When last we left old Lockhart/Gardner, it was with the understanding that Alicia and Cary, along with three other fourth-years, would be promoted to equity partnership... As long as they brought in their capital contributions on time to save the firm. But now that Nathan Lane is banished (at least until he passes the bar) and a timely save from ChumHum (or at least Mrs. ChumHum?), the firm's no longer in jeopardy. And some of the old-timier partners are not so excited about sharing the floor with our youngsters.
Without mentioning this little life-changing hiccup to Alicia and Cary, Diane and Will ask them to play mock-opposition in the titular mock-trial: A 4-Loko death that brings in pro-ana websites and a whole mess of "energy drink" foofaraw ripped from the headlines in this show's typically adorable fashion. Cary and Alicia are already setting up a win -- which is a loss, since this means scaring off the client -- when they learn about their lost promotions, and immediately mobilize the other fourth-years to start enticing major clients in order to shake up the higher echelons.
This sets the senior partners into action -- most beautiful for longtime viewers, the entire firm just naturally assumes Alicia could wrangle Colin Sweeney and Lemond Bishop with a little lunch and small talk, which, let's be honest, is probably true -- and they come up with the only worse possible plan than rescinding the offer for the five associates: Rescinding it for all of them except, you guessed it, Alicia Florrick. Although David Lee gets the customary honesty points for at least being clear (for once) that this preference is only thanks to Peter.
Alicia starts off strong, with an of-the-moment nod to the idea of starting a whole new firm with the Bishop and ChumHum business -- Florrick and Agos! -- but by the time the new Alicia-only offer comes down, she's hardened into an unthinking ratfuck stew version of herself, and takes it without a second thought. (Well, for Alicia. In normal person terms she gives it about a thousand hours of serious deliberation, but in Alicia terms she just kind of says fuck it.)
And speaking of those fucks Alicia's been withholding? This is the endpoint of that, I think. Because "fuck everybody" is not a philosophy for anybody, especially her. She's ambivalent about it -- although of course she notifies Cary immediately of this development, she's still her -- but the end of the episode finds her willingly accepting another round of applause from her new peers... And Cary, possibly allied with Kalinda, looking on with far less than professional respect. I mean, he can't call her out for making the Cary Move, but becoming a Cary means also that you become subject to Cary Retaliation. Etc.
Did I mention that she kissed Will Gardner? Oh right, right. Sorry. The onfield tension being what it is, since the senior partners have no way of knowing how much the fourth-year cohort knows about their shadiness, is what pushes Alicia and Cary into such a good mock-offense triumph that it convinces the client to settle out of court, effectively losing the firm a great deal of money. Will knows it's personal, and figures out why -- but only after a heated, intimate argument about Alicia's present and future role in these things turns into a quick (and ultimately, hilariously regretful) makeout.
They discuss later how bad of an idea that is, but the fact it happened at all is fairly fascinating. To me, I think it's actually been long enough -- and more to the point, she's changed so drastically enough -- that neither of them can really say what that would look like. She's not the same Alicia (and so much props to the show for convincingly but always-presently keeping that going this year) but then, not being the same Alicia means not meeting the same Will either. As Diane smugly says early on, "We're peers now!"
In other news, Hamish Linklater is back, Wendy Scott-Carr is out (though is she ever, really?) and we meet Hamish's boss, Kyle MacLachlan. Still doing that whole same Kyle MacLachlan Thing that people either love or don't care about, depending. What is cute and fresh is his ability to meet Elsbeth Tascioni halfway both in craziness and, it seems, in the ways of romance. Even as he's pulling some of the most balls-out crazy shit this show has ever done -- and she's Elsbething him back twice as hard -- there's something kooky and real about their sweet, alien unicorn attraction.
The upshot is, to protect his relationship with Peter (and stay atop Jordan, since the whole episode is about senior/junior tension) Eli seems to agree to a wire to screw Jordan over, but he and Elsbeth end up using the sting to ruin the DOJ's entire case on a technicality. Whether this'll stick, I don't know. I just know Jordan is safe, Eli is safe, Elsbeth might have a new boyfriend, and that's all I need to know really.
March 3: Lily Rabe! Amanda Peet! Maura Tierney! All these awesome ladies, in an episode where Elsbeth sues Kyle MacLachlan in civil court to get info under oath about the Eli investigation, Peter and Jordan are presumably adorable together, and Alicia maybe just sets fire to the entire goddamn building once and for all.
Five fourth-years, including Cary and Alicia, have been offered full equity partnership in the firm, to drum up several million dollars of quick-fix money for what turned out to be an unnecessary battle for the firm. Kalinda was promised a promotion of her own, seemingly eons ago, and also lost out to these financial issues. Alicia, for whom the added expense meant a financial favor from her less-than-estranged husband Peter, was pretty grossed out by the whole thing -- but, as Cary agreed, at least something cool came out of it. On the political side, the DOJ is coming after Eli Gold for corrupt practices, in a way that made it look like Wendy Scott-Carr was still raging against Peter Florrick, but now just seems inscrutable and a little crazy.
David Lee: "[Numbers numbers], so now instead of being broke we are very rich."
Diane: "Did you say very rich?"
David Lee: "Very. Mostly thanks to the unappreciated work of Trustee Nathan Lane, who forced austerity upon us, during what has turned out our most profitable quarter ever."
Partners: Applaud excitedly.
Old: "But what about those five fake new partners, like Cary and Alicia? Surely we don't need them, now that our scare tactics and basic fraud are no longer necessary."
Diane: "Um, but we did offer them partnerships, so..."
Old: "Just tell them you were kidding. Have we made nameplates for them? New parking spaces? No. It is still only an idea."
Diane: "Are you guys seriously talking about this?"
Partners: [Excitedly vote to screw and alienate their most promising younger employees. Then, more applause.]
THIEF DRINK CASE
Will: "Our client, an energy drink maker played by President Adar, is not at fault here. Your client misused the product."
Plaintiff: "Just so we're clear, you're saying that a dead sixteen-year-old girl is to blame for her own death. You're taking that to a jury."
Client: "Maybe we could just settle this one case, though. So as not to be assholes -- and also, because a jury is going to freak out on us."
Will & Diane: "No, being assholes is better. Do you really want to pay out $14M to all eight victims of your deadly product?"
Client: "What about a mock trial with a pretend jury? I'm willing to pay for it."