Gemma: I found myself thinking a lot about Eli’s role on the show in this episode.
Rasha: I really enjoyed him yelling at Alicia. Somehow, even though all the other folks yelling and demanding felt squicky, Eli’s yelling didn’t come across as “man yells at woman and tells her to shut up.”
G: Well, that is precisely what I mean. What I was thinking is that on some level, he’s the least hypocritical character on the show.
R: Because his compass is so clearly and consistently oriented to “keep my candidate in office.”
G: Yes. And he’s perfectly straightforward about it. He has no illusions about either himself or the job.
R: Cumming plays it well, managing to show both the characters emotional investment in his candidate’s success while also hinting that he’s babysitting.
G: Yes. Because he’s brilliant. I love that this year has let me see him play the emcee in Cabaret and watch him on this show. And the understanding between him and Alicia—there is something lovely about it. Reckoning back to their S2 relationship.
R: Yeah, I wouldn’t mind if they had more scenes together. I never needed Elfman, and now it feels like it just gave Alan Cumming a chance to take a break to do stagework.
G: That’s true. And of course, they squiggled out of Alicia and Kalinda onscreen together yet again.
R: HOW DID THAT HAPPEN, THEY ARE ON THE SAME FLOOR OF THE BUILDING. In other news: statement necklaces are back!
And the firm brought us the fights we were missing and wanting last week.
G: Yeah, it’s been a long time since we had a good infighting $hitshow.
R: I was appreciating the choice to have Alicia mis-read who her real opposition is on the partner buyout negotiations. Cary isn’t the opponent she thinks he is, and it would probably wound him to know she thinks that.
G: They’re really at their best when they do eps like this, aren’t they? The behind-the-scenes politicking and maneuvering, and the real emotions that weigh on that.
R: This was their actual bottle episode, and yet it seemed more dynamic than some others. The firm falls to haxxors again. They need more of an IT department than just the guy in the cardigan.
G: Especially when Kalinda’s gone. Then they won’t have any contacts.
R: I think that guy is supposed to be their IT manager. I hesitate to call him Chief Technology Officer, though they really should hire one. Maybe that’s why they keep getting hacked? Just sayin’.
G: I thought that he was someone K brought in from outside during Cary’s trial, the one whose “demonstrated” fabrication ended up being taken into evidence. I didn’t think he belonged to the firm. Am I confusing him with someone else?
R: No, he’s the same guy. And yes, it seemed in that episode that he was outside. And yet, it seemed like he was working for FLA (what is the name of the firm anymore?) in this ep. Unclear.
G: Odd. Well, “Lee” will soon be added to the name of the firm, I guess. And “Cain.” Somebody should do an animation of the evolving logos.
R: I had a moment earlier in this episode where I wondered if this show would eventually end in Alicia being assassinated for pissing so many people off. I don’t think this show could go there. Not saying they should.
G: No, they couldn’t. They’ve also given interviews about how killing off one major character was enough, which means we’re not to expect Kalinda to die, either. But they definitely could go with Alicia being defeated by scandal. Which would be intriguing.
R: Yeah, I could hope for that. Do you want to speculate about how Kalinda leaves and how it all ends (in 2 or 10 seasons more) for Alicia?
G: Given that I think we care about how Kalinda leaves more than The Powers That Be do? Sure!
R: For Kalinda, what are the possibilities: Witness Protection Program, romance with Bishop(?!), romance with Lana, becoming a superspy …
G: I mean, we have to put death in there, just in case. Offed by Bishop.
R: Or killed in some freak accident as she’s tailed by ASA Pine’s people. I would believe that the Kings could kill her in some meaningless way.
G: Kalinda disappears heroically rescuing Alicia from career devastation in a way that Alicia will never know about.
R: That gives them too much credit for understanding how Kalinda made Alicia.
G: Well, they understood it up through S5. So the question is, will they stand up to Julianna Margulies or not.
R: No, history shows that they will not. They will buy her another $10,000 wig.
G: Fair enough. Okay, Kalinda disappears while heroically rescuing Dylan Bishop from devastation in a way that he will never know about.
R: As ways to go are, saving the babies is not one I object to, though it would be sad. I might feel feelings.
G: I cannot imagine not feeling feelings.
R: Could Dylan become Kalinda’s apprentice?!
G: Squee! I love that!
R: They should get a show for that.
G: OMG yes. In which they FINALLY HAVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE AGE OF THAT CHILD ACTOR.
R: Exactly. That show could let Dylan be the young man that the actor clearly is.
G: Okay. We have clearly hit upon the best solution here.
So, Alicia’s demise?
R: Scandal works for me, but of what kind? We’ve already talked about salacious solicitation of sexual sorts. But I doubt that would really work. Corruption? Taking bribes was the official charge that Peter went to jail on. I see how Alicia could go down that path.
G: Yes. Which she will have been party to in this almost-unconscious way that she has, where she’s trying hard to deny that she actually has any power.
R: Yeah, can we talk about the cognitive dissonance being played out in Alicia’s long story arc?
G: I’ll credit that as one of the smartest aspects of the show, and honestly one of the reasons why I’m still watching, per our discussion a couple of weeks ago.
R: Is this show mainly a character study in how a morally strict, private person becomes a compromised public figure?
G: Yes. It’s about the enticement of power, and how we turn to power to protect ourselves from our vulnerabilities only to make others vulnerable.
R: And how we become even more vulnerable to the forces that put us in power. It does feel less like an ensemble show these years than it used to.
G: Yes, that’s definitely so, although we say that a week after a very Diane-focused episode.
And a fairly Cary-focused beginning of the season.
R: Fair enough. But you know, even that is just substituting one lead for another rather than focusing on these multilateral and simultaneous relationships.
G: Good way of putting it. I agree that the show is less ensemble-based, I was just saying it’s interesting that we feel that even when the stuff I mentioned is the case. And you’ve just put your finger on why. So, Alicia will go down to a bribery scandal in S7 (the poor Florrick kids!), and Kalinda and Dylan get a PI spinoff. We good with that?
R: Sounds like justice to me.