Coroner King Triton forces Alicia and Will to learn the rules for yet one more weird kind of trial, in this case an inquest for cause of death, after one of Will's corrupt judges gets run off the road. (The best rule, coming as it does out of the Hogwarts Rules of Order, has to do with only being able to ask any witness three questions.) The details accrete, as they tend to do -- he was in financial ruins, he was cheating with his bestie's wife, he was of course being investigated for playing basketball -- but eventually Kalinda (and Robyn Burdine, of course) gets us the info: It was neither suicide nor homicide, but a hit and run. Pretty fun, twisty but unimportant, the best kind of case on this show.
The meat of it is, of course, Alicia and Will working together for the first time since the kiss, and really for one of the first times since she dumped him. They agree to stop being weird with each other like last week and just go be friends like Season 1, but end up in a soupy mess that is neither and both, but allows them better teamwork than they've had in ages. It's starting to wear on her, I think. Never shoulda given him the go-ahead with that "I'm the injured party" stuff, girl. That's gonna getcha.
The story begins and ends with two radically different takes on the Zach/Nisa relationship, punctuated by some campaign discoveries about her family (Hamas-supporting Muslims, turns out) that may be disastrous. Once Peter's won his nomination, Eli cleverly sends Jordan to Zach to solve both problems at once: Alicia gets pissed enough that Jordan gets fired, putting Eli back in control, and as it turns out, Zach was going to dump her anyway, and just needed some motivation.
It's not as cold as it sounds, now that I'm looking at it -- Nisa takes the whole thing pretty well -- but either way it's nice to see Alicia in Mama Bear mode once in a while. I'm just gonna miss Jordan, especially after his parting Captain American truth-and-justice speech, which made Eli want to barf, but of course gave me chills. The only real sad part, in the end, is that Eli's back to manipulating and lying to Alicia, which hasn't felt true for a long, happy time. And it couldn't be at a less convenient moment, now that the race has begun and will be steadily pressing in on all of them for the rest of the season.
Speaking of people showing their moral seams a little too well, Diane half-asses her way through letting Cary's dad walk all over him before finally seeing the light. Jeffrey's back in Chicago and lobbying for a pharmaceutical company who wants to draw up some bullshit legislation so their competition can't flood the medical-marijuana dispensary market. Cary keeps pointing out how graceless his dad's methods are, but of course Agos thinks he's just being resentful, so he manages to leverage a walkout so Diane will put a partner on it. (This, of course, he justifies to himself as a necessary incentive for his son's career rather than what it is, which is gross old-man/young-buck resentment at its finest.)
In the end, Cary does a loop around the whole thing, charming the pants off the company's CEO and bringing them to firm without Jeffrey Agos even involved. It's fairly beautiful -- and more importantly, gets him back some currency in the firm and his tattered relationship with Diane.
Oh, and Robyn Burdine's wide-eyed journey of discovery into the awesomeness of Kalinda continues to do more -- for both the character and, frankly, the show -- than you might have dreamed possible. I really hope it's not a feint, or a dropped thread, or a recurring thing: Rediscovering Kalinda through the eyes of someone likeable and interesting is the best apology we could ever expect for Nick. Who I frankly didn't even mind as much as most. I'm just happy to have more Kalinda.
Next Week: We're firmly established in the season's Act III, now that Peter is the Democratic Gubernatorial candidate and we can start fighting with Mike Kresteva again. Jordan's gone, Alicia's waking up to the possibilities of Will, the firm is in the black and the Cary/Kalinda bloc is still finding its footing. All in all, an exciting time for the show, especially now that we're past awards season and might actually get a few in a row.
Cary's estranged father came begging, and even after he tried his hardest to help the old fucker still acted positively horribly. Will and Alicia kissed, which is complicated since she's now bootycalling her husband all the time. Cary is thinking of starting a revolution, now that Alicia's finally won the four-year-old bakeoff, and the partners don't really seem to understand how screwed he feels. Will claims not to have been the Grand Vizier of some kind of Elks Lodge of basketball-playing, corrupt judges, and Kalinda has an odds-defyingly fantastic sidekick.
Smash! Crash! A car accident, documented beautifully to the tune of Andrew Bird's freaky/lovely "Fake Palindromes," carrying over past the morgue placement of the casualty, a Roger Ludwig, and the current primary numbers -- Florrick 51 percent, Hayward 46 -- to Zach Florrick, doing his best to get to third with Nisa.
Nisa: "First base is fine for now, but thanks. Let's talk about how I'm off to college soon."
Zach: "Have you met me? College is a sure thing."
Nisa: "Yeah, but not for another year."
Zach: "So we roll with the changes. Either way we're still the same people."
Tonight, his father finds out if he's going to be the Democratic guber and his mother just made (deliriously compromised) partner at a job she seems to love more and more the less and less she takes it personally. It's a fake palindrome, as we'll see, but for now the lay of the land is this: Nisa wants to talk about the future, about what Zach's going to do without her. And Zach doesn't want to talk about that.
Grace: "Mom's home!"
Alicia: "Yep. Put your clothes on, everybody!"
Zach: "You think that is funny but in fact, hang on for a sec."
Nisa: "In better news, your husband's doing well and Kresteva already won the Republican position, so the race is basically settled. Can Zach come for dinner?"
Alicia: "Have your parents call me. Grace, next time do your homework in the same room as your brother. Perhaps holding hands, or sitting between them. If I can't count on you to fuck everything up for everybody, I don't see the point of you."
Roger's wife Janie (Jessalyn Gilsig!) calls Alicia down to his inquest: Why's she in the morgue when she should be freaking out? Because he always loved her "toughness," and somehow standing around in the horrible morgue is a way of showing it. Admittedly, even Janie knows that she is acting crazy, which is all the confirmation Alicia needs. Seems right now is the appropriate time for the life insurance company to start pushing Justice Ludwig's "negligence" in his accident: He was talking on his cell phone, which while not banned yet in Illinois is still something worth fighting about. Their lawyer is, of course, a smarmy dick named Hobson.