It’s a bummer when the people with all the clout are guests. At least there is a special guest star at the end of this recap, and no, I don’t mean Heather Locklear. BETTER. … Okay, equally good, because there is probably no BETTER than the erstwhile Amanda Woodward.
We open on Alicia’s resignation, which she can barely get through without choking out tears. She describes it as ‘withdrawing,’ because I guess she hasn’t been sworn in yet. I hope this means Niles Crane has to take the tiara and wear it like he earned it the first time — even though deep down he will always know Vanessa Williams beat him straight-up.
Anyway, Alicia isn’t down for long. Diane, Cary, and a simpering David Lee welcome her back into the fold as a partnership, clutching her to their spiked bosoms. Alicia curls up with To Kill a Mockingbird and Grace, reveling in optimism about her own future as Gregory Peck leeches gravitas and fabulousness into the room through her TV set.
But then a client calls, and while she’s reassuring him that she is returning to her firm, he says he just got a message from Diane an hour ago that says otherwise. And of course, Alicia does not stop to think, “He GOT the message an hour ago, but when did she leave it?” Nor does she pick up the phone to call Cary, or Diane, or Kalinda the Super Spy who can eavesdrop from a million-foot radius. She definitely does not call Robin Burdine, because she evaporated, and she doesn’t call Taye Diggs because he is totally not taking any of these people’s calls anymore because a guy knows when he’s been dumped and let’s just all try to come out of this with our dignities intact HERE TAKE YOUR GODDAMN COFFEE MUG THOUGH.
Alicia, therefore, thinks the firm didn’t ever want her back and was trying to hook all her clients before cutting her loose. So she goes to Peter for advice. Peter, who once went to jail for general dipshittery. Yes. Let’s ask Peter. And when Peter says, “Say nothing, plaster a smile on your face, and get them to void your exit deal so that you can turn around and fleece them for more,” Alicia of course listens, and it yields this:
I did laugh at the Advanced Pleasantness of her smile.
Let’s save time: This ENTIRE EPISODE is rooted in a misunderstanding wherein Alicia thinks she is getting screwed and decides to bring her clients to her own firm, and Diane & Co. find out and think she was playing them all along, and so a) David Lee RELISHES calling all her people and trashing her to them, b) Diane and Alicia engage in a snotty fight because EVEN WHEN IN EACH OTHER’S PRESENCE nobody clarifies the timeline of anything, and c) Kalinda leads the horse to water and gets it to apologize for draining the bucket, so the bucket can say, “Dude, I’m sorry I’m not bigger.” (Translation: Alicia and Diane apologize to each other.) In what universe are the adults on Nashville being more communicative than those on The Good Wife? THIS ONE, apparently.
Oh, but the giant spiked shoe of St. Cleatus still descends from on high to pierce Alicia’s bliss (and, apparently, her shirt): Oliver Platt thinks the Florrick name is rolled in a tortilla of controversy and dipped in Shame Sauce, and he won’t have it. If she comes back on board, he will take his business elsewhere. And I’ll give you one guess as to how the firm rules.
Y’all know it’s bad when she’s in jeans and a hoodie. See that paper on the table? It’s a farewell note from Kalinda — more on that later, obviously — and Alicia looks at it blankly and then HURLS IT ASIDE bitterly, before breaking down in tears. She went from having no prospects, to all prospects, to none again (because none of her clients want to work with a tainted lawyer, except for Colin Sweeney, which… is not ideal). JUST like Deacon and his liver on Nashville. The parallels are true. She should write a song about it; TV has taught me that will only take ten minutes and she’ll be ready to sing tomorrow night with a band she’s never met.
GO INTO BUSINESS WITH FINN, ALICIA. JOIN HIM. JOIN HIM AT THE GENITALS.
Basically, people continue not to care much what he thinks, or what he wants, even though he is trying SO HARD to live by the fashion tips of Lemond Bishop that he jotted down on his Notes app an eternity ago.
He spends most of the hour begging ASA Geneva Pine to let him testify against Lemond, instead of Kalinda doing anything. It doesn’t work. And he inadvertently seals Kalinda’s fate by telling Lemond’s henchman that he DID turn so that nobody will suspect Kalinda of any wrongdoing, and yet Lemond’s henchman sees RIGHT through that to Kalinda’s culpability and that is what sparks her exit. He doesn’t get a proper goodbye, really, and just gets to be bereft in an armchair I don’t think Kalinda ever would have purchased.
14. Dexter Roja
Lemond’s loyal henchman gets mega-framed by Kalinda, and may need to watch his nads, lest they become the balls in a game of Death Tennis.
She is hell-bent on righting the wrongs she did against Diane, so Kalinda tells Geneva Pine that although she won’t testify, she WILL find a way to get evidence so that nobody else has to either. And she gets to perpetrate her parting crime in a liquid-y oxblood leather jacket and knee-high boots, which does at least feel a little bit like the Kalinda we once loved.
So, Kalinda hops in Dexter’s car and steals one of the two USB drives he keeps around with his music on it. And she uses that to steal Lemond’s private files and deliver them into Geneva Pine’s eager hands, all the while being aware that the trail she’s leaving will point back at poor, loyal Dexter. When Cary relates that Dexter popped by and he tried to misdirect him by assuming responsibility, Kalinda knows instantly that this was a huge mistake. You can see her face fall even as she tries to maintain calm for Cary, and when she kisses him we know it’s farewell.
It’s also passionless. Does Lana get a goodbye kiss, do we think? Remember when Kalinda wanted her? DOES ANYONE REMEMBER SHE EXISTS?
So then, aware that she’s about to blow town, our girl goes around playing Kalinda the Good Witch: She sets the record straight for Alicia so that she and Diane can apologize, and then she shows up at Alicia’s to bid her farewell. But Alicia isn’t there, because I guess even in their very last moment of being colleagues, these two could not bear to share screen time. Not even in aid of a satisfying button to what should have been a six-year relationship. Look, maybe the rumors aren’t true, and I’m not even throwing shade on one side or the other. I just think it’s extremely, extremely disappointing that Kalinda’s farewell is so quick that you can practically feel the invisible hands shoving her out the door.
Her last scene is with Grace. GRACE. NOBODY EVEN LIKES GRACE. When Grace accepts the note Kalinda leaves Alicia — the one Alicia skims and then tosses aside — she says, “Goodbye,” very causally. Kalinda turns and looks squarely into the camera and says, with detracting emotional remove, “Goodbye,” without even entirely being able to hold eye contact before she reaches for the door and closes it. And that’s it. No drama. One scene with Cary, two with Lemond, two with Geneva Pine, one short group moment with Diane and Cary and David, and then a quickie with Grace, and then the book is closed on a character who once gave the series such a unique (and Emmy-winning) flavor. Hands may have been tied, and narrative threads were probably snipped in the name of an expedient exit, and I get it — compromises always have to be made — but it’s all just a very sad waste, and a long-running one.
He does nothing except offer Alicia some questionable advice — he agrees with her misinterpretation that the firm is trying to swindle her, and of course he ends up being incorrect about that. But he does live, and breathe, which is wonderful. Also, he has a dinky one-room shop where he takes on small-fry clients. PAIR UP WITH ALICIA. JOIN FORCES IN A SEXUALLY THRUSTING KIND OF WAY BUT THEN ALSO PROFESSIONALLY.
This guy. I actually enjoy, from a viewing perspective, Peter’s murky morality. And Chris Noth is tremendous. He is so gifted at men who make you want to punch them but then also keep them in your life. But he basically has nothing to offer Alicia here except the stellar advice that she should “decompress” by writing a book. As my friend Casey pointed out on Facebook: Yes, Peter, because NOTHING relaxes a person like churning out words on a deadline. If that’s decompressing, then basically every author I know is doing it wrong.
But, y’know, it’s Peter. He endures. And he makes that yellow tie work somehow.
This was a stressful hour for Our Lady of Divine Everything, partly because she got stuck with a pretty boring Case of the Week involving an old lady who was busted for possession because she was mailing a package with drugs in it (I think it was for her nephew or grandson or something… anyway, it wasn’t her fault, and they CLEARLY were not her drugs, but the judge has no choice but to enforce a minimum sentence of six to 30 years. Diane sets out to get her off, and you know she means business because she has TWO lapel zippers and if she busts those bad boys open obviously a cape unfurls behind her.
Let’s all ogle the ring. Honestly, I would kiss it if she asked.
She also busts out a major acrylic necklace not once, but TWICE:
AND we get Bespectacled Diane, with assertive lipstick.
Honestly, it’s nice that SOMEONE dressed up for Kalinda’s big exit. Diane is such a dame, I can’t even deal.
However, like everyone else, she’s under the thumb of the big clients. And is forced to compromise her principles in this malignant blouse. Let’s decide it was a gift that Gary Cole ordered from the J. Peterman catalogue.
9. This Dude (Mr. Gallagher)
This former attorney of Diane’s client is in the exact Good Wife vein: seemingly disorganized and/or flighty, yet actually great at his job (he once clerked for Ruth Bader Ginsberg). I actually have no idea if we’ll see him again, but Diane made a big show of being impressed by both his work and his credentials, so… I’m covering my rump, basically. Maybe HE can come in and sleep with Finn. SOMEBODY should.
8. Lockhart Agos Lee
They wasted no time:
This actually furthers Diane’s case for being awesome, as she went from being the end of the partnership title to the front of it. I don’t know how she managed that, but these people clearly don’t speak acronym. The only thing worse than FAL — akin to fail — is LAL, which evokes LOL. Cary is the only original partner here; couldn’t he be first? Agos, Lockhart & Lee would be ALL. That’s pretty good. They could even use Jack Wagner’s song for their inevitable shitty TV ads: “…’Cause you’re ALL I need.” I would lament that I just showed my age, but let’s be real, CBS’s demographic totally knows that I’m talking about Frisco.
At least they have jobs, and each other. Puts them several rungs up on Alicia.
7. Linda Lavin
She is minimally used, to the point where I wonder if she had a scene that got cut for time. What she had was entertaining, though: Diane learns that if she can prove her squeaky-clean grandmother client is a total addict, she’ll evade jail time in favor of rehab. So she shows up to a skeptical Linda Lavin with granny in tow and they put on an extremely shaky show about what a smack fiend she is. It fails spectacularly. (Don’t worry, granny gets off on a chemical technicality later, thanks to Kalinda the Witch of the North Side and her ability to find evidence the world missed.) I enjoy Linda Lavin and her endlessly skeptical expressions, and the fact that she does not suffer fools. She and Diane should get a cocktail.
6. This Error Message
I can’t decide if I think this was deliberate or not. On one hand, Kalinda took pains to craft a story: She took Dexter’s music drive, then planted the seed with Lemond that Dexter was leaving the house right when she dropped off Dylan — on the very day Lemond then opened his laptop and found this suggestion that someone had tampered with it. And the electronic breadcrumbs she dropped all led to Dexter. So maybe this was her way of warning Lemond even as she covered her own ass. But honestly, I have to believe it was a mistake. That the USB stuff was intended as her safety net and that she didn’t actually intend to eject the disc improperly and run up a red flag — surely she’d rather have taken Lemond by surprise. Either way, the message snowballs.
5. Lemond Bishop
Hello, you smooth, sexy murderous hunk of danger. Your overcoat is precious to me. I hope I am precious to you, or else I’m going to end up dead by your hand.
Lemond follows the trail straight to Dexter, but then strangely, does nothing about it.
Which leads to him getting arrested in front of poor Dylan. Technically, Lemond being busted should kick him down the list, but he’s wearing suspenders AND a good coat and the mere spectre of his wrath sends Kalinda careening out of town. He’s still got it. You’ll always have potency with me, Lemond, you criminal sextermind, you.
4. DR’s JAMS
I cherish Dexter for naming his drives DR’S JAMS and DR’s JAMS 2. And as much as I want that to be his line of preserves that will compete with Olicia Pope’s White Hat Jams, it is actually just where Dexter keeps his music. But I’m confused. Lemond’s evidence trail clearly leads to a drive named DR’S JAMS 2, and yet the one Kalinda leaves for Geneva is DR’s JAMS: Original Flavor, and we know Dexter still had the other one in his car (because he noticed its absence when Lemond called him demanding an explanation). It’s an inconsistency. I need to know: WHICH JAMS HAVE BEEN FORSAKEN?
3. ASA Geneva Pine
As she points out, she goes from having NOBODY turning on Lemond, to having Cary and Kalinda jockeying for the right to betray him. Other than what I assume is the constant fear of being whacked by Lemond’s people, it’s pretty good to be The Lady Pine.
I just wish she didn’t dress like a fifty-something sometimes.
2. Oliver Platt
All it takes is one crook of his finger and Lockhart Agos & Lee goes running, kicking poor disgraced Alicia back out into the cold. It’s frustrating to have so many episodes in which find out at the end that our characters are all deluded; that the agency we THOUGHT they had was actually a mirage, and instead one man is pulling the strings. It’s tough on morale to watch an hour of people scrabbling and scraping only to find out it was pointless.
1. Atticus Finch