Diane goes through pretty major shifts this week, as we settle into what this season might end up being all about. While the partners decided not to offer Celeste her "new home" originally, Diane has had quite the mercenary brainwave: A double-dip recession means bankruptcy might become L/G's strongest division, so when we hear news that Celeste Serrano's Bankruptcy department is joining Litigation and Acquisitions as part of the deal, Will is dispatched into the hairy world of Celeste's total crazy. There are all-night poker games, there is a excruciatingly awkward three-way conversation with Peter Florrick, there is recrimination and creepiness of sundry stripe...
And then it turns out the whole thing is a big lie, and Celeste isn't actually looking to join L/G at all: Those departments are forming their own firm, and want Will to come along. She also wants him to "feed" the eponymous "rat," which in this context means "be gross like how you actually are and stop trying to impress Alicia, and/or Jesus, by pretending you're normal." (One thinks, again, of that chunky stew of the depressed rats biting and fucking each other to death. One thinks of them, to be honest, pretty much all the time. One is haunted by the biting, fucking rat stew.) To sweeten the pot, Celeste offers Will a pretty solid line on one day becoming baseball commissioner, so of course he spends the last couple acts brooding and eventually tells her, once again, to fuck off.
Off, methinks, she will not be fucking.
Meanwhile, Diane decides to put a halt to all pro bono cases as part of her sudden fiscal spring-cleaning, which lasts about five seconds until she visits Legal Aid to break up with them in person. After an electrically charged meeting with the head of that motley group (played by fantastic old Romany "Conrad" Malco), she ends up deciding to pull them in-house and stick 'em next to Eli, in one of the most heartwarmingly West Wing True Believer moments of the whole series. Diane's been so background this season that I forgot how powerful it is when she gets that look in her eyes, like she believes in America and a fair shake. That ERA face she gets.
Eli, he's still doing the Cheese Thing and his Usual Thing; his new demand is to have Alicia and Kalinda assigned to him full-time, an obvious disaster that nobody can even tell him about, of course. Plus, it would be giving him their two best dudes, which he's already working on anyway: By the end he's offering Kalinda the world if she'll join him when he leaves L/G. That part seemed a little early and unearned, but Kal-El are still crackling good together: Eli comes to Kalinda for information about the firm's power structure, which -- while not exactly revelatory -- is fun to hear discussed: If you want to convince Diane go through David Lee, if you want Will's ear go through Alicia, that kind of thing. Fun. Fun to see those two weirdos do their weirdness on each other.
There is no David Lee and we see no Finn, which means we'll have to save until next week my fantasies where they fight over Owen in a gladiatorial battle.
Over at the SA's office, Peter has brought in an AUSA, Amani, to give oversight on the plea bargains and other measures of the office that may come off looking racist or biased. Of course Cary finds this hilarious, and as usual he's never quite so sexy as when he's overlooking his own white privilege, but they work well together, and it's a pretty interesting take on the prosecutorial side which I hope stays important.
As for the case, it's pretty decent. There's a young father who gets caught in a convenience store robbery, but then Cary is really mean to him and decides to prosecute, and the whole case is based on this eye witness that is not what he seems, and cross-racial identification some more, and Harvey Fierstein is somehow still alive and performing on television, and Kalinda does some magical unicorn brain spell and figures it all out right before they put him in front of a firing squad or whatever. Standard stuff, told straight.
But because so much of the episode was about these major shifts in the greater ecosystems -- Eli Gold, Legal Aid, baseball commissioner, Peter Florrick's many white burdens -- it was actually a relief not to have to remember a bunch of characters or specialized jargon or whatever. Also, to concentrate on the romance of it, which was pretty crazy: Will ends a phone call with Alicia with an automatic "love you" that makes both of them act like they have witnessed a grisly child murder, and then later Alicia freezes him out pretty hard about it, because he wants to talk about how maybe he really is or something, and she's like, "No thank you, go hang out with Diane please," and then she just stares into space and thinks about how for a person with no feelings, Will is really kind of a hassle sometimes.
Next week, more rats: Murderous manga-perv Colin Sweeney returns, for an adventure of Clarice Starling proportion, in Apeneck III: The Apening.
For tonight's performance, the Front of Chris Noth's Head will be played by: Chris Noth.
ATM From the '80s: "Sorry, you have no '80s money!"
Cute Young Dad: "And here it is my young son's birthday. Maybe they have some fun, conveniently inexpensive toys or playthings in this strip mall. Oh, look! You can get your checks cashed. I just wish I had some checks."
Convenience Store From The '70s: "Lowest Prices In Town!"
Cute Young Dad: "That's the ticket, by gum."
Register Fellow: "Don't rob me!"
Cute Young Dad: "That's an odd thing to say. Here's another! Do you have any toys that a young boy would like? Let's see. Do children enjoy... Chewing tobacco? Or a hotdog that has been rolling and rolling, over and over, forever?"
Convenience Store From The '70s: "Perhaps a greeting card would best express your sentiments of emotion."
Cute Young Dad: "Do you have any card that says, like, Sorry I am a poor provider, but I'm new to things such as money and what convenience stores sell, or maybe I hope you enjoy this chewing tobacco and a condom for your birthday?"
Register Fellow: "Maybe there are toys in the back. I don't know what's back there."
Moments later, while CYD is back there looking at gardening clippers and garroting wire and thinking maybe this, maybe that, a man robs the register guy, who was psychic all along. He says things like, "Don't you fool with me!" and "I'll blast your ass!" But then he does fool with the robber, and the robber does blast his ass.
Things become very suspenseful, because CYD hits the bricks the second they raise their voices, and he's all alone in there, like an Amish boy in a public bathroom, with a killer. And then his cell phone goes off! It is ringing, ringing, ringing. And that's heartpounding, the hearts are pounding, and some feet are footpounding, getting closer to him and to his ultimate demise, but then no. It is just a hot cop. His feet sounded scary, but they were actually protective, and strong, and ready to work the beat.
He shushes CYD, and continues on into the even bowelier bowels of the convenience store. And the last thing CYD hears, before losing both continence and consciousness, is the hot cop going, "For Chrissake it's like a damn toy store back here."
Cute Yong Mom: "Holy shit! You were in a robbery of a convenience store? How scary!"
Cute Young Dad: "I am fairly shaken. Hey, a smarmy blonde dude is approaching me in the middle of this police station as though we have much to discuss, can I call you back?"
Cary: "Bitches be talking, right? I have a wife just like you, and man, she won't get off the fucking phone for anything."
Cute Young Dad, Mr. Dolan: "Who is it, that you are?"
Cary: "I am tricking you is what I am."