When Will approaches her about his Peter issues she listens and responds in her perfect I-know-everything-about-the-law-because-I-am-magic Elsbeth Tascioni way, while occasionally taking a break to shout at tourists to stay away from the anti-Semitic bear. When she asks who he got the video of the ballot boxes from, he says Kalinda, and her face lights up. “Good! I like Kalinda.” As do we all, Elsbeth. As do we all.
She rings up Kalinda back at the LG offices, who is the only one apparently still doing work while the other employees play soccer in the hallways behind her, since the bosses are out of town. Elsbeth adorably starts off the conversation with, “I miss you!” Kalinda says, “I miss you too, Elsbeth.” There is a gif set of this exchange already, right? I need a gif set of this exchange.
Speaking of gifs, they actually come up when Elsbeth ends up confronting Public Integrity guy in the hotel lobby. When he shows the video of the ballot boxes, Elsbeth clarifies a key fact—that it’s not a video, it’s a gif. “Or is it ‘jiff?’” “Gif,” Public Integrity guy responds, deadpan, not a wisp of a smile as Elsbeth describes her favorite gif of a bear on a trampoline, because Public Integrity has no sense of humor. Also he is maybe realizing that he and Elsbeth Tascioni are in totally different leagues. Meaning, her league is awesome and his sucks. Anyway, being as gifs are highly manipulative, she would block his ballot box gif as usable evidence in court. Also, after he says a bunch of stuff about how he basically has a personal vendetta against Peter and will bring him down no matter what, regardless of evidence, Elsbeth brings out her phone which she has obviously been recording him on, which is totally legal in the State of New York. New York!
Back in Alicia flashback land again, she has abandoned her horrible baby blue professional outfits in favor of a sexy, expensive slate gray one when she goes in for her interview with Will at ye olde Lockhart Gardner. A lot can be read into this: her ever constant attraction to Will; the double standards of having to be sexy to get a foot in a man’s world. But not surprisingly, it’s Jackie who appears in her flashback memory, voicing her greatest insecurities about buying this $300 dress: “You like nice things. So go be a whore.”
“Aw, shucks, Mom. Go on.”
We then see how kind Will is to Alicia, how he fights for her even when Diane doesn’t want her, when no one else wants her. Even when Kalinda digs up the fact that her old law firm was about to fire her because they didn’t think she was strong enough. And after a season of Will being the biggest dick in the world, for just a millisecond, you suddenly see his side, and you feel a little bad for him. For like, a millisecond.
Life for current day Will continues to suck, though, as Jim Moody tracks him down to talk once again about the stupid ballot box. Will essentially tells him to get out of his face, but the fact that they talked together in a seemingly private hotel hallway is still captured by cameras, a video that Public Integrity guy then shows to Will and Elsbeth in that stupid creepy van of theirs. There’s no audio, so you can’t tell that Will is doing the right thing, and it’s an actual video, so Elsbeth can’t do her gif defense. In short, it looks bad. Public Integrity guy has clearly set Will up with Moody, because he is so full of, you know, integrity. But when even Elsbeth doesn’t have an answer, you know it’s not good.
Life also sucks a little for Alicia, because while the first half of her keynote speech goes well, suddenly everyone starts clearing the room in rude droves right in the middle of it because of some big takeover or something everyone just got word of, and because lawyers are predatory carnivores. (I say this even though half of my immediate family are lawyers. Love you, family!) In response, she gets kind of drunk at a diner across the street, where of course she runs into Will, tells him that he’s enjoying his pain too much (YES), and then has a half drunken meeting with some important lady lawyer that everyone at ABA is trying to move in on.
This lawyer, Rayna Hecht, is played by Jill Hennessey, best known for roles on Crossing Jordan and Law and Order. While Cary and Clarke try to talk business, Rayna only has eyes for Alicia. After complimenting her keynote, she has just one question: What does Alicia want? After overthinking everything all episode, the beer helps Alicia sigh and answer honestly and simply. “To lead a happy life. And I want to control my fate.”
While Rayna seems satisfied with this answer, in the end, we’re all surprised with who Rayna ends up going with: not Florrick Agos, not Lockhart Gardner, not any other big law honchos. She’s going with Tascioni. As Elsbeth belts out an absolutely horrible version of “High Hopes” while Clarke accompanies her on the piano later that night, she confides her news to him. She and Rayna are starting up their own, all-women led firm. Hells to the yeah, Tascioni and Hecht! I’ve heard the slightest rumors of a spin-off abrew here, and let me just say, I would watch the hell out of that spin-off.
The previews for next week promise shit really starting to hit the fan with Will and Peter and the ballot boxes and yadda yadda, and listen, this season has been fantastic. I think these last two episodes have been fantastic, and next week is being advertised as the episode you can’t miss. But still, I ask for the complexity and depth that we’re spending on Alicia and Will to spread over to Kalinda. Or Diane. Or Robin. But mainly Kalinda. Even just a little bit. Please? We’ve been patient. I would kill for some Kalinda flashbacks like the ones that were done so excellently here for Alicia.
What did you think of the gang’s week in New York?