Alicia has been called up for jury duty, which means–as she explains to the charming Daniel "Nestor Carbonell" Irwin, with whom she strikes up an immediate bond–it's only going to take explaining how she is a celebrity political wife and high-profile attorney of Chicago for them to send her packing. He flirts with the idea of also claiming to be an attorney to get out of there, which Alicia likes, but then she's even more charmed when he decides to tell the truth, that he's a battery inventor. (A thing you can be.)
Heading back into the office, Alicia is waylaid by the helpful care of her partner and best associate, Cary Agos, who gives her the mandatory day off in a winsome, not-quite-boundary crossing way. (And before you ask, yes he is wearing pink again, yes it is aggressively tailored, and yes, Cary continues to keep it tight.) I don't know what his deal is except that there's a parallel to the controlling/solicitous way David Lee and Louis Canning are treating Diane over at LG, so I guess there's something to the notion that grief over Will's death is continuing to blunt their performance: A thing you may think, but must never say. If you're wrong, you will just make them crazy. If you're right, they were already crazy, so now you have two problems.
Once home and at a loss, we're treated to a rather luxuriously long sequence of Alicia trying and failing to comprehend how televisions, remote controls, or even basic simple machines, such as the lever or the block-and-tackle, work. Zach walks her through it, and then before you know it she's staring at the buffering bar like it's an actual TV show. Even just the thought of Alicia sitting still makes me so uncomfortable! I had no idea how harrowing the reality would turn out to be.
Meanwhile, Eli's campaign-manager boner for Finn Polmar is approaching max tumescence, as he grills him and preps him and primps him and plays Devil's Advocate with him and books him interviews–with our beloved Miriam Shor's Mandy Post, last seen involved in an altercation with a ficus, no less–and generally crawls right up inside his clothes with him. Of course, since he was born to do this, he's happier than he has been all season, and it's infectious. Even Alicia takes it easy on him, which she hasn't done in years. And Finn–wearing all kinds of blue that makes his eyes pop, and possibly with a new haircut–seems a little more taken by Eli's enthusiasm than he's maybe prepared for.
Of course, once Eli's got Finn convinced that doing the right thing, being the right guy–the hero of the Jeffrey Grant tragedy–and saying the right stuff are all the same thing, he's part of the Eli Machine. When Mandy springs a fresh hell on Finn, though, he starts going a little dark. Drawing a parallel between the Grant situation and Finn's own sister's suicide a few years ago–the family tried tough love when her addictions resisted everything else–means calling into question all the great media-messaging Eli's got him doing, which adds to Finn's ambivalence about running a campaign at all.
In the end, a short touch-base conversation with Alicia provides them both with a much-needed emotional stability: As Alicia knows all too well, Eli can turn you into a hero or a saint merely through sheer willpower... But he's rarely around to pick up the pieces, once the pressure to maintain that perfect self-image starts shaking you apart.
The case of the week is one of those classic Good Wife ripped-from-the-headlines ones where we get to learn all about Silk Road, TOR, MtGox, the anonymous underbelly of the internet, and so forth. I have been missing them talk all about Bitcoins, all the time so I am pleased to say that everyone involved in this story says the word "Bitcoin"–as both a singular and plural–about eleven thousand times. There's even an Ayn Rand reference in case you weren't already overcome with mirth.
The details are that Lyle Pollard–a returning Robert Klein–has an adorable young grandson with cerebral palsy, who may or may not be an employee of the Silk Road or its originator or a murderer of many people, or maybe just some cute kid who got involved with the world's rougher neckbeards. After a post-MtGox trace on the formerly anonymous email helps lead LG to a drug dealer codenamed "Corsica," and her branded weed is found at the site of a few murders, things get murkier.
Finn's working on a plea that involves getting up the anonymous chain to the site's founders, against which Diane pushes back with a fairly awesome (if slick) double-whammy of pointing out how attacking Robbie and Canning on the public stage, between their CP and tardive dyskinesia, might work against him in the race. It's not her proudest moment but it's some smooth-ass maneuvering, and I think earns her a little respect with Finn. In the end, the outcome you were expecting–little Robbie is the Dread Pirate Roberts after all–comes about in such a twisted, strange way that you end up having forgotten you already knew how it would end.
It's sad because Diane has to abruptly drop the case, pissing off Lyle Pollard but saving his family, at the same time David Lee and Louis Canning are moving in on her in some kind of coup. She fires her assistant after learning she's been routing Diane's clients to the usurpers since Will's death, but David Lee cops to the whole thing instantly: She's been underperforming, and he didn't want her to know he was sidestepping her in case that made it worse for her. "It's the last nice thing I'll ever do," he promises, and you know he means it since it was also the first nice thing he has ever done.
After a neat moment in which Diane claims to be channeling Will–leading Kalinda to smile sadly and just say, "Then take care of him"–the new Gruesome Twosome drop an even bigger bomb: Canning's working at LG and doing secret things with David Lee because he's been given a life expectancy of under a year, and wants to end things on a high note. Nobody wants to be crass enough to question something like that, but of course you have to since it's Canning. Kalinda investigates, and learns that both things are true: Yes Canning is dying, but also yes, he's coming after Diane somehow.
The ghost of Will hangs over Alicia's day, as well, in good and bad ways. So bored she actually accepts her mother's invitation to lunch, Alicia feels burned when Veronica's latest boy-toy crashes their meal a few minutes in, and heads back to force a run-in with Daniel Irwin. He invites her to lunch, and she has a fidelity-related freakout within minutes; he continues to be a totally chill person, and asks her out for drinks that night. "I like you," he says with a smile. "I'd want to have a drink with you if you were a man, or a chimpanzee." As only Alicia could, she recognizes this as a compliment, and retires home to freak out about it for hours and hours.
Back home and watching that True Detective analogue–this time with an on-the-nose message about how sex always as the potential to stand in for or distract from something else–Alicia watches the clock like a hawk, wondering if she'll go on her date after all. Veronica shows up, intention to Mother Her Children redoubled, and they get drunk talking about divorce, death, and the very real and continuing presence of Will in her life. After dissolving into tears, existential crisis and some honest-to-God mothering from a very on-point Veronica, Alicia pulls it together and heads out for her one drink with her new friend... Only to balk at the last second, finally understanding that she'd be cheating on Will, and not Peter, if she went inside. Heavy stuff!
All in all, another low-key hit along a string of quiet wins in the post-Gardner era. Watching Alicia question her identity is tough, since the show started with the understanding that she was making the first choices of her entire life. When she bursts into tears in her mother's lap, it's not because of Will or Peter or Finn or anybody else: It's that she isn't a saint and she might not even be a lawyer. Good questions to ask, hard ones to watch.
On the LG side, Kalinda's quiet menace toward Canning and David Lee was a very satisfying grace note as well, now that she's acclimated to playing the role that Diane still can't play no matter how hard she gets. And watching Diane play the angles and adjust her game is always so satisfying: Once you see the wheels turning, you know she's gonna be clacking down the hallway in her heels soon enough, to take one or more motherfuckers down. It'll be nice to get Alicia back into the office, just to see Cary if nothing else, but this week's focus on the ladies of LG–now that blood is verifiably in the water–was as edgy and satisfying as it's wanted to be since way back when the fourth-years first deserted.
Diane's always been a one-woman dam against the tide, whether it was Will's forced hiatus or the Bond war or Stern's weird abortive coup with the elderly partners, but watching the soldier's glimmer in her eyes as she continues to feel out just how much she and Kalinda can depend on each other, is something even Alicia would find heartbreaking and beautiful. No matter how jealous it made her. If you'd asked me two months ago whether a LG/FA merger was a good idea, I would have rolled my eyes. But now? There's so much history and love and beauty between those three women, and so much pain, that almost seems like the best of all possible worlds.
Next week: Tom Skerritt sticks his foot in it about poor people, while Diane and Canning end up on opposite sides of a pharma class action. Oh, and Eli learns about the sad joke that is currently the Florrick marriage and, no doubt, demonstrates a healthy respect for boundaries and common sense.