A rape case that failed in the criminal court comes back up when the victim sues a perpetrator in civil court, with the understanding that any proceeds will go to rape prevention causes. The woman involved tweets her claim during this civil trial -- Will Gardner vs. Cary's horrible father -- violating a gag order and getting herself thrown in jail for the duration for contempt. Will becomes obsessed with getting the girl out from behind bars, showing such conviction -- and such admiration for the girl's steadfast dedication to doing the right thing -- that it stirs up a complicated mess of feelings in our regretful Alicia. She spends the episode wandering around and being horny and trying to figure out if breaking up with him was the right call...
While also getting stuck in a four-way fight for the future of the firm. In a meeting with Dylan "Bitcoins" Stack, Alicia notices the fourth-year associate cabal (of which she was, until making partner, a ringleader) having secret meetings, and puts Robyn Burdine on Cary's trail. Eventually, he admits they're planning to leave at the end of the season, but once again invites her to join him as, quote, "The new Will and Diane." Kalinda has to put her foot down once Robyn's investigation causes Cary to bitch out on her, and starts doing some investigating of her own: Turns out Robyn's claim to have shot her brother is part of the official record (twist!) but also not actually true (double-twist!) and, presumably to keep her close while she unknots the unknowable mystery that is Robyn Burdine, advises the firm to keep her on.
Meanwhile, the equity partners have discovered that, on Peter's future endorsement, the Illinois Supreme Court is vetting her for the bench. What they don't know is that the "partner" the Chief Justice is so concerned about is not actually Kurt McVeigh (who has accepted her proposal of marriage!), but Will Gardner himself. Chief Justice Whatever is no stranger to the Lifeguard system, and tells her in no uncertain terms that he'll be the reason she loses the appointment. However, she can't talk to Will about any of this, partly because it's too weird but mostly because she's already in hot water with him for denying Mr. Bitcoins his class-action business because it doesn't suit her optics as a nominee.
Alicia is perturbed when Zach and Grace start receiving anonymous (and it turns out, Anonymous) footage that affects the case: Do-gooder anarchists have no problem hacking cell video, pictures, and eventually doxxing both major defendants in the original case. Even after Mr. Bitcoins admits that he is involved with Anonymous, Alicia has trouble grasping the central premise, and then so does the show: A bunch of Fawkes masks nearly force a mistrial with their antics, but then -- since this is the whole point of Anonymous -- doesn't question the final piece of evidence that breaks the accuser loose from jail: an illegally obtained confession that Kalinda uploads to the internet on her own time. I don't think she's been Anonymous the whole time -- wouldn't shock me, I just don't believe it -- but, seeing it's the only way to Kalinder the situation, she goes for it and it's beautiful.
In the end, the wild revolutionary style of Bitcoins and Anonymous rub Alicia the wrong way, and complicates the situation with Cary and Will to some pretty intense levels. While she believes in and loves the rule of law, both Cary and Bitcoins openly engage her in conversations about the power of idealism and the mitigating facts of justice: Cary hates the top-heavy management at L/G almost as much as being denied the reins, Bitcoins is disgusted by the "realism vs. idealism" decisions she's been making all season and Will himself is pretty much uninterested in the person she's quickly becoming. So now the question of the season becomes, as it has before, a question of balance.
Alicia's tried to be the Good Wife, the Strong Woman, the Exasperated Anarchist, the Labor Revolutionary, and has been shut down every time: The episode ends with Alicia, wearing all black, standing behind the bulletproof glass as Will embraces the free and just accuser, staring out past the bars. What do you turn into when you can't figure out what else you need to be? This season's last-act renaissance has built the answer into the cake, but we've only got three episodes left for Alicia to figure it out. If you'd asked me even last week about the chances on "Florrick, Agos & Assoc." becoming a thing for Season Five, I would have put them very low indeed. But now? She's walking a knife's edge, and it's as touching to watch as it is thrilling to contemplate.
Next Week: Peter's request for a vows renewal -- which has Veronica and Owen (!) in the exact tizzy you'd surmise -- would mean a lot more if it didn't come two weeks before his (suddenly) projected loss in the polls. Of all the things Alicia's learned to be this season, I don't think she was expecting the next major one to be her husband's October Surprise...
Rainey Selwin, in a fit of pique, types out the truth -- "I don't care if they put me in jail. Todd Bratcher RAPED ME" -- and tweets it far and wide.
JUDGE PARKS PRESIDING
The Senior Party was at Todd's house, and Rainey went with a couple of friends; in the criminal trial Todd pled down and now he's off at Princeton, so she's suing in civil court, proceeds to benefit rape victim advocacy. They're getting all of this on the table for the jury when Judge Parks gets a note about the tweet, and hurriedly sends the jury out.
Parks: "The only thing I have told you guys is that I didn't want this case to be tried in the press, so you have to understand that my gag order is very important to me."
Will: "Let me talk to Rainey before you start yelling..."
Parks: "This was you, right, this 'tweet'? Which goes against the gag order?"
Will: "Rainey, literally anything, if your sister posted it, even just pleading the Fifth..."
Parks: "Stop telling her what to say."
Will: "My client insists on her Fifth Amend..."
Rainey: "He raped me, so I tweeted that. Deal with it."
Parks: "Enjoy jail for the rest of this episode."
Will: "These young people today, they don't think of tweeting as publicizing..."
Parks: "Uh, no. Sorry."
So she's either dumb for violating a gag order or dumb because "tweeting isn't publicizing," but either way Rainey Selwin's being kind of dumb. If you didn't want to do this trial right, why did you press charges? Is it just that the whole thing is about shaming Todd -- which is a great reason, don't get me wrong -- so whatever happens, it's a good thing if it's public? His plea bargain was the just outcome, shitty as that is, so wherever this civil trial goes, it's about rightfully dragging him through the mud because that justice wasn't actually justice.
I guess that makes sense, given the storyline itself and the way it unfolds, but it's not a great look for Rainey Selwin considering that's the first thing she does when we meet her is work against her own interests and then tossed in jail for the entire episode, recapitulating the basic shitty fact that sexual assaults pretty much immediately stop being about the person, if they ever were in the first place, as everybody takes ownership of what happened and talking loudly about her interests and making it all about them, even if she's sitting right there in the room. Rape is the Godwin's Law of gender, it's the most extreme thing you can think of, and we've got a lot of ways of talking around and about it without ever looking directly at it, but as a topic it does give everybody permission to act out.