Holy plot development! This episode may not have been the most elegantly written of the season (that prize would go to the one about Death Row), but it certainly ranks up there as one of the most satisfying. Things we learned: Kalinda is being investigated by the State’s Attorney’s office; Blake really does have something juicy on her; Cary will go to the mat for her; Cary wants to stay at the State’s Attorney’s office; Derrick is as slimy as we thought; Lockhart Gardner may get back into the “drug kingpin business” with Lamont Bishop; Wendy Scott-Carr is even more ruthless than we thought; Alicia will out–Grizzly Mom Wendy any day; Peter’s campaign is bankrupt; and there is hope for Peter and Alicia’s marriage. Had we gotten even the slightest resolution to the Will-Alicia Voice Mail of Love saga, our lives might be complete.
Let’s start with Cary, who’s thriving in the State’s Attorney’s office. This time, he’s going up against Alicia on a case Lockhart Gardner has taken pro bono to defend Joey Church, an inmate accused of stabbing another inmate, Jay Winston, in the yard. In his legal pad, Cary has a picture of Winston at home on Christmas with his kids, indicating he’s trying to channel his thirst for revenge on his former employers toward the pursuit of justice for his clients. It’s a nice touch, and helps us believe him when he later tells Childs that, though Diane has offered him a cushy job and a salary bump that will help pay off his student loans, he doesn’t want to give up being an ASA.
We probably should have known there was a conspiracy afoot with this Church case from the beginning. Winston is stabbed when he gets detained in a cage after a fight that we can only assume was staged so he’d be put in the cage. There’s a nice round of sparring between Alicia and Cary. She sheds doubt on Church owning the weapon even though it was fashioned out of his toothbrush. (His toothbrush could have been stolen.) And she gets Cary’s only eyewitness thrown out because the police tricked him with a fake lie detector. Then Cary finds a prisoner who testifies that Church told him he killed Winston because Winston called him the N-word. Then, at the urging of Derrick, who shadily hijacks the case from Alicia, she puts Church on the stand, where he confesses, but only because some mystery man in a baseball cap threatened to kill his family unless he took care of Winston. It’s great fun seeing these smarty-pants lawyers one-upping each other, but it’s all very complicated.
In the end, it seems, Church is an associate of Lamont Bishop; they know each other because Bishop’s legit Fast & Elegant (ha!) dry-cleaning business sponsored a youth soccer team that meth-addict Church coached. Winston had something on Bishop, so Bishop very likely threatened to kill Church’s family unless he killed Winston. (Why else would a man with two weeks left till parole do something that stupid?) The prison guard who both turned away when Winston got killed and let in the mystery daughter-threatening man once worked for Bishop’s legit horse stable business.
As Cary figures out, Lockhart Gardner (but really just Derrick) took on this case as a way of auditioning to be Bishop’s lawyers. He’s a drug kingpin, but he comes with a lot of money. But as Cary points out to Bishop in the courtroom hall, it’s in his interest to let Church go down. He gets Bishop to testify that mystery man was an associate who’d come to tell Church his family was doing great, not threaten to kill them. It’s all lies, it seems, but in one swoop, Cary gets to destroy Lockhart Gardner’s chances of landing the Bishop account, convict Church of first-degree murder, and torpedo a fellow (incredibly jerky) ASA’s plan to throw away the Church conviction in order to turn him in his larger, never-ending case against Bishop. Follow that? We barely did.
The major points of all this are that Cary is coming into his own and that Derrick Bond, architect of the plan to land the Bishop account, really, truly is up to no good.
Derrick is boring, so back to Cary. It’s impressive how Cary manages to get around the setbacks of the case and not only win, but stick it to the jerk ASA on the Bishop case who’s constantly flaunting his authority. It’s impressive how he seems to have maneuvered his way into a raise and a promotion with Childs by leveraging his offer from Diane, as well as what he knows about Lockhart Gardner’s past flirting with Bishop. It’s impressive how he takes jerk ASA’s advice to get creative and finds an amazing cheap investigator to combat Kalinda. The guy is an old friend from the Innocence Project who claims to be content with being a stay at home dad, but who is soon uncovering crucial evidence fielding calls on how to feed baby carrots to his kids (cue an Old MacDonald ringtone). We also loved a glimpse into a daycare overpopulated by Super Dads (as Cary said, “you’re being bred like in The Matrix”) whose wives were all off inventing million dollar computer apps and turning their IPOs public, all further proof that, at least on The Good Wife, women rule the world.
Most impressive, though, is how Cary confronts Blake (Friday Night Lights reunion alert!), referencing Blake’s past as the security for Baltimore’s biggest meth gang, MS13, and hinting that his command of the law is mightier than thug Blake’s command of a gun and a retractable crowbar.
The Blake confrontation has a little to do with Blake being awful, but a lot to do with Cary’s warm, genuine friendship with Kalinda. When Cary’s co-worker Geneva (stage actress Renée Elise Golsberry, whom we’re really starting to like) spots Kalinda in the courtroom, she remarks, “Uh-oh. Whenever I see that bitch I know we’re in trouble.” Cary, instead, seems to get a kick out of how Kalinda manages to keep uncovering new information to blindside him. “You just got my only eyewitness kicked and you want my help?” Cary asks when Kalinda throws a wrench in his case, then asks if he’s got anything new on Blake. “Yeah,” says Kalinda. And Cary cracks up. As if he could expect anything less from Sexy Boots.
We’ve enjoyed watching this friendship grow over the season, but we knew there would be consequences. Well, they’ve finally come. When Cary complains to Childs about getting out-investigated by Kalinda, Childs unexpectedly turns that complaint into a justification for stepping up the State’s Attorney’s office’s investigation on Kalinda. They want to monitor whom she’s talking to and how she’s getting such good information. Is it being leaked from judges, police, even ASA’s? Now if Cary wants to talk to Kalinda (which he always does) they have to take secret walks in a Chicago park that looks exactly like Central Park. He’s the one who breaks to her the news that she’s under investigation and that her leaks are about to dry up. But it’s bigger than that. Childs tells Cary that they’ve gotten an anonymous tip that Kalinda has been testifying under oath using an assumed name. That’s a felony, we’re pretty sure. And at the end of the episode, Blake finally reveals what he has on Kalinda. It’s a doozy. All season, Blake has been calling Kalinda “Leela,” and now we learn that he’s tracked her down to a Toronto house fire eight years ago in which a Leela Tahiri, who’d been in trouble with the police, supposedly died, but her body was never found.
Here’s our guess on how it plays out: Cary, Will, and Alicia find themselves unexpectedly teamed up trying to get Kalinda out of the country before she can be charged with felony fraud. But just before everything comes to light, Blake gets killed doing work for Bishop and Childs loses the race. Peter sweeps the Kalinda matter under the rug and we never hear about it until season four, when he’s again brought up on charges of corruption. We’re sure the Kings will come up with something more elegant than that, but there you go. Discuss among yourselves.
The other whopper of a storyline is Hell Hath No Fury Like a Mother Scorned. We always knew that Wendy Scott-Carr was ruthless, but we had no idea how ruthless until someone (it turns out to be Peter’s PAC) starts papering African-American church parking lots with flyers questioning her “blackness” and accusing her of “polluting the bloodstream” with her mixed-race children. (Where have we heard this kind of attack before?) She goes to Childs first. (Note: Please, oh, please make his new dye job a debate topic.) Childs says the flyers aren’t his doing, but he’s willing to help Wendy “go there” if it means getting Peter out of the race. Cue Wendy marching into Alicia’s office and threatening her with a flyer claiming that Zach got Becca pregnant and that Peter paid for the abortion.
Race-baiting fliers are pretty low, but the abortion claim is sub-basement. It basically amounts to Wendy telling Alicia that Zach has been having sex without her knowledge, as well as forcing Alicia to destroy Peter’s campaign for the sake of their family. Alicia knows what position she’s been put in, and she is not happy. “Next time you come see me, you make an appointment,” she seethes to Wendy, angry undertone intended.
Then Alicia slips into a Super Mom mode that puts Cary’s Super Dad to shame. First, she goes to the campaign office’s copy room of secrets to determine whether the flyers came from there. They didn’t, but we do get another great addition to Alan Cumming Reacts to Stuff. Next, she and Peter sit down with Zach in the Florrick family interrogation room (a.k.a. the dining-room table). Zach denies the pregnancy and abortion, but Alicia and Peter both seem to know they should stop their questioning there unless they want to know the answers. Then Eli confronts Becca, who is perhaps the most venal high school girl ever written. She admits to an abortion, then demands Eli have Zach “phone” her. Eli takes her down by revealing he knows the kid was her after-school college prep tutor’s, but, Jesus, what kind of girl does that? Are we supposed to believe that Becca leaked the abortion information to Childs and Wendy in order to get Zach to stop ignoring her calls? Come on! This isn’t Gossip Girl (even if Dreema Walker was once on that show).
Abortion-gate may very well prove to be the end of Peter’s campaign; he calls off his PAC in order to get Wendy to back down, losing the PAC’s money and bankrupting the campaign in the process. But it, strangely, proves a lifeline for his marriage. After their talk with Zach, we get a revealing glimpse into Peter and Alicia’s past life, when they were so hot for one other, they unintentionally conceived a kid during Christmas break at Jackie’s house (Jackie’s house!). Leave it to this show to throw in a sweet bonding moment about two characters having an abortion.
As the episode progresses, we can see a thaw, however minuscule, in Alicia’s wall of ice toward Peter. She tells him that she found condoms in Zach’s bag while Peter was in jail, but never told Peter, probably because she was super mad he was in jail. And when Peter broaches the subject of moving back into her bedroom, she doesn’t shut him down right away. She tells him she needs to think, then ends the episode walking into the bedroom, leaving the door open and the light on. That final image may not be conclusive, but it’s a beacon of hope that at least we can expect another hot oral sex scene. We lied earlier. We’d die happy if we just got more of that. Please?