David Lee: "She's digging our graves! All for the love of you!"
Will: "Chill, baby."
David Lee: "I've always liked you, because you're secretly the creepiest one, but you and Diane don't own this firm! She's not making decisions based on law or business, she's losing her grip, and the world is ending! She's overwhelmed! The little lady doesn't know what to do and she's being irrational! She needs help! The help of a man! A tiny bitchy man!"
Will: "Okay, so translated into Grownup, you're saying you want me to support you in your bid to steal my job."
David Lee: "My agenda is unchanging. I want somebody at the top with her, and I think I'm best for that. At least I wouldn't fuck things up with loyalty, like she is."
Funny, isn't it, that David Lee's line all along has been the thing that Canning brought up with Alicia: That business isn't family and that Lockhart & Assoc. comes into more trouble by acting like it is -- by prizing, we hear again this week, the stupid idea of "loyalty" over corporate evolution or whatever -- than it would by assuming that cutthroat is best. Merely the fact that these two unrelated conversations have now been had pretty much concept-by-concept the last two weeks, among unrelated interlocutors, makes me think this is something we're supposed to be feeling out.
It feels to me like something that came out of the writers' room: "Make sure episodes x, y and z all have something in there where they talk baldly about whether or not loyalty is enough to keep a company strong, or if it's even a healthy core value." No, actually, it starts earlier than that: The last conversation between Caitlin and Diane was this in another form: Show us loyalty as a family member and we're prepared to show you loyalty as a family. Which hearkens back further, to Rita Wilson, when Alicia told Caitlin she was going to be judged primarily on her performance -- but also by her loyalty, which is how she presented it to Canning in the first place.
Wait, and that same "judged on your performance" doubletalk thing has come up at least twice too, once definitely in reference to Alicia's possible defection. So you have five conversations, actually, all centered on or mirroring the Alicia/Diane dynamic, coming harder and faster as we near the end of the season, all of them about Alicia's necessary-but-dubious, the stark ethic of loyalty but also the confusion of a family with a business... I feel like I'm almost there but we're missing a piece of the puzzle. The women present L/? as a Family of the Future, and the men fight that idea as a matter of course, acting on the conservative impulse that they benefit from how things have always been. And who's stuck in the middle? The personification of that disconnect, Mommy Wars incarnate, the only person on the show with both things on the line.