Hey guys, remember “Thicky Trick”? Had you hoped never to have that infuriatingly catchy and secretly kind of adorable song in your head again? Too bad, because Matthew Lillard is back for more antics, and if you’re like me, you now have Thicky Trick in your head merely because it was mentioned in the episode.
Good Elevator Labels Make Good Neighbors
Due to an elevator signage mishap in Alicia’s building, a parade of misdirected clients arrives at the door of a mean blonde woman, Crystal, who is not pleased about having to answer the door over and over. Especially to the types of people who tend to be looking for Alicia (read: DUIs). Even the feminist powerhouse Bea Wilson, Kelly Bishop’s character, shows up, only to be treated to a rude rant by the neighbor. Bea takes revenge by directing Rowby Canton, the “Thicky Trick” singer played by Matthew Lillard, mischievously to the same wrong address.
Displeased, Crystal shows up to yell at Alicia and deliver her mail… including Grace’s middling-to-bad report card, which she’s opened. But the next time she shows up, with a warning that Alicia needs to stop running a business out of her home or face eviction proceedings, she has the bad luck to run into Grace, whose very inability to react to anything the way a normal person would makes her an adversary to be feared.
Grace tries lying: “That’s just a friend of the family,” she says nervously as someone stalks out yelling, “I’ll see you in court!” But this doesn’t work, so she turns to a Scheme instead: Marissa gives her plenty of advice on how to defeat the Homeowners’ Association. Grace needs to follow the mail, Marissa says; the person getting the most packages is running a business out of the building.
Grace shows up to a meeting of the Association and does a big reveal of who’s breaking the rules of the building, starting with a home business and escalating in thirty seconds flat to someone’s “high-priced call girls.” The homeowners promptly roll over and give up. Grace tells them that’s the right decision because her mother “stands up well for herself,” looking very proud. Pride goeth before a fall, Grace! Let’s see what happens to you when your mom sees your report card.
Good Morning Sunshine
Rowby, sporting a shiny new buzz cut and Nerd Glasses, shows up to ask Alicia for help: he wrote a children’s song that he’s been playing at kids’ birthday parties. It is not as catchy as “Thicky Trick” but has gone viral. His old record company is claiming it as theirs, but he wrote it, and his contract had expired. Also, as it happens, he wants both Cary and Alicia on the case—so Cary shows up to help, although he barely speaks the entire time they’re trying the case, and seems to be useful mostly because his law firm actually has conference rooms.
As soon as the record company shows up for a deposition, of course, about a thousand holes are poked in Rowby’s story. I can’t help but feel like Alicia should have identified them earlier, if it weren’t for the show’s need for dramatic courtroom reveals. Maybe this is why you can only get DUI clients, Alicia. Luckily, Rowby isn’t super worried about the quality of his representation once he lays eyes on Lucca, with whom he falls passionately in love on first sight.
The record company has hired this year’s latest quirky, savage lawyer: Christine Lahti’s Andrea Stevens, who uses her sweet voice and kindly smile to be a total b-word to everyone she lays eyes on, starting out by complimenting an imagined change in Lucca’s haircut. Andrea’s opening gambit is to offer Rowby an absurdly low amount to record the song as a fake gesture of goodwill, then to sue him for damages when he disagrees.
The basic flow of the contract issue is that Rowby was cut loose for not presenting a high-quality second album, and that he can only get the rights to his song (and avoid paying damages) if he can prove the song was written after the contract expired. But the contract only counts as expired if it ended through no fault of Rowby’s. So we get a war of musicology experts: the record company brings one to declare that Rowby’s second album was “substantially bad,” and Alicia brings in musicology experts to declare that Rowby’s second album was within the bounds of typical experimentation for artists. Meanwhile, Rowby keeps trying to interject objections that he’s seen on TV, when he’s not busy lusting after Lucca.
Rowby wins the first skirmish, but then the record company comes back with an even earlier video of Rowby singing the song. Shenanigans ensue around timestamps (the video is timestamped on the date his contract expired, but that’s because it was posted in an earlier timezone than where Rowby actually was) the nature of inspiration (“Inspiration isn’t a legal term. It’s an artistic conceit,” Andrea argues), but Rowby wins in the end.
Then the third and final battle in the war: the record company sues him again for copyright infringement against another song called “Moony Moonykins.” Rowby’s side argues the songs are similar because kids’ songs tend to be similar. Finally the judge rules in favor of the record company, saying that they have too much in common when experienced holistically for it to be a coincidence.
Meanwhile, Rowby continues to court Lucca. Lucca, after ascertaining that he’s no longer married to the mother of his child, consents to making out with Rowby a couple of times. She explains that she loves artists… but not for long. Still, after they lose the case, she lets him serenade her one more time and tells him the song he wrote for her is wonderful, before kicking him mercilessly to the curb.
Side note, I’m not sure I get Lucca as a character. It’s definitely amusing when Rowby grabs her in court and smooches her after one victory, but it would be so much more amusing with a different character—someone I felt I had a handle on. Lucca was brought in to replace Kalinda as Alicia’s friend, right? But Kalinda had personality, a personality that sometimes clashed with Alicia and caused conflict and, generally, existed, all of which is highly untrue for Lucca. Who agrees with basically everything Alicia does, and isn’t even interesting enough to actually care about the one love interest she’s had all season (I’m not going to count Cary because that fizzled after one visit to a club). So… what’s the point? They should have put Alicia back with Diane.
Monica Joins the Poaching Game
It turns out Feminist Bea, previously seen getting poached from Lockhart-Agos-Lee-Whatever by Grace, is a sort of mentor to Monica. Over coffee, Monica reveals that she has a new job at the very racist firm she was complaining about before.
In response, Bea ends up revealing that she isn’t super pleased with Florrick Quinn’s elevator woes, saying dismissively that she picked their firm as the latest “shiny thing.” Which in a way sounds very frivolous and not at all how a high-powered feminist would pick legal representation for her high-powered feminist organization, but if Bea is from a certain social group, is probably just a flippant way of speaking about something that we already know was a more serious decision.
Diane is pretty excited about the prospect of Bea’s being poachable, and directs Monica to give it a shot. But bringing Bea into their offices leads to a lot of awkwardness, since Lucca and Alicia are in and out of the LALW offices for the Rowby depositions, and Bea clearly isn’t entirely comfortable being pitched so hard after a throwaway comment to a first-year associate.
Still, David and Diane try to leverage her visit to get back another client from Alicia, Lila Dunne (pronounced differently than Kalinda’s alter ego: LIE-la). Lila admits that she’s not that happy with the Florrick Quinn setup either: “There’s this horrible woman there…”
David, hilariously, jumps in with, “Yes, Alicia can be trying.”
When Lucca sees Lila on her way out she decides Cary’s been screwing them all along, and she and Alicia figure out that Bea might be in play as well.
Alicia calls and begs Bea to keep them, but the outcome is inconclusive. When Grace overhears she offers to help by cold calling some more clients. Alicia finally sits her down and says that she needs to stop working at Florrick Quinn—she’s been doing an amazing job, but, “You need to start focusing on your future, not mine… I need to be taking care of you, not the reverse.” (This is so true; I wrote earlier that Grace and Zach had had to take on too many family burdens.) Grace tragically announces that Alicia wants her to butt out of her life. Alicia gives her a big hug, even though Grace is still ticked. It’s kind of cute.
Cary shows up later that night to tell Lucca and Alicia that the two clients they’ve been tussling over want the infrastructure of LALW but the lawyership of Alicia and Lucca. “Come back to Lockhart Agos,” he says, but they refuse. He asks why. “You fired me,” Alicia says in her best “duh” voice. “And I’ve never worked there?” Lucca adds, amusingly. He says he wants them both, but when Alicia asks about Diane, he says that she “understands the situation.” That does it; Alicia kicks him out. But Lucca protests afterward that they have no office and no infrastructure. “And we don’t have to answer to anyone,” Alicia says. “Because no one else wants us,” Lucca says with more emotion than she’s ever exhibited. I guess the other thing about Lucca is that we don’t even know why she was stuck in bond court limbo or why she doesn’t have a job at a big fancy law firm. What emotion lay behind that statement about no one wanting them? Did she go to a shitty law school and get no offers? Did she also win a local election and then resign in disgrace? We need something to hang on to, here.
Eli Tries Again
Ruth moves out of her office at the governor’s, and Eli moves in, much to the disappointment of Marissa and also of, I’m sure, the writers, who were getting way too much mileage out of the tininess of Eli’s office. She and Eli exchange a few courteous words before she leaves, saying they wished they’d been better to each other, which I’m not sure I entirely believe. Personally, I wish they’d been meaner to each other; Eli on the warpath always makes for excellent TV. Ruth does warn Eli to “watch out for friends.”
But Eli’s busy trying to make amends to Alicia. Unpacking his boxes, he even finds a happy selfie taken of himself and Alicia smiling goofily. Right, because I’m sure Eli and Alicia were sitting around getting drunk on tequila one day and thinking, “My heart is just so light right now, I need to take a selfie with this person next to me.” That sounds like something that would happen.
Anyway, Marissa shows up to get all up in Eli’s grill, as is her life purpose. She asks him to give her a job, but he gets a crafty look on his face and sends her to Alicia, who immediately catches on to Eli’s game and tells Marissa not to come doing Eli’s dirty work.
Of course Marissa immediately goes back to Eli and demands if he and Alicia are having problems because they’re sleeping together, or want to. Which is in some ways evidence of how much of a nutball Marissa actually is. And is in some ways a great idea and should happen, because at this point, Alicia and Eli probably have the most emotional intensity of any relationship on this show. Anyway, Eli explains to Marissa what happened, and she gives him a thoughtful look and then stalks out. He protests multiple times against her doing anything about this information, but he obviously hopes that she’ll somehow magically fix everything. It’s written all over his face—and besides, you don’t tell someone like Marissa your secret pain unless you’re willing to have it brutally manhandled in a well-meaning effort to help, right?
She shows up at Alicia’s apartment and begs her to give Eli another chance. Alicia, teary-eyed, says, “I hurt.” Marissa begs her to just tell Eli he’s forgiven even if Alicia needs more time, but she refuses again, and Marissa walks out. Alicia swallows more tears. It’s interesting, isn’t it? When people betray Alicia in her personal life—Peter, Kalinda, and now Eli—she can be so unforgiving, because she still has ideals about that, I guess. But she can go through infinite rounds of professional rivalry and double-crossing with coworkers, and because it’s in a different realm, she just doesn’t hold a grudge. So her relationship with Cary and Diane, every pair of whom have screwed each other over more times than I can count, is the only lasting, warm relationship she has with anyone who isn’t her children.