So good! One of Momma Veronica's eclectic friends, a software coder, dies due to unsafe labor practices, and without really knowing how or why, Alicia gets pulled into consulting with the remaining programmers (including Fran Kranz!) on their legal rights. One Nancy Crozier -- still rockin' the naïf vibe and being all incredible -- and several surprise firings and rehirings later, Cary and Alicia gets the coders protected from being terminated by claiming they're unionizing.
The widow abruptly gets pulled over to the Crozier side, with the company, but Alicia figures out -- after an offhand comment from David Lee -- that the widow's shares in the company make her management, and she can't sink the vote, so in the end the group unionizes. Unfortunately, the whole thing ends up driving the price of the company so low that they're snatched up by ChumHum, without need for any of the actual employees involved, and Alicia can't help but wonder whether her firm allowed all of this Labor Board stuff to unspool just to benefit ChumHum in the long run.
In the midst of all this talk of labor and management, two other things go wrong: Number one, Kalinda figures out that Robyn's compensation -- which includes healthcare -- is practically her own salary. Cary invites her to leave with him for the new firm, exclusively, and she gets into protracted negotiations with Will about whether or not she should become an exclusive L/G employee. It's Kalinda, you can never tell, but since everybody knows her they all know that; and she's subtle enough about the "other firm" pursuing her that Will, far from sniffing out the Cary side of things, seems to think she's just invented them to start up her campaign for more cash.
Meanwhile, the L/G assistant pool also gets inspired, and starts doing their own research into their fellows at other firms, and realize they're getting screwed too. The assistant uprising, which is where Alicia puts all her feelings and need to a saint, keeps getting torpedoed by David Lee because he is the worst, and eventually without consulting Alicia the partners make offers to the ringleaders of the uprising, with (fake David Lee-type) promises of more increases to come. Alicia comes out bravely here, speaking truth to power while also trying to negotiate her own life as part of management, so it's painful to see both labor disputes ultimately resolved in such discouraging ways.
Peter's got this idea that he wants to renew their Florrick vows, which happens to coincide with a tricky proposition: If he goes negative on Kresteva to offset a sudden polling surge, his numbers will drop, but because everybody loves Alicia, she can talk shit about Kresteva all day long and it won't do anything but help. He comes to Owen with a fairly transparent request for Owen to put in a good word for him with Alicia, which ends up winning over Owen after a lifetime of resenting Peter. Veronica, on the other hand, is not prepared to ever forgive him and so -- after Alicia threatens to cut her off altogether if she doesn't stop meddling in her marriage -- goes to Will instead, telling him there's a window and it's closing, and he needs to step it up.
One Charlie Rose interview later, in which Alicia calls Mike Kresteva a selfish drunk who is ruining his marriage and family worse than Peter ever did, the numbers have stabilized and, since she's pissed at Will for the L/G stuff and feeling particularly dicked around by everybody but her husband, Alicia agrees to the vow renewal.
As a fan of the show, it was nice to see such a great, well-paced, intriguingly interconnected episode, and I know I've been saying this every week, but the string of hits in the back third of this season is just really something to behold. It's well-crafted television, just as a written product, with then the characters, actors and history all extra bits of excellence that put it over the top.
Storywise, it's interesting getting into the business side of things, as we continue getting a backstage view of how L/G's "top-heavy" management stuff continues to be its own monster. Cary has never had more fun with Alicia, and I think even he was pleasantly surprised by Kalinda's willingness to cut ties and come with him (for the right price).
We have yet to see exactly what Will's going to do with the suggestion of some last-minute wooing before the window closes altogether, but I wonder whether he'll really go too far doing anything at all, considering how quickly -- at least apparently, to those not watching a TV show about her life -- Alicia is changing. And honestly, at this point she's getting so sick of every aspect of the firm that it remains a toss-up what she'll even do in next week's Election Day finale... But at this point, would anything really surprise you?
Owen and Alicia stand at the casket, in the empty funeral home, for some time before realizing they're alone and they have no idea why they're there: It's for a friend of Veronica's, some computer programmer younger than both of them.
Alicia: "So wait, why are we here? Why are we the only people here? Is this like The Westing Game and it turns out David Lee was actually Neil Gross in disguise our whole lives?"
Owen: "Spoiler alert. And no, I think she probably just told us to be here a half-hour early, under the assumption we'd be a half-hour late."
Alicia: "For a flake of cosmic proportion she sure does feel comfortable administrating our shit."
Owen: "I know, I hate that! But also tell her everything you tell me. I guess on the principle that you make a better target."
Alicia: "You're missing the point, I love Peter..."
Owen: "Gross me out, stop saying that."
Alicia: "He really has changed..."
Owen: "You're like an Oprah lady. You deserve a spanking. How does a person come from fucking whores? Seriously, how does a person change inside about that?"
Alicia: "Why does everybody -- you, mom, this show -- suddenly think Will is a thing and I should be with Will and he is the love of my life and I never should have dumped him and I shouldn't be bootycalling Peter and I'm only doing it because I feel a civic responsibility and because it would be awkward?"
Owen: "Girl I did not say any of those things. But yet I still won the argument I didn't know we were having."
Owen: "Your body is telling you things. You should listen to it. Did you kiss him, or did he kiss you?"
Alicia: "It was mutual. A mutual mistake."
Owen: "Why did you even break up with him last time?"
Alicia: "You're right, I was incredibly vague about it the whole time. I guess you could say it didn't seem like a long-term thing?"
Owen: "So you ended it? That's insane, you're insane..."
Alicia: "Shut up. Veronica's coming."
Veronica is every bit as weird, but more likeable every time she shows up. This time, it's to introduce Alicia to the widow Charlene, who is the actual person she knows here -- she's the niece of Malcolm, the last dead husband, that Veronica was cheating on if I remember correctly, in that episode I hated so much -- and this is the situation: Charlene and Frank, along with Fran Kranz's character Fran Kranz and several other people, are coders for a company called Blowtorch.