Meanwhile, Lockhart Gardner have gotten wind that Natalie Flores could in fact bring in a lot of dough, and scramble to make up for Lyman’s gross remarks to her and bring her back to their side. Shocking. I’m enjoying this Lockhart Gardner being one step behind thing. Kalinda and Diane, clearly the best minds in the office, persuade Lyman to apologize to Natalie, even though he doesn’t think he did anything wrong. He just thinks she’s touchy, this one. “Maybe she’s a lesbian.” Kalinda says, “I don’t think she’s a lesbian.” Because, come on, Lyman. Kalinda knows her lesbians.
Lyman says it’s not him that got them into this mess; it’s political correctness that did. Ah, yes, blaming the world for being too PC: every misogynist, racist person’s favorite excuse! But Lyman does get the chance to make his apology, because when it seems like things have hit a dead end for Tomas, Natalie finally calls Will back, who has been pestering her to give LG another chance. This is frustrating, as it should be clear to Natalie that Alicia and Cary are literally doing all they can do; the system just sucks. But it also isn’t very surprising. Natalie wasn’t all that pumped about the office-in-an-abandoned factory situation, and it’s clear that she’s just as cutting in her business decisions as a Will or Diane would be. She brings in her fancy boss to Lockhart Gardner. So after Lyman apologizes to Natalie, in a somewhat weird but acceptable way–he initially says that he acted like a pig because a friend had just died, haha, what–her boss then comes in, who happens to be a black man. To whom Lyman immediately turns and says, “Heeey, man!,” attempting to do a fist bump in an awkward I’m-down-with-the-homeys type of gesture. Will and Diane sigh. For the sake of Florrick Agos, I hope Lyman never retires.
In the end, to nobody’s surprise, Robyn saves the day, going directly to the Mexican consulate and essentially persuading them to reject Tomas at the border and send him back to the US. Which they do. No cutting out stomachs and hanging from bridges today! Cary thanks Robyn for saving their asses while they’re in the elevator back at the factory, to which she responds, “That’s my job.” Cary tells her to keep doing it. And for the first time all episode, Robyn allows herself a little smile.
Natalie is also smiling when she hears the news, which happens to be as she’s waiting for Eli at a fancy restaurant. She orders two glasses of nice wine. This is actually her and Eli’s second attempt at a date, and this second attempt has been made after Eli gave a rather romantic appeal and Natalie gave him a bag of dried apricots, which sounds weird and is weird but somehow becomes a really charming gag. But all of these feelings he’s having in his heart have also influenced him a little at work, which makes Marilyn mad, and since Marilyn is mad and also beautiful Peter even doubts Eli for a second, so after Natalie orders the two glasses of wine, Eli stands outside the restaurant, watching her through the window and telling her over the phone that he can’t make it. It is a classic cinematic heartache moment, and you want to kick him for it.
But moments later, he sweeps into the restaurant, apologizing. “I lie 24/7 for my job. It’s actually a gift. But lying to you gave me a stomach ache.” And then he kisses her. Eli! I saw mixed reactions about the continuation of this relationship on the Internets: some people were swept up, some were grossed out. I’m squarely in the first camp, although I might not find it as believable as I do if both Alan Cumming and America Ferrera weren’t such outstanding actors. Alan Cumming is fantastic this entire episode. I love Eli on any day, but it’s rare that he gets such a great storyline full of adorable human emotions. The whole thing is great.
The episode ends with Alicia back at the factory, alone, putting on music and removing the bubble wrap from her not-that-exciting office chair. But she stares at it with satisfaction, as if it’s the best present in the world, and then she sits and twirls for a few moments. And then Peter comes in and congratulates her and has some interns help her unpack and they smile at each other and stuff, but that moment where she’s by herself, very temporarily content, is the real end of the episode for me. It is lovely.
I know there’s still not enough Kalinda, but I have to say that at the end of every episode this season, I feel a loss at it being over, and can’t wait until the next week. I am loving every bit of it. What were your thoughts on this one?