The Good Wife: Old Spice

Um, wow.  What might be a nice way of putting it?  This episode was all kinds of quirky, all kinds of spicy,  all kinds of weird and emotional and about a dozen other things.

“Turning to God,” a velvety voice proclaims, “What role has God played in your life, Senator Kirk?”  That’s the actual junior senator from Illinois, Republican Senator Mark Kirk, explaining his faith earnestly on a set that looks a lot like Charlie Rose’s. “Pastor, they say there are no atheists in foxholes,” he stammers, eyes wide behind wire rimmed glasses. “After my stroke I was in a very very deep, ah, foxhole.”

“Mmmm,” nods a kindly yet authoritative-looking bearded man in late middle age. “So you’d say you’ve become more religious?”  The subject of the interview has changed to New York Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat. “I’ve become more respectful of other people’s faiths,” Schumer nods. “I’ve heard you go home every Friday to spend the Jewish Sabbath with your family,” the host smiles warmly, and Schumer confirms the truth of this. “I go home every Friday to my family; we’re members of congregation Beth Elohim. It’s where I feel at home, in the heart of Brooklyn.”

Jonathan “Good Hair” Elfman has been playing clips of the Pastor Jeremiah show for Alicia on ChumHum; she answers him with a look of queenly irritation and disbelief. “So I have to do that?” she asks, pointing at the laptop screen. “If you want to get elected,” he confirms. “I thought it was a mistake to talk about religion?” she wonders; this show is an exception, he answers. “You run for public office in Chicago, you have to kiss the ring.”  Well, I’m sure we all remember Peter doing something similar in the show’s early days (although that was more about personal meetings than it was about interviews) but it’s interesting that Schumer would appear on Jeremiah’s show if it’s merely a local phenomenon.

Piqued, Alicia folds her arms. “These political rules keep changing when you want them to,” she glares at her campaign manager.  Yes, he agrees, but he still insists it’s a problem that she’s on the record as being an atheist. “And voters don’t vote for atheists, so you have to take this opportunity to say that you’ve changed.”  Changed to what, she inquires. “Someone who’s not an atheist,” he counters, polite and precise.  I’ll say it again, I like that he doesn’t bluster or fly off the handle or try to manipulate her; he’s the anti-Eli.

Her doorbell rings, and she stands. “And if I don’t?” she pushes back.  Then you’ll lose, he states plainly. “And if I say it’s none of their business?”  It is their business, The Haircut disagrees. “My lack of religion is their business?”  she asks, and he shrugs. “You’re asking them to vote for you, and they deserve to know who you are.”  Which is why he’s asking you to lie to them?  God.  It makes sense, but good grief. Not surprisingly, Alicia finds this hilarious. “I’m an atheist,” she replies, her smile bubbling out. “They deserve to know who we want them to think you are,” The Haircut clarifies his rule. The doorbell keeps ringing as Alicia waits vainly for him to admit the hypocrisy of it.

And guess who’s at the door!  If you’ve seen the “scenes from next week,” you know already that it’s everyone’s favorite snarky twenty-something, Marissa Gold!   She looks adorable in an belted denim suit jacket (is that a zipper as a belt?) over a dress. “Hi!” she smiles, “I’m your body woman.”  Her what? “I’m your body woman?  I didn’t know what it was either,” she confides. “It’s like your personal assistant. I stick to you, making sure you’re on time, get on calls, and your food isn’t poisoned.”  Looking a bit like she’s questioning every bit of food she’s eaten lately, Alicia just stares.

“I’m Marissa, Eli’s daughter?” Marissa extends her hand. Oh, okay.  That information shocks Alicia out of her confusion even if it’s not enough to make her like the idea. “I don’t actually think I need a body woman,” she tells Marissa, shaking hands. “Yes you do!” Elfman hollers from inside the apartment.  “Dad would be upset if you said no,” Marissa offers, swishing her way through the door, “he wants me to spy for him, but don’t worry, because I’m not a very good spy.”  Oh my God, best campaign development ever.  I love this so much.  Amen for more saucy Marissa Gold!

And speaking of delightful recurring characters, Alicia has to excuse herself to answer a call from Elsbeth, who is wondering why Alicia’s not at a meeting with Josh Perotti and the FBI.  Why, because the meeting was postponed until tomorrow! “And they called everyone but me?” Elsbeth realizes, shocked enough to turn away from a painting out in the FBI hallway that she’d been poking at. So it would seem.  Somewhat curtly, Alicia tells our favorite goofball she’ll see her in court tomorrow; Elsbeth’s furious, but not at Alicia.

So furious, in fact, that she stomps up to a door, heaves it open, and stomps up to AUSA Perotti, who’s presenting some sort of slide show at the front of a room. “I am a busy woman, Mr. Perotti,” she fumes, solely focused on her erstwhile suitor. “I have more things to do than to come here like a … woman dragged here out of her day,” she declares, pointing at him and quivering with annoyance.  He smiles fondly. “How are you, Elsbeth?”  “If you wanna have lunch with me, call my office,” she hisses, “don’t call a meeting, and call everybody else not to show up, so it’ll just be me showing up.  I don’t like that tie,”  she adds, distracted as ever. “I’ll change it,” he promises, before calling out to his assistant. “Cameron, did you call Mrs. Florrick and Miss Tascioni last night and tell them I had to cancel?”  Perhaps it’s his use of another person’s name that makes Elsbeth aware that the darkened room in which she’s been yelling has other occupants: spinning, she sees very serious looking uniformed people with laptops in a ring around the room, watching Perotti’s briefing. Ooops.

“Yes sir,” Cameron answers from off stage. “I got Miss Tascioni’s secretary.” “Fantasia,” Elsbeth grinds out.  Ha.  I love the tiny little mystery of this completely incompetent assistant. “I’m gonna go,” Elsbeth tells the room at large.  The images from Josh’s presentation – a variety of different handguns – play across her face.

“So I could ask you to lunch?” Josh wonders, bounding after Elsbeth like a puppy after a ball. She’s rounding the corner on a bright street, carrying the red flowered bag from last week and another, equally large, equally flowered, Vera Bradley type tote in brown, a riot of color against her brilliantly hued blue suit and purple blouse. “I only said that as an example,” she prevaricates, then stops to look him in the eye. “Is this case about me?”  Charmed, he throws back his head and laughs, and she walks away.

“Elsbeth,” he calls out, “your client plagiarized their software from another company.”  They didn’t, she turns, piqued, and scurries to the other side of the massive sidewalk. “And even if they did, they sell farting apps.  They sell grasshopper apps.”  And encryption software, he adds, which clearly is more of an issue.

This is the widest sidewalk ever.  Are they in a park?  Is this alley all sidewalk? She moves to her left once again, and she should be four or five feet into the street at this point, but she isn’t. “Why does the government care about protecting the code of a grasshopper app?” she wonders more to herself than Josh.  Is she so annoyed with him she can’t walk next to him?  But no, the first time she moved it was close to him. “It was plagiarized from a defense contractor,” he informs her, and she stops to look at him. The grasshopper app?  “You’re making that up,” she says.  I’m not, he contends.

“Well,” she decides,turning on him, “you’re still going to lose.” She presses on toward him, wagging her finger again. “Alicia Florrick is on my side. You expected to divide and conquer us, but it’s gonna be hard to do with both of us battling you.”  Indeed, they make a formidable team.

And now she walks away from him again.

He furrows his brows.

“Elsbeth, what’re you doing?”  I’m marshaling my forces, she declares, but no, he’s more interested in the way she’s been dancing from one side of the massive sidewalk to the other. As he asks, she looks down at her feet, and seeing that she’s standing on a grate, quickly hops back.  Predictably, Josh is thrilled.

“You’re afraid of sidewalk grates!” he cries. “Mmmm… dih.. no… what?” she answers, screwing up her face.  Ha.  “Yes, the way you were walking, you were avoiding the grates!”  Dude, did you see the shoes she’s wearing?  Her heel could get stuck in that very easily.  “Oh, my God, you’re so adorable,” he declares, reaching out with both arms. “Come on.  Walk with me.”  I’m fine, she replies, clearly horrified. Oh.  So it’s kind of a phobia, then?  Like a giddy kangaroo (or Hugh Jackman at the Tony Awards) Josh begins to bounce up and down on top of the grate.  Boing boing boing!  “Stop it,” she whispers, mesmerized in alarm. “These things can support 10,000 pounds,” he grins. “I could be carrying a Humvee, and I’d still…  aaaaaah!”  His arms fly up, and she rushes forward to catch him, clutching his biceps only to find the grate intact and his arms around her waist.

“Mmmm,” he smirks. “That was mean,” she pouts, and he can’t help his creepy old self, he sniffs her again.  Ew.  She swoons. “What do you smell like?  It’s beautiful.”  Baby lotion, she answers.  “Baby lotion,” he whispers,  rounding out each word in his mouth. “I’m wearing Old Spice.”  Ha.  They sniff each other. It’s – oh, man. “Have lunch with me,” he pleads, his voice tender and tremulous. “No,” she declares, remembering herself. “I have to go.”  She disentangles herself, makes as if to go, then spins back. “This case is wrong, and you need to stop it!” She spins back and heads down the street, her dignified exit  somewhat marred by the athletic leap necessitated by an oncoming pedestrian blocking the entire space between the two large grates on the sidewalk.

You know, I don’t love sidewalk grates either – and even less stairs you can see through.  They terrified me as a child.  Maybe that’s more primal than rational, but I still wouldn’t walk over one in heels like she was wearing; getting your heels caught in them is every bit a practical worry.

A cute young messenger with tousled hair and a heathered shirt steps off the elevator at Lockhart, Gardner & Canning.  We all know what his job is; in fact, this is the fourth time actor Nathan Stark — a Grant Gustin type — has appeared as a process server on the show.  Though it takes him a while to wend through the offices, he eventually finds David Lee in the conference room. “Family is important to this firm. I realize this is an old fashioned thing to say,” Louis Canning continues to woo some perspective clients as David opens up the letter, “because we live in cynical times, but we treat our clients like they’re family. We’re highly accessible, which is why I give you my cell…”

“Son of a bitch!” David howls.

“We’re being evicted,” David tells Canning, back in his office. “How is that even possible?” Canning wonders, so David Lee has to explain. “So what does she want, money?” Howard Lyman asks, part of a large group of partners assembled to hear this news.  “No, she wants us out of this office so she can move in,” David grouses.  Then he comes to Canning with an idea; he’s got a friend at OSHA.  “Jacques Cousteau’s son?”  Howard wonders. Huh?  “At OSHA?”  Oh. God.  They ignore him.

“See if we can set her up as an absentee landlord,” Canning agrees; if they can load her up with enough violations, maybe she won’t want the space anymore.

And so we cut to Diane, reading an email list of said infractions to an assembled group of (very diverse) looking FAL partners; they include a lack of handrails, ramps and handicapped access, all to the tune of $650,000.  UGH.  “And you’re wondering if we should pay?” Alicia asks over the speaker phone, incredulous.  Diane is wondering.  They can evict LGC without paying, but that will give grounds for a lawsuit.  Man, the law can be so preposterous! Given that, would it be worth taking the hit. “No, the question is why are we moving at all?” Cary snaps.  Yeah.  I’m with you.  I feel like I’m saying that a lot. “Cary,” Alicia uses her chilliest mom voice to remind him, “we already voted.”

“Alicia,” Cary disagrees, walking through a bar hung with Harvard banners, “we’re ending up right where we started!”  Yes, and I totally hate it.  I’m sorry.  I feel like I’m fighting this entire season in vain, but I can’t help myself from struggling against it. “Yes,” she humors him, “but we’ll still be us, we won’t be Lockhart Gardner.”  Oh, whatever. You keep telling yourself that, lady. “The whole point in starting our own firm was to build something on our own.”   Alicia says that they’re finically in a hole and can’t build their infrastructure otherwise. With all Diane’s clients, how can they be in a hole? Of course Cary takes this as a dig at his legal troubles, and it’s all going south when Kalinda (God bless her) interrupts with an idea for avoiding payment.  It turns out that Canning owns a bunch of properties, which probably have similar OSHA violations.  Maybe they can threaten to report Canning, thereby making him back down.  As they decide to wait to see what Kalinda can do, Alicia hangs up because her judge has arrived, and Cary gets asks for five bucks by a smiling girl in a Harvard t-shirt.

“Cary, where are you?” Diane wonders. “Ivy-Core,” he says, which is apparently a mixer for grads of the five Ivy League law schools.  He looks embarrassed to admit it – and the perky blond in the t-shirt demands five dollars because he’s working at the mixer. “Let’s go,” she raises her eyebrows at him, “pay up!”  He chews something (peanuts?) and considers her flirty smirk.

“My name is Nils Landriscium,” a bearded man with his nose in the air tells the court, “spelled in the usual way.”  Well, thanks, Mr. More-Nordic-Than-Thou. After getting a hysterically befuddled look from Elsbeth and a gloomy glower from the ever fabulous Judge Patrice Lessner (woot, Ana Gasteyer!), he relents. “That’s L-A-N-D-R-U-S-Y-S-H-Y-M.”  Oh.  Yes, obvious.  Funny joke, curly.

Turns out that Mr. Landry-hrmph designs aps for J-Serve, and before that, a group called QZO Systems. “Isn’t that right, Mr. Landrusyshym?” Josh Perotti asks. “You pronounced my name right!” the designer beams, taken aback. “Thanks, man!”  “It’s because I listen,” Josh grins back, waving a hand at the witness. Wearing a gorgeous cream colored jacket with whimsical flowers threading up the elbows, Elsbeth stands to object. “Mr. Perotti is trying to endear himself to the witness.”  In my opinion, Alicia whispers.  You couldn’t have given her this tip beforehand?  Confused, Elsbeth needs Alicia say it again – and then asks plaintively “Are you hazing me?”  She isn’t. Eventually Elsbeth utters the magic phrase and has her objection immediately sustained; Alicia waves her hands as if to say ‘I told you so.’

“You Honor, what was the objection? What am I doing wrong?”  Really the question’s more for Elsbeth than the judge. “Don’t endear yourself to the witness,” Elsbeth instructs him. “Thank you, Miss Tascioni,” he leans forward to say. “Mrs.,” she replies, dropping her pencil, and his face goes slack. “Mrs?  You’re married.”  I was, she says quietly. “I’m divorced.”  Why would you refer to yourself as Mrs., then?  Other than to simply throw him for a loop – which she has definitely done.  The court as a whole is mesmerized. “I didn’t know that,” he says. “You didn’t ask,” she replies.

“Excuse me, counselors! We’rein  the middle of questioning here,” an outraged Judge Lessner exclaims.  I’m with you, Patrice.  Perotti apologizes. “What was the question?” he wonders for the second time.  Wow.  He’s not very effective. “Before J-Serve, did he work at QZO systems,” the judge supplies. Oh, right, right.  Thanks. “You may answer, Mr. Landru-shimshum,” Lessner prompts.  HA.  They go on to establish that he did work for QZO, and that QZO is a contractor for the Department of Defense.  “If you’re ever looking for a tracking or a monitoring system, they’re your go to.”

Alright.  Then Josh clicks the screen on, showing us a segment of Nils’ code (“a Nils Landrusyshym original”) from J-Serve’s Dellcheck App. Looking worried, Alicia asks defendant Camilla if Nils’ app was part of the package J-Serve sold to China. They did. Predictably, Josh follows the Dellcheck programming with an identical segment of code from a QZO program. “You used the same code in each company’s product.”  Well, okay.  I’m not sure how anyone could blame the CEO for this; she’s hardly going to be checking every bit of code from every app and comparing it to her employee’s entire work ouevre.  Alicia stands. “Your Honor, in our opinion the AUSA is not being upfront about the real charges.”  I have no idea what the defense is talking about, AUSA Perotti replies, and gets a sharp look from Lessner.

“Your Honor,” he tries again, without getting anywhere.  “In your opinion,” Elsbeth whispers, and Alicia actually slaps her hand on the table in surprised annoyance. Not cool, girlfriend! “In my opinion, Your Honor,” he restates (Alicia shoots Elsbeth a dirty look), and immediately the judge asks Alicia where this is going. “This is a Trojan horse prosecution, Your Honor. The AUSA, in our opinion,” Alicia explains, “has no intention of trying our client, Camilla Vargas, on trade secret charges.”  China, Elsbeth gasps.  Yes, China.  “Mr. Perotti intends to bring economic espionage charges against our client, in my opinion, and he has disguised his intentions to get our witnesses on the record.”  Er, why would that be helpful to him? I mean, he can get the witnesses on the record no matter what the charges are, right?  Or would they give different testimony if they knew they were fighting a different charge? Not cool, boyfriend.  For his part, Mr. Perotti smirks at Alicia, impressed with her ability to reason her way to the truth.

“Is this true, Mr. Perotti?” Judge Patrice asks. “Your Honor,” he begins, but doesn’t get any further before she snaps. “Answer the question, AUSA,” she demands. He hangs his head. “Camilla Vargas was CEO of J-Serve when they sold proprietary software from a defense contractor to a Chinese company,” he lays out his case. “A civil company,” Elsbeth interjects. “A civil Chinese company,” he concurs, “with ties to the Chinese government. That encryption software designed for our defense is now in the hands of the Chinese. And those responsible at J-Serve are now subject to charges of economic espionage. with a minimum sentence of 10-15 years in a federal penitentiary.”  Oh my God, Camilla whispers, stunned; Alicia puts a calming hand on her arm. “So yes, I’d like to amend the charge to economic espionage, in my opinion.”

Damn.  Seriously, this isn’t a problem for Nils Landrusyshym?  How normal or unusual is this code?  Crazy pants.

“How do you stop a lawyer from drowning?” the perky blond in the Harvard t-shirt asks.  “Shoot him before he hits the water,” Cary responds.  “You really do know them all,” Harvard Bimbette laughs, downing some of her drink before asking him what firm he works for.  “Florrick Agos,” he says, and whether this is because it’s shorter or because he hasn’t come to terms with Diane’s ascension I’m not sure, but the omission still feels striking. Right, right, the girl waves her drink, the governor’s wife.  Oh, poor Cary. It’s what he wanted, but he’s still totally invisible. “Good firm?”  It is, he says, loosening his tie. “I heard one of the partners got in trouble,” the girl asks, fishing for gossip. “Arrested or something.”  Oh boy. “Yeah,” Cary admits, “Cary Agos.”

“Yeah,” she agrees, avid. “What’s he like?”  Oh God. Could that be more awkward? “He is a good guy,” Cary laughs, and his grin goes nearly to his ears.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bigger smile on his face. “You are looking at him.” Harvard Bimbette laughs until she realizes he’s serious.  It’s a bit sad to see him dimples disappearing, but I like that he brazens it out, challenging her.

When he gets off his phone, Elfman explains to Alicia that Castro’s going to be interviewed by Pastor Jeremiah first.  “What do I say?” she wonders. “You walk back the atheism,”  The Haircut shrugs, paying more attention to his phone. Yes, but how, she wonders, and then gets distracted by her body woman setting a mug on her desk. “You don’t have to bring me coffee, Marissa,” she says. “It’s not coffee,” Marissa answers, which is rather beside the point. “It’s milk.  Dad says you should use the courthouse shooting, it made you decide to change your life.”  Oh God.

“I’m not  gonna use that,” Alicia declares (because she hasn’t even worked through that for herself) before wondering why Marissa’s brought her milk.  And in a mug?  Weird. “Why not?” Marissa shrugs.  I love her. “‘Recently, I’ve realized that my negativity toward religion was based on seeing the hypocrisy in the ultraconservative,'” Elfman reads.  What’s that, Alicia wonders.  “It’s a quote, for you,” Elfman answers. “‘But then I realized there’s great warmth and beauty in a higher being.’” That’s the best you can do?  “‘Realized?’” Marissa sneers.  “What is she, 8, she ‘just realized’?”  Ha.  Love you, girl. “Well, excuse me,” Elfman huffs — and it’s funny to see that something gets under his skin — “The body woman isn’t supposed to talk so much.”  Good luck with that!  “I guess I’m not supposed to have an opinion,” Marissa snarks, and it’s crystalline that she has absolutely no intention of censoring herself.

“How about that book by Barbara Ehrenreight,” he suggests, refocusing on Alicia. “How about you say you read it, and you got to thinking about God in a new way.” Like an epiphany, he says, but Marissa mocks this, too. “They don’t want to hear about epiphanies.  They’re like, orthodox Jews — they wanna know if you’re in their column.”  Sick of the fighting, Alicia puts in a call to the one expert she trusts: Grace.  “Religion is in my life again,” she begins.

Poor foolish Cary stands alone leaning on a half wall in the bar, drink in hand, watching gloomily as the sunny Harvard Bimbette chats up some other guys in suits.  Why the heck is he here, drinking in the middle of the day?  Who is he trying to network?  Is he just trying to get out of the office, or revive memories of a simpler time in his life? (His old spice, as it were?) Or — and this feels just as likely — is he just trying to get laid to prove that like Kalinda, he’s okay with not being monogamous? That sunny girl-next-door with the basket of money was definitely the anti-Kalinda. Gah. I get that his life is falling apart, but still, in the middle of the day, really?  He tosses back the rest of his drink, shakes his head to clear it and makes for the door, when a dark haired woman in an improbably sexy tweed suit takes notice. Well, I suppose anything fabric’s sexy if it’s tight enough and you have a low cut shirt underneath. “You’re the felon?” she asks, flirty.  He turns, and it feels like a moment. “That’s me, the hardened criminal,” he flirts back, and something flickers in her eyes. I almost expect her to make a pun about hardening. “You headed out?” she guesses instead, leaning forward, balancing on a small bar height table. “I was,” he replies, “back to lock up.”  She grins, her curly hair spilling down over her shoulder almost to the table. “From Harvard to Holding – sounds like a book,” she smiles, and she’s so quick with the quip I start wondering if she’s a reporter rather than a lawyer.

“Three days behind bars, it doesn’t give me much of a tale,” he snorts. “No gang rape?” she pumps him, which is some creepy weird flirting. “No,” he replies, a little horrified, but since she’s brought up sex on her own he still sees it as an invitation to join her at her table. “Strangely enough not.”  She sets her drink down and gives him a smoldering look from under her lashes. “That’s too bad,” she says, “because that would have been a turn on.”

There it is again.  A man could never say something like that on television.  You can see the war in Cary’s face; her interest’s a bit ghoulish and unsettling, but it’s still a come on.

A very cute baby in a striped shirt, perhaps 7 or 8 months old, looks up out of his carriage to give Josh Perotti the fish eye.  Maybe this is a subtle Halloween episode, because what happens next is supremely icky; Josh leans over, sniffs deeply, and asks the baby’s alarmed mother “is that baby lotion?”  SO. GROSS.  Happily, it’s her floor, and she wheels her son off the elevator, thoroughly creeped out.

On the other hand, Josh walks into court with an pleased smile on his face.  And there she sits, the object of his affection,  whispering with her client and colleague.  I don’t know where they get Elsbeth’s clothes – they really bespeak her originality.  Sometimes I’m not a fan of that, but this jacket?  I love the way it looks like there’s a garden growing up it.  I wouldn’t wear it myself, but it’s really fun.

“It’s not enough to show that the code is similar,” Alicia explains for us. “To prove economic espionage, they need to show you knew the Chinese company was going to give it to the government.”  Which means, again, that Camilla would have had to know that bit of code even existed, which I wonder at, too. “Good,” Camilla whispers back, ” because I didn’t.”  I’ll cross examine, Elsbeth volunteers, which makes Alicia a little alarmed. “Why?”  Elsbeth sneaks a look over at Josh, who’s giving her a sort of blissed out grin. She leans forward, shielding her mouth with her fist. “The AUSA has a thing for me, I think I can distract him.”  That’s new from her – both using sex as a weapon, and thinking she can distract someone else.  Fun.  Or at least I think so.  Somehow, neither Camilla or Alicia look excited by the prospect.

“Edwin Fong.  Owner and managing partner of the Fong Consulting Group,” last week’s well-coiffed witness introduces himself on the stand. Josh establishes that Fong brokered the app sale between J-Serve and the Bowen Group, to help J-Serve expand their footprint in China.  As Edwin explains how he worked closely with Camilla for three years, Elsbeth sneaks her hand out near the edge of the table, so when Josh — his eyes fastened on his witness — sets his own hand down to lean on her table, their fingertips nearly touch.

“‘Kay,” Perotti says instead of asking a new question, “Uh…”  He stares down at those thin fingers, a mere inch from his own. He slides his hand forward until they touch. “And, ah, did you keep Miss Vargas in the loop during those negotiations?”  In what world does “in the loop” mean “knows every line of code?”  Let’s be serious here. “I had to,” Fong replies as Josh wiggles his fingertip against Elsbeth’s; she pretends complete concentration on Mr. Fong. “She wanted to know every detail.”  I suspect he didn’t know every detail, either.  I mean, if he did, wouldn’t he be open to the same espionage charge for brokering the deal?  “And did she, ah,” Josh stammers, trying to find his words, but unable to look away from his hand.  In a move of complete evil genius, Elsbeth takes that moment to look up at Josh, innocently, her eyes wide, wondering what the rest of his question would be. “And did the defendant, ah….”  Elsbeth leans over and whispers the name. “That’s right. Miss Vargas,” Josh tries again. “Did she, did ah…”  Finally he jerks his hand away, steps back from the table.  His voice clears as if released from a spell.  Elsbeth brings her fingers to her lips; whether she’s playing or truly in the moment I don’t think even she could say.

“Strike that,” the AUSA asks. “Did she ask you whether Mr. Bowen’s company was connected to the Chinese government?”  He did. “He’s lying,” Camilla hisses at Alicia, who immediately starts writing on her legal pad. “And I told her yes.”

Rut roh!

So she knew, Josh goes on, that this stolen app would find its way to the Chinese government. “Objection,” Alciai stands coolly. “Calls for speculation in my opinion.”  I love that Alicia’s practiced enough that she makes the qualifying phrase sound like it’s a normal part of her sentence. Judge Patrice Lessner agrees.  Just then Josh catches Elsbeth running her fingers – the finger – over her lips.  She lowers her hand, but he’s a statue now. “Mr. Perotti!” the exasperated judge is forced to prompt him. “Yes, Your Honor?” he almost snaps, because how could anyone interrupt this moment? “Oh, I’m good, I’m good,” he waves, realizing where he is. “No further… questions.”  He backs into his seat.

With a nervous look at Alicia, Elsbeth stands for her cross examination. Wow, the waist of the jacket is so very floral. She gives a firm nod to Judge Lessner, who clearly thinks she’s insane. Mr. Fond stares back, daring her to come at him, and she turns to Alicia in a concealed panic.  Alicia takes the cross instead.  Poor Camilla; she does not know what to think.

“Mr. Fong,” Alicia begins, “is Camilla Vargas a bitch?”  Oh.  Nice.  It’s a good moment for Camilla. I mean, she’s got a tough skin, but still. “Objection!” Perotti rises. “That calls for an opinion.”  Actually, explains Alicia smugly, “I’m just quoting Mr. Fong from last week’s trial.”  Ha!  Excellent. She reads from the trial transcript. “‘I advised J-Serve that China’s a patriarchal society, and having a brash and bitchy female CEO was problematic,’ didn’t you say that, Mr. Fong?” Fong’s jaw tightens; every muscle in Judge Lessner’s face tightens. “Yes, but just to be clear, I put air quotes around bitchy,” he answers, like that makes it all better.  “So, you were quoting … someone who called her bitchy?” Alicia beautifully demolishes this self-justification.  No, he admits.

“And wasn’t it your opinion that Miss Vargas be left out of the negotiations, didn’t you testify to that?”  He nods. “Is that a yes, Mr. Fong?” she presses, and you can see from the way he’s biting his own lips that despite his air of civility he’d really like to call Alicia that same name for showing him up.  Yes, he admits reluctantly. “In fact, you went over her head to the board of directors, and kept key information away from Miss Vargas,” Alicia furthers.  As much as he’s corrupt and creepy, Josh appreciates Alicia’s ability to tear apart his witness.  Edwin winces instead of answering. “Mr. Fong,” Alicia admonishes him for not answering aloud. “Yes,” he admits, head high.  Nothing further, Alicia replies, and as she sits, Elsbeth mouths an apology from behind her hand.

Kalinda and Diane sit at the conference table at Lockhart, Gardner & Canning; it’s not lost on me that they’re sitting on their normal side (with the window wall behind them) where the home team would normally sit. “It’s odd being back,” Kalinda observes. “It’s like being behind enemy lines,” Diane breathes out.  Yes.  So please don’t go back there!  Please!  “Looks good,” Kalinda smiles her Mona Lisa smile. “Oh, yeah,” Diane moans.  No.  It does not look good!  You don’t want to backslide!  Embrace the future!  Ditch the past!  You people, ugh!

“Good evening,” Louis Canning greets the women pleasantly, toddling into the room. “And to you as well,” Diane replies. Can he offer them a drink?  No, they’re fine. “Anymore pleasantries,” David Lee snarls, moving out from behind his new partner and sitting, “or can we start?”   Nope, not quite. “How is your health, Mr. Canning?” Diane asks, not merely being polite. Canning, who is helping himself to the drink bar, explains that he’s on the list for kidney transplants.  Both Kalinda and Diane blanch. “I’m sorry,” Diane tells him. “Oh, don’t be,” he says, waving a tall glass, “at least I’m on a list.” Indeed.  Not to be indelicate or anything, but shouldn’t he be dead already?  “And, ah, I feel kind of ghoulish waiting for someone to die to give me a kidney,” he adds.  Yeah, I can sure see that. “I really, um, ” Diane looks down for a minute. “I hope things work out.”  Thank you, Canning replies, but for once he really doesn’t seem to be inviting her pity.

He looks down at the table at three blue folders set in front of the women. “I don’t suppose one of those folders contains a check for $650,000?” he asks hopefully.  Kalinda points to the first folder. “44 Brewer Street,” she says, and immediately Canning snorts out a laugh. “1530 Carpenter Avenue. 221 Long Steer Road.”  Lee looks up, wondering what the joke is; we know before Canning states it that these are his buildings.  Yes.  Kalinda’s found $1.6 in OSHA violations between the three, and Diane lowers the boom.  “If you drop the OSHA charges against me, we won’t push these against you.”  Right.

“Okay,” Canning says, and at David Lee’s refusal to give up, he shakes his head. “No, no, they have us.  We won’t report you to OSHA, you have my word.”  Huh.  No one knows quite how to take that quick, painless victory.  “Well thank you,” Diane speaks into the awkward silence. “And, again, I’m very sorry about  your health issues. Let me know if I can do anything.”  She stands, picking up her purse. “Well, there is something,” he says. Oh, here it is.

“So, we went back to the amendment to the lease agreement,”  David stands, a folder in his hands. “Page 24, paragraph 18C.” He sits.  Diane looks, wondering if she should follow suit. “It requires your physical presence on the premises, Diane, and your physical presence ended when you walked out 4 weeks ago?” He looks to Canning for confirmation. “Four weeks, two days,” Canning specifies. “Since you’re in violation of this lease, and no longer have any legal hold on the property, you can’t evict us.”  Hah.  Well played; I only wish you were right.  Kalinda looks over the lease, and then she and Diane exchange looks. “But Diane,” Canning finishes, “thank you for your concern.”

Dude. You had to go there?

“Do you want to drop this?” Kalinda wonders as the women wait for the elevator.  YES!  Dear God, please say yes!  “What do you mean?”  Because obviously, the show wants to keep this set (BAH!) and Diane’s not the type to back away from a fight; I’m sure she sees recovering the space as a way to win against Canning when she couldn’t before. There’s a way to beat them, Kalinda answers, which baffles Diane because they’re right, she’s been gone for a month. “I remember having that amendment inserted when I thought that Will would push me out.”  Boo.  Bad memories. “It doesn’t  require your personal presence,” Kalinda contends, which intrigues her boss. “It just requires a partner from Florrick/Agos to be an occupant.” Whoa, now. Hold on there, Kalinda. “Well who?” Diane wonders, breathless.

Oh no.  Oh no you’re not.  Oh dear God. “No,” Diane breathes as she and Kalinda watch Howard Lyman snore, sleeping on his couch with his pants off.  NO.  Howard is everything that the new firm stands against.  Plus, I’m kinda bored with his sexist, time warp schtick.  Of all the people I was happy to lose, he tops the list.  On the other hand, I do love listening to Diane laugh, when it starts in her belly and comes up through her nose.  Even Kalinda can’t help joining in.

“How do you pray?” Pastor Jeremiah asks.  Oh gosh, he’s not asking Alicia that, is he?  “With Acts?  With any other mnemonic device?” Acts, Alicia wonders, watching a video on her laptop.  Ah, she’s watching an interview on ChumHum again.  I guess video-only sites like Youtube and Vidtrope are passé?  “That’s from the Bible?”  No, explains Grace. “ACTS – it’s adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication – it’s to remind you how to pray, not just to ask for things.” Dutifully, Alicia takes notes on the acronym; she’s quite the assiduous note-taker. “Mom, you don’t need to know all this,” Grace adds.  “I know, I just want to feel comfortable,” her mother explains. “It’s like opening arguments in court.  I know I won’t use it all, but it makes me … confident.”  She smiles.

The look Grace gives her in return is less certain. “Are you gonna say that you believe in God?” she wonders.   No.  “Are you gonna say that you’re an atheist?”  No, not that either, and now Alicia looks perplexed as well.  What is she going to say?  “I don’t know,” Alicia confesses, setting her notes aside. “That I’m struggling with it?”  “Are you?” Grace perks up. “No,” Alicia declares, taking the question seriously. “Maybe. I don’t know.” Huh.  That’s an interesting backpedal.  Is she looking for a way to make the answer true? It’s safe to say she is struggling to find meaning and purpose in her life.  “Want some help with that?” Grace smiles slyly.  It’s so sweet.

It makes the mother smile, but she’s not going to lie to her child about something this important, either. “I can’t believe in God, Grace.”  I know, Grace smiles, her voice small, but then she thinks about it. “Why not?” she asks, her voice even smaller. “I don’t feel it the way you do,” Alicia says. “I don’t feel the need.”  Those are two different things, though — feeling the presence of God, and feeling the need to believe.  “Then why the struggle?” Grace questions. Again, Alicia considers the question carefully. “Politics,” she answers eventually, though that seems to me a different issue, struggling with a way to present herself that’s politically expedient without being a complete lie. Chewing on the answer for a moment, Grace nods and says it’s okay. “You don’t judge me?” Alicia asks, surprised.

“No,” Grace replies, shocked that her mother would even suggest such a thing.  She rolls up onto her knees and kisses her mother on the forehead. “I love you,” she smiles, hand on Alicia’s shoulder.  When Grace leaves her beaming mother, we see two photos of toddler Grace on the table behind Alicia’s head.

And, oh my gosh, that’s Joy Grubick in a dimly lit hallway, knocking on a large door; I’m so stunned to see her outside of her office that I can’t process her appearance at first.  A elevator pings open, and Joy follows the noise down the hall, squinting at the sound of a woman’s giggles and Cary looking for his keys. OH GOD. We stare for a moment at the exposed brick in the hall until Cary and Miss Go-Gang Rape round the corner, kissing and supporting themselves with the wall. “Oh, damn,” Cary breathes as he catches sight of Grubick. “Mr. Agos, good evening,” she declares, chin up.  Walking down the hall, Ghoulish Girl holds onto Cary’s arm so she can pretend she’s walking steadily. “Miss Grubick,” he replies. “You’ve been drinking, Mr. Agos,” she observes, unhappy. “I have,” he says, leaning against the wall with Ghoul Girl now snuggling into him, “which is my right.”  It is, Grubick agrees. “Any drugs?”  Not yet, Ghoulish Girl quips, “but the night is young.”

“No, no, she’s joking,” Cary covers. “No I’m not, ” the girl snickers, and Grubick looks at them both, appalled. “Who is this, Cary?” Ghoul Girl inquires. “I am Mr. Agos’s pretrial security officer,” Miss Grubick explains. “My job is to make certain Mr. Agos lives up the dictates of his bail.”  Argh. “You should call, Mis Grubick,” Cary pants, and she gives him a rather pitying look. “Well, when I spot check, I don’t call.”  Yes, I suppose that’s rather the point.

The three stagger into Cary’s condo, which is full of gorgeous exposed brick – lighter than that in the hallway – and a large, lovely painting. “Where’s your bathroom?” Ghoul Girl asks brightly, and then pops off, swaying in her high heels.  Sensible Miss Grubick rolls her eyes at Cary. “Which of you drove home?” she wonders, dry as paper. “Neither,” Cary informs her, “we were too inebriated.” Thank God for that. Good, she says, walking into the modern kitchen and setting her back down on the counter.  I love the blue and green glass tile backsplash, it’s very pretty. “How many bedrooms?”  One, Cary grumbles.  I’ve no idea how this is any of her business.  Oh.  Is she wondering if he has a roommate?  I suppose if he doesn’t then anything she finds in the place would belong to him, and that could be relevant to her assessment. “Did you take a taxi?”  No, an Uber car.  Okay.  Oooh, an Uber car, good, she replies, opening up his pantry (or, hmm, is that a weird wood paneled fridge? There are a ton of strangely shaped drawers). I get that it’s her job, but she’s seriously nosy. “Can I see?”  What?  “The, uh, record on your iPhone?”  You don’t have to show her anything, Ghoul Girl calls out from the bathroom.  Heh.  I forgot she’d also be a lawyer.

“I’m not lying,” he insists. “I didn’t think you were,” Joyless tells him carefully, seeming sincere. “Cary, you’re obviously severely inebriated. You weren’t at work all day.” You can see he knows how bad this looks. “Your immediate supervisor didn’t know where you were.”  I suppose it’s silly to remind her that he has no supervisor?  “I was at a Harvard mixer,” he grumbles, as if dropping the H-bomb should all questions go away. I mean hey, as long as it’s Harvard mixer it totally doesn’t matter if you skip work for it! “Your companion says you’re planning to use drugs.”  She was joking, he counters. “All I’m asking is to see the Ubertrip on your iPhone to confirm that you were not driving.”  Gah.  Swaying as he searches his pockets, Cary hands it over. “Click on the Uber app thingy for me,” she instructs him, and when he does, he wins her thanks.

And something else he doesn’t want. “Augh,” she grumbles, looking at the phone. “What?”  Her look is very disappointed. “Cary, I’m gonna have to call officers, place you under arrest.” What, he asks, why?  “Cary, you were over the state line. You were in Indiana.” Oh, come on, he complains, are you kidding me?  “No,” she turns to him, eyes bulging. “The terms of your bail were quick explicit. You are confined to Illinois.”  It was a half mile in Indiana, he replies, and oh my God, really?  He’s that stupid?  He need that little self-congratulatory Harvard mixer that badly?  “Yeah, and I told you to take this more seriously,” she insists, calling the police on his phone. “The court takes this very seriously!”  As he growls to himself, leaning on his kitchen island next to a very staged looking bowl of yellow apples, she gives her personal code number to the police operator — PSO 12385 — and asks for an officer.

“Please, Miss Grubick,” he begs, “I made a mistake, I wasn’t thinking about where I was going.”  Refusing to look at him, she waves the fingers that have been pressed over her ear in his direction, not stopping her instructions to dispatch. “13 Barbary Court.  No rush. Thank you.”  Bending over, Cary looks as if he might be sick. “This is stupid,” he spits at her.

Yes, Cary.  But unfortunately, at least half the stupidity here is yours.

“Three, two, one,” someone says off-camera. “And now, turning to God,” Pastor Jeremiah tells Alicia.  I like that she or her political team or whomever has picked red as her campaign appearance color, the same way the show puts her in red for most of their ads. “Uh oh,” Alicia laughs, self-conscious.  “Why do you say ‘uh oh,'” Pastor Jeremiah wonders, his curiosity warm and rich; The Haircut watches from his laptop back at the FAL office.  A) Why is he not in the room for the interview, B) why does she not have a campaign office, and C) is this a webshow?  Huh.  “I think you’re preparing to pull a quote from my past?”  The Haircut sucks in his breath, and Marissa, who’s standing next to him, pats him on the shoulder. “It’s fine, she’s doing fine. You’re making me nervous,” she tells him, not looking nervous in the least. “Oh, I have to go get her,” she realizes, and takes off.

Pastor Jeremiah’s studio looks a bit like a restaurant; there are tall men in waiters uniforms, even. “Well, as a matter of fact, two years ago you went on the record saying you were an atheist. Now, do you still believe that?”  Does she believe she’s an atheist?  You can see her fighting down a smirk at the inelegantly phrased question. “Do I believe that I’m an atheist?”  “Well,” he shrugs reasonably, “you were quite insistent at the time.”  She fake-laughs, her hands laced together on the table. “That sounds like me.”  Indeed.  Write yourself out of this one, Joan Wilder. “My life has gone through a lot of changes over the years.”

“You’re speaking of the scandal?” Pastor Jeremiah suggests, and no, she wasn’t.  Her face goes cold. “Yes, and everything,” she recovers. “If you had asked me six years ago where I would be today, it would not be running for State’s Attorney.”  You want to know something funny?  I’d have been a lot happier with old Alicia running for State’s Attorney, back when she believed in things like compassion and fighting for the underdog when the system is stacked against them. She and Pastor Jeremiah share a smile. “Life is humbling,” he nods, and she agrees, it is that. “And with each passing month I find my dogmatism decreasing,” she explains, hoping this is enough. “I don’t understand,” he narrows his eyes. “Well, I can’t say for certain God doesn’t exist,” she tries.  Back at Florrick Agos, Jonny Good Hair winces. No, say it positively, he coaches from a distance; I’m sure the rhetorical hedging was no accident, because she’s not willing to say God does exist.

“So you’re not not an atheist,” Jeremiah laughs, and Alicia laughs her fake laugh back. “Sorry, that’s my inner lawyer coming out,” she excuses herself.  Then she draws herself up. “I’m listening,” she says, smiling beatifically. “If there’s one thing I hate it’s when people don’t listen, so, I’m listening.  I’m open.”  Huh.  Difficult as they are for her, the words aren’t enough. “To people who talk about God.”

“Yes,” she agrees, leaning forward. “Recently, I have … looked for answers outside of myself.”  Nicely phrased, because that’s probably not even a lie. “Is this due to the shooting in the courthouse last year of your law partner?”  Again, she blanches. She blinks, looks away. “I’m sorry,” he apologizes. “It’s probably still difficult for you to talk about that.”  She blinks again.  It is difficult. Good, good, Elfman nods, approving her show of controlled emotion. “There’s never a way to prepare for death.”  No, she agrees.  “And God,” he offers, “sometimes fills the void?”  She smiles, nodding; it makes me think of Katniss Everdeen, pretending love for Peeta to a television audience hungry for romance.  Jeremiah’s giving her every opportunity to say it, but she can’t say the words she doesn’t feel.  Nothing has filled that void.

“You were talking about listening to people who share their love of God,” he expands on her earlier reply. “Now, is one of those people your daughter Grace?”  For the third time — how Biblical! — she blanches.  At home, Grace beams at her monitor, watching along. “I understand that she’s become a Christian herself over the last couple of years.”  It’s not just the politicians who have good research interns, Alicia jokes, trying to disguise her discomfort with this foray into her personal life.  Jeremiah laughs, but he won’t be turned from his frank questioning. “Has Grace talked to you?”  She has. “And has she shared her witness?”  Well, she’s talked to me about God, Alicia concedes.

Shifting his weight forward, Jeremiah folds his hands and gives Alicia a long look before asking his next question. “You love your daughter very much, don’t you?”  Um, duh. Alicia swallows hard. Yes. “I know you’re uncomfortable talking about Christ,” he presses, “and Grace sharing her faith journey.  But, she must have had some kind of impact on your thinking.”  Yes, she has, Alicia says, and then turns away as if it’s all too emotional and important for her to talk about.  And maybe it is, but not for the reasons Pastor Jeremiah assumes.  Finally, it works; she’s given him what he wanted.  Smiling warmly, he extends his hand; she clasps it in return. “Yes, that’s it,” Elfman grunts, pleased. “I know you don’t pray, not yet,” Jeremiah finishes, which leads to another awkward laugh from Alicia. “But I want to pray with you. And  I’m sure Grace is praying at this very moment for you too.”  Alicia smiles faintly, looks down.  In her room, Grace isn’t praying; she’s scrutinizing her mother’s performance, trying to parse the evasions and lies for signs of truth.  “God,” Jeremiah begins, “thank you for Alicia’s honesty tonight…”

On the ride home, Alicia looks grim, lost in her thoughts, the shadows casting her pale face into high relief. “That went well,” Marissa Gold contends from the drivers seat: Alicia glares, not sure if she’s joking.  I love that it makes Marissa quake a little, the way all her father’s dramatics can’t. “I was in Israel for a couple years,” she offers, eyes back on the road. “Everybody there talks about God. Like he’s some uncle hiding in the attic. Drives you crazy.”  Ha.  God as the crazy uncle in the attic; what an awesome image. Alicia stares out into the night. “Do you believe in God?” Alicia asks directly. “Yeah,” Marissa replies, “but even I don’t like talking about it.” This is quite an admission from Marissa, who seems able to talk about anything.

That’s perhaps not what’s making Alicia so gloomy. “I don’t like pretending to be someone I’m not when I’m being interviewed,” she confesses. Or at least, I suppose she likes pretending to be someone she admires and likes.  “Really?  You’re good at it,” Marissa replies, and the compliment stings.

“Your Honor, it was one quarter of a mile outside of Illinois!” Diane pleads, standing in front of a bail court judge in a shiny gold jacket; Finn thinks this is irrelevant. “It doesn’t matter if it was one mile or a hundred miles.”  It should, Diane begs. “This kind of minutae is what makes the law insane!  Cary went ten minutes from his home to a Harvard get-together. The route just happened to take him out of the state.”  Wow, I had no idea Chicago was that close to Indiana. Here when you cross a state line, there are tolls and big honking signs.  I get where Diane’s coming from, but Cary’s a total ass for not thinking it through before he went. I don’t think he deserves to have his bail revoked, but I definitely think he’s not taking it seriously enough. “And I just acted as ASA on five bail hearings where the bail was revoke due to similarly picayune reasons, and the only reason that we’re debating this is that Mr. Agos went to a Harvard mixer, and he’s white.”

So, wait, I get arguing against special treatment, but are you saying it was the right thing to revoke bail on the others for those picayune reasons?  This is not a race issue, Diane cries in outrage. “Oh it is, actually,” the judge disagrees, and when Diane tries to argue he cuts her off, slamming his hand on his bench instead of a gavel. “I talk now,” the Honorable Thomas Glatt insists. “There was a man just in here in tears, but I had to revoke his bail because he went to his child’s birthday.”  WHAT?  Horrible.  Are you totally determined to make me hate our justice system, TGW team?  Wincing, Cary prepares himself for his bail being revoked. “Yeah, I agree, Mr. Agos, it’s a minor offense. But the law is the law.”  What the bleep!  “Now, how long will it take you,” the judge asks, pointing at Joy,” to finish your report, Miss, ah, Lucy?”  She raises one eyebrow in offense. “Miss, ai, gah, you.”  So classy.  24 hours, she says. Good. “Advise me how to modify the bail restrictions and then I’ll make my decision,” he says to my surprise. Then he throws up both hands and smacks them down on the bench, wanting them gone. “That’s it!”

Wow.

In court, Elsbeth Tascioni has two hands wrapped around a bottle of Old Spice and is sniffing so hard I’m shocked she doesn’t suck the cologne right up into her nose.  “Morning,” Alicia says, sitting down on the other end of the defense table in court, and Elsbeth whips around, hiding the bottle. “Morning!” she replies, too brightly. ‘What’s up?”  Alciia gives her a sardonic look, although that might not be simply because of the surfer-like way Elsbeth asked the question, but also her outfit (orange jacket with black line patterns over a lacy, high necked blouse in palest pink.  Wow. “Not much, why?” Alicia asks tentatively; she’s looking severe and gorgeous in black, her hair curled at the ends. “Have you heard this song I heard on the radio,” Elsbeth wonders, ” ‘Call Me, Maybe?'”  Yeah, Alicia answers. “I like it.”  Ha. “Is it popular?”  It was a few years ago, Alicia replies.

“I guess I’m late to everything,” Elsbeth laughs at herself. “It’s just I can’t get it out of my head!”  Yeah.  It’s totally that kind of song. She raises her hands to illustrate the frustration of this, and we see as usual that her blouse extends far beyond the short sleeves of her jacket.  What is this look?  This is perhaps the worst instance of it, because sleeves are overlaid with so much lace as to be almost furry. “Hey, I just met you,” she sings slowly, off key, “and this is crazy.”  She points to her head with her furry wrist. “Here’s my number, so hhhh hmm hmm hhmm,” she sings, losing the words as Josh walks into the room.  Like a plant growing toward sunlight, her body follows his movements, stretching toward him from her seat.

“You’re good, right?” Alicia questions her friend, concerned.  I’m awfully glad that Camilla’s not here to see this, she’d be panicking. Yes, Elsbeth replies. But is she? “Me? Oh yeah.”

“Stanley Pronovost,” the next witness introduces himself. “I’m an analyst in the CIA’s directorate of science and technology.”  Is Mr. Pronovost familiar with J-Serve’s Dellcheck app?  He is, so much so that he’s analyzed the code. “Have you seen this encryption code anywhere else?”  Yes, he has.  “Last month, a kid on my staff came across a program out of Bejing with the exact same code.”  He nods as if this is code the Chinese could never have written or conceived iton their own, something I feel like these proceedings are failing to convince us of one way or another.  “To whom did this program belong?”  Josh wonders. “The NSS, China’s CIA,” Pronovost tells them, and Camilla and Alicia and Judge Lessner all rear back in shock. “How could the NSS use this program?”  It’s like a Swiss Army Knife for hackers, the analyst explains. “They can break into almost any database.  Banks, brokerages, stock exchanges.”  Alicia and Camilla exchanges looks of pure horror.

From one horror to another; there’s the doe eyed face of Howard Lyman. “You want me?” he asks, justly surprised. “This is a young firm with young partners,” Kalinda pitches. ‘You bring experience, wisdom.”  OH MY GOD NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  No no no!  I am banging my head against the wall (okay, not literally) because we just cannot be done with this old man. You’re a new show now, Good Wife. Embrace it!  I’ll take Taye Diggs over Howard any day. “You have a lot to teach people, Howard,” she concludes, and he puffs up like a peacock.  This is all so unexpected, he preens. “When you’re pursuing excellence, does timing really matter?” And I just can’t.  I don’t care that no one’s tried to woo you since 1958, Howard, and I sure as heck don’t want to hear about it. I feel like we’ve spent way too much time wooing Howard for one vote other another.  Suffice it to say, Howard can be bought with the promise of time in court.  Surprise surprise.

I’m far more interested in the fact Alicia just called Kalinda.  Those are the old days I’m longing for!  Which is awesome, but it makes me wonder – whatever happened to Robyn?  We haven’t lost her, have we?  We haven’t seen her in what feels like ages.  At any rate, Alicia needs research. “We think the feds are overreaching here,” she says, pushing a button in the padded federal courthouse elevator. “The Chinese could have gotten the code of any civilian app.”  Could they?  Gah. “I’m on it,” Kalinda promises, and then speaks a little lower so no one in the crowded Florrick Agos office will hear. “How’s Cary?” she wants to know.

And it turns out that Alicia has no idea Cary’s had any issue; Kalinda has to explain about the spot-check and the re-arrest.  Alicia looks sick.

“Miss Sharma?”  Kalinda looks up upon hearing her name. “I”m Joy Grubick,” the older woman extends her hand, smiling, which just looks odd and atypical. “I’m Mr. Agos’s Pretrial Services Officer.” After a few seconds, Joy drops her hand, and cocks her head.  “You have a few minutes to talk?”  Wow, she’s all about the house calls this week, huh?

Also, that was not an auspicious beginning.

Like Cary and Alicia and Diane, Kalinda twitches as Joyless ignores her to organize her things, pulling items out of and back into her purse. “So,” Joy says, clicking her pen and hissing happily under her breath when it works, “you are the firm’s private investigator?”  Yes I am, Kalinda says quickly, drawing the fish eye from Joyless, who thinks she’s being glib.  “And before that, you held a similar position with Lockhart Gardner?”  She did.  “Or was it Lockhart, Gardner Canning?”  Both of them, Kalinda supplies, which somehow surprised Joy.  “And yes, I worked there,” she adds, and her smile seems to unsettle the older woman.  Next question: does she work closely with Mr Agos?  She does. “And does your relationship extend to the personal?” Joyless wonders. “We’re friends,” Kalinda shrugs, which is genuinely what Kalinda calls all her lovers. The two women looks uneasily at each other; eventually Joy starts fishing around for something, and Kalinda rolls her eyes.

“In, ah, 2012, you were arrested for harassing a juror?” Joy asks. Wow. “The charges were dropped,” Kalinda replies, but this doesn’t interested Joy nearly as much as the fact that she was arrested in the first place. “2011, yes, 11, you were the subject of a grand jury hearing for the beating of a witness, a psychologist named Dr. Booth?”  Yikes. “Well there was no indictment,” Kalinda explains. “I never met Dr. Booth.”  Somehow, that doesn’t concern Joyless either. She flips that file over, but no, she’s not done – she opens another, humming to herself. “So have you worked for Mr. Agos on any of the Lemond Bishop cases.”  I almost choke because she pronounces the drug kingpin’s name not Le Mond – like the French newspaper – but Lemoned.  It’s awesome, and it almost undoes Kalinda.

“Yes, for Alicia Florrick and Diane Lockhart,”  Kalinda confirms. “So I’m assuming that you, ah, have regular interaction with Mr. Bishop?”  Had, Kalinda tells Joy; they’ve gotten rid of him as a client.  “Oh,” Joyless replies, pushing her mouth around in surprise. Now she wants to know what kind of contact Kalinda has with Bishop’s associates.  “Of his legitimate businesses, yes,” Kalinda replies, and somehow Joy takes this as defiance, because she sits back and invites Kalinda to share her opinion Cary’s fitness for release. “He’s the most honest person I know,” Kalinda declares, forthright, “and his rearrest is a testament to the inadequacies of the Cook County system, not of Cary Agos.”

Joyless smiles to herself, and takes notes.

In her office, Elsbeth sits at her desk and bops along to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”  She’s tossed her jacket on her large desk, with an embroidered  pink cardigan on the back of her chair.  That blouse, damn.  Anne Shirley would have been in love with those enormous puffed sleeves, and it’s just the kind of Victorian-inspired fashion I adored back in 1983.  Standing, she dances, gently waving her hands to the music.

Aaaaand of course that’s when Josh Perotti lets himself in, beaming and knocking on her door.

“No no no,” she says, holding up a warning finger. “It’s not what you think,” he cries, rushing in. What does she think?  “Fantasia!” Elsbeth calls out, her fingers stabbing at her intercom. She’s gone, Josh says, adding unnecessarily that she let him in. The music ramps up again as he circles around her desk. “You need to go!” she demands. “I couldn’t stand it when you said you were married,” he curses, twisting up his hands. “I was married,” she replies. “I wanted to yell right there,” he growls. “Why?” she gasps, a spectacular city view lit up behind her. “Cause,” he admits, eyes on the floor, abashed, “I looked at you.”  Your stare was holding, Carly Rae Jepsen sings, and he breathes in, straightening himself in front of her, smoldering.  Where do you think you’re going baby?  He wraps her in his arms, and she melts into his kiss.  After a staggering clinch, they fall back into her desk, Elsbeth on top, and Josh sweeps the desk clear of all her things, her lamp crashing into pieces on the way down. He spins her around, picks her up, and sits her on the desk.

“Oh,” she murmurs, slightly panicky, clutching his head in both hands, “I really need to work out more.”  Oh, honey!  I don’t like him, but even with that I can see there’s no way this man is going to criticize your ridiculously thin body. “I used to be a lot skinnier,” she breaks their kiss to plead, which kind of makes me mad. “You’re the most beautiful woman I ever met,” Josh declares, a bit like that romance novel fantasy guy from the “Call Me Maybe” video.   She pushes him back.  “This is wrong,” she declares, grabbing his lapel, “we’re in court together!”  In response, he rips open her terribly prim blouse, sending a shower of tiny buttons across the room, and like a romance novel heroine she swoons against the desk.  I’m dying.

“Baby lotion,” he whispers fervently. “I couldn’t get the smell of you out of my mind.”  “Damn your Old Spice to hell,” she blazes, ripping his shirt open too, tied still fastened, and he falls down into her kiss.  HA!  Now I’ve got this stuck in my head, and there’s no way they weren’t aiming for that.  I’m on a horse.

Sorry.  Its a nice distraction from Cary’s Kafka-esque nightmare, at least.

“Thank you God for all your blessing,” a preppy young man prays, holding hands with a small prayer circle, eyes closed. “Thank you for tonight, and for being with friends, and for stimulating conversation, and your great Word.”  You know, most people who have faith aren’t affected like that – that holy voice he’s putting on – but I guess since some are, I shouldn’t be too annoyed. “We’re especially thankful tonight for Grace. She has done something extraordinary in the last 24 hours, Jesus; she has reached her mother. Her mom is finally listening to her.” Grace opens her eyes. Crap. “Her mom, whose heart was hardened, has finally come around.”  Sigh.  Alicia should have expected this.  Not that Alicia was the one to bring this up, but I hate that Grace was caught in the middle of it.  I wish that Alicia had come up with something more honest to say, something praising her daughter’s compassion that stopped short of implying a conversion.  “So I want us to take Grace’s example,” he continues, “and never give up on our loved ones.”  To no one’s surprise, none of this sits well with Grace. The prayer leader thanks her again and closes in Jesus’s name.

As if that weren’t bad enough, he turns immediately to her with that holier-than-thou voice. “What did you say, Grace, to make your mom listen?”  Sigh.  Come on, kid.  It’s not like you can argue someone into faith.  You know she’s still struggling, Grace stammers, trying not to lie to her friends. “We all are,” Prayer Leader presses.  “The important thing is, she opened the door even an inch.  And you opened that door.”  He claps for Grace, and the entire circle joins in.  She does her best to conceal her painful distress.

Well.  Hopefully after your Dad’s hooker habit making the nightly news, it’s not that big a deal.

“Hello, gentlemen,” Diane announces herself to David Lee and Louis Canning, catching them unaware. “How’d you get past reception?” David wonders, which surprised me a little too. “I let them in,” Howard adds amiably. Oh, right.  “What now, Diane?” Louis asks from his perch behind Will’s desk. She’s here about her lease, and points them to page 24, paragraph 18D.  “You think that showing up counts as physical presence?” David Lee sneers. “There’s not a court in the land that…”  Actually no, Kalinda interrupts mildly. “We’re talking about paragraph 18D.”  As Kalinda had found before, paragraph 18D says that the lessor’s position can be filled by his or her proxy. “Say hello to his or her proxy,”  Howard informs them, hand pressed over his heart, and I can’t help it, as annoyed as I am that they’re moving back and that they’re keeping Howard and that they’re retreading all this old ground, it’s still funny.  “You hired him?” Canning asks, disbelieving.  Yeah, you and me both.

“Here’s your final eviction notice,” Diane says, dropping a blue backed document onto Canning’s desk. “You have 24 hours.”  Her fantastic, dramatic exit is followed up by Howard. “My physical presence and I will be in my office, should you need me.”  He grabs a nut from a bowl on Canning’s desk and crunches it between his teeth.

“Kalinda, anything on the other apps?”  Alicia asks over the phone, sitting at her desk in the busy Florrick Agos office.  Elsbeth chimes in that she’s there, too; she’s lying on her desk, wrapped in a large pink scarf with a Moroccan looking pillow under her head , naked and blissful.  Wow.  Her stunning office is a riotous mess; she hasn’t picked up any of the debris from her desk. “No, but in 2002 the same Chinese company bought a firewall from a Boston firm by the name of Cunyworth Dunlap.”  That’s an odd name. Sort of like Dunder Mifflin. “Cunyworth Dunlap, what is that?”  Alicia wonders. “It’s a CIA front company,” Kalinda reveals.

That’s got Elsbeth sitting up. “You’re kidding,” she gasps, clutching the pink scarf/throw so it doesn’t slip. Unsurprisingly,  Kalinda is not kidding,. Kalinda does not kid. “Cunyworth closed shop a few months later when their name appeared in news stories about the Valerie Plame affair.”  Say what?  Wow.  “We can argue double standard,” Alicia realizes, “that the United States government did the same thing they’re accusing J-Serve of.”  Right.  Once more, Kalinda saves the day. Do we have any documents that prove this, Elsbeth wonders excitedly. She drops the scarf.  “I’m trying to get my hands on an invoice, but it’ll take some time,” Kalinda explains, which makes Alicia suggest they ask for a delay. “No!” Elsbeth realizes, in the middle of rebuttoning yesterday’s helacious lace shirt, and for a moment she’s completely lost in her own thought process.  “Yes, Elsbeth?” Alicai prompts after sitting a moment or two in silence. “I think there might be another way!” the intrepid lawyer exclaims. “What other way?” Alicia asks, and Elsbeth’s face fills with intense glee. “I’ve got his buttons!” she enthuses, and on that bewilderingly gleeful note, Elsbeth hangs up.

The noise of the elevator opening distracts Alicia from staring at her receiver; Cary marches into the office, looking wrecked. Alicia rushes to his side. “Are you all right?” she asks, and he gives her a dry look as he straightens his tie. “Yeah, why?” he barks.  Did he think it would be as secret? “I heard about last night,” she says. “Yeah,” he scoffs, “800 yards in Indiana and I’m a felon again.”  Okay, I hate to say this, because I get it, but 800 yards into Indiana is 801 yards dumber than I ever thought you capable of being. What’s with this recklessness?

“We’re here for you, Cary,” his partner declares fervently. “I know we’ve had our differences about work, but anything you need — we’re here.”  I think he needed not to have his business sold out from under him, Alicia.  If you want to help him, if you’re not just saying that, then you need to take his feelings and preferences more into account when making those business decisions. “I think it’s best I take a break from work,” he says.  He looks gaunt, haunted, his hair standing on end.  “No,” she declares, pining him down with her eyes. “Alicia, they’re coming after me,” he shrugs, “and whatever I do, I’m an anvil here.”  Gah, don’t you wish you could hug him through the TV?  Alicia does one better; she refuses to let him quit.  “We do this together,” she insists, and so he sighs loudly and says okay as I’m wondering what that means.  I wish they’d made some of these big decisions together lately, but maybe that’s just because I agree with Cary and not Alicia on many of them.

“After further review, this officer concludes that the bail infraction was inadvertent,” Joyless Grubick tells the court; Diane nearly wilts with relief. Don’t get too cocky, folks.  “But this officer also concludes that Mr. Agos has been casual in his conformity to judicial ruling.” That assertion’s hard to fight.  “Therefor,” she tells Judge Thomas Glatt, “we advise further restrictions on bail.”  What restrictions, Glatt wonders, rubbing his forehead. “Ankle monitoring bracelet,” she begins, and Cary rolls his eyes so hard he rolls his whole head. “…and a 9 o’clock curfew.”  Which is going to keep him from trying to drown his sorrows in the middle of the day exactly how?  Moronic.  I’ll give you the cuff but the curfew’s idiotic. “Your Honor,” Diane sighs, “Lawyer hours would make this highly impractical.”  What, so he can’t work from home?  “That’s unfortunate,” Glatt pretends to sympathize, before showing his full contempt. “I don’t care.  What else, Miss Grubick?”  Looking a little startled, Grubick looks back at her report. “No contact with the firm investigator, Kalinda Sharma.”

Oh she didn’t.

“I’m sorry, what?” Cary asks; in the gallery, Kalinda actually pales. Grubick’s reasoning is that the rules prohibit contact with anyone dangerous.  “Why is she dangerous?” the judge wonders.  How long have you got?  Joyless reads him the folderol we’ve heard before – prior arrests (which she inaccurately pluralizes), grand jury charges, and contact with Lemoned Bishop.  I’m totally going to call him Lemoned in my head from now on.  Except, my head keeps trying to make it sound dangerous, like, “watch out or you’ll get Lemoned!”

Sorry.

Anyway.  Clearly Diane hasn’t got the measure of this judge, because instead of arguing that Kalinda isn’t dangerous and is being maligned, she argues that Cary needs to have contact with her for his high-faluting, super-important job, and Judge Glatt has already given us ample precedent to show he doesn’t give a flying fig about the workplace preferences of the privileged class.  “Yes,” Joyless Joy adds in, “Miss Sharma works closely on Mr. Agos’s cases, as well as being a … social… acquaintance.”  Huffing, Diane closes her eyes. “But my report advises that the court’s rulings are paramount.”  Yes, but the court hasn’t ruled on this issue or their relationship, so that’s not really relevant that the court’s rulings take precedence, is it? Judge Glatt wants to know if Finn – standing silently all this time – has any issues with the new rules.  He doesn’t.  So the judge confirms them.

“And you if you break the rules again young man,” he adds, taking off his glasses and shooting an intense but weary glare, “or your bail will be revoked, and you’ll spend the rest of your time before trial behind bars.”

Let’s hope you’ve learned from the last time, Cary, and stop tempting fate.  I’m not sure how you’re going to stay away from Kalinda, though.

Josh Perotti’s world has distilled to just the area on his desk where his laptop sits — or at least it looks that way until he realizes that Elsbeth Tascioni’s walked inside his office.  Like a knight of old, he stands the moment he sees her, joy lighting his face. “Hi,” he coos, and she coos hello right back. They sit, smiling goopily at each other. “Here are your buttons,” she tells his, making rather an elaborate show of fishing them out of her purse. Oh, he smiles, taking them, and then reaches into his jacket over his heart to pull out one of hers. “I found it in my hair this morning,” he explains, and she giggles.  “That song’s been in my head,” he gushes, and she nods; she knows.  Then she deflates a little. “Actually, I’m here for work,”she confesses, and he makes a sad little noise and closes his laptop.

“One of our investigators, Kalinda Sharma, found and invoice from a CIA shell company that sold firewall software to everyone’s favorite Chinese company, and I think the judge would love to hear how the Justice Department is selectively prosecuting us.”  Mmm, he replies, and I can’t process it.  Does that mean Kalinda was able to find the invoice that fast?  While she was in court with Cary?  Well, she’s kind of a wizard.  Also, why the heck did a CIA front company do that, again?  I mean, I thought we didn’t want the Chinese with that information.  “I take it you have an original invoice as proof?” he asks.  She nods, hunched over her red flowered bag.  She does. She pats the top of the bag.

“How do I know you’re not faking?” he squints.  She can’t believe he’d think so little of her – and so to his delight, she pulls the paper from her bag and sets it on the table in front of him.  Elsbeth!  Oh my God!  What did he do the last time you set evidence before him?  He falsified it!  The man is a complete snake!  Muttering to himself, he looks it over, and as anyone could have predicted, he stands, walks behind his desk, and drops it into a paper shredder.

“That was evidence!”  she gasps, her mouth a wide O.  “Yes,” he smiles, watching it slice apart, “Now it’s gone.”  “What you just did is illegal,” she flutters, full of indignation. “No,” he asserts, standing in front of a Justice Department seal, “what you think I just did was illegal.”  “You just dropped it in your shredder,” she hisses, and he shrugs, flapping his arms. “Yes,” he agrees, “I’m sorry.”

“So,” she stares at him, “last night didn’t matter to you?”  Now he’s the one looking shocked. “It did,” he insists, then shrugs, “but, work is work.”  Oh.  Okay.  That’s — sort of laudable, that he won’t be dissuaded from his work practices by his romantic inclinations?  If only his practices weren’t immoral… “So, you’re aware that you just destroyed evidence, Assistant United States Attorney Josh Perotti,” Elsbeth over-enunciates dramatically, pulling out her cell phone and speaking into it (awkwardly, upside down), because she’s just recorded the whole conversation, “at 9:47 a.m.”  Nice try, Elsbeth, he says, sitting down, “That recording is inadmissible.  It requires two party consent.”  He gestures at himself to indicate, presumably, his lack of consent. “Then you need to spend more time in Illinois, and less in D.C., because this state’s Supreme Court recently struck down the two party consent law.” His smile grows stiffer. “I only need one party, and that’s me.  And I, oh, ho — I consent.”

Well played, love, well played.

Turning off the phone, Elsbeth pops the recording device into her capacious bag and heads for the door. “Oh,” she says, turning back to Josh. “Call me — maybe.”  She slinks out of the room, her arms making a victorious arc, well aware that he’s watching her with a heady mixture of admiration and lust.

“Are you sure about this, Mr. Perotti?” Judge Lessner asks, glaring fiercely at the AUSA.  He is. “We are withdrawing all charges against J-Serve and Camilla Vargas.”  Yes!  Haughty, sardonic Camilla Vargas gasps in a huge breath of air at this unexpected joy.  Cooler, Alicia stares at Elsbeth, smiling.  “The Justice Department considers this case closed.”  Alrighty then, Judge Lessner allows. “This was a supreme waste of time,” she comments sourly, banging her gavel. “In your opinion?” Elsbeth pipes up.  Oh, snap!

‘Thank you both,” Camilla almost gushes, looking at both lawyers. “Now we can go back to suing you for $23 million dollars,” she adds with a carnivorous smile. “Oh, I can’t wait,” Elsbeth enthuses.  She’s on top of the world today, this one. Smiling and shaking her head, Alicia tells Elsbeth she’ll see her in court.  It’s always a pleasure!  Elsbeth turns and meets Josh’s eyes on the way out; they both look abashed as they walk toward each other and the exit.

“You shouldn’t have done it,” Elsbeth admonishes her adversary. “You shouldn’t have either,” he counters — he possibly upset about that? “Are you heading out?” she wonders.  He is, back to D.C..  Good, I think?  I love how much he appreciates her, but he’s creepy and unapologetically amoral.  “Goodbye Elsbeth,” he tells her, extending his hand with regret.  She takes it.  “Good bye, Josh,” she says, shaking it softly, and she stays still while he walks down the narrow aisle toward the door.  Midway through his route, both lovers take a moment to covertly sniff their hands.

Oh, the weirdness, it is so very weird.

Ding goes the Lockhart Gardner elevator!  It’s such an enthusiastic ding, quite distinct from the low scraping rumble of the Florrick Agos freight elevator. First Alicia and then Diane step off into the reception area, to see that it’s totally trashed, boxes and even equipment strew over the floors.   “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Alicia says, looking at the dangling phones on the reception desk.  Surely the phones aren’t covered in the lease?  Why wouldn’t they take those?  Diane nods at the ostentatious marble sign bearing the name Lockhart, Gardner & Canning, which perches on a wall above a mound of cardboard boxes. “The first order of business is to replace that.”  God, I hate that we’re back here.

Slim in a brown suit, Alicia walks over to a station and picks up a keyboard. “They removed the F, the A and the L.  Subtle,” she cranes her head back to tell Diane, who snorts. The women pass office chairs tipped onto the floor , carpeted offices covered with papers, until they reach the name partner area.  “Cary says he’s fine with David Lee’s office, so I guess this is you and me,” Diane nods, her smile solemn.  Really?  That’s our solution?  I HATE IT.  Let’s marginalize Cary even more!  Nodding, Alicia gathers herself up and walks crisply toward the door of Will’s office — or at least, the threshold, because it appears that Canning’s had someone physically pull off the doors and rest them against the wall — but she halts as if hitting a forcefield.

Quietly, Diane walks forward and leans in by Alicia’s shoulder. “No,” she offers, “take mine.”  No, Diane, Alicia replies, her voice thickened, tears in her eyes. Why why why why why must we be here?  So lovely and thoughtful — and who knew we would ever get this kind of moment between these two women? — Diane steps around so she look Alicia in the face.  “I could use a fresh start,” she smiles. “You take my office.”

“I won’t hear of it,” Alicia whispers, jerking her head to indicate that Diane should assume her rightful space.  She nods again, and finally Diane goes.  After taking another beat, Alicia swings over the threshold, resolute, and walks to the desk.

In her old office, Diane takes in the stunning view first, nearly choking on the emotion of it, but quickly turns to look back after Alicia.  Our heroine delicately steps behind Will’s desk, and lowers herself slowly, incrementally into the chair.  Diane presses her lips together, watching as Alicia tries to still her breathing, tries to be the bad ass, tries to contain her tears.  When she’s succeeded, she angles her face to give Diane a fake, brave smile.  The smile Diane gives in return is full of pride and understanding, and so for a moment Alicia’s smile becomes real in answer.  It doesn’t last.

 

Well, okay. What to say?  Elsbeth and Josh are crazy but I enjoyed them anyway.  She’s way too good for him, but if a fling makes her happy, I guess I can get behind that.  I thought all the romance novel cliches were completely hilarious and great.  Somehow I didn’t realize at first that Josh couldn’t really have shredded an important piece of evidence, since Kalinda didn’t have time to produce it  — that Elsbeth must have faked it knowing he would destroy it — but that just makes me respect her wiley gamesmanship even more.  That woman is amazing, and the case over all felt fun and twisty.  Yes, I miss the days when Alicia made the smart moves in court that won the case of the week, but I’ll take this.

Oh.  Well. I should add that I think the case could have been a great deal better if they just explained what J-Serve’s app did, and how the CEO could be held responsible for a single patch of code.  Was the aim of the entire app to be a Swiss Army knife, cutting through encryption?  If so, then the Justice Department has an obvious case without the shell game about potentially misappropriating the code. I think there may have been a point where it was referred to offhand as a decryption software, but the heavy emphasis on tracking that snippet of code blurs the issue; either it’s illegal to sell the Chinese decryption software or it’s not. If not — if it was a game or a heart rate monitor that happened to have code which could be misapplied — it seems ridiculous.  Perhaps the writer’s intention was for us not to know – that Camilla’s guilt or innocence was irrelevant – but I feel like a single sentence (hell, phrase!) elucidating this could have made the entire plot more comprehensible and more provocatively complex.

I guess I shouldn’t waste my breath — or, er, tire my fingertips? — complaining about this backward move.  I know it’s a great set, and I can see the temptation to reinvent the familiar as a triumph, but Will’s death mucks with all that.  I liked the new building as a fresh start, and was happy to think we’d be making new memories.  I’m sorry we’re going to be stuck in the muck of the old (and with Howard Lyman, God) but there’s nothing to do except hope they won’t be too stuck in old emotions and patterns.  Poor Cary.  Isn’t David Lee’s old office on another floor?  Why is this show so insistent on screwing him over?  The poor guy’s depressed and shut out enough.  I can see why he might revert to making stupid, entitled mistakes in a reckless despair, I guess, even though I don’t like it.  No one always acts up to their best potential.

What do you think?  Maybe it’s good to separate Cary and Kalinda?  It’s not as if their relationship were going anywhere, and eventually that’s going to get one of them (Cary) deeply hurt.  I hate feeling like no one’s really on his side.  And while it makes no sense for the PSO (so excellently played by Linda Lavin, she’s feels like a real person even with all her twitchy quirks) to target Kalinda as the bad influence in Cary’s life, Kalinda was the person whose actions (not just words) put her most firmly on Cary’s side.

There are aspects I quite enjoy of Cary’s trip into the judicial system.  I like that they’re dealing with its absurdities, and also with the unequal ways the law is applied across lines of race and privilege.  After all, there was really no reason to let Cary off the hook for crossing the state line to go to a bar to get drunk and laid when we’re explicitly told that a black defendant was sent back to the slammer for going to his child’s birthday party.  (Perhaps an overly emotional issue — the guy’s family couldn’t have had the party someplace less problematic? — but a stark example none-the-less.)  It’s intriguing because of course we don’t want Cary to go back to prison because we know and value him as a character, not because of his race, but still we end up feeling a little complicit in his treatment.  In fact, I can’t help wondering how much race and class play an issue in Miss Grubick’s response to Kalinda, since the investigator didn’t give her any more attitude than Cary, Alicia or Diane already had.  Perhaps it’s that magic word, arrest record, that did the trick, or perhaps it’s her astute perception of an unacknowledged romantic relationship between the two.  Either way, it makes more sense as a tactic to drive the narrative and isolate Cary than it does  as a response to the evidence.

I’m not sure I even need to say any more about Alicia and religion.  I feel bad for Grace, feel uncomfortable with Alicia lying, feel glad that Alicia’s uncomfortable with lying, feel sorry she didn’t find a way not to put Grace in the middle even if she was kind of ambushed with the question.  I do really love Marissa as Alicia’s body woman; so much fun.  That’s the one aspect of this campaign that I am truly looking forward to.  When is she going to set up an actual campaign office, I wonder?  And hire more staff?  Why isn’t she deluged with workers now that she’s actually running?  I won’t even bother to ask when she’s going to have to deal with all the rumors about her drinking.

On a different note, I feel like a complete illiterate moron for not knowing this, but it turns out that Darkness at Noon – Alicia’s favorite television show – is also the name of Arthur Koestler’s classic novel about this Russian revolution.  No, I know this has nothing to do with this episode, but I found it out this week, so that’s when you’re hearing about it. From Amazon:  Darkness At Noon stands as an unequaled fictional portrayal of the nightmare politics of our time. Its hero is an aging revolutionary, imprisoned and psychologically tortured by the Party to which he has dedicated his life. As the pressure to confess preposterous crimes increases, he re-lives a career that embodies the terrible ironies and human betrayals of a totalitarian movement masking itself as an instrument of deliverance. Almost unbearably vivid in its depiction of one man’s solitary agony, Darkness At Noon asks questions about ends and means that have relevance not only for the past but for the perilous present.

Nightmare politics?  Solitary agony?  I thought the show’s title was just mocking pretentious cable TV, but it sounds like the writers are tipping their hats to this novel as well.

Also, if you’re now looking for new reading material, here’s a worthwhile interview with Julianna and yet another actual Senator.

And with that, I wish you a happy Halloween!  I’ve been making costumes, decorating cupcakes to look like toilets (don’t ask), organizing school parties, and heading off on field trips this week; sorry for the late posting!

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16 comments on “The Good Wife: Old Spice

  1. Tony says:

    Long time reader, first time poster. Just wanted to say that I enjoy reading your recaps, especially since I only started watching the Good Wife this past year (habit started when I binge watched on Amazon while I was laid down with the flu) and missed out on the watercooler talk when the episodes first aired. It was fun reading your recaps after I watched an episode to see what others thought, even if it was years after the fact.

    Also, agreed about the move back to the old set. Last season, I assumed the writers used Josh Charles’ exit as an opportunity to create Florrick & Agos and write stories they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to tell. Sure, it was a drag at times watching the two firms fighting, but overall, I enjoyed watching Alicia and Cary go up against Will and Diane. And when it finally became too much of a slog watching the two firms battling it out, Will died – and the writers could now focus on just one firm again. They also now had a space that wouldn’t be haunted by Will’s ghost but would still continue the story of Alicia Florrick. So yeah, at the end of last season, despite all the bumps along the way, I gave the writers a lot of credit – for planning long-term how to handle the exit of a major character while revitalizing a long-running show. Now? Now it all seems to be a waste.

    • E says:

      Yes, exactly. I thought they’d done such a brilliant job reinventing the show, but why go through all that if you’re not going to keep going? You can’t go home again — this show is all about that — so why are they trying?

      Thanks for writing in, Tony! Please keep doing it. I’m really glad you’ve been enjoying the recaps.

  2. Kiki says:

    Hey E!!!

    So I guess, the only thing I can say is that I liked this “better” (like by a little tiny bit more) than last week. But still overall a very weak episode.

    I like Elsbeth but too much Elsbeth can become tiring and Josh meh. So whatever, I did laugh a lot so there is that.

    But really my bigger issue is. WHY ARE WE GOING BACK TO L&G? WHYYYY?! WHY IN GODS NAME WILL THEY AGREE ON HOWARD LYMAN?? And why is Gods name would Cary agree to take David Lee’s office?? Cary is getting fucking screwed and part of me feels mad about it, is not right.
    I get they wanted to have the emotional scene of Alicia taking Will’s office, that is sweet an all. BUT WHY IS THIS EVEN A THING? Why must we go back for that? Alicia’s could have honored Will in hundreds of other ways, it didn’t need to be with psychically being in his office. And on top of that we get Lyman? The reason Cary left in the first place? And Cary is getting pushed out? ALL OF THESE THINGS TOGETHER MAKE ME HATE THAT PLOT AND THAT SCENE!!

    So blah blah feels like we just keep going backwards and backwards. I need next episode to be better because these last two have been so bad. ugh.

    • E says:

      I do not understand how a season that started out so incredibly could have torpedoed so quickly. The decision to send them back to L&G is so awful I don’t even have the words for it. There’s not one good thing about it at all. They’re basically presenting us with a future where Alicia becomes Will and Peter at the same time, when what I want – what I think we all want – is for Alicia to become ALICIA. What I wouldn’t give to time machine to that writers room and shake some sense into them…

      • Kiki says:

        I have no idea what we are trying to accomplished here really? Like what? Will’s office is never ever gonna be Alicia’s such is super upsetting. I still don’t know why Alicia is REALLY running for office because is still up in the air. I have no idea what is going on, and like I still love this show, but I am just utterly confuse what is going on.

        • E says:

          I keep trying to tell myself, maybe Alicia will find her calling in being a prosecutor – maybe that will give her the sense that her life means something which she’s clearly lacking after Will’s death. But it just feels like such a misstep, having her walking in Peter’s footsteps, and then having everything move back to Lockhart Gardner? I still love the show, too, but this is terrible decision making. It’s hard to see what good can come out of this.

          • Kiki says:

            I keep hoping Alicia is going to see deep down maybe she does want to help people, and maybe she wants to make a difference. And maybe she thinks politics is the way to do it? Like create real change, in gun violence? in crime? in education? In anything, but I am losing hope. I just want Alicia to be doing this because she truly thinks she can help people. But I keep waiting…….

    • Pat says:

      I don’t understand why they’re doing this. And I HATE it. It makes no sense, really. And I don’t understand why everything needs to happen to Cary’s expense. Diane got her old firm back but she did it destroying what Cary has worked for. Why didn’t she just create her own firm? She got F/A and morphed it into L/G 2.0 and that’s exactly what Cary was fearing and was avoiding when he left. And ALICIA IS COMPLETELY OK WITH IT???
      I don’t know, but it’s like they’re destroying everything Cary has worked for to build that Diane/Alicia duo and that “biggest firm run by women” which just sounds like a contrived spot to hide all that nonsense. But I don’t buy it and I’m not ok with it at all if that has to happen screwing up Cary. And are we surprised that he’s starting to make bad decisions?

      • E says:

        Oh, I know, I hate it too. This season starting out with such promise, but it feels like one rotten writing choice after another – and as you say, every single bad choice happens at Cary’s expense. It’s pretty ridiculous at this point, and I just don’t understand WHY. It doesn’t serve Alicia to turn her into Will and Peter.

        And, I just don’t want to be back there. I was happy to leave LG for something scrappier and new, happy for the new energy and the less formal feel. Going back invites all these comparisons to what went before that doesn’t help anything.

  3. I seem to remember David Lee in season 2 at least had a huge office but maybe I am wrong

    • E says:

      I think he did too, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t on the main floor – he had his own little fiefdom somewhere, and Diane and Will never inferred with him. So, big enough to befit a name partner, but not exactly in the thick of things.

  4. Lady of F. says:

    Dear E,
    just can’t be silently reading your reviews and all the other comments anymore and have to join in again. I’m really sorry I can’t do this more often but at least I’m still a fervent follower of your recaps and reviews of TGW.
    I am sooo with all the other comments complaining about the development in our favourite show especially after this awesome start. It has even become some kind of a roller coaster ride because there are still those scenes and moments which make my heart soar as there’s all I have always liked about this show: interesting cases, character development, friendship, conflicts, comedy and romance, too.
    However, Alicia’s decision to run for state’s attorney is so wrong on so many levels and does not make any sense at all as she has just started with her own firm – and seriously – sometimes I even felt like I’ve been watching the satire of the “edification / education of Alicia Florrick” (meeting Gloria Steinem who is first addressed by Alicia as ‘God’ and then appears again in her imagination asking her to run, for example). And seriously, would this not be an issue for the people she works with? I mean, she’s a name partner and losing her to the office of the state’s attorney would turn the office upside down, wouldn’t it?
    I never was a fan of the Alicia-Peter relationship but I totally dislike the way Alicia is handling this ( I don’t understand how someone can go from planning a vow renewal to almost nothing or even hatred when there are no true feelings involved.)
    Then there is the way she deals with Zach and the abortion where she already puts her campaign first instead of dealing with her son’s issue at hand as I would any mother expect to do first.
    For more than five seasons we have seen Alicia Florrick as a genuine and honest person and now she’s bending to the ‘necessities’ of being in politics and turns into a liar by putting on a show for the electorate. I’m seriously asking myself where the writers or the Kings want to take us with this development?
    And then there’s Cary who gave her this chance and now is facing losing his own dream of a law firm despite all her promises of going through this together. He’s so sure going to get the short end of the stick again. Does she ever begin to see what she’s doing to her “partner”? He has already become the scapegoat for anything that went wrong with their new law firm. Okay, he was definitely in favour of taking Bishop as a client but why is he the only one who’s the target of the state’s attorney? It seems to me that the real target actually is Alicia who is already going against everything they laid out in their plans. Don’t get me wrong, I love Diane on this show and the dynamic this brings to the storylines but just like all the others I hate to see them going back to the LG offices – this move spoils too much of what we have seen developing in their new surroundings.
    I read a spoiler where they even assume that Cary is going to jail for a longer period of time as they were casting some guy who kind of prepares people who have to go to jail. In an interview Matt Czuchry said himself that there was going to be more pressure on Cary in the following episodes 8, 9 and 10 and that he’s going to ‘break’ which could only mean that he will finally be cooperating with the state’s attorney (putting a drug kingpin behind bars is not a bad thing at all but could mean you might lose more than just a finger.) I’m scared we’re going to lose another of the regulars of that show. How will they use Cary when he is going to be in prison for a longer period of time? And afterwards he cannot practice the law any longer, can he?
    It already feels a bit like the Götterdämmerung (twilight of the gods), doesn’t it?
    We know they originally only planned on seven seasons but to me it already feels we’re approaching the finale. Do you agree? But at the moment I’m so lost at where they want to take this. Wow, this was quite a lot I had to get off my chest but we can still hope for the best and this also keeps us watching, right?
    Dear E, thanks again for your reviews, each week I’m waiting for your thoughts and I miss reading them when you are only one day late. You so often make me laugh when you insert one of your funny remarks or give the characters funny names (Joyless – really cracked me up). Looking forward to your next post, Lady of F.

    • E says:

      I’m almost nervous for tonight’s episode. What dreadful thing can they do this week? I almost don’t want to see. (BTW, thank you for your lovely long comment, Lady of F; I promise I’ll reply properly soon!)

    • E says:

      So, okay. I feel like if a plot requires half your characters to pretend it’s not happening, because their actual reaction to it would be so bad, then you probably should not have gone down that road – and that’s exactly what’s going with Alicia’s coworkers and her campaign. You cannot tell me that Diane would join them and then be perfectly fine with Alicia declaring her candidacy to abandon the firm a week or so later.

      In some ways, I really love Cary’s plot. He’s finally getting juicy, largely plausible material. I feel terrible for the character, but for the actor and the show I’ve been thinking it could be a really good thing. (Something’s that completely not true of Alicia’s campaign.) What I don’t perhaps love is the structural changes. I feel like the show can’t really decide how to balance being a serial drama and a procedural anymore; they’ve always dropped the drama plot lines, but now we’re dropping the cases of the week, and it’s odd. Between Alicia’s campaign and Cary’s case, it’s just too much uncertainty for anyone to be comfortable with, and for much else to co-exist with. I could get behind the new structure if it felt more exciting than what came before, but it just doesn’t.

      Argh. I really, really wish I could get with the program instead of just being frustrated. 😦

  5. […] which impacts their ability to pay.  Wait, really?  Why?  Surely replacing those missing keyboard letters couldn’t have been that costly. We want this to be a dignified exit, Finn adds. “We all […]

  6. […] Cary sits in his office with his back to his desk, staring into space. When the phone rings, he reaches up behind his head to grab it. “Cary Agos,” he answers. “It’s me,” Kalinda breathes, and he softens. “Where are you?”  Turn around, she says; she’s calling him from a phone in the hall. “This is crazy,” Cary tells her.  “I know,” she agrees. (So, call me, maybe?) […]

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