Zach is, of course, an early voter -- so he's there to see some ballot-stuffing, which quickly turns into another of those True Believer moments of his that reflect so well on his upbringing. With about 24 hours to go until the polls close for real, Alicia and Will take the suspicious votes to Judge Abernathy's court, where they're met by Patti Nyholm, who randomly is doing legal work for Kresteva's campaign.
After some seriously hilarious, brilliantly edited courtroom scenes, we learn that like 90% of the dubious votes were actually for Peter Florrick, which means everybody flips sides and starts arguing the opposite way. Jordan Karahalios shows up in the camp of a third-party candidate, but once they figure out how specious his reasons are -- and that he's now saying stuffing ballots was an idea of Eli Gold's, it looks worse and worse. Eventually Zach puts that one to bed as well, but by the time the polls open nobody in the Florrick campaign actually believes Peter's going to win, which they all frankly seem to find a relaxing prospect.
Kalinda finds evidence that one dirty DNC guy Jim Moody was actually the one that pulled the whole scam, and -- to spare Alicia's feelings -- Will takes this info straight to Peter. The candidate spins some crap about how he doesn't want to be responsible for deciding whether or not to sink his own campaign, and in the end Will decides to sit on it, and Peter wins the day. (Also of interest, his stress about Jackie's weird gigolo comes to a head when separately, and deliciously, they both tell him to suck it and leave them alone to do their weird stuff in peace.) (Also also of interest, an exhausted Alicia finds herself at one point watching Hostel III with Eli Gold and enjoying herself immensely.)
Meanwhile Will and Alicia have a conversation about their whole deal -- set to Joan Osborne's "Lumina," which is like the most romantic song of all time -- and eventually kiss, which Diane interrupts (to I'm guessing her eternal disgust), and by the end of the episode you're pretty sure Alicia is just going to straight-up leave Peter, which honestly would be fine at this point. What she does instead is a fabulous mashup of various other finales and major scenes from the show, the most callbacks I think I've ever seen at once, and then just kind of lets the whole thing slide, because actually her biggest internal dilemma has nothing to do with boys right now.
The fourth-years want a fancy office whose rent means leaving Kalinda out, or going back on their original ask -- and they all make fun of Cary for having sex with her and thinking he can be objective about her, when that's not something he could ever do even before they slept together -- so he asks her to consider a lower starting salary. The one thing you must never do to Kalinda.
The office space they're looking at, as it turns out, belongs to Colin Sweeney, and he approaches with a rent-for-services barter that would solve their Kalinda problem, but once Cary admits Alicia's not coming with, he goes all poleaxed and eventually pulls it together enough to call and beg Alicia to join the new firm. Alicia takes this as a poach of her personal clients by Cary, and yells at him in a way that makes him both sad and mystified, because he is great and hasn't done anything shitty in like two seasons.
When Cary approaches Robyn Burdine, it's not entirely with the intention of dicking Kalinda around, but it pisses her off enough that she burns the bridge and asserts her loyalty to Will and L/G... While in the episode's final shot, Matthew Ashbaugh (aww) backing her up in spirit, Alicia does the opposite: Florrick, Agos & Associates is go.
The first half especially was really tremendous fun, and it's always cool when you think Alicia's gonna zig and she zags -- especially when she gives the impression, which I got tonight, that she knows damn well how much corruption and stuff she's been ignoring all along -- but I was really disappointed in Peter this week. I mean, even for Peter he was pretty sleazy, which the end result was just really that he made Eli look cooler, which has been a missing element this season. All in all, it was a really fun ride that I barely remember what happened, which is when the show is the most enjoyable. It was nice to see Patti, and of course Jordan Karahalios, and to know they're still out there in the show's universe, being all tiny and wonderful.
Great end to what became a great season. But one wonders: With Alicia and Cary gone, and Diane a Supreme, doesn't that mean Will and Kalinda will start next season as the leaders of pretty much a complete pack of assholes? And will Alicia ever be able to make it through a single conversation with Robyn without looking like she wants to deck her? And what other paying clients is she bringing with her, since they're going to be doing Colin's strange sex murders for free from now on? And will we get to see Alicia and Cary have tons of those neat scotch-glass conversations Diane and Will always do so well, as they worry about their firm and whatever? Because that would be awesome.
You're sitting at an intersection, in the dead of night. No buildings around, a country four-way stop with a light. It is red. And there are no cars coming. It's a clear night, you can see all the way around you, and there's nobody there. Nobody's watching, nobody cares what you do. Are you going to run that light?
And when you do, how's it going to feel?
Alicia's spent the season slowly opening her eyes to the inevitable shortcuts and truth-bending to which Diane and Will's monster baby necessarily tends, but has yet to see the firebrand ways of Cary (or Mr. Bitcoin) as a viable option. But when an administrative uprising lead to a "split the revolution" reward for the ringleaders, her recent -- already incredibly compromised -- promotion took on a new, dirtier cast. As usual, her ideas about herself as a mother took precedent, and she gave in to the pressure of learning to be management, despite her misgivings.
Meanwhile, Peter's race to the Illinois Governor's seat has been fraught with its own ethical dilemmas, as Eli and Jordan played various demographics off one another until nobody could tell who the good guy was. At the end of the day, once Alicia squared away the women's vote with a personal attack on the Republican candidate -- and several hopscotching steps toward reconciliation with her questionable husband, some financial and others casually sexual -- Peter was closer than ever to winning... But, given our history with Jim Moody and other DNC heavies, that still may not be enough.
Zach arrives the day before the election to vote, having just turned eighteen, and is greeted by the platonic ideal of Crazy Old Ladies, Estelle Parsons. After voting, some hot dude catches his eye dropping off an unsealed box of early votes, and -- being the son Peter and Alicia raised -- investigates.
Nana Joe: "That's so crazy that you have the last name Florrick! Trust me, I get it. My last name is Eisenhower."
Zach: "Cool. Listen, do we need to do something about the obvious vote tampering going on over here?"
Nana Joe: "I'm just a crazy old lady with no idea what you're talking about, which is exactly the only thing that ever freaks you out, when people in authority don't deserve it."
Zach: "I am patient to a fault, though, and will explain it."
Buckley: "I'm Mr. Buckley, polling monitor and bitchy flaccid martinet. Allow me to educate you on some laws I just made up about how you can't take pictures of vote tampering."