Will: "You contacted my client for comment on the FDA investigation. I thought I might help."
Gretchen: "You wouldn't happen to be fishing for what I might know, would you?"
Will: "I might be. I just find it odd that you'd be the only reporter leaked an FDA decision."
While she gets a gander at him online, Will agrees to meet with her on Monday -- after her deadline, of course -- so she offers him an appointment an hour from now, and just to keep the upper hand, he says two hours. They like each other; they haven't met yet.
Will and Alicia take back their lowered ask, in the hopes that Gretchen -- and Kalinda, who's on the loose somewhere out there -- will help bandage whatever secret things are happening. Ira takes that to Celeste and she laughs in his face, once again pinpointing Will's strategy: "Mr. Gardner has a tell. When he's in trouble he doubles down. So we're lowering our offer."
Ira: "You don't you think the issues here are too serious to treat like gambling?"
Celeste, and this is key: "No. Gambling is too serious to treat like these issues."
Separate what is unnecessary, strain out the feelings and sympathies and imperfections, and what you are left with is perfect information. A game that plays itself. It's not that Maggie's pain is a distraction, even, it's that none of the details of the case matter anyway. That's not what we're here for. This is the secret that Celeste holds, if Alicia can see it; it's what makes defense law both so easy and so hard for her.
In the hallway, Kalinda gives one headachey Ira a concerned smile just before Diane calls her. Apparently, she's in the hotel to figure out Celeste's bottom line -- but now Eli wants her to investigate Heather Farms, while the slow-moving FDA ramps up their own.
Kalinda: "Well, which takes priority? Cheese or mediation?"
Some objects are immovable. Diane's answer is the other pivot on which the episode turns, because the answer is, of course, Both.
Kalinda can handle that, of course; she's just as pragmatic. But the call takes place right outside Celeste's hotel room, where it sounds close to a discussion of the bottom line, which is why Kalinda's there. In the absence of guidance, Kalinda must prioritize for herself. For one reason or another, with a nearly regretful knuckle-on-wood, Kalinda heads off to the factory, leaving Celeste's bottom line in the air.