. Of course it’s Alicia who comes up with the answer. “What’re you doing?” Extra E asks as Alicia frantically dials her phone. “Distracting him,” she says.
And it’s Candace who answers the phone. “Candace, hi, it’s Alicia. I just wanted to check and see how the deposition was going?” Ha ha ha. I love you, Alicia. “It’s not going anywhere at the moment,” Candace declares bitterly. “Where are you?” I’m downstairs, Alicia answers. “Is Will not with you?” He’s here, Candace sighs, but he’s off on the phone. Of course he is.
“The concern here, Candace, is that it took us six months to set this deposition up. And if it doesn’t happen now, they could delay another six months.” Extra E laughs into his hand, and Red Shirt taps his nose. Alicia’s come up with the perfect thing.
(But less snickering and more calling, boys!)
In Will’s office, Howard and David and Will are all frantically calling clients. “Yes, she’s the governor’s wife, but that isn’t always a good thing,” Will argues with someone. “Mr. Gardner,” Candace boldly walks into the room. “We need to start the deposition now.” Having done his damage, he gets off the phone with a promise to call back.
“Candace, yes,” he attempts to placate the frustrated nurse. “I just need a few more minutes.” She shakes her head, polite and firm as Mary Poppins. “No. We need to do this now, or they’ll leave.” Okay, he admits defeat, let me get my files. As he steps to his desk for the files, Alicia’s personal cell starts bleating “Mom, pick up the phone.” They brought back the ringtone! I love it I love it I love it!
And oddly enough, Will picks up the phone. He’s frowning fiercely, but he does it. “Hello?” Grace holds the phone away from her to make sure she’s called the right number before bringing it back to her ear and asking “Who is this?” “Will Gardner,” the lawyer answers, ill at ease. “Oh, hi,” Grace replies, “Where’s my mom?”
Of course Will has no good answer for this, though he searches for one. “She’s, um… I have her cell phone,” is what he settles on. Grace, bless her, has no idea that there’s anything weird about this. “Okay, well, can you give her a message for me? I can’t find the permission slip for my Campus Faith field trip. I need her to call them.”
Candace rushes in and motions to Will to get a move on. He holds up his hand. “I don’t know when I’m going to see her,” he admits, haltingly. “So maybe it would be better if you tried at home?” I’m at home, Grace snaps, and she’s not here. I can’t even express how much I like seeing confident, commando mode Will utterly befuddled by the tiny teen, and Grace in turn ordering him around. Outstanding.
But she thinks better of her tone and relents. Could he just have Alicia call Grace if he sees her? Okay, he concedes softly. “Thanks,” Grace says, and Will hangs up, a curious expression on his face.
Had enough phone calls yet? Well, too bad! The next one is for Cary, still ensconced at Vintage, and it’s from Neil Gross. “Hello Mr. Gross!” Cary calls out loudly, alerting his cohorts to the importance of the call. “I’m thrilled we got you, I’ve been trying you on your cell.” Yeah, Neil says, surging down a curved staircase, “I was in the air. Now I’m on the ground, heading to your offices to discuss the suit, so can it wait?”
Actually, it can’t. “Can we meet you at your Chum Hum offices?” As opposed to his other office? Why? “Because, we’re making the move today,” Cary confesses, “leaving Lockhart/Gardner and starting Florrick/Agos.” Nicely phrased, Cary. “You’re starting your own firm today?” What, is something wrong with today? Is it somehow inauspicious? “Yes sir, no time like the present,” Cary offers.
Neil wants it known that his “peeps on the West Coast” don’t love the idea of going with a start up. Ah. First off, he did not just say “peeps” in a business setting. I know he’s a poser, but seriously, that’s lame even for Neil Gross. Second, does anyone else get the feeling that Neil uses his West Coast lawyers as a sort of cover for his own doubts? “Start up? With the governor’s wife?” Cary looks to Alicia, who nods. “Well that’s a two way street. We’ve been reviewing the rules for the governor, and um, they’re kind of a tangle.” Five year plan, Alicia mouths, and Cary promises to untangle everything in person with this five year plan. “Just how I want to spend my afternoon, listening to my next five years,” Neil grouses.
And now it’s Alicia’s phone. “Alicia, it’s Candace. Shouldn’t we be going after wrongful termination, not sexual harassment?” the nurse asks, with David Lee lurking behind her, trying to overhear. “Candace, is the deposition happening now?” It is. “Yes, but all of Mr. Gardner’s questions are geared toward sexual harassment. I thought we’d lose sexual harassment.” Hmmm. Looks like Will hasn’t been paying attention (or, to give him some credit, perhaps Alicia’s notes to him haven’t been complete). “But didn’t you fire our client because she was too pretty?” Will asks in the deposition, as David Lee (out in the hall near Candace) waves his arms over his head trying to get his boss’s attention.
Over the other side’s objections, Will leaves the conference room. “Candace,” he asks, “is that Alicia?” Yeah, she snaps, the phone still at her ear. Where did David go? “She thinks we should be going after wrongful termination.” Oh, the irony. I’m dying. “Can I, please?” Will asks, pointing at her phone while repressing some anger. She presses her lips together and hands it over; immediately Will walks off down the hall.
“Alicia, you have been removed from your position at this firm,” he tells her, glowering. “Yes, and she called me. I didn’t call her.” Alicia’s not pleased. “Engage with any of our clients again, and we’ll take you to court.” At this, Alicia snaps. “For what?” she sneers. “Tortious interference,” he says. “Oh come on,” she snaps right back at him, “the only one interfering here is you. Telling our clients I stole money!”
Yeah, that’s pretty low.
All we told them is we fired you, Will lies. Maybe he didn’t know the specifics of what David Lee was going to do, but surely he knew the direction in which the slime was flowing. You better stop it, he concludes, or you and Cary will not have a penny left in the bank. “Oh go to hell,” she dismisses him. “No, you go!” he retorts like a kid in a school yard fight.
“Oh,” he says, thinking better of hanging up. “Your daughter called. She needs you to call her school to let her go on a field trip.” Ha ha ha ha! The crisp way he recites the information – the fact that he actually said it? I’m dying. Oh, Alicia replies, surprised, “When was this?” “About 40 minutes ago,” he says. “Oh,” she replies again, “thank you.” “You’re welcome,” he says, and hangs up.
I don’t think it’s possible for me to love that conversation more.
Both combatants sigh, taken out of the war for just that moment, dizzy from the changes in altitude. But Kalinda steps off the elevator, and life speeds up again. “What did they say?” Will asks. “They don’t have the Chum Hum files,” Kalinda tells him (and really, how amateur is that? Why have Alicia get Sonya Rucker’s and not their major steal? I thought they were planning this!). “What don’t they have?” Howard wonders, showing up with David Lee. “The Chum Hum files. Cary said that?” Will asks. Yep; Kalinda concludes that they’re trying to meet with Neil Gross. “We need to get court time right now,” Will concludes.
“Was there anything else?” David Lee asks. Just the address of their new offices. God, Cary, why did you not just give her your own address? UGH. “I know that building,” David Lee muses, because of course he does. “I’m on it.” And just like that, he’s making his assistant call the Board of Health.
Anyone else with them, Will wants to know. Is she going to tell? “Yes,” Kalinda decides. And there’s Robyn rushing through the office, laptop in hand; she spins when Will calls her name, and when she turns, she sees that he’s once again flanked by a team of security guards. Those doe eyes won’t help; the jig, it is up.
Beneath Chum Hum’s spiral staircase, there’s an enormous design painted into the floor; it’s a chess piece (the knight, I think) in black on a white seal. “Florrick/Agos, there you all are!” Neil Gross calls out, practically flying down the stairs. What a cool lobby. He’s a tool, but I really like this building. “Welcome to my house!”
“You remember Carey Zepps,” Real Cary introduces his colleague. “Yes I do,” Gross laughs, “one of you needs to change your name, though.” Would that they could! Everyone laughs (sycophants) and all seems to be going well enough that you know this can’t be that easy. And it’s not. “Alicia Florrick? Cary Agos?” a young fellow who looks like a bike messenger follows them to the foot of the stairs, handing over a restraining order that prevents them from talking to Chum Hum and its representatives. They can do that? “I read it,” the process server volunteers. “It charges tortious…” “Tortious interference,” Alicia nods. “Interference with trade.” Yes, that. “Well, this is awkward,” Neil grins. “Tell me when you guys work this out.”
“Well, because it doesn’t make any sense, Doug! I haven’t made any decisions on pensions, period,” Peter laughs, sitting behind his pre-gubernatorial desk. “Oh, okay, yeah,” he chuckles. “Let’s go to a more neutral subject. My wife. Go. Shoot.” He smiles to himself. “No. What?” Yep, here it comes; Peter covers his phone, barks for Eli, and quickly ends the phone call.
“What, what’s wrong?” Eli asks, bouncing into the room. “That was Doug Fletcher from the Tribune,” Peter points to his phone. “He says that Alicia was fired today.” Eli’s eyes just about burst out of his head. Even though Eli’s just gasped out “what?,” Peter asks him if he’s heard about this. Obviously he hasn’t. “No. Fired from her job?” As opposed to what? I just love the shock they’re showing, because of course Saint Alicia could never be fired. Somehow neither of them remembers that she’s been walking a thin line for nearly a month. Of course Peter immediately calls his wife for confirmation.
“All we did was block them, now we gotta get a meeting with Neil Gross,” Will tells David and Howard. Are we never going to explain where Julius has gone? Sigh. And, excellent, there’s Alicia’s cell phone ringing on Will’s desk. This should be fun. “Hello,” he answers. (Would he really keep answering her phone, do you think? It’s weird, right?) “Will,” Peter growls, menace in his intonation. Poor Eli was going to leave the room, but he sure isn’t now. “Yes,” hisses the lawyer.
“Where’s Alicia?” Peter asks. “She’s, uh….. out,” Will answers, slow, torturing Peter. “She’s not here anymore.” There’s this tone Peter takes where he’s really urbane and cavalier just before he unleashes hell on you, and that’s what he sounds like when he asks Will why. “She was in the process of stealing clients,” Will excuses himself. “No, she was in the process of starting her own firm, and they were unhappy clients.” Eli twitches; should he put a stop to this? Can he?
“Peter, you don’t want to get involved in this,” Will warns. “I’ve always been involved in this, okay?” You’re the governor-elect, Will nods. “I’m a private citizen with a practice to run. You can’ get involved in this without it blowing back and hurting you.” He’s probably right, but he doesn’t know Peter if he thinks this logical, self-interested argument will ever persuade him. “Okay, thanks for the advice, jackass,” the big man responds, leading Eli to make a few frantic ‘calm down’ gestures with his hands. “Listen to me: I am not just the governor, I am a husband, and I will handle this as a husband.”
“Should I be recording this conversation? Am I in trouble now?” Will asks, eyes narrowed. God, it’s always a pissing contest with these two, isn’t it? “Am I going to be audited?” His voice gets lower with each scenario. “Are you really trying to turn this around?” Peter asks. “You sleep with my wife, you fire her, and you tell me…” Ah, it always comes back to that for Peter; poor Eli’s going throw out his back reacting like that. “Excuse me, nobody was talking about sleeping with…” Will interrupts, but Peter’s on him again, smooth as silk.
“Oh, gosh, I’m sorry,” he drawls, “have I offended you?” Will’s lips curl up. “No, I’m just trying to figure out what I should feel bad about, buddy.” Oh dear. Who would have thought this conversation had further downhill to run? “Try this on for size. You don’t want to make me your enemy,” Peter replies evenly. “And you certainly don’t want Alicia and me together.”
“Okay,” Will replies coolly. “Good to know. I’m hanging up now. I have a business to run.” Let’s see how well that goes for you, Peter ends the conversation with what sounds like a curse.
Um, not a curse word. You know, an evil wish.
Back at Vintage, Alicia tells her boys that painting their offices will be high on their to do list. I think I saw one other woman with them – what’s up with that? “One office at a time so we can still move in tomorrow,” Cary suggests. Smart. As Alicia declares that she’ll take care of it, Carey Zepps zips into the cafe with the distressing news that their building has suddenly been closed for fumigation. Apparently, there was anonymous tip about a vermin infestation, and now they can’t move in for two months.
“Oh, God, you’re kidding,” Red Shirt shakes his head. “We need the place right now.” Thanks for stating the obvious, dear. Some of the others assume it’s Will, but Alicia shakes her head. “David Lee. It’s got his finger prints all over it.” Too right. “How did they even know where we were going?” John wonders, making me like him because it’s a smart question; Cary frowns, wondering if he’s been played. (YES!)
“We gotta delay our opening,” Red Shirt suggests. This idiot seems to around either to state the obvious or to be obtuse; maybe I should start calling him the Exposition Foil instead. “No, we go now,” Cary rightly asserts. “They want us to wait. Screw them.” Okay, Alicia agrees. “So where do we work?” With a smile and a quirk of his eyebrows, Cary shows us he knows.
And, yep! That is what I though. There they are again in Alicia’s cozy living room. That’s a lot of people for a not so large apartment. What are Alicia and Peter doing about their house? Because that would make an excellent temporary base for a law office, although with Peter living there… It’s all weird. Why hasn’t he moved back in with Alicia? Wouldn’t the marriage proposal suggest they’re out of the dating phase?
Anyway. Sorry. As they’re on the phone to judges and prospective clients, making a prodigious amount of noise, Grace walks in in her school girl uniform with her Bible study group in tow. Of course she does.
Diane, meanwhile, sits silently in Peter’s waiting room, chewing on her thoughts. This is a seriously long day for her; talk about a lack of a honeymoon. “I didn’t know we had a meeting,” Eli greets her pleasantly. “We don’t” Diane rises, her voice even. “I just wanted to inform Peter about some events today.” Because the cat’s already way out of the bag, Eli nods. “Alicia being fired,” he says, walking.
“She wasn’t fired,” Diane essentially lies. Will’s language was very clear. “She was asked to leave early; she was plan to exit the firm to start her own firm anyway…” You could have played it like that, Diane, but no one was being diplomatic. It’s too late to cover yourself.
“But it’s my understanding that you slapped Alicia with a restraining order,” Eli turns on her. Yeah, and you’re not going to be happy when you hear that they’ve been implying she stole money from the firm, either. I had nothing to do with that, she protests; do you really think that will matter, Diane? “I’m no longer involved in strategy for Lockhart/Gardner.” But they’re going to court to defend the restraining order, Eli adds. I don’t see how that means she’s involved in strategy, but okay. Just as a formality, she says. Does mean they assume they’ll lose?
Her heart in her throat, bared on her face, she asks the most important question, the only question: “Eli, is this going to impact the judgeship?” Wow, you really don’t know Peter at all, do you? Of course it’s going to. “Diane,” Eli tells her, “we are not in the business of letting personal feelings affect our political decisions.” You can tell yourself that all you want, Eli. “You sure?” He’s sure. I haven’t the faintest idea why – doesn’t he know Peter? – but he’s confident. “We’re fine. Don’t worry.” Diane, she does not look convinced; she watches Eli walk down an ornate hallway as if watching her dreams go with him.
His eyes hollow and sorrowful, Will waits in a courtroom; he goes as alert as a predator, however, the moment the courtroom door opens, listening as Alicia clicks into the room with Cary and her other brother Carey behind her. She shoots Will a vile, furious look as she passes, but he plays with his fingers instead of looking up. As the Honorable James Chase is introduced, David Lee leans over to Will and whispers “let’s kill them now and get it over with.”
“This is a matter of a restraining order, is that correct?” Judge Chase quavers. That is correct, Alicia, Cary and Carey speak at the same time, then stop in confusion when they realize what they’ve done. “Well that instills confidence,” David snarks loudly. “There has been a motion to suppress,” the judge prompts. Yes, Alicia explains. “There is no tortious interference here. The court is taking sides in a legally proper splitting of firms.” This is a little confusing from an audience standpoint – what constitutes properly stealing clients? Apparently there is a proper way, or David Lee wouldn’t have assumed they couldn’t win with the restraining order.
I wish that were what was going on, Will sighs, but the attorneys who are attempting to split off have made improper advances… Alicia cuts him off and insists that they haven’t, and damned if I know who’s right, since they didn’t really explain where the line is. If that even matters.
“Sit down and let him speak,” David Lee interrupts rudely; for the first time, we see that Diane stands on his other side. “No, you sit down,” Other Brother Carey whines. Ugh with the childish behavior! “We have just as much right…” Judge Chase slams down his gavel. “I have laryngitis today, and I need everyone to quiet down.” They sit.
“Your Honor, if we could call a witness to the stand to speak to the defense’s lies,” Will asks. Well, that was diplomatic. He turns and looks at Diane. “No I won’t,” she says. “What? We discussed this!” David Lee gasps. “I know. And I’ve changed my mind,” Diane replies stiffly. I guess she wasn’t particularly reassured by Eli’s blithe confidence. Look, Diane, I know you told him not to, but as soon as David Lee and God knows who else started implying to clients that Alicia embezzled money from the firm, you guys crossed a line, and I seriously doubt you can step back over it. You could have let them go with dignity – or do what you’re doing. “That instills confidence,” Other Brother Carey snarks back, which of course prompts David to – well, I think he was inviting a fist fight, actually, but the judge bangs his gavel again before he can get out much more than “let’s go right here, you little.”
“That’s enough,” the judge rumbles. “Now do you have a witness or not?” Oh, they have a witness.
And, uh oh. It’s Beth. “Now, you were intending to leave with the other Lockhart/Gardner lawyers, is that correct?” Alicia and the Carys squirm in their seats – Alicia probably more than the boys because she has more of a conscience. “Yes,” Beth says. “What made you change your mind?” Will asks. After giving a look to her former compatriots, Beth explains that she thought they were lying to the clients they wanted to take. “Wow, an exact imitation of the language you need,” Alicia complains dryly; David Lee of course objects as loudly as possible.
Not only does he sustain the objection, but the judge asks Alicia to restrain herself. At his bench, Will nods to himself. “And how did they lie to clients?” Beth’s happy to answer. “They said that the partners didn’t have their best interests at heart, they pursued the clients for month before they left, and they said only they could offer continuity of service on their cases.” I’m not at all sure what’s wrong with the latter. “And how do you know this?” I was with them, she says. “No further questions,” Will says, but it sounds like Boo-yah to me.
“Thank you,” Alicia begins. “Beth, what did Lockhart/Gardner offer you today?” Will objects; vague. “Thank you, I’ll clarify; did anyone at Lockhart/Gardner off you a promotion in the last twelve hours?” Will bellows out his next objection. The two are careful not to look each other. “Relevance!” “Seems relevant to me,” the judge frowns, “she’s trying to find out if you bought her testimony.” Exactly. Alicia repeats the question, enunciating with fierce precision; Will looks as if he wants to crush the table with his hands.
“Here’s the thing,” Beth says, squirming, “I was offered a promotion eight months ago, and then, now that one of the partners is leaving I have been offered her position.” She shrugs. Just a coincidence. “And who offered you this partnership?” Wow, you make it sound so dirty, Alicia. Mr. Gardner, Beth admits. “I see,” the rebel leader says, turning to Will for the first time, “not exactly thirty pieces of silver…” Do I even need to tell you that David Lee objects? Wonderfully, Alicia raises her hand and makes a mocking puppet hand to show just what she thinks of his yapping.
Unexpected and awesome bonus of the new firm; never having to be nice to David Lee again. Priceless.
The gavel comes down, everyone sits still as perfect school children, the judge bangs his gavel, and decides to keep the restraining order in place in the absence of testimony that proves Florrick/Agos hasn’t acted improperly. Who could give such testimony, I wonder – a client coming with them? “Your Honor,” the Real Cary stands, but the judge cuts him off, saying that the status quo stands. “The status quo means that Lockhart/Gardner can lobby Chum Hum?” Cary asks. “Of course we can, it’s our client,” David snaps. “A client intending to leave, Your Honor,” Alicia stands, and oops, out comes the gavel again. “Yes,” he says, “and if they intend to leave, they’ll leave. In the mean time, the status quo holds. The restraining order stays in place.”
That was kind of surprising, no? I didn’t get the impression from previous conversations that anyone expected this restraining order ploy to work. One slow step at a time, David Lee moves toward the other side. “We’re gonna starve you,” he promises. “You really can’t handle the competition,” Carey scoffs. “That wasn’t competition,” Will replies, “that was you going behind our backs.” Alicia stomps out of the room. “That’s right, walk away, Judas,” David hisses, as if loyalty were his own strong suit.
And that’s done it. She turns back, burning fiercely. “We’re coming after you,” she says right to David’s face – and then she turns to Will and Diane. “All your clients. Everyone we worked to make happy while you swooped in at the last minute and took credit. We’re taking them. And then do you know what you’ll have? A very nice suite of offices.” Diane looks over at Will as Alicia makes her very regal exit.
“Wow. That was amazing!” Extra E enthuses as he and Cary follow Alicia into the hall, but she has no time for compliments. “Who got burned in Will’s bribery scandal? Which judges?” Oh no! Excellent. “Park, Dunaway, Winter. Why?” At the other end of the corridor is a sign; “Winter,” Alicia decides while looking at it, “he’s in court now.”
And look who didn’t waste any time – there’s Will and David and Howard in Chum Hum’s spectacular circular lobby, discussing privacy laws and their upcoming pitch. “How about the philosophy of the law?” Howard volunteers. Ah, poor Howard. What are you even doing there? “No, Howard, don’t say anything,” Will shuts him down. “Just nod and look like you agree.”
“Lockhart/Gardner, how we doin?” Neil calls out, blazing down the curving stairs. “Mr. Gross, my brother, how are you sir?” Will replies at a run, shaking Neil’s hand. Um, okay. Neil hates Will; Will’s always done his best to avoid Neil while the latter’s at the firm. So why pretend to be all buddy buddy? Everything we’ve ever seen of him indicates Neil will loathe that. To my surprise, however, he merely smiles, shakes hands, and invites the three up to his office. (I see his entourage of elderly lawyers have caught up to him; they make an impressive visual, strung out across the stairs like beads in a necklace. And, neat, was that enormous white chess piece there before? Classier than a giant gopher, anyway.)
But not so fast! “Hello,” the same young process server says, waving a yellow envelope. “Sorry to bother you again. Will Gardner? David Lee?” “You gotta be kiddin’ me!” Neil shakes his head. The boy hands over an injunction stopping Lockhart/Gardner from talking to Chum Hum. “I’m going to back to work,” Neil speeds back up the stairs. “Call me when you’ve worked this out.”
“It’s her, isn’t it?” David snarls as Will looks over the paper. It is. “It’s an order from Judge Winter.” They head back down the stairs. “Yep. Time to play hardball.”
Oh. I didn’t realize we weren’t playing it already.
Still pacing Alicia’s living room, Cary sets down his phone with thanks to the caller. “Okay, the restraining order worked, they cannot meet with Chum Hum!” he crows, pumping his fists. Everyone takes a second to celebrate this small victory. Well, almost everyone. “Okay, where are we on clients?” Alicia refocuses them. I love this energy. It actually kind of feels like a political campaign – it’s so scrappy. Originally they had twelve clients, but now they’re down to four – no, three. Damn. Well that’s not good. Alicia gives a quick look into the kitchen (where Grace smiles and, dear God, flirts with someone?) and then leans on the door frame. They’ve got to think about Bishop, then, she says.
The suggestion meets with protest. “He’s a Lockhart/Gardner client, he’s fair game,” Alicia shrugs. And he certainly feels a bond with you, Alicia, but still. “What’s wrong with Bishop?” Robyn asks, so Cary has to tell her. “Still it’s a lot of money,” Robyn protests, un-phased. “We said we’d never go there,” one of the others asks; Alicia lets them discuss it, and instead ducks in to the kitchen. Adorable in a red striped top, Grace chats animatedly with Carey Zepps, their hands almost touching by the stem of his wine glass. Alicia Florrick is not amused; she slices into the room like a sword, her tone as cold and hard as steel. “What’s going on here?”
Nothing, says Grace, I was just telling Carey about my study group. Uh huh. The lawyer’s looking down at his glass, cheeks flushed. Boy, Carey, you better watch your step! And he does, confirming the story and then rejoining the group. “It was nice to meet you, Grace.”
“You too,” she smiles, “Oh! But try it out. The Daily App. You’ll like it.” I will, he smiles, raising his glass toward her.
“What’s that,” Alicia wonders as Grace looks fondly at Carey’s retreating back. “The Daily App? Just daily scripture readings.” Hmm. I guess maybe that’d be equivalent of the Daily Bible? There was a Daily App, but it was a Rupert Murdoch online only newspaper. “Ah,” says Alicia, no doubt wondering if Other Brother Carey is actually religious, if he’s seen that political website, and where she might stash his body if she has to take him out. “What did I do wrong?” Grace sulks, suddenly very teenagery and very annoyed. “Nothing,” Alicia replies. “Why don’t you go back to your homework?” Without a word, she goes.
And that’s when Peter rushes in to the apartment, letting himself in and looking up in surprise to see Alicia in front of him. Quietly, he motions to his security detail (really? 24 hours?) to stay outside. “Peter! What’re you doing here?” Alicia walks over to him in surprise. He draws down his eyebrows in surprise. “I came over to see how you were doing,” he asks wonderingly. “You heard,” she grins, touched, and reaches up to give him a happy little kiss on the lips.
“Yes, I heard,” he says, blinking, “that’s not the reaction I was expecting – I thought you’d be out on some ledge somewhere.” Alicia looks over at the living room full of colleagues and minions. “Oh no,” she smiles, “we’re too busy kicking ass.” Peter takes in this new attitude with a huge grin. “Look at you. You look like you’re twenty five years old. Fresh out of law school. Ready to, um…” They get a little lost staring at each other. “Ready to um, conquer the, um, world.” He pulls the zipper of her suit jacket up a little; she shoots a knowing smile toward the living room. “Okay,” she says, “but we have to be quick.” She jerks her head toward her bedroom, and he sprints – literally sprints – for it.
Turn that radio to eleven! “My mouth is a pistol,” the song proclaims. Arriving at the room a moment later, Alicia finds Peter tossing the decorative pillows off the bed. “Sorry, but there’s no time for that,” she says. “We’ve got ten minutes, or they’re going to start making some bad decisions out there.” Ha! I just love her. He stands, shrugging out of his jacket, and her hands fly straight to his belt buckle. Well, we wouldn’t want that, he smiles, lowering them to the edge of the bed. “Is this what they mean by leaning in?” he growls into her throat, pulling at her clothes. She chuckles evilly. “You want me to lean in? How’s that?” she shifts down, and he moans. She struggles out of her jacket as he throws his head back. “I so deeply respect you as a professional,” he rasps, and she can’t stop the peals of laughter from bursting out.
And that, it’s safe to say, made the day of every Peter/Alicia shipper in the world.
And then she pops out of the bedroom, adjusting her clothes until she thinks better of it and backs in. Yep, there are her black panties balled up on the floor. “Hey,” grins Peter, coming out of the bathroom and straightening his tie. “Hawaii’s gonna have to wait,” she says, dancing the panties up her legs. “Well I though as much,” he agrees, leaning on the door frame. I’m sure we all did. Did the doorbell just ring? “Once we’re up and running,” she promises, blowing him a kiss and scooting back out. He blows one at her, too. Aw!
“Everybody has a shot,” we can hear someone say as Alicia walks out of her bedroom. Is that – no! “Drop our restraining orders?” Extra E asks. “We both do,” Diane explains. Diane! In Alicia’s apartment! Unprecedented! “We get an hour each with Neil Gross to pitch our services. Whoever wins, wins,” she finishes – and then she notices Alicia standing quietly at the outskirt. “Hi Alicia,” she says, and Alicia nods in greeting. “And Will and David Lee agree to this deal?”
“It’s not a deal. And yes They do. We drop our restraining orders. And tomorrow morning at 10am you go in, 11am we go in.” No, Extra E protest, we want to go second. “We can work with that,” Diane nods. “As long as we compromise.”
Alicia, Cary and Carey sit in the Chum Hum waiting room; white walls, white abstract light columns, black couch, glass coffee table. It would be sleek and cold if not for the traditional (verging on country) red flowered rug beneath; as it is, the effect is decidedly eclectic. “It was good to see you all. I should have an answer for you later this afternoon,” Neil Gross says, glad-handing everyone. Seriously. He’s so chipper. Who the heck is this guy? Where’s our snippy, sardonic idealist? He hasn’t lectured us once all episode! “The law is a bitch of a mistress,” Howard declares as they shake hands, and everyone laughs.
“We’re ready for you guys,” Neil says, and Florrick/Agos heads for the stairs; “Lesson for the future – don’t go second,” David Lee sneers at them as they pass. Hmm. Did they offer to go second because they really wanted to go first?
“So,” Neil says as he reaches the top of the stairs, “hit me with it.” “Well, sir,” Cary begins. “Lockhart/Gardner is a firm without its worker bees. We should know, we’re the bees.” Neil leads then under yet another curving staircase. “Um, we looked at the way you started Chum Hum, Mr. Gross,” Extra E calls out, pointing at his prospective client, “and you rewarded work over show. That’s exactly what we plan to do. Reward work.” What does this mean for Chum Hum? That it will only be billed for partner hours when the partner actually does the work.
Which is excellent and laudable, although I have to wonder if there’s anyone in the firm at the moment who isn’t a partner? Also, is that your best argument?
“Okay guys,” Neil says, rubbing his chin, and turning back to face them, “thanks, but um, I’m not going with you.” They blink. “Why not?” Alicia asks; she’s cold and queenly as ever in her habitual black.
“Because of you,” he tells her. Um, okay. “The governorship should work for me, not against me.” Cary looks around, befuddled by this line of reasoning. I think I hear someone else’s words coming out, don’t you? “Your husband, m’am, has promised the most ethical administration in Illinois history. I can’t have my law firm jumping at every ethical shadow that comes down the pike!”
“We won’t,” Alicia declares, arms crossed. “Yes you will,” he says. ‘That’s the way the world works. Politics leads. The law follows.” Again, this sounds like he’s parroting a Lockhart/Gardner argument; it doesn’t really sound like something he’d say, and it definitely sounds like Will. “But, ah, thank you. And I wish you the best of luck with your new firm.” He backs again, graciously, leaving Alicia and the boys blinking in shock. “What just happened?” Other Brother Carey asks.
“Our firm just went down the drain,” Alicia says it for all of them.
It’s night, and Will’s slumped in one of his leather chairs, making a drunken confession to Kalinda. “I offered her managing partner,” he declares, his disbelief at Alicia’s betrayal manifest. “I offered her Diane’s job.” Alicia, Kalinda realizes. Will drinks, wincing. “Yes! She could have been managing partner at one of the top law firms in the city and she… pisses it all away.” Why do I think that wasn’t all you were offering her? “I don’t understand that.”
“She… wanted to do something on her own,” Kalinda suggests. “With Cary?” Will replies quickly. “It’s not on her own.” Is he jealous? Because I think he’d consider this firm something he personally started, even if he did it with Diane.
“Will, I know you’re hurting,” Kalinda tells him, “but she’s not the enemy here.” Interesting point, coming from Kalinda particularly. “When did you really know she was doing this?” Will wonders. Kalinda drinks. ‘Leaving? A week ago.” And Cary? She takes a long time to answer. “Three months ago,” she sighs.
Will looks down at his drink.
“I should have told you, Will,” she apologizes. Instead of answering right away, he looks at his drink, then takes a long swallow of it. “Kalinda, I’m building this firm into the biggest in the country, starting today. And I need to know who I can trust.” She nods. “You can trust me,” she says. “Are you sure?” he asks again. “Because I’m gonna destroy the competition. Can you do that?” She takes a moment.
They stare at each other for a moment. “Good,” he answers, and drains his glass.
Cameras flash as Peter walks up to a microphone in a press room, pulling prepared remarks out of his suit coat pocket. “Good morning,” he begins, taking a deep breath, speaking into microphones for channels 6 and 10. “The pension problem in Illinois is real, and increasingly insurmountable. After inauguration this is the first issue I intend to address, and I am asking Republicans and Democrats to join me in a bipartisan conversation to find solutions. The status quo is not an option, not anymore.” Reporters call out questions, but Eli (standing in a line by the door with Nora and another woman) puts up his hand, saying they’re not going to be answered.
But wait! There’s a little surprise on the program. “Just one other matter,” Peter adds, causing Eli’s eyebrows to pop up, “I want to talk about taxation of internet commerce. Internet purveyors have, for far too long in my opinion, enjoyed the benefit of no taxation. I find this to be unfair.” Eli holds his head up, doing a terrible job of pretending he knew this was coming. “I’m not saying my personal opinion won’t change on this matter, and of course I’m always open to dialogue, but I would have to be convinced that there is a reason for massive social networking companies not to carry their own weight. Thank you,” he finishes, and walks out past his very doubtful looking Chief of Staff.
And so much for the most ethical administration in Illinois history…
Eli picks his jaw off the floor and walks after his boss. “Did you just do what I think you did?” he asks once the door closes on the prying ears of the press corps. “I’m simply stating my opinion on the taxation of net commerce.” Riiiight. “Peter, you can’t be doing that. It’ll come back to bite us,” Eli warns. Holy hell yeah! I can’t believe he’s not more upset. Peter gives his consigliere a pitying look. “You worry too much, Eli.”
Um, let’s see. Because he’s smart? Because he’s not a complete idiot? Because you just did that in public, through the press? Good God! Marilyn Bean is going to explode.
And there’s Peter’s press conference, playing over Cary’s laptop. Or, who knows, it could be Zach’s laptop. They’re in Alicia’s living room again, anyway. “Hey, have you seen this?” he hollers, calling everyone over. He makes tiny electronic Peter repeat his comment – viewing it on Chum Hum, no less. “Oh my God,” Alicia smiles with increasing joy. The groups breaks into happy laughter.
“Damn it!” Will frowns at his computer. Oddly, David Lee is sitting in his office. Who else is weirded out by seeing those two so cozy? “What? What is it?” David asks without much concern. “We just lost Chum Hum,” Will realizes, and David’s head whips around. He’s paying attention now.
“What’re you talking about?” he asks, sprinting back to look at Will’s computer. “The governor-elect just threatened me with a big stick,” a glum Will explains. “He can’t do that!” David declares incredulously – and yeah, it is kind of stunning. Will gets right on the phone to Neil Gross, but he can’t get through.
And there Neil is, taking a cheesy corporate photo with Alicia, Cary and Other Brother Carey in Chum Hum’s fantastic lobby. “I wanna thank you guys for giving me a chance to think it over. I’m thrilled to come with your firm,” Neil proclaims, shaking hands over and over. “We’re thrilled too, sir,” Cary says, thumping Neil on the shoulder. “And maybe I’ll get a chance to meet your husband at some point, Mrs. Florrick,” he asks oh so casually, moving on to shake Alicia’s hand. “I know he has an open mind on our tax burden.” I have to say it; Alicia smiles like a shark, glowing in an ocean blue suit. “He would love that,” she grins.
Back in Alicia’s kitchen, Red Suit pops open a bottle of champagne; the island is covered with champagne flutes. “Wait a second, wait a second!,” Cary calls out. “Congratulations to Florrick/Agos & Associates!” He claps his hands as his colleagues cheer. “We’re now a firm, we’ve got a thirty five million dollar a year client.” He lets out an enormous breath. “All we need now is office space.” Robyn nods, her forearms crossed over her heart. “Oh, thank you, thank you!” a member of the crew calls out, the acknowledgement of an answered prayer. “Some more lawyers,” Cary adds. “Stationary, assistants,” Extra E pipes up. “And computers!” Red Shirt chimes in. “We gotta celebrate the good news when it comes in because there’s gonna be a lot of bad news,” Cary finishes.
“Wow, talk about negative!” Alicia lightens the mood, and Cary asks them all to raise their glasses. “To Florrick/Agos & Associates!” They clink. “Here here!” Alicia smiles, and her new colleagues whoop and cheer.
In a much less festive surrounding, Peter picks up his office phone and calls for Eli to join him. As he waits, he walks to his window and stares at the blinds, plunges his hands in his pants pockets, jerks up the pants, plays with some knickknacks on the credenza. “Yes?” Eli asks, coming in. “Yeah, would you do me a favor, and put together a list of other Supreme Court nominees?” He’s twitchy, as if he knows this is crossing a particular line.
I knew this was coming.
“Instead of Diane?” Eli confirms, unhappy. “Yeah,” nods Peter, turning around. He sits, and as he does, Eli wrestles for the right words. “Are you sure?” is all he can come up with. Peter’s lounging back in his chair, patting his chest with his hand. “Yeah,” he replies, as if it doesn’t matter at all.
OH MY GOD what an episode! Are you guys wrecked? Because I am totally wrecked. That was just jaw-dropping television right there.
For months (thank you, Graham Phillips) fans have been thinking of “Hitting the Fan” as the Red Wedding episode of The Good Wife, and indeed it lived up to that billing in workplace blood-letting. I have to repeat that I’ve been terrified of the emotional impact of all this. I was afraid it would be gut-wrenching the way “The Rains of Castamere” was gut-wrenching, but instead, it was a total thrill! Oh, sure, there were incredibly emotional moments, and it’s different because nobody died, but there was such fast paced action, such an intellectual thrill watching the two firms fight each other! We’re up, we’re down, it’s over, it’s not – amazing! And the sex; I was so not expecting the sex. All in all, this episode lifted my spirits instead of dragging them down, and I could hardly have liked it more.
Of course, that’s not to say I don’t have a few quibbles; that’s not with bad or sloppy writing, however – it’s with the choices characters are making and what they might lead to. I am appalled that David Lee would impeach Alicia’s character in that way; any one else think she should sue him for that? That’s completely horrifying, although not (if I’m being honest) particularly surprising.
I am a little more surprised at Peter. Granted, this seems to be Peter as a politician – he has sharp elbows, and he’s not afraid to throw his weight around, and when he’s in protective mode he doesn’t think his actions through – but it’s just beyond stupid. I understand how galling it would be to see his position used against Alicia, but he’ll be caught, and then where will that leave her? He did it in public, for God’s sake, and so when Chum Hum publicly announces they’re signing with Florrick/Agos, every reporter in Chicago will put those pieces together. I’m mad at him for being so thoughtless!
And Diane. Well. She knew what she was doing when she brought this information to Will; she chose sides then. I wonder if she felt guilt over spurning Will and trashing him in the papers? BUT. I see why Peter would get rid of her, but I can’t help thinking it would have been a far smarter course of action to have Diane broker a peace between Will and Alicia – perhaps as part of her exit package – rather than breaking ethics rules to wrestle Chum Hum away from Will and throwing Diane into the garbage. Have her be the voice of sanity. Even half way out the door, she had leverage left. She could have been an effective tool in his arsenal.
Of course, that aside, this neatly puts Diane back where she belongs – at Lockhart/Gardner with Will. I look forward to that very much, even though I have no idea how we’ll split time between the old and new firms. So even if I don’t think it was the smartest thing for Peter to do, I’m not at all surprised the writers would orchestrate this. I can see how it’s necessary to the plot at large.
Also, I’ll admit that I was just too fricking thrilled and caught up in the action the first time I watched this episode to have as strong a reaction to the ethical problems as I’m having now. I can’t help thinking about first season Alicia – so proud, so honorable – and how she would feel about what Peter did for her. Oh, I don’t have any issues with what she did for herself (using Winter’s antipathy toward Will to get that restraining order, etc) and I absolutely adored seeing her as a confident leader, marshaling her troops, doing battle with Will and David. And I was appalled by Will and David’s tactics, using Peter’s office against her (and of course the outright lies). But when I think of the woman who literally burst into tears before asking Eli to bring his business to Lockhart/Gardner, the one who couldn’t stand to have Peter talk up her practice at cocktail parties, I feel ambivalent. I love her new strength and fire, but for her to fail to see how wrong, how dangerous Peter’s extortion of Neil was? Ugh.
Oh. I do have one actual quibble. Usually when people talk about taxation and internet commerce, they’re talking about vendors like Amazon who don’t charge sales tax. This isn’t remotely an area in which I have expertise, so I ask you; what would Chum Hum (or a search engine or social media site) being charging sales tax for? Otherwise we’re simply talking corporate tax, right, which is its own thorny issue distinct from internet taxation. Enlighten me if I’m wrong, tax gurus.
And, let’s see. How could they possibly not have taken Chum Hum’s files before then? They’ve known for weeks – heck, they were ready to leave 3 weeks ago. Also, why did they not ask any of the formerly striking assistants to come with them? Isn’t that odd? Maybe big time lawyers don’t really trust their assistants, but I think they could have been fantastic co-conspirators, very motivated and very useful in smuggling information out of Lockhart/Gardner. Dumb move, ignoring the little guy.
Also: why haven’t Peter and Alicia moved back in together? Especially after telling that reporter that they were going to be doing so. I know they now own both the apartment and the house, but surely they can work something out? Does the show simply not want to get rid of the apartment set, or is this a sign that this happy time between them won’t last? I know the re-commitment ceremony’s been postponed, but it seems odd at this point, right? Or, am I reading this wrong? Should I be assuming they are in fact living together?
Questions and quibbles aside, let me say it again; from the writing to the acting to the directing, this episode could not have been better. It was invigorating and amazing and exciting – it had emotion and intrigue and everything you want from good television. Even the moments of quirky humor (the ring tone, Will relaying Grace’s message about her field trip permission form) struck just the right note. I loved it; unabashedly, unreservedly loved it. Everyone involved should be proud.
Oh, and speaking of that. I’ve never really been one to imagine that I know an artist because I know their work. I used to get really irritated with other girls, back in junior high, who would proclaim they loved this singer or that one. Maybe it was my way of, I don’t know, choosing not to worship idols so that I wasn’t disappointed they turn out to have clay feet. Or maybe I just think it’s silly, confusing the song and the singer. But my reserve aside, this was a pretty outstanding way for the cast and crew to celebrate their 100th episode. Am I cynical enough to wonder if was a publicity stunt, this dip into activism rather than excessive consumption? Yes, but when it comes down to it I actually don’t care. Whatever the reasoning behind it, it was a lovely act of kindness. Well done, folks, well done.