Is everyone ready for the finale tonight? I can’t quite believe it’s really over. Here’s a recap of the penultimate episode, which was, on the whole, quite moving.
Peter’s trial has started, and we’re in opening arguments, with Diane repping Peter and Connor representing the state. We open on Alicia’s calm face in near-total silence, watching the back of Peter’s neck with Connor Fox’s voice murmuring unintelligibly in the background. When Connor’s voice fades up to an intelligible level, he’s talking about Alicia, and how the jury shouldn’t pay any attention to her standing by her man because she’s “part of a criminal conspiracy.” Diane objects: Alicia’s not on trial. They start arguing, and Judge Cuesta, weary of all the fighting, starts a score card. Each time a lawyer “provokes a round of cross-talk,” they get a hash mark on the card. At the end of the day, the lawyer with the most marks gets fined ten thousand dollars and held in contempt. Diane, barely able to keep a straight face, says it’s “unusual.” Peter leans over to Diane and says, “He hates me, he has for years.” Which turns out to seem pretty true, since Cuesta overrules almost every objection Diane makes.
Lloyd Garber, Peter’s campaign donor and the father of the accused murderer in the Locke case, is testifying. I expected this to be very dramatic, after everyone kept wringing their hands and saying his full name for like five episodes straight, but it’s quite bloodless. Or rather, it’s a repeat of the same situation we’ve had with this whole plot line: it would be dramatic if we had known Lloyd Garber for years, but we haven’t, so he’s just some jerk that was friends with Peter and is now testifying against him. A very low-energy testimony, too. He describes visiting Peter when he found out about the case, and saying that he didn’t want him to go to jail. Apparently Peter responded that there was nothing to worry about, and two days later, the evidence went missing.
Peter, consulting with Eli and Diane and Alicia, insists he never said anything like what Lloyd Garber is saying. Diane’s busy wrangling their appearances, asking them to hold hands and be warm towards each other. Alicia gives a rueful smile and grabs Peter’s hand as Diane rises to question Lloyd. She establishes that they were discussing the evidence, and Peter had reviewed the evidence. Couldn’t Peter (“your friend, the one you’re betraying” she clarifies snarkily) have meant, “I have reviewed the evidence and you have nothing to worry about”? Lloyd looks over at Connor, and both Diane and the judge point out that it looks like he’s checking for the answer. Connor protests, and each lawyer goes up to two hash marks.
Afterward, Connor meets with Alicia in some office that I can’t identify, maybe a room in the courthouse? He offers eight years, saying it’s as low as he’ll go because Peter did it. “I don’t care what you believe, I care what you can prove,” Alicia says. She’s a cold cookie these days. As she leaves, he calls, “I have a surprise witness, Mrs. Florrick!” Is that even allowed?
Alicia pretends to be unconcerned, but immediately she calls Jason and asks him to find out what Connor could be talking about. Back at the trial, Matan testifies that Peter “micromanaged” the case by coming to the crime scene. In seven years with four different SAs, Matan’s never seen that. But Diane elicits testimony that Peter had been convicted of corruption before and suggests that maybe he wanted to be extra cautious. Then she points out that 12% of Glenn Childs’ cases were thrown out, whereas fewer than 2% of Peter’s were. At one point someone calls what Diane’s saying “defense-attorney crap.” I can’t tell if it’s Connor or the judge.
Canning interrupts the trial to talk to Alicia outside. She asks if Cary’s testifying against Peter. “Is Peter scapegoating Cary?” Canning parries. He says if they don’t go after Cary he has no reason to go after Peter. But “here’s the problem: Peter is guilty.” Alicia is once again unruffled. Canning insists that there’s a witness on the list who approached them to talk to Cary: Geneva Pine. “If she testifies, Peter goes to prison,” he says.
Alicia asks Jason to find out what Geneva knows, and information to use against her. He interviews a woman named Emily Parkes, who blathers about how the SA’s office is like a family, and the papa was Peter and the mama was Geneva, and she had access to all the cases. Which… I just don’t see it. Geneva was constantly feeling marginalized; she resented the way Peter favored Cary and suspected she was given less preference because she was black. Are we supposed to go back and rewatch those and think that even in those private scenes between Peter and Geneva where she spoke her mind, that they were just covering up the real secret? Which, according to Emily, is this: “She was sleeping with him.” Jason seems, as usual, amused and skeptical, but he falls serious when Emily keeps elaborating. She says it was going on up till a year ago, and Peter broke it off, and that’s why Geneva’s testifying against him.
And in fact, back at the trial, Geneva is testifying. She interviewed Locke on the night of the shooting, and says that it “felt like he was about to confess.” She says that he only asked for a lawyer after Peter came and asked if the guy had been Mirandized. She draws a distinction between a custodial interrogation, where the person has been arrested and is Mirandized, and this type of questioning. “If they show up and they want to tell us about the crime they committed, we don’t stop them,” she enunciates. Then they ask about the ballistics testing, which originally revealed they were fired by Locke’s gun. But they were lost before the defense had the chance to test the bullets, and when she asked for a search for them, Peter merely said he’d take it under advisement. During the recess, Peter and Alicia hold hands ostentatiously… until Alicia gets a text from Canning and runs out.
Canning tells her Geneva is lying. “She was a spurned lover,” he says matter-of-factly, presenting her with a folder of affidavits to that effect. Alicia nods and thanks him for the info, completely unaffected. He asks if she heard him. To his startled face. “You wanted me to cry, Mr. Canning? Oh my God, I thought my husband no longer cheated,” she says, fake-sobbing. “Wow. God, I love you,” he says. “I know,” she whispers triumphantly.
Later, when Eli and Diane are conferring (Peter’s not there), Alicia interrupts and suggests they go to motive and try to make a case that she’s lying. “She was sleeping with Peter,” she says matter-of-factly, describing the packet of affidavits Canning gave her. Eli and Diane are all shocked and discombobulated, and when Peter walks in they fall awkwardly silent. Alicia calmly explains the situation to him. Peter seems amused and skeptical, but when Alicia repeats it, he gets serious and says, “That’s not true.”
Peter and Alicia move to the abandoned twenty-eighth floor to have a private conversation. “Just use it, Peter,” Alicia says wearily. He insists there was nothing with Geneva. “If you’re worried about embarrassing me…” she says, but he cuts her off and insists it’s just office gossip. “Who got it for you, your investigator?” he says, trying to sound cool.
Kurt and Diane are hanging out in his gun shed, and she’s shooting his gun, enjoying her sexiness. She says she needs him on the stand, and that his ballistics report was “deliberately impenetrable,” and that“to withhold an opinion, you have to have an opinion.” Like the true rationalist he is, he demurs that opinions are nothing without science behind them. She protests that there’s his expertise, too, and asks for his preliminary opinion. He waits. Diane adds reluctantly, “…in a manner that is helpful to my defense.”
So Kurt appears on the stand, looking less than thrilled, with Lucca questioning him. Lucca gets the whole thing about Diane’s marriage to him out of the way so Connor can’t undercut them later. Connor protests as soon as the questioning drifts to Kurt’s preliminary opinion, but Lucca insists that the preliminary opinion goes to Peter’s state of mind, and that he wouldn’t have had any wish to hide the evidence if he thought it would be exculpatory. The judge allows it, and Kurt reluctantly says that in his preliminary opinion, the bullets didn’t come from Locke’s gun. OK, then I’m confused about the ballistics testing, but whatever.
Kurt’s favorite student Holly Westfeldt, the one played by Megan Hilty, is back! She’s testifying for Connor Fox. He asks her if she found any reason to doubt Kurt’s reasoning. Diane objects, since she had no actual access to the evidence. The judge overrules her, giving them both hash marks. Holly testifies that there were no deficiencies, but diplomatically says that he “oversold” his results because false negatives are very easy with the method he used. She insists that he’s not lying, and that he’s one of the most honest people she knows, as if she still hopes to be the teacher’s pet after this–but that “the makeup of the defense team” might have been a motivation to spin. Lucca asks if he could have equally oversold his results to Florrick. Holly mildly agrees to this after a little pressure. Lucca asks one more question: who usually handled the evidence. Holly names Cary Agos. Uh-oh!
Outside in the hall, Alicia insists to Canning that they didn’t mean to point the finger to Cary, and that they’re on the same side. “We were, till about ten minutes ago,” Canning says.
Cary’s next on the stand. He testifies that the bullets linked Locke to the murder. He says that Kurt was cautious, but that he was always cautious, and they knew that “the bullets damned Peter.” Yikes! He corrects himself; he meant to say Locke. Lucca asks if he’s angry at the Florricks, and Cary admits he does. But when she asks why the court should believe him, he says, “Because I’m telling the truth.” “As you see it?” she pushes. He says, “Yes, of course, that’s all I have to offer here. The truth as I see it.” God, poor Cary.
Alicia finds him outside later and says he didn’t do that, because she didn’t mean him any harm. He looks at her wearily and totally nails her with a speech I can’t help transcribing in full: “You know what’s amazing, Alicia. After all these years working together, you still think I would come in here, into a court of law, and perjure myself to hurt you. I was here to tell the truth. What are you here to do?” YES. Excellent point, and excellent question. Alicia learned early on to survive in the shark-infested waters of Stern Lockhart Gardner by being constantly suspicious, constantly on her guard. It was good for her career, but it destroyed her ability to relate to almost anyone. Except Canning, who is more cunning than even Alicia could be.
Back in the courtroom, Peter is musing to Lucca that he should testify, but Lucca thinks he could be ripped apart. Alicia agrees with Peter that it will make the jury like him better. Diane is too upset and distracted to help, so Alicia takes charge, saying they should prep.
That night, Diane slips into bed next to a sleeping Kurt and whispers that she’s sorry. “I will make you happy every day of your life, but please forgive me,” she says, in tears. She big-spoons him, and he wakes up. After a long moment of thought, he takes her hand and kisses it, and she cries harder. What a lovely moment (and another facet, I think, of the same problem that tore apart Alicia and Cary’s friendship).
Now here’s a devil’s-advocate scene that really works. Alicia is questioning Peter, in his office. She asks him to explain why Lloyd Garber’s donations increased the year after Locke’s case was thrown out. Peter gets a little mad, and she says he’s being too belligerent. “You’re the governor. Be dignified,” she advises him. Then she moves on to mentioning the prostitutes, and says that Judge Cuesta would overrule Diane’s objection. She presses him more, asking if he “never paid for prostitutes, never cheated on your wife, haven’t broken every promise you’ve ever made?” Peter calms himself, with effort, and makes his same speech about how he’s trying to make up for his mistakes. Then he says that when he was voted back in, he spent every day trying to make sure there were no bad convictions, because of what his conviction did to his family. Alicia asks if that’s true. I personally think that Peter was trying to avoid corruption in his second phase for a more practical reason: he knew he was under scrutiny. If he was going to rise up in politics, he didn’t have room for any more mistakes. But Alicia looks convinced as Peter keeps speechifying about how people should want states’ attorneys who don’t cut corners.
Then, however, she’s back to questioning him: she brings in the affair with Geneva, and Peter breaks, demanding: “At what point are we playing husband and wife here, and at what point lawyers?” Alicia says somewhat mystifyingly, “At all points.” She tells him all his indiscretions will be admissible if he goes on the stand. She starts ranting about Marilyn Garbanza and Ramona Littman. “And you sleeping with Will Gardner, and you sleeping with your investigator!” Peter yells. Oof. “I’m not on trial here, buddy,” Alicia informs him icily.
Now that was a great scene. It made use of the long years of tension between them on both sides, not only Peter’s mistakes but also the long years that he’s plainly half-resented the length of punishment and judgment Alicia, quite understandably, subjected him to, while she was free to have affairs and still feel like the original victim (which she was).
Anyway, the next day Peter gets on the stand, and when he denies the Geneva affair, Connor brings in the prostitutes again. Diane objects, while Peter asks what this has to do with his performance. Connor finally asks a pointed question: how can they believe him, when he lied so much. Peter makes yet another speech. He says it’s because he was wrongly convicted. “Am I a flawed individual? Yes. Have I done things in my personal life that I regret? Yes, deeply. But I never want anyone to go through what I went through. And that’s why I was a hard-ass state’s attorney… That’s when I was at my best. That’s when I was most honorable.” Alicia nods at him with a very small approving smile.
Looks like the trial’s already done. Cuesta advises the jury and dismisses them. Connor shows up at Lockhart Florrick and says he’ll offer two years. As Peter, Alicia, and Eli convene in Alicia’s kitchen that night, Eli paces and rants about how he thinks they can get the case thrown out with the help of the as-yet-unseen Mike Tascioni. Peter’s head bows further and further, and Alicia, noticing this, asks Eli to give them a minute. She pours them each a big ole glass of red wine. Peter confesses suddenly that he never liked wine, he just drank it for her. Hah! Alicia laughs and offers him a Scotch, but he says it’s grown on him. He muses that he “almost died” from eight months in prison, which I think is a leetle bit of an exaggeration (I mean, he didn’t get his hand sliced open like Cary), but that he could actually die in prison if he doesn’t take the two years.
He asks what she thinks. She puts her arms around him and says that she was never very good at gambling (ah what an understatement!) and that he should sleep on it. But he’s convinced he should take it. He asks her if she’ll visit him and she says she will, her arms still around him. “The hardest thing is being forgotten,” he says. “I won’t forget,” she says softly. He puts his hand over hers for a moment. They both look sad, and at peace. But she gets a text that informs her the jury’s back. Bad timing rules the day again!
Is Jason in Love?
After Jason’s big revelation last week that he’s afraid of being stuck (shocker!), Jason and Alicia are a little bit estranged—at least, on Alicia’s side. Jason texts Alicia during the trial to ask how it’s going, and Alicia starts to type something, but under the scrutiny of the jurors decides not to. Lucca notices Jason waiting for his text and asks him if he pissed her off. “She’s in Mrs. Florrick mode for the trial, that’s all,” Jason says. Lucca hints that if Peter went to prison that would be great because Jason could keep banging his wife in total freedom. Jason asks her to give it a rest. A minute later, Alicia has a text from Lucca saying “Don’t keep us in suspense.”
OK, I know the rest of the TV commentariat is very enamored of Lucca, but I feel like her only job has been to ask Jason and Alicia about their lives. Why does she get so much more screentime than Matt Czuchry, whose character was painstakingly developed and deepened over six seasons?
When Alicia does call, it’s only to ask Jason to find out something about the case. Later, when she finds out more from Canning, she asks for a favor, then awkwardly says she can pay, which makes everything more awkward. “It’s for Peter,” Jason surmises, correctly. Mrs. Florrick mode, indeed.
But after he agrees to help out, she follows him into the elevator just as he’s about to leave. “I’m sorry, I have to finish this for Peter,” she says. He says she doesn’t have to apologize. She says she can’t figure out what he said about not getting stuck but wanting to be together, and asks for time. “I’m not someone who likes being untethered.” Again, such an understatement! They bid each other good-bye in soft voices, but they don’t kiss.
Later, when Jason presents Alicia with a compilation of very uninteresting dirt on Geneva, she’s like, “Nothing else?” He says no. “Nothing about her sleeping with Peter?” Alicia presses. Jason takes off his glasses, his standard move to show sincerity. “Nothing I could confirm independently,” he hedges. She asks if he tried to confirm it. He says he’s in an awkward position and thinks he is “done.” She gets super nervous until she realizes he just means done investigating for Peter. “We’ll talk after the trial,” he says.
Lucca and Jason meet up for a drink later, and Lucca thinks Jason looks grumpy, which he doesn’t admit to. She hints, not for the first time, that if Peter goes to jail it won’t be a bad thing for Jason, because Alicia will need lots of comfort. Jason says, “Here’s what you don’t understand about Alicia. He goes to prison, she’ll never divorce him. Ever.” Lucca disagrees. “Because you think things are logical. She will visit him every week in prison, she will slowly drift away from me, and she will be the stoic spouse.” That’s an excellent point. And it’s something even Will didn’t understand about Alicia, something that the “nicer” characters like Lucca and Owen obviously can’t grasp, the curious contradictions that pull her to Peter exactly when most people would break away. And Jason figured it out immediately.
Anyway, Lucca asks if she’d rather Alicia did or didn’t divorce Peter. He says he doesn’t know, but she doesn’t believe him, and says he doesn’t understand himself. He pretends to be hardboiled, but “you, in fact, have fallen in love.” He laughs at her and says seriously that it’s not true. She doesn’t believe him and tells him to stop playing it cool, and to tell Alicia, “I want you. I’ll protect you.” OK, Lucca definitely does not understand one thing about Alicia if she thinks that’s the line to use. And as the scene with Alicia and Peter at the end of the episode shows, Jason is 100% right about Alicia. She won’t desert Peter while he’s in jail; it would be completely against her moral code.
While Lucca and Jason are hanging out in the conference room on 28, some workers come in and start tearing down the wall. Jason tells Alicia during the course of their conversation, and Alicia panics. Naturally, she assumes Diane’s screwing her over. She texts Diane, who’s in the middle of a lunch meeting with a (female) candidate where she’s selling the firm, nonsensically, as “A pure meritocracy, where the women decide.” Oh, so it’s like the mirror image of the myth the patriarchy has always clung to: Men are in charge, but they can totally be objective when evaluating merit!
When Diane calls Alicia back, she demands, “Are we expanding?” Diane—thinking she means hiring new people—blithely agrees that yes, they are. It’s kind of amusing. Alicia’s voice gets all dangerous: “Well don’t you think it would’ve been a good idea to let me know?” Diane starts blathering about meetings until they finally realize they’re talking about totally different things. They arrive side-by-side in the elevator at Lockhart Florrick just as the wall right in front of the elevator collapses, and react with priceless expressions:
It turns out they had the wrong floor: they were supposed to be on 18, not 28. For some reason, Lucca was put in charge of calling insurance. They don’t have an office manager to do that? They need an associate who probably bills at four hundred dollars an hour to do it? Anyway, everyone’s proceeding out of the destroyed conference room when Diane has an inspiration: the floor above them is empty, and they could just expand. Alicia thinks you should expand because you actually planned it, not just because your conference room happens to have been destroyed. Oh, Alicia. Always wanting to see the plan.
David Lee’s been blissfully blasting some kind of Broadway or Gilbert & Sullivan soundtrack in his headphones, so he sits right through the noise and commotion until he looks in the right direction to notice the destruction of the conference room. He storms into Diane’s office and finds an architect giving Diane and Alicia his ideas for the expansion, which includes, hilariously, a “stair presentation,” otherwise known as a staircase. The architect says he wants to bring the office into the twenty-first century. When David protests that it is, he laughs and says, “You’re deluding yourself. Pale wood, glass. This is an Apple store circa 2009.” David says, confused, “That is the twenty-first century.” Hee!
Diane meets with a few women, saying that they want to build an “all-service firm with a female perspective.” David interrupts to ostentatiously refer to one of their made-up clients as a “bitch.” He’s upset about the hiring binge, which is using his money, but where Diane isn’t meeting with any men. She insists she has. “Watch it, Diane. There’s a discriminatory suit in your future,” he warns her. I mean, yeah. Wouldn’t a lawyer be a little more cautious about talking to all and sundry about how she wants to build a firm of just one gender? It’s so weird.
Sure enough, the next day, as the architect is making a peppy presentation to Alicia and Diane about his ideas (at least he’s referring to stairs as stairs now), when David interrupts obnoxiously: “And it will be alllll women from the north to the south.” He wants Diane to sign his complaint about gender discrimination. If that weren’t bad enough for Diane, a building inspector has shown up and is informing her that a load-bearing wall was taken out on the twenty-eighth floor, and they’ll need to evacuate immediately.
This leads to an amusing little scene where Connor gets off the elevator at 28 to find yellow caution tape and a handwritten sign directing him to the 27th floor. But the metaphor, I think, is on point: the utter chaos in which this firm operates is bringing the ceiling down on their heads. And that goes from gender discrimination, to this harebrained construction project, to the really significant problem: that none of them trust each other, that they’ve gotten so deep into their little games that they’ve forgotten how to be colleagues. I would find it quite fitting if the firm somehow collapsed and disbanded in the space of the next episode; it seems like that’s the only place to go from here.