Show of hands if you thought this episode was going to be more satisfying than it was. We got our wish and got rid of that deadweight, Derrick Bond, and the SA’s race was pared down to two candidates. So why did this parade of plot resolution feel so empty?
Let’s be clear: The process of kicking Bond out of Lockhart Gardner was great, just not the tediously inevitable aftermath. Do all Chicago law firms have boxes of steam on their decks for scheming purposes? They should! “We’re like homeless lawyers,” says the awesomely entertaining David Lee, who fires off a string of great lines as he huddles around said box with Diane, Will, and Julius (back from taking over Bass Industries on Gossip Girl and now in on the wresting-control plan). Also amazing: “This is not a smoking section; this is a secret section! Walk away! Walk away!” and “No more meetings outside. I walk away from this vent smelling like spaghetti.”
Several more circles of scheming take place as the writers try to trick us into thinking that maybe the vote won’t go Will and Diane’s way. They dig up two senior citizens who are still on the logs as equity partners and promise year-end bonuses in exchange for their votes … but one of them dies from the stress of being duplicitous. “You don’t get it,” laments Diane, who has skipped over the part where she feels bad about the old dude dying and gone straight to self-pity. “I don’t think you do,” says David Lee cackling by the vent of bad intentions. “You couldn’t have scripted it better … All you need are jugglers and we’ll have a Roman farce.” God, we love David Lee.
Meanwhile, Julius appears to have turned on them, spilling details of the plan to Bond and promising Bond his vote in return for Bond getting rid of David Lee and making Julius head of litigation. It was a nice move by the writers, adding race and competing ambitions into the mix and getting us to believe for the briefest of moments that Julius would team up with his fellow black person at the firm. But — yawn — it was all a ruse to get Bond to fire his head of litigation and therefore tip the numbers firmly in Will and Diane’s favor. Why Bond had to fire the guy instead of just give him a different job is a mystery that can only boil down to the writers being so bored with the character they gave up trying to be clever about getting him out. Oh well. Bond makes a motion for Diane to be dismissed as equity partner. It’s voted down; Julius never raises his hand and Bond realizes he’s been played. David Lee makes a motion that “we get rid of Bond and I get his office for my second secretary.” Old guy equity partner, making zero effort to be smooth about things, asks Diane, “This one I vote?” The motion passes. Bond calls them all “stupid sons of bitches.” A brief exchange in the hall reveals that Julius’s fake-out was part of Will’s plan. Will and Diane drink scotch and do a dance of victory to celebrate how they’re the perfect couple. “Everything but the sex,” says Will. Yada yada.
We won’t miss Bond if he’s gone forever, but if he’s not, at least he’ll come back as a far more interesting opposing counsel with a vendetta. Now what happens to Blake? Our guess is that he gets to stick around for a few more episodes, thanks to his relationship with Will, but gets taken down by Cary when he and the mysterious ex-husband get too close to hurting Kalinda.
Speaking of Kalinda, she provides the most genuinely surprising moments of the episode, all connected to her having suddenly changed apartments, likely owing to that whole ex-husband thing. In a quaint and unexpectedly adorable move, she hands out change-of-address cards to her nearest and dearest, namely Alicia and Cary. Alicia takes the moment to cutely make fun of her: “I don’t think I had your old address. I feel like we’ve grown closer together … Oh, no, no, no. This is going in my copy of Eat, Pray, Love.” Cary only brings it up after he’s told her that a grand jury is being impaneled to look into her possibly corrupt investigating processes for the defense. Halfway through their incredibly tension-filled conversation, we were screaming at the TV, “MAKE OUT ALREADY!” And lo and behold, the writers obliged. (Thank you!) She tells him she sent out the card to feel normal, and — we did not see this coming — he kisses her gently on the lips and murmurs, “Welcome back to normal.” We’d always just thought they were hot for each other, but does that mean they have a sexual history? Head spinning! Forget Will and Alicia. Team Cary and Kalinda all the way. And we’re guessing that pretty soon, he and Alicia will have to put their animosity aside to come to Kalinda’s aid. It’s going to be great watching this play out.
Elsewhere in the episode, we have a ho-hum case of the week. A Chinese dissident (a.k.a. Miles from Lost, a.k.a. Ken Leung) is suing an American search engine called Chum Hum for turning over the IP address for his pro-democracy blog to the Communists. As a result, he was jailed and tortured for five years. Will seems on a pretty high moral plane as he chastises Chum Hum’s smarmy, 50-year-old, hoodie-wearing CEO (John Benjamin Hickey, Laura Linney’s brother on The Big C) for having turned over the names of “not more than 50” Chinese dissidents. But as the episode goes on, we come to realize that Will and Diane are not pursuing this case to stop the Chinese government from getting hold of IP address, but to drive Chum Hum out of China so that Patric Edelstein, their Mark Zuckerberg stand-in client from the Sorkin-skewering episode a few weeks ago, can swoop in and take over Chum Hum’s business. They win, but it’s a hollow victory; Edelstein is just going to do the same thing. The purpose of the case seems mainly to poke more holes in Alicia’s faith in Will. He has no remorse when he confronts her about “doing the right thing … for the wrong reasons,” or about allowing the torture of dissidents to continue. He also gets his client to lie under oath and appears rather ugly in his jubilation over Bonds’s demise. So when opposing lawyer Rita Wilson (unfortunately not overacting this time) tells Alicia she’s being undervalued and offers her a job, we almost wish she’d take it. We’re not sure that she won’t.
There is some semi-satisfying plot development in Peter’s campaign, though. For one thing, Alan Cumming Reacts to Stuff was in overdrive. It’s a riot watching Eli watch the SA’s debate. (Which, we digress, is televised. When in the history of elections has an entire city been riveted by a race for such a minor political office? They’re not even running for mayor!) As Eli mutters talking points to himself “youth vote, youth vote … prison, prison,” he trades high fives with a nerd pollster, who interprets the audience reaction for him. Peter easily wins the debate, and we win as nerd pollster gets ample screen time. We’ve given in. We love nerd pollster. We bleed for nerd pollster. All we can think about are story lines to keep him on the show for as long as possible. Maybe he’ll run into Kalinda at Peter’s house and they’ll start a torrid affair. We can dream, can’t we?
Anyway, as nerd pollster tells Eli, Nannygate isn’t hurting Wendy Scott-Carr enough to make this a two-man race. She’s been open and honest about the scandal and people are sympathetic to her as a mother. But it turns out that there is a second Nannygate. Becca’s camp photos of Glenn Childs Jr. reveal that he once had a Jamaican nanny, even though Childs has maintained that their nanny was legal and Swedish. Why the kid would need a nanny while he was at summer camp is beyond us. Do they even allow people to have nannies at summer camp? And wasn’t he, like, 16 at the time? Whatever. Suspension of disbelief aside, Becca, the most venal teenager in the history of television, brings this information bomb to Eli. (“Are you maybe confusing my office with the free clinic down the street?” Eli greets her. Get a room, you two!) Eli can only keep his emotions in check long enough to jump in a supply closet and do a little dance. Then he sends Becca to ask Glenn Childs Jr. about his nanny. The son calls his dad, and his dad stupidly tries to cover it up by trying to send the nanny out of the country. Eli gets it all on tape and we get a great scene with Peter blackmailing Childs to drop out of the race. It’s a coup for the campaign, but kind of sucks for us: No more Titus Welliver playing Childs, and an SA’s race that will just trudge on until Peter’s inevitable victory. At least we know that Eli will be employed when this is all over. After all, as he says, “I am the smartest person I know.”