It's Friday, which means Alicia is already thinking about having sex with Peter for a million hours, Diane's interested in some luxurious spa time, and Eli plans a trip to his secret leprechaun hidey-hole at the end of a rainbow. But that's not the kind of Friday it's gonna be.
There's this Olympic runner who's accused of doping, which will invalidate her $5M contract with a shoe company unless she gets out of it in time to run on Monday. The main problem is that her lawyer -- the always ravishing and mind-blowingly weird Elsbeth Tascioni -- is in jail for harassing the CEO of the shoe company at a speaking engagement in Skokie. Since Night Court was cancelled when we were babies, her only option of helping her client is to get a weekend bond hearing.
Alicia -- then Will, and eventually Diane and Kalinda -- jump into action without a second thought, because Elsbeth is wonderful. So while Alicia works on getting Elsbeth back to Chicago -- first through a failed (duh) psych eval and then, at Peter's suggestion, by questioning the arrest itself -- Will takes the girl's case. Problems there include the fact that she's up before a snotty international triumvirate of Olympics judges, and their proceedings are conducted in French and have no relationship to Robert's Rules of Order and basically is like being at the mercy of three shitty mean middle-school babysitters.
Yes, it's a Will-out-of-water story, which generally brings us great stuff like Amanda Peet, or that awesome JAG Judge Lady. In this case, it nets us Diane doing sexy French talk, and both Diane and Kalinda putting their wares on display for gross Eurotrash guys. We learn that the girl's doping markers actually demonstrate a pregnancy, since terminated, which the girl demands to keep secret (due to morals). Meanwhile, Alicia takes on Geneva Pine and a good old boy judge to get Elsbeth free. So at the last second, Elsbeth rides in on a unicorn and blows the whole case wide open by provoking infighting among the judges, not unlike Bilbo Baggins with the trolls who eat ponies.
I just got the title. I've known the title of this episode for weeks and I just now got it. Nice.
Speaking of Geneva Pine, guess who just got totally vindicated? Her early-season job of looking like an Angry Black Woman Who Sees Racism Where It Is Not comes across aces once she gets Peter to admit, himself, that he is actually kind of a racist. It's a lovely moment -- and I'm sorry to say a huge surprise/reversal -- as she tackles the hairy task of getting a person to understand their own privilege while standing inside it. Never seen that work, not once in all the universe, but she pulls it off somehow. Never thought I'd love Geneva Pine either, but she got me good this week. Maybe permanently.
But sadly, epiphany or no, Peter's whole race problem is just starting. Why he brings it up with Geneva particularly is a discovery Zach's made on Maddie Hayward's website, which accidentally releases docs for an attack on his race-related HR decisions (Geneva's pet thing). Jordan (!) advises him to leave it alone, Eli tells him to do Eli-type gladhanding stuff, and eventually Peter ends up pissing off a minority coalition rally so bad that the only thing that will comfort him is some standing-up campaign-bus boning.
Which Alicia ends up treating like a booty-call, which are not words I could ever have imagined writing until this season, even as a joke.
In the episode's final hideous turn, this Mitt Romney/Sister Souljah moment actually ends in firming up parts of his base, showing he "speaks truth to special interests" and defending him against... I dunno, it's a lot of Eli talk that basically doubles down on the idea that with Maddie in the race, Peter has to be the most Republican Democrat ever, which means being hateful, which of course makes Jordan, sweet Jordan, lovely Jordan*, so super grossed out.
*(No closer to drawing a bead on what that dude is actually all about, but the only thing more delicious than a Sexy Hobbit is a True Believer, meaning at this point the show has basically 85 percent completed the transition to being identical to the graphically sexual cross-genre fan-fictions about the show that I publish anonymously on the internet under the pen name RainbowDashiellHammett. A point I will now prove to you.)
Because Eli, frankly, is also grossed out, but won't show it. What he will do, though, is finally pick a lawyer for his DOJ investigation, and his solution is so stunning and random and delightful and potentially game-changing that they actually end the episode on it: Elsbeth Tascioni!
That's right, the Capering Goblin and The Girl That Could Talk To Dragons are taking on the Weaponized Witch Of The Illinois Wilds and her army of Reanimated Hive-Mind Justice Agents. Would that we could spend entire fucking episodes just focusing on that Unexpected Journey, dude. I get a shiver just thinkin' about it. Now all we need is Owen to get back together with Tantra Guy, Kalinda to move in with Alicia and the kids for some thin reason, and possibly hook Diane back up with one of her hot boyfriends, and we can just throw the entire wishlist away because it will have become irrelevant. Oh, and Cary needs something to do, painfully bad. Painfully.
In two weeks: Alicia gets a financially risky but potentially career-changing offer, Will and Diane take on Hayden and the Dream Team for the future of the firm, and Jordan and Eli have another tiny fight.
Like all plans involving US Attorney and Actual Cannibal Wendy Scott-Carr, a host of institutions have arrived at the doors of Lockhart/Gardner, claiming to be investigating Parker Posey's campaign contributions but actually going after... Who can say? Eli, Diane, and Peter all seem like possible targets, but only Eli is invested in making it all about him. As per.
Alicia makes breakfast for her family while engaging in sexual fantasies of such graphic vagueness that it puts a sassy curl in her hair. Who is that underneath her, in the dream?
Alicia: "Oh sorry, I blanked out for a second. Are you working on homework?"
Zach: "No, it's morning. I already did my homework. How long have you been standing at that stove, eyes crossed with furtive desire?"
Alicia: "Sometimes it seems like years, kid. Are you working on Dad's campaign?"
Zach: "Right now? Yes. And something weird has happened, I have to call Eli."
Grace: "What is going on with Zach these days? Did he do his homework?"
Alicia, verbatim: "I don't know. I've given up on parenting."
Grace: "You look really good. Your hair has this flagrant sort of après-sex thing going on."
Alicia: "And yet all I am doing is making breakfast. Promise."
GOLD & ASSOC
Eli: "Dear conference call, I got Jordan Karahalios cutin' up the joint. He was Chief of Staff to Barbara Boxer, and has worked on three California senatorial campaigns, and he is the best."
Jordan, verbatim: "Hello, print journalists! How does it feel to perpetuate a dying medium?"
Print Journalists: "Letting that one slide for now, because it's more interesting to talk about how maybe the DNC stuck you two together because Eli's lost a little halo?"
Jordan: "There is no loss of confidence in Eli. He is still Eli."
Print Journalists: "But Maddie's gaining on you."
Jordan: "Yeah, just because it's interesting. She's interesting, Maddie Hayward. Watching a woman become a self-made millionaire and run for public office is still, for the kind of dicks that run everything, kind of like watching a dog walk on its hind legs, pushing a baby carriage or carrying a little parasol. No offense."
Admin: "Seriously Eli, take this call. I know watching Jordan do anything is wonderful, but you know Zach only calls in the first act when something fucked up is going down."