The next day, everyone has slept soundly for the first time in five years. Will's hooking with the absolute worst person in the entire universe, a crazy-eyes free spirit tattoo artist, and feeling "awake" and alive, ready to do battle with nobody by his side. Diane wakes up excited about her last-ever court case (number 424) as a lawyer, and even more excited that it's a gun-control wedge case (which will make her feel better about marrying Kurt McVeigh).
Alicia, on the other hand, oversleeps -- she's been through a lot! -- and wakes up to about a million fourth-years, workmen... And Marilyn Garbanza, who wants to give the new firm a twenty-minute PowerPoint presentation about ethics, as usual. Alicia pointedly blows her off, and then manipulates a client into coming to the new firm. That new client? Diane's gun-control case, the widow of a man who was killed by a defective gun while defending against a robbery.
Nancy Crozier, underutilized but always nice to see, represents the gun manufacturer in the suit, and uses the creepy Lawful Protection of Commerce in Arms Act, along with a hair-split in legal language surrounding the crime, to cover their asses. It's eventually determined (by Judge Richard Kind) that the crime itself needs to be resolved just in case the gun becomes inadmissible, so Cary helps defend the criminal against ASA Geneva Pine to prove no crime was actually committed on paper.
Lockhart/Gardner fools around with their files, sending first boxes full of plastic and stuffed rats and eventually the files themselves, fully redacted; thinking outside the box, Alicia decides to press the issue by bringing their disagreement to Lionel Deerfield's ACBD, the Attorney Disciplinary Board that suspended Will last year. Diane and Will show up very aggressive, which in Will's case is kind of a turn-on but for Alicia represents a major throwing-down of the gauntlet, and Alicia eventually brings both Lionel and Kurt McVeigh to side with her, regarding this case she stole from Diane.
With her home under the constant invasion of leering fourth-years and a newly boy-crazy Grace's sexual curiosity, and craving the legitimacy of a working office -- not to mention invigorated by an episode's worth of sexy/angry sparring with Will across the conference table -- Alicia is sick of waiting, and ready to move into a shared space with a tax law firm, which Cary worries will put them in a top-heavy corporate environment not unlike the one they've just left. (Me, I'll just miss seeing Robyn Burdine in the back of every scene, perching on sofas and countertops, chirping her oracular clues, eating her pizza backwards like a crazy person.)
When Alicia realizes that the apparently pregnant Garbanza's playing a Wendy Scott-Carr game of some kind, playing both her and Cary (who spills yet more beans this week) with a Patti Nyholm-style pregnancy play, she knows something's gotta give. Marilyn swears she's just doing her job, trying to protect Peter's office and family with all this sneaking around and acting sneaky, but Alicia's not having it, and calls for a vote from the F/A partners to join forces with this tax firm before she drowns. (Later, I think, she'll see how strong Marilyn's advice -- particularly about shutting Cary Agos the hell up once in a while -- actually is.)
While Diane, at the bottom of things, finally prevails -- the gun client returns to her side after L/G's shell game with the files works -- it's at great cost: Kalinda confirms Deerfield's hint that she's being passed over for the Judgeship, and there's a horrible bathroom crying jag. But she uses F/A's strategy for her case, presumably wins, and shows up in Will's office after a devastating kiss-off from Peter himself: She'll be coming back to the house she built, and rejoining forces with Will Gardner for the single purpose of destroying everyone in their path.
We end 48 hours or so after the Red Wedding, with Diane back at Lockhart/Gardner and Alicia cracking up when she realizes Will's just bought out the entire tax law firm they were voting to join. While it's nice to see Will and Alicia excited about everything, one wonders if they won't end up burning down the entire city of Chicago in the process. Likewise, it's strange to see Diane taking this stuff so personally, but that'll probably pass.
Mostly I just can't believe they've kept up the momentum of the season so impressively: This was like a hybrid between last week's episode and a "regular" episode, with the back-and-forth plotty switcheroos amped up insanely by all the personal history and agendas behind the scenes. Alicia's continued compromises -- and Cary's level-headed approach -- make for a chemistry every bit as compelling as Diane and Will's, and every bit as morally vertiginous as either of them at their riskiest.
In the end, though, what sticks is how once again we see how hard Alicia works to maintain the narrative of her moral sanctity, and delusion that Peter's actions aren't related to her own. It's always been my feeling that Peter's adultery was a symptom, not a cause, of his arrogance: Now that she's openly lying about the obvious benefits, like denying that his "internet taxation" ad-lib had anything to do with Neil Gross's change of heart, is this a self-indulgence she can sustain for much longer? And how much does her suspicion of Ethics Officer Garbanza have to do with the demise of St. Alicia as we knew her?
Next Week: Will and Alicia continue to have sex without touching, Zach discovers webcam nonsense going on in the house, and Clarke Hayden arrives to make Cary smile that secret special way that he only reserves for when Clarke Hayden is around, and I guess also offer financial advice.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end, or so the poets say. Cary and Alicia are so hype on being "the new Diane and Will" that they are becoming the new Diane and Will, and it ain't pretty. Peter, in an attempt to quash his Marilyn boner, has become 100 percent werewolf monster on Alicia's behalf, and she is loving it.
THE NEXT DAY
Diane wakes up looking flawless, because she is totally flawless, and wearing a nightgown like an Elvish princess. She is running hot this morning because -- she thinks -- it's her last-ever case as a regular lawyer.
Diane: "I'm so nervous I got notecards! I am writing things on notecards!"
Kurt: "How many cases have you argued?"
Kurt: "So this'll be 424. Think of it that way."
Diane: "I prefer to think of it as pay-as-you-go karma, for marrying a gun nut."
Kurt: "Just don't embarrass yourself."
Diane: "I love these little talks."
Will wakes up under a horrible person, because he is a horrible person when he's in a spiral, and they talk about tattoos while she grinds on his dick in her tattoo studio. I know her name but I feel like pretending I don't, because some people simply don't rate.
Tattoo: "I am like that awful Lisa Edelstein woman you dated, only vastly creepier. I say things like how you should get a tattoo because it quote 'hurts soooo good.'"
Will: "That checks out, sure. You can always judge a book by its cover, and your book reads Fifty Shades Of Cray. An erotic journey into my own self-hatred."
Tattoo: "I like doing naked yoga in my tattoo studio, because I am the worst."
Will: "You absolutely are."
Alicia wakes up looking confused, because she is a confused person who doesn't understand why a lovely dream should be interrupted by the pokings of Grace Florrick, professional poker and irritator.
Alicia: "What is even going on? Did I sleep for a hundred hours?"
Grace: "There's a law firm out in the living room. Poke poke wakey-wakey poke poke."
Alicia: "Quit poking me. You're like the mom today. Or so I would imagine, given that my real mom is a feral wolverine covered in jewels and my mother-in-law is a drunk swamp witch."
Grace, verbatim: "Brush your teeth, and do not lose any more clients."
Alicia: "That is like the most charming thing you've ever said."