Max Medina Versus the Drone
Alicia is called to court one morning by Diane for another Dipple case. (For the uninitiated, Dipple is the Republican that has manipulated Diane into tying herself in knots playing “devil’s advocate” for various conservative causes.) In court, Diane’s on her own till Alicia shows up (late from a rendezvous with Jason and grinning to herself like a college kid who missed the first five minutes of a lecture because she was getting laid).
Diane displays footage captured by a drone swooping wildly over a picket-fence-type neighborhood and elicits testimony from none other than Scott Cohen that he is a therapist whose patients have left his practice to maintain their privacy from the drone. Hello there, Max Medina. I like your hipster glasses.
Alicia gets a tickled, proud-mom look when she notices Caitlyn D’Arcy (who quit Lockhart Gardner years ago to raise a family, saying that she didn’t need the financial & professional equality that women of Diane’s generation had fought for) at the other table.
Caitlyn’s representing the opponent, a neighborhood security organization that uses the drone to do random sweeps of the neighborhood. Cross-examining the good doctor, she asks him how come it’s different for patients to be seen from the street when they enter his practice, versus to be filmed from the sky. He gives her an angry look and says that you don’t expect it, coming from the sky. (Ask a silly question…)
But Caitlyn’s not done. She points out that he’s suing for only $300 grand and yet has two top partners at his table—they’re obviously using this as a “test balloon” (there we go again) for Dipple. Alicia and Diane object vigorously, and Judge Dunaway upholds. Afterwards, though, Alicia finds Caitlyn outside in the hall and gets friendly, saying it’s a surprise to see her back. Caitlyn shows off a picture of her nursery-aged daughter to Alicia, who compliments it, and then compliments Caitlyn’s lawyerin’ skills. “I learned from the best,” Caitlyn purrs in her silky voice. I do love when shows get all nostalgic in their last season and bring back all their former luminaries!
When Ms. Hamm, the head of the neighborhood security association, testifies, she cites things like “mail theft” as the reason a security drone is needed. Alicia goes after her, demonstrating that she’s caught people inside their homes. Caitlyn argues that the minor inconvenience of drawing one’s blinds against a drone doesn’t outweigh the significant public interest in security. The judge rules that the drone can fly but cites First Amendment rights rather than security. Which I didn’t even know were applicable, but whatever, it’s only ten minutes in; we all know this isn’t the last word in the case!
Sure enough, Dr. Nachmann (the client) ends up shooting down a drone, and Caitlyn’s all over it, asking for damages. In private, Diane says wryly to Alicia that Dipple might still back their client since he loves the Second Amendment. In court, Alicia argues that her client didn’t disobey the order because there was nothing in it about not shooting the drone down. Heh. That’s kind of… bold, but I like it.
Alicia gets Dr. Nachmann on the stand to testify obediently that he felt very threatened by the drone in the exact words needed for Alicia to invoke “castle doctrine” (to Caitlyn’s great scorn.) They also bring in an expert to testify that drones can be used as weapons, do thermal imaging, or steal personal data. But when he’s cross-examined by Caitlyn, the expert has to admit the drone is flying away from the house, which makes the castle doctrine irrelevant. “Dr. Nachmann, don’t shoot at drones,” Judge Dunaway concludes.
But a day later Caitlyn shows up at the office to inform Alicia that her client took down another drone with a “drone dropper,” which didn’t damage the drone but took it out of flight. This means that now the case comes down to the question of whether the drone is an aircraft—and under FAA jurisdiction—in which case it’s illegal to interfere with its flight. An FAA expert testifies that there’s a band of airspace that the FAA doesn’t control, below 500 feet; apparently, though, one’s property only extends 83 feet up in the air, due to a case where it was decided an airplane flying below 83 feet would scare a landowner’s chickens. Between 83 feet and 500 feet, the air is not clearly anyone’s property but it’s also not in the FAA’s jurisdiction. “As a representative of the FAA’s legal department, would you like to clear that up?” Judge Dunaway says snarkily. “No,” the FAA guy declines, leading to a highly amusing dubious facial expression from Dunaway. At his ruling, Dunaway remarks that this is a “political hot potato” and that no one else will make a decision between conflicting ideals. So he goes with the 83-feet rule, which means Dr. Nachmann owes damages after all.
“Well-fought,” Alicia compliments Caitlyn afterward. Then she wonders kind of sourly how it works for Caitlyn, what with her husband being a lawyer too. Caitlyn lifts her head proudly but admits that they’re separated, and Alicia has the grace to look sympathetic. Caitlyn says that Alicia was right, but Alicia says inexplicably, “I wasn’t right.”
Huh. Is this a prelude to Alicia quitting? That would be a surprise, but given what happens with Cary (more on that below), it might be what they’re building up to.
Alicia Finally Does It
Jason and Alicia are lying in bed when the episode opens, head to foot. Alicia is doing that thing she does where she is super weirded out by religion. Just the concept of it, in general, I think, really does not make sense to her. She reacted the same way with Grace. So she’s poking Jason’s head with her foot and getting all cute, like, “Are we fornicating?” He says the first two things they did were fornicating and he doesn’t know what to call the last one. Jason fans may enjoy the mental pictures this conjures; I, however, do not. So let’s move on.
Alicia also wonders why she’s so much more judgmental about Grace being religious than Jason. Duh, Alicia, I can answer that for you: Grace is lame and therefore everything she does is annoying. Mystery solved!
Anyway, Alicia asks if Jason thinks what they’re doing is wrong, and says she doesn’t want him to. He flat-out contradicts her and says of course she wants him to feel like he’s doing something wrong. She grins and admits it. I think this is the key to why Alicia is so weird about (her notion of) religion: its old-fashioned rules about chastity and devotion are a distorted mirror of her own. Like, the only people who would see Alicia as a rebel right now, other than lady writers of the nineteenth century, are … nuns, and even they would probably secretly think Alicia should loosen up.
Alicia gets a call from Diane and leaves Jason to go to court, telling him to stay here: she wants to picture him naked in her bed, eating bonbons. Does Jason not have work to do? Maybe Robin has been puttering away this whole time offscreen, doing all the work that Jason’s too busy gettin’ busy to do.
Peter lets himself into Alicia’s apartment to find Jason strolling around in his boxers making coffee. He gets pissed and totally knocks Jason’s coffee out of his hand, smashing the mug. Jason’s clearly not scared, but he politely bows out of the confrontation.
Peter follows him into the bedroom and stares at the mussed bed while he gets dressed, like, you’ve been around the block Peter, at this point you should really be inured to the sight of incriminatingly mussed sheets. He asks questions, but Jason refuses to answer them. Peter says, “I should kick your ass.” “You could try,” agrees Jason pleasantly. Heh. Then he leaves, with Peter looking perturbed.
Alicia has a soft spot for these aggressive, alpha-male types, doesn’t she. Jason and Peter aren’t really that dissimilar: slippery, charming, handsome fellows who you never really know deep down. Like, when Alicia gets home and finds Jason gone, she calls him—but he ignores the call as he drives down a dark road, accompanied by sad music.
The next day Alicia’s on her way out of the office when she finds Jason in a conference room. He evades that he left because of “work.” She kicks people out who are heading into the conference room for an actual meeting so that she can start in on the never-ending dirty talk with Jason:“I want to use you and I want you to use me. This is purely sexual.” Then she brings up her favorite topic: is he dumping her because of his religion? Oh, Alicia.
Jason is forced to reveal that Peter found him at the apartment, but this doesn’t faze Alicia, who’s really on a mission. A sex mission. She suggests meeting at his place, a hotel, the back seat of her car. He actually smiles at this. She leans in and whispers in his ear while people are settling in for a meeting at the other end of the table that she’s seeing him tonight and after that he can do whatever he likes. Then she stalks out. Subtle, Alicia. No one will ever figure out you’re banging the investigator if you whisper quietly enough in his ear! Except for, you know, the fact that it’s super weird and you just did it in front of everyone.
Angry, Alicia bursts into Peter’s office and says coldly, “I want a divorce.” After the commercial break, Peter asks what’s wrong, and she says nothing, but she’ll have her lawyer call him. He follows her out. “This is about your investigator, isn’t it?” he says. She keeps rolling her eyes as he asks about Jason, which seems a little unnecessary. I mean, it is about Jason. He asks about Grace and she laughs and says, “Yes, I’m an unfit mother.” Then he asks if it’s “true love. Again.” Ooh, mean! Alicia says, “This is me not caring. Not caring what people think. What Eli thinks, you think,” she says. Yeah, you’re such a hero, Alicia. (I mean, I’m happy about this, but I had hoped that this breakthrough on her end would come with a little bit more self-examination as to why she cared so much to begin with, which actually really wasn’t Peter’s fault, because it was obviously a deep-seated part of her.) Left alone in his office, Peter sits on the couch, looking somewhere between tense and heartbroken. Interesting.
That night, Alicia arrives home to an empty apartment after taking a deep breath. She looks around the empty kitchen, experiencing, I think, a melancholy preview of what her life will be when Grace goes to college and she’s free of Peter and the thing with Jason has, inevitably, flamed out. (Where is Grace, anyway?) But then she opens the door to her bedroom and finds Jason waiting on the bed. They kiss passionately. Carpe diem, Alicia.
The next night, Alicia’s staring at a tumbler full of what I assume is tequila when Peter comes over. At least he knocks this time before letting himself in. She says she’s exhausted, and he sits and says that he won’t try to argue her out of “her” divorce. He just wants her to do him a favor: he’s being indicted, and it’ll look bad if she leaves him. “I need you to stand beside me during this,” he says. He won’t contest the divorce, but just wants her not to make it public until afterwards.
Alicia stares at him, thinking, but the episode ends right as she takes a breath to answer.
She can’t say yes, right? I mean, the whole show has been building up to this declaration of independence, of not-caring. The only possible satisfying ending is for her to stand by this notion of being tired of worrying about appearances, even if it hurts Peter. I can definitely also see a possible cop-out where she agrees to wait but then he somehow defeats Connor Fox, and they still manage to get divorced before the show ends—but I don’t think that would be as satisfying.
Eli Saves Marissa
Marissa is still working at her cafe, and today she is forced to serve someone a “Goji-gasm with a virility boost.” Yikes. And it’s probably like thirteen dollars, too. Up comes Connor Fox, to which Marissa says, “I know who you are, so we can skip the part where you pretend you wanna date me.” Hee. He threatens her with a subpoena to testify against her father, and reads her a transcript of a conversation she’s had with Eli that reveals he warned Judge Schakowsky about the bribery charges.
Marissa gets him out of there by calling security ostentatiously and acts totally uninterested in what he’s reading, but afterward she goes right to Eli to tell him what Connor has on him. “He’s like an evil Boy Scout!” she says. Eli realizes that if he wants her to testify at trial, that means the indictment is certain—and that Connor must have a wiretap on the governor. He busts into Connor Fox’s office and accuses him of this, but Connor says smugly that actually, he just wiretapped Marissa’s phone. Eli protests that she knows nothing about Peter, but realizes that Connor’s “squeezing” Marissa to get to him. He has to take out Peter—or his daughter will be forced to testify against him.
Eli comes to the office to hire Diane. “This may be an instance where my interests and the governor’s… diverge,” he says, with his gift for making pricelessly dry understatement. After making sure Diane will keep this confidential from Alicia, he explains the situation and asks, “So what do I do?” he asks. Diane thinks about this for a moment, gears spinning.
Later, at the cafe, Eli tells Marissa he’s hired an attorney and not to worry about him. Marissa says drily, “I’m worried about me too. I’m a very small person, and it would be a lot of guilt to carry around, putting you away.” He tells her just to hold tight and not talk to the AUSA. She points out that Eli’s trying to protect Peter, but not because he hasn’t done anything wrong.
So Eli and Diane visit Connor Fox, and Diane says that Eli is ready to confess to obstructing justice with Schakowsky, and that therefore Marissa won’t be necessary. “Of course, if you wish to pursue these charges, Mr. Gold won’t be of much value as a witness in any future trials,” Diane points out. You know, like that one where he’s trying to put Peter in prison. Eli says his memory on Peter is “foggy,” and that it “could be refreshed.” Slimy! Diane asks if Connor would like to hear Eli’s confession, or hear his testimony at trial. Uh… can’t he just go after Eli later on? I’m confused as to how this actually saves Eli’s ass, but at least it saves Marissa.
Diane and Cary interrupt Howard’s usual pantsless afternoon nap to evict him from his office down to the 27th floor (which, for those who don’t remember, is where the associates, including Lucca, are banished) so that Alicia can move in. Cary points out that he’s too visible in his own office; the clients can see his (pointed pause, looking at Howard’s bare legs) work ethic.
Howard runs straight to David to tattle. “The next step in Diane’s push for an all-female-led firm,” David says portentously. Oh my God, all of you stop saying all-female firm. There have been a thousand firms with no female partners and no one ever described them as “male-led”! This whole thing drives me nuts. Anyway, Howard concludes by saying “the gerbil,” meaning Cary, stood by and let it happen.
Meanwhile, Cary’s working hard in his office and stops to take a break, listening to music. Alicia stops by to ask sympathetically how he is and suggest he take a rest. I’m sure David would interpret this as her trying to get Cary to go home so she can maneuver against him, but I think she just likes him and is trying to pretend to herself that she’s not in the middle of stabbing him in the back. Cary is in a nostalgic mood: “It’s been a weird time, hasn’t it? Us jumping around from firm to firm,” he says. Alicia gets distracted seeing Caitlyn walking through the office and leaves after telling him to get some rest. Left alone, he looks down at the envelope in his hand: a subpoena.
David bursts in on him later and says that it was a mistake to move Howard because the women are plotting: “the camel’s nose is already in the tent.” Um, I don’t know what that means but it sounds dirty. But Cary says it’s better than Howard’s bare legs being visible to all clients. He points out that they have more equity and don’t need to be threatened, but of course David just responds to this by blathering more absurdities: “This is war, and before the women make the next move we need to fire a shot across their bow.”
So David, who is not actually brave enough to go flat-out to war against Diane or Alicia, takes revenge on Lucca. After a snide remark that she’s going to be in her new office for a long time (read: on the 27th floor with the serfs), he asks her to do a fifty-state review of a certain type of prenup case. Lucca protests that she’s doing something for Alicia but David says acidly that he outranks her.
When Lucca reveals what’s going on to Alicia, Alicia sighs that David likes to haze newcomers, and that he’s probably feeling threatened by Diane, who’s been “aggressive about this female-led firm idea.” She says she doesn’t know if she has the stomach for a gender war now, which we all know is a lie; Alicia loves a good war. But this segues into her arriving at Cary’s office. She says she needs his help, and he says he needs hers. Alicia asks Cary to run interference with David and stop him from forcing Lucca to do a fifty-state survey overnight. Cary agrees and then says his favor is, “Don’t side with Diane.”
Alicia only plays coy for about a minute before pleading, “This is none of my business. It’s between you and Diane.” He says, looking disappointed, “And you can’t take sides?” Alicia gives him a helpless look and then asks if he’s still going to help Lucca, which is kind of gutsy considering she just totally blew off him and his friendship!
Cary gives a sad smile and says, “We’ll see.” Poor Cary. It seems like he still, deep down, trusted Alicia up until this moment and is only now realizing how little he means to her.
Soon enough, Diane and David get into a screaming match that can be heard throughout the halls of Lockhart Agos. “We all have the same goals,” Diane argues. “World domination,” David agrees immediately. Heh. It cracks me up, how easily he came up with that as his primary goal. She corrects that it’s to make them the premiere firm in Chicago. “The premiere female-led law firm,” David corrects. The camera zooms out and it’s revealed that Cary is also there, a silent onlooker: a clever way to show how disengaged Cary is from this war.
Cary points out that Diane didn’t even want Alicia to begin with, and Diane hedges that she was short-sighted. “Cut the crap. What’s your move?” David says. “Make Alicia a name partner,” Diane says. She threatens to bring it to the whole partnership, and Cary asks if she’s willing to tear this firm apart to find out if she can get the votes for that. Oh man. I feel for Cary so hard. He made a mistake by teaming up with David Lee, but he’s been watching his dream crumble around him and he hasn’t even gotten any good storylines on the way!
David goes to visit Howard Lyman, who asks if there’s “no way to stop the estrogen army.” Heeee. David says mournfully, “I’m just not sure it’s worth it,” but that there might be something else to get out of this: money. He says he wants to “milk this place for all it’s worth.” So he stalks back in to Diane’s office and says he’ll support Alicia’s elevation. “On what condition?” Diane says, looking—dare I say it?—nervous.
In David’s office, Cary accuses David of letting Alicia and Diane take over so they’d “slip you a few extra shares to shut up and smile.” Snakelike, David agrees it was something like that. “Life’s a bitch, kid,” says Howard, who was standing on the sidelines, as Cary storms out.
Alicia comes in to Cary’s office to thank him for making her a name partner, but he admits he voted against it. “Don’t worry, David Lee voted for you. He doesn’t care anymore.” Alicia pleads that she won’t be working against him, which, I’m not so sure. But Cary agrees calmly, “I know, because I’m quitting.” He’s going to get Diane to buy him out. He likes being a lawyer, but not this, and he isn’t good at always looking over his shoulder. Alicia tries to protest, too little too late; obviously it has no effect. On his way out he tells her he was subpoenaed in her husband’s case. Then he walks out, and Alicia watches him go. “I’m gonna burn one down,” sings the music in the background.
Wow. I can’t believe it – was that Cary’s last appearance? I haven’t looked this up, so as not to be spoiled. It sucks that he had so little to do this season, after knocking it out of the park acting-wise during his trial storyline last year. Worse (if he’s really leaving), this heartbreaking moment where he gives up on his firm, which he worked so hard for, doesn’t even get the honor of the last scene of the episode. (That goes to Peter asking Alicia to wait on the divorce.) I can’t help but wonder if he ran afoul of Julianna Margulies, too.
Maybe he’ll be back though. I wouldn’t trust anyone’s professional decisions on this show to last a whole four episodes.