E: Maybe it’s time I followed Alicia’s advice and example. What if I take emotion out of the equation? What if I can forget that Alicia used to feel like a person I understood, one I could be friends with, one whose choices mattered to me? Can I still enjoy the writing, plotting and acting if I can free myself from caring about what happens and why? If I can free myself from the need to approve her choices? How much does maintaining an emotional connection really matter when it comes to serialized television? To be honest, I’m having trouble just keeping a lid my annoyance at Alicia’s magically changing hair length. This week’s episode is all about control; the way we have it, the way we don’t, the ways we can cope when we’re at the mercy of someone (or something) else. Maybe I just need to drink some tequila and enjoy the ride.
And man. It was quite a ride.
There’s something really emotionally dissonant about the way that we see this car accident; cute little plastic cars in red and yellow, moved by hand on paper streets printed from Google Earth. The red car stops; the yellow one doesn’t, ramming into the red one, and putting a woman with short, curly blond hair into a wheelchair for the rest of her life. It’s also put her in the LAL conference room, being deposed by her lawyer, Louis Canning. She identifies the driver, one Tim Brewster, who sits between Diane and Cary and wonders why they don’t object. We’ll get to your side later in the deposition, Cary promises, but you wonder what that could be; Tim, with his slicked down red hair and haunted expression, was behind the wheel, and he clearly saw the woman’s car, yet he didn’t slow down or even try to stop. “Would you like to say something, Mr. Ephraham?” (Spelling courtesy of the IMDB.) Tim leans over to ask a bald man sitting on Diane’s other side. “I’m not being deposed,” Ephraim shrugs, his British accent crisp and pitiless. “It was your fault and you know it, it was your car’s fault,” Tim insists. Huh? Was he Ephraham’s chauffeur? What’s this? Not wanting a public argument, Diane asks for a moment.
Once she’s closed the door to her office, Diane rounds on Tim. Didn’t they agree they were presenting a united front. (Diane’s jacket, holy cow. What the heck is with this show and kaleidoscopic patterns lately? That makes my eyes hurt.) A united front means I get screwed, Tim asserts. “It was in driverless mode. I tried hitting the brake, I tried turning…” “That’s impossible and you know it,” Mr. Ephraim sneers, his nostrils flaring, his round cheekbones and eye sockets an exaggerated picture of disdain. Even in driverless mode, it can be overridden at any time.
Oh, okay. A Google car. Got it.
Yeah, Tim yells, but the override wasn’t working. That’s your fault for illegally test driving the car, Ephraham scoffs, and Diane glances back in worry to the conference room, where Louis Canning and his client can clearly observe the heat on her client’s faces. “Great job,” the devious little imp tells his client, “keep blaming Tim, it’ll split ’em up.” Then what, she wonders.
Then is that Louis steps into the LAL elevator with Tim. Aw, elevator talk! I’ve missed it. Of course Tim doesn’t want to talk to opposing counsel, knowing him to be a smooth-tongued devil, but the poor fellow’s fertile ground for seed-planting anyway. “They’re setting you up,” Canning observes. “I’m not talking to you,” Tim insists, not even looking at Canning. “What else can they do?” Canning observes reasonably. “Your CEO friend can’t admit that it was his autonomous car that malfunctioned.” Buddy, save your breath, I’m not joining your side, Tim dismisses the offer. You can see Canning starting to reply more genuinely (“don’t flatter yourself” seems like the phrase that makes it half way out) but he recovers. “At least get yourself your own lawyer,” he suggests; there’s no way that LAL is going to care as much about him as his deep pocketed co-defendant. (By the same token, you know that it’s Mr. Ephraham and his deep pockets that Canning wants to plunder as well; he’s hoping for an ally to help him do it.) And you know whose card he pulls out of his pocket: Florrick & Associates.
(Shall we take bets? Did Alicia have those cards printed up before she teamed with Lucca, when her only associate was Grace? If not, I’m not really sure I can see Lucca willing to be a nameless associate in a two person firm, even if her partner has insanely impressive name recognition.)
Meanwhile, Alicia’s sitting at an oval table (the near side cleared for easy audience viewing) in a dark paneled room; seeing her there with a bunch of older men (one black, token just like Alicia) I have flashbacks to her time on the blue ribbon panel, but it turns out that we’re seeing Alicia’s first session at the elections board. After glad handing other men, Frank Landau bends down to remind her of her promise: vote no on whatever the first item is. This reminder leaves a sour taste.
Before the official start of the meeting, Frank welcomes Alicia to the group. “I want to thank her for bringing her expertise and her independence tot he great work of this committee,” he says, leaving yet another sour taste as the men clap politely. If you sell your soul for power, Alicia, what’s the good if you can’t then vote as you wish?
We have a vote left over from our previous meeting, Frank begins, and that’s when chaos surges in. A hollow-eyed man with a high forehead (character actor Ned Eisenberg) charges in with the information that the vote is tied, three to three, on a licensing matter; should they replace KLT with Swan Systems? Panicked, Alicia flips through a very thick and detailed bound agenda, but Frank calls the vote before she even knows what the issue at hand actually is. I suppose we all should have known that Frank knew what that first vote was going to be, and that he wasn’t demanding a mere show of confidence on Alicia’s part. The hollow-eyed man, Hallman, prefers Swan Systems, as do two of his colleagues; Landau and two other vote for KLT. Alicia knows what she’s supposed to do, but can she? She looks up like a startled animal; exasperated, Frank pointedly reminds her she has the right to vote.
“She doesn’t have to vote,” Hallman counters, somehow managing to sound smarmy and knowing rather than protective. “I’m sorry,” she explains, “I have no idea what the issue is.” I try not to get excited about the fact that she’s not merely knuckling under, that she wants to be better than a mere toady. All the tension and irritation in Frank’s body settles in his chin. “Mr. Hallman believes that we should replace our current contractor for election machine with a new one with Swan Systems.” Oh God. Election machines, which are a bomb hanging over Frank’s head. Just because Eli hasn’t pulled the trigger yet doesn’t mean he won’t — or that no one else will. Judge Breakfast is armed to do so, and with the feds after him, he’s primed to turn on anybody big enough to get him out of jail. And if Alicia votes with Frank, then she won’t seem like an innocent bystander when that explosion eventually happens. “Even though you are new to this committee, Mrs. Florrick,” Frank begins, but Hallman talks over him. “If she doesn’t’ want to vote, she doesn’t have to vote.” Right, because her not voting doesn’t help you at all, Hallman. Clearly you’re disinterested. “Mrs. Florrick, do you wanna vote?” Frank snaps. Hesitating, she nods. “Good,” he chirps, and so Hallman and his crew vote their assent, and Landau and his their preference for the prior system, and slowly, Alicia raises her hand as promised.
“Oh, this is bull crap. You bought her!” Hallman hollers. Banging down on the table with his gavel, Frank tries to stop the smaller man’s invective. “No, sir,” he continues. “I supported your membership, Mrs. Florrick, because I thought you would be honest.” How does she even know what’s honest yet? She leans back, upset. “The vote didn’t go your way, sir. Now get over it,” Frank instructs in his folksy way, steel under his smile. He moves on to the next item on the agenda, but you can see Alicia’s sickened by the part she played.
And her dissatisfaction continues in an elevator, where her hair suddenly seems about an inch shorter, barely touching her leather covered shoulders. She’s startled out of this reverie by Jason, who’s waiting to leave her apartment building. “Hey, you heading out,” she asks, surprised and disappointed. Trying to, he says. Looking into the accidents of a self-driving car. “What?” she wonders. “New case. 4 hours capped.” The elevator doors close.
Ah, but she’s not ready for him to leave; she lunges forward, sticks her hand in the door. “Can you do me a favor,” she asks, so awkward. “It depends,” he asks. She wants him to investigate KLT and whether it’s connected to Landau. A little late, but thanks, Alicia. I’m glad you at least want to know why you were bought. “Alright, what am I looking for?” he asks. Anything, she says, and he gives her a one-sided grin. “Alright, anything it is.” He maintains eye contact, warm and fond, as the doors close.
And she lunges back and stops it again. “Maybe you can I could talk some time,” she says. Sure, he agrees, what about? So cagey, this guy. “Everything,” she says after a second’s pause. Okay, he agrees. Tonight, seven pm.
Did they just make a date? So weird.
In Alicia’s office, Tim Brewster holds up one side of the doorway and Lucca the other. Though the gloomy engineer looked like a giant next to Canning, Lucca dwarfs him. Well, not really – she’s maybe 3 or 4 inches taller, and I’m sure she’s wearing heels, but somehow the overall impression is that he’s quite short. “Mrs. Florrick, I am so glad you’re doing this,” he says. So am I, she smiles, hiding the look she gives Lucca behind her hair. What is it that she’s doing, again? “We’ll meet you there, Tim,” Lucca dismisses the small man, and off he goes.
“Good case,” she tells Alicia as the latter walks to her desk. “A three way.” With who, our girl wonders. Aw, you must know what’s coming, Alicia. “Lockhart/Agos and Louis Canning,” Lucca replies. “It should be fun!” Collapsing into her seat, Alicia doesn’t look sold on case’s entertainment value; she sighs in exhaustion.
And then she gets a phone call.
“What’s wrong now, Eli?” she asks, sounding annoyed even before he’s spoken. “Have any reporters tried to call you?” Well that’s an ominous begin, which makes her wonder. “If any one tries to call you, don’t answer,” he continues, making his way into his tiny office. Why, Alicia asks again. “Vice is reporting that you and Peter have not shared a bed for three years.” Oh dear God, she complains, rolling her eyes. Well, it’s about time someone noticed that. It’s really ridiculous that it hasn’t been an issue that they don’t live together when they’re in Chicago. His tax records must be public record, and I know that always gets reported in our papers. Does he still live in the Highland Grove house, I wonder? We haven’t seen it in at least one season. I mean, not that they haven’t had sex in plenty of places besides their bedrooms back when they were last together, so the three year figure is odd because they haven’t actually lived together since Season 2.
“We’re going to face some uncomfortable questions,” Eli assesses. One they deserve, after the way way they fraudulently trot Alicia out in front of the press. “Let us focus group some answers before you say anything.” Though you’d think people would be used to the proximity issues by now, Nora slams the door against his desk. Holy outfit, Nora! “You better get in there,” she says, and so he tells Alicia he’ll call her back.
Staffers buzz through Ruth’s massive office, the bank of televisions all tuned to a channel where talking heads speculate on the state of the Florrick marriage. “What can I promise?” she asks her former rival. “What do you need?” Eli asks like a good little foot soldier. We’re not just going to drop the election fraud/revenge plot, are we? Well, she starts, Peter will be back this week for the vote, and then she pushes speaker on her desk phone. “Hold on, hold on,” Ruth leans into the phone, “you can rip into me later. This Vice report is nonsense.” The reporter on the other end of the line doesn’t agree. “Peter is back in Illinois this week to veto the physicians assisted suicide bill,” she says, and what, really? Against Jackie’s wishes? Wow. I guess that plays into his new conservatism, but that’s going to make for an uncomfortable Thanksgiving. “… and of course he’ll be staying with his wife.” Looking up, she gives Eli and pointed look, and then mutes the phone call with the end of her pencil. Is he getting Alicia on board? Right now, he says, holding up his phone. He walks out of the office and gets her voicemail. “Alicia. Can you call me as soon as you can? The campaign needs to ask you a favor.”
Alicia, however, is waiting in the little nook in reception with Lucca. “You miss it?” the other attorney wonders, looking out at the busy, swank office. “The pressure to bill hours,” Alicia lists, shrugging, “kowtow to clients, and wrangle all the personalities?” I really like this black suit with the leather strips; very, very cool. I like her in priestess mode, but the leather adds an edgy touch that feels appropriate to New Alicia. “The money?” Lucca asks, almost blending in to the brown walls in her earth toned zebra print top. “The money never really materialized,” Alicia claims, which is surprising for a woman living in a multi-million dollar condo. The big, retire-on-it kind of money, I guess she means. “It always seemed to be somewhere over the horizon.”
“Yeah,” Lucca agrees, looking around the office. “I can see you here.” Because she’s so corporate and buttoned up? “Making clients wait, ordering associates around, being the queen bee bitch…” Ah, I see. Pleased at this flattering sarcasm, Alicia laughs. “I’m a much calmer person now,” she giggles. “Oh my God, that’s a terrifying thought,” Lucca squeaks. Just as Alicia tries to figure out whether Lucca’s joking or not, Tim wanders back in, standing out like a sore thumb in his regular person clothes – plaid cotton shirt, suede jacket, khakis. “Shall we?” Alicia asks, and the two women rise as one and pick up their enormous black handbags (Alicia’s a little bigger than Lucca’s) from the side table between them.
In the main conference room, Cary, Diane and Ephraham sit across from Canning and his client. “Sorry for our lateness,” Lucca announces brightly, walking in the door. “Lucca Quinn and … Alicia Florrick,” she adds, Tim the lamb walking in between two lionesses; as you’d expect, Canning enjoys the dramatic entrance and Diane’s consternation. “We filed a substitution of attorney with the court. We’re representing Mr. Brewster now.” As if it were her first time back in her old haunt, Alicia gives a defiant, queenly look to her old partners as she and her team arrange themselves at the head of the table, separate but on Canning’s side. “And we will decamp here, if that’s alright,” Lucca finished. Please do, Canning welcomes them. Excellent. Cary, too, looks hurt, glassy. “Shall we start?”
We start with Ephraham and a bunch of diagrams about all the redundant safety systems that his car has; among them radar units to detect the speed of oncoming cars and laser hazard monitoring that allows the car to create a 3D model of its surroundings. “The T-Portable has 4 layers of cross references scanners. It is by far the safest car on the road today. No one has ever died or been injured in any car accident caused by my T-Portable.” That would be news to my client, Canning drawls. “That accident was not caused by my car,” the alien-looking CEO replies. “It was caused by one of my employees, who took the car for an unauthorized test drive. Which is why your client should not be suing me, she should be suing that man over there.” Well, turning on Tim didn’t even take a second. Why has Ephraham changed seats, so he’s sitting between Lucca and Canning instead of next to Diane? Weird. “I guess I have too deep a pocket.”
Cary cuts off this civil reflection and tosses the cross examination to Canning. “Is it legal to drive this… strike that. Is it legal for this car to drive itself in the state of Illinois?” he begins. Oh, very nice phrasing, sir. No, the CEO acknowledges. He’s got a slight British accent, and a big case of arrogance. “But it is in Michigan.” “That’s nice,” Canning poo poos him. “Why is it illegal in Illinois?” Well, some states want more data, Ephraham explains. “Unfortunately, data like this nuisance suit won’t help.” I’m sorry my client got in the way of your car’s progress, Canning snarks, scratching his forehead. “I didn’t say that,” Ephraham replies, even though he did. “Miss Searle’s injuries are unfortunate,” the CEO continues, “but it’s nothing whatever to do with my car. Technology can overcome most obstacles, but it can’t overcome human nature.” Yep, that’s all Canning wants, and so Diane suggests they all take a break.
“Actually, we have a few questions,” Alicia interjects, smiling with pleasure at discomfiting her opponents. Of course, Diane replies graciously. “Good afternoon, Mr. Ephraham,” Alicia greets him. Good afternoon, he replies, his tone far less adversarial. Lulled in her by beauty, perhaps? That won’t last; she’s in full on shark mode, even with reading glasses to help her with a paper she’s holding in front of her face.
“In 2014 you told Wired Magazine that the T-Port had “the most advanced AI software on the market. Every day, it’s learning something new.” She beams at him, taking off her glasses. “What does that mean?” Oh, yeah, he totally likes her; he’s animated as he explains that each time the car drives it learns something new about the street, the behavioral dynamics of other drivers, pedestrians, etc… “So it gets smarter,” she sums up. “Yes,” he replies, clearly thrilled to have someone appreciating his genius and his product.
“So it isn’t smart to begin with,” she replies. Ha ha ha. This stops him in his tracks. “Well, it’s pretty darn smart,” he says, leaning back into his seat, finally seeing that she was setting him up. You just said that the software learns, so there must be something to be learned, she reasons. “There’s always something to be learned,” he admits. “Because every situation on the road is unique?” she suggests; as Diane twiddles her fingers, he agrees.
“Actually, Mr. Ephraham,” Cary interposes himself in the conversation to try and save his client, “don’t you mean that there might be slight variations in a road encounter? And that’s all?” Yes, that’s what he means. “Thanks, Cary, for that correction,” Alicia nods, wolfish; you can see how Cary enjoys the exchange as Diane frowns. Her phone buzzes, of course from Eli, and she ignores it. “And why is it important for the software to learn?” Alicia asks. “So it knows how to deal with all possible street encounters,” Ephraham replies, trying to choose his words carefully. Too late! “That means it doesn’t know how to deal with all encounters now,” she suggests, trying to tie him up in his own words. “No,” he replies, testier, getting red in the face.
“I’m not trying to trick you, Mr. Ephraham,” she tells him, holding up a hand. Next to the red faced executive, Canning positively glows. “If the software learns, then it must not know what it needs to learn, right?” He frowns, not knowing how to answer, so Alicia gives him a break for the moment.
“Wendy,” she says, addressing Canning’s client. “Was it raining on the day of your accident?” It was, she tells us. Fairly hard. “Mr. Ephraham, is rain one of those road conditions that the T-Port needs to learn to negotiate?” Most certainly, he says, back to his hostile and supercilious phrasing from earlier, it can negotiate rain. Weren’t there two accidents on the test tract during rainstorms, Alicia points out, pushing papers toward Cary and Diane. “There are a lot of accidents on the test track,” he bites out, the sarcasm thickening his tone, “That’s why we call it a test track.”
“The T-Port was still learning,” she points out. Yes, he bites. “As it is now,” she adds reasonably. He seethes. “Why don’t we take a break there?” Diane stops Canning’s fun.
“I’m being ganged up on,” Ephraham snaps, pacing Diane’s office. Of course you are, deep pockets. Why would you expect anything less? Nobody’s going to sue a middle class engineer. “I’ve got lawyers crawling all over me, because you two lost me Tim!” We didn’t lose you Tim, Diane replies, soothing, although if the CEO had a shred of rationality left to him he’d acknowledge that he was the one who did the losing. I’d love to hear his rationale for why Tim would have stuck around to be blamed. As he was. Under oath. “He exercised his right to find another lawyer,” Diane finishes. “Watch out,” the man sneers, “or I might, too.” He turns on his heels, making a dramatic exit.
“What do you think?” Cary asks. “I think we’re treating Alicia like an enemy,” Diane says, as I stare at her really confusing jacket, “when we should be treating her like a free agent.” Indeed. As unpleasant as he’s been, I don’t think Tim really wants Ephraham to lose. If nothing else, I’m sure he wants to keep his job. He only wants not to be blamed instead of Ephraham. For Alicia, blaming either the CEO or the victim amounts to the same thing. Free agent indeed.
“Very well played in there,” Canning declares, standing in the elevator between Lucca and Alicia. Right now Lucca’s appreciably taller than the other two; she chirps her thanks. “They’ll probably be coming after Wendy next, so, we should talk,” he offers. You know, here he looks about the same amount shorter than Lucca that Tim was. “We just did,” Alicia tells him, walking out. “Lucca Quinn,” Lucca extends her hand, pointedly waiting for him to acknowledge her as he stares after Alicia.
And there’s Alicia at home, without her partly leather jacket, mixing up some margaritas with a tiny chunk of lime for Jason. “Tell me if it’s too strong,” she smiles. So interesting, that. Why is she suddenly off wine? I can’t imagine this is somehow Jason’s influence. He seems like more of a scotch guy. Or a beer guy, but either way, not margaritas even if she’s de-girlied them by serving them on the rocks and without a salted rim. The two clink their glasses, a toast left unsaid.
He watches her over the rim of his glass before finally taking a sip, his eyes locked on her, mesmerizing. She sways, nerved, until he has his first sip and approves. “So this must be serious,” he observes. “We’re in your kitchen.” “Yeah, well, no,” she twitters, exquisitely self-conscious. “I was wanting to see how you, um, liked it here.” Nice save, Alicia. “Here at your work?” he asks. Yes. “I like it,” he purrs, his voice rich with approval, and she nods. “Howm’I doin?” Great, she says, like she can’t believe how helpful he is. “Good,” he nods, still staring at her. “We’re both great,” he smiles, and they stare at each other, hungry, assessing.
“I feel like you wanna say something,” he observes. “No,” she lies. “I …” she clears her throat. “It’s just … the insurance here? I have to, you know,” she rolls her eyes, and he finally looks down. “Get my ducks in a row.” She says it like there’s no help, like it embarrasses her. But why this whole after work setting? Why has she made the encounter so personal?
She rushes off to get some paperwork, and as she does, he steps over to her kitchen desk – the one cheery spot in a darkly traditional apartment — and picks up her jacket, which has slipped off the stool. Seeing him perform this domestic task stops her short. “Thanks,” she says, nearly dumbstruck, and he shrugs before stepping closer to her instead, looking at the papers over her shoulder instead of retaking his seat. “I wanted to see if you could sign this for me,” she finally admits, backing away. Is she afraid of him? Afraid that he’ll explode when confronted, as Judge Hess suggested, or afraid he’ll encroach on a sexual boundary she’s not willing to cross?
“It’s just a standard release for liability reasons,” she flutters, flustered, waving her hands. He grunts. He’s a lawyer, Alicia, and he’s not dumb. “In case I beat someone up?” he asks. “No, just in case anything, you know,” she says, smiling broadly as if to make up for the smile that disappeared off his face. Can’t you be honest, Alicia? (Why am even asking such a stupid question? Of course not.) “Trip on my stairs,” she says, gesturing toward her apartment as if there actually were stairs in it, “or cut yourself.” Right. He stares at the agreement. “On an ice tray,” he suggests, and she laughs far too loudly. “I hate doing it,” she admits, with what feels like exaggerated concern for his delicate sensibilities, “but the insurance is expensive, and it cuts down on costs.” You know, if you’d approached him in a most straightforward way it would have looked a lot less dodgy. She drinks deeply, watching his expression over the rim of her glass.
“If I don’t sign it?” he asks, looking up at her. Clearly, that’s one outcome she didn’t expect. “If you don’t,” she starts, lowering her glass. “Why wouldn’t you sign it?” I don’t like signing things, he tells her, a typical evasion, head tilted, sizing her up.
She quakes under the pressure. “Well, the problem is we’re not a big firm,” she stammers, and he picks up a pen. “So this is just…” he signs it. “Thank you,” she says quietly. “I’m sorry. Did that seem untrusting?” No, he shrugs it off. “I get it. You’re running a business.” They sink into eye contact again, threatening not to come back out.
He takes off his reading glasses, smiling.
“Thanks again,” she says thickly, and the silence lengthens between them.
“Would you like,” she begins, head tilted, speculative. His smiles widens and whitens. “What,” he wonders. “Would I like?” She thinks. She doesn’t know what she wants to offer. “Would you like … to have dinner,” she finally decides, adding “I have pizza,” with an apologetic shrug. Pizza sounds good, he decides, and so she searches her freezer for it. “I don’t have pizza,” she realizes, twisting out to look at him, light reflecting off the leather on the back of her dress. “I have mini tacos.” He snorts to himself. “Mini tacos sound good,” he replies, grin widening. “Let me just check the expiration,” she says, as bits from the box (cardboard? ice?) fall onto the floor. “Good, we’re good,” she beams, setting the yellow box down on the island. Her doorbell rings, and she looks up in surprise. One minute, she tells him. That’s just the laundry. (I don’t know about yours, but my laundry always rings the doorbell.)
On the way to the door, she gathers up her dry cleaning. But instead of a delivery guy, it’s Peter at the door with at least two guards and at least two flunkies. “Hey,” he grins, “thanks for doing this.” She blinks at him, completely at a loss, then guiltily back at Jason at the island.
“Hey, thanks for doing this,” Peter says again when we return from commercial; rarely does the show repeating itself like that, but today we get a double dose of the awkward. Peter attempts to move past his wife, but wide eyed, she won’t let him. “Doing what?” she asks. “Letting me stay here,” he explains, voice low. “Eli didn’t call?” No, she says reflexively, shaking her head until she realizes she’s been ignoring calls from him, “or, he may have,” she realizes.
That’s when Alicia’s gentleman caller stand up and walks toward the door. “Hi,” he introduces himself, “I’m Jason.” Blinking, Peter steps in and extends his hand, assessing this new threat. Even if he’s over Alicia, he’ll never want her with someone else”I’m Peter,” he says, looking at Jason as if the other man were taller even though they’re the same height. “Jason is my new investigator,” Alicia explains, wringing her hands. “I don’t recall you ever mentioning anything about an investigator,” Peter frowns. Ha! I would love to know how much he actually knows about his wife’s life. Does he even know about Lucca? “She tries to do most of the work herself,” Jason almost chuckles. “Yeah, that sounds like my wife,” Peter grins appreciatively as Alicia rolls her eyes. It’s striking how similar the two men are, even if Jason lacks Peter’s polish.
“It’s an honor to meet you, sir,” Jason smiles. “You’ve been a great governor.” This shoots right to Peter’s ego and scores. “Thank you,” the other man says, seeming to be genuinely touched despite Jason’s worrisome presence in Alicia’s apartment, “thank you very much.” I’ve got to get back to work, Jason says, and a female aid calls Peter’s attention his phone. “As do I,” Peter realizes. “Donor calls. Half my job is fundraising,” he shrugs, as if his campaign for the presidency had nothing to do with his execution of his actual job. “I can imagine,” Jason replies; it’s Peter who walks off first. “We’ll talk, right?” Alicia asks her investigator, who favors her with an enormous, bristly grin. “Always,” he says, and a thousand Snape fangirls faint dead to the floor. “Nice to meet you, Jason!” Peter calls out from the kitchen, and then Alicia’s pushed aside by the encroaching storm of Peter’s entourage, down at the bottom of our screen, pale and diminished and small.
Slam goes Eli’s door against his desk. I’m so over that gag, I can’t even. He dives for his ringing phone. “Oh, finally you decide to return my calls,” he says. “Alicia, wait – Alicia, I called you ten times,” Eli justifies himself. And that’s when he’s stopped cold, seeing Ruth usher a woman into her office. “Alicia can I call you back,” he asks, tethered to his desk by the phone. “Wait wait wait. It’s only until Friday. Yeah. Bye bye.” Has Alicia stopped to think about that fact that she’d have to move to Washington if Peter won either the presidency or the vice presidency? And live in the same house? And sleep in the same room or risk detection as a fraud.
He hangs up the phone and hisses for Nora to come quickly. I’m so confused by her desk – sometimes she sits in front of Peter’s office, sometimes in front of Ruth’s, and now in front of Eli’s, which is across the main office from his old one. “What,” she asks, giving him a dim glare. (That dress, good lord. Seriously, what’s the deal with the patterns lately? There are no word for this one, which goes halfway up Nora’s neck in an hombre of pinks and red and oranges over closely set black lines.) Who just went into Ruth’s office, Eli whispers; she has no idea. And couldn’t care less. “Was that Courtney Paige?” he wonders; his assistant has no idea who that is. And couldn’t care less. “RT Industries,” he snaps, indignant. “Only one of the most powerful CEOs in America!” Never heard of her, Nora announces, deadpan, hostile as ever, arms crossed. Well go in there and see if it’s her, he hisses.
And how am I supposed to do that, Nora wonders. Gee, I don’t know, Eli, you could google an image of the paragon on industry on your phone! But no, he suggests that Nora walk in to offer them water and see if Ruth’s visitor has a scar on her right hand from a paragliding accident. You’re kidding, Nora replies; he isn’t. “I don’t get paid enough,” she complains. “Go!” he hisses. No, they really don’t pay you enough, Nora.
Since he doesn’t want to intrude himself, Eli does the next best thing: he stands up on his desk, on top of a few reams of paper, and tries to listen at the vent. Frankly, he should be humiliated by this. It’s preposterous. I also don’t know how it works even in a limited capacity; he can hear Ruth talking, but not her words, let alone enough to identify her guest. All he manages to glean is that the topic under discussion is (of course) the Florrick marriage.
“I brought you some water,” Eli’s intrepid assistant pipes up, walking into Ruth’s office, “in case you were thirsty!” As she balances a tray, Ruth thanks her – and she gets in far enough for us to see that whether or not the visitor is Courtney Paige, she’s definitely played by Vanessa Williams. Wow! Last week it’s Michael Urie, this week it’s his old boss Wilhelmina Slater! Who’s next from Ugly Betty? Rebecca Romjin? Judith Light? Becki Newton or Ana Ortiz? I love it. Keep ’em coming, casting!
Willy’s hangs are primly crossed in her lap, frustrating Nora’s undercover assignment. “Ah, Peter and Alicia’s marriage has stood both the test of time and tumult,” Ruth says as Nora pours the water and covertly stares. “And they have come out the stronger.” I’m not a prude, Willie agrees. “I’m just tired of seeing Democratic candidates sidelined by personal failings.” As so many candidates of both parties are… Willie takes her glass from Nora in such a way that her hand remains completely obscured; not only that, but Willie catches her staring, and Ruth catches Willie catching Nora, and so she gets chased out of the room. And since Eli can’t really hear anything going on, she smacks the door on his desk (much closer now) and catches him listening at the vent. We see him peaking down through the door; what did she find out? Was there a scar? Well, if she couldn’t see she needs to run back in and check again. Not gonna happen, she says.
“I have an MBA from Syracuse,” Nora reminds her boss. She does? “I graduated Summa Cum Laude, and I spent a year at the Sorbonne studying French poetry. I’m done playing I Love Lucy for you.” With great dignity, she slams the door.
She does? What the heck is she doing here, in that job? Crazy.
Here’s the one moment in all of this that actually made me laugh; Ruth knocks on the door, and Eli has to tell her not to open it or she’ll see him perched up by the vent. Ha ha ha. Embarrassed, he hustles down, moving furniture and generally baffling his boss with the strange noises necessary to let her in. “Do you have a minute?” she asks when he finally opens the door. Oh yes he does.
“Courtney Paige, hello,” Willie says, extending her hand. Her hair’s tied up in a very strange and unflattering chignon, smooth wide wings on either side of her face. “Eli Gold,” Eli introduces himself with his best handshake, “I’ve followed your career closely, Miss Paige.” That’s a terrifying thought, she flicks her eyes at him. It seems that Courtney’s shopping for a new and fresh candidate. “I like underdogs,” she declares. “Who doesn’t?” Eli smiles. But, as Eli overheard, she’s worried about the Florrick marriage. “I said you could comfort her fears.”
Yes, Eli agrees heartily. “Here I am. To comfort.”
“I’d like to meet with them together at some point,” Courtney asks, clearly not sure if this will fly. Oh, it will indeed. And hey, there’s no time like this week, while Peter’s in town. “Yes, for the birthday party,” Eli stammers. Oh God, really? Whose birthday, Courtney wonders. Yes, do tell.
“Is it Grace’s birthday?” Ruth asks Eli as the two speed walk out of her office. He has no idea. “Well then why did you say it?” Yeah. I’d be surprised if that information wasn’t online and easily verifiable. I don’t know, he whispers, I’ll talk to Alicia. Oh, I’m sure that’s going to go over well. Better than it would have back when she cared about privacy and the truth, of course, but she won’t be thrilled.
“What’s so important, Eli,” she asks, standing in the halls of LAL. “March, why?” Ha ha. Not this year. She flaps her mouth open for a few seconds without any sound coming out. “I have no words for this. You can keep talking, but I have no words.”
Lucca knocks on the conference room wall, signalling for Alicia to end the ridiculous discussion and come back in. “You’ve had your share of accidents over the years, haven’t you, Miss Searle?” Diane probes. Yeah, I’m really not sure that’s going to work, but nice try. “Well, what do you mean?” Wendy asks. “It means they’re blaming the victim,” Louis Canning helpfully explains. After bringing up two accidents in 2010 and 2012, Diane mentions the fact that Wendy wears contacts but wasn’t wearing them the night of this accident. “Do you wanna take this, or shall I?” Canning asks Alicia. Despite the fact that they don’t have an official alliance, Alicia offers to take it. “You said ‘no, but’ to Miss Lockhart’s last question.” How did she want to complete that thought? “No, but I don’t need the contact lenses for driving,” she smiles.
But she shouldn’t mistake Alicia for a friend. “During this accident, were you texting while driving?” Excuse me, Wendy asks, and beside her Canning squirms. Was she texting. “Not while driving,” Wendy protests, and so Alicia puts on her reading glasses once more (is she really that old?), and notes that Wendy sent a text at 8:12pm,less than 20 seconds before the accident. Ooops. Though they looked put out earlier, Diane and Cary are thoroughly pleased by Alicia’s accurate, devastating targeting of Wendy’s real weakness.
“Good job blaming the victim,” Louis Canning tells Alicia as he stands between her and Lucca on the elevator ride down. Neither of them dignify this with an answer, but Alicia does bump into him on the way out. “Watch it,” she tells him, smiling. “You used to be a nicer person, you know!” he calls after her.
There must be a good 25 men in Alicia’s apartment when she and Lucca head back to their office, men on the phone, men with papers, men with agendas. “It’s a good thing your place is so quiet,” Lucca observes wryly as Alicia bites her tongue. Ah, there’s one woman walking through, her hair in a high ponytail. Alicia catches a glimpse of Sex on a Plate — er, Jason — on his phone in her office, and happily, the women are able to join him and shut out the chaos with the french doors.
I’ve been having trouble finding T-Port accidents, he tells them. “The car is pretty damn safe.” For the first time in a long time Alicia’s not looking for a settlement; she’s playing defense, and not for deep pockets, either. “That’s too bad,” Lucca replies, but she doesn’t have the intuitive understanding of Jason’s style Alicia has. “And yet,” she prompts him, and with a faint smile, he confesses there are two things. “A month before the accident, they added a fuzzy driving feature to the software.” In a nutshell, this is programming to counter the fact that the car was too polite, never made it through 4 way intersections because it kept letting other cars go through, that kind of thing. It was too safe, Alicia realizes. Yep, and that’s where the so called fuzzy driving comes in. “It made the car more aggressive, more human,” Jason explains to his fascinated bosses. “It would roll through stop signs, it would be more aggressive when changing lanes.” So they made it less safe, Alicia says. ‘You could argue that,” Jason smiles. “That’s a pretty good argument,” Lucca says, pleased. “What’s the second thing?”
“The hard drive was erased after the accident.”
That ‘what’ is that when Jason went to download the hard drive, he couldn’t, because someone wiped it. Dang! But Alicia doesn’t have long to contemplate this, because she sees the Hollow Eyed Man in her hall.
“Mr. Hallman, can I help you?” she asks, puzzled by his presence in her increasingly busy apartment. “Is your house always like this?” he wonders, and she smiles; no, this is unusual. “Um, would you like to sit down?” she offers.
“I want you to stop being a stooge,” he says. Um, excuse me? “You’re Landau’s stooge on the board. You’re voting with him. And he’s a corrupt son of a bitch.” Well, that’s probably true, but how does she know you’re any better? “Mr. Hallman,” she begins, “whatever your issue is with Mr. Landau…” As she tips her head forward, her hair once again looks extra short. (And yeah, I know tipping your head forward will do that, but it looks altogether shorter right now than at several points earlier.) “My issue isn’t with Mr. Landau,” he claims. “He’s beyond saving, but you’re not.” Interesting. This is St. Hallman, here to save Alicia’s political soul? If so she could surely use it. “I’m bringing this up for another vote this week.” Wait, how the heck many times does this committee meet? “And then I’m gonna ask Landau to step down, and you to take the chair.” Wait, what? That sounds more like a bribe than a saintly reward. She’s shocked.
“We have enough votes to put a woman in charge. Everybody’s been feeling the pressure from their home districts.” Wait, WHAT? They have home districts? Which are pressuring them to put a woman at the head of the committee that had no women on it until two days ago? That makes no sense. She attempts to interrupt his vision. “But, I need you to vote against KLT,” he says, making a tumbling motion with his fingers. “Then I can make you chair.” I don’t’ want to be chair, she gasps. Smartly, he refocuses his pitch. “Mrs. Florrick. Corruption doesn’t start out there. It doesn’t’ start in DC or Springfield, it starts here. In you and me. And only if we let it happen. So don’t. It’s as easy as that. Just don’t.”
Yeah, those are fine words, and I was buying them right up until you offered to put her in charge of your committee.
A woman in a plain beige suit limps down the hall near the LAL conference room. “This accident was not caused by fuzzy driving,” bald Mr. Ephraham declares emphatically, hitting each syllable with machine like precision. Oooh, maybe that’s what he reminds me of, a cyborg instead of an alien with those perfectly round, over-sized eye sockets. Lucca still presses him; doesn’t the programming make the T-Port drive more like a human? “Yes, like a safe human,” the Cyborg snaps, his face beginning to go red and blotchy. Like keeping a safe two car distance on the freeway, Canning wonders, and their punches land so closely that Diane has to ask them to stop ganging up on her client. We had to add the fuzzy driving feature, the Cyborg says, steam nearly coming out of his ears, “because human drivers kept dangerously merging into the safe gap left by the T-Port. That’s why the T-Port is being more aggressive.” Fair enough. “In other words, that’s why it tailgates?” Lucca asks, and Cary objects. Ah, so you can object in a deposition, Cary. Tim was right to look for a new lawyer.
“No, not tailgates. Look, it’s human drivers making the roads more dangerous,” the Cyborg fumes, “the T-Port is just adapting.” By being more aggressive, Lucca replies evenly. “By being more human, which resulted in this accident.” Oh, you can telling Canning loves the sound of that. “No, this accident was caused by humans,” the Cyborg insists. “Then when did you erase the car’s hard drive?” Alicia asks quietly, dropping a bomb on the entire proceedings; Cary in his purple tie and Diane, in her tomato orange dress, startle, and then look to their client.
His voice slows as he moves beyond normal anger. “I did not erase the hard drive.” Then how did it get erased, Alicia wonders, calm and rational. As much as he’s sticking to his story, they’re just ripping this guy to shreds; Cary wants a break so the Cyborg can compose himself. “No, I’d like to answer that,” he demands. “The hard drive was damaged by the force of the accident. We’re not talking about an airplane’s black box here. It is vulnerable to impact.” Alicia and Lucca smirk and share knowing looks.
“That’s not true,” Tim Brewster testifies. “We’ve had several other accidents. Never has there been any data loss.” The Cyborg, whose strong bone structure really does look like metal beneath his shiny skin, can’t abide not having the last word. “Yes, but that was a real world…” Excuse me, Canning stops him, outraged. “Mr. Brewster’s being deposed now.” Nice! So how did it happen, Lucca asks. “Obviously somebody deliberately erased the data after the fact,” Punky Brewster replies.
“No,” comes an unknown voice; it takes a moment, but eventually everyone zones in on a curly haired, bug-eyed man in the back of the room, who introduces himself as Anthony Edward Dudewitz. Immediately, he looks to me like a cast member of The Big Bang Theory (let’s say Stuart Bloom’s looks crossed with Howard Wolowitz’s name and specialty), and he’s played by Joey Slotnick of Alias, Nip/Tuck and The Single Guy. Fun. “And what this … engineer is suggesting is complete balderdash.” Yeah, there might be some Sheldon Cooper in there too, with the vocabulary. “If you don’t mind, Mr. Dudewitz,” Lucca begins, clearly ready to ask him to shut up. “I do mind,” he declares forcefully. “I do mind mediocrity.” Well, why don’t you mind it on your own time, buster? Poor Tim looks humiliated. “It has a taint. Like burned toast. And you stink of it.”
Charming. Diane has to shout over the resulting cacophony to explain that Dudewitz is the original designer of the T-Portable, and is their next witness. If he can’t control himself, he ought to be waiting in the hall, Diane. “I didn’t know he’d be here,” Dudewitz/Wolowitz/Cooper/Bloom sneers, I think looking at the Cyborg. “Antony,” the Cyborg groans, using the British pronunciation which turns the “th” into a “t”. Fun detail, Cyberman. “Thief. Bungler,” Cooper continues. “I’ll testify if he’s gone.” Diane drops her head. Put him out in the hall, Diane!
But when Jason Saturday Night Fever-walks down the hall, it’s the Cyborg who’s storming out. Really? We’re not giving Tim a turn? Also, I’m fascinated to know how Diane will react when she sees that Alicia won the war over Jason. (Should we assume that Jason realized LAL would eventually fire him when they found out about his disbarment, and that’s why he took Alicia’s far inferior offer? Still fascinated by all that.)
“So you work with Mr. Ephraham?” Cary asks quietly. “Work?” Dudewitz/Bloom snorts. “Yeah, I work with the great Charles Ephraham. He handles the money, I handle the genius.” Oh boy. So why do you hate him that much? Are you just a misanthrope? I love when they bring in prickly characters with such highly evolved, even mysterious backstories. “And what was your specific involvement with the T-Portable?” “I designed the interface,” Dudewitz/Wolowitz says. “I hired most of these monkeys, including that idiot.” The jerk jerks his chin toward an already twitchy Brewster. “Let the record show I am nodding toward that code monkey sitting over there.” As he speaks, Alicia sees Jason waiting in the hall and stands up. “Am I boring you?” Dudewitz/Cooper bellows. Man, he’s really the entire cast of that show in one. “On the contrary, I can’t wait to return,” Alicia replies (and is it terrible that all I can think of is the snarky comment Leonard would have made instead?). And leaves.
Once she’s out of the room, Diane elicits her witnesses testimony. Erasing the hard drive manually would leave a residual trace, and there was none.
“There is no connection between the designer of the voting machines at KLT and Frank Landau,” Jason grins, thrilled. “But?’ Alicia prompts him. “How do you know there’s a but?” he wonders — and he does seem genuinely surprised she’s figured him out. “There’s always a but with you,” she flirts, and he very nearly blushes. “BUT there is a connection between KLT and a shell company called Pixter Union, owned by none other than Frank Landau’s wife.” Really, Alicia says, nodding. Well, that makes the whole voting machine scandal even uglier, doesn’t it? “Now why is this important?” he asks; no reason, she says, before quickly changing the topic. “Hey, I’m really sorry about last night, Peter,” she says. “Why? Cool guy,” Jason grins, and Alicia grins back at him, astounded. “Cool?” Yeah, he says. “You still owe me mini-tacos, by the way.” I’ll get right on that, she promise, practically fluttering her eyelashes, looking over her shoulder at him as she walks away.
One more thing, he says. “This guy? I’ve seen him on Ted talk. You might want to ask him something.” Of course Alicia, with her lack of imagination, can’t fathom that sexy, leather-wearingJason listens to Ted talks. Just because he uses the word cool, do you think that means he spends all his leisure time brawling in seedy bars? “Yeah, what’s wrong?” Jason wonders. Oh, nothing, she says. “You just don’t seem like the Ted talk kind of guy.” Ah, he says, grinning through his gray beard. “I’m an insomniac. You’d be surprised what I get into late at night.” I’m sure in all the hours she’s spent picturing him late at night (and you know she has) watching Ted talks was never one of his activities.
Seriously, I’m a little shocked she doesn’t faint; they really, really, aren’t pulling any punches with him. Dude is all sex, all the time. Even when he’s not making insinuations, everything about him screams sex.
“Does that answer your question? Can I make it even simpler for you? Tell me if these words get too complicated,” Dudewitz/Cooper patronizes Diane. No, she replies politely, I’m good. “So the hard disk could not have been erased?” she asks, clearly summing up a technical discussion. “Yup,” the genius engineer agrees, sticking to his promise to use small words. “Can I go now?” Actually, Alicia puts up a finger, just a few questions from me. “Ah,” he sneers, “you, you’re back. We’ve been having fun in here.” I’m glad, she smiles.
She guesses that he’s the mind behind the fuzzy driving software. “Yes. You are correct in your guess,” he mocks her. “And I would imagine this is the very definition of AI, artificial intelligence?” “How sweet,” he smiles, “you helpfully explained what AI means. You are again correct in your imagination.” Sigh. What a turd. There’s nothing quite like a specialist who boasts of their supremacy on the one hand, and then ruthlessly derides the rest of the world for not sharing their knowledge base on the other. “Mr. Dudewitz, what do you think of the future of AI?” she asks; when Cary objects to this call for speculation, Alicia gives him a look of pointed disbelief. “It’s a proper objection, even in a deposition.” So she rephrases: What does he think of AI? “What do you want to know? Just ask,” Dudewitz responds.
“Are we in danger from AI?” she wonders. “I think it’s getting smarter,” he nods. “Everyday. Learning our boundaries, and its boundaries. It’s evolving. I think there will be an adjustment period after it takes over, but eventually…” Wait, I’m sorry, she stops him. “What do you mean by takes over?” Diane and Cary turn to each other in consternation as their super-witness hangs himself, talking about a singularity; Canning just smiles, pleased. “When the system is capable of recursive self-improvement, when it is better at re-calibrating, expanding and spawning than we are, the brief blip of humanity’s reign will reach it’s inevitable conclusion.” Alrighty then.
So you’re saying the robots are coming to get us, Alicia asks, and Cary winces. “No,” Stuart Dudewitz tries to explain himself. “I hear the ridicule in your voice, m’am. I’m just saying, they won’t have much use for us.” Delighted, Alicia nods to Jason, who’s been watching the proceedings through the glass wall.
“Mr. Dudewitz,” Cary tries to repair the damage done to his witness’s credibility, “Who else believes that AI has the ability to be dangerous?” Elon Musk, the man says (and huh, I thought that was a perfume and not a person), Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates. This is not an unorthodox position, Cary comments. “Certainly it’s unorthodox, it’s held by geniuses,” the scientist huffs. “like myself. The sheep are too busy watching tv.” Thank you, Cary,” Alicia steps back in. “One last question. How do you think the car’s hard drive got erased?” Oh, Diane doesn’t like that line of questioning at all; it calls for speculation. Obligingly, Alicia agrees to rephrase. “Do you think that the car is capable of erasing its own memory?” Wild!
“Yes I do,” he says, even wilder. “And if you believe that, don’t you believe that the software could override the safety features?” Oh, Canning can’t even handle how great that is. “I don’t think I would go that far,” Dudewitz tries to talk his position back. “But if you believe that AI can transcend its creators original position, and you introduce the theory of fuzzy driving in order to make the car more aggressive, more human-like,” she suggests, striking fear and horror into the hears of her opponents, “then why couldn’t the computer override your safety controls?”
Dude, she has totally got you.
“Come on,” Cary complains. “That has so many layers of conditions and hypotheticals…” Hey, he’s your witness, Alicia replies, not mine. “Well, I’m noting my objetion for the the record,” Cary says in a last ditch effort to — what, even? “Mr. Dudewitz, do you have an answer for that?” I’m a smart man, he says, sounding rather Rain Man-like. “A genius,” Alicia reminds him. “Yes, and I’ve created something so complex that I can’t positively tell what it can and can’t do.” So it could have put that woman into a wheelchair, Alicia says, pointing to Wendy. “It’s possible,” Anthony Stuart Cooper admits reluctantly. “Thank you sir,” Alicia says as Diane starts rubbing her forehead in embarrassment, “this has been most illuminating.” She looks out to the hall, hoping to share her moment of victory with Jason, but to her deep disappointment, he’s disappeared.
When Alicia arrives at home, two guards flank the inside of her door. I wonder if they’re secret service? The secret service protects presidential candidates, after all. She gives them a cheery hello as she swaggers in toward the kitchen, dropping off her coat on the way. The great man himself is there, performing his “job” – that is, taking donor phone calls. I guess I won’t ask why he’s home and not at his office during the middle of the day. Alicia heads straight for the tequila, pouring a finger length for her husband as well, and commiserates with him over the necessary evil of campaign calls. You’d know about that, he shrugs, realizing that they’re part of the same club.
And then he gets a look at the bottle she’s toting. “Tequila. Wow. You’ve graduated.” Is that the point of this new drink switch up? Whatever. “I am in a good mood,” she smiles, and walks toward him, handing him his glass. Good day in court, he wonders. “There’s nothing like a good cross,” she announces, oozing self-satisfaction. ” You?” Well, he replies modestly, that was one million dollars. She rears back in surprise. “Yeah,” he acknowledges, “Things are clicking. I like when things click.” They click glasses and drink, celebrating their separate victories. As she lowers her glass, she squints at him, speculatively. “You okay in the bonus room?” she asks. “Yeah,” he shrugs it off. “Feels like old times.” Indeed. As he takes another swig of his drink, she decides some other things feel like old times, and she makes an offer, her voice low. “Wanna get laid?”
He almost chokes on the tequila. Is that even a question? Like he would ever turn that down. “Do you?” She consults her watch. “Sure, I’ve got twenty minutes,” she says, as if agreeing to go over paperwork, and tosses back the rest of her drink.” Me too, he agrees, slugs back his drink, grabs his phone off the island, and follows his wife into the spare bedroom.
You know, I was just rereading an old recap, the Thanksgiving episode with the bathroom tryst. Alicia had a great day, and she wants to top it off with sex, I get it; but as usual, she’s with Peter but she’s thinking about someone else. She’s inspired by someone else.
Once in the bare bones spare room, Alicia starts tossing off her clothes onto the bench at the foot of the bed, staring at Peter while she does it. It’s not a strip tease; it’s business. He disrobes as well, not quite knowing how to handle this new side of her; not by approaching and kissing her, certainly. “Next stop, Lincoln bedroom,” he says, and she snickers a little. “Think it’s any different there?” She shrugs off her shirt, and wow, her abs are amazing. “Oh yeah, everybody gets laid there,” he drawls. “You think you have a shot?” she asks, slipping off her skirt. “I think Ruth thinks I have a shot,” he tells her, unbuttoning his shirt, “if things go wrong with Hillary. Or Bernie.” She laughs a little. Her beige underwear is super pretty, too; she shimmies out of her lace panties and dives into the bed, looking up at him expectantly. He notes a sound system in the single bookshelf. “Zach’s?” Yes. He turns it on, then asks if that’s okay. “You planning on making noise?” she wonders snarkily. Just in case, he grins, down to his white undershirt.
Aaand then his phone rings. “No,” she tells him, leaning back up on her elbows. “That’s another million dollars,” he grins, avid. “Which do you want more?” she asks, taunting, and it only takes him a second to rip off the t-shirt, to her immense satisfaction.
And then we hear the music as the two guards hold up the walls in the entryway, chatting with each other. The door swings open, revealing more guards in the hall, and Eli, his cell phone pressed to his chest. “Where’s Peter?” he asks the taller guard, who points toward the spare room. “Sleeping?” Eli asks, wrinkling his nose. Do you really think he could be sleeping with that music on, Eli? Come on. He walks over to the door, knocks, and then squints at it when he doesn’t get an answer. “Peter, I have a call,” he raps on the door again. Why is Eli on this errand? Other than the fact that his shock will delight us, of course. “Be right out,” Peter calls.
Inside the Spare Bedroom of Sex, the Florricks struggle back into their clothes. “So you’re all right with this?” the husband asks, shrugging his shirt up over his shoulders. “Peter,” Alicia replies, shimmying back into her skirt, “I basically seduced you.” I’m not sure I would use the word seduce to cover that proposition, but there’s no doubt who was driving that car. “You don’t have to call me in the morning.” He laughs. “Yeah, it was sexy, huh?” he grins. “It’s always sexier not to care,” she says seriously, sitting down on the bench to put her shoes on, and I think I want to cry that she genuinely has given up on anything better. “Why is that?” he wonders, buttoning. “Because sex is sexier without love,” she declares, flipping her hair at him.
Instead of debating the topic (which he’s clearly not sold on) Peter opens the door to Eli. “Yeah?” he asks, as Eli takes in the sight of them both getting dressed. it takes a few seconds for Eli to regain the power of speech; when he does, he tells Peter there’s a major donor on the line who needs to talk to him. After Peter takes the phone, enthusiastically greeting one Mrs. Blumen, Eli’s left to stare at Alicia. “How you doing, Eli?” she asks, buttoning up her cuffs, with a major, major case of sex-hair. “I’m not sure,” he stammers, standing aimlessly in front of her washing machine.
“Oh,” she says, standing, clearly taunting him, “you catching a cold?” HA HA HA HA. His face runs from startled to aghast to annoyed and finally to composed. “No,” he says, “no.” Then he gives her a grave look. “You’re being smart, aren’t you?” She grins, pulling on her beautiful gray wool jacket. “Always,” she tells him, patting his arm on her way out.
“So if you were driving at 35 mph, Mr. Brewster, you had seven seconds to switch out of driverless mode and hit the brakes,” Diane says, wearing a new gray blazer. “But that wasn’t my responsibility,” he replies. Does that mean that he assumed the car would do it? But that’s why you were in the car, wasn’t it, Cary suggests; in case something went wrong? To this Lucca objects (it mischaracterizes earlier testimony) but Louis says its enough that the objection is preserved for the judge, and so Tim answers. “All I did was turn on the defroster,” he says, “and then a few seconds later the lights start flashing, the radio started flipping stations – it was like the car had a mind of its own.” Oh, interesting. We hadn’t heard this before, and it certainly supports Jason’s AI theory. Also interesting? Alicia, pressed and perfect as usual in a white suit, appears late.
“So were you asleep at the switch?” Canning asks, and Alicia tells him to back off and let Diane and Cary ask the questions. “Were you asleep at the switch?” Cary asks, and Alicia rolls her eyes. “I was not asleep,” Tim declares, “I never actually fell asleep.” Wait, what? Cary’s eyebrows shoot for the roof. “Actually asleep, okay, good. Were you dozing?” The car is supposed to drive itself, Tim protests, and now the Cyborg rolls his eyes. “So you were dozing,” Cary announces, taking copious notes. Maybe when you were asleep, you switched off driverless mode accidentally, Canning suggests. “Objection,” Alicia snaps. “He already said he wasn’t sleeping. This isn’t deposition by ambush!” Smirking, Diane finally weighs in; Tim will have to answer their questions, but whether it’s all together or one at time, it’s his choice. “So you were asleep at the switch,” Cary repeats.
And then we see the car driving through the Chicago suburbs, the Dude at the wheel. “Right now, I’m in full control, but we can go driverless at any time.” How did he get to take out one of these cars? And why would he do it for them? And wait, did they have to go to Michigan to test it? Either way, Jason’s riding shotgun, with Tim, Alicia and Lucca crowded in the backseat.
“Thank you for doing this, Mr. Dudewitz,” Alicia says. “I don’t like thank yous,” the engineer declares. “They’re a remnant of a hypocritical society.” Um, okay. “Ready to go driverless?” he asks. “Let’s do it, says Jason, gripping the handle above the door; Alicia leans forward to grab the back of the passenger seat. There’s no appreciable change once he lets go of the wheel. “I can now read, shave, yodel…” And presumably fall asleep, even though Tim just lot lambasted for that. It’s hard to trust, but it really would be a wonderful (and very Jetsons-feeling) innovation. “The car’s driving itself,” Lucca needs him to confirm. “Yep! I just put into the GPS the intersection where the crash happened.”
And that’s when a bicycle surges across their path; the car swerves, then stops, missing the person while driver Dudewitz still has his hands in the air. “That kid?” he declares, excited, “That kid could be the next Steve Jobs. This car just saved his life.” Jason grins. “You’re welcome, kid,” Dudewitz/Cooper shouts out after him, as Lucca presses her lips together, smirking.
Okay, we’re in the proximity of the accident, what were you doing, Jason asks Tim. “Nothing. I just sat.” Oh, splendid. The car thumps over something, and the women flinch. What was that? A pothole, comes an answer balanced between the reassuring and the patronizing.
“So you said you hit the defroster, when was that?” Alicia asks Tim. Just before this next intersection, he says. “Now.” Anthony the Dude hits the defrost button. “The defroster.” I don’t know anyone who calls it the defroster, rather than just the defrost. Weird. “And. Nothing.”
“Alright, what did you do after you turned on the defroster?” “I turned it off,” Tim says, “and a few seconds later the lights started flashing, the radio turned on, and all the windows rolled down.” Eyes rolling, Dudewitz/Cooper just barks “you’re wrong.” So rude, Dude. I’m just telling you what happened to me, Tim explains wearily. “Maybe your memory is faulty,” Dudewitz suggests. “There’s no way the AI has control over the windows.” It was cold outside, the windows rolled down, he repeats, pained at having to defend his sanity. “Maybe you bumped into the controls!” I did not, wearily defensive Tim pushes back. (He reminds me of this cat I used to have when I was a kid, who would let my sister push him around in a baby carriage and just lie there with this long suffering look, like he didn’t understand why she was assaulting his dignity in that way. Tim’s totally making that face.)
Deciding that it’s time to intervene, Alicia asks the Dude if there’s any other explanation for what Tim says happened. “It couldn’t have,” he insists. “I see an equation and it isn’t right, I know where the problem lies. With humans. It’s always with humans.” Um, no. It’s totally disconcerting to see him turned around and not watching where he’s going, even though we know he’s not driving. “And is the only human in this equation Tim?” Lucca wonders. If he was the only human in the car, the Dude declares, if he’s… And then he stops. What?
“There could be another human involved,” he realizes. “Not one in the car.” Who, Alicia’s dying to know. “A hacker,” the Dude groans.
“R.L. Burnside?” Grace opens a cd, excited. “It’s his greatest hits,” Courtney Paige enthuses, sitting across from the youngest Florrick at the dinner table. “I have read philosophies, biographies, but I find that all of life’s biggest questions can be answered by that cd.” Ha. Alrighty then. Perhaps I need to go pick that up. “This is great,” Grace smiles across a decorated vanilla layer cake with dark chocolate frosting and pink roses, about a quarter of it cut open. “Thank you so much.” So when is your actual birthday, Courtney wonders. The 14th, Grace answers diplomatically. (Well done, young lady. You lie nearly as well as your parents.) Of course Peter pops in with a little misdirection and a story about a blues club Alicia used to haunt back in the Georgetown days, Monique’s. It’s probably gone now, Alicia guesses, red wine in hand, hair short again. “Believe it or not, this sophisticated lady you see sitting there got on top of the bar and started dancing with her friends.” Well, Grace at least is shocked by this evidence that her mother had a slightly less saintly youth than previously imagined. Mom, you did, she gasps. “I was 22,” Alicia explains. “And, I tripped.” Of course she did. That’s why sober people don’t usually dance on top of bars. “And fell off, right into my arms, throwing out my back.” She threw out your back? What were you, 60? Courtney seems less thrilled with all this forced joviality, but I can’t help thinking that without the back issues, that’d be a super cute meet-cute. “Oh, you are such a baby,” Alicia tells him fondly; Peter takes a quick look over at Courtney, who isn’t laughing.
“So, Miss Paige, did you really tell the King of Saudi Arabia to start letting more women into the workplace?” Grace asks. Ah, a girl after my own heart; mom told you that she’d be coming dinner, and what did you do, Grace? You researched her. Love it. “I did indeed,” she smiles, holding up a cup of tea. “Although I did it politely.” How did he respond, Grace wonders. “Ah, exactly how I thought he would. He smiled, and asked me to pass the lamb.” Peter laughs too loudly at this joke, and Courtney turns a rather ferocious look at him which quells the laughter in his throat.
“She was supposed to leave thirty minutes ago, I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or a bad thing,” Ruth mutters, pacing in the hall by the elevator. To my surprise, she’s talking to Eli. Really, Alicia, this is the life you want; staff outside your door, speculating on what you’ve done, entertaining fat cats with canned anecdotes? UGH. If he won, every day, all day, every night, all night would be a variant of this.You’re an idiot.
Anyway. Despite how it looked on the inside, there’s no way that Courtney staying so long is a bad thing. She doesn’t seem like she’s having much fun, but she hasn’t left. “Good,” Eli smiles, enraptured by the picture in his imagine. “They like each other. Everything’s going great!”
And that’s when the elevator doors open on Howard and Jackie, cooing at each other like doves, his wing around her shoulders. Actually, underneath his arm is her coat, set on her shoulders so it gives the effect of a cape, making them twice as bird-like. “Oh, Mr. Gold,” the Queen Mum flutters. “Good God, what are you doing here?” Eli snaps, polite as ever. “Miss Eastman, hello,” Jackie extends a gracious hand, and then introduces Howard around. Everyone but Eli is civil.
“Peter and Alicia are having a dinner party for … Grace,” he stammers, actually grabbing Jackie by the arms to stop her progress toward Alicia’s apartment. “Yes, I know, that’s why we’re here. We have something to tell them.” Yeah, Eli’s not down with that. “It’s actually not a good time right now, Jackie,” he whispers, and she smiles largely. “It’s always a good time to see my son, Mr. Gold,” she smirks, and swans past him. “What can happen?” Ruth shrugs, because she’s only seen rational Jackie and she just doesn’t know; because he does know, Eli grunts indistinctly to himself, throws up his hands, and follows them into the apartment.
“So what was it like growing up in Texas?” Grace asks Courtney, once again carrying the largest share of the conversation. “Hell-o-o,” Jackie calls out from the entryway, and Peter’s face contracts in confusion, and then his eyes go wide with alarm. “Mother?” he calls out, practically leaping out of his car. “What a surprise!” He whispers down to Eli out of the corner of his mouth, “you call that standing guard?” “A man has got to know his limitations,” Eli curses, “and your mother is mine.” Hee.
“Oh, what is this, a party?” Jackie asks after clutching Grace to her. I guess the cake must have tipped her off? “Well, yes, it’s my birthday party,” Grace replies, hoping that Jackie will play along. “But your birthday isn’t until…” We’re celebrating a little early this year, Jackie,” Alicia steps in like a Stepford wife, half hugging grace and willing Jackie to play along with all her strength. We’re going to celebrate now, Peter declares, and you can see from Courtney’s expression that she’s not fooled by any of it. You’d probably all have had a better time if you didn’t play along with Eli’s foolish fiction, guys.
How nice, Jackie offers, ready to let the issue drop, even if it puzzles her. To help distract everyone further, Peter introduces Jackie to Courtney. “And this is her, ah, um,” he stutters, gesturing futilely at his mother’s beau, “um, Howard Lyman.” You just can’t bring yourself to say boyfriend, can you? “Pleasure, m’am,” Miss Paige nods. “The pleasure’s all mine,” Jackie declares, “I like Peter’s African American friends.”
Oh, Jackie. Right out of the gate.
Poor Eli, who’s clearly having heart palpitations, tries to rush Jackie out of the room. “Well, I, ee, yes, but first, I have some news.” Howard puts his arm around her shoulders, and she beams up at him. “We have some news.” Let’s share that news later, Eli tries again, but it’s like he doesn’t exist. “Howard and I … are engaged!” she announces, lifting up her left hand to display the ring.
On the women’s half of the room, Grace and Alicia gape, stunned but not displeased; Courtney Paige, too, puts on a suitable face for a joyous announcement. Eli and Peter, on the other hand, react in horror. “Are you insane, Mom?” Peter demands, scrunching his face up so much that you can’t see his eyes at all. Alicia bursts into barks of appreciative laughter. “We’re in love,” Jackie explains, and kisses her intended on his wrinkly cheek; Grace squeals and rushes in to hug out her congratulations. “Mother, this is not a good idea,” Peter says. Yup. That’s one prince who doesn’t want to share his queen with anyone. “It is, Peter,” Jackie insists, “and I’m so happy.” Indeed, she’s glowing. “Who’d have thought we’d find love at this age,” Howard shakes his head. Hey, and if her casual antisemitism don’t bother him, and his gross sexual insinuations don’t offend her, then why the heck not? What would they wait for? All Alicia can do is laugh. “Guess this makes me Step-Father General, huh?” Howard quips, smacking Peter on the shoulder; his son-in-law to be just wrinkles his nose.
“That’s wonderful, congratulations,” Courtney smiles as Alicia’s laughter gets more and more high pitched. “Yes, wonderful, and I’m sure you want to continue your celebrations out in the hall!” Eli glowers, attempting to manhandle his boss’s mom and spin her out the door. “Doesn’t anyone want to hear how he proposed?” Jackie asks, and good lord, but there’s nothing Alicia wants more in life.
“So you were in Selma during the march?” Courtney asks Howard, which, WHAT? “Yeah, I was there for a deposition,” he says. “Even got to meet the man himself. Dr. King.” No way. Howard actually has interesting life stories to tell, and it’s taken this long to get to them? Really, Courtney asks in surprise. “Yeah. Told him to speed things up, I couldn’t get to my car,” he laughs, putting a hand on Jackie’s knee. The two love birds laugh at each other; Courtney’s not laughing.
Obviously Eli isn’t either; instead he’s nervously pacing the room and checking his phone. Perhaps having had enough, Peter’s not in the room, and so Alicia joins Eli in skulking against the wall. “You want a drink?” she offers. “Yeah,” he agrees enthusiastically. “Or a gun.” Hee. “Oh, just give up, Eli,” Alicia smiles fondly. “Bad things happen. Or they don’t. There’s just to much craziness in the world.” In other words, don’t imagine you’re the driver. Maybe Grace can lead us in a rousing chorus of “Jesus Take the Wheel.” (Sorry, not mocking the song, but that’s clearly what they’re going for, just without the Jesus part.) “Like you and Peter?” Eli asks pointedly.
She thinks about this. “The old me would be provoked by that statement,” she considers, “but the new me just doesn’t care.” She shrugs. “So yes. Like me and Peter.” With a smile, Alicia leaves the room, presumably in search of her tequila.
Now that she’s completely derailed Eli’s ridiculous set up dinner, Jackie decides it’s time for her and Howard to head off and meet friends for drinks. “Peter, dear, will you get my things?” she calls tot he other room. “Allow me,” Howard says, standing, and Jackie sighs over his chivalry. “It was so nice spending time with you, Miss Paige,” Jackie finishes up her conversation with real emotion, which is so nice. “You are a real inspiration to all urban children,” she adds, because it would be absolutely impossible for her to say one nice thing and stick with it. Good lord. She is a one woman wrecking ball, that Jackie Florrick. Courtney only blinks. ‘Thank you,” she replies, bland as can be.
At this point Eli’s hunting in the wine fridge for something, anything to take the edge off. “Don’t beat yourself up,” Courtney says. “I don’t know the first thing about wines.” While this sounds a little like we missed out on some conversation, I can guarantee you that his regrets about this evening have nothing to do with his knowledge of wine. “Miss Paige, hello,” he gasps, stepping away from her. Wow! I didn’t really see it immediately, but he’s got a serious crush. It was clear that he admired her before, but even with all his silly antics with Nora and the vent, I didn’t get the full picture until he reacted so strongly. Courtney, please, she says. “And I’m still a Texas girl. My favorite drink is any soda with the word cherry in it.” You know, that kind of sounds like a come on. He laughs so awkwardly, and then, in that truth-peaking voice we almost never hear from him, sighs. “This was a disaster tonight, wasn’t it?” She purses her lips to hold in a smile. “No, I like, um, reality. ” Well you got a load of it tonight, Eli rolls his eyes.
“Don’t worry so much,” she comforts him, smiling, and he’s captured by her words. “You’re the second person to tell me that tonight,” he says, still in his true voice. “Well then it must be true,” she observes.
And because this evening isn’t insane enough yet, the doorbell rings. And it’s a very pissed off Frank Landau. Sweet mother of mercy, really? There’s more where all this came from? “What are you doing?” Maybe it’s because she’s had a really long day, but this baffles Alicia. What’s she doing in her own house, or hosting a dinner for a prospective donor? No, no, with Craig Hallman.
Resplendent in her black and green party dress, Alicia sags, rolls her eyes. She’s too tired for this. Frank insists on having his say, however; he knows Hallman’s pushing for a new vote, he know his rival approached Alicia. “And I know that your wife is a part owner of KLT,” she shoots back. He nods slowly; so that’s how it is. And no, Hallman didn’t actually tell her that (interesting, considering his whole anti-corruption pitch), she found out on her own. He nods again. Is she going to vote with Hallman? She has no idea.
“I can hurt you,” he threatens. “I can hurt Peter.” More than either of you know, because the voting machine scandal will take down all of you. Looking past him to the guards in the hall, she calls out: “gentlemen, I think this man has something to say to you.” Undaunted, Frank doesn’t turn red, and he doesn’t yell; he quietly promises he won’t hurt them physically, since you can recover from that. “Oh, stop it, Frank,” Alicia replies, exasperating and simply not having it. “Let me vote the way I want to.” Yeah, hon, I think he counts the cost to himself a little higher than that.
Stepping closer, Frank Landau reveals the not at all shocking information that Hallman has a stake in KLT’s competitor, Swan. “Nobody’s innocent here,” he confirms. “So you either vote for me or him. Good luck with that,” he finishes, and leaves.
“So could the T-Port be hacked?” Alicia asks the Dude the next day in depositions. “T-Portable,” he corrects, because he’s not capable of having a communication without attempting to impose his superiority. “And yes.” I thought you said that was impossible, Cary interjects. “Is that an objection?” Lucca snarks.
Wolowitz/Dudewitz ansers the question anyway. “What I said was, it was impossible for the car to be hacked without leaving a trace.” Hmmm. Doesn’t sound like that impressive a claim. “The only time the car is vulnerable is when it goes into computer update. Someone could plant a virus while it was happening and no one would notice.” So what you’re saying, Alicia sums up, is that the hack came from inside the company; Dudewitz’s acknowledgement of this gets Alicia a big thumbs up from Canning. This whole three way thing spawns a new limb; Ephraham wants to keep his company’s rep and not pay out money, Wendy wants compensation, Tim wants not to have to pay her money he doesn’t have, and then there’s the Dude, who’s loyal to the T-Port and to science but apparently hates the company. “I did a search,” Wolowitz/Dudewitz continues. “Mr. Brewster, the idiot coder over there, had idiot friends who’re all idiot coders, too, and they all eat at Acapulco’s and they all smell like elephants at the circus.” As Tim tries to hide his head behind his hand, Alicia asks Dudewitz to stop with the egregious mockery. “They hacked the T-Portable hard drive before he took the car out!”
He’s an ass, but I can see being offended by that.
“They wanted to play with him,” Alicia prompts. ‘That’s right,” the Dude says as the Cyborg turns to Cary with a look of abject horror and disgust. “Humans. Always there to disappoint. They wanted to spook him. But they crashed his car into your car, I’m sorry to say,” he finishes, first leaning toward Tim the Code Monkey and then toward Wendy the victim. A crime they attempted to cover up, Alicia notes, by wiping the hard drive. “I hope you have enough insurance to cover this, Charles,” Dudewitz/Cooper snaps at the Cyborg. You’re enjoying this, aren’t you, the Cyborg bites back. “It’s just money,” the Dude says. “One less horse for your homestead.” Ah, what a charmer.
You know, as outcomes of multifaceted suits go, that’s not too bad. Ephraham or his insurance will pay, but the T-Port will go on since it was (as Dudewitz loves to observe) an employee error and not a mechanical one. Wendy gets her compensation, which is as much as she could probably hope for. Tim the Code Monkey (who absolutely is the kind of guy who gets cruelly punked by his coworkers) gets his good name back, isn’t liable, and is generally vindicated. The lamest bit of this is that Alicia and Lucca won’t make money out of the case that Canning wouldn’t have won without them.
As he sits behind his desk, typing furiously into his lap top, Eli notices Courtney heading into Ruth’s office. And while I’m oohing and ahing over her gold brocade coat, Eli’s falling all over himself to go talk to her. Wow, this crush is even bigger than I though. How splendid to see him fall for someone of his own age group for once! I’m sure no one wants to hear me freak out over him macking on America Ferrera, but even ex-wife Parker Posey is far too young for him.
Although when he reaches her in the main office, I’m horrified by the excess of pattern and color in that coat. It looked so striking from a distance, but up close she’s a Christmas tree covered with gold and silver ornaments. The kaleidoscope strikes again! I was just coming to see you, she says. I’m so glad, he replies. Wow, they’re just exquisitely polite. “Shall we?” she asks, gesturing toward his office. Ha ha ha ha! Now that’s amazing. It’s being cleaned, he stammers, really desperate for her not to see it. Not to see him in reduced circumstances, that is to say.
I just wanted to thank you for arranging last night, she says. “No problem” he replies, his smile flashing brightly. “I’m sorry it was so, ah, eventful.” She considers. “I like events. No reason to apologize for that.”
And with that, he favors her with impish eyebrows and a pursed mouth. “So what do you think?” Of Peter and Alicia? In true Willie style, she found them boring. (Fair enough; they were canned and weird with you.) Boring like a true married couple. “I’m gonna back Peter,” she says, turning Eli’s fears to a gleeful smile.
Back at the elections board, however, no one is smiling; everyone’s arguing loudly over each other, Hallman yelling, Landau yelling back and then banging down the gavel. Mrs. Florrick, Hallman pleads, do you have anything to bring to the table in this very important discussion? “Would you like me to?” she asks, which makes me laugh. I want you to think and act for yourself, Hallman protests, but of course he doesn’t really. He wants her vote. Franks raises his eyebrows at her, daring her to speak, and so she does. “I think the two of you have issues,” she says. Really? That’s where you’re going to spend your moment in the spotlight, on the vaguest term in the world? “That may be true,” Frank acknowledges, “but you still have to vote.” There’s no getting out of it. “All those for Swan?” Hallman and his two cronies raise their hands. “KLT?” Frank and his two cronies raise theirs. As is her way, Alicia does nothing. “Mrs. Florrick?” Frank presses, and the silence lengthens, and the screen fades to black.
Is it really that much of a cliffhanger, though? First of all, they haven’t given us a real rooting interest here; it’s just one corrupt man against another, as far as we can tell. But what does Alicia do when faced with a choice? She goes with the status quo; she prefers the devil she knows. By default as much as design, she chose Peter; she’ll throw her lot in with Frank, and the safety of the party machine, rather than Hallman and the promotion she doesn’t want. Granted, the whole point of getting back on Frank’s good side was to destroy him, wasn’t it? To punish him for hanging her out to dry? But she seems to have forgotten all about that now that she has the chance. She isn’t even thinking about the fact that those machines wrecked her campaign and replacing them might be a step against the future possibility of election tampering.
Of course, when it comes out that Frank and Peter rigged the election, Hallman’s going to roast her alive for choosing the other side, isn’t he? That’s the most dramatic, complicated result of all this plotting, right? Choosing Frank will hurt her in the long run; therefore that’s what the writer’s will have her choose.
Random note: Wendy Searle was played by Tony nominated Broadway star Celia Keenan-Bolger. For the entire episode, watching her drove me nuts. She was so familiar. Who was she? To my confusion, an IMDB search didn’t help, but eventually I realized what the connection was; she reminds me of a younger version of Isabelle Nanty’s cigarette counter clerk, Georgette, from Amelie. Does that strike anyone else?
And let’s just — well, I was going to say address the elephant in the room, but then we’d have to pick one. Jackie and Howard’s engagement? I love it. I love Howard becoming Alicia’s stepfather, I love Alicia’s hysterical laughter (the truest moment of that dinner party), I love the way Peter’s freaking out, I love it all. The reactions were beautifully in character. And hey, sure it’s fast, but let them seize what happiness they can! At their age, you’d have to be a Scrooge not to approve (or a jealous Mama’s boy who hates the very thought of sharing her attention). Like I said, I can’t believe her often oblivious bigotry wouldn’t set off Howard’s touchiness about his religion, but I guess he makes an exception for a woman actually willing to give him the time of day?
And. Let’s see. What could be the other thing? Oh yeah, afternoon delight. The weird transgressive normalcy of it. The way they got undressed before getting into the bed. The fact that Chris Noth isn’t camera ready. The fact that they agreed afterward that the sex was so good because they no longer love each other. Sex is sexier without love. Is anyone buying that? Does she genuinely mean that, or has she just shut herself off so completely she can’t tell? It’s kind of awesomely empowered (oh my gosh, the way she rubbed it in Eli’s face after) and terribly sad at the same time (she really has given up on ever having more in her life, whether with Peter or anyone else).
Last week I looked through a ton of old recaps; for whatever reason there just seemed to be lots of reminders of past episodes. One of them was the infamous Thanksgiving bathroom sex scene, which was the second Alicia-initiated Florrick coupling where she was obviously thinking of someone else. (Wanting and not having Will, in the first, in Heart; pissing off Veronica in the second.) I have to add this one to that list, because it seems clear that she was rather a state over Jason, who is the closest thing to a male bombshell I’ve maybe ever seen on TV. And I don’t mean that Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the handsomest man on television, or the most crush-worthy (no more handsome than and actually quite similar looking to the very good-looking Chris Noth, I thought, seeing them next to each other), but that I can’t think of another male character who leads with his sexuality with quite the same force. He’s just man-candy all the time, like a Marilyn Monroe or Mae West, in his behavior as much as anything else. It’s almost like flirting is the only language he knows. That scene with the mini tacos and the staring? The head tilts and the slowly revealed dimples and the staring? Oh my lord, the staring. That was almost painful. I mean, holy crap. I don’t know what the heck kettle of worms she would be opening there, but great good night, that sexual tension was practically visible in the air around them. They could have used it as a bed.
Ahem. Not that I’m saying it will be a smart personal move, getting it on with her lone employee, but man is it out there.
Alrighty then! Anything else you wanna talk about? I’m dying to hear what you guys thought of that overload of crazy!