Before finally replacing Will with clueless old decrepit Howard Lyman as name partner -- effectively cutting off the three-way coup permanently and riling everybody up into new hysterics -- Diane asks Alicia to take her place on a civilian review board investigating a cop shooting from several weeks ago. The rest of the guys are old white judges we've seen before, except for Matthew Perry's Mike Kresteva and Pastor Charles S. Dutton, who's there to fill the black quota the same way she's there to be a woman. It seems to be an open-and-shut review and investigation...
Until, of course, Alicia pulls her whole Alicia Florrick routine on it, decides that the policemen planted a gun on the victim, breaks a million unspoken rules, and hurts a bunch of bossy old white man egos, to the point where they bring in Cary and basically pin this on Peter: That he covered up the possibly planted gun under advice from Eli, not wanting to start even more racial tension right before he announces his bid for the governorship in a few weeks.
Sound likely, or at least possible? Alicia agrees, and in the end she recuses herself -- but not before Mike Kresteva announces himself as a new form of Colin Sweeney, putting her in these weird ethical jams, and making fun of her values while also cheering them on. Not what I expected out of a Matthew Perry guest role at all, but certainly intriguing. He has that Wendy Scott-Carr kind of Silent Hill menace going on. Not cuddly at all. It's great.
But that's not the end of Alicia's troubles, because this week -- a highly dynamic, smash-cutting collection of slicing scenes and strange dreamlike fugues -- it is all about Alicia's stress level. Step One: Tempt Diane's old Lifeguard fate -- piss off a bunch of judges and see how well things go for you. Even Diane is horrified by her zeal on this one, which Will finds darkly hilarious. (In fact, there are a few stressful times when you think they're going to fight, those two, but Will and Diane seem always to know how best to cool their jets with each other in a way where nobody loses.)
Step Two: Get sucked into the IRS situation with Kalinda, freak the fuck out on an invisible Star Chamber participant, who turns out to be that gorgeous FBI girl, whom Kalinda then sexually harrasses in front of her workmates, because I guess this is about that girl now? I don't know, is this the married one? Presumably. Which means all the happy feelings of this week, watching Alicia go nuts on people to protect Kalinda from their creepiness, will just get washed out again when she realizes this is another married person Kalinda fucked. Right?
And Step Three: After another open house, full of memories good and bad, Alicia thinks she's finally won the sellers over... And then they ask for more money, so then it's even more astonishing when -- as she tries to even find time to process that or be sad about it -- she suddenly learns she's the owner of the Highland Park house again.
Realizing that she's not the only Florrick who would've signed off, given the unending ass ache I'm sure Grace is being about it with everybody, Alicia tries to yell at Peter about it -- but he's hiding from her so she won't break confidentiality on the panel case, because that's exactly what she would do. When she finally tracks him down he has no idea what she's talking about, so we end the episode with Alicia heading to like a Nordstrom's salon to have an epic showdown with the only Florrick that really would have done something this smothering and manipulative: Jackie, of course. The Third and Most Frightful Florrick. Who ends the episode with a smirk of such arrogant nastiness that you don't even notice the fact that she's heading into battle mid-shampoo.
In two weeks: It's getting dreadful close to that time when a crazy politician's thoughts turn to the Illinois gubernatorial campaigns, which means several things. Vanessa will be back, Eli will be in the middle -- and possibly severing ties with Peter -- and Alicia (not to mention the newly dubbed Lockhart/Lyman) will be thrust once more into the spotlight. Which should be interesting, considering Mike Kresteva will be coming back ... for her very soul.
Diane got Alicia a small raise and a large bonus after Canning's job offer came back around, and is even now juggling her two hottest suitors ever. Somebody reported Will to the Bar for doing exactly what he's doing, which Will ignored and kept doing it because when your partners include David Lee, Eli Gold and Julius Cain, that's just the price of doing business. Cary took the hit for Peter Florricks' quasi-accidental institutionalized racism, and her sweet meeting with him got her so pumped that Alicia pressure, Alicia's somewhat shapeless life at the moment, and everybody's jobs being in total flux all the time.
THE TWELVE (UNDOCUMENTED) LABORS OF KALINDA SHARMA
Kalinda: "I'm not sure how to answer..."
Alicia: "Look, I understand that we both say as little as possible, all the time. This show is practically The Artist even when we're feeling exuberant..."
Kalinda: "No, I mean I have an obligation to the people that pay me under the table to keep it there."
Alicia: "That's not a legal thing, though. As I'm sure you're aware, you're not a lawyer."
Kalinda: "Explain my storyline again?"
Gladly. The IRS, for some reason, has decided to be uppity about Kalinda's reported income. On the basis of one check for four grand, which comes from a dummy account, they've decided they want full accounting for all her freelance work over the last three tax periods (which is either three years, or less than a year depending on whether she's doing the smart thing as a freelancer and paying forward quarterly, but I'm guessing it's three years).
Alicia: "Okay, Mr. Cellophane, how about this other check, from a FRP Inc., for $2500. The memo just says Three days' unspecified and very likely shady Kalinda Stuff."
Kalinda: "That... Is for somebody you know. It's weird."
Alicia: "Bitch if you are talking about my husband I swear to God."
Kalinda: "Er, hang on."
Kalinda literally sprints up outta that piece, has a quick confab with Diane -- to which we are not privy -- and then returns, so quickly the papers haven't yet finished wafting to the floor, and looks brightly at Alicia as though maybe she were so very fast that Alicia didn't notice she'd left, Superman style.
Kalinda: "Let's say it was for Diane Lockhart. Let's say it was firearm training, for that time she thought she was going to get murdered and reversed her position on gun control, forcing her dog Justice to call her a champagne liberal. The worst, but also the only effective kind of liberal."