Wow, more happened in this episode than in, like, the other four combined. Smaller stuff first: Keith, from last week, and Taylor are new hires at the firm (and on the latter, HA! Suck on it, Patti!) but Eli and Taylor don't have time to bitch at each other too much (they're not back together yet, apparently) with all the visions he's getting of surfers and the beach. Matt's now-lesbian ex-girlfriend shows up and tells him that her partner, with whom she had a baby, has gone straight and born-again and is trying to take sole custody of the kid. Matt enlists Taylor, whose specialty is family law, to help him. Unfortunately, their hands are tied by a document that surfaces that the ex signed waiving her parental rights. Meanwhile, Eli makes a date with Taylor to talk things out, but when he cancels on her, she has a drink with Matt, who remembers he has a tape of the My Two Mommies Baby Shower, or something, and that convinces the judge to give joint custody to Matt's ex.
In bigger news, Eli learns that a verdict he won five years ago has been overturned. The case involves a guy who was horribly maimed when his SUV flipped over, but Old Eli, as New Eli refers to his old self, argued on behalf of the evil big-car-company defendant. In court, Eli has an episode during his opening arguments during which a choir sings "One More Try" to him. Also, there's some mystery whistleblower witness who disappeared before the last trial that could help the plaintiff's case, and Maggie's incessant digging reveals that Tom Amandes had a hand in making the witness vanish. But a vision of Patti sends Eli and Maggie to Hawaii, where they find the witness, who tells them the company ignored a safety report he wrote. Eli surreptitiously tapes the conversation and uses it to force the car company to settle, and now he's really making some powerful enemies -- and they don't let the grass grow under their feet, as the car company's CEO, citing Eli's episode in court, gets disbarment proceedings initiated against him. Also of interest: Tom Amandes and Patti used to be An Item, Eli name-checks Veronica Mars, and I may hate Patti, but girlfriend can sing.
I hope it's not too late for the ratings, because this one was pretty darn good.
As a small plane flies near a lovely beach, the chyron lets us know that we're in Molokai, Hawaii. We pan over to another small plane on the ground, by which some random woman is unnecessarily telling her boyfriend or whoever how gorgeous the place is. Maybe she's meant to provide contrast to Eli, who appears and grumps about how the place is "hotter than the damn sun." On the one hand, we all know how beautiful Hawaii is, and moreover, that it almost never gets close to the kind of hot there that Eli's talking about. But if I were stuck with Maggie on a single-engine plane for even a short flight, I'd be pretty crabby too. Maggie bubbles about the locale while Eli kvetches some more about being HOT...
...and then he's babbling "Hot, hot hot hot!" like a Gilmore after he catches a bagel popping out of the toaster. The chyron now reads "Three Days Earlier," and look, show, I realize this may just be a shout-out to Victor Garber's time on Alias, but the reason this type of episode construction worked on that show is because they'd tease you with a big event or cliffhanger and then let you see how it came to be. Knowing that Maggie is going to be jawing at Eli on a beach later this episode while it's currently twenty degrees where I am just makes me want to turn off the TV. Patti (I'm dropping the "I Hate..." for now because of an upcoming development) tells Eli that there are two nasty rumors going around, and asks if he'd like to hear Number One. He, however, opts for Two, so she tells him that his win on the "Wolverine SUV" case five years ago is being overturned, and he'll have to retry it. Eli considers that for a moment, but says that Tom Amandes (oh, his role is expanding, finally, so I guess I'll call him "Martin" from now on) took over the case when the appeal was filed, so he'll handle the case in the unlikely event that a settlement isn't reached. Patti wonders why he thinks a settlement is so likely, so Eli tells her that the guy representing the plaintiff has been working on the case on contingency for five years. "Even self-righteous do-gooders need to eat." It's too bad Eli won't stop chomping on that bagel long enough to appreciate the irony. As they head up the stairs, he then tells Patti that "Old Eli" tried the case, but he's now "New Eli," and he's no longer working on the side of evil. He just doesn't mind if evil pays for his health insurance and parking. Patti calls that she's not sure "New Eli" understands how this place works, a comment more valid than it is sassy. See, we're getting somewhere.