This episode starts with what Ben and Jerry’s would term a cluster-fluff of Lockhart Gardner-ness: sassy drum beats pound in the background while we enter the lawfirm waiting room, where we first scan over a fine looking lady in military uniform. Don’t mind if I do.
Across from her is, of course, Dick Husband. He chats with Lady in Uniform, played by Linda Emond, who has been in many things, including The Good Wife in previous seasons, but for whatever reason I remember her best as Headmistress Queller in Gossip Girl. By the way, has something lesbian happened on that show yet, or what? Anyway, we learn that Awful Husband has been in Afghanistan, which seems legit, and maybe that’s where he was all this time–did we know this? Or was he in jail? Is this thrown in to persuade us towards some sort of sympathy towards him? Whatevs. He soon spies Kalinda walking by. And then Alicia brings him into his office. And then at some point, both Maddie and Mandy Post come into the waiting room too! And Will! And Eli! It’s like, how many cast members can we throw into one opening sequence! And I love it!
Things calm down a little bit from that opening 10 minute sequence high and we learn some facts. One, Sketchy Husband’s truck deal which I have yet to fully comprehend falls through. He kicks Alicia’s desk in anger and Alicia gives a thoroughly disgusted, hell no you did not just kick my desk, type of look. Since Alicia and Cary are now sharing an office, and since Alicia and Cary have both witnessed or at least sensed that this guy is Bad News, they are able to share some This Guy Is Bad News vibes with each other, which is enjoyable. Alicia is almost downright snarky!
Then we learn that Lady in Uniform wants Alicia to represent one Captain Hellinger, played by uber hot Amanda Peet, on an attempted rape charge against an independent contractor in Afghanistan. Douchebag Husband suffering a setback? Taking down a rapist? This episode is winning already! Captain Hellinger at first wants to take on the court case herself, but Alicia proves in around thirty seconds that her legal experience is plenty awesome and much needed. When Alicia is on, she is on, man.
Wringing my hands because you’re beautiful and smart and this uniform is really quite warm and
oh also I’m about to face the jerk who tried to rape me.
Eli asks Kalinda to get to the bottom of this Indira Starr/Mandy Post story, a plea which Kalinda seems to be half-listening to, perhaps because it seems like Eli has already made a similar plea about this story a billion times to her already this season. Eventually Kalinda bluntly asks him if he’s being investigated by the feds. He replies with this really smooth, not ADD-esque at all answer: “No. I don’t know. Am I? Why? Everyone’s investigated at some point or another. Why? What are you hearing?” Kalinda busts out the picture of the two of them which was supposedly taken from Lana’s apartment and says, “Shut your trap for a second, Eli. Check it. Are the feds investigating you or me?” This is the question, my friends. And it’s one that’s still left up in the air.
Kalinda then shows up at the start of the rape trial with some information for Alicia; Alicia is able to see into Kalinda’s soul per usual and notes, “You don’t seem happy.” Kalinda is using her Soft Alicia Voice but still only answers that she’s “just busy.” When Alicia reveals that Jerkface Husband won’t be doing business in Chicago, Kalinda’s face remains perfectly unreadable, and responds by simply turning around and walking away with that orange notebook and those black boots and the eternal air of mystery.
My heart wants to tell you everything, but all the choirs in my head say no.
Kristin Chenoweth, always a delight, also reappears. Mandy Post has told Eli that she’s still running the Peter-sleeping-with-a-chick story even though it isn’t true, and as Kristin Chenoweth is apparently a competitor of Mandy Post’s, Eli wants her to use some personal dish on Mandy’s past to make this all go away. It’s all rather political, but Kristin’s cheekbones are all in.
Fiiiiine, I’ll help you out and further my own career, you slimeball you.
The rape trial starts off with a jolly description of the jubilant night in question on base where both the prosecutor and the defendant got drunk, and already my blood is boiling, because any rape trial that starts with how drunk the girl was is GREAT. Because how drunk the girl was is TOTALLY RELEVANT. The defendant’s lawyer is played by Brian Dennehy, an imposing old white guy who implores the judge to call him Bucky. He’s the kind of character who, when imploring someone to call him Bucky, could be really endearing if he was, say, a senile uncle, but appears impossibly sinister and irritating when he’s, you know, defending a rapist. But Alicia and Captain Amanda Peet have already formed fantastic solidarity and they are determined to take the bastard down.
I’ll respond to Bucky, Buckster, Buckaroo, or Buckaroni.
I’ll respond to Captain Hellinger.
Speaking of solidarity, and/or the lack thereof, we then see Maddie in Alicia’s office. Oh, Maddie. Maddie, Maddie, Maddie. You guys were so totally right! She is so going to run against Peter Florrick! I don’t know why I was so blind to predict this, but you guys were ON IT. And Alicia, bless her heart, carries such a wonderful and dignified face of collectedness which barely hides her seething anger as Maddie is all “We can still be gal pals!,” as if Alicia is dumb enough to not know that Maddie played her like a gorgeous pawn in Chicago Wizard Chess. You sneaky female CEO with loads of cash, Maura Tierney.
In better news, we finally get a scene of Kalicia sharing drinks at the bar once again! What with Kalinda being occupied by Nick and Alicia being wooed by Maddie, it seems like it’s been way too long since it’s been just the two ladies, sipping wine and sharing a deep and compassionate connection. Alicia shares that she and Cary could actually still help out Nick but she’s not sure if they should, trying to put out feelers for what Kalinda wants her to do. This conversation follows:
Alicia: Do you love him?
Kalinda: I have difficulty being away from him.
Alicia: Is he dangerous?
Alicia: Shouldn’t you stay away then?
But being with you just feels so right, somehow.
I feel a little confused by this interaction, but then again it seems like both Kalinda and Alicia are too, so. I was obviously happy to hear that “no,” but it also doesn’t make sense. It’s not normally difficult to be away from someone you don’t love anymore. It’s normally only difficult when that love is still knocking around in your guts somewhere, abusive or not. It’s also possible to love someone in some way and still NOT want to be around them. Basically, I feel like the writers still aren’t explaining this relationship, or this storyline, well. And especially knowing now that he’s getting the boot somehow no matter what, I feel like they’re rushing it out sloppily. Alicia cuts him out of his deal, advises Kalinda that maybe she should stay away, Kalinda’s like, “Hm, yeah,” but mainly remains completely ambiguous. There better be a better conclusion coming. I care about Kalinda too much to not have this all better explained. There’s a difference between complex emotions and simply murky, confusing ones.
Back at the trial, the accused rapist plays the “She must be saying all this stuff because she was offended that I rejected her” card, which is in the top five of Cards Accused Rapists Like to Use. But thankfully, the trial isn’t too much of a blame game, because another military witness quickly confirms that her story is true and his story is wrong. No, the real question revolves around how the dude was classified at the time of the attempted rape: was he an independent contractor, or was he considered part of the US forces? If the latter, he can’t be tried in a civil case, and an attempt to prosecute him in military court already failed. Once again, the law isn’t about simply deciding right and wrong, especially when it comes to the military. And alas, heartbreakingly, the dude isn’t liable. The judge is forced to dismiss the case, even as he says as forcibly as he can that he personally disagrees. The only person in the room who sees this as a victory is the rapist, who gets the greatest burn of the episode when he goes to shake Bucky’s hand afterwards. Dear old Bucky passes on the offer. Maybe you wouldn’t make a bad uncle, after all.
Still not aware of his despicableness, the rapist then has the balls to walk towards Captain Hellinger and say “No hard feelings.” Ugh, puke, rage, etc. Luckily, Colonel Badass Knees steps up and puts the boy back in his place.
Don’t you even think about it.
As everyone else leaves the courtroom, Alicia tells her they’ll appeal. Hellinger, still carrying herself with the utmost military dignity, says no, she’s done. Then she asks, “What do you do when it’s all over?” Alicia responds, “You start up again.”
And then we have a brilliant, quiet shot from the back of the courtroom, of two women who know what it’s like to be screwed over, gathering themselves for the process of starting up again, while that eerie “IN GOD WE TRUST” looms over their heads.
Or so they say.
The episode ends with Maddie visiting Peter in his office, an inevitable showdown which ends up being my favorite writers bein’ awesome moment of the episode, even though there were a LOT of great lines this week. Maddie says there’s no way Peter can win without going totally broke. She says there’s another way: he can drop out and run with her as her lieutenant governor.
You serious, Clark?
He says, you used my wife. She says, no, I befriended her. I didn’t know I was going to do this. Then he says:
“You know, I can trust a cynic, a conman. But I can’t trust a hypocrite. Because the hypocrite doesn’t know when she’s lying, and that’s the most dangerous liar of them all.”
She says, that’s a no, then. He says, it’s more than a no. It’s a never. This is one of those moments where you’re tricked into actually liking Peter, because this whole thing is so good! So perfectly dramatic and righteous. Finally, this election is actually interesting.
Even though Kalinda’s storyline didn’t move forward a ton this week, and there are still a lot of holes waiting to be filled–how Nick will finally leave; what’s up with the picture from Lana’s apartment?–everything else this week was so fascinating that I loved it anyway. What were your thoughts?