Louis Canning wastes no time, now that he's Lockhart/Gardner's sole creditor, in getting the partners into court to discuss their five-month extension. His focus: The ways in which Diane and Will have been trying to buff up their revenues since the bankruptcy, in order to sway the court. His first try, a swipe at King Litigator Will's recent discovery of the concept of settling out of court, is a no-go. But then it gets weird.
Alicia is called into the name partner's office for a little meeting, and after some trepidation, learns the excellent news: She's being bumped up to partner! Quite an honor, for a fourth-year. She can't wait to tell Peter, whose operatives are themselves concerned with getting her to disavow her atheism in order to make Maddie Hayward look bad, and she goes on a very rare shopping spree.
Then, David Lee reminds her of his favorite topic: The capital contribution. $600,000 dollars, half up-front, to buy in. She eventually accepts a loan from Peter, which should have its own yucky side effects, and then learns something even worse: Cary's been offered a similar deal. As have three other fourth-years. For a net of $3M, which -- once he gets Trustee Hayden on his side -- only goes further to proving Canning's point: The firm is Ponzi-scheming their way out of bankruptcy, in a really gross way.
Jordan and Eli both come after Alicia about her religious beliefs, but after the rollercoaster of the firm's troubles and her own promotion ickiness, Alicia decides the best course of action is to get drunk, attack Maddie Hayward at a party, and then tell any journalists nearby what a huge honkin' atheist she is. It's incandescent, but you can see why she moderates her drinking so automatically most of the time.
Meanwhile, the firm is dealing with the latest ChumHum debacle: Neil Gross is getting married, and his bride-to-be (a lawyer in his company's legal firm) is unsure about the prenup. The back-and-forth here provides counterpoint to Alicia's various concerns, as she weighs getting in bed with a sinking firm and/or being used for a quick influx of cash, but eventually everything gets resolved in a neat way:
Reconciliation with Cary, plus Canning acting shady, puts the Trustee back in our corner, and they get their extension. Downside, no more Nathan Lane. Upside, everybody can have their raises (including the one they promised Kalinda like two seasons ago). Kalinda uncovers a love child in Neil Gross's history, which is enough for him to call off his lawyers and sign a reasonable prenup, so I guess it's real love. And even after all the weirdness with Peter and Maddie -- and a well-timed job offer from Canning -- she decides to take the job.
Which is where it gets rough. While the rest of the firm is celebrating their freedom, Alicia hangs back, "doing work" but -- as Diane correctly notes -- also "pouting." She gives her the kind of "we're all sisters here" speech we used to love so much, about how in this world you take the opportunities you're given and how she only became partner herself because Jonas Stern needed a female partner to defend against allegations of sexual harassment, but Season Four Alicia isn't interested. They both realize the mentorship they always wanted is no longer an option, and Alicia enters the partnership with a chip on her shoulder and a passive-aggressive gratitude that only Diane can see. It's heartbreaking and satisfying, all at once, but mostly just shows you how much Alicia's changed while we've known her.
One of the most dynamic episodes in recent memory, and a great continuation of the "gathering storm" momentum the show's been gaining recently, this week's was also a fairly astute meditation on marriage, commitment, self-determination and Alicia's continuing negotiation with compromise. Sad, and very happy, and most of all exciting, with several show-altering gamechangers that could send things spinning out any number of ways when we return in two weeks. Just excellent.
The delightful Neil "ChumHum" Gross bought out a competitor startup after they sued, because that's how you deal when you get sued by promising youth. During the trial, Will noticed -- unbeknownst to us -- a young lawyer lady in the gallery operating Neil like a wi-fi ventriloquist's dummy, feeding him prepared speeches in an uncharacteristically -- for this show -- subtle way.
She has arrived at L/G, looking uncomfortable, with her creepy dad in tow, to take a meeting with Alicia and Kalinda, and in a minute David Lee. What on earth could Family Law have to do with Neil Gross's pretty young counsel?
...Oh. Oh, hell no. I know Neil Gross isn't real, rationally, but if this trick thinks she's marrying him I still kind of want to physically fight her.
Dina Lampert: "I remember you guys from the Marg Mo trial. Neil hates your asses."
Mr. Lampert: "Don't talk to these women, wait for the lawyer."
Dina: "Apologies about my shitty dad. He thinks women can't be lawyers. That's a main reason I am one."
David Lee: "M&Ms, anybody? They contain evil."
Dad: "We need a second opinion on a prenup. This trick thinks she's gonna marry Neil Gross."
Alicia & Kalinda: "But why? He's the worst! Trust us, we know from marrying well."
Dina: "I don't wanna talk about it. I just don't get why this awful agreement is what our firm -- the one that represents Neil, the one I myself work for -- wants me to sign."
Dad: "If you're gonna marry that son of a bitch you should have least have a ton of money from it later."
Dina: "The reason everybody always has this conversation about prenups is because it's literally the only conversation to have. Like, now you're going to say something about protecting myself..."
David Lee: "We're here to help you protect yourself."
W/ NAME PARTNERS
David Lee: "This prenup is bullshit. She gets nothing, and if he dies she has to immolate herself on the altar of ChumHum's choosing..."
Diane: "Yeah, I'm not seeing how this is a pressing matter. We're still only halfway to our $60M and time's just about up for bankruptcy court."
Will: "Why do we care about any of this? It's not like kissing her ass is going to get us any business from that jerk. I'm still getting fallout from the last time we fought with him."
David Lee: "I don't care about ChumHum business, I care about her business. They get married, we set up some kind of Bill & Melinda Gates charity operation over here..."
Diane: "Is that something you've discussed? She wants to do that?"
David Lee: "She's 28, she has no idea what she wants."
Alicia: "She's in love, you guys!"
Everybody: "Shut up, Alicia. It's too early in the AM for that shit."