To kick off the penultimate recap of season four, let’s take a moment of pause for all of the plot threads and cliffhangers and will-they-or-won’t-theys the Kings have spun this year. It’s been quite a ride! With just one episode left to go, we know there is hardly world enough and time to get these all wrapped up, but here’s hoping for at least a passing reference to most. Commenters, tell me what I’ve missed!
(These are in random order.)
* Where’s Jackie been? And Cristian?
* NICK. (Yuck.) But dead or alive?
* Cary and Kalinda? Anything?
* Willicia or Peter/Alicia? (Obviously.)
* The election.
* Will Cary’s plan to start his own firm actually work?
* Diane/Kurt: Could it really be happily ever after? And whither the Supreme Court?
* Will Grace lose her virginity to Prince Darklord?
But on to what happened. Owen’s back (yay!), and we open on a darkly comic brother/sister moment at a funeral home with the siblings standing over an unidentified coffin. Seems dear old mom (Stockard Channing, more cheers) has summoned them both to meet her here, and they don’t know why since neither of them knows the deceased. In between this and mom’s entrance, there’s a strangely edited snippet of Owen and Alicia having straight talk about love. “You are one of those Oprah women!” Owen cries when Alicia tries to justify recommitting to a man who slept with prostitutes. A dated reference, since (1) Oprah's been off the air for years, and (2) O breezed past Jenny Jones–style scandal content years ago, but point taken: Don't stand by your man, sis!
Meanwhile, we learn the deceased is the coder who was married to a surprisingly calm lady named Charlene (Cara Buono, late of Dr. Faye on Mad Men), and mom’s offered up Alicia to give free legal advice to her and her co-workers from a company called Blowtorch. (Sidebar: Did anyone else giggle every time that name was dropped?) Blowtorch had been none too generous with contract negotiations, apparently, and they’ve given the crew just 48 hrs to sign this new one. Should they do it?
All is not well at Florrick HQ either. Cute pollster is back to deliver the latest numbers. “I don’t want to get caught with my pants down,” Peter jokes. (Sidebar: Too soon.) Unfortunately, we learn he’s actually behind in the polls, and cute pollster thinks the only way they can get back up is for Alicia to go negative on Kresteva. Yikes! Peter feels he can’t ask her to do that — the fact that she’s doing an interview with (the real!) Charlie Rose is gift enough — but … just how much does Peter want to win?
Further in the case of the week: Nancy Crozier (Mamie Gummer) is back representing Blowtorch, and she’s just as prickly to Alicia and just as aw-shucks to the judge when they have to get in front of the Labor Board later to protest Crozier summarily terminating the lot of them when they were trying to negotiate at the L&G office. The judge here is the delightful Christopher Guest fave John Michael Higgins, and of course he prefers to be addressed as “Rod,” and the proceedings here have a fun and madcap quality, but it all feels mostly like filler despite these sorts of class action and union matters being incredibly common and relevant in real life. There’s some tap-dancing on whether the group really was in the process of unionizing, which side Charlene is really on, and whether Blowtorch has offered her a payout, but in the end it’s all moot because just as things get wrapped up, the news drops that Chum Hum has bought the company’s intellectual property, but not its employees. The group is all out of a job after all. Meh.
Meanwhile, all that talk of labor disputes and workers' rights around the L&G offices has gotten the assistants (and Kalinda!) a bit uppity, and suddenly they’re making demands as well. Alicia is sort of being blamed for all of this, since she had to go and take the Blowtorch case in the first place. (Message received: It’s lonely at the top.) More power to the ladies for standing up to no overtime and pissy David Lee’s snide comments, but it was a bit hard to start caring about this group we’ve barely seen all series.
But obviously the meat of this episode was what went down on that bus. (Isn’t it always?). Peter keeps it classy and tells Alicia that, whatever happens with the election, he wants her to come to Hawaii in two weeks and renew their vows. “All I know is that I love you,” he says. Mixed feelings about this union aside, it’s hard not to believe Peter in this moment. He’s got a resigned softness about him, and I may just have to admit that, for this scene, I was on his side. He offers her a rock to go with the ask, and by the end of the episode that glittering thing was planted squarely on Alicia’s finger.
But if previews for next week are any indication — passionate Willicia car makeout anyone? — it’s hard to see hula-dancing in the Florricks’ near future.