The Good Wife: A Material World

E: When anticipating this episode, I assumed that it would pick up (as we so often do) with the end of “The Last Call.”  That this would be where Alicia and Peter had the fight hinted at in the previews.  As is perhaps more traditional with this show, however, we have to wait for the most explosive scene.  And we have a lot of rather heavy-handed philosophy between us and that momentous fight.

Also, I kept thinking of the song “Pompei” by Bastille.  If “The Last Call” was the rubble – the debris and the rolling clouds and the chaos – “A Material World” is definitely about dealing with the sin.  If I close my eyes, will it seem like nothing’s changed at all?  How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

“If I die before you,” Alicia snarks with Diane as the two sit at a posh, wood-paneled bar, dressed in black dresses “don’t let them read “Wind Beneath My Wings” at my funeral.”  Oh God.  I hate that song so, so much.  I can’t believe they would do that. I knew we weren’t going to see Will’s funeral, though; this show is never that obvious.  Diane snorts. “Who knew it had so many verses,” she snickers.  Also, those drinks in front of them? Those are clearly not their first martinis.

The two women are left wondering why Will’s family’s impression of him is so different from their own.  Maybe he changed, Alicia tries to explain it. “They said he liked nighttime walks in the snow?” Diane sneers, her head waggling. “He hated the snow!”  Ha.  Picked a bad city to live in, then, didn’t he?  Wow, that bar is gorgeous.  The beams in that ceiling?  Soaring and expansive, almost like a cathedral in the sweep of it.  “What about that food?” Alicia frowns. Both elegant women snort at the idea.  “I didn’t know he cooked.” He didn’t, Diane spits out, they’re crazy.  Aw.  Now I have a picture in my head of Will wearing an apron, and I will never get to see that happen.  Damn.

Less maudlin, Alicia contemplates her stick of olives before eating them. “I need another drink,” she observes, and ever so coolly Diane flashes two fingers at the bartender before setting down her own nearly depleted drink. “We were like the two mistresses at the Irish funeral,” she observes, arms resting on the bar. “Yep,” Alicia agrees, smacking her lips on the word. Well.  That was a little too on the nose. “Oh, I’m sorry,” Diane realizes belatedly, “I meant that metaphorically.”  Hee. I know, Alicia nods, unoffended, chewing contentedly on her olives. Together they laugh.  It’s nice to see, this new closeness between the two of them, isn’t it?  There’s no mistaking it for the world before, but it feels like something that could have been from the start – Alicia and Diane as friends and equals.  It’s right – and a relief – that they have each other to cling to, these two women who loved Will so deeply.

When the next round comes, they thank the bartender and clink their glasses in a toast to their lost partner. “To Will,” Diane nods. “A real man. He shall be missed.”  Sigh.  You said it, sister. So much.  Diane’s fairly composed, but Alicia has to swallow back tears.

“My Dad was a sloppy drunk,” Diane slurs.  She and Alicia have moved their party to a booth since they’re both too sloshed to sit up without support.  This place is insanely great, seriously.  I’m drooling over the architecture as Diane’s drooling over the drinks; she pats her mouth. “I said I’d never be like him,” she snorts, and I mean really snorts.  “You’re not sloppy,” Alicia smiles, her drunkenness more blissful and incapacitated. “You’re elegant.”  She sighs. “I always wanted to be like you.”

“Naw,” Diane scoffs, hand still stationed to catch any errant drool. Or maybe it’s just to prevent her olives from escaping? “I did!” Alicia squeaks. “When I came to Lockhart/Gardner – the way you held yourself…” she marvels.  Indeed. Instead of telling their little girls to stand up straight, mothers should just show clips of Diane Lockhart striding through the halls of LG.  That’s what it looks likes to walk with power, girls.

“I was a great disappointment to my mother,” Diane declares grandly, managing to sound like the kind of actress Dianne Wiest spoofed in Bullets Over Broadway. With some difficulty, she swivels her head to look at Alicia. “She wanted me to be a nurse.”  Alicia almost chokes on that idea, and after first saying that nurses rock (and noting many of them have lots more graduate education than lawyers), I will admit it’s very difficult to imagine Empress Diane in scrubs covered with bodily fluids.  “And get married. Have three kids.  Be a nurse.”  Seriously, don’t rank on nurses.

“My mom thinks I’m a prude,” Alicia admits, which Diane finds hilarious. “I know. She thinks I should loosen up,” Alicia snickers, still lying against the backrest, shimmying her shoulders.  “Get laid more.”  Heh.  I love Alicia’s asymmetrical neckline, too.  So gorgeous.  She wears black so well. Diane’s phone begins to buzz, and she chortles over it.  Look, she reads. “David Lee.”  Oooh ooh, cries Alicia, inspired.  Let me talk to him!  It’ll terrify him.  He’ll think we’re merging.  “Come on!” she cracks herself up.

Sadly, Diane does not answer the call, because that would have been hilarious. “I’m so alone there,” she confesses, shaking her perfect wings of blond hair against the seat back. “Partners look at me like I’m a gazelle on the savannah.” She chews her olives bitterly.  It’s almost like the drooling; I don’t feel like we’ve ever seen Diane do something so plebeian.  “They always looked at you like that,” Alicia replies (um, thanks?  is that supposed to be supportive?) but Diane’s not buying it.  This is different. “Will was on a buying binge. Now we’re over-extended.”  Alicia blows out her lips. “Yeah, we are too,” she sighs.

Still chomping (though now it’s loud and sounds like ice), Diane raises an eyebrow and considers the question. “Well, we should merge.”  Because two over-extended firms make one secure one? I don’t follow her math.  Blinking, Alicia sits (or tries), confused. “What?”  We should merge our firms, Diane repeats.  “How would we do that?” Alicia laughs; by saying we will, Diane replies coolly. “You would want that?” Alicia scoffs. She would want Chum Hum back as a client, that’s for sure.  “That would solve a lot of my issues,” she chortles.  Sure, but you’d take Chum Hum and get rid of us, Alicia laughs, making a throat cutting gesture before taking another drink.   We could draw up a contract, Diane offers; they are lawyers after all, and she is in need of a new Will.  Alicia frowns. Would that be her or Cary?

“Our firms are fighting on a lot of fronts,” she notes, dubious. “And your client is divorcing our client,” Diane remembers. “No, your client is divorcing ours,” Alicia responds, dead flat serious; Diane’s laugh ripples out.  Seriously.  They have never had a conversation like this, but their mutual grief – and the alcohol – has bonded them.  These moments are what we used to come to Will for. This is equilibrium reasserting itself, and I’m heartened.

Anyway, Diane thinks this is all hilarious.  “Let’s keep talking,” she decides.  “We’ll make peace and – come on, we’ll figure out how to make this work,” she says, extending her hand to Alicia.  Because it’s that easy?  Alicia uncrosses her arms; they shake, and then clink martini glasses again.

And the clink of their toast merges with the ding of the elevator doors at LG.   Next to the reception desk, Cary’s talking to a blond woman  in her thirties. “Your husband’s divorce lawyer’s a man named David Lee, he can be very contentious, so don’t get thrown by anything.” Ugh. “I don’t get thrown by anything anymore,” she nods emphatically.  Well.  Even Alicia wouldn’t say that, and David Lee is all about tossing his opponents around.  “We have leverage,” Cary assures her earnestly. “Your husband…” Ex-husband, she hisses, which is some amusing wishful thinking, or why else is she there? “No, no, Carol, remember,” Cary stops her, struggling to make eye contact. “He’s only your ex-husband when you grant a divorce. Otherwise, according to Illinois law, he has to wait six months.”  Really?  Interesting.  She nods, still looking panicked. “That’s my leverage,” she repeats to herself. “That’s your leverage,” Cary agrees, his voice soothing. “Now, he wants to get married right now, but he can only do that if you grant him a divorce.”  Ah.  That is pretty good leverage. Midway through this explanation, Alicia steps off the elevator, and Cary excuses himself immediately to talk to her.

“Am I early?” she wonders, noting his confusion. She has an elegantly arranged scarf, thick and soft, threaded around her neck, a warm cream against her black collar. “No,” Cary frowns as if the question were beside the point, “What’re you doing here? You don’t have to be here. I thought you were taking the week off.”  Sigh.  Like she would.

“No, I’m good,” she smiles, in her best big girl voice. “Ready to go!”  Flexing his eyebrows, Cary manages to convey both sympathy and disbelief.  “Cary, please, I’m fine,” she insists. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to fall apart on you.”  Is that what he’s worried about?   Isn’t it more likely that he just wants her to be able to process this?  I get why she hates people asking; sympathy and reminders are never what you want when you’re trying to forget.  Like, Will’s face is plastered all over CBS’s streaming site; it would be so much easier to deal if I didn’t keep having to look at his face.  Not that it’s all about me… Ahem.  Alicia jerks her head toward the client. “Let’s go.”

Inside the conference room, David Lee pours a glass of water for his client.  Who, wow, is in a wheelchair.  You don’t see that so often; good for them. “Carol, how are you?” her soon to be ex-husband asks.  I’m good, she says, sitting, only a little spite in her voice. Then she squints at him. “Wow, you’re tan.”  He is rather tan, isn’t he? “I was in California,” he admits. “Oh,” she smirks, her smile too bright. “The book.  How’s it selling?”

“Okay, that’s enough small talk for now,” David Lee announces before welcoming Cary and Alicia, which is small talk too, but I guess doesn’t count if he’s the one doing it? “Hello,” Diane announces as she swans into the room wearing a thick gold suit. Immediately David assumes something’s wrong and scuttles over to his boss. “Diane! What are you doing here?”  Sitting in, she says.  Why?  Because she can.  How much do you love that answer?  Because she can.  She sits, leaving David looking like he’s sucking on a lemon.  He’s never liked the overlords interfering in his little fiefdom.

To begin the proceedings, Cary announces that Carol doesn’t want to be contentious and so is willing to compromise. “Carol will grant Mr. Mercer’s request for a divorce,” he begins, and of course David cuts him off.  “Mr. Mercer is not asking for a divorce…”  But ha, Diane cuts him off. “We don’t want this to be contentious either.”  Ha!  Contentious is where David Lee lives. “Good,” Cary replies, opening up his hands in surprise. “And to answer Mr. Lee, yes, your client did after for a divorce, after sleeping with his…” David Lee’s eyes go wide in outrage, but this time it’s Alicia doing the cutting off. We don’t have to go into that, she suggests, not if they’re all agreed on their terms, and now neither Cary nor David know what to think. In fact, David Lee looks like he’s just fallen into a bizarro universe.

“A grant of divorce in exchange for leniency on the post-nuptial?” Diane clarifies.  Yes, Alicia agrees, hands clasped, back straight. So all that’s left is custody of son Nico, and custody’s just a matter of figuring out visitation rights.  “Good,” Alicia nods. “So basically, we’re done!”  Damn.  Every case should be so easy.  “Carol?” she asks.  Her eyes on her husband, Carol nods. “If Asher agrees.”  All I want is for this to be over, he says, sounding more than a bit put upon.

But this being over – that’s the last thing David Lee wants.  He oozes over into his client’s personal space. “Mr. Mercer, if you can give me some wiggle room,” he begins, but Diane clamps right down on him. “He’s already stated his preference,” she reminds David politely. “Yes, and I’m offering my opinion,” he grits his teeth. It’s truly outside David’s world view to understand that someone might prefer fast, amicable and equitable to scorched earth and the maximum monetary gain.  “Mr. Mercer?” Diane asks, and Asher looks at his wife when he answers. “All I want is for everybody to be happy,” he says.

“Good,” Diane approves; David’s face rounds in astonishment. “Well then we have a deal,” she declares, and Cary throws up his hands, surprised but pleased. “Except for custody,” he agrees. A deal in principle, at least; this kind of thing can break down in the particulars (what does leniency consist of?), but it’s an excellent base to build on.

“What the hell was that?” David explodes out into the hall. “That was called turning down the temperature. You oughta try it some time,” Diane suggests, turning to face him once they’ve come to the reception area outside her office. A look of patronizing sympathy crosses his face. “Diane, if this is about Will, you should take a break, go on vacation.”  What?  Why would that be about Will?  Because Will was all about the nice, or because grief has somehow made her soft?  Diane removes her glasses from dramatic effect, not answering him until they’re off. “David,” she says in a tone of strained patience, “I have some advice for you.  Whenever you’re tempted to bring up Will’s death and credit my behavior to it, resist.”

What a terrific exit line!  And what a shame David Lee won’t let the matter end. “Diane, I have some advice for you.”  She plants her hands on her hips and sighs, her back to him. “When in mourning, don’t make big decisions.  At least for a year.”  Exactly how is she going to avoid making big decisions?  Super advice, David. “Really?” she snaps, turning around. “Gretchen, move David out of his current office and into… that office right there,” she tells her assistant, pointing far down the hall. “You can’t do that!” he gasps. “Yes I can. I’m on the infrastructure committee.  Too bad you’re not.”  His jaw hangs open. “Is that a big enough decision for you?”

Well.  That could have been handled a little better.

And, awesome.  Look who’s lurking?  Damian. Wait, I thought Damian was poaching Will’s clients?  Which I thought meant he’d decamped with said clients, but apparently we’re not rid of him after all.  Bah.

” Gen’know why she’s doin’ what she’s doin?”  he offers as David Lee walks past him.  “Why?” Lee growls, not stopping.  “I went to a bar after Will’s funeral. I wanted to be alone.  I liked him,” he adds, as if this were something surprising.  And, crap, it’s clear where this is leading. “I miss him.”  Sigh.  David Lee dignifies none of this with an answer. “Why is she doing what she’s doing?” he asks as if genuinely puzzled. “And I happened to hear two women talking over a deal, suggesting their two firms merge, and d’you know what? Those two women looked an awful lot like Diane – and Alicia Florrick.”

It looked like it took them hours to get to that state of drunkenness, but okay.  Whatever.  He heard them.  I guess I wouldn’t put it past him to lurk that whole time.  David Lee cannot believe his ears, even if it makes sense of everything that just happened.  Diane, consorting with the enemy?  “Is this true?”  Damian crossed his heart.

“She wants someone who’ll be in her back pocket,” David grumbles. Someone who doesn’t see her as breakfast, you mean?  “So.  We should do something about it,” Damian smiles a very carnivorous smile.

“That was interesting,” Cary observes, walking with Alicia into their office. “We got the result we wanted,” she shrugs.  How can you be thinking about this and not tell him?  You have to talk to him, Alicia!  Even if she’d been going to – which seemed unlikely – someone calls him away. The lighting’s not very good, but I think that’s Carey Zepps. Dude, it’s been a long time. As Alicia sets down her purse on her desk, we just barely hear Zepps introduce Cary Agos to Jeffrey Grant’s father Ned, who’s looking for help on a case. She eavesdrops as she takes off her coat. “Listen,” Mr. Grant says, “I don’t think my son was responsible for Will Gardner’s death.”

There’s a strange stillness to Alicia’s moments.  “The State’s Attorney’s Office prosecuted him for a crime that he didn’t commit, that’s what forced him to take the gun!”  Um.  Was he railroaded?  Yes.  Was he innocent?  We pretty much think so, yeah.  Was he beaten up in prison and wrecked?  Yes. But.  But.  Forced?  That’s not the same thing. Ned Grant wants to sue the State’s Attorney and his (her?) office for putting Jeffrey in this position, – specifically, for wrongful prosecution.

In her imagination, Alicia sees Jeffrey fire the gun, standing straight and pitiless; her head recoils with the shot.

Cary keeps looking back at her.  He knows she can hear.  Mr. Grant’s already had a meeting with the State’s Attorney, Zepps explains, and this shocks Alicia enough to make her finally turn around and walk into the conference nook. “He came to my house,” Mr. Grant adds, which shocks Cary enough that he repeats it. “He apologized. He assured me that heads would roll in his department.”  He did?  What?  He’s apologizing to the family of the kid who shot up the court?  Seriously?  “He wants this to be over,” Zepps guesses.  “Want to clear the decks.” Well, he doesn’t want a law suit, anyway, but I’m really really surprised he’d go so far to avoid it.  Which obviously isn’t far enough.  Alicia leans against a column, crosses her arms and glowers down at them.

“Ah, Mr. Grant, you know Alicia Florrick?” Carey asks. “Yes, Mrs. Florrick, hello,” Ned says. Alicia’s answering hello is far more quiet than her fierce expression made me anticipate. “You were very nice to Jeffrey.”  Um, thanks?  I wonder if she’s wishing she took the case away from Will when he offered it to her, if she’s thinking about the last time the two of them spoke. Between the love of your child and the horror at what they’ve done, I don’t know how you exist as a parent in this situation, I just don’t.  I suppose he’s doing it by finding a scapegoat.  Unable to listen, Alicia turns away again.

As the Car(e)ys begin to discuss the difficulty of a wrongful prosecution suit, Alicia comes to a sudden realization. “What heads?” she asks, spinning back to Mr. Grant.  Ah. Finn Polmar’s the obvious scapegoat, isn’t he?  Heroic, sympathetic Finn, who sheltered Will with his body, who was shot trying to save him, who gave Alicia the closest thing to answer she’ll ever get?  Finn Polmar, her link to Will’s last moments.

“What?” Mr. Grant’s confused.  “You said Castro said heads would roll?” she prompts him. “Which heads?”  Now he just thinks she’s crazy. “Well he didn’t say. Is that important to the suit?”  Dear God. I know you’re grieving too, but don’t you care who you’re blaming?  When you say the State’s Attorney’s Office, who do you actually mean?  Carey Zepps assures him that it doesn’t matter. “We’re just getting more of a sense of the facts.”

Presumably after Mr. Grant has left, Cary Agos appears at Alicia’s desk.  “Why?” he asks. “Why’d you ask that?”  We can’t take this case, she declares, her gaze level. “Because of Will?”  She glares at Cary for asking. “Well, we just – we have to listen!” he pleads.  Do they?  How do you think she’s going to handle months of the staff going over and over these facts?  He looks back; if Mr. Grant’s still there, how are they have this conversation in full voice without him hearing them?  “He’ll just take the case to someone else.”

She crosses her arms and leans over her desk. “Cary listen to me,” she snaps. “You take this case I quit the firm.”

Okay.  Maybe she didn’t have to go quite that far to convince him how important it is to her, but I guess she needed a short cut to the end result. Giving her a pitying look (which must piss her the hell off), Cary says he understands.  Does he? “I’ll talk to him.” She’s mollified. Somewhat. “I don’t give a damn,” she claims, and picks up her desk phone.

And that makes him nervous.  Let’s remember that he told us about his meeting with Castro in confidence, he notes. “You can’t use that.”  Hmm.  Maybe he did understand that element of her reaction.  Does he know about Finn?  I suppose the details must have been in the press even if Alicia didn’t share them.  She continues her call, thanking him insincerely.  Man, lots of mean emotions.

Despite Cary’s admonition, her responsibilities as a lawyer and Sondra coming to remind her of an appointment, Alicia’s ringing the hospital to talk to Finn.  Perhaps for the best, it turns out he’s been released. As Sondra hands over her scarf and coat, Alicia asks her to dig up Finn’s phone number. “Sure. Do you want me to connect you?”  Nope. “Just let him know I want to talk to him, and I’ll be right back.”

“The Sinclair Mission is exactly what families in Illinois need,” Peter Florrick announces on the steps to said Mission, surrounded by the press, Alicia at his right hand.  I didn’t really notice before, but she’s wearing a gorgeous gray coat – new, maybe – with a black fur collar. “And I really have to thank my wife for bringing it to my attention.”  Smiling thinly, Alicia deflects the praise. “My husband is being humble. It didn’t need to be brought to his attention.”  Surprised at her subtle show of defiance, Peter replies smoothly that they’ll agree to disagree. “Now please excuse me; my wife and I need to go discuss our son’s SAT scores.”  The crowd laughs and breaks up.

Really?  Wait, I thought he was a senior. Did he really take them again, this late/early in the year?  I mean, his applications should all be in by now. Damn, I’m so lost in their timeline.

“Are you alright?” he murmurs as they walk away. “I’m here posing with you for a photo op, why wouldn’t I be?”  The contempt in her voice could knock a less confident man over. He smiles instead. “Because of Will,” he presses, since she’s not going to answer normally. “I’m here, for you, Peter. What do you want from me?” she snipes.  Wow. As annoyed as she was with Cary for asking, the hostility she’s showing Peter’s on a whole other level. It’s obvious she can hardly stand to be in his presence. “I want my wife back,” he observes coolly. “I’m here,” she snaps, walking off to her car. “Are you?” he wonders, sardonic, and she rounds on him.

“Oh dear God,” she hisses, her hair flying. “Will everyone stop thinking I’m falling apart at the friggin’ seams?”  As usual, Peter’s too jealous to hear what’s really going on. “Everyone? When did I become everyone?”  She stomps away instead, leaving him blinking in her wake.

At Florrick/Agos, Carol and Asher sit across from each other like sullen, pouting teenagers, neither meeting the others’ eye.  “Good,” Cary says, coming back with a document. “I think we can handle shared custody now.”  Joining them, Diane smiles. “Nico is five years old, and we don’t want to disrupt his home life. Are we agreed?”  They are.  Or at least, they are until David Lee shows up with a savage grin and his laptop.

“What nice offices, Cary,” he sneers. “Very – 1990s t-shirt factory.”  Well, you would know, since you got them thrown out of their fancy one.  “Thanks,” Cary replies dryly. “Where’s Alicia, I thought she’d want to be here for this.”  “She’ll be here in a minute, what do you got?” Cary replies. What he’s got is a nanny cam video.

“What nanny cam video?” Carol wonders, instantly suspicious. “You and Asher agreed to have in your house,” David replies.  Carol snorts. “What’s this about, Asher?”  “David, we’re decided!” Diane warns her evil cohort, but he won’t be contained, spinning the laptop around to reveal a sex tape. “Oh my God!” Carol cries, lunging for the laptop, which David deftly shifts out of her reach. “You took that of me?”  Asher looks sly, ashamed and self-righteous at the same time. “You were sleeping with one of my students, what was I supposed to do?”  Um, what?  “You ran off with your nurse!” she howls.  I wouldn’t say run, he answers in an ill-advised attempt at wheel chair humor. “What would you call it?” she bellows. Ah, now we’re living in David Lee’s hometown.  Spite and devastation – just what the lawyer ordered. He’d call it infidelity, enough to invalidate their post-nup.  (Who knew that was a thing?  This is a totally new term to me.)

“Trying to make me the villain?” Carol growls, aghast. “Maybe we should settle this in court,” David gloats smugly. “No,” Diane replies coolly, trying again to turn the temperature down, and everyone starts talking at once.  Stop, David commands as Alicia walks slowly into the room. “You want to settle this, you don’t want this video shown in court, then taken 20 cents on the dollar.” Oh, very appealing. He leans on the desk, utterly contemptuous. “Like hell I will!” Carol barks back. “Then we’ll see you in court,” Alicia declares wearily before drifting back out of the room.

Kalinda’s walking the halls at LG – or at least she is until Diane pops out of a doorway. “Kalinda. I was about to call you. I need a favor.”  An off the books kind of favor?  Kalinda nods. Okay, she sighs.

In Diane’s office, the favor turns out not to be so easy. “I, uh, need you go to Will’s apartment,” Diane confesses, and the always phlegmatic investigator blanches.  At least, for her.  Her nod is closely related to a gulp, and her voice sounds young when she answers. “Okay. Why?”  “I need to know how many commitments Will has made in New York and L.A.”  Hell yes she does. They don’t have that info at the office?  God, the mess of this. “His family boxed up his work things. Bring them back here.”  Okay, she agrees, and Diane sits down to get back to her work. “I’ll head over there.”  Kalinda tries to go, but can’t. “Diane. David Lee and Damian are trying to replace you as managing partner,” she admits.

Diane’s silent for a long time.  What, no dramatic whipping off of the glasses?  “How do you know?” she asks finally; Kalinda heard them talking.  The next bit, Kalinda finds even harder to confess, to find the most diplomatic language for. “They feel that without Will, you’re … unprotected.”  Diane looks at Will’s empty desk with ill-concealed longing.  “What do you want me to do?” Kalinda asks, and Diane drops her head forward, a shining wing of blond hair sliding down to hide her face. “I don’t know!” she laughs, as if even the question were absurd. “You need to gather votes,” Kalinda presses.

“It’ll never end, Kalinda,” Diane growls, her voice nearing a breaking point. “If they want to come after me, let them friggin’ come after me.”  And ha!  She doesn’t just whip off the glasses, she tosses them across her desk.  That was worth the wait.  Kalinda nods. “Well let me see what I can do,” she offers, and Diane looks up at her in surprise.  “What’d you mean?”  “Let me see what I can do for you,” Kalinda offers again, her tone full of sympathy.  Aw.  They’re reforging patterns; Kalinda’s transferring her loyalty from Will to Diane.  “Okay,” Diane mumbles, her eyes widening at the unexpected show of solidarity. ‘Thanks, Kalinda.”  She’s bemused, clearly thinking her problems are beyond Kalinda’s reach.  Ah, ye of little faith…

“The post-nup is clear,” David argues in court, his hands making claw shapes, “Any evidence of infidelity by either spouse invalidates the agreement.”  “Actual evidence means evidence you can admit!” Alicia snaps. It’s from Mrs. Mercer’s own nanny cam, David shoots back. “Excuse me, Mrs. Mercer didn’t even know the nanny cam was there. This evidence can’t be admitted!”

“Simmer down,” the judge – a new judge! – mildly replies, as if not really paying attention. Cary pops up with new facts for the audience: in Illinois, it’s illegal to videotape someone without their consent.  Okay. Cool.  David Lee is not impressed. “Oh please,” he scoffs. “Please what?  Her husband was spying on her!” Alicia cries. “Who’s deaf in here?” Judge Alice Adelson hollers.  The lawyers are behaving like unruly children, and I feel a twinge of sympathy for her; I hate being forced to yell.  To their credit, the lawyers all look a little ashamed of themselves.

“Thank you very much,” Judge Adelson responds, relieved. So, the footage is from a nannycam?  “Yes,” David Lee oozes, “and it shows clear as day…” Nope, not okay. “I don’t need your testimony, Mr. Lee, just an answer.”  Oh snap! “Yes Your Honor. They had cameras in locations throughout the house.”  Not “they,” Alicia frowns. “Mrs. Mercer didn’t even know they were there.”

“I don’t need your testimony either, Mrs. Florrick.” Judge Adelson’s voice is cold and firm. “That’s what the witnesses are for.”  She smiles. “Do you have a witness?”  As luck would have it, she does.

On the stand, Carol Mercer reiterates what Alicia’s just told us – Asher put cameras throughout the house without her knowledge.  “And you have an expectation of privacy in your home – especially your bedroom?”  She does.

“Carol asked me to install the nanny cams,” Asher asserts on the stand; Carol’s mouth drops open in outraged anger. When was this, David asks. “Right after our son was born.”  Why did she want them, David presses (and note the careful use of the plural “them”).  “She had an emergency c-section with Nico,” Asher explains, “in she was in bed recovering for a few weeks. And since I’m limited, physically, we needed help in the house.”  Wow.  There’s an undercurrent there for sure – it seems pretty important to him we know that he’s not limited in general. “Your wife wanted to keep an eye on the help?” David suggests. That was the plan, Asher agrees. “But then her mother came,” he snarls.  Wow, there really is a lot of unresolved anger. “Don’t bring my mother into this,” Carol yells, venom poisoning her tone; the judge has to remind her not to interrupt.

“I’m only saying, I bought this high tech system and she never used it,” Asher sighs, sounding put upon yet again.  Ah, your whole life is clearly such a trial.  So many people standing in your way. But, wait.  Does that mean she did or didn’t know it was installed?  “Look.  She champions the use of these things on her mommy blog.”  Oh, the contempt.  Wow.  “It’s not my fault if one of them caught her cheating.”  That’s nice logic. “In your bed, in your house,” David Lee shakes his head at this perfidy.

“Objection!” Alicia calls out. “It’s a shared home.”  Indeed!  “Only Mr. Mercer’s name is on the mortgage.”  That’s a technicality, Alicia snaps, and Judge Adelson steps back in with polite thanks.  “Always a pleasure. I will decide on this issue in a few hours.”  Yeah, I’m sure that was super pleasant. And she’s off!  “Do you wanna see the video, Your Honor?” David calls out, a last ditch effort she doesn’t acknowledge even with the turn of her head.

“Nicely argued,” Cary tells his partner, who also is too locked into her own concerns to answer him. “Where you going?”  Nope. She’s just off.  Wow, kind rude.  David Lee deserved to be ignored, but Cary didn’t.

Briskly, Kalinda opens a box marked “Will’s Work Stuff.”  On top is a bundle of files entitled “Mergers and Acquisitions.”  Why would his family ever have taken that?  (Jeez, do you think Will had a will?  What’s going to happen with his stake in the firm?  Probate court eventually, I’m sure, but that’s got to figure into Diane’s calculations about the firm.)  Something else in the box catches Kalinda’s attention, and it’s not the Georgetown t-shirt – it’s a smiling picture of Will, sticking out of a little notebook.  Ouch.

And of course when she picks up the notebook and pulls the photo out of it, the person smiling behind his shoulder is – her.  God.  She touches the picture almost reverently.  Setting it aside, she pulls out a baseball glove (which earns a fond smile), and two creased photos of a child of 3 or 4 with wild, tousled hair.  (My first thought is wow, look at that chin! That’s clearly Josh Charles! That’s so nice to see. And then I think, what?  Will would never had baby pictures of himself in his office!)  Kalinda sets those photos aside to dwell on the one of her with Will (man, I never thought about how prominent his chin is, but there’s no avoiding it); she gives a fond, very uncharacteristically sentimental sigh and tucks the picture into her own leather notebook.

“Mr. Polmar?  Hello,” Alicia calls out, warm and quiet.  We should have known where she was going.  Finn sits at a desk, right arm in a sling, left hand bandaged, thick black glasses on.  He looks so small and damaged. Mrs. Florrick, hello, he smiles. “I’m sorry,   I had a hard time getting you on the phone,” she explains. Ah yes. “My assistant thinks she’s doing me a favor screening my calls but unfortunately the only ones she lets through are family members.”  He rolls his eyes in what’s presumably his assistant’s direction. “Thanks, Maria!” he calls out, much louder.

Alicia smiles, appreciating his dry, warm wit. “How are you?” she asks, glancing down at his arm, tucked into the sling.  Can he be in a cast?  Because it would not be easy to get a suit and tie on over a cast, yet there he is in a suit and tie.  Come to think of it – well. I guess his wife must have tied the tie?  “Oh, this,” he demurs before leaning back in his chair. “It’s very Indiana Jones.”  Can we keep him?  Seriously.

“Um,” Alicia tries to get to the reason for her visit.  In the middle of a crowded office?  “How close are you with James Castro?”  Seriously, Alicia, you’re going to talk about his boss in the middle of the office?  “Jimmy?” Finn asks. “Close. Why, do you need something?”  Not exactly. “Ah, no.  I need to … tell you something. In confidence.”    He leans forward, because that’s so clandestine.  Very Indiana Jones, dude. “The SA’s looking for a scapegoat in the Jeffrey Grant prosecution.”  The inference is clear. “And you’re afraid it’s me?” he asks.  Well, duh! Of course she is.  I mean, it could be the police too, but still, who has more of a target on his back than the actual prosecutor? “Don’t worry about it,” he says. “Well, he has an election coming up,” Alicia warns – and who knows that pressure better? – “and this Grant issue could haunt him.”  Wait, how does he have an election already?  Special election after an appointment, I guess – do they do that for State’s Attorney?

“Jimmy’s an old friend. I’ve known him since law school, I was best man at his wedding, he’s the one who dragged me out here.” It’s clear Alicia’s not convinced – that she thinks he’s ripe for a betrayal – but she puts on a smiling face anyway. “Good to know,” she nods. No, no, she can’t leave it at that. “But  … word of advice.”  Finn nods up at her. “If he does bring you in for a casual chat about the Grant prosecution, I would bring a lawyer.”  Sigh.  “Okay,” he sighs, but it’s clear he won’t.

“You think I’m being cynical?” she asks.  “No, no,” he tries to rephrase what his face has already conveyed.  “It’s just … I have to trust someone.  Especially after this,” he adds, gesturing at his bandaged body.

She puts on a brave face, having delivered her warning. “You’re right,” she agrees. “Well it was nice to see you again!” she declares in that too bright tone we heard several times during “The Last Call.”  “You too,” he replies as she walks off. “And if you ever want to talk…”  he gives her a seriously, even haunted look.  She smiles brightly. “Thanks, but I’m good,” she declares, clutching her belongings.

In the hall, she runs immediately into a small man with glasses and a shiny, bald, Observer-like head. “Alicia!” he calls out.  Reluctantly, she turns and walks toward him. “Mr. State’s Attorney!” she smiles politely. “That sounds odd,” the man says, pushing his hands into his pockets and smiling back. Unlike an Observer, he has eyebrows. “Jimmy’s fine.”  Huh. “I haven’t congratulated you on your appointment, Jimmy, so … congratulations!”  I suppose Peter appointed him, huh?  Bah. Of course he picked some random white guy we’ve never met.  Let’s hope Geneva runs against him and wins. “It’s a challenge,” he shrugs, “but I like challenges.”  Of course you do. Ick. “I was sorry … about your old boss,” he offers.  Oh, aren’t we all. “I liked Will Gardner,” he adds.  Everybody says that, don’t they?  That’s the line.  He was a likable guy, Will Gardner.

She thanks him for this. “If I can do anything, let me know…” he offers.  Um, not blame Finn?  “Oh, I will,” she promises.  I hope you do, Alicia. “And, just know, I’m doing everything I can here,” he adds, jerking his head toward the SA’s office space.  She smiles, looking rather emotional – too emotional for words. “I always ask myself what would your husband do when he was State’s Attorney,” he sighs.  Really? Because that seems like a bad idea. He blushes. “Then I … try to do the opposite.”  He smiles down at his shoes. “No, I’m joking, he’s a … good guy.”  That’s not quite saying he was a good State’s Attorney, though, is it? Poor Alicia doesn’t know where to look; she’s unusually rattled by this. “Well, good luck, Jimmy,” she nods, and carefully walks away.

“I don’t know exactly what’s on this nanny cam video,” Judge Adelson declares, “but I do know this.”  I like two time Tony winner Donna Murphy;  she’s gravitas and warmth swirled up together. “The court’s interest in ruling on this post-nup is not as great as Mrs. Mercer’s privacy rights.”  You know, I’m not really sure they proved that Carol didn’t know it was installed, but okay.  Her eyes are about to burst out of her head.  “Your Honor, if I may,” David Lee intones. “You may not,” she responds coolly. “I herewith order a six month separation. If Mr. and Mrs. Mercer can’t work this out over the next half a year…” Asher Mercer (what an awful name, really – too many “ers”) hisses frantically to David.  Looks like this gambit didn’t pay off, considering what he wanted was happy and done. “Your Honor,” David interrupts again. “A new issue has come to our attention.”

“Oh, really, just now? My goodness.” the judge snarks.  Awesome.  I love her dry tone.   David stands, buttoning his suit jacket. “My client would like to file an emergency petition for full custody of his son.”  What, Cary asks, surging to his feet. “Sit down,” the judge says, though no one listens. “On what grounds?”  Child endangerment, David answers. Now Alicia stands. “Carol is the primary caretaker!” she protests.

“That’s the emergency,” David insists, resolute. “This video will prove that Carol Mercer is an unfit mother.”  Oh God.  Because she had sex? You do know where babies come from, don’t you, David?  “Your Honor,” Cary stands up again; at least someone sat down at some point. “You already ruled the nanny cam video inadmissable.”  Only as to the viability of the post-nup, David Lee counters. “But child welfare trumps privacy.”  Then why didn’t you start with that?  Alicia just doesn’t seen how the alleged sex could constitute child endangerment.  Ugh.  So let me show you, David argues smoothly.   No matter how plausible Cary’s suggestion that this is a all a ruse, Judge Adelson has to look, because child endangerment really does trump everything.  “Just don’t make a meal of it, Mr. Lee,” she cautions.

Quick as thought, he sets up the laptop on her desk.  As we saw before, there’s panting, and shedding of clothes, Carol’s long blond hair swinging over her half naked back.  At her table, a humiliated Carol puts his head in her hands. “Sit up,” Cary whispers, “and don’t look ashamed. Okay?”  She complies. I can’t imagine how hard that would be; it’s excruciating just to think about.  Judge Adelson looks pained. As Carol crawls on top of her lover, we hear a small voice. “Mama!”  Oh, God. Carol doesn’t stop as the door to her room opens; there’s just more panting. “Okay, got it,” Judge Adelson declares, averting her eyes.  So embarrassing all around. Alicia gives David Lee a dirty look as he shuts the video off.

“I’ll hear testimony on Professor Mercer’s petition for full custody,” the judge declares. “Your Honor,” Alicia protests; Carol closes her eyes in horror. “What the video shows is unfortunate, but it doesn’t rise to the level of child endangerment.”  The judge just looks pained. ‘The video constitutes a facia showing of irresponsibility on the part of Mrs. Mercer,” David asserts. “Anthony and I have been friends for years – and it only happened once,” Carol pleads, defending herself.  “So you say,” David sneers.

“I’ll hear testimony on Professor Mercer’s petition for full custody,” the judge reiterates, slamming down her gavel.  The end. As Alicia heads out of court, Diane races in. “Alicia,” she calls out. “Yes. Always nice to see how Lockhart/Gardner works,” Alicia snipes, walking straight out without looking Diane in the eye.  Oh, come on.  Let’s be fair. You know how David Lee works, and you know Diane rarely controls him.

Knock knock!  Hi, Cary, it’s Kalinda, in a scaly black leather jacket, and she’s not in the mood for words.  It’s late, but is it ever too late for a booty call?  She’s betting on no.  She’d be right.

She knocks his strikingly modern table lamp right onto the floor in an effort to turn it off.   Soon enough clothes are flying in the semi-darkness, and Cary’s on the floor.  He reaches up to cup her face, and she pushes his hand away.  Suddenly, as with Will’s face in the morgue, we start seeing Cary in segments – his lips, his right eye – in between flashes of what sort of look like blood plasma.  Or wait, maybe that was Will?  And the flying mater, what the hell?  Is this a bodily fluid thing?  A traumatic flashback to the bloody crime scene?  The knowledge that Cary’s body beneath her still pulses with life or that Will’s doesn’t?  The whole muddle proves too much for Kalinda, who stands and backs out of the room.

And of all the crazy love scenes they’ve given Kalinda, that might just be the weirdest.

“Whenever I’m in town,” Asher Mercer explains on the stand, “and can be there to tuck him in, I wheel up to his bed and read to him.”  Cary rolls his eyes in appreciative disbelief. “When you aren’t in town?” David asks.  “He’s always on my mind,” Asher replies sanctimoniously, looking up.  Barf.  “Thank you. No further questions.”  Right, because that’s all there is to parenting!  Thinking about your child.  Yep.

Alicia and Cary stand up at the same time. “Let me cross,” she insists, book in hand, wearing a gray shark-like jacket atop a black skirt. “Why?” Carol’s gaze goes back and forth between them. “Because I have this,” she states, utterly confident.

“Mr. Mercer, would you describe yourself as a materialist?”  Ah, so the material world of the title isn’t merely a reference to the division of material assets in a divorce (and after a death, and between members of a law firm)?  His eyebrows wag. “Excuse me?” he asks, a bit supercilious. “Your book,” she says, holding the book aloft. “The Philosophy of Materialism. It describes you as a materialist. I’m just wondering if it’s accurate.”  Yes, he stammers, “That’s a – ah general term for the philosophy I teach.” Been doing a little light reading, I see. Hey, I’m sure it was flying off the shelves in California; they’re all about philosophy text books. “The basic contention of which is that all humans are a collection of atoms?” He winces at the phrasing. “That’s a very simplistic view of it,” he balks.  Give me the graduate level answer, then, she asks. “Do you have three hours?” he snarks, pompously. “Yes,” she answers, pitiless, and he just stares at her, mouth open.  Ha.  He’s really irritating.

“The … basic contention of empirical science,” he explains, checking to see if she’s following him through the first phrase (insufferable!), “is that the universe is knowable, and we are all made up of physical matter.”  Which is so hard to understand and clearly took three hours! Is that what overwhelmed Kalinda, Cary’s mortality?  The frailty of his physical matter?  (Did I just insult him?  Hmmm.) “Including the human consciousness?” Alicia wonders. Of course.  Is that so different from what Alicia herself believes?  Not that she can’t tear him apart on the stand for saying it either way. “Including whatever emotions we feel?”  David Lee sighs exaggeratedly, crossing his arms. “Your Honor,” Diane interjects.  Is Diane joining them for everything now, there to prevent a further inflammation of passions?  “I’m at a loss as to what this has to do with … anything?”

“The subject of this hearing is custody. Professor Mercer argued that he was a good parent.  And that my client was a bad parent based on the activities he videotaped. I’m just trying to figure out the components of his good parenting.”  By questioning his teachings, Diane wonders.  Yes, Alicia insists.  Seems fair enough.  “Get specific fast, counselor, unless you want the objection sustained,” the judge orders, so she does.

“Professor. Do you believe that free will is a fiction?”  Oh boy. No, he cries, frustrated. “Chapter Two, On Choice,” she read.  “‘The physical interaction of our atoms is the sine qua non of thoughts, feelings, actions. ”  Cary frowns; David Lee rolls his eyes. “We may believe we have free will, but it is in fact the illusion of free will.”  Wow, I have no idea how that concept of free will translates out of us being composed merely of atoms.  I guess I need to read up on materialism.  Is he positing that there is no self, no “will” to do the choosing?  (And augh, I’m getting so messed up between the whole “free will” and Will, freed of his contract, freed of his material presence on the show, freed from the constraints of money to choose the life he wants, other characters freed by his death the way that the movie Blue explores the concept of close deaths freeing us from a particular incarnation of ourselves. Too much!)  “Did you write that?” she pushes. That is the position I take in my book, he answers, oh so politically. “So it’s it’s not really a position you believe, the illusion of free will?”  Asher Mercer frowns. “Well, you’re taking my positions from a book and suggesting…?” Suggesting that he thinks there’s a way to practice them? “That’s how you’ll bring up your son, yes. Do you believe in right and wrong?”  Woah, watch out.

“Of course,” he spits out, tongue between his teeth. “In what way do you believe in right and wrong?” she refines the question, steely and implacable. “Objection, asked and answered,” Diane calls out. “No,” the judge cranes her head, her body still facing the witness, “he didn’t, really. ” She turns back, leaving Asher’s team to suck on that unpalatable (and unflattering) prospect. “You may answer,” she tells the witness as if delivering a gift.  That’s sure not how he takes it.  Asher Mercer: do you believe in right and wrong?

“If your son shoplifted a soda from a grocery store, why would that be wrong?”  Is Cary frowning harder?  Why yes. Perhaps it’s the edge in Alicia’s voice he’s worried about, because the line of questioning seems to be fruitful. “Because… it would impact the grocer’s business,” he guesses. “But why is that bad, if the grocer is made up of a collection of atoms?  Why does that matter?”  Asher nods; is he agreeing with her, or trying to reason his way out?  His face, when he turns back, is furious. “Because it’s wrong to hurt people.”  Alicia presses again, why is it wrong, and this time when Diane objects, the judge decides it really was an answer.  And so Alicia asks for – and is granted – a short recess.

Laughing, Finn Polmar asks someone if all the hoopla’s dying down.  Alicia?  No, it’s James ‘Jimmy’ Castro, hunched over his desk.  Some, he says, then adding with a self conscious flick of his eyes that the state Attorney General is pushing for a timeline on the Jeffrey Grant shooting. What, how so?  A timeline of events the day of, or leading up to, or what?  Also, they have an Attorney General in Illinois in addition to a State’s Attorney?  ( I looked it up.  They do.  And like Alicia, Will, and me, she’s Jesuit educated.)  “Bureaucracy,” he grumbles, opening up his hands. “They don’t get what we do here.” Okay, that’s suspicious.  He’s trying to establish camaraderie with Finn by casting the AG as the enemy, and why would he need to?  They’re already comrades. Plus, I think we could all say a few words about what the State’s Attorney’s Office does and how law enforcement in general can be a relentless machine that grinds up the innocent as well as the guilty.  Finn’s face twitches, awkward. “Could you put that together for me?” Jimmy James asks. Yeah, agrees Finn, sure.

Thanks, says the SA.  “Hey, when did you drop the professor as a suspect, by the way?”  Huh.  Somehow I hadn’t gotten the impression that Finn was around long enough to have been behind the dropping of the professor.  I mean, that happened last year when they discovered the DNA and Geneva Pine engineered Jeffrey’s arrest.  You can see Alicia’s words rattling around Finn’s head when he raises his face to look at his old friend. “When did I?”  Weaselly Castro turns his bald Observer-head and his butt-chin to face the man he’s planning to betray. “When was he,” he corrects, so affable.  “I don’t know,” Finn sighs, revealing nothing. “Let me, ah, take a look back.”  He thinks better of walking out on that questionable note. “Hey, we’re okay, right?” he asks. “Sure, what do you mean?” Castro replies.  I give you this, you play a good weasel, what’s your name, um, Michael Cerveris.  Your faithlessness is so very, very obvious beneath your reassuring lies.

Oh my God, that’s why he looks like an Observer to me; it’s not just the hair, he IS the Observer.  The main one, anyway. Facepalm!  I guess he looks different enough with facial expressions.

Ah well.  It’s not like Castro’s going to take the fall himself. What kind of challenge would that be? Finn is an obvious target within the SA’s office, since he was there at the time – although for my money, Geneva and the police bear a lot of responsibility .  Unless Castro can finagle a way to blame Peter?  No, he was already governor when Jeffrey was arrested.  “Nothing, we’re fine,” Finn grins, but as he shuts Jimmy-James’ door behind him, he pulls out his phone, looking for Maria to track down Alicia.

Speaking of down, that’s Jenna Villette’s head bobbing in bliss (bah), which means that Kalinda is out of the camera’s view.  It’s dark in this room, too – blinds down, no lamps.  “How did you know I was off today?” Jenna stammers, smiling, eyes closed.  “Lucky guess,” Kalinda proclaims, popping back up to kiss Jenna. “Shouldn’t you be working?” There’s no answer. “What happened with Jeffrey Grant?” Jenna tries again – I’m baffled at first because I can’t tell who’s asking or why, but when Kalinda gives a little warning (“Jenna!”) I figure it has to have been Jenna pressing about the confrontation in the holding cell.  As ever, we sense movement, shifts of weight, a weaving rhythm rather than the moving hands. They flip positions, Kalinda against the wall, but as Jenna kisses down her neck we see Kalinda flashing again on a brown eye and the blood floating in plasma.

And then it’s Asher Mercer’s downcast brown eyes and grumpy, jowly face in front of us.  “Before we left off, Mr. Mercer,” Alicia takes up her whip again, manic and bright, “you said you believed in right and wrong, and that it was wrong to hurt people.”  Seriously, he can barely look up.  He seems filled with both anger and shame, much like his wife had been.  What the hell else does he advocate in this book?  “Professor?” she prompts him. “I said that this is a custody hearing,” he blusters, sounding remarkably like Mitt Romney faced with a reporter who doesn’t stick to his preferred talking points. “My scientific materialism doesn’t apply here.”

“Chapter Five: On Morality,” Alicia reads. “Humans create value systems to organize the world.  Pleasure is good, pain is bad. Charity is good, murder is bad. But they are random, and in fact meaningless.”  Well.  Now that’s pretty different from what Alicia believes. I think. It’s also incredibly stupid, deliberately provocative, and reductive.  Is this what he truly believes?  Mercer presses his lips together, pouting, and Judge Adelson has to prompt him to answer. I do, he admits woefully.  So then, it’s arbitrary to hold Carol responsible for sleeping with someone else, isn’t it?  Her atoms made her do it.

Looking for a distraction, Diane rises to ask the judge about a bearded man sitting in the back of the court. Who is he and why is he there?  I find it hilarious that Alicia has to explain his presence, but she does. “Professor Thomas Nile, the leading non-materialist and Professor Mercer’s rival.”  I love how all the academic experts on this show have rivals.  Is this a requirement in the dialectic of the show? (Does Owen?  I would love love love to meet his nemesis.)  Also, did you see it?  Dramatic glasses removal alert! “Welcome, sir,” the judge smiles. “So. Professor.  You believe that your son Nico is nothing more than a product of his atoms?”  She looks profoundly saddened by this.  So does Professor Mercer, actually.

“My son is a glorious result of the miracle of nature,” he replies; Carol closes her eyes. “Yes,” Alicia agrees, “which means, a product of his atoms?”  Yes, Dr. Mercer whispers.  If you believe this, then why are you acting like it’s a great defeat to admit to it?  Why not sell us on the idea?  Shouldn’t David Lee have coached him to do this, as Cary told Carol not to be ashamed of having sex?  Instead they all just look guilty. “So when he dies?  What remains of him?”  Um, okay.  I get the morality bit as a parenting problem, I do, but this is dodgier territory.  I mean, we all know Alicia doesn’t believe in heaven; is she also a bad parent?  Not that she has to buy into a line of reasoning to follow it to it’s conclusion, it’s just too neat a piece of self-flagellation.

“He’s gone,” Mercer says softly, recovering his surety. “When someone dies, there’s nothing… left of them?” Alicia gulps, and Diane recognizes this for the emotional wreck it is. “That’s why I plan to value every moment with my son.  I will hold him and I will love him…”  and call him George?  I’m sorry, ruining the emotional moment, I actually said it out loud when this aired, my poor friend Mah having to listen to my ill-timed jokes – “and I will teach him.”  Teach him that all morality is arbitrary?  “To what end?  Why?” Alicia wonders, tears filling her eyes; from across the room, Diane watches her implode, empathy marking her face.

Out on the snowy streets of Chicago, Alicia stumbles blindly. Dr. Mercer will appreciate his son, the way Alicia won’t get another chance to appreciate Will. She gasps twice, her breath puffing out in two small clouds, before lowering herself down onto a bench outside the courthouse, gripping the arm as if she were aged or pregnant.  She doesn’t let go of the arm rest, her knees together, feet splayed, panting like a woman giving birth. And – what?  There’s music, which at first I think is a hallucination or memory, but turns out to be Grace’s old friend the dancing tutor, almost unrecognizably blond, wearing a scaly gold bodysuit under black shorts and yes, dancing with a boom box.  Wow. The oddness of it pulls Alicia out of her despondency. “Hey,” Jennifer smiles in awkward pleasure as she recognizes Alicia.   Alicia smiles back.

Still smiling, Jennifer bounces over and plunks down at the far side of the bench.  “How’s Grace?” she asks.  Good, good. Wow.  I wonder what today’s Grace would think of her old tutor?  And, wow. I am just blinded by that bodysuit.  It’s nuts, the scale-like ovals on it; she looks like a dragon. “That’s very brave out there,” Alicia observes. “Thanks,” Jennifer beams, then struggles for something to say. “I got arrested at Wrigley Field.”  Snort.  That might not be the perfect conversational gambit, but she seems quite proud of it – celebrating her uniqueness out in the world. “It was pretty cool.”  Alicia narrows her eyes, looks away from the solid gold dancer. “I think I made a mistake,” she says.

“What mistake?” Jennifer asks, genuinely curious. Alicia stares out at the snow, a pigeon fluttering behind her. “Being a lawyer,” she replies finally.

Oh.  Yeah, that’s a problem.  Why, I wonder?  Are you regretting pushing Mercer so hard? Is that really the mistake you mean? “You don’t like it?” Jennifer suggests. Interesting that of all people, it should have been Jennifer here; because Jennifer is so outside her world, Alicia’s free to be personal and honest when she’s normally neither of those things. She shakes her head. “No.  I don’t know. Sometimes I do.”  What would you do instead, Jennifer wonders.  Good question.  I have no idea. “I have no idea,” Alicia admits. “I wish I did.”

“Do you wanna dance with me?” Jennifer asks, wiggling.  Ha!  As if. No, Alicia replies flatly; it’s not even a question, but Jennifer shimmies a little and finger wiggles in hopes of changing her mind.  The funny thing is it would probably help a ton if she could let go enough to do it, but there’s no way.  “I think I’m going home now,” Alicia realizes, and gets up, her sleepwalking aura from last week firmly re-established.

Right in the door, and Alicia steps into her bedroom (which is weird, because her bedroom has never been just to the left of the front door before). She walks into the room, coat still on, dropping her keys on the floor. Sleepwalking. The coat slides down, and then she flips up the bed covers from the bottom and crawls into the dark.

“Mom,” Zach’s voice breaks in, and with it, light. “Diane Lockhart’s on the phone.”  Oh.  It’s really very bright, now that Alicia’s blearily peaking out from under the covers.  You’ve missed a few other calls, too, Grace adds.  Alicia can barely extend her fingers to take the phone from Zach, but when she does, her magically well-behaved children disappear. Somehow, she brings it to her ear without moving the rest of her body.

“Hello?” she says weakly, lying on her side. “I’m sorry to call you at home, Alicia,” Diane explains, twiddling with her glasses, “but you weren’t picking up your cell and your office didn’t know where you were.”  It’s okay, Alicia says, still unmoving. Sigh.  “Things are moving quickly here, and I don’t want us to lose momentum. I just need to know if we’re still thinking merger,” Diane asks.  I love the delicate emphasis she puts on that word, merger. “Can I call you back?” Alicia asks, barely able to concentrate on the words.  Her eyes are closed. “Alicia, if you’re trying to leverage this to get a better deal…”

“No,” Alicia exerts herself just this much to show she’s really not mucking with Diane. She bites her lips. “I’m a little under the weather.  Let’s talk when I’m feeling better.”  Oh. “Well, Alicia, can…” Diane begins, but Alicia’s hung up.  The timing of this breakdown isn’t very good, but when would it ever be?  Even though she was in court, Diane’s puzzled by Alicia’s behavior.

“Mom, you okay?” Grace asks. The perfect teens are back in their Stepford uniforms, side by side, filled with concern. “Yeah, do you want us to get you a Nyquil or something?” Zach offers. “I don’t know,” Alicia shakes her head.  “I’ll get you a Nyquil,” Zach decides, even thought the whole point of Nyquil is helping you sleep. Who wakes someone up to offer them sleep drugs?  (Don’t say it.  I know. A nurse.)  “You make her tea?” Zach asks Grace. She will.  Alicia just blinks and stares at the wall until her children have left and she can pull the covers back over her head.

“Alicia, where are you?” Finn Polmar types into his phone. Oh no.  He’s twitching uncomfortably in Castro’s office, waiting for his boss/buddy to enter.  Oh no, she’s sleeping through his meeting?  Whereas before he sat in a couch to the right of the SA’s desk, now he’s sitting across from it, formal and perhaps even adversarial.  It should be noted that this office is half the size of Peter’s, maybe less, though the door looks the same from the outside. Self-consciously, Finn shoves his phone into his suit pocket just before Mr. Jimmy-James lets himself in. “Ah, Finn, good,” he says. “This job is like building track in front of a bullet train.”  Ha.  I’ll bet. “You ready?” he asks, sitting down.  Sure is, boss.

“I’m sorry to drag you through this” Castro says with cheery ruthlessness, transferring the cap to the end of his pen. “Hey, no problem,” Finn says quietly. “So I went back through the Grant files, and I found a bunch of emails about Professor Delaney, rejecting him as a suspect,” he begins, handing over a clip board.  At Castro’s request he explains that this happened in October, whenever that is in relation to now, and Castro makes a note of it. “Good,” he nods. “Emails between you and Geneva.”  There it is – she’s the alternate scapegoat.  Or perhaps the other head that’s going to roll.  “No, between you and me,” Finn corrects him.  Oh.  Excellent.

Jimmy-James looks up, shocked. “Really?” he asks.  Oh yes.  How inconvenient. Yes, really, Finn replies.  “I guess you thought Dr. Delaney’s alibi was dodgy, but then Jeffrey Grant’s name popped up and all those concerns just disappeared.”  Oh wow; the cordiality is gone.  Jimmy-James flips through the stack of emails Finn’s given him, not looking up. “Well. I’ll have to go through my records,” he huffs. Indeed you will.  “Yeah,” Finn says, “that’s a good idea.”

“You know what we’re trying to do here, Finn?” Castro asks as Finn stands. “We’re trying to bring something to Chicago that it’s never seen – a State’s Attorney’s office that is fair.” He leans back in his leather chair.  “Fair in prosecution, investigation and sentencing.”  This is an excellent idea; forgive me if I don’t see it in the people who tried to plea bargain even when all the evidence against their suspect disappeared. Finn sort of snorts to himself, perhaps because this idea of parity seems to have arrived rather late for Jeffrey Grant, or perhaps because it’s an odd (not to mention self-serving and disingenuous) justification for scapegoating. “That’s why I’m here,” he agrees.

“Good,” Jimmy-James leans forward. “One of these days I’m gonna need your help.”  With, Finn wonders?  “I don’t get elected next year, this office will go right back to what it was.”  Oh, dude. Yes, Anikin Skywalker – only you can restore balance to the Force.  “Yeah, okay,” Finn nods, clearly disenchanted. “I’ll talk to you.” And this time, he really does go.

At first I assume the body in darkness under the gray comforter is Alicia, but it isn’t, because there are two bodies in this bed.  Kalinda rises in darkness and tiptoes through the shadows to Jenna’s filing cabinet (conveniently located in her bedroom).  Ooh, nice!  Was this an undercover mission?  I guess I can deal with her going back this once if it’s only to use Jenna.  (Wow. That sounded really mean.  It didn’t seem as mean in my head.)  Eventually, she curls up in a comfy chair, reading through Jenna’s files with a flashlight.  Must be a light sleeper, Detective Villette.

And there’s our girl, snapping into a conference room where Damian sits alone. Love the red leather vest, Kalinda; this week’s asymmetrical necklines are just the bomb.  He tries to ignore her, but once she’s seated across from him, he can’t resist. To what does he owe the pleasure?  Without a word, she slides a document across the table to him, and he obligingly picks it up. “What’s this?” he asks in lieu of reading it.

“It’s the copy of a retainer agreement for a new client that Diane just signed,” Kalinda crows, probably unnecessarily. “And she thinks this’ll save her?” Damian asks, still scanning the first page. “Think she does,” Kalinda smirks, with more delight on her face than we’ve seen in a long, long time. “William Donnelly?” Damian asks in a low voice.  Ha.  He’s gotten to the point, then.

“Yeah,” the investigator replies, her eyes wide, all innocence. “He has one of the biggest import/export businesses in your old neighborhood.” Hee. “Diane really wanted to represent them, so she offered them a discount to come aboard.”  Ha ha ha ha.  Oh, I just love seeing Kalinda take down her tormentor this way!  Now keep Jenna away, and I’ll be a happy girl.

He just cannot believe it. “He… come on board here?”  Ha ha ha.  Oh, I’m sorry, but there’s nothing to do but laugh, is there?  “Mmm hmm,” she smirks. “Lockhart/Gardner. Our newest client.”

He stares. “She can’t.”  Oh really?  Why not? “It’s done,” Kalinda replies. “A copy of the retainer agreement is in the mail to a friend of yours, Liam Garrity?”  Damian (lawyer of the Garrity crime family) stares daggers.  “His organization has had quite a few … disagreements with Mr. Donnelly over the years.”  Oh, I am loving this. “All of which have been sorted with some … struggle. Wonder how Mr. Garrity will view your firm supporting his competition?”  Oh, I think you know.  Damian leans back, smiling but still like a dog wanting to bite. “So how did you find out about me and the Garritys?” he shrugs, his jovial persona stretched thin.  Didn’t Will know that from the beginning?

“The copy was sent by express mail, by the way,” she tells him, unconcerned with his questions, savoring every moment. “So unless you fancy explaining yourself, you have about 18 hours to quit the firm.”  He holds on to that smile, knuckles white.  “Goodbye, Damian,” she trills, and only once she’s gone does he allow the mask to slip away.

And now there are flashlights and sirens and dead body in an abandoned building.  Oh God.  Surely even Kalinda didn’t want him dead. “People just think there are black hats and white hats,” someone says.  Huh?  OH.  It’s a television in Alicia’s bedroom, one I’ve never noticed before. “But there are black hats with white linings,” the scruffy faced cop from Darkness at Noon intones, skirting around a thick column with a tortured corpse tied to it with barbed wire. “And white hats with black lining.”  Or, I don’t know, 50 shades of gray?  “There are hats that change back and forth between white and black.”  Oh my God.  This would be badly written pretension as narration, but as dialog?  Ugh.  I’m actually starting to wonder when this was written and filmed, and if it’s referencing HBO’s gloomy, pretentious cop drama True Detective, which many critics anticipate will knock The Good Wife out of awards contention now that it’s being promoted as a drama instead of a miniseries.  Too soon for it to be a direct nod at that rivalry, probably, though not to mock the show itself.

Anyway. Doing her best zombie impression, Alicia stares at the screen. Grace – out of uniform – walks in just in time to hear Scruff Cop insist there are stripped hats.  Gag me with a spoon already! “Mom,” Grace says with a quick look at the television, “hey, do you want some dinner?” Cautiously, she reaches out to touch her mom’s shoulder.  “Evil rests in the soul of all men,” Scruff Cop muses.  Alicia doesn’t move. “I’m alright,” she says, glassy. “You sure?” Grace asks, at a loss. “You should probably just eat something.”  It would be very scary, seeing your mother – your rock – lost like this. “I will, later,” she slurs, eyes on the screen.  Grace turns again to watch it. “And there is nothing you can do, but curse God,” Scruff Cop over-emotes. Without even such meager comfort, Alicia closes her eyes.

“Thank you both for agreeing to sit down,” Cary Agos walks into Diane’s office with Diane and Carey Zepps. “Make it quick, I have work to do,” David Lee declares, having not bothered to get up.  As the two Carys sit in the leopard chairs, Diane asks for Alicia. “Oh, she asked me to step in for her,” Zepps covers.  Hmm.  I wonder how Diane takes that. Is she going to understand, or think this personal gamesmanship?  It’s so rare that we can take ourselves out of the equation; we’re always assuming other people are thinking about us when they’re so often not.

“We’re willing to compromise on the divorce settlement,” Cary begins.  Huh. “We’re not,” Alpha Dog David gloats. Both Car(e)ys huff. “David,” Agos begins, “both our clients have been bloodied here, and there’s no way to predict which way the judge will go.”  Indeed, but he’s already proved he couldn’t care less about bloodying either client, has he?  “Professor Mercer will honor the terms of the post-nup regarding child support and alimony,” Zepps suggests, “in return our client will grant him a swift and uncontested divorce so he can remarry.” How is that different from what anyoneyou propose before?  “It’s a win win.”

“Here’s my counter,” David says, eyes rolling up to the ceiling. “No proceeds from the book, no alimony, massive reduction in child support…” which seems like taking it out on the miracle child Asher loves so much, no?  “Or you can get the hell out of here.”  Outside the office, Kalinda nods at Diane, who then turns to her former subordinates. “Your proposal is accepted, Cary,” she says. Or should that be Carey?  Gah.  David looks like he’s about to eat his lips. He bursts out of his chair, not looking at anyone. “Diane, a word?” he barks, popping over to the door.

Coolly, Diane follows him. “I don’t know what you think you’re doing,” he accuses her. “I’m making an executive decision,” she declares. “I’m the ranking partner here.” She’s fiddling with her glasses again. “Not for long,” he snaps, “I have the votes.”  You had the votes, she replies, oh so cool. “You just lost one.”  What, he squeaks, livid. “You lost one vote,” she repeats. “You’ll have a hard time finding your friend Damian for tomorrow’s partner meeting.  Or any other one.”  His jaw seems to be turning to stone. “You think I’m bluffing?  Go. Check.”

“You make a deal with Alicia?” he sneers. “Half the partners will rebel.”  Will they?  “I make a deal with Alicia and bring Chum Hum back into the tent?  Half the partners will be too busy counting their bonus money.”  Um, keep your voice down, Diane!  Cary and Carey know nothing of this, and the prospecting of sharing Chum Hum with their old overlords is not exactly going to thrill them. And that’s when David dips into the unforgivable. “You’re no Will Gardner, Diane,” he sneers. “Don’t hurt yourself trying to be.”  What the flippity frack does that mean?  Sounds like a lot of sexist nonsense.

The challenge delights Diane, who snickers. ‘Well then fasten your seat belts.”  How many does he need?  An extra for his giant ego, perhaps? “We’re heading for a lot of hurt.” Thanks, Bette Davis.

Kalinda’s walking down a snowy Chicago street when a black car careens around the corner behind her like something out of Darkness at Noon, coming to an abrupt stop in front of her own SUV.  It’s Jenna, and oh, dear.  Kalinda tilts her head as Jenna stomps toward her, ready to explain, but it’s too late – Jenna hauls off and slaps her, hard. Kalinda staggers almost into her car door from the force of it; an elderly couple crossing the street observe, but keep walking.  Without a word, Jenna runs back to her car and peels away.

Silent St. Alicia lies flat on her back, listening to the television instead of watching it. “Pigs in mud,” Scruff Cop intones.  Dude, does this guy ever shut up?  “It’s all we are,” he adds, dragging himself up a tenement staircase. “God looks down…”  Though his talent for bloviation seems limitless, our time for listening has come to an end. “I’m sorry to bother…” a voice comes through the hall – Finn Polmar’s voice. “I just need to ask a question. I’m a client.”  Quickly, Alicia clicks off the television, though she can’t quite bring herself to sit up. “Uh, oh, I’m sorry, she’s really sick right now,” Grace explains. “Grace, it’s okay,” Alicia calls out, and does force herself into a sitting position. She uncovers her legs, tucking them close to her chest (making herself less vulnerable, somehow?), and fiddles with her (relatively) matted hair. ”

“Hey,” Finn replies from the doorway, quiet and genuinely sympathetic. “You okay?”  She gulps. “I’m sorry, there’s … no excuse for missing your meeting.”  Finn stares a moment, right hand spread wide over his own belly. “No, no, please, if you’re sick, you’re sick.” Still, she’s emotional.  “I should have called,” she apologizes. It’s fine, he repeats, and then he leans against the wall. “I just … should I be hiring another lawyer?”  Oh, those puppy dog eyes. “No, no,” she shakes her head. “I just … I needed a day…” there’s no honest explanation she give, and yet she can’t lie to him. “I just needed to sort through some things. I’ll be well,” she finishes brightly.

Those eyes, they see her. “Will really mattered to you,” he realizes, and it very nearly wrecks her. “Yes,” she blinks, voice thick. “Look, ah,” he offers, hesitant at first before deciding and walking a little closer to the bed.  “My wife and I lost a child,” he says gently. She looks up, startled. Such weird intimacy, their conversations.  “A… miscarriage.  It doesn’t get solved quickly.  And you can’t just shake it off, so … if there’s anything I can do…”  Thanks, she whispers, and I can’t help tearing up again. “I mean, I know people always say that,” he says, eyes cast down, “but, um… I mean it.”  People like Castro, yes. I love the particular way Finn drags out his words.  He meets Alicia’s eyes as he finishes the sentence. “I know you do,” she agrees.  As they nod at each other, something wordless passes between them yet again, this strange kinship of trauma and loss and understanding. “I’ll see you soon,” he smiles, and leaves.

Leaves, that is, only to run into Peter at the front door.

“Hello?” the governor frowns, a guard pacing the halls behind him. I’m sure he loves this. “I’m Finn Polmar,” Finn introduces himself.  “I’m Peter Florrick,” Peter introduces himself at his most intimidating. “Yes, the governor, I know,” Finn practically blushes, “I voted for you.”  Peter nods. “Good to know,” he says. “Your wife was just helping me with a case,” Finn adds, bringing a round smile to Peter’s face.  “Well then you’re in great hands,” he grins. “Yeah,” Finn notes, carefully measuring this change of tone before heading out.

And as Peter closes the door behind her welcome visitor, Alicia steps out into the hall and glares at her husband as she heads for the kitchen.  What is she doing – washing a glass?  Pretending she’s fine?

“Are you alright?” Peter asks, following her in.  Why is everyone always asking me that, she snaps.  Did she snap into this sudden action because she didn’t want to be vulnerable in front of Peter?  Because sitting there in her bed suddenly felt too exposed?  He shrugs, hands in his pockets. “Oh,” he says. “You missed the Founders Dinner, and I was worried about you.”  Huh. I had assumed that the kids called him, actually; instead of concern, this sounds like a guilt trip.  She stands over the sink, water glass in her hand,  her frame hunched, her face a wreck.  “I’m sorry,” she says without looking at him. “I don’t often ask you to come to these political events,” he adds (really, because she was at one yesterday) and she has no tolerance for it. “I’ll come to the next one,” she barks.

One hand comes out of his pocket to illustrate his words. “Alicia, the way you’re handling this Will thing…”  Oh my God, he didn’t just go there. Why would he do that?  “I’m doing my best,” she grits through her teeth, still staring into the sink, still holding the glass without drinking from it. “Oh, well, then,” he snarks, returning his hand to his pocket, “if this is your best then I think we need to talk.”

And now she does look at him; her eyes are murderous, hollow.

It’s hateful, but he doesn’t back down. “Look, you lost a friend,” he says, stepping forward to the other side of the island. “You didn’t lose your child. You didn’t lose your husband.” He thumps his chest gently with his right hand.  Despite her obvious rage, her voice is calm and controlled. “I lost my husband a long time ago,” she tells him, spiteful, and he reacts with predictable rage.  “Oh, oh my.” He has to compose himself, and when he does, the judgmental pointing has begun. “You can not go back there,” he thunders. “I don’t have to,” she says, laying on the drama. “I’m still living it. Every day.”  I don’t actually think that’s true, but he was so beastly – and she’s so wrecked – that I think she’s saying whatever will get him away from her (and off the topic of Will) the fastest.

“Oh, my,” he starts to almost curl into himself with fury, ready to pound on the island. “How many times to I have to tell you,” he says, voice shifting from a whisper to a bellow, “when I cheated, it didn’t mean anything.”  Something in his words frees her from her statue-like pose at the sink, letting her walk and even set down the glass. “Well then that was a waste – because when I cheated it did.”

They stare at each other, breathing hard. “Well I can’t compete with a dead man,” he declares, “but if you think your life would have been better with Will, you’re kidding yourself.”  How does he mean that, I wonder?  Does he mean Will would have cheated?  Or wouldn’t have made her as successful?  What?  “Stop it Peter!” she puts her hand up, returning to the sink, because it’s better there, better with the island between them. Except he won’t stop. “No. Because I won’t let you throw away this marriage because you have some idealized notion of a man you’re not even sure cared about you.”  She spins around to stare at him.  “You bastard!” she cries. “And you’re a selfish bitch,” he snaps back, leaning forward into the words, slamming his hand into the island. “But you know what? We’re all that we have.”

Wow, Peter, way to sell the relationship.  Sign me up right now!  She stares at him, stunned, before stumbling back into the range. Is that true? God, that’s true, you can see her thinking, collapsing into tears. Looking ashamed of himself, Peter takes a step back as well. Seconds later she’s already swallowed her weakness, sniffling it down.  “No,” she says in a normal voice, shaking her head. “Not any more.”  He turns back, his eyebrows forming a question. She breathes an experimental breath, then moves forward to lean both arms against the island. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to divorce you,” she tells him, her tone easy. Yikes.  That’s a frightening opening for a husband to hear. “You’re too valuable to me professionally, just like I am to you.”

Now he really is puzzled.

“But we’re not going to see each other anymore.  Not unless we have to.”  He can’t believe she’s saying this.  You can just see him thinking it – how did she not understand what he was trying to say? “You need me at a political event, you call the office. My assistant will put it on my calendar.”  He wags his eyebrows at her, attempting a bit of charm. “Really?”  “I’m not finished,” she bleats, emotion leaking into her tone but just as quickly stifled. “You are free.  To see and sleep with whomever you like. But I don’t want to know,” and here she does get serious, “and under no circumstances are our children to know.”  He just stares, trying to figure her out. “Understood?”

He leans forward. “Is this because you want to sleep with someone else?”  Oh my God, you ass.  You are just determined to break any good will we have toward you, aren’t you?  How can you possibly think that?  You are having a fight about her dead ex-boyfriend!  I can’t even.

Oh, God.  It’s Finn.  Will’s hardly cold in his grave, and perpetually jealous Peter’s already seeing a new threat in Finn, just from proximity. She can’t even, cringing. “Get out of my house, Peter,” she winces, wiping her nose on her sleeve. “Get…” and she charges from the room, because she cannot be in his presence for even one moment more.   He remains, bewildered by loss.  You can see him wondering just how it ended up so badly.  (Stay tuned. I’m happy to tell you.)

Stabbing a finger into an address book, David Lee dials his phone.  Who knew he had something so old fashioned as a – well, it might be a book with slots for business cards, actually. Still.  David Lee dials his office phone. “”This is David Lee at Lockhart/Gardner, do you have a minute?” The answer provokes a wicked chuckle. We follow the back of a man’s head down the street. “What do you think about a merger?”  And, ah ha – it’s not the first man at all (who looks something like Finn Polmar), but Louis Canning who pops into view from the opposite direction. “What do I think? I think… that sounds interesting.”

Agh!!!!  Man.

Okay.  First.  Somewhere in the middle of this episode, my friend Mah turned to me and said “You know, Diane should just go work with Cary and Alicia.”  And oh my God.  I’m trying not to be too in love with this idea, because whenever I think something’s coming I’m wrong, but this would solve a lot of balance issues right now in the show.  I mean sure, I’d miss the set, but if Kalinda came too, we don’t have any other reason to be at Lockhart/Gardner.  We could see David and Howard in court.  Cary and Alicia don’t have to go back to feeling like underlings, Diane gets to be the Stern of the group, she gets to feel like a lioness instead of the gazelle, the new firm feels a little more gender balanced…  I just don’t know if she can give up on something with her name on it in exchange for a better quality of life.  And I never expect that the writers and I will be thinking the same way. But maybe this time, since it wasn’t actually my idea?  Because despite myself, I’ve already fallen for the idea.

And that’s in part because the proposed merger?  I can’t see that flying.  Even if Cary Agos goes for it (which I highly doubt) no one else is going to.  I don’t see Canning as a true part of the firm, either.  I mean, that’s a fine stunt but it doesn’t seem workable – it doesn’t feel like a good long term plan for the show.  Much as I enjoy Canning in small doses he sucks all the oxygen out of the room, and I really, really didn’t sign up for the Michael J. Fox Show.  That already flopped.

What next, what next?  After loudly assuring everyone she’s not going to break down, Alicia breaks down.  Well.  Who can blame her?  I wonder what her kids thought was going on.  Did they think she was just sick, or did they know?  Seeing them take care of her with such sweet, gingerly delicacy was touching.  I’m a little surprised they didn’t freak out enough to call their Dad or Veronica or Owen, but then, they are their mother’s children.  We don’t need help, no siree.  We don’t depend on anyone.  But for the future, I would love to see her processing everything’s that going on.  I hope in next week’s episode, there’s less comatose Alicia, less stiff upper lip Alicia, and more actual self-examination.

And, speaking of Alicia and her emotions, wow.   The conversation I’d describe as Peter’s attempt at tough love (if I’m being nice, anyway; if I’m not being nice, I’d call it brutal, bitter possessiveness) failed utterly to return our heroine to her former self.  Talk about snap decisions made while mourning!  But Peter didn’t exactly offer her a bright future.  And you’re a selfish bitch, but we’re all we have.  Gee, I just don’t know why that failed to win her over!  Those are some seriously romantic and heartfelt words there.  Didn’t you just swoon?

It amazes me, really, that Peter can be so intuitive at work, such a smooth talker with strangers, and take such a consistently thoughtless (and counter productive) tact with his wife.  It’s like he doesn’t see her at all.  Not that this is all that unusual, I suppose (most men don’t know how to handle a woman in an emotional crisis) but it’s like he’s got an anti-genius for it.  She’s his Achilles heel; even his virtues turn into vices around her. I guess Peter’s made peace with being a bastard, but somehow he doesn’t understand that Alicia doesn’t aim to be a selfish bitch.  I was watching a fascinating gender discussion on Charlie Rose Wednesday night, all about how girls learn how to be nice and well-behaved in elementary school, how we fall in line, but then are set adrift after college because the outside world doesn’t value that, because we’re trained for the wrong thing, and I can’t even handle how true that is.  (You can watch this here: fast forward until about the half hour mark.) And you can see it in Alicia, because she still, after everything, wants to define herself a something good which is rather hard to do when you’re married to a politician and working as a high profile lawyer.

I do think making Asher Mercer (and really, what’s with the internal rhyme?  ugh, so clunky) a materialist philosopher to force Alicia to deal with her atheism in the face of Will’s death – in the horrifying notion that Will is now nothing – was a little too on the nose.  Not that being an empirical materialist isn’t a bit more extreme than being an atheist since it (or at least Mercer’s version) claims to transcend cultural notions of morality, but still, it was clear where they were going with it.  That probably could have been a bit less obvious. Unless the point was for the audience and Diane and Cary to watch Alicia in that courtroom and know it was coming, to look at her with pity as she boxed herself right in with the witness.

It was a really odd and unexpected thing to have Jennifer the dancing tutor outside the courthouse just at that moment, and to have Alicia wonder in her presence whether she’d made a mistake in her career choice.  I’m curious – were you expecting her to describe the mistake as a work one, or a personal one?  I sort of assumed she was freaking out about Will because she didn’t cherish the miracle that was him when she had the chance.  Does this mean that instead, she was regretting ripping apart a witness with a belief system like her own, implying he couldn’t love his child when she knows how much she loves her own?  Or did she just not want to be confronting anything at that point, not her life, not the horrible divorce, not the malicious forces (ie David Lee) who refuse to let anything go smoothly, who make everything a battle.

So, sorry, back to Peter and Alicia’s fight.  I wanted to smack him around quite a bit.  Why couldn’t he leave well enough alone?  The sanctimonious way he gestured to himself as someone she might reasonably fall apart over losing!  Ugh.  Granted, it was gratuitous of her to throw his broken vows back in his face, but you can see her defensiveness – she just wanted to make him stop, to deflect his ire onto a safer topic.  And instead, these two people who we’ve seen all episode choose their words so carefully, with such precision of placement, push each other over the brink.

From a dramatic point of view, I really really hate that we’re back to a stasis position.  She’s not going to be with him, but she won’t divorce him either. It makes sense, but ugh. Not like divorce is so great, but I think we’ve all been hoping to see her move forward emotionally, not back, either with Peter or without him.  It’s so frustrating.  I guess this preserves the chance of a later reconciliation, but again, that could be accomplished anyway.

I will be very curious to see if he starts living it up, though.

Oh.  Wait.  Speaking of which, do you consider Alicia’s fling with Will cheating?  She had thrown Peter out, she was talking to David Lee about a divorce, she told Peter it was done for good and thought that she meant it.  If she’d gone ahead with the divorce, would  we consider it cheating?  Is it fair to count it as cheating retroactively, because her story with Peter turned out not to be over?  I don’t quite know how I feel about this.

Still speaking of living it up, do we think that Kalinda seeking out Jenna after failing with Cary says anything about her sexuality?  Or is that she could push past her very odd blood plasma freak out because she needed to use Jenna to save Diane?  Did things not work with Cary because he’s too like Will, or because she likes him too much to be with him and eventually lose him the way she lost Will? (I’m so hopeful that this is the last we see of Jenna in a romantic capacity.)  What do you think that odd, pulsing clip was supposed to be, anyway?  Her own mortality?  Will’s body and blood? I’m happy to see her get rid of Damian, too.  It was like having the old Kalinda back a little, even if she did use sex to get the information needed to set the trap. Seriously, what do the writers have against her brain?  It is by far the most interesting part of her.

Gosh.  Is there anything else?  What’d I miss?  Who’s head is going to roll for Jeffrey Grant’s prosecution?  Is it reasonable to blame the SA’s office (or the police) for his actions?  Does Ned Grant have a case?  And if so, against whom?


38 comments on “The Good Wife: A Material World

  1. Kate says:

    I never thought Alicia “cheated” on Peter (although it is interesting to ponder whether she felt she was cheating – either at the time or after the fact). The fact the she and Peter were separated when she was sleeping with Will, excuses her in my mind even if they did later reconcile.

    I find it perplexing that she wants to hang onto to a sham of a marriage. I guess it is professionally advantageous to her fledging law firm but in every other way it seems so hurtful and sad. Why does she want to live this way? Does she still care about Peter’s career? Is she worried about the scandal of divorce? Is she still trying to protect the kids?

    Thanks again for a wonderful recap!

    • E says:

      I wouldn’t have called it cheating either. I was surprised that she did – but maybe I shouldn’t be, since she tends to see things in their worst possible light.

      And oh my gosh yes. Does she really want a sham marriage for the rest of her life?

      Thanks for reading and writing in, Kate!

  2. I always love your recaps but this is my favorite. We actually agree on everything

  3. anonatty says:

    Thanks for this great recap and reaction.

    I love how the episodes since “Dramatics, Your Honor” look and feel so different from everything that came before. The pacing is slower, the colors duller. The mood reflects Alicia’s grief. The audience is grieving along with her, and we’re struck by the same lack of answers, the same feelings of regret. It’s great television, but, at the same time, it’s tough to watch. I appreciate what the Kings are trying to do here: showing the reality of sudden, irredeemable death. There is no meaning, no answers. I get it, but how does Alicia (and how do we) move on from here? The cultural rituals and ceremonies that are supposed to help us through were apparently lacking. The absurd funeral (which we thankfully skipped) failed to fulfill that purpose, obviously. I trust that the writers will get us there, surely by the end of the season, but it is tough going through this process with Alicia. I suppose there were a few more light moments in this episode than in the last, and I expect that trend will continue.

    In this episode, Alicia was dealing with the big, existential questions. Her cross-examination of the professor was harrowing. And his final answer — that all we can do is love people for as long as we have them — seemed designed to cause Alicia (and the audience) maximum pain and regret in light of the way she treated Will. I’m not sure I really understood her statement outside the courthouse. She is speaking to the dancer (her polar opposite in terms of worrying about appearances and the expectations of others), and she admits to having made a mistake, which, after a long pause, she reveals to have been her decision to become a lawyer. Now, I have practiced law for almost nine years, so this has me interested. I can’t believe her problem is that being a lawyer has led her to make too many ethical compromises. Despite our reputation, my experience litigating (primarily) civil cases on behalf of (primarily) large corporations and then as in-house counsel suggests that clients make more such compromises than do their attorneys. We are often put in the position of advocating for greater disclosure to shareholders or counseling the business side against taking actions they pose too many legal risks. In other words, we are usually the ones reining in the clients. This would also seem to be true of criminal lawyers. And if Alicia’s problem is that she has had to compromise too much in order to zealously represent questionable clients, then the answer is to be more choosy about whom she represents. She has the power to do that now that she is a partner, though at some financial cost. These are the same issues that all those engaged in commerce must grapple with. It’s certainly not unique to lawyers. Of course, litigation is, by its nature, an adversarial endeavor rather than a cooperative one. A lot of people have a problem with that, and perhaps that is what Alicia regrets, but I don’t think that’s it. She’s a competitive person, and I think she enjoys the in-court and out-of-court battles. So I am actually of the view that her mistake had nothing to do with her choice of profession and everything to do with her passivity and emotional need to avoid messes (to be the opposite of her mother). But maybe I’m rationalizing.

    • E says:

      Anonatty, I love your legal insights here! It would certainly make sense that a lawyer would be constantly pushing their client toward more ethical/legal behavior. I think you’re quite right – the show fashions their lawyers as slaves to their clientele, which is probably too slanted a view.

      Like you, I have trouble thinking it’s really her career that she regrets. I definitely agree that she likes the competitive aspect of litigation. I say it all the time – Alicia really needs to have a conversation with herself about which definition of Good she’s going to follow. Is it all about making money at whatever cost? About personal happiness, about ambition, about power, about appearances? I’d love to see her figure out that she can do it her own way, that she can choose that definition for herself. Anyway, I don’t think you’re rationalizing that at all. I think in that particular moment, her job hit too close to home.

      Lots of shows bog down over the transition you were talking about – when and how do you grieve the right amount? After the mass shooting on Grey’s Anatomy, the post traumatic stress went on forever. And never mind the agony that was The Killing! So yeah. How do you give Will his due, but make the show something people still enjoy watching? That’s just another cruddy gift from this storyline I wish we didn’t have to deal with. Not to sound too pessimistic. I really like your point about the muted colors that emphasize the gloominess of Alicia’s new world – I think the only ones that really stood out were Kalinda’s red top and, of course, Jennifer’s deliberately over the top gold body suit. It really is a dark place we’ve found ourselves in.

    • E says:

      I’ve been thinking about this a lot – especially in relation to the whole Confidence Code stuff I mentioned, talking about women in the workplace and the way women perform better than men in school but not in their careers. I wonder if Alicia simply thinks she has to follow this track – that top lawyers will represent anyone no matter what the moral issue involved – instead of truly forging her own path.

      Of course it’s most likely that this is just the showrunner’s vision, something they do to make things as dramatic as possible. That’s a lot less satisfying as an answer for behavior, though. 🙂

  4. Starli says:

    I love your recap, E. My emotions were running pretty high after this episode and it didn’t help when it turned into a blow-out on twitter, so I pretty much feel that I’ve lost my perspective on this episode, especially because I’m coming at it from Cary’s side, which hardly seems to be in the episode. Hence the blow-out on twitter. But it’s so lovely to read your thoughts and consider everything that went on and appreciate this show for what it is, even if it’s driving me up the wall.
    First things first, I’m having a lot of trouble with Alicia right now and I’m glad you touched upon it in your recap. I literally seethed all episode, that neither Diane or Alicia seemed to consider anyone else in their idea to maybe merge. It would have been nice if Diane could have at least had a thrown in line along “talk it over with Cary” or something. After all just last episode she talked with Cary as a name partner of F/A to not take that client she was dumping. She should know that even though she’s lost her partner, Alicia hasn’t. And she always liked Cary. I mean, especially in the first season that was kind of the dynamic, Will-Alicia and Diane-Cary, and it continued that way at least in some form. Just look at the structure in 5×05, where Will and Alicia have their argument and later Diane has hers with Cary.

    And of course that leads to Alicia. I know that she’s going through… well, something right now, but it’s bothering me that even if she never considered the merger very seriously, she did seem to at least kind of, and it apparently never crossed her mind that she was dealing with a whole lot more than just her life. This is going to sound a little weird, but she jumped onto a made ship. Cary had decided to leave, very deliberately, and he had rounded everyone up, made decision on office space and investigators and what not along with everyone else and in the last second Alicia decided to join for her own reasons. There’s nothing wrong with that, but even after that, Cary continued to act as a go-between between her and everyone else, because she never was a part of their group, that left because of the way LG treated them. After all she got her partnership. So it’s driving me nuts, that she can’t even talk to Cary, whose name is on the door and whose supposed to be her partner, about potentially dragging them all back their, for nothing but her own personal reasons. And quite frankly it makes me think that Alicia shouldn’t be anybody’s boss, which isn’t something I’d have thought before. She’s considering turning everybody’s life on their heads by making a unilateral decision and I’m not taking it very well.

    And then there’s Kalinda. I wish we could have seen Cary react to that booty call gone wrong. I mean, he doesn’t know it yet, but he got screwed – or rather not – twice in one episode, because of the way these two women are handling Will’s death and while I personally think that Kalinda bolted because she cared too much (and I’m very decidedly not a Kalinda/Cary-shipper), what she did to him wasn’t exactly pretty and she then went off to sleep with some one else. It would have been nice if it could have been acknowledged that Cary’s not just a player in Kalinda’s storyline, he’s a main character who should be allowed to react to things. And the bitter is showing again, sorry.

    The fight between Alicia and Peter was ugly and I honestly have no idea, why Peter’s doing what he’s doing. The only thing I can come up with is his line “I can’t compete with a dead guy”. I’m guessing that he’s afraid, that now that Will’s dead Alicia’s going to idolize him and their relationship, which to be fair is actually happening a little. Now that it can never happen, it’s easy to tell herself that everything would be so much better if she’d just chosen Will, because she’s never going to have to deal with all the real life things or figure out if their relationship would survive the day-to-day stuff, which is what he meant, I think, by “but if you think your life would have been better with Will, you’re kidding yourself”. I don’t think he’s saying that Will would have cheated, that it’s somehow inevitable, just that it wouldn’t have been this fairytale that’s so easy to imagine, it would have been real life and that while she can’t imagine it now after his death, she would have been annoyed and pissed at him, too, every now and then. Because that’s life. Now what that god-awful question, if she wants to sleep with someone else, is about, I can’t even guess, except that he’s apparently lost all reason in his quest not to loose her to a memory of Will, because that’s just… gah! Idiotic Peter. He has such a hard time sitting by and I can kind of see, how it might seem dangerous to leave her to her grief, because we all know Alicia doesn’t handle emotions very well, but he really is going about it in the worst way possible and with some of the things he’s doing I’m having a very hard time drumming up sympathy for him.

    Oh, and no, I don’t think what Alicia did was cheating. She kind of toed the line beforehand, but she only started with Will after she kicked out Peter, so that definitely wasn’t cheating as far as I’m concerned. Mostly I think she just jumped on that word, because Peter used it, not to define her relationship with Will. Of course, being Alicia, she might consider it cheating after all. Either way I don’t think it’s something she feels bad about, so I don’t think it really matters what label she puts on it in that sense.

    To end this on a positive note I am so impressed with how they have handled Will’s death in general in the sense that it feels true to the tone of the show. It always astonished me, how much it felt like it was dealing with things in real-life time (as impossible as it is to have it stick to a real-life-timeline). It never feels like it’s a twist in a TV Show, that you (and the characters) are only half reacting to, because the next one is already coming around the corner.

    • E says:

      Hey Starli! This is a tough episode to watch as a Cary fan (because he was so marginalized) and a Peter fan (because, duh). I hope you don’t mind – I’m going to break my responses into smaller chunks so you’re not waiting forever to hear back from me.

      It’s a really valid point, that Alicia is (or could be) romanticizing her attachment to Will now that there’s no possibility of actually being with him. There’s no prose now, it’s all unrealized poetry. Of course, we don’t know exactly what Alicia is grieving since even in her most anguished state she’s still not actually talking about it. So you can see in Peter not only some potentially smart thinking but also some understandable concern for his marriage.

      BUT. The fact that he can on the one hand chastise her for being inappropriately prostrate over Will’s death, and within minutes accuse her of wanting a new lover? It’s such a misunderstanding of her character, I can’t even. What is brilliant about this show is that you really do see how smart, thoughtful people with good intentions go so terribly wrong. It’s like watching your friends make horrible mistakes, or hearing something come out of your own mouth that you desperately want to take back as soon as you’ve said it.

      Okay. More on Cary and the firm (where I will basically just agree with everything you’ve said) when I’ve finished coloring Easter eggs with my kids. 🙂

      • Starli says:

        No, this really wasn’t a good episode to be a Cary-fan. I’ve been debating re-watching it, now that I know what’s going to happen, but I think it’s only going throw fuel on the fire, so I’ll probably wait until I know how they’re going to handle the potential merger in the future. If Cary gets to be as pissed about this as he should be and call Alicia on how lousy it is to consider this without ever talking about it, I’ll take everything back and claim the opposite. But more on that on in the Cary-related part.

        When I talk about Alicia romantacizing her relationship with Will, I mostly think of that last last phone call from 5×16. She’s also distancing herself from Peter from the second she knows, which of course has everything to do with her griefing for a guy she has feelings for. It’s interesting to me that her instinct is to push Peter away to protect the memory she has of Will (man, am I wording this badly), rather than protect her marriage by ignoring those feelings for Will. She did choose Peter before and seemed happy with him. And I can’t help but find it funny, that they were actually in a pretty good place and then Will died, removing the threat permanently, and that’s what caused them to fall apart. Clearly Alicia needs to exame her feelings and figure out what she wants, because she’s nowhere near as okay with her previous decision as she should be. I really hope they do that soon, because it’s frustrating to watch and I admit I’m loosing my patience with her.

        I hope you have a good time with your kids. Happy easter!

    • E says:

      Okay, now on to Cary. First, Cary and Kalinda. After the second viewing, I think that Kalinda went to Jenna the following day, which was not my initial impression. Anyway, I feel marginally better about her not going right from one paramour to another. I think it’s quite possible that there was too much of an emotional component with Cary and that’s why she couldn’t go through with it, but it was a really sad and miserable thing to see. And then, how much of her liaison with Jenna was about using Jenna? I almost don’t know which motive would say worse things about Kalinda. I don’t love Cary and Kalinda together either (though I’d far rather see that then Jenna); it’s intriguing to me that Kalinda’s all about sex yet no matter how many partners the writers try her with, there has yet to be one that makes most fans happy.

      And the merger idea. Frankly, it’s a ridiculous and terrible idea. None of Alicia’s partners would go back! I have trouble imagining that Alicia herself would want to go back. What is she thinking? I guess the answer is that she’s not thinking at all – at first she was drunk, and then she was catatonic with grief. Still, I don’t know how her first thought isn’t talking it over with Cary – but then again, avoiding the important conversations with the key people in her life has always been Alicia’s defining character flaw. That’s just what she does; the more important the conversation is, the less likely she is to have it. Why would her partnership with Cary be any different than her marriage? Hopefully we’ll see her growing in that way too. Cary’s so solicitous and intuitive and so good at calling her on her avoidance; maybe they’ll do better than her other attempts.

      I am trying hard not to hope that Diane joins Florrick/Agos, but I really think that would be the ideal solution. I don’t see rejoining LG as either a smart or an enjoyable move for the F/A team. I don’t even see why Diane would want to be there, other than the fact that her name is over the door. Or her initial, anyway. As you noted, she’s always had a strong relationship with Cary, and this episode shows her suddenly treating Alicia as a colleague instead of a competitor. There are good possibilities there.

      Of course, that’s probably too ideal to be anything they do. 😛

      • Starli says:

        Kalinda is such a difficult topic for me, especially when she’s put with Cary. I love her being a badass, but I just can’t root for someone as troubled as her to be with anyone who really cares for her, especially since it doesn’t seem like the writers want to tackle her issues. I think it comes down to something similar to Alicia’s problem, that I’m just running out of patience with her. I can understand that clearly there’s more going on than we know (plus the godawful Nick story), but at some point you have to figure out what you want and swallow your fears to get it. Or not, depending on whether she even wants to lower those walls of her. But it seems like she’s treading water and I could be okay with that, except that it seems to be all about Kalinda and not at all about how that effects Cary, so it’s frustrating to watch. I know quite a few Cary-fans, who ship them and they’re actually pretty excited about that scene, but honestly I don’t really care about how this might be good for them in the long run and how she just needs more time, because as far as I’m concerned Cary deserves more now. Gosh, this sounds heartless, but at some point her issues are her issues and she needs to freaking sort them out, because no one else can do it for her.
        It reminds me of when she asked him about the tapped phones and they both say, that they can’t trust each other and then she doesn’t, telling Diane that they’re fine. But the funny thing is, he was telling her the truth. She could have trusted him. And I think that’s what Kalinda boils down to and it makes me wish that Cary would just be able to let her go, so he can find someone he doesn’t have to tell it’s ‘mutually assured destruction’ so she won’t freak at potentially having an actual relationship with him.

        That’s a very good point about Alicia avoiding the important conversations in her life. I guess I’m putting this on a different level. Not because it’s Cary, but because it’s business. She has responsibilities, that are very different from her personal ones and while of course she’s hurting both herself and Peter, and thus inadvertently her kids, when she refuses to deal with the mess her feelings are, I can be annoyed with her, but say, okay, that’s her personal decision. I have a hard time doing that when it’s literally her goddamn job to have this conversation. Like I said, I never would have thought that Alicia isn’t cut out to be somebody’s boss, at least not in the sense, that she can’t take them into consideration. Then again, I’ve been wishing we could have had a more evened out focus after the split for a while now. Alicia slipped into super-laywer mode pretty easily, with her and Will getting a lot of stuff to work with (we know why now), and it felt a little off to me, because like I said, this firm was never quite hers in the way it was for everyone else. Not to say that she shouldn’t have been a main focus, her name’s in the title, both with the firm and the show, but I miss getting super-laywer Cary instead of super-sidekick Cary, even if I do appreciate their dynamic and I love how good he is with her. Maybe Alicia could return the favor every now and then. God, I’m doing a lot of complaining right now, but this episode really wasn’t good for me and it brought a lot of issues to the fore front.

        No, I don’t think there’s anything worse F/A could do than re-join LG. I mean, talk about coming back with your tail between your legs, no matter what they call it. And for Cary it would be the second time he comes “home” and I just can’t see it happening. Even if F/A tanks, he’d probably rather work anywhere else than go back to LG. And your right, I can’t see why Diane would want to be there anymore either, other than the fact that it’s ‘her’ firm and she’s feeling the need to fight for it. But with Will gone, what’s really keeping her there? It would be such a blast to see her at F/A and if she wants to bring Kalinda, that’s fine to. Speaking of, where the hell is Robyn? I hope we get to keep her for Season Six, she’s great. Anyway, I’d love to see Diane and Cary talk, I don’t think they really have since he left the firm, unless I’m not remembering something. He’s kind of the odd man out right now, the only one not really grieving for Will in that way, because he never had that kind of personal relationship with him. It’s a little sad that the writers can’t seem to incorporate that in some way, but things are still up in the air enough right now, that everything I’ve said might be wrong by the time the next episode rolls around. I’m just nowhere as as willing to give them the benefit of the doubt as I used to be. And that’s the end of this particular bitter train.

        • E says:

          I’ve actually been wondering as well if the writers were going to deal with the fact that Will and Cary didn’t have the best relationship. I mean, we certainly saw him grieving, but (appropriately) not on the level that the women who were closest to Will did. I suppose in many ways Cary’s relationship with many of his former bosses echo the way his father let him down; Will, Peter, Glenn – those were never uncomplicated. I think it’s telling that he forgave Alicia (who after all was just trying to keep her job) faster than Will (who should have given Cary’s efforts a fair chance).

          Alicia was kind of a middling boss, I think – remember Courtney taking some important last minute information to Cary because Alicia kept freezing her out? She has good intentions, Alicia, but she’s not perfect at carrying through and she can occasionally treat the people around her like inconveniences. She was a fantastic mentor to Caitlin, but she’s not perfect.

          And, gosh. About two years ago – the first time they kissed? – I thought Cary and Kalinda would be a good idea. I think I’m really burnt out on her being with anyone, because it just never works? And I mean works from a story level as well as, obviously, actually working. (I’m annoyed about the whole phone tap thing. Why did she misread him? Is it weird that I want to see their NSA watchers react to Will’s death?) Honestly, I just wish they’d get back to her solving cases. She’s so good at that and so bad at relationships – I wish they’d stop using her as the sexual surrogate for the entire show.

          I am hopeful, actually, that once things return to normal, we’ll see that the “new Will” is Cary. That’s the one idea that actually makes sense, right? Not at LG, but in the show. He’s the new male lead. We’ll see, anyway.

  5. Pat says:

    tarli, I’m with you. Those writers really disappointed me as for Cary storyline. I was expecting so much from that F/A plotline and it was a big letdown as for Cary. As you said he just played the supportive Alicia’s sidekick all the time and we weren’t able to see the great laywer and the great boss he could be. And now let’s see the great pay off he’s getting to be so the supportive sidekick.
    And as for Cary and Kalinda, I rooted for them but when I realized that those writers just consider him a part of Kalinda’s sex/love life, without any consideration of his perspective or point of view, I gave up. I think the character deserves a better storyline than being just one of the many Kalinda’s lovers. It has nothing to do with being a C/K shipper. It has to do with being a Cary fan. I loved the character and I’m sad and angry that those writers are miserably failing to give him the storyline he deserved and to turn him into a protagonist. So much that I’m not able to enjoy the show anymore. Why can they do anything better thant this with him? Why???
    And the merge will happen. Because whatever Alicia decides that’s what is going to happen. Do you ever see her coming after something and not getting it? And I hate they’re using Will’s death to justify that thing.
    But if a merge will happen I’d rather to see Cary leaving the city and starting something on his own so I could immagine that he finally has found elsewhere a job where he’s appreciated for his own merits and not for being Alicias’s partner and maybe a woman who’s able to respect his feelings. And that would also finally free Matt Czuchry, who has been horribly wasted those last two years.
    I’m not willing to give those writers the benefit of the doubt anymore.

    “it makes me wish that Cary would just be able to let her go, so he can find someone he doesn’t have to tell it’s ‘mutually assured destruction’ so she won’t freak at potentially having an actual relationship with him.”

    So true! It’s always Cary who has to go along with her wishes and who has to adjust to her way to handle their relationship. I’m sure things would have improved between them if she had tried to adjust to his way from time to time instead.

    • E says:

      Hey, Pat! Well, she did want that merger when they first broke off, but was outvoted. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to go back to LG with her, I really don’t. At Florrick/Agos they have control; at LG they wouldn’t. What kind of idiot would trade that? So I really really hope it doesn’t happen.

      I’m so sick of Kalinda’s revolving stable of lovers. I wish they’d just let her investigate for a while. It was the combination of brains, heart and sex appeal that made her character so amazing (as well as her punk attitude); we’ve drifted so far from that beginning without actually seeing any growth.

  6. Pat says:

    Hey, E! Happy Easter 🙂
    Yeah, a merge is a really bad idea for F/A but I’m sure they’re going to write some “F/A is trouble” plot where Cary and Alicia will be forced to merge with LG. Unfortunally I think Cary’s role can just become even more maginal if the merge will happen, because I’m pretty sure Finn will be added to the mix (he’ll join one of the two firms, it’s pretty clear) and Cary will come back to the season 4 status. Sincerely I miss Cary the prosecutor. We didn’t get a single chance to see how really good Cary is in court since then.
    As for Kalinda, as you said, it’s the lack of growth the big problem with her. I did want Cary and Kalinda to being an item because I though there was something else between them besides sexual attraction and that writers would have built something around it to give both of them a chance of growing. It should have been less about sex and more about emotions. Instead they just turned Cary into one of the many Kalinda’s lovers, with no point of view and no chance of reacting to what Kalinda does, and mostly they devoted really little time to the reasons why those two are attracted to each others and to their real feelings. What waste.

    • E says:

      I think we can pretty safely say that this show is amazing at sexual tension and terrible at romantic relationships. I guess Diane and Kurt, who we never see, are the only real successful relationship on the show? Ever?

    • E says:

      BTW, I think that I heard that Matthew Goode had a finite timeline as a guest star. I actually like Finn a lot and wouldn’t mind him staying on the show, but he has a pretty decent movie career that I don’t know if he’d be willing to give up. Granted, they’re mostly indies but he’s been the lead in more than a few.

      I agree, I would love to see Cary in court. We haven’t gotten a lot of great litigation lately, and that will be nice to get back to; season two was litigation heavy, and Cary really shone. On the other hand, he and Alicia were dynamite together in “Red Team, Blue Team” last season. Let’s get back to that, please!

  7. Heather says:

    Thank you for the great recap and sharing this show and all the emotions it brings. I have a few random thoughts.
    The TV show parody was hilarious and her reaction to it was such a contrast to the time she was watching the other parody with Grace and not getting it.
    When Alicia said she lost her husband a long time ago and lives that every day. I think that it true and perhaps she still feels that loss. Not that she feels the loss of Peter, but perhaps that betrayal plays a role in her distance from people and issues with closeness and romantic relationships – perhaps that is what has stayed with her and what she lives. Perhaps also it is that he is a public figure and she is beside him and it is her thinking about the public perception of her that she is considering.
    As for Peter asking if she wanted to sleep with someone else, it rang true to me as one of those stupid things you say in the moment when you are caught up in your own insecurities and issues and completely not getting where the other person is. That is Peter. He also really doesn’t get that her relationship with Will was something more. Also, that was a waste because when I cheated it did…best come back line ever.
    When Alicia ended it and said they wouldn’t get a divorce, did you wonder how much that played in her decisions in the past? I did. Not that I think it was a deciding factor or anything, but I wonder whether it factored in. I wonder how long she can sustain a fake relationship with him, or him her. We will see I guess, but I imagine it will come to a head at some point.

    • E says:

      Hay, Heather! I think it was the fall of season four, maybe, when Veronica told Peter that Alicia would never leave him, and he needed to be the one who did it? She’s not entirely wrong. I think Alicia needs to be the one who stays; it’s too important to who she is. She needs to be the anti-Veronica. In everything that happened with Peter, I think that’s what she held on to – it’s her choice to stay or leave, and she’s going to be the one who doesn’t break the vow, who stayed put when she promised she would. It’s more about her than about her relationship with Peter (as evidenced by her lack of ability to re-form her relationship with Peter). That’s the one thing he couldn’t take away from her when he made a mockery of their marriage – she was going to hold up her end of the bargain despite him.

      So, yeah. How much of her is using him for his effect on her business, and how much is that no matter she tells herself, she simply cannot let go? Because she certainly does like – not politics itself, but the nicer things, the feeling of success.

      I would love to see more flashbacks to Alicia pre-scandal; part of me thinks she’s always been cagy (and you’re right in that she’s been profoundly changed by it, I just don’t think she’s as crippled as she had been initially) but it would be so interesting to see her more with friends, to see her when she was comfortable in her own skin. Maybe it’s not necessary (they did such a good job with that in “Home”), but it’s always a nice contrast.

      As for Peter’s remark, well. Yes, people say stupid things in the heat of the moment, but Peter has a jealous streak. He was jealous of Will back in the first season before there was even a hint of anything going on. For him, cheating is more of an everyday possibility than it is with Alicia; for her, it took an extreme situation that she couldn’t even handle. I agree, though, “when I cheated it did” was an amazing come back line.

      I can’t believe we have a new episode in a few minutes…

  8. Kiki says:


    Most of my anger of this episode has gone down for now LOL (I guess that happens after 3 days of being pissed off lol)……I can go on a rant for hours, I am sure. But pretty much I don’t want this life for Alicia, if she wants a divorce please just do it, lets get this over with. Because a life where she has to pretend for what 4 or 8 (!!!!) more years? She couldn’t possibly want that and I don’t want that for her. If she is not happy why not just divorce? I don’t get why we are stalling even more. I think she made a snap decision and I just hope she wakes up and realizes that person she doesn’t want to live like that. The writers have never made me root for a divorce more than I am now, but I won’t accept a life for Alicia where she can’t even find another person because she is too busy pretending. Again if Alicia does this, when is she ever going to find her own happiness? Everyone wants to cheer Alicia for finally kicking Peter out, but all she really did was tie herself more to him. And for what? A name she rolls her eyes at using anytime someone goes there? And a man who has a voter fraud problem? Like why tie herself more to him? (I been after this weeks episode I feel less mad about this, but I still don’t want this life for her)

    Seeing her in bed literally liked, seeing her like that is just so hard. Completely depressed, like broke my damn heart.

    Peter was an insensitive jerk of course, of course he gets over hyped too quickly. He should have given her more time. He should have stopped when he saw that stare she gave him LMAO. This guy SMH. I have talked a lot about Peter behavior, I don’t agree with it, and he dropped the ball. But you know at this point, I really don’t care who files for divorce, unless someone does. If Alicia won’t do it, I really hope Peter does. (again after last night, heck I don’t even know but whatever…)

    Great review as always! ❤

    • E says:

      I was so worried about you, Kiki! I knew how much you’d hate that fight. It was incredibly frustrating. Why can she not just pick a damned course of action? This week we got to see more of Peter using his brains for good (he does remember how! excellent!) but man. You see why it happened, but man, he couldn’t have left well enough alone?

      And what is she thinking, staying with him just for appearances sake? Maybe after the debacle with Will, she thinks she doesn’t deserve to be happy.

  9. Kiki says:

    Honestly that fight drove me crazy for the exact arrangement. I would have been angry if Alicia had flat asked for a divorce. But this appearance bullshit, is so annoying. And it makes me feel the writers want to keep her married for their fucking title and that annoys me more than anything else.

    Peter has never been a man of thinking through, he isn’t cautious, Eli tells us this S1. And his jealousy of Will is strong, even in death. He just said all the wrong things at the wrong time, but I do get where he is coming from. I mean how do you help your wife grieve her lover? And how much could he want to be there for her actually makes things worst.

    I have no idea, but this appearance shit, has me beyond mad. Like what is she meant to never be in a relationship again? What if Peter falls into another scandal? Then what? It was all for nothing. Honestly she hasn’t thought this threw and I wished she had.

    • E says:

      No, she hasn’t thought it through, and what’s unfortunate about Alicia is that she probably won’t later. She’s not going to stop and think, hmm, that was a mistake for X reasons and why don’t I get Peter and talk it through – that’s just not something she does.

      What’s well written about that scene is that it’s obvious why Peter is upset, and why he acts against his own interest. It’s in character. And I suppose what Alicia did is in character, too, but it’s just so fricking frustrating! On the one hand, it does feel true to character, but it also feels like an out for the writers, so they don’t have to close out the possibility of her getting back together with Peter (or deal with the political fall out from a divorce). Of course, the truth might just be that Alicia would rather put together a sham marriage than explain to the public and her children why she’s getting a divorce now.

  10. Kiki says:

    Annnnd that scaresssssssss me!!! Why would she want too? Like is it that she is afraid of divorced? Is it the term she can’t accept? I believe is very much in character, for both of them. I just still don’t get why Alicia with all the growing she has done, still thinks as divorce as this thing she can’t do. Is not really about family if you don’t spend family time together,and when her kids leave for college, what is left? I mean if Alicia wants to be a woman who doesn’t divorce fine, but then try to find happiness, maybe go to counseling. Cause what is she gonna do leave in the fake marriage forever? She is smarter than that I know it!

    But yea I doubt she thinks through this decision, Either time will pass and they file for divorce or they will lead back to each other again. I just do not want 15 episodes of this just for convenience, hate it.

    • E says:

      Gosh, I think I’d settle for 15 episodes if I thought that she was actually going to move forward or away or SOMEWHERE.

    • Gina says:

      I know I’m new to the show, and maybe you all talked through this aspect of it already, but in case you haven’t . . . keep in mind that this is a political marriage. And this is what happens sometimes in political marriages. Appearances are very, very important, and everything else tends to take a back seat.

      I live in the D.C. area, and we basically have a front-row seat to a lot of this kind of stuff. I thought it was very realistic.

      • E says:

        Gina, I’m sure you’re right – but I think that makes me even sadder! I just want better for her than keeping up appearances.

  11. Shalini says:

    Excellent recap. My abiding thought at the end of the show was that if ever a person needed therapy/counselling it is Alicia! It’s clear that Alicia is not going to be able to go beyond her defensive stoicism and *think* about what she wants from life without professional help. Of course that very stoicism will ensure that she never seeks counselling. Arrrgh.

    I’ve come to the realization that the writers of TGW aren’t really interested in character development. So despite repeated assurances of how he had changed, season 5 Peter behaved exactly the same as season 1, episode 1 Peter. Sigh. I wonder how long Chris Noth will be willing to play the character. That said, I do think Peter had some legitimate points during the fight – it is entirely fair to ask why Alicia is so devastated by Wil’s death given that she has never discussed him with Peter. We all condemn him for being insensitive to Alicia’s grief but again since Alicia has never admitted her love for Will why wouldn’t he think her grief is out or proportion to her purported friendship-only relationship with Will? I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the man to inquire about the state of his marriage or wife.:-) It’s not the content of Peter’s arguments that I had an issue with but the crudeness with which they were made. As you said, for such a canny man he really good at self-sabotage when it comes to Alicia. But then again, that’s Peter – he has always been a blunt, crude force. Which takes me back to the lack of character evolution and the non-viability of Alicia-Peter as a couple. I think they’re too temperamentally different to be sustainable.

    On whether Alicia cheated or not – to me it’s an unequivocal no. Fidelity is rightfully expected and assumed in a marriage. But no such expectation exists when one partner explicitly declares the marriage over and the pair separate.

    • E says:

      Hey, Shalini! You’re so right – Alicia desperately needs therapy and will never ever go for it. Can you even imagine how pissed off she’d be? That would be pretty hilarious.

      I do think Alicia has grown in a lot of ways, but that fight brought both of them right back to the beginning, didn’t it? I agree completely – it’s totally reasonable for Peter to be upset that Alicia (who is supposedly recommitted to their marriage) is extravagantly grieving over another man. It just would have been so much more in his self interest to be able to hold back and trust that once the first spasms of grief past she would be back to wanting their marriage to succeed (which has been her position since the start). And it wasn’t kind, which you’d like to think a spouse would be. And it’s such an interesting contrast to Will, who was always trying to spare Alicia’s feelings. Not to say that doing so was actually better for her, of course, because like we said at the start she desperately needs to confront her feelings – but obviously trying to force her hand (and trying to tell her what she could and couldn’t feel) had disastrous consequences.

      So to sum up – yes. Understandable impulse on Peter’s part, gone about in the worst possible way. I would pay money to see the two of them in couples therapy, I really would.

      I’m not sure we can say unequivocally that Peter hasn’t grown – I think he’s a bit of an enigma, really, because we see him so much less than other characters, and because the writers have been so cagey about revealing his life away from Alicia. Has he been faithful since the scandal? Has he kept up his counseling sessions? Is he still trying to be a better man? We have no idea. It’s like Schrodinger’s cat; both possibilities exist for us at the same time, because we can’t see into the box.

      • Shalini says:

        True about Peter being kept an enigma and us not being shown much of him away from Alicia. I imagine it’s a consequence of Noth’s availability and a bit of writerly hedging on the part of the Kings.

        I’m reconsidering my comment about Peter and Alicia being temperamentally different. Perhaps they aren’t so different. They’re both pretty impetuous, aren’t they? He has no patience and forces the confrontation and she makes all her momentous decisions in the heat of the moment only to reverse it in the panic of another moment.:-) Makes the end of this Sunday’s (4/20) episode more significant than I initially thought.

  12. […] we merge, they will squeeze us out.”  Indeed.  To be fair, this was Alicia’s initial reaction as well. If it were just a question of Diane’s ability to treat them fairly, I could see a […]

  13. A says:

    Does it count as cheating if you are separated? Yes. Does it count as cheating if the other person already cheated? Yes. If any of you want to think of her cheating as justified, ***I’m fine with that***. But separated or not, you are married right up until the day that you aren’t. This position holds true for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that up until you’re actually officially divorced, you can’t know if you’re going to get back together. This take was my position long before I married, and it goes double now that I’m not again. Sure, I liked her with Will better than I like her with Peter. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t cheating, and even if she had divorced Peter afterward, it still would have been cheating. Separated means married, no matter how convenient people may find it to consider it divorced.

    • E says:

      A, thanks for sharing your thoughts and your experience with us. You remind me a lot of a friend (also an A) who holds very rigorous views on the subject of post-divorce relationships. I suppose what I (and other people) are reacting to in Alicia’s statement is that her dalliance with Will doesn’t feel like cheating in the way Peter’s repeated “meaningless” liaisons did, but that’s probably too simplistic a view. I wasn’t happy to see Will and Alicia get together while she was still married and have often wondered if this was intended in part to even up the score between Alicia and Peter, to take some shine off of her “good wife” persona.

  14. […] of A Few Words, the devastating gut punch of Dramatics, Your Honor and the abject despair of A Material World.  A lot’s happened in this long year, and a lot happened tonight.  Over one very long, very […]

  15. Chefie says:

    I am a late fan of this show (just finished binge watching all 5 seasons), but am so excited to see if the writer’s can, in the word’s of Alicia, “Fix it!” This whole A/P debacle…sheesh. I have grown to root for them, but fear they are really close to being beyond repair. However, I have so enjoyed your recaps!! After watching certain episodes, I was left permanently baffled because of the King’s inability to remain consistent. Thank you for your enlightening and spot-on reviews! Can’t wait to read more in September!

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