"The first rule of managing a crisis: The top man answers the questions. That is the only reason you're here, that is the only reason I am talking to you. So, in ten minutes' time, you're giving a press conference where you'll order all your cheese products off the shelves. We need a split screen of that image with you looking strong -- wrong tie, get him a red tie -- then you'll apologize for any missteps and say the buck stops here."
Diane, as temporary counsel for the Guild and I presume Karpwell, now, finally steps up, because that is a world of legal issues. Of course, Eli doesn't care about that, because he's going to get sued either way, but as the lawyer in the room Diane wants to limit his vulnerability. They fight, it's ugly, it's in front of the clients, and this is the worst part:
"Diane, you're only here as window dressing. You're only here to keep us from getting subpoenaed."
Supernaturally calm in the face of that, Diane tries to explain that behind the images that are Eli's capital and reason for existence, there's a foundational truth -- a fundamental precept based in reality -- that he's ignoring. That Eli's arguing with gravity because he's more concerned with spin than the fates of this man and his company. But Eli is making the same argument: That without spin and containment, without the crisis to be managed, they won't have a company to represent and there won't even be a client to fight over.
So cross-apply to Alicia's story. It's interesting. You have a concern with image, saving the maybe blackened remains, and you have an equal concern to preserve the bottom line over the spin and performance. There's a fight to be had in the media, and there's a fight to be had in the future. Both have financial and personal outcomes, scary ones, but they're not compatible. Like Celeste, Eli is interested in selling authenticity rather than having it; offering perfect information to game a bigger board. And like Alicia, for the moment, Diane's more concerned with the real and the concrete; with saving what's worth saving.
Eli: "The images take precedent right now."
But Diane was right the first time: Which takes priority? Both. You can't have one or the other; you can't have one without the other. You can't be Alicia Florrick without both. But every time you change or copy the image, it degrades. That's generation loss: Pretty soon you're looking at a picture of a picture of a picture that doesn't even matter anymore. Taking those products off the shelves is the right thing to do, obviously, but Eli could care less about that. So the question, across the board so to speak, becomes: If you do an authentic thing for inauthentic reasons, what changes?