“Where does an accountant put his mistakes?” It sounds like the setup for a drier than dry joke when Hayden says it about sixteen minutes into this episode, but once again, our sage trustee has outlined one of our major themes with just one line of throwaway dialogue. The answer is in the footnotes, those tiny bits of extra information that don’t always fit into the regular narrative, but if you’re diligent, you may just find they contain multitudes — and drama.
In the same vein, it was all the stuff that wasn’t said/shown in “Waiting for the Knock” that was where all the action was hiding, but you had to look hard (such small print!) Namely:
- That picture Nick stole from Lana’s apartment. It’s Kalinda and Eli, taken from behind a Venetian blind, and Kalinda is none too pleased to see it. We know that Eli picked up on something between Kalinda and Peter two episodes ago, but we hadn’t been shown any confrontation about it. Could this be an image from that moment/discussion that we never saw?
- Cary and Kalinda! We know there was that familiar kiss between them way back when, but now we’ve got something hinted at again, with the (quite sexy) way he jumps to her aid when he sees the scuffle starting with Nick at the office and how Kalinda tells Alicia on the phone that she didn’t mention to him that Nick was her husband, because, “it’s just complicated.”
- Diane and guest lawyer Lesli Rand (Anabella Sciorra) obviously have a history together. “How’s bankruptcy, Diane?” “Heard you were having RICO troubles, Lesli.” Yikes. Why the claws?
- Indira Starr (again?), even being the lying liar we thought she was, managed to arouse enough doubt in Maddie Hayward for her to withdraw her support of Peter. What happened?
- Kalinda and the hole in her wall. “I only found 10,000,” Nick says. “Where’s the rest?” Hmmm … yeah, we’re wondering the same thing.
But on to what we do know: We open on drug kingpin Lemond Bishop’s incredibly lovely home. He’s just being a dad making lunch for his adorable son Dylan (Eric Ruffin) before his karate class, when suddenly his phones start blowing up. Seems his accountant has been arrested, and he needs to find out why immediately and what that could mean for him. Meanwhile back at the straw poll, no time has passed since the last episode, and in fact, we’re treated to a bit of rewind with Jackie and the bug and Eli yelling into the phone about threatening blogger Jimmy V. Maddie arrives, but before she can steal Alicia to introduce her to her lady donor coalition, Alicia gets a call of her own. It’s Diane, in sunglasses, and they’ve got to get to Bishop’s house right away.
This was the first episode in as long as we can remember where no one stepped foot into a courtroom, but there was so much going on here, we hardly objected. L&G is forced to team up with Bishop’s other law firm, who handles his illicit business interests (how does this work exactly?), to get to the bottom of what happened to this accountant. Along the way, the story takes us from the most dramatic moment to ever concern bakery purchase orders (go good cop/bad cop Team Agos/Hayden!), to a juice bar that doesn’t juice, and finally to a dead Confidential Informant stuffed in her trunk. This was good stuff, to be sure, but the emotional heart of the narrative was always little Dylan. Who doesn’t feel for a boy who can’t get anyone to come to his eighth-birthday party because his friends’ parents don’t want him around his dad? What an excellent foil he was for Alicia, both illustrating her maternal side in a way we haven’t seen recently — “there’s no better babysitter for a kingpin than a state’s attorney’s wife” — and also providing a reality check to what all of the fancy legal maneuvering is really about.
That moment when Peter calls her from the straw poll to tell her about the blogger leaking the Indira Starr story? She’s watching Dylan on his father’s lap the whole time. “I’m just resigned,” she says. That.
Cheers to the Kings for going the unexpected route and giving us a drug dealer who’s an involved and caring single father, and also one of the most heartbreaking performances from a child actor we’ve seen in some time. That moment when Alicia takes Dylan out to the backyard swings while the feds are ransacking his house: his wide-eyed, stunned confusion perfectly telegraphed a wholly relatable — though childlike — perspective on a very adult situation. We could see Alicia finding recognition in that scene. After all, she’s watched her life be torn apart, too. And she watched it happen on television, not from a swing.
- We wish Cary wasn’t wearing that unfortunate hoodie sweater, but we’ll forgive him because of how wonderful he was with Hayden.
- Two vets from The Wire in one episode! (Dexter, the Fine Fitness manager, and Mr. Wells, the business owner who was obviously thrilled at the chance to work with Nick on his tow-truck government bid).
- Did Peter look at the Photoshopped Indira Starr boobalicious shot a beat too long, or was it just us?
- Of course slimey political bloggers watch samurai movies in the background.