Contributor: Henry T.
Written by Ted Humphrey
Directed by Phil Abraham
I personally liked that Michael J. Fox’s appearance kept my full attention on the events depicted in this episode. If it weren’t for the simultaneously cunning and affable Canning, this episode would easily fall flat. His presence keeps both Alicia and Lockhart-Gardner on their toes so it should keep the audience on its toes as well.
Everything else in the episode, information about Kalinda and Peter and the Will-Tammy affair is advanced with machine-like efficiency. I liked the intrigue with Kalinda and company, though I wonder how long they can drag this out before it goes public and all hell breaks loose. As for Tammy and Will, well, I’m unsure of how I feel about this because the writers haven’t spent enough time developing the relationship for anyone to care about the outcome of the characters. Alicia figures in the center of all three plot threads, though, and that’s really what the show has been about up until now.
It was kind of a surprise to see Stern again since he had left on such bad terms with Will and Diane last season. There’s a nice, sweet scene between him and Alicia where he essentially lays out what is to come for her in the future. She’s been built up throughout the season (almost from the beginning of the series even) as a rising star and she’s going to have some hard decisions to come later. Shame he has to die in the next scene, which prompts the central plot of the episode. Canning comes back into the picture for the third time, buying Stern’s firm and keeping his clients away from Will and Diane. He takes on Lockhart-Gardner in a heinous business termination lawsuit and the outcome is not too surprising: Lockhart-Gardner wins again. I would have a problem with Lockhart-Gardner constantly winning these cases week after week with such ease, but winning against Canning feels like a loss every time. It’s because he’s so unfazed by everything Lockhart-Gardner is doing that I sometimes end up rooting for him! He tries to poach Alicia away from the firm with a firm job offer, which makes a lot of sense to me. He knows she’s talented. Lockhart-Gardner may be loyal to her and personally connected with Will, but it’s in constant upheval and Alicia is shown as devoted to her husband so even the connection with Will is fraying. It would make sense for Alicia to leave, but nothing with this show is ever so simple, especially with the bomb that’s going to fall in her lap.
That bomb is the public outing of her husband’s indiscretions. More and more people are finding out about Kalinda’s one-night fling with Peter (here, it’s Cary and Childs’ investigator) and I got the sense that Alicia connected the dots during the phone interview with the reporter. One affair nearly wrecked their marriage (and sent Peter to jail), now another affair threatens to bring it down completely. And what will sting even more is that it was with a close personal friend of hers. I wrote in the last episode review that it was unwise for all parties involved to keep this from Alicia. She was going to eventually find out about this. I’m still of the opinion that Peter will win the election, but it’s now a question of how long he’ll stay in that position and how it will affect his relationship with Alicia. It could be possible that she goes to work with Canning and will oppose her husband with every opportunity they can get. She isn’t one to have revenge affairs, but with Tammy and Will possibly on their way out, Alicia could leave Peter and have one with Will. But I’m getting ahead of myself. A number of things could possibly happen between now and the season finale. It’s all so juicy! (By the way, LOVED the talking plush lion phone thing used by the investigator in the episode!)
Everything that’s happening with Alicia keeps the Tammy-Will relationship in the background, unfortunately. It felt entirely shoehorned into the storyline so it was trying to elicit a reaction from the impending breakup that didn’t feel earned. The series hasn’t spent much time on the relationship in the past few weeks so I think that was part of what made it feel so piecemeal here. It does contribute some to the overall storyline (even if the timing was a bit convenient) so it wasn’t a complete waste to include it here. It’s a minor weakness in a very favorable episode of this fine series.