Following on from last week's heart-stopping Diane/Will scene, in which she interrupted a meeting with a PR flack to tell him about Alicia's betrayal, we get some Emmy work from Josh Charles as he slowly comprehends and digests this information, makes his careful way to her office, and then destroys it while screaming some of the nastiest, truest stuff anybody has ever said on the show. All while holding back tears, in a way that makes me think Will Gardner is about to lose his fucking mind in the coming weeks.
What happens next is an orgy of firing -- David Lee's evilness boner, as you can imagine, knocking all manner of paperweights and tea mugs around as he sweeps from room to room, finally fulfilling his life's ultimate purpose -- as one by one the exiting lawyers are escorted from the building to regroup in a coffeeshop downstairs. As more and more people are called to the carpet and dismissed -- including a horrific confrontation between Diane and Cary that seems irrevocable -- both sides start gearing up to protect their own interests.
Through the episode's second half -- yeah, all of that stuff above takes a half-hour so I hope you can hold your breath for a half-hour because you are going to need that ability -- every move by the partners at one firm is countered by their opposite number at the other. David Lee sabotages the new offices and implies financial shenanigans on Alicia's part, (after a disastrous mention by Cary himself) F/A is served with a restraining order keeping them from talking to ChumHum, and so on.
From our end, Alicia uses one of the Basketball Judges that hates Will to sign a restraining order going the other way; always intuiting who is pulling which strings and knowing what they'll do next, because that's how she's been forced to survive since the show started. It is beautiful. And so sad! Like when Will deploys Kalinda to get secret information, and after she has burned the shit out of Cary and Alicia for leaving, he also gets her total loyalty: Alicia's two exes -- and the ones hurt most by her betrayal -- on a mission of vengeance.
But F/A demonstrates tons of the youthful flexibility that is their brand, moving temporarily into Alicia's living room and stuff, and eventually -- with Peter's help, after a midday sex romp a few rooms away from the hubbub -- get ChumHum on their side, meaning the new firm is totally a go. That part was pretty creepy, considering it was a coded offhand remark during a presser that scares Neil into coming along with the firm, but in another way it is the most natural step: Life has been challenging Alicia to swim with the sharks for five seasons now, it's about time she cashed in some of those chips.
Little does she know that Peter's also not above strong-arming Will Gardner (much to Eli's dismay) into treating Alicia with the kid gloves he left at home today... Which is really the most telling part, because we see time and time again the way Peter got into his pre-series mess in the first place was demonstrating exactly this kind of arrogance and ease with power... And exactly how Alicia got in over her head in the first place too, thinking it wouldn't bite her in the ass. It's also why it's not surprising that the last moment of the episode involves Peter taking Diane's name off the shortlist for the Supreme Court, either. Insane when you think about how powerful this means Marilyn Garbanza's gams really are, right?
Anyway, OMG. It finally happened, and it did not disappoint. While we have yet to see what ultimately will happen with newlywed Diane, I think it's safe to assume that she'll be back at L/G for too long, and then they can start the assault on F/A with everything they've got. What a wonderful television show to be watching, man. I don't know if it'll last past the end of this season, but either way a fire has been lit under the show's ass that is just inspiring. I don't think I've ever loved it this much, which is saying a lot.
When Diane comes across the miles of carpet to Will's office, he's talking to a PR agent named Joely about the general vibe of L/G, and this is the already ironic but now phenomenally ironic read she has on the firm:
"You're stable. That's what I'll sell as your publicist. Stability. You don't know how many firms I work with where it's just constant screaming and backbiting. I mean, here, you're all just one big happy family!"
Will barely registers Diane's presence, with a nasty little "What." But of course it only takes a second of Diane's no-nonsense, this-is-real tone before Joely's out the door. But what happens next, he can't seem to hear; like a nightmare of running, like a busted bicycle chain, his brain keeps glitching. It won't catch:
Diane: "Alicia's leaving the firm with Cary, and she's taking our top clients."
Will: "...Nope, try again."
Diane: "Sonya Rucker's leaving the firm. With Cary and Alicia, to their new firm.
Will: "Cary is leaving for a new firm."
Diane: "Yes and also Alicia."
Diane: "Ben is Glory, bro. She stopped decorating her office three weeks ago."
He frowns, and threatens tears. When she -- another enemy -- starts in on the "I know it's hard" speech, he stands up: We are certainly not doing that. He heads out, stormclouds knitting on the brow, and she knows where he is going and what he is doing, of course. "Document everything," she yells, and he doesn't even look back to nod. Every step down the hallway is another memory: Smiling secretively in meetings, even when they had nothing going on. Smiling under the sheets, for that blink of an eye:
Will: "You're leaving?"
Alicia: "No honey, it's morning. I just got here."
Then she sees his face; her brain glitches, the gear won't catch. She can't say anything but "What?" He unbuttons his jacket; he is breathing too hard. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Will doesn't turn it off to be a good litigator, he's a good litigator because he can turn it off:
Will: "You are Cary are leaving. It's a yes or no. You're taking clients with you. You decided this three weeks ago."
Alicia: "Yes to all. I'm sorry."
Will: "That helps."
Alicia: "It's time I try something... New."
What she means is that he was always standing silently in the corner of her life, her marriage; she needs a life that doesn't smell like him. But what he hears is that he was never really there at all. He'll never know how close he came, or how dangerous he was. How dangerous he is: