Honestly, hardly any of our main characters had any power in this episode. It is a full-on Good Wife brownout. It is getting REAL and REAL BAD for everyone except, like, David Lee. And Arvin Sloane. Because, yes, Alicia is handed ARVIN motherf’ing SLOANE to help get her out of this pickle, and if you think you know where that’s going because he’s ARVIN MOTHERF’ING SLOANE, you are right.
Let’s begin the list the same way the episode itself commenced:
Right here, Alicia is the lovely face of Wow Apparently I Really Should Not Have Put In An Email That I Want My Boss’s Tongue On A Pelvis Chain, and dear readers, WHY the news hasn’t dug up that one and run with it is beyond me. Everyone is acting like “I wish you were on top of me” is the worst thing she could have written. IT’S NOT. (And no, I will never get tired of flogging Pelvic Tongue Chain.)
The news is combining a story about her “innocent but wrong flirtation” with Will, and a story about voter fraud: It seems that a bunch of machines in pro-Niles districts were touch-screen, and weren’t calibrated correctly, so voting for Niles actually registered as a vote for Alicia. The example they give makes it SO FLAGRANT that it’s wrong, it’s amazing voters didn’t complain about it in the moment. It’d be like dialing 611 instead of 911 and then not noticing the difference. At any rate, this is no wine cardigan for Alicia. It’s a Shame Sweater. She is… real bummed. And a little clammy.
It gets no better:
A coffee house waitress asks Alicia if she did sleep with her boss, and when Alicia says it’s none of her business, the waitress loudly spits that Alicia doesn’t get to DECIDE when something is her BUSINESS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. (Dear Alicia: You’re a supposedly trusted public figure who traded on her marriage to get elected. It kind of IS their business.) Then, when she obeys Eli’s orders to try and sweet-talk Niles into not pushing for a recount (under the guise of “you don’t want to win that way”), his henchman comes instead and starts railing at her about the whole thing. She ends up fleeing with her tail between her legs while nobody in the coffee house seems remotely interested. I assume they were all covertly Tweeting about it while pretending to be reading CNN.
The Scarlet Woman gets about half an episode’s worth of confidence, as Arvin — her attorney for the “Will There Be A Recount?” proceedings, courtesy of the democratic party — completely nails it and has the panel eating out of the palm of his EVIL, RAMBALDI-GRASPING HAND.
And here, she has just found out that the plan to save her involves throwing Peter onto the fire. Even worse, when she and Eli try to wriggle their way out of THAT, the democratic party chairman orders her to resign her post or else suffer the consequences — basically, it turns out the PARTY rigged the voting machines, but in aid of a senatorial candidate that gives them a supermajority. If there is a recount, it might affect all of the races, that one included; they’d rather Alicia quit in shame and was then “taken care of” by the party (they offer her perfunctory committee seats) than force the issue to prove her own innocence.
When she confides this to ARVIN CRACKBALLING SLOANE, and announces that she intends to fight and win and stand for her innocence, he nods very seriously…
… and then gets up and tells the committee that Alicia has been lying and that she just told him that she DID rig the voting machines. He goes full ARVIN HOLYHELLFIRE SLOANE on her and leaves her with nothing. Worse, her suit is so ugly that it looks like she’s wearing an apron. By the end of the episode, she is wrung out and at a dead end — betrayed by ARVIN JACKWAGONING SLOANE and the party and aware that if she tries to prove her innocence they might go after Peter… all that, plus her reputation is already in tatters. She gets off the elevator at her penthouse, sees Peter waiting for her, and bursts into tears. It was a Pukeface kind of hour for poor Alicia. Call it Fifty Shades of Nausea.
She. Is. F’ed. And she knows it. When Wiley tells her that she presented false evidence, Diane immediately races in to confront Kalinda, who had been brainstorming with Finn a way to handle it with minimal blowback on anyone else. But of course, there is no way. Diane is COMPLETELY at the mercy of other people for a sin she didn’t commit — although if we want to get technical about it, she really should NOT have gone rooting around Kalinda’s computer. Perhaps this moment is Diane thinking, “Wow, it was strange that I even did that, because I don’t even have a computer on my DESK and wouldn’t know how to crack into Kalinda’s laptop if Gary Cole’s life depended on it.” Contrivance, you beast.
Diane does at least get a notch higher on the Power Meter than Alicia because a) her clothes were better in this hour, and b) she at least can take SOME control of her own fate, here by owning up to the presentation of false evidence so that it comes from her and not anyone else. Oh, Diane. I hate that you are Kalinda’s collateral damage, and I HATE that it comes because you did something I actually genuinely don’t think you WOULD ever do. And yet, because you are Diane Lockhart, YOU WILL PREVAIL. Three years in prison? Not happening.
ASA Geneva Pine does offer her full immunity if she will testify against Lemond Bishop, but Diane just laughs and laments that they’re right back where they started. The thing is, though, it makes no sense to offer Diane that deal, because Diane almost NEVER dealt with Lemond. Cary, yes. Alicia, yes. Diane? No. What’s she going to do? Testify to workplace scuttlebutt? Obviously she probably KNOWS THINGS, but she was NEVER in Lemond’s blast radius. It’s a dumb deal. It also will be a moot point.
14. David Lee
Look at him up there with Finn. All decked out in browns. He’s turdochromatic.
13. Lemond Bishop
This is totally going to spell the end of his reign of terror. I can’t see a way that this doesn’t end with him getting ratted on by SOMEONE (who isn’t Diane), and then made HELLA DEAD, or at least HELLA IMPRISONED and then dead. He wasn’t in this episode, but my Pocket Square sense is tingling. Lemond is coming. Enjoy the outfits while you can.
I love this shot of her peeking out between vertical blinds, because they resemble bars in a jail cell. Diane is maybe not irate ENOUGH at Kalinda for any of this. Neither is Cary, actually. Doesn’t this maybe threaten his exoneration, since it was all predicated on the faked email deletion? Wouldn’t he be REAL MAD that because of what she did he might have to go back on trial, and with an even heavier burden of proof against him this time? Or can he not be tried again for that crime, even if the evidence was proven invalid? Talk to me, Fug Nation. Get legal with me. Because Cary is just so awed that she broke the law to save him, that he can barely keep from drooling his thanks all over her.
Since when does Kalinda wear sensible navy-blue collard blouses? Since they stopped investing in clothes for her character, is my guess.
Anyway, Cary asks her point-blank if she’s going to turn on Lemond Bishop to save him. She won’t answer. I honestly think Kalinda is more cunning than that, and that she’s formulating another plan, but of course Cary’s imagination doesn’t stretch that far (which is why I also don’t believe for a second that she’s in love with him, or even that into him in the sack). Kalinda, Kalinda, Kalinda. She’s TRYING to seize control of the situation, at least? But this show is all about diluting her power these days, so it’s a faint hope that she’ll go out in a blaze of glory.
Cary is so determined to save Kalinda that he tells Geneva Pine HE will testify against Lemond Bishop — and ergo, that Geneva should not let Kalinda make that offer. That Cary. Always thinking with his Agos.
He ALSO makes THE MOST ABSURD argument: He wants Kalinda to fire Finn and let him represent her, because he fancies himself a better lawyer and is supremely grateful that she broke the law to get him out of the clink. And nowhere in his pleadings or her refusals does it come up that it’s A HUGE CONFLICT OF INTEREST for Cary to represent his girlfriend who falsified evidence to get him off on drug charges. In fact, it’s also probably a conflict for Finn to be Kalinda’s attorney, given that he prosecuted the first half of that case before leaving the SA’s office, but… that’s on a way minor scale and might even not be considered an issue. Cary, though? Representing Kalinda? Or even Diane? Are you people high on Lemond Bishop’s wares?
I agree, gentlemen. I agree.
10. Bernie Nolan
Remember this guy? He tried to “donate” to Alicia’s campaign in exchange for the promise of favors, and she told him to get stuffed (although this was before she officially announced she was running). Turns out he’s the guy charged with protecting the voting machines, or some other silly twist of the plot, and when Alicia asks him to testify on her behalf he refuses and confesses that he donated to Niles Crane’s campaign — and then incriminates himself hugely, which comes in handy because Alicia was secretly recording it (one-way consent is valid in Illinois, or at least per this show) and was able to use that to discredit his testimony. He slinks out, shamed. Adieu, sir. So long, farewell. The Von Trapp children wish to say goodnight to you.
The moral of this story: STOP CONFESSING TO STUFF, EVERYONE. Did NONE of them watch how badly that always went on Murder, She Wrote?
Honestly, he’s sort of hosed here, too. When ARVIN ROTTENPUNCH SLOANE hears that the voting machine technology was from 2012, he spins it that it was used to rig PETER’S election — this is before he realizes the party wants Alicia to take the fall — and that nearly makes Eli stroke out. “Life. It sucks,” Eli says prophetically to Alicia, intended as sympathy, but by the end of the hour it becomes true: If Alicia resigns, it hurts her, and possibly Peter; if she doesn’t and the party goes after Peter instead, it kicks Eli right in the tax bracket. The only reason he’s this high on the list is because everyone else suffers a massive public image breakdown and he can still scurry around largely behind the scenes.
He will NOT take a fall for this, presumably, AND he gets to wrap Alicia in his arms in her moment of need. He gets to look like the big comforting hero rather than the freaking emotional albatross he actually is. Although he IS part of the problem thanks to that arrogant-as-hell decision to guarantee — on the news — that Alicia would win. That statement played nicely into Niles Crane’s people’s hands, so A POX ON THEE, PETER. Again. The usual. The regular pox.
7. D’Angelo Barksdale
The Wire’s amiable drug dealer is now on the panel that’s investigating the potential voter fraud. I just thought you’d like to know he made good. Unless Omar comin’.
6. ASA Pine
She essentially gets to redeem herself in court — potentially — but behind the scenes can tell Cary and Diane, et al, that she didn’t condone outgoing SA Castro’s methods for trying to nail Cary to the wall. She argues the intentions were pure, before she lowers the boom about Diane needing to flip on Lemond in exchange for getting off scot free on the false-evidence charge. Clearly she will NOT ultimately prevail on a cellular level, because Diane Lockhart will never NOT win at life. But she is welcome to try.
5. Fake Funny Or Die
A comedic site uses “two thespians” to read Alicia’s and Will’s emails to each other as if they are Shakespeare. It beautifully underscores their horrible lameness, and no, they still aren’t reading the one about Alicia’s inner thighs on Will’s face. YOU PEOPLE ARE MISSING THE BESTWORST ONES.
Generally, I pay Grace no mind. But she manages to cut Alicia down with one facial expression:
Grace asks point-blank if Alicia and Will were having an affair, and Alicia for once answers honestly. Grace’s face melts into a puddle of disillusionment and hurt, as she squeaks out an unconvinced question about whether it’s okay to tell lies simply because the truth isn’t anyone’s business. Then she returns to her bunker. But as horribly as everything else makes Alicia feel, I think seeing Grace actually start to look at her as Peter 2.0 stung the most.
Or at least it would have to the OLD Alicia; this newfangled Alicia from season six probably would actually be more upset by having to give up the SA job that she never seemed to want that badly until she was running for it. Sigh.
I mean, he didn’t win anything, except the genetic lottery.
But sometimes that’s enough.
2. ARVIN DOUCHEPICKLE SLOANE
You slick bastard. I like to think any Good Wife viewer who also watched Alias was like, “Ohhhh, this is NOT GOOD,” the second Arvin came out to play. He opens all strong, about how he’s the defender of democracy, and “elections have to end,” and, “Blame isn’t the issue. Justice is.” He is apparently a famous bigwig — Marissa and Alicia are both starstruck, as is pretty much everyone else on the receiving end of one of his statements — and he is donated to Alicia by the democratic party to help with her predicament. But as soon as the party makes it clear that Alicia is now the fall guy, he flips on her like a gymnast. Announces, aghast, that Alicia stole the election. And… I’m sorry, Alicia, but it’s ARVIN SOULSTABBING SLOANE. You never go up against an SD-6 operative when career death is on the line.
This dude is the party chairman. He basically tells Alicia she needs to step down or be ruined — or be the cause of Peter’s ruin — and at the end of the meeting, his handlers muscle in and snag Alicia’s phone and confiscate it for 12 hours until they can be sure she didn’t secretly record this conversation.
I’ll confess the intricacies of his plan confuse me, but I guess the gist of it is that once it became clear they couldn’t avoid the recount — apparently Niles Crane’s dude finds out that the outdated 2012 chips were updated via WiFi two months before the election, which certainly seems incriminating of SOMEONE — he decided to throw either Alicia under the bus. And is willing to threaten Peter as well, but honestly, knocking them both out seems like cutting off his nose to spite his face. Still, he seems to hold Alicia’s political future in his clammy hands, and he’s not afraid to rip it to shreds. This was an EXHAUSTING hour of television, in which no one had fun and everyone we like had misery heaped upon them like Mother Nature dumping snow on the East Coast. It would be tonally very strange for episode 19 to bring a lot of quirk and glee, but… well, this season can’t end soon enough, basically. We need a cleaner slate. AND MORE SEX FUN. I will only stop banging that drum when Alicia starts banging Finn.