Will's been gone a week before the partners start getting antsy about taking over his job as a named partner: Julius wants it because he deserves it, Eli wants it because everybody else wants it, and David Lee wants it because he's a dick. Diane's not having anybody replace the Gardner in her Lockhart just yet, no matter how scrambly and ratfucky and generally nasty they all get with each other. David Lee especially has his paranoia validated several times, both accidentally and less accidentally, which leads him to possibly involving Caitlin in the whole partnership mess.
Of course, it would really help if Will could just come and show some face, scare them back into the brush, but he's too busy being suicidal without the law. In fact, it's a smothering visit from his sisters (including brilliant-as-usual Merrit Wever) that drives him back into the firm: Once they decide that the woman he's pining for is Kalinda, the whole idea is so weird that he flees back to the office he can no longer use for its intended purpose. (Other fallout: Alicia cancels her divorce planning with David Lee -- surprise, he bitches! -- and takes up Kalinda's tax case, moving forward.)
After the longest, most boringest Cartier commercial* of all time, Donna Brazile convinces Eli that Peter needs to hire some friends into the SA's office if she's going to support him as the DNC keynote speaker. This is taken care of with a quick nepotistic phone call that ends up with Cary pissing off ASA Geneva Pine yet again, this time with a demotion. Everybody's all job crazy and mean and scared of everybody else. It's like Wendy Scott-Carr turned into a fog or fine mist and permeated the whole of Cook County with her stabby vibes.
(*How crazy is it that they'll sell this CBS ad time for shit like that and then you never even know if the show is coming on? I don't get how this works at all. Why would Cartier buy a five-minute ad space with a jaguar riding a biplane and a city riding an elephant and who knows what all, and then ask for the show that is only occasionally where it's supposed to be?)
The case itself -- something involving a suicide bridge and Dexter's brother filming the suicides there -- also leads into the upcoming ratfucking death orgy at L/?, with Alicia using Caitlin as a sort of fire-meets-fire weapon against good ol' Nancy Crozier. Yep, our favorite innocent young attorney fresh off the truck from Michigan is back, and let me tell you that she cannot handle Caitlin for shit.
In fact, Caitlin's so willing to play Crozier's "Help me remember how to be a lawyer, Your Honor Played By Josh Hamilton" game -- and so much better at it than Alicia could ever have been, even when she was an actual tween -- that she ends up impressing Diane and getting promoted to full litigator by the end of the episode: Sharing Alicia's assistant and taking up office space, not to mention Alicia's place in Diane's heart. So once again we have a sort of terrible tremble of the world at thinking about all the horrible places the Caitlin thing could still go... Especially if there's no bad guy.
Next week: BAD GUY! Colin Sweeney returns, Bebe Neuwirth is involved, I remember somebody I love got cast in this but I forget who. And more than likely Colin's going to be like, "Alicia you've changed. You're tainted and turning into a grownup and I no longer want to make a suit of your skin and wear it and be a pretty politician's wife," and Alicia will feel bad about it, and think about how maybe he's right, and then she'll be best friends with Kalinda again. That seems like the most likely scenario.
Everybody seemed to think that a six-month sabbatical would drive Will insane, and I don't think they were overstating the case, so even though that seems ludicrous I guess we're meant to take this to a "Will is constantly on the edge and this is why he gambles or vice versa" kind of place. The fact that there are very few scenes in which Will even really moves around that much -- and most of those are him kicking somebody's ass all over the place, or playing corrupt basketball -- possibly bears this concept out.
A second and third consequence of Will's break are, respectively, a power vacuum that is the majority of what this episode's about, and sudden reasons for Alicia and Kalinda to interact thanks to the fact that Kalinda's entire life is 100% secret problems. And actually, come to think of it, everything going nuts at the State's Attorney's office is also directly linked to the outcome of Wendy's nonsensical obsession with Will.
I've never felt I understood Will very well, but that cuts both ways: His introspection and quietness are the equal of Alicia's much of the time, so there's a lot of guesswork, but we've seen how far he's been willing to stretch for her before, and the sequence of events leading to her breaking up with him was a lot of guesswork too. So maybe that's part of what's driving him nuts, which again seems ludicrous, except how do you know? Last time I went through it, I was the initiator and I still went crazy as all hell.
Like the episode starts with a video of a very sad woman very slowly climbing over the railing of a bridge and then plunging to her death, while soft music plays and a voice talks us through that day; while her parents and boyfriend grieve for her, and the fact that goodbyes only look that way in retrospect. And we pull back, out into our show, and there's Will just watching, over and over, as this woman drops out of life.
Is he falling? Is he crashing? The show keeps saying yes, and he keeps saying he's okay. Is he watching this in a suicidal fugue state? He's watching it to close shop on one of the cases he's bequeathed Alicia -- but that doesn't explain why he keeps watching this pivotal part of the video, over and over again: The moment Kara Anderson was in midair, right before she disappeared.
Kalinda: "Hey! It feels crazy in here. Like, the vibes. I can't believe it's only been a week and you're already obsessively watching suicide footage. What happens three months from now?"
Will: "I'm fine! Mostly I'm just making notes on how long it's been since I last checked or answered my phone and thinking about how David Lee probably is right now. Anyway, I have this one case, and then this other case I'm not allowed to touch. The one that Alicia actually needs. How is she doing?"
Kalinda: "Hates me marginally less. Harried."
Will: "This isn't a note on paper, just a suggestion about that latter case. Tell her the judge on this episode is down with women more than men, and the defendent is kind of a pretentious douchebag that the jury won't like."
Kalinda: "Will do. Hey, are you going to kill yourself the second I leave?"
Will: "Not immediately after, no."