Someone over there at CBS looked at my Secret Dream Diary of Guest Stars I’d Like To See and put them all in this episode. Veronica! Owen! Zach! Marissa (I guess)! Everyone but Josh Charles, who we’re still hoping is on his way back for one more appearance.
Anyway, we come back up on the same conversation between Jason and Alicia that ended last week’s episode. Alicia repeats that she wants Jason. Which is a huge step for her, just to say what she wants (even if what she wants is kind of stupid). Jason confirms that she’s not getting divorced because of him: it would be a bad idea because he doesn’t know what they are yet.
Men who are this afraid of commitment are really kind of arrogant, aren’t they? He’s acting like she’s too stupid to notice that they haven’t made any commitments to each other yet, or too blinded by love of him to understand what a risk it would be to give up marriage for undefined FWB situation. Calm down, buddy. I don’t think she’s going to perish for love of you quite yet.
Alicia agrees that she doesn’t know what they are either, but “I’ve looked back at my life, and every time I didn’t say something I meant or waited for a better moment…” They’re interrupted by a knock, but the New Alicia isn’t going to let bad timing stop her from saying what she wants. “There’s no better moment than now,” she says.
It’s Grace at the door, demanding help with flowers. Before Alicia lets her in, Jason smiles and says, “We will talk.” Then he awkwardly presents her with a little box that has a ribbon and stammers out a weird apology that it’s nothing: it’s a deed to some land on Mars. Alicia is smiles indulgently at him while he apologizes for the present, but when he explains what it actually is, her face falls. Which, fair enough; she just received a gift that was cheesy even when my college roommate received it from a lovelorn acquaintance freshman year.
Anyway, Grace is pounding on the door and screaming “Mom” like a huge brat, and Jason finally says he’ll call Alicia later and lumbers out. There’s Grace in the hall with a giant collection of funeral flowers. Jason, on his way out, offers help bringing them in, but she declines in favor of screaming more information at Alicia: the florist sent funeral flowers, they just left them there, what will they do? Apparently they’re supposed to be for Jackie and Howard’s ketubah signing that night (a Jewish prenuptial agreement signing ceremony).
Jason is walking around the halls of the erstwhile Lockhart Agos (is it just Lockhart Florrick now? Who knows) with a long face. Eli, and Marissa, for God knows what reason, are here for a meeting with him. Jason’s like, “You know I’m not the best person to do this.” Understatement of the year. But Eli says that’s why he needs Jason: “I want you to prove that Peter’s guilty.”
Oh, I see. The Dipple approach. I feel like this trope of “You hate me, therefore you must work for me” made little sense for Diane and even less now. The one time it worked really beautifully was in “Red Team, Blue Team,” in season 4, when Alicia and Cary, just after discovering that their partnership offers had been revoked, were assigned to play the opposing team in a mock trial for a big client. That was useful because it corresponded with a major shift in the relationships of the pretend adversaries, rather than being flimsily justified by an already-bad relationship. So I suppose it wasn’t even this same trope, but I do wish the storytelling here were as solid as it was during the arc in which Alicia and Cary declared independence from the firm.
Anyway, back in her bedroom, Alicia opens the present, which is tied with a red bow that perfectly matches her gorgeous red party dress. Grace comes in to report a conversation with the florist where she told them, “there’s a funeral somewhere that’s getting flowers that say ‘Congratulations Howard and Jackie.’” She laughs proudly at this extremely mild burn. Grace is so weird. But Alicia needs someone to talk to, so she tells Grace about the awkward present. Grace jokes that whoever gave it to her is thirteen. Alicia claims it’s from “someone at work,” like Grace won’t figure out that the man she saw leaving just now was probably the gift-giver. They make jokes about farming on the Florrick homestead and laugh out of all proportion to the funniness of said jokes.
Then, thank God, Zach comes home and interrupts the nonsense. Alicia gives him a huge hug and thanks him for coming—and for wearing a tie. He gives Grace an awkward “hey.” Wow, that’s cold. Anyway, he tells them he has a surprise for them, and Grace makes yet another out-of-left-field joke, asking if he’s flunking out. “No,” Zach says, and… cut. That scene had a really weird rhythm. I blame Grace.
Matan’s napping on a fancy leather couch and wakes to a creepily observing Jason, who politely informs him that he was snoring. Jason asks about Florrick, and Matan snarks that Peter must be paying him well. But as soon as Jason asks about it, Matan says he had a strong case: Richard Locke’s girlfriend Patty died of two bullet holes through the chest, and he was covered in blood. “It was a slam-dunk case,” Jason concludes. But Peter was micromanaging, asking questions about everything, second-guessing them. Jason thanks him, and before he can go, Matan asks him for one thing: “Don’t get the governor off.” Just get the governor’s wife off. OH YEAH, I went there.
Back at the Florrick apartment, Grace answers the door to find Howard and Jackie, ten minutes early. Alicia, in the middle of plating some apps, gets a panicked look and pops the wine, presumably for glass number three or four. Zach asks with fake nonchalance, “Can I get a hit of that?” Aww, he went to college for eight months and now he thinks he’s all grown up!
Alicia gives him a look, then pours him a teeny tiny glass. Trying to be cool, Zach asked how she is and then tells her she seems frazzled. “It’s a good thing. It’s more real.” On the one hand, that’s sort of a dick thing to say. But can you blame him? As soon as he got out of that house full of secrets, he must have realized he was starved for any kind of reality or honesty.
Jackie stumbles into the room where they’re hiding the funeral arrangements and gasps that they’re so beautiful. Grace can barely contain her laughter. Meanwhile, all her elderly friends are arriving—everyone’s early since the traffic was light, which just contributes to how frazzled Alicia is. Then someone about a quarter of the age of the rest of the guests arrives, announcing her name is Hannah McCreary and asking for Zach.
Alicia’s in the kitchen opening the cake: it’s a cross shape and says “Rest in Peace.” Alicia laughs. I guess that’s what happens when you order your flowers and cake from the same incompetent… florist? Or, Grace is actually so inept that she ordered funeral flowers and a funeral cake on two separate occasions. I guess it’s possible. Anyway, Zach marches in to introduce Hannah as his girlfriend. She launches right in with, “I loved that you stood by your husband. A lot of people my age think it’s a throwback to an old kind of domesticity, but I think it’s a harbinger of a new feminism. …Women should do what they want! Even if what they want is to stand by their man.” Alicia is like, “…Thanks, person I just met?”
It turns out that Hannah is Zach’s proctor at school, and that she thinks compatibility is more about “intellectual reach than physical years.” She’s basically making deranged, multisyllabic speeches every time she opens her mouth, and Alicia is giving her hilariously dubious looks. It’s quite enjoyable (for us, not so much for Alicia).
Cary and Matan are at a bar having drinks. Matan says Cary looks relaxed, and Cary laughs about unemployment. Matan reveals that Jason Krouse is investigating the Locke mistrial, and that the Florrick camp is looking for a scapegoat. “Well, it’s not me,” says Cary, who still believes in justice for himself, despite all evidence to the contrary. “In my experience, whenever there’s a battle between truth and power, truth loses,” Matan says. I hope this is leading up to something huge, because Cary’s departure from the firm was so anticlimactic. But given how little Matt Czuchry has to do these days, I don’t know how much faith I’ve got.
Alicia’s asking Grace about the relationship, and Grace didn’t even know about it, it turns out. Then Veronica shows up with Owen, demanding wine. Alicia’s asks what she’s doing here, and Veronica says Jackie’s so crazy that she thought Veronica would be jealous that she’s getting married to Howard. Hah, that is quite typical of Jackie. They make fun of Alicia’s giant, unused stockpile of wine. Owen says everyone else is a senior citizen, so they’ll have the wine to themselves. Grace adds helpfully that Zach drinks now, too. I mean, duh, he’s in college. But it is kind of a bold move for a freshman to come home and demand wine at his grandmother’s ketubah party. “That’s OK,” Veronica says, “kids should learn to drink young.” Hers certainly did.
Peter arrives, with a hostess gift for Alicia. She gives it a suspicious look, presumably wondering if it’s a deed to a mansion on the moon. Eli’s with Peter, and has Marissa on his arm for no apparent reason. Peter draws Alicia aside and tells her that their divorce lawyer suggested a one-lawyer divorce since their split is amicable. I mean, this week it is, sure. He even offers to find a different lawyer if Alicia prefers it. She says it seems smart, looking a little sad. They agree that they don’t want to fight with each other (again, this week). Then Alicia tells him about Hannah, who’s 23 and graduating this year. “It’s a college romance, they don’t last long,” Peter says. They laugh about the fact that they were a college romance. Back to the divorce: “Do you feel sad?” Alicia says. He does. “I guess it’s just… what happens,” Alicia says.
Grace pulls them back outside, where people are cheering another marriage in the family. “Congrats Zach and Hannah!” says Howard. Alicia’s face says: oh, fuck. Grace, for reasons best known to herself, is grinning.
Later, in the kitchen, Veronica, Owen, and Alicia have a little huddle in the kitchen so they can discuss this new development and refresh their wine glasses. Veronica, helpfully, asks why Zach’s getting married. Alicia tells her wearily to ask him, and Veronica says dismissively, “He’ll just say ‘love.’ That’s what you were like when you were in college.” Heh. Veronica doesn’t approve because of the age difference—and when Owen snarks at her, she claims it’s totally different than her and “Ted” (who we’ve never heard of) because Ted was a man. Alicia rolls her eyes.
Diane arrives with Kurt and asks Alicia to talk later, then as they walk off, he pinches her butt. Er, ew. Save it for the twenty-year-old blondes, Kurt. Diane has quite the opposite reaction, however.
Peter and Alicia manage to corral Zach. Zach announces that he’s going to move to France because Hannah has a job offer there, and he’s going to write. Alicia’s shoulders are shaking, and her face is hidden, so Peter gets a look of consternation on his face and presses on: who’s going to pay? Well, Hannah, Zach says reasonably. “You’re gonna let her pay for you,” Peter says. Zach says they’re “not as hung up on the gender thing.” Peter rolls his eyes, then tries to get Alicia to join the conversation. It turns out she’s laughing so hard she’s red in the face. It’s actually pretty exquisite. Then she calms down long enough to tell Zach he’s being stupid, and ask meanly what, exactly, he thinks he’s going to write. He says he’s going to write a memoir, and she breaks into another peal of laughter, which is pretty much deserved when a non-remarkable nineteen-year-old wants to write a memoir.
Zach storms off, as Alicia’s still laughing. “Well, we have one kid left,” she says. Peter says to her, pretending unsuccessfully he doesn’t think she’s being cute, “I guess we shouldn’t laugh at him.” Alicia apologizes and says Peter will have to handle it: she’s been drinking. Peter’s like, what the fuck else is new? She tells him he’s a good dad, which, I think “not being drunk at this exact moment” is pretty much the only qualification he has. Peter wisely points this out, so Alicia agrees to go talk to Zach despite her drunkenness—ignoring a call from Jason on the way.
Jason, leaving his message, sounds entirely freaked out; and this is apparently not the first time he’s called. At the moment, he is in a cube farm talking to a detective who was the first responder at the Locke crime scene. The detective says stoutly that Florrick was the “best state’s attorney we’ve had in twenty years and a hell of a governor.” Jason asks if that has anything to do with the fact that he also worked on his private security. The guy repeats the exact same line word for word. Jason’s about to leave when the detective suddenly decides to go all cryptic and ominous: it was probably just a coincidence that Florrick wanted to double check all the blood collection.
Cary arrives at Louis Canning’s office and announces he needs a lawyer, since he doesn’t work “there” anymore, aka the Firm With a Thousand Names. Canning assumes he wants to sue—but Cary says it’s about the governor. Canning’s eyes light up. It’s evil plan o’clock, and that is Canning’s favorite time of day.
At the party, Zach is a little tetchy with Alicia for laughing at him. “I’m in love, Mom. You should be talking to Hannah right now, and not me, trying to figure out why I’m in love with her.” It’s actually a pretty good point, except for the fact that talking to Hannah has already turned out to be deeply irritating. Alicia pleads that his father faces up to three years in prison, and asks him not to move to France till it’s over. They’re basically in silhouette, the background lit up while their faces are in shadow. I think it represents Alicia’s dark morals. Or, Peter’s. “It’s what you do for family,” Alicia intones, like they’re in the mafia.
The next step in Jason’s investigation is the lab, with a bitter tech who says that the issue cost her a promotion. She says that all the evidence was correctly processed, and that the governor just told her not to use it because the blood evidence was mishandled, but she doesn’t know why he said that. Jason’s about to walk away, and she calls him back. People seem to do that a lot to Jason. I guess that’s his trick. She tells him to check the evidence: “Something’s missing.”
Back at the party, Lucca and Alicia are toasting. Alicia gives Lucca the lowdown on her conversation with Jason, which ended with a deed to Mars. Alicia says she doesn’t know why she thought she loved him, and that she doesn’t know anything about him. SHE THOUGHT SHE LOVED HIM?! Now that is way crazier than Zach wanting to write a memoir. She DOESN’T know anything about him. Lucca advises that Jason seems really unsettled, and if Alicia wants to get to know him, she should call him.
Grace and Veronica and Owen are all cozying up on the couch, watching that silly soap opera Alicia loves. Veronica is telling wild stories about Alicia, and Owen accuses her of making them up. Jackie comes in to greet them: “Drinking, I see?” Veronica says drily, “Yes, it’s the one way I have of dealing with the jealousy over you having a husband while I have none.” When this doesn’t deflate Jackie, Veronica brags that she knows about Alicia and Peter getting a divorce, which she found out from David Lee. Grace sits up, shocked; only then does Veronica realize what she’s done.
Diane is showing Alicia what must be the buyout agreement with David Lee. “It’s branding. He understands branding,” she gloats. Diane is too good to have to utter that embarrassing word. They toast to an all-female partnership. Then the kids run up to ask Alicia if she’s getting a divorce. Awkward!
“Can we just talk here? Why is everything always secret in this family?” Zach demands as Alicia pulls him aside. She looks for Peter to join in on this crisis, on her way passing Marissa talking about going to law school and Kurt arguing with Hannah about a “well-regulated militia.” Hee. When Alicia finally gets Zach and Grace, Hannah’s there too—and Zach says that Hannah should be part of it, but Hannah gracefully bows out. Alicia has to admit that she and Peter decided to divorce a month ago, and Grace asks if it’s about Jason. “You’re sleeping with him,” Grace says. Alicia says it’s none of her business, and Zach pounces on this to say that he and Hannah are none of her business. He says they’re getting married, while Alicia’s getting divorced, so who’s making the mistake?
Turns out Jason’s standing there for that whole thing. He sheepishly says he’s here for Eli. But then he says he wants to talk to her too. Alicia, resisting, says she’ll get Eli. She walks in on Jackie and Howard finalizing the signing of their ketubeh, with Jackie joking that Eli and Marissa are her two Jewish friends. (“Friends” is… a stretch.) Eli comes out to talk to Jason, and he runs down the evidence against Peter. Eli tells him to keep going. Jason asks him to send Alicia out, and Eli says gently, “She’s hosting.” Jason says, “I know. It’ll just take a second.”
Meanwhile, inside the party, Diane gets a call from Louis Canning, who says he wants to work together since they represent Eli and Cary, Peter’s old allies. He wants to be a “coalition of the innocent.”
Alicia comes out to see Jason in the hall and says “This isn’t a good idea.” But he insists on talking. Dude, let her host her party! But no, here they are walking around on the street. Since he made her come outside even though she hadn’t planned to talk to him longer than a minute, he gives her his coat, which I’m sure some internet fangirls will see as sweet. He says they’ve had two awkward moments, and it can be hard to claw your way back after that. She asks what they’re clawing back to: an excellent question. He tries to explain the gift, saying that he didn’t know they were going to be having a serious conversation, and that he just likes space. (Outer space, not emotional space, in this context. Though he seems to like both.) She semi-accepts this.
Then he gets down to it, saying he likes to move around a lot. She says she’s not stopping him, and he says yes she is, and finally admits he wants her to stop him. But he hates to be stuck. He actually looks like he’s going to cry as he explains that she has a whole life here, and he doesn’t want her to give it up, he’s just naming a problem. She repeats, “You want to go somewhere else. And you want me to go with you. But not now, but at some point, when you get itchy about staying in one place? OK, I need to think on this.” She kisses him. Really, Alicia? Also, technically, he didn’t really say he wanted you to go with him, but whatever.
Eli and Marissa are hanging out at the party, Daddy and Baby Wallflower. He asks her why she’s going to law school. “It feels like a trick.” Didn’t Grace say she wanted to go to law school the other day? I feel like these girls are all drawing the wrong lessons from their parents’ lives. Marissa says the law’s exciting and things move fast. He calls it “paperwork and meetings.” Just then she gets a call that turns out to be from Mike Tascioni saying that his dog is sick. “We’ve grown close,” Marissa explains. Ew, weird! So it turns out that Mike can’t argue in court, and he totally hangs up on Eli.
Diane comes over to borrow him. “Can Cary Agos hurt you?” she asks. He says that he needs her help. Then he finds Peter alone in Alicia’s office and asks why he vetoed the blood spatter in the Locke case. “Is this from Jason Krouse?” Peter smirks. He defends that the lab tech compromised the blood spatter. Eli asks why he showed up at the crime scene. Peter gives a whole throaty speech that sounds like a crapload of lies to me, but that Eli, bless his heart, pretty much buys: “This case was going to be scrutinized. It was going to be our OJ. So I went down there to get ahead of it. Except this lab tech walked right through the blood. So I vetoed it.” And it turns out that Kurt McVeigh was who Peter hired to check the ballistics.
It’s all very intense, but I really wish this whole trial was about something we already knew about—one of the many sins that Peter has committed onscreen—and not something random that cropped up a few episodes ago in the slowest-moving grand jury storyline ever to happen on this show.
Kurt and Diane are flirting over a bowl of pasta in the kitchen. She says she can go home in ten more minutes. Alicia can see them necking, and gets a little sad. Maybe she realizes that those two connect on a whole different level than the one she and Jason connect on. Or maybe it’s just supposed to represent that she likes Jason and wants to have this with him. Meanwhile, Eli’s calling Jason instead of her. She hides in her room, watching her silly soap opera.
Hannah comes in without knocking and interrupts. She’s got a lot of nerve. She tells Alicia she told Zach to call ahead, and asks if Alicia hates her. Alicia says no, they’re just worried things are moving too fast. She asks if a year is long enough to make the biggest commitment of her life. Hannah asks some pointed questions about her marriage to Peter, and Alicia manages to keep her cool and say that’s why she’s worried. Hannah says, “We won’t go through all the mess. It’s just marriage! … Marriage should work for us, not us for marriage. If Zach doesn’t like France, he can leave me. Come back home. Go to school. If he meets someone else he loves more, then why should I trap him? Marriage should be fun. It shouldn’t be this weight. This death knell.” Alicia looks a little amused, and asks if it’s not permanent, why do it? “Taxes,” Hannah says.
Just then they’re interrupted by a very silly scene on the TV: a priest standing in the moonlight as a voice says, “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I’ve hurt so many people.” Well, I guess that’s one lesson to take from Peter and Alicia’s marriage, actually!
Outside, Eli and Jason are in a car, Eli defending Peter. Jason pokes holes in all of it, and finally Eli asks if his feelings for Alicia are getting in the way of this. Although actually poking holes in Peter’s lame defense is exactly what Eli hired Jason to do, so I think Eli’s feelings for Peter are what’s actually getting in the way of this. “If you think so, feel free to fire me,” says Jason. Eli realizes he should, and tells Jason to send his bill.
But Jason’s not done. He comes back to the lab and asks the tech about all of the mistakes she’s made. “I didn’t do my homework before, but you have quite a history of sloppy mistakes,” he says with what appears to be no intention of irony. She says that everyone walked through the blood, and he says she’s lying and should share the facts next time she talks to the AUSA. So, I guess he’s trying to help Alicia by helping Peter? This is evidence that Jason and Alicia are a love to last through the ages? Who knows.
Canning calls Alicia, and unlike Jason, he gets an answer right away. He tells her he’s representing Cary and asks if Peter will be loyal to him. Then he twists the knife. Alicia’s been interacting with Lloyd Garber too—is Peter planning to be loyal to her? She gave up spousal privilege. Louis wants her to think about giving Peter up to protect herself.
Alicia hangs up on him and turns on the TV, where some criminal is yelling something up at the sky.
The party’s ending, and Marissa and Eli are leaving. Marissa demands reasons to be a lawyer (“You’re… you’re smart?” Alicia tries) and then gives her a giant hug. Eli and Alicia motion behind her back that Marissa’s been partaking of Alicia’s favorite sauce. It’s very cute. Diane and Kurt take their leave, and Alicia jokes awkwardly about them teaching her how to be happy. Veronica gives her a drunk, maudlin hug and stage-whispers that she’s glad Alicia’s going with “the hunk.” Owen comes to take her away and promises to get her home safe. They all exchange I-love-you’s. Aww, Cavanaughs!
Next it’s Jackie’s turn. She says that the party was beautiful. “I won’t be seeing you again,” Jackie says, smiling. “You’re divorcing my son. And I just wanted you to know we’re more alike than not.” Interesting! I guess in many ways they are: intensely loyal, conservative, and fond of revenge served ice cold. Howard interrupts to thank Alicia, and the two leave. Then Zach and Hannah head out. Alicia hugs him and tears up, saying, “Be good. Please.” Finally she shuts the door on the entire world. “I don’t want to die,” a bloodied man is yelling on the TV.
Peter’s still there, though. Alicia pours them more wine. These people’s livers need to be studied in a lab. They sigh over Zach. “It’s his mistake, let him make it,” Alicia says. Peter remarks she looks exhausted, and sits next to her on the bed. They cheers companionably to their divorce.
“Bye. I’ll miss you,” says the bloodied man on the TV. The episode ends, presumably, just before they start ripping each other’s clothes off.