E: Maybe this makes me the world’s biggest dork, but copyright law intrigues me. So you can imagine, given that, how much I loved this week’s ripped- from-the-headlines case. Really, everything about this episode came together for me – the continuing rivalry between the two firms, the evolving relationships between Will and Diane and Cary and Alicia, the plot twists for the future! And oh. There’s so much to feed on here, so many small details that come out big on the other side – the wording of the title, the varying plays on friendship, on romance, on names, on the whole concept of ownership of intellectual property. On the very idea of memory and change, the way we as individuals subvert other people’s concepts of us, the way we transform ourselves. Did I approve every choice a character made? Hell no. Does it matter to my enjoyment of the show? Not even a little bit.
What it all adds up to is this: season five is the bomb. Everything about this show continues to operate at an impossibly high level.
Oh. And? I cannot stop singing that damned ridiculous song.
We gently rewind “Decision Tree” in order to begin the episode; as usual, however, we see the old bits from a slightly different camera angle. At Florrick/Agos’s holiday party, Veronica once again makes small talk with Marilyn Garbanza about the little bean growing in her belly. It’s a boy – and Veronica does so love boys. Marilyn’s going to name him Peter. We get to see Eli’s glorious spit-take again. “Can I have a word with you?” he splutters. Marilyn smiles. “It’s not what you think,” she laughs. “What do I think?” he snaps, dragging her off to a secluded corner. “Oh. Wait. Wait,” he insists, hand up, until they’re safely in the corner. “Are you insane?” Truly, for someone so concerned with appearances, this seems an unnecessarily silly trouble for her to cause. “His name’s nothing to do with the governor!” she whispers, no doubt exasperated at being manhandled and misunderstood. Eli’s in high dungeon and way past caring about her dignity. “His name’s Peter, and you’re naming your baby Peter and it has nothing to do with the governor?” You know, of all the things Eli feared when he got Peter to give Marilyn a new job, I doubt this even entered his mind.
“It’s a coincidence,” she insists, but he’s having none of it. “No, a coincidence is when you bump into someone on the subway platform, not that you name your child after them!” Ha. Not for a minute do I think this is Peter’s baby, but that’s fair. “I’m naming my baby after the … father,” she gulps. “Oh dear holy God!” Ha ha ha. I love that he kind of sang that. “It’s not the governor,” she reiterates. “Who is the father?” he snaps, but she’s too cagey. “I can’t say.”
Eli literally bangs his head against the wall. Those are bricks. That can’t feel good. “He’s a private person,” she explains. “He doesn’t want to draw attention to himself.” Oh, well, at least he doesn’t want to do that, Eli sneers. And of course this is the moment that a cheerful Alicia pops in to say hello. “Hi, Alicia,” Eli replies, looking sick. “Why aren’t you in the party?” she wonders, and for once Eli has no snappy reply. “Why aren’t we in the party, I have no idea.” Ah, he is just hilariously twitchy. “Um, okay,” Alicia replies, not believing him but not caring enough to open up whatever the Pandora’s box of the day is, either. Instead she has a question. “Have you seen the band?”
They haven’t. “No. No. It’s just the two of us, having a nice little chat,” Eli quavers. Ha ha ha. He’s so bad at being “O-kay,” Alicia replies, drawing out the word to make it clear she knows he’s being weird and isn’t going to ask, and leaves. Marilyn looks livid.
“This is cool! It’s a cool group. People danced!” Matthew Lillard tells Alicia, standing next to a very short guy with curly dark hair. Wow. Somehow, he is not an actor I expected to turn up on this show. He’s made some good stuff in the last few years, though (The Descendants, The Bridge) so good for him. Just don’t mess it up, mister! “Well, it was your music. It was infectious,” Alicia compliments him. “Who do I give the check to?” You know, it is really cool of them to have a band. Cary smiles in the background, shaking hands with various party-goers as they leave. “Ah, Marshall,” Lillard says, gesturing at his diminutive partner, “he’s the business mind.” Presenting Marshall the check, Alicia also speaks some gracious pleasantries. “Thank you so much for everything, and if there’s ever anything we can do…”
The two musicians look at each other.
“Actually, there is something. We were really stoked to book this gig, because, well – you guys are lawyers, right?” Snort. Yes, Alicia replies. “Cool! And you take on cases, like, anyone’s cases?” Alicia and Cary both freeze. “Well, um, sometimes, ” Alicia answers, and Cary asks the inevitable question – why do they want to know? Momentarily distracted by a beautiful girl who squeezes in between him and Marshall, Lillard eventually gets the words out. “We’d like to show you something.”
What they have to share is a rap video, playing on someone’s laptop. “She thicky thick, tricky trick,” the rapper barks. “Oh my gosh, there she goes,” he tells us, his voice distorted, bullet-fast. “It’s the, “Thicky Trick” by, the um, you know…” Lillard attempts to explain. Wow, he really is impressively inarticulate. “Rebel Kane,” Alicia replies to the utter astonishment of the three men. “He was in prison with my husband.” Ha! That’s outstanding! I wonder why they didn’t use Young Boxer again, though – I guess Method Man was busy? Or is Cook County Prison just full of famous rappers?
“Oh. Yeah,” Lillard stumbles, “Well. Ah. Oh. Didn’t expect that.” Hee! Trying to get him back on track, Cary asks if the case will be directed against the rapper. “Hold on,” Lillard says, “I got the whole thing lined up.” He reaches over Alicia to the lap top on her lap, and suddenly Rebel Kane’s lyric is being finished (“don’t be late!”) by Matthew and Marshall, standing in a bowling alley. As in, literally standing on the lanes, bobbing along to Marshall’s acoustic guitar. “Waitin’ on a section 8. Sometimes Shorty makes me sick, but she ain’t nothin’ but a thicky trick.” That’s us, that’s our song, Lillard proclaims unnecessarily; their cover is bouncy with something of a seventies folk flair.
Poor Cary’s still trying to figure out why they need a lawyer. Did they not get the rights to cover Rebel Kane’s song? No, they did. “We got – what’d we get, Marshall?” Lillard asks his mostly silent partner. “Compulsory license,” Marshall answers pithily, leaving Lillard to add that it was their manager Murray who did it. “So, okay, what’s the problem?” Cary spits out. It’s like pulling teeth, isn’t it? But Matthew wants to finish his presentation, so he reaches over one more time to advance the video so that a third clip appears, this last of a young man in a glittery gold jacket singing Lillard’s exact version of “Thicky Trick” backed by hokey dancers in glittery Saturday Night Fever garb. “What’s that?” Alicia rears back, blinking. “That,” the musician explains, “is Drama Camp. It’s a television show about a summer camp talent show.” So, Glee. Okay. This should be fun.
“There’s a TV show about a summer camp talent show?” Alicia wonders. Oh, honey. “It’s a hit,” Lillard explains, “but they’re singing our song.” Still wondering what the point of all this is, Cary points out that it’s really Rebel Kane’s song. Well, there’s the issue. “His lyrics,” Lillard says, “but they’re covering it like we covered it. That’s our melody and they stole it! We were gonna let the whole thing slide, and then, I don’t know. It’s just, um…” He sits. “What they’re doing is not right. And then you guys called us.” It seemed like fate, I’m sure.
“Hiring lawyers costs a lot of money, guys,” Cary explains gently, “and this is really a David and Goliath situation, going up against a TV network.” Too true. I’m sure Marshall and Matthew can’t afford Florrick/Agos, and even then Florrick/Agos doesn’t have the capability of taking on a massive firm bankrolled by a company with deep pockets. “That’s why we were hoping you’d go on, what’s it called?” Percentage, Marshall offers. “Contingency,” Cary corrects. “Well, you know, sometimes if there’s a lot of money at stake we…” 2.3 million dollars, Lillard tells them, and Alicia’s eyes go wide. “The Drama Camp version’s the best selling song on itunes for the last 8 weeks.” What? Alicia and Cary look at each other in shock.
“Alicia Florrick, please,” Burl Preston demands of that poor little timid receptionist, who quakes and gapes. It seems unlikely she wouldn’t be used to this by now, but I have to admit, I love this running gag. And good lord, but I love Preston’s clothes – so flashy, so well cut. I think he’s one of the best costumed recurring characters on television, because his clothes speak so clearly to his privilege and personality. The scarf, the brilliantly colored tie – I bet he has a pinky ring. It’s marvelous.
Anyway. Do you mind me asking if you’re one of her clients, the receptionist enjoins. “I do mind,” Burl replies pleasantly. “I’ll answer anyway. I am not one of her clients. I am being sued by her. Yet again.” And the precision of his language! It’s the complete and utter opposite of Matthew Lillard’s musician. Wonderful. The receptionist backs away, not breaking eye contact, until her headset jerks her back toward the desk and she has to pull it off. Will’s assistant du jour points her to the conference room, where as usual a heated debate is taking place.
“No, the problem is you didn’t consult with any of us,” Diane gestures to the room at large. “I was in a bar! I consulted with Damian!” Why does Will think this is a reasonable excuse for anything? I groan, thinking that we’re back on the tired subject of whether or not Will should have hired Damian, but no, his latest snap decision seems a bit weightier. “You don’t plan our future in a bar,” Diane growls. “Why not?” he shrugs. Sigh. “It’s Los Angeles, Diane. It’s a good market for us.” Diane – fierce and resplendent in a red wool jacket, black turtleneck and a chain necklace thick enough to anchor a small boat – thinks they need to make sure their New York expansion takes hold first. “Can we please just do one thing at a time?” We are doing one thing at a time, her partner opines. Expanding.
This sophistry sits about as well with Diane as you’d expect; she wants to know if he’s ready to sit down and discuss things like a grown up. Finally noticing the receptionist, he holds up a finger to indicate he’ll be with her in a minute. “You agreed, we weren’t gong to slow down for anyone, anything. This is a good opportunity for us. A client in L.A.” We don’t have any infrastructure in L.A., she cries, frustrated – and yes, why on earth would you take a client there before setting up an office? “So we build one,” Will shrugs, and calls for a vote. Damian thumps Howard on the shoulder, waking him up so they can follow their leader together.
Clever Diane, however, highjacks the momentum. “I vote that we institute a two month ban on soliciting new clients,” she suggests. No, no, Will sputters, but someone’s already seconded the motion, and quick as that Diane’s confirming it. “This is about opening an office in L.A.,” Will protests, “it’s not about…” Parliamentarian Diane shushes him. “It’s already been seconded, I am calling the question. All those in favorite of a two month delay in soliciting new clients.” It surprises no one except Howard himself when Damian bats his hand down. Heh. Go back to sleep, Howard; they changed the question on you. Diane counts 12 yeses, and then 10 nos (including Howard, who once more needs prodding from his wrangler to properly raise his hand). “We have a 60 day ban on soliciting new clients.” Will abandons the field to talk to the receptionist, and learns that legal king of L.A. Burl Preston has landed in his lap.
And soon enough Burl’s taken a seat in Will’s office and heard the sad tale of Alicia abandoning the firm that succored her. “Well that’s a surprise.” Yep. “Yes. She started her own firm.” Yep. “She seems to be holding all the old grudges,” Preston observes, which is silly; she can’t help who he works for. It’s like she’s suing him. That’s not to say she’s not holding grudges, of course. “Well, don’t blame me for that,” Will replies glumly. Preston puts his paperwork back into his briefcase and stands, preparing to leave. “It’s too bad. I was looking forward to facing you in court.”
But shockingly enough, Will’s not ready to let him go, and instead decides to give us all a tutorial in holding grudges. “How’s L.A. treating you, Mr. Preston?” “85 degrees when I left,” he notes, shrugging on his camel-colored coat. “32 here.” Ha. Chicago can wish for 32 this week. 32 feels balmy after this cold snap. “I was thinking of signing clients in L.A.,” Will lets slip. “Eh,” shrugs Burl Preston. I’m sure he’s shaking in his fancy shoes.
“What’s the case? The suit Alicia’s bringing?” Will wonders. “It’s ah, copyright infringement,” Preston explains. “Why?” And oh, no. He’s not. He is not going to do that. “I know how she works, I know her weaknesses. I know how to beat her.” Damn it! Will, what an ass you are. First off, I know you’re all about the rules not applying to you, but do the words “60 ban on soliciting new clients” sound at all familiar? I know you want into L.A., and I know you want to hurt Alicia, but UGH. “You’re offering your services?” Mr. Preston realizes in surprise; Will nods in confirmation. “No. Thank you, though.” Why not, the twice rejected suitor wonders. “I don’t like you,” Burl Preston declares frankly. “I don’t like you either, what’s that got to do with it?” Mr. Preston considers the question, so Will continues. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Sigh. Will, this relentless pursuit of Alicia sucks.
What doesn’t suck, though, is that transition from Will’s words to Peter Florrick’s smiling face in an official portrait. I love it. Kalinda stands in front of the portrait, waiting for Eli, who eventually bursts out of a door full of peppy charm. “Kalinda Sharma! There you are! How’re you doing?” Good, she answers. What do you need?” A proper hello, Eli chirps. “Hello,” Kalinda repeats, giving him a dark glare. “What do you need?”
And of course, a few minute later Eli’s passing Kalinda a dossier on Marilyn Garbanza. “She’s head of Peter’s ethics commission. She’s also pregnant. Very pregnant.” Um, no. If by “very” you mean size, Eli, then you’ve forgotten what pregnancy looks like; she’s hardly showing. On the other hand, for a mere 3 and a half months along, she’s made quite an impression with her music system and vomiting through the job. (Well, okay, the early months are the ones when you vomit. I’m just saying, it’s been pretty out there.) “I need to find out who the father is. All I know is that the father’s first name is Peter.” No, Kalinda declares flatly. Why do you think, Eli? Even now, she does not want to work for Peter. And Eli counters this with the same old answer, one she should have memorized. It’s not for Peter, and if it’s not for Peter, who would she be doing this for? Say it with me: “Alicia Florrick. I need an investigator who won’t leak. Who won’t hurt Alicia.” With, Kalinda wonders? He whispers the obvious answer. “The possibility that Peter is the father. It’s a slim possibility, but even the question can cause problems. I need an outsider who won’t leak.” He pushes forward the dossier again, and she stares at him. “$500 an hour,” she decides.
Damn. Not that I want to be – or could be – Kalinda, but that’s an enviable hourly rate.
At a different end of the financial spectrum, Cary and Alicia are conducting an interview in a bowling alley. “You sure I can’t get you anything?” an old man asks them. “Milk shake?” Delighted by the beverage offering, bemused by their surroundings or both, Cary and Alicia try to suppress smiles. After declining, Cary asks the older fellow – one Mr. Murray Mills, manager of Marshall and Matthew – why he only purchased a compulsory license from Rebel Kane and not a derivative copyright; Alicia adds in that the compulsory license was what allowed them to legally cover the song, but the derivative copyright would have protected the changes they made. “I have to get two things?” Mills wonders, confused, and Cary and Alicia share one of their silent partnership looks. “I hate it when they look at each other like that,” Lillard comments. Ha. You know you’re in trouble when they do! “You don’t have to get them, but we need the derivative rights to sue the RV show for stealing your cover,” Cary explains.
So that means we’re screwed, right? Nope. Or at least, they don’t think so. Poor Murray wants to defend himself: “I was saving money. I only bought the rights I needed. Do you know how much we make every time someone clicks that song on Spotify? 0.004 cents.” As horrifying as that is, that’s probably more than most digital sharing services pay artists. “Let’s just get the derivative rights. How hard can that be?” Gee, Matthew Lillard (name his character, damn it!), let’s think about it. What are the chances that you can purchase and apply it retroactively? What’re the chances that Drama Camp hasn’t bought it already? None of this occurs to Cary, however, who gives Alicia a speculative look. “Well, you do know Rebel Kane…”
And just like that, Cary and Alicia have dragged Marshall and the Musician-not-known-as-Matthew-Lillard to a hot house behind a large stone mansion. As the rapper mists his hanging plants, Not-Matthew explains their situation. Haltingly. “So, I, um, don’t really know what happened, but we need a derivative copyright. Our manager had a little bit of a brain fart, you know?” Kane looks at him like he’s a little bit crazy (unchallenged). “So you need a what? Copyright?” A derivative copyright, Alicia explains. That wall of orchids behind her head – how gorgeous is that shot, all that pink behind her dark hair? “I think you remember my husband,” she adds, and the casual way she drops this fact into the conversation brings me forcibly to mind of how the very idea of that offended her back in the first and second seasons. “Yeah,” Kane nods. “Peter. I voted for him. I mean, I almost voted for him.” I guess that means that if he had voted, he would have voted for Peter? Or, what?
It seems like some more pressing flattery is called for. “Well, we wanted to go straight to you, Mr. Kane, instead of through your label.” I get it, he says. I was a struggling artist too. Miraculously, he makes the offer to simply give them the copyright if they’ll name their next song after him (a dubious honor) but Alicia points out that money has to change hands to make it legal. It doesn’t have to be the typical 5 grand (no wonder Murray skimped on this! well, especially considering that he didn’t know what it was); even five dollars would do. Marshall and Not-Lillard, astounded at their good fortune, scrounge up the crumpled singles between them. Wryly, Rebel Kane holds out his hand waiting for them to do so. “Come on. All these plants aren’t gonna pay for themselves.” Heh. Alicia promises to have the paperwork sent over that day.
As the freight elevator opens, Burl Preston stares in horror. “You’re kidding,” he almost gasps. “This is them?” Oddly, Will seems put off by Burl’s snobbish reaction, protective of his former employees. “Hey, we all started off this way,” he shrugs. I didn’t, Preston proclaims as he glides through the elevator gate. I’ll just bet.
“They wanna settle, right?” Cary whispers to Alicia as they wait inside the office. “Oh yeah,” she agrees. “Too much of an embarrassment.” Hello, Burl Preston calls out, his round tones carrying through the office, and Alicia rushes toward him, hand extending, smiling as if to an old and valued friend. “Mr. Preston, hello!” Just as their hands connect, Will steps out from the shadows and into their reception area, and the upbeat, cheery grin slides off Alicia’s face. “I believe you know Mr. Gardner?” Preston remarks, deadpan. “Alicia, Cary,” Will greets them pleasantly. “How are you?” Good, Cary says, and – once Burl explains that Will’s going to pursue the case with him – ushers the Californian to their conference area.
“You should get over it,” Alicia hisses at her old boss. You really have to feel for her; Will just keeps throwing himself in her way. “Get over what?” he pretends not to know what she means. “Me,” she snaps. “You have an odd view of me, Alicia,” he answers. Really? Apparently you have a really dishonest view of yourself, Will. “It’s just coincidence that we keep opposing each on cases,” Alicia challenges him, properly disbelieving. “Yes! Burl came to me thinking that you were still working with Lockhart/Gardner, and I’m just…”
She walks off. I would have too. It’s better than punching him, after all.
“Given that Drama Camp stole our client’s song,” Alicia begins. “Your client’s song?” Will wonders, cutting her off. “Our client’s cover of the Rebel Kane song,” she clarifies, “we are suggesting 50% of the network’s profits, 1.2 million up to this point, and 50% moving forward.” No, Will says plainly. Okay, what’s your offer, Cary replies, and Burl Preston tells him: $800,000 with punitive. The offer surprises Alicia, and she says so, which prompts Will to explain that it’s not a counteroffer: they’re suing her clients for that 800k. “You’re suing us. How does that work?” You stole our client’s cover of “Thicky Trick,” Will insists. Okay, that’s a crazy twist, and it starts to freak Un-Matthew Lillard out – as it would, because obviously he doesn’t have that kind of money, or he would have bought the derivative rights in the first place and we wouldn’t be here.
“Don’t worry, Rowby, it’s a negotiating ploy,” Alicia assures her panicky client. “No it’s not actually,” Will responses. Turns out they’ve secured the derivative copyright from Rebel Kane (so much for solidarity between artists), granted exclusively to Tiller Television. “You’ll be getting your five dollars back,” he adds, mocking. Rowby recoils in shock. “Our client owns the rights to this song, and we ask that you pay before playing, And please take down the online video of your client playing our song.” Take down their video! Burl Preston has delivered the coup de grace. Now they won’t even get their .004 cents. Devastating. No, Alicia snaps. We’ll see you in court. Leaning over, Cary whispers in her ear. “Alicia, we can’t make money on this!” Yes we can, she insists. “Have you re-thought your position?” Burl wonders. “Yes. We’ll see you in court,” Alicia smiles, overly pleasant.
“Alicia will play it as David and Goliath because that’s what she knows,” Will explains over the phone, presumably to Preston. “That’s what serves her ego.” That’s both cynical and true, don’t you think? ” No,” he continues, “Judge Marx doesn’t care. He’s a good judge.” I’m forced to wonder what that means to Will, being a good judge. Good at his job, or good for them in this case? Both? In the background, Damian plops down on Will’s couch with a some reading material, stretching out. “Right,” Will laughs. “I’ll see you there.” He hands up his cell, and Damian immediately picks up a conversation. “You still need two votes.” Will sits, somehow fussy. “Or one vote and one abstention.” Yeah, I can get ye that,” Damian promises lightly before swinging up to a sitting position. “Tell me about Kalinda.” Somehow he makes her name sound like – I don’t know, like she’s an elf from a magical kingdom. “She’s good,” Will shrugs. “She’s a straight shooter.” Not exactly the words I would have chosen. “Why?” Yes, whatever problem could he have with Kalinda? “She’s followin’ me,” Damian explains. Neither surprised nor concerned, Will downplays it. “Diane put her on it. She thinks you’re not to be trusted.” The two new friends smirk at each other. “We’ll need to talk if she finds something,” Damian adds, making for the door. “Why don’t we talk now?” the ever curious Will offers. “Nah. If she finds something,” Damian smiles.
“No, the question, Your Honor, is one of theft. All derivatives…” Alicia’s cut off by Will before she finish the sentence. “There was no theft here. Again, Mrs. Florrick is trying to… ” Cary cuts him off. “If there way no theft, then why’s the plaintiff trying to change the subject?” Burl steps in. “It’s not changing the subject to insist on a a derivative copyright!” Rowby stands up, because hey, everyone else has had a turn. “Can I get a new chair? Mine squeaks.” Good Lord, he did not just do that. Also, as glad as I am that he finally received a name, Rowby? For real? What the hell is that? Unperturbed, Judge Marx calls for a new chair.
“You’re asking for a declaratory judgement of non-infringement,” he notes. “Yes, Your Honor. Our client may not have the massive resources that their TV network has,” Alicia argues (causing Burl and Will to exchange knowing glances), “but his song was written thirteen months before…” Chortling, Will interrupts. “Again, that is simply not true, Your Honor. And its unfortunate that Mrs. Florrick has to rely on emotion rather than logic…” As I’m wondering how the timeline could possibly be fake, she cuts him off. “What emotion was I…” Judge Marx has had it. “Okay, a little less emotion from everyone, please. You may call your first witness, Mrs. Florrick.”
All three screens in the courtroom play Rowby and Marshall’s “Thicky Trick” video, and both Alicia and Cary bop their heads to its horribly catchy beat. “You wrote this song, Mr. Canton?” Will calls out an objection – the question was too vague. “Are you asking if he wrote the lyrics, the arrangement, or the flute part?” “Yeah, we get it, Mr. Gardner. Sit. Your objection is sustained. Just be more clear, Mrs. Florrick.” So she tries again. “Rowby, when you say you wrote this song, you mean the melody, correct?” This time, Will’s objection is for leading the witness. “You’re the one who wanted more clarity,” she snaps, testy. Indeed, but even while the judge agree that it’s an odd objection, he can’t help but sustain it, too. “From him,” Will grouses, “not from you.” What’re you doing, Burl whispers as Will sits. “Breaking up her rhythm. She hates it more than anything,” Will explains.
Dastardly. Seriously. This is so annoying.
“Rowby,” she tries again. “Who wrote the original song, um, the rap song?” Rebel Kane, Rowby answers. “And who wrote the tune in this video?” He did. “And the arrangement. And there’s no flute!” Wow, that totally offended him, the idea that he might have written in a flute part. That still makes me snicker. Will shrugs. “Good,” Alicia replies. ‘Thank you.” She clicks off all the video screens. “I’m, um. Now. Rowby, How did it come to you to cover a rap song this way?” Objection, Will calls out – calls for narrative. Huh? “Your Honor, this is clearly making trivial objections to throw me off my pace!” Alicia almost whines. “Yes, Mr. Gardner,” the judge agrees. “Stop it. You may answer the question,” he tells Rowby. “I don’t remember the question,” the hapless singer protests. “I don’t either,” the Judge agrees. “Which is exactly Mr. Gardner’s intention, Your Honor” Alicia calls out triumphantly. “When do you stop?” Preston wonders.
“Now. Rowby. What … where were you when it came to you…” Even super slow Rowby is waiting, leaning forward, for Alicia to collect the words she wants. Finally Cary snaps, and steps in. “How did it come to you to cover a rap song in the way that you did?” And now Will objects to Cary speaking. “Which counsel is questioning?” Sustained. Of course. “Can I answer it anyway?” Rowby wonders, and Alicia gives him permission. “It was August 8th, 2012, it’s the year anniversary of my dad’s death, and I thought of this image of Rick Astley doing a rap, and I thought it was … funny.”
Cary and Alicia burst through the courtroom doors. She’s fuming. “You know what he’s doing? I told him about my first time in court, how all the objections threw me.” Cary nods. God, I really need to watch the pilot again – yet another reference! “Yeah, he’s using that.” Her energy is frenetic. “You know how cold that is?” Cary insists she snap out of it. “Alicia, he’s trying to play you. You’re doing what he wants. You’re being played.” He’s shouting by now, so anxious is he to break through to her. “He wants you to think how low it is of him, so don’t!” She’s taken aback. “You’re right,” she recognizes, shocked and stricken. And yes, calmer. I love that Cary can do that for her; they really have become a wonderful team. She thinks, then rushes off. “Where’re you going?” he wonders. To change, she shouts back to him.
To change? What on earth does that mean?
We’re back to watching the dude in the gold sparkling jacket shimmy. “Drama Queen, got the cops knocking at her door…” A slight guy in a black jacket takes the stand; he looks nothing like Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee (he’s a John Malkovich type while this actor’s more of a short John Turturro) but that’s obviously who he’s supposed to be. “And the cover of this song, “Thicky Trick,” it was your inspiration?” Yes, Mr. Tiller proclaims. Well. That’s cold. Will continues his cross. “You created the show Drama Camp, so this scene mattered to you?” God, I hate that question. Sorry, I’m over thinking this, but it’s annoying – the particular scene is of vital importance to him because he created the show? Tiller nods. “Very much. Like many young men trying to find their identity, I was bullied as a kid. So I wanted to create a show about kids moving beyond the hate.” Yep, it’s so Glee. As he speaks, Alicia walks up the aisle in the courtroom and plops down rather aggressively in her seat; and hey, she actually did change her clothes. Now she’s wearing a familiar white-gray suit. Woah.
And it has an immediate affect. “Can you …” Will stammers, “I mean … that’s why you covered “Thicky Trick” this way?” He’s lost, distracted. “Yes,” answers the television auteur, “I wanted to show how two cultures needed each other. “Thicky Trick” was a rap song given a white bread treatment by the white kids; then we had the African American kids sing another song as a rap.” None of that exonerates you, buddy. And none of it makes an impact on Will, who flashes back to holding Alicia’s hand in a wood paneled elevator. In the elevator – that first elevator ride. “Did you steal the cover of “Thicky Trick” from Mr. Canton?” No, Tiller replies baldly. So can he explain the similarity between the songs? “Well, I do know artists are sponges,” Tiller extrapolates. Excuse me while I roll my eyes at this pretentious nonsense.”We take in the same information from the Zeitgeist.” In Will’s memory, he peels off Alicia’s jacket. In the court, she slouches back in her chair and acts as if he doesn’t exist, as her every movement is a calculated torment. “Transform it into something new…” The Will of three years ago unzips the supremely well-fitted dress beneath the jacket. “…And sometimes there is a best way to do something.” Carefully, Will slips the dress down Alicia’s legs, caressing her calf, skimming his hand over her backside on the way back up. She’s wearing a black stretchy chemise underneath – that dress must have some serious lining for the darker color not to show through. Who wears underwear that sexy if they don’t have any hope of someone else seeing it? Damn.
Yeah, sorry. This is all very distracting from Tiller’s absolutely ridiculous testimony. “I. Ah. Good. Good,” Will nods, which understandably has his esteemed co-counsel tied up in knots. . “Any more questions?” Judge Marx wonders. No. No more questions. “What’s that?” Mr. Preston grumbles. “Questioning,” Will lies. “No it wasn’t,” Preston snaps. “Questioning has a point.”
I love Cary’s cross examination, though. “So you’re saying the Zeitgeist made you do it?” Hee hee! Already exasperated, Burl loses it. “Objection! It’s argumentative, misstates testimony, inflammatory – 12 other objections!” Finally returning to active participation, Alicia looks up. “Which counselor is questioning here, Your Honor?” Ha. “Yes, Mr. Preston,” the judge admonishes him, “please leave it to Mr. Gardner to object.” Will stands, and objects. Lamely, but he does it, and since the remark was so out of line he’s immediately sustained.
“So you’re saying that two artists will hit on the same inspiration at the same time,” Cary asks Mr. Tiller. “I’m saying they can,” the answer comes. “Similarity does not constitute theft. Similarity’s not a crime.” Isn’t this is an odd argument for him to be making when he’s also trying to sue Rowby for allegedly copying him? If the Zeitgeist excuses Tiller, it would similarly excuse Rowby. Plus, didn’t we establish that the timeline heavily favored Rowby’s version of events? I mean, is Tiller suggesting that they had the same inspiration at the same time and he just acted on it a year later?
Cary clicks the song back on. “Oh my gosh, here she goes, watch all that when she hits the floor.” First he plays Rowby and Marshall’s version, flowing neatly into the Drama Camp one. “Hear any difference between the two songs?” Tiller parses his words. “I see two artists covering the same song with similar comic instincts, and that has resulted in similar instrumentation.” Is he kidding? Who does he thinks he’s kidding? No, they’re virtually indistinguishable. “Really?” Cary asks, incredulous. “Really,” Tiller nods. “Daddy’s still gonna come around, trying ta get a taste of that brown and round.” So very classy! Cary toggles back and forth between the two videos, and Judge Marx shoots Tiller and his team a look of such wonderfully dry disbelief I can hardly stand it. “We need another attack,” Burl notes.
In the courtroom hall Alicia waits, scrolling through her phone, leaning up against the wall. There’s something so reckless about her – this studied air of unconcern that marks the intensity of her focus on Will. She’s fully committed to this course. She makes me think of nothing so much as a high school bad girl, who’s just discovered the power she holds over men. And of course, Will walks over to her. ‘I see you decided to change,” he observes. “Yup,” she says, not looking up, supremely uncaring, “Into what I wore the night you banged me the first time.” Oh my God she did not just say that. Wow. Cold. Ice cold. I’ve never seen anyone kick a puppy, but the look on Will’s face – that’s got to be what that cliche refers to. “That’s pretty low of you,” he respond, stunned and hurt. “I know,” she replies, still texting, her facade of indifference firmly fixed, still refusing to look at him. “I wasn’t so discriminating back then.” She walks off, leaving him bouncing on his heels, shocked laughter leaking out, looking like he wants to hit someone.
Okay, I do not know how to feel about any of that. Well, no. That’s not true; I just have rather a large number of conflicting reactions. What each of them did was seriously mean and it went over the line on both sides. Both tactics were effective, and if that’s all that matters, then good for them. Bit it’s not all that matters to me. First, for Will to deliberately hunt Alicia down, impose himself in her business, actively sabotage her cases and her firm? Unnecessary. Wrong. For him to use his personal knowledge of her in a case? Not just something he knew as a boss but something she told him as a friend? I would feel more comfortable with that if they’d come up against each other organically – if they were in a case and he needed an extra advantage to win – but he insinuated himself into opposing her AGAIN and it feels even more petty and vindictive because he chose to be there. It feels like he’s trying to wreck Alicia professionally, to make her hurt personally – which, oh yes. It feels like that because he is trying to do both those things.
But on the other hand, damn. Her counter attack was vicious! And incredibly personal. And humiliating (if more covert, perhaps, than what he did to her). And just icky. I can’t decide if it’s worse that she used sex (unseemly, but then again, I’m not sure it speaks to well for his self control that he can’t even see her wear that outfit without being reduced to a puddle of goo) or that he used a personal confession. No, I retract that. She could have targeted a weakness like not liking to be interrupted. This was a level jump.
And okay, I’m sure it’s very unromantic of me, but I don’t love how the show has made Will and Alicia’s connection all about the amazing sex. If it were only that, then he wouldn’t have remained so captivated by her for so long before they actually had any sex, right? Plus, it seems like they both have pretty good sex with other people. Their friendship was more intimate than their affair, because it had a stronger emotional component to it. And yes, I am aware that’s probably an unusual reaction, but there you are.
Anyway, they both suck for doing that to each other.
Marilyn Garbanza Bean sits primly in her ob’s office, reading Crib Life magazine. Ah, Marilyn. She’s much to prim and dignified to inflict harm on another person like that. Right? Time was I would have said that about Alicia. As she sets the magazine down on a side table, a very nervous looking Kalinda Sharma asks if she can have it. Of course! “How far along are you?” Kalinda inquires meekly, her voice young and anxious and excited. “Almost 19 weeks,” Marilyn beams. What? Either five weeks have gone by since the start of the episode, or somebody on the staff can’t count. 3 and a half months is 14 weeks. “10 weeks,” Kalinda grins. “This is my first ultrasound!” Aw. How sweet! “This is what you have to look forward to,” Marilyn smiles, rubbing her belly, and they laugh together. “Oh, I don’t know where my significant other it,” Kalinda muses. ” Do, ah, people normally bring their spouses with them?” I don’t know, Marilyn answers pleasantly, I’m not married. “Gee,” Kalinda says, “I don’t even know if I’m gonna keep the father involved!” Bet that’s the first time in her life she’s ever used the word “gee.” “It’d be hard to keep mine away,” Marilyn laughs. What does she mean by that? “I see him every day.” Kalinda’s face tenses. “I’m not even sure…” Marilyn begins.
Ah, and Kalinda’s face isn’t nearly as much as it gets when Jenna shows up. ‘There you are!” she calls, sitting down next to Kalinda. “I have been looking for you everywhere. Hi, I’m Jenna,” she introduces herself to Marilyn, who greets her back without shaking hands. This puts a whole new spin on Kalinda not wanting to keep the father in the loop. “So you guys been waiting long? Kalinda?” God, Kalinda is so pissed. “No, not long,” Kalinda turns the full force of her laser eyes on Jenna, who refuses to see. Just then a nurses calls Marilyn, and the three women exchange the customary good wishes.
“You following me?” Kalinda practically snarls at the police detective. “Yeah.” “Because Damian asked you to?” Yeah. That’s pretty much enough for Kalinda. “Don’t you ever do that again when I’m on the job,” she snaps. Yikes!
Jenna follows Kalinda out to her car. “Let’s get some lunch,” Jenna calls out, but her words are only met with silence. “Alright, dinner then,” she suggests. After she opens the car door, Kalinda sits down in her seat facing the outside, not closing the door behind her. “Say you’re sorry,” she instructs her lover. “For what?” Oh, don’t be coy, Jenna. That’s so annoying – as is the exaggerated, exasperated face she makes to imply that Kalinda’s the one being unreasonable. “You know what I hate more than anything?” Kalinda does not. “People who lose their sense of humor.” What, because Kalinda had one to lose? “You know what I hate more than anything?” Kalinda snaps back. “People who disrespect my work.” Yep, that makes sense. Jenna’s answering look runs from tolerant to fond to amused. “I’m sorry,” she capitulates, making an effort to seem sincere. “Dinner. Shut the door,” Kalinda orders. Snort.
Predictably, Burl Preston and Will Gardner argue over who’s going to cross-examine Rowby Canton. Rolling her eyes, Alicia asks Judge Marx if Rowby can go or if there will be questions; this seems to be enough to spur Burl into action. “Mr. Canton, hello,” he begins. “Do you remember what you were doing on July 28th, 2012?” “I, ah, no,” he stammers, “I hope nothing bad.” From that quirk of his lips, I’d say the judge was amused. “That was the week before the anniversary of your father’s dear. You really don’t remember?” No. “Do you remember what you were doing the day before the anniversary of your father’s death? Nope, Preston doesn’t. “But I didn’t speak with such clarity of what I was doing on the anniversary of my Dad’s death.” I guess you’re a better person than I am, Rowby jokes.
“Would it surprise you to know that you were on the studio lot where Drama Camp is shot?” Why yes. Why yes in fact he is. “Uh, yeah,” he recalls, “I was asked to be a session musician for a commercial.” Anyone else see that as unlikely, that they don’t have enough session musicians already in L.A.? Whatever. Alicia and Cary look vexed, but either way, they still have the timeline in their favor. “So you were on the lot where Mr. Tiller works, where he has his inspirations?” “Yeah. I could feel his glow,” the man smirks; Alicia objects to this (it was a joke answer) and the judge makes Canton clarify that he was in fact kidding. Good grief.
When Mr. Preston continues his questions, he explains that the studio where Canton was working shared a kitchenette with Drama Camps. Exasperated, Cary demands proof that Rowby could have overheard “Thicky Trick” being recorded or bandied about that day – which of course they couldn’t produce. Then this is just innuendo, he snaps. All we need to do is show access, Will asserts, but Alicia cuts him off – “access does not constitute theft!” Indeed. “No,” Will insists, “but it explains how two artists have the same inspiration.” That’s all well and good as a defense against Rowby and Marshall’s suit, but surely it doesn’t help at all with Tiller’s. “It doesn’t explain anything!” Alicia barks. Rowby’s practically panting with excitement over all the yelling, but Judge Marx shuts them all down by sticking a finger in his own ear, causing his hearing aid to squeal. Ouch. Nice way to avoid raising your voice, though.
“Considering the evidence presented,” he tells them – so no nonsense! – “it seems clear to me that Mr. Tiller acquired the derivative work created by Mr. Rowby Canton.” Hurrah! Rowby beams. “But unfortunately it doesn’t matter. Mr. Canton, your song was an unauthorized derivative artwork; therefor it’s not protected. Therefor, as odd as it sounds, his theft of your work was legal.” That’s pretty sick. “They have the derivative copyright, you do not.” Will and Tiller shake hands vigorously. “Defendant’s motion is denied. Mr. Preston, Mr. Gardner, your suit may go forward.”
Wow. That completely sucks.
Naked Kalinda surfs the web, looking for through the McCoy High School Fall Reunion pictures (Class of 1993, a Year To Remember), her laptop balanced on a nightstand. Who else thinks McCoy is a little tip to Glee‘s fictional high school, McKinley? Under the legend “Old Flames” our investigator finds a photo of Marilyn Garbanza and one Peter Berger.
We don’t really have time to chew on this fact, though, because Jenna (also naked) slides up Kalinda’s back. “So how do you not like Katy Perry?” she picks up an old conversation. (Um, you’ve met Kalinda, right?) Quick as thought Kalinda closes the window and shuts her laptop. “Um, I didn’t say I didn’t like her. I don’t know who she is.” Jenna’s incredulous. “You don’t know who she is, you don’t know who Katy Perry is, what’re you like 50 years old?” She nuzzles the words into Kalinda’s neck. Hardly. Pop culture’s just not one of her priorities. “You don’t know “Roar”?” Both women laugh at the teasing (was that funny?), and Jenna starts moving down Kalinda’s back, kissing it and singing to her. “I’ve got the eye of the tiger, I’m dancing through the fire, cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me…” At least the not so great singing was kind of funny.
But the phone rings, and Jenna rolls away to answer it. “Yeah? Um, yeah,” she says, immediately guarded, and the smiling contentment leaves Kalinda’s face. It’s a stark contrast, because we’ve rarely seen her so relaxed. “No. Okay. Goodbye.” After she hangs up, Jenna resumes her ministrations. “Who was that?” Kalinda demands, looking back to face her. “It was my mom,” Jenna very clearly lies, as if it could have been anyone other than Damian. Kalinda’s answering look is so hard I think for a minute she’s going to leave, but instead she flips Jenna over so she’s the one lying on her back on the mattress; Kalinda moves down her lover’s body until she slips out of our sight.
At Florrick/Agos, Rowby sits with a beer in his hand; Marshall’s fiddling with his guitar. “Okay, I don’t get – so, so, then we lost.” No, declares Alicia, also drinking a bottle of beer. “Not yet. We’re not letting them win.” She raises the bottle to her lips. Meanwhile, Cary looks thoughtful. “You were saying you covered the song as a joke, right?” Yep. “Yeah, like… Rick Astley doing a rap.” Narrowing his eyes, Cary presses on. “And the joke was what, what made it funny?” Oh, ouch. Poor Rowby. “Well, if I have to explain the joke… I mean it’s not a very good joke.” True, but you’re missing the point, honey. “Yeah, I know, but this is about legal stuff, so just tell me what made it funny?” Ah. There it is. “Um,” he struggles to explain himself. “Well, it’s like a rap song, and we’re singing it like a Rick Astley, you know, like a rick roll.” Cary spits it out. “You’re satirizing the rap song.” Well sure, Rowby answers. “Rap songs are usually aggressive and hard,” Cary continues, “and you wanted to make fun of the lyrics by singing them in a soft way.” Ding ding ding! Behind the audience for a moment, Alicia wonders where her partner is going with this.
“Rowby’s version of “Thicky Trick” was a satire, Your Honor,” Cary says, sartorially brilliant in a blue blazer, purple shirt and purple paisley tie. Love it. No, it was a cover, Will squints. “And what does a satire get you, counselor?” Judge Marx wonders. “It’s transformative, it’s a transformative artwork,” Cary explains. “It doesn’t matter,” Burl Preston protests, “you already ruled. We have the derivative copyright.” Yes, Cary agrees with Preston before addressing the judge. “But you also believed that there was an actual theft of Rowby’s work; the only problem was Rowby didn’t get a contractual approval to create a new artwork, right?” Prepped, Alicia jumps in. “But that doesn’t matter if Rowby satirized Rebel Kane’s original work, that makes it protected.” YES! I love it! This is where my copyright dorkiness comes in, because I remember this case and that argument coming before the Supreme Court – partly because of my love for political satirist Mark Russell, who filed an amicus brief in support of 2 Live Crew. I know. I accept it. I’m a nerd.
Rowby stands, utterly delighted. “Can I just say that I love this stuff? I mean, I don’t understand a word you guys are saying, but this is awesome.” I’m with you, dude. Except for the lack of understanding. Anyway. Ignoring his client, Cary moves on. “If Rowby’s song was a transformative artwork, then automatic copyright was applied the moment he recorded it. Mr. Tiller’s theft was an actual theft.” Judge Marx taps the arm of his glasses against his chin. “Okay. Mr. Agos, you have some room to maneuver. Prove it’s a transformative artwork, and I will agree there was a real theft.” Leaning in toward Marshall, Rowby whispers gleefully. “This is so cool. It’s like, ah, it’s kind of like jazz. It’s like legal jazz.”
Oh. That’s actually an awesome insight. And your sense of that – the ebb and flow of the argument, created by the entire group – might actually be heightened if you didn’t know what they were saying.
Damian Boyle walks up behind the traitor Anthony Edelman in one of Lockhart/Gardner’s hallways, the latter too entranced by his phone to know the former was coming before it was too late. “Hey, Edelweiss,” Boyle cracks. Ha!”It’s Edelman,” says the traitor, looking up from his phone. Like Damian cares! “Do you know what this meeting’s about?” In fact he does – Will wanting to lift the solicitation ban. “No, no. This is about you voting with Will, see. Will made you partner. You owe him.” Oh God. Anthony is just that stupid, isn’t he? He’s the perfect target. “No, Diane made me partner,” Anthony insists, but he’s too weak to stick to his guns. “No,” Damian insists carefully. “Will did.” He leans in. “And he can unmake you as partner.”
The two walk right into the meeting, where Will announces that their arrival has created a quorum. “Where’s David?” Diane wonders of her faithful stooge. “Oh, David had a flat tire,” Damian shrugs, his voice dripping with false sympathy. Are you for real? This guy is such a thug! He should start working for Eli along with Jim Moody. Quickly, Diane sees that Damian’s walking partner won’t meet her eyes. “Anthony, which way are you voting?” she demands. You don’t have to tell her that, Damian cautions, which of course lets Diane know what he’s done, and she turns to Will, outraged. “You’re cooking the vote?” Though Will doesn’t answer, Damian immediately suggests voting to lift the ban.
“Actually, I have to make some calls,” Diane decides, standing. Nice. This is exactly what Alicia did – not letting outrage overwhelm her thinking – except, you know, without the personal vindictiveness. Also, that’s a nice jacket. It’s white with a black pattern on it; there’s something vaguely floral to the black spots, but they’re small enough to have the look of Cruela DeVille’s longed-for Dalmatian coat. We still have a quorum, Will points out helpfully, so she immediately drags partners Sue, Andrew and Vicky with her to make the calls. Hey, there are women who work at this firm other than the assistants! I am amazed. “Come on!” Will pouts, as if Diane is somehow under an obligation to let his dirty tricks stand (and yes, giving David Lee a flat tire is the definition of a dirty trick) and not try any of her own. “You need 18 for a quorum,” she snaps, “you just lost it.”
Just as Peter Berger steps onto the sidewalk in front of his row house, Kalinda calls out to him. “Peter?” Pete, he corrects automatically, turning to face her. He’s well dressed for the day. “Do I know you?” No, she confesses, “but you do know her – Marilyn Garbanza?” She proffers a print out of the “Old Flames” photo. Okay, he agrees, but who’re you? “Um, I’m an investigator,” she admits (unusual!) “working on an inheritance matter.” Ah, the irresistable lure of cash. “There’s money due to Marilyn and the father of her baby. Do you see this Homecoming date, September 7th? That matches the date of Marilyn’s conception.” Okay, Pete replies uneasily, not knowing what any of this has to do with him. I don’t really either – how would she see this guy every day? Shouldn’t Kalinda be working that angle? “So I thought, you might be the father. Given that it says old flame and old flames have a tendency to reignite at a reunion…” He looks up at his house. “Well, anyway, if it is you, I have a few hundred thousand dollars coming your way.”
His jaw opens. “I’m married,” he hisses, although it’s hard to say if this is a defense or some sort of excuse. “I know,” Kalinda tells him, “but nobody has to know, and like I said, that’s a lot of money.” Um, no one has to know that he suddenly has 300,000 in his bank account? I think most wives would ask questions about that. “Look, did I want to reunite with Marilyn over Homecoming? Oh yeah.” Gross. Just gross, Mr. Married Man. “But in the middle of our class dinner, she got a phone calls and she had to go.” Go where, Kalinda wonders. “I don’t know, she didn’t say. Back to Springfield? She was working for her boss that night.” Uh boy.
“Her boss,” Kalinda repeats, appalled. “Did she say who?” Not really, he says. “She said ‘Peter’ – what was about it. She was staying at the Sheraton. Hey, could this be about the governor? I know she was doing some work for him.” Oh God. That’s just the connection they don’t want anyone making. Although it would be an odd way to describe working at a job, ‘doing some work for him.’ Do ethicists ever hire out as contractors? “No, no, look, um, thanks for your time,” Kalinda shuts him down. She is not happy.
A bearded man perhaps in his early forties on the stand introduces himself as Douglas Landry, Dean of Musicology at our go-to university, Chicago Polytech. Hmm, I wonder if he’s ever earned himself a fridge full of froyo? “And you’ve heard both songs at issue here, the original rap song and Rowby’s song,” Alicia asks, then waits. Nothing happens. “Sorry, I was waiting for my objection.” Ha. No, Will smiles, I think the judge is aware of what you’re doing. “What am I doing?” she growls. “I have no idea what either of you are doing,” Judge Marx cuts in, ” but let’s shut up.” Excellent. And hey, three guesses what Alicia’s wearing? A charcoal gray zip front suit. I knew there’d be one in this episode – there always is now. Everybody drink!
Or listen to her expert answer the question. “In your expert opinion as a musicologist, sir, would you call Rowby’s song satire?” He would. “Even though he didn’t change any of the words, just the music?” Yes. “Especially for that reason,” Landry explains. “The song’s melodic line forces me to hear the lyrics in a new context, as misogynistic and nihilistic.” To hear them at all, really – Rebel Kane fires the words out so quickly that you need the more languorous pace of the cover to recognize many of them, although I don’t really know that it would come as a surprise that they’re offensive. In my opinion.
“Completely not. It’s not a parody,” a curly haired woman in a chunky black and white sweater opines. When Will asks why not, she gives a fascinating answer. “Because the words haven’t been changed.” O-kaaaay. “And in your expert opinion as a musicologist, why is it important to change the words?” Will wonders. “Because otherwise, I could just steal your novel and clap another cover on it. A romance novel instead of a thriller. I could call it satire and call it my own. Originality must be protected.” Okay, I’m sorry, but equating the music – the melody – with the cover of a book? That’s absurd, particularly coming from a musicologist; a book cover is a marketing tool and music is an integral part of a song, even more prominent than the lyrics. I mean, seriously, did she just say that the music is an irrelevant part of a song? Who argues that? (Although the book cover crack does make me think of y.a. author Maureen Johnson’s brilliant “coverflip” challenge, which you should definitely check out if you haven’t yet. So at least something good will come of this.)
I can’t imagine that someone as rational as Judge Marx would ever fall for her preposterous point of view, but Will gamely tries. “The other gentleman said that changing the tune was a transformation of actual content.” So what’s their play here – she’s going to deny that melody is musical content. “The other gentleman isn’t very well respected in his field.” Ah, she’s going to resort to petty insults instead. (Also, if he’s the “other” gentleman, does that make her a gentleman, too? Just saying.) “Oh, give it up, Liv,” Douglas Landry scoffs from the gallery. “Bite me, Douglas,” Dr. Liv barks back, and they descend into a cacophony of name-calling and insults until Judge Marx is forced to pound his gavel over the din.
So that went well.
Next we’re back to the original video of “Thicky Trick,” and Burl Preston is back in charge. I love his outfit today – the blue-green tie with a sort of abstracted dandelion pattern contrasted with the bright orange pocket square. Who does that? Very bold. “And she always in somebody’s business,” the Rebel Kane raps in the video. “Mr. Kane, what was the intent of your song “Thicky Trick?” Kane’s wearing a white turtleneck, a black and white camouflage vest and a large silver crucifix. (I can’t help recalling that the chains on Diane’s necklace were way bigger.) “I don’t know, to make money?” he guesses. Ha. “Look at the lyrics here,” Preston urges. “‘Drama queen got the cops knockin’ at the door/hear her shop, don’t be late, waitin’ on her section 8.’ Who’s that describing?” No one, really, Rebel Kane shrugs. “A type of woman?” Right. “And these lyrics were intended to debunk this woman, take her down a notch?”
“Are you asking me are these lyrics satirical?” Rebel Kane wonders. Gee, that doesn’t sounds rehearsed at all! Also, bah. This totally reminds me of the 2 Live Crew case I mentioned above; they changed a few lyrics of the Roy Orbison classic, singing “Pretty Woman” to a woman they then describe as unattractive – a sort of dodgy stab at parody. “Look,” Kane tells Preston, “I’m not the guy in that song. The narrator in the song; I’m making a joke about that kinda guy. That kind of guy who would look at women in this way.” Sounds like an awfully subtle parody to me! Especially given that they just said the song was about taking down the woman, not mocking the man.
“So if was a satire of rap songs, a satire of the cliched braggish stance of rap songs?” Pretty much, Rebel agrees. “But that’s what Rowby Canton says he’s doing with his cover, satirizing the cliched braggish stance toward women.” Perish the thought! Yeah, Rebel agrees again, I know. Rowby frowns. Yet another blow to the brotherhood of artists. “So he thinks he’s satirizing something that’s already a satire?” Again Kane says it; pretty much. Burl Preston addresses Judge Marx, who’s absentmindedly stroking his goatee like an evil genius in a Bond movie. “Your Honor, transformative art must by definition be transformative. Mr. Canton’s cover is not because Mr. Kane’s song is.”
Kalinda looks sadly at Eli, her head tilted. “I never know which way this is going to go,” Eli tells her nervously, “good news, bad news, you have the same poker face.” Really? I find her compassion is generally what gives her away. “Look, Marilyn was at a class reunion on the afternoon of September 7th.” And yes, give or take a few days that’s the likely date of conception. Before Eli can get too excited at the idea of a drunken tryst with Pete Berger, Kalinda explains that Marilyn was called away from the reunion by someone named Peter. “Okay, it’s a common name,” he blinks. “She was called to Springfield by someone named Peter,” Kalinda clarifies. Oh God. Eli totally freaks. “Was Peter in Springfield, 7 September 2013?” How European of her to phrase it that way. Eli immediately accesses Peter’s schedule. “Damn,” he says when he finds the relevant information, and bites his fist. “Marilyn went to meet this Peter at the Sheraton at 10pm,” she explains further. “Do you know where the governor was?”
Oh, poor Eli. Did she go to the hotel? Dude, did you even need to ask? Of course she did – but not only did no one on staff remember seeing anything, the digital date disk with surveillance footage from that night was gone, too. “Gone, why,” he barks. She doesn’t know. “Who took it?” She doesn’t know! “Blackmail?” he gasps; she thinks it’s possible, and if I thought for one minute that Peter was having an affair with Marilyn I would think so to. Immediately, Eli picks up the phone and asks to be connected to the governor, tucking the phone under his chin as Kalinda stands to leave. “I don’t have to tell you…” he begins, but of course he doesn’t. “No, I will keep this quiet,” she tells him. Only now do we see that they’ve been seated in a large, opulent room with a gorgeous oval wooden table with inlaid details. “Peter, it’s Eli,” he says into the phone. “We need to talk.”
I’m just going to say it. Anyone else feel totally robbed of an inauguration? I’m finally giving up hope; we must have just gone past it. I know this isn’t Peter’s story, it’s Alicia’s, and that’s fine, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing him make a speech, or seeing Alicia and the kids get all dressed up for it. I guess they must have felt like they just did a fancy dress too recently? It would be such an enormous event in the main character’s lives! Oh well. At least I’ll get to see Julianna and Josh in formal wear at Sunday’s Golden Globes.
Back at her desk, Alicia’s scrolling through the comments under Rowby and Marshall’s “Thicky Trick” video. (They deliberately don’t show us the name of the site, though the interface looks like You Tube.) We’re watching the boys walking toward the camera down the bowling lanes just before Robyn pops up in front of her boss. “What’d you need?” Some brunt force net searching, it turns out – any reference to “Thicky Trick” being a satire. Forum pages, online chats, interviews, reviews, whatever Robyn can find. “You’re looking for a consensus you can present in court?” Robyn aptly assumes. “Yes, or even the appearance of a consensus,” Alicia agrees. “Give me anything and I’ll build on it.” Shrewd, Robyn narrows her eyes. “Is this a Hail Mary pass?” Yes, Alicia admits. Are those tears in her eyes? I imagine there’s little Alicia’d like less than watching someone lose a just case – especially when they’re being beaten because their opponents targeted and exploited her.
At first I think the hall we’re walking down is part of a hotel, what with the vase on a pedestal and the draperie, but no, it’s in the governor’s office. (Presumably this is the James R. Thomas Center. even though that building looks far more modern than this one.) It’s the route, in fact, to Marilyn Garbanza’s office; we see from Eli’s point of view as he charges into the door to find the head of the ethics commission lying on her back, executing soothing circles over her midsection which give the initial impression that she’s feeling herself up. It’s odd. I know there’s nothing weird about it, but it does very much look odd. “Is Peter Florrick the father?” he barks at her. What ever happened to a nice hello? No, Eli, she replies, firm and calm with a touch of maternal exasperation. “We’ve had this conversation.” Of course he rightly points out that they haven’t; she’s merely told him she doesn’t want to have it. “And I still don’t,” she nods.
“Hmm,” he says. “So if someone has surveillance videos from the Springfield Sheraton from September 7th, 2013, I’m not to worry?” Now her head lifts off the floor. “I – what?” “You’re not helping calm my nerves, Marilyn,” he snaps. Good thing that’s not her purpose in life, then. “Who talked to you?” she asks, outraged. “Who did you meet on September 7th?” She sputters “Eli, you can’t” but he defends it. “Marilyn, I can. Do you think a reporter isn’t going to what I did in an afternoon?” You’re checking up on me, she realizes. Duh!
“This is my life, of course I’m checking up on you!” he howls. “This is my life,” she grits her teeth. “You don’t delve into my personal business.” Yeah. They’re both making sense at this point. “You gave up the right to privacy when you entered this office,” the chief of staff insists. He’s got a point – but she does too, when she points to her belly and says “I do. But he doesn’t.” Of course it turns out she’s talking about her baby’s daddy, not her baby, but it’s true both ways.
Eli bends down on one knee. “Okay, Marilyn. You chose this man’s privacy over the governor’s career?” Unblinking, Marilyn cranes her head to look up at him, one hand behind it. “Get out of my office, Eli!” He smirks as he stands.
And another hand moves into view; this one taps Kalinda’s laptop shut. “How’re you?” Damian asks her. Settling back into her chair, Kalinda does her best to look indifferent and amused. “You don’t like Katy Perry?” he notes. Oh, boy. Not that we didn’t see this coming, and sure, it’s a harmless detail, but not cool. Kalinda laughs to disguise her anger. “Jenna and you, you tell each other everything?” Standing, she gets right up into his business. “Well, we’re friends, you know. Don’t you have friends.” Nope. She sure does not. She has a lot of ex-lovers, and people who owe her favors, but no friends. I don’t know if he meant it for a jibe, but the comment seems to have hit home, because her mouth drops open, and then she simply walks away.
At Florrick/Agos, Robyn’s frowning in concentration at her laptop, taking notes while she watches the Drama Camp version of “Thicky Trick” on a Fan Zone website. One user, CheerSq97, asks if anyone else has heard “that sound @ 1:23.” As she’s fastforwarding to the second in question, two colleagues tap on her window and give the song – or the volume – a thumbs down. Asshats. Yes the song is a hideously annoying earworm, but you ought to be rejoicing that you guys have a single case outside of Chum Hum!
Once more, she advances the video. “She thicky thick, tricky trick,” the song proclaims, then it echoes the “tricky trick” with a jarring noise, some crackle or feedback. Robyn jumps back in surprise.
Diane’s Dalmatian clad arm lowers a highball glass to Will, who’s seated at his desk. “Are we not friends anymore?” she wonders; he considers, tips the glass toward her and drinks. She sits, her own glass firmly in hand. “There’s a psychological break,” she begins. “Between us, Will, not just a business one.” Well, duh. You did kind of betray his life, Diane. Us, he asks, or the firm? “Both. Let’s start with the firm,” she says. “Alicia and the fourth years leaving has put us all on edge.” Any accurate recounting of the break between them ought to start with her failed bid at the judgeship, but okay. “Diane,” he insists. “I’m fine.” I know, she placates him. “And it makes sense to charge ahead and not look back. But there is a frantic quality to all of this, not just opening New York but L.A.?”
“Look,” he sighs, “I would agree there are some things that are … psychological. But there are some things that are just themselves. This is just itself.” Oh, you can tell yourself that all the live long day, Will, and it won’t make you any less a liar. And no one will ever believe it. “It’s not,” Diane can’t help but say. Ah, but he’s not done. “Help me Diane. Not by curbing me, by using me. Look at me. I’m fine! I’m determined. This is not about Alicia.” Liar liar; Diane bites her lip looking at him. “Diane, you walked away.” He leans forward, passionate; she looks ashamed. “And now you’re back. I want you back. But I didn’t walk away, and I should be given a chance to do this, to lead.” And then he turns the full force of his wounded puppy dog eyes on her. I hadn’t thought of it like that – she’s the prodigal and he’s the heir, the brother who stayed and did his father’s will – but it makes sense. Clearly she hadn’t thought of it that way either.
“You’re right,” she finally tells him. “So you’re voting with me?” She considers this. “Whatever you want,” she finishes.
“No interruptions!” Eli barks at poor Norah, but she doesn’t go away. “It’s Anne Stevens from the Tribune.” What does she want, he wonders, but of course Norah doesn’t know the answer, and Eli’s far too curious to just ignore the call, so he picks it up. “Hello, Anne. You’re working late. I thought the Tribune was almost out of business.” Ah, Eli. Winning friends and influencing people! “I need you to comment on something,” she says. Wow, sounds serious, he mocks her. “I am serious. Tomorrow by three, or we run with it on the website.” Run with what, he wonders – but get this: she’s not going to tell him. Are you kidding? “You’ll find out tomorrow,” she replies mysteriously. What was the point of that, to panic him? At least give me a hint, he asks her, still joking around. A category. “A video,” she tells him. It’s really a shame she wasn’t there to see him pale; I’m sure she would have appreciated it.
At Florrick/Agos, Alicia sits next to Robyn, with Cary (in his purple shirtsleeves, excellent), Rowby and Marshall standing behind them. The investigator explains she found something on Drama Camps‘ track that was mentioned on three different sites – though fascinatingly, not the final version for the American itunes, but the Swedish version. (Apparently Sweden is a BIG market and has to be catered to early.) She scoots up to 1:23 on the Swedish version, plays the little clanking echo of “tricky trick” and sort of conducts her hands as if to say “ta da!”. It’s clear she thinks she’s cracked the case, and that the other four think she’s just plain cracked. I can’t hear whatever it is she’s listening to.
“What? I don’t get it,” Alicia complains. “Well, it’s in the base track,” Robyn acknowledges, and plays it for them again. “Listen.” They do. “Um, I don’t get it,” Cary admits, but the two musicians get really excited; Marshall actually pokes his friend in the belly. “It’s balls! Balls!” Rowby realizes. Um, okay… “It’s balls – oh my God, its like its bowling balls, we recorded it at Murray’s work!” OH. I totally didn’t hear that. Robyn is good. “And before they could re-record the tracks, Drama Camp‘s engineers just recycled yours.”
“That’s theft!” Rowby calls out, stunned and excited. “I mean, I don’t care what anyone says, that’s like breaking into my house and stealing my stuff kind of theft! You are awe – awesome! ” He grabs Robyn from behind, wrapping his arms around her shoulders in a tight, exuberant hug.
Kalinda taps the wheel, waiting at a yellow light. Hmm. That’s unusually cautious of her, although the action makes sense when an unmarked police car pulls up behind her and flashes its lights. Gee, who could that be? They pull into a gas station parking lot, and Kalinda leaves her car. Jenna, too, walks out, closing the door on a blaring police radio. “License and registration,” she jokes wryly. Aw, it’s like they’re recreating their first date! Isn’t that precious.
“What did I do wrong,” Kalinda growls. “You didn’t return my calls,” Jenna answers honestly. “I think it’s best that we just cool it,” Kalinda tells her, stoic. “Why?” Jenna asks, a bit angry. “I don’t know if I like you,” Kalinda says. I think Jenna’s the more confident one here – she smirks back. “You like me,” she smirks again. “I don’t like how much you talk,” Kalinda replies darkly. There it is. She doesn’t want to feel vulnerable, doesn’t want to feel like anything she says might end up in Damian’s ears.
“So this is about Damian,” Jenna realizes. Duh! Kalinda doesn’t bother to deny it. “This is about him or me, or…” Can I go now, Kalinda asks, interrupting. “Sure, you can go,” Jenna huffs, clearly offended. “Look, I just don’t like losing friends, okay? I mean, lovers I don’t mind, but friends? They come through.” So, wait. Is she asking Kalinda to be her friend, or just explaining why she will always choose Damian? It’s weird, because she seems to want to convince Kalinda to give them a shot, to make her case, and yet none of it really sounds like something anyone would buy. Although honestly, I don’t know why either of them thought this would end well. “So don’t make this about ‘him or me.'” Kalinda gets into her car. “Drive safely,” Jenna says before walking back to her car; Kalinda watches her in the rear view mirror as she drives away.
“Thicky thick, tricky trick, she a thick thick tricky trick!” Sitting in a Lockhart/Gardner conference room, Burl Preston rolls his eyes. “I’m getting so sick of this song!” You and me both, buddy. Robyn, of course, has a couple of computers hooked up so we can make a side by side comparison of the sound waves from each version; Will sits next to her. “Did you hear that?” she asks him, excited. No. “Those are bowling balls hitting pins.” We see the same sharp spike in both graphs at exactly the same place. “And you can see it right there, and there.” Indeed you can. Rowby, still thrilled, leans over and point it out on each graph, first his, then Tillers. “Bowling ball and bowling ball. They’re the same.”
Will tries to bluff his way out of the situation. “Doesn’t mean anything,” he shrugs. “0Doesn’t mean anything? That’s our song,” Rowby replies, “he stole our song.” And yet shockingly, the lawyer is unmoved. “We have the derivative copyright,” Will shrugs.” It doesn’t give you the right to steal, Rowby insists. “They stole Rowby’s actual track. Then they recorded their own before putting it in the domestic itunes store. That is theft. Actual theft.” Prove it in court, Will dares them. Looks like they can to me! “Sure,” Alicia smiles. “But before you do something to satisfy your ego, I’d check with my client first,” she advises. Like a school boy, Will pouts. “I’ll handle my client, you handle yours.” Real mature, Will. “Ours,” Burl Preston chimes in, also apparently big with the maturity.
“You for your hand caught in the cookie jar, Mr. Preston,” Alicia announces. “You can’t pretend the cookie jar doesn’t exit.” And that’s when Preston asks to speak with Will outside the room. Marshall, Rowby and their legal team look at each other in wonder. “What? I think we just won,” Rowby grins. I hope so! “Alicia laughs. “Well there’s a first time for everything,” she grins back. “This feels incredible,” he tells them. I can, I can definitely get used to this. You did it,” he finishes, smothering a very happy Robyn in a full body hug. Way to go, Robyn! You’ve won two cases for your team now. Way to prove your worth! Cary pats Marshall on the shoulder, but as he’s looking across the table, he misses Marshall’s awkward, aborted attempt to hug him.
“Eli Gold, what a pleasure,” Anne Stevens purrs. She’s come to meet Eli at the governor’s offices. “Why do I feel like I’m about to be devoured?” Eli asks her. Ha. That was a pretty decent hello. “I have no idea,” she pretends. “What’s happening, Anne?” he asks, and so she tells him; she’s looking for a comment on an anonymous tip she received, along with some surveillance footage. As he’s disparaging both anonymous tips and surveillance video, and steeling himself to see footage of Peter with Marilyn, she pulls out her laptop to show him what she’s got. Which is a loop on repeat of the stuffed ballot box coming out of the white van.
There was a message with the tip. “Here’s evidence of Peter Florrick stealing an election. Happy hunting.” Oh my Lord. You knew it would come back some day. “Any comment?” she asks.
If he has one, we don’t get to hear it. We do see him practically sleepwalking down the hall, though. “Eli!” Marilyn calls, rushing out into the hallway. ‘I thought about what you said about privacy. And… I want you to know that I approached the father and he said he’d be willing to come forward!” She’s thrilled, and clearly expecting Eli to be so as well, which is a little unfortunate. I’m sure he wishes he had something so insignificant as a sex scandal on his hands now. “I want you to meet Peter,” she says, and an ancient looking man creeps out of a doorway. “Hi,” he says, shaking Eli’s hand. “Peter Bogdanovich.” What, the movie director from the 7os? ICK! He could be her grandfather! “He was in town directing a movie and we just…” Ew! Yuck yuck yuck! That’s like Anna Nicole Smith crazy. “Yeah,” Peter Bogdanovich explains, “Marilyn was just trying to protect me, but I’m fine if you need me to go public.” Gee, I wonder why? Hot smart woman 40-something years his junior having his baby? I’m sure that would be absolutely devastating to his image.
Eli walks away from them, never having said a word. “Eli! Isn’t that good of him?” Marilyn cuddles up to her baby daddy, kisses him on the cheek. Meanwhile, Eli heads off to face the music.
Goliath and David, David and Goliath. I love the reverse – like changing up the musical style of a song, it makes you think about the words. What does it mean that we lead with the underdog? And who’s the underdog here, really? Is Goliath worthy of our sympathy? Of course, there’s really nothing so sympathetic about Burl Preston (much as I love him) or Mr. Tiller, but still, we see Will pushing Lockhart/Gardner towards Goliath status, and Cary and Alicia struggling to carve out her own small niche, and we are definitely sympathetic to them both. Or at least I am. Rowby & Marshall are underdogs, of course, in their fight against a hit show and network, but Glee (and by extension Drama Camp) is largely about the plight of the underdog.
I’ve probably already said enough about Will and Alicia. It’s entertaining for sure, but it’s also making me hate them both a little. It’s crazy how much Alicia’s changed. Between using sex as a weapon and name dropping Peter, she’s hardly recognizable as the woman we met initially. Are they stripping away too much of what we liked about her – her empathy, her pride, her refusal to lean on anyone else? Surely she’s learned how to be a “good” lawyer and play the game. She’s become the “good” political wife, the perfect partner.
So, okay. We know that Jim Moody was responsible for the ballot box. That box that Alicia and the firm fought for, which turned out to be unnecessary to Peter’s victory. We know that Eli doesn’t like to ask. We know that Peter, Kalinda and Will know about the box because of the video. I’m struggling to remember if Eli knew about it, though. I need to reread my own recap.
Ugh, Kalinda and Jenna. I actually understand this debate from both sides. Jenna wants to talk to her friend, and she won’t give up a longstanding friendship for someone she’s just met. Totally right. And Kalinda is far more private than most, so the leaking of any details must drive her mad, no matter how innocuous the details are. But. Damian is a user, and he’ll twist even meaningless little details like Kalinda’s lack of pop music knowledge to his professional advantage. Everything Jenna tells him, he’ll use to manipulate Kalinda, to hurt her. How can Jenna not know this about him? So when it comes down to it, Kalinda seems most in the right to me. Of course, I think Jenna’s bad news anyway. It’s a shame, because they had a sort of nice chemistry, but you’re not going to get me to forget their meet not-so cute no matter how many songs Jenna warbles.
You know I completely geeked about the case, so I won’t get all misty about it again. I will say Matthew Lillard acquitted himself well enough – he was funny but believable. A quick google search reveals that this week’s case was based on, yes, an actual copyright infringement claim against Glee (#JoCoGleeGate), made by “Code Monkey” songsmith Jonathan Coulton for their cover of his cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” I stopped watching Glee a year or so ago, so I hadn’t heard about this, but I’m not surprised, either. Really, the CNN article seems very clearly the basis for this entire episode, with the bowling ball noise subbing in for the “quack” and the credit going to discerning fans online. Coulton‘s a little bit stammery, but far more articulate than Lillard’s hilarious Rowby. Well, um, which is to say that he’s actually very articulate. And I can’t help thinking that his melody borrows liberally from John Denver’s classic “Leaving On a Jet Plane” (just pepped up) but if he hasn’t managed to get any remuneration from Ryan Murphy, then at least Coulton should feel like this retelling has validated his claim in public opinion.
And finally, just in case you haven’t seen it, and just in case you need to smile today, here’s the cast and crew of The Good Wife hopping and bopping to Thicky Trick. I think seeing Christine Baranski do choreography in hair curlers might be my favorite part. It’s too wonderful! It’ll sustain me through this weekend, when my head explodes because The Good Wife airs a new episode opposite the Golden Globes and Downton Abbey. Not the smartest scheduling move I can think of (and personally kind of horrifying), but I suppose with the Olympics coming up, they have to put the new episodes somewhere?