Gemma: The Illinois Democratic Party is EEEEEEEVIL! Ron Rifkin is EEEEEEEVIL!
Rasha: You know, if I bought this show as really cleaving to its concept as The Education of Alicia Florrick, I might dig that they make her party to shady, corrupt activities and then have her downfall be, not her own flaws, but payment for someone else’s corruption. However, I do not buy this show as that. Anymore.
Alicia’s character gets conveniently stupider/more naive to suit the cynical goals of the writing staff. It’s hard to believe the woman who plotted the firm split and remerger would need so much hand-holding from Peter, or would trust some fancy hero lawyer like Spencer Randolph. Alicia doesn’t have heroes anymore, or she shouldn’t after all she’s seen.
G: I believe that hero worship overshadows a lot of pragmatism, but honestly, I thought all of our main characters acted like idiots in this episode, on plots both A and B. And they acted … uniformly, in a way I found disturbing. The consensus appeared mechanical, for the convenience of the writers. Characters in service of a plot that wasn’t even that great.
R: Why isn’t Kalinda having a sex romp break with Lana instead of Cary? That would be more pragmatic, since Lana could help her.
G: I mean, I’m sure it has to do with Jill Flint’s schedule, but still. I’d prefer that to a martyrdom contest. Welcome to MARTYRDOME!
R: Ugh, last week I felt bad that we’ve been so hard on this show week after week, so I read some other reviewers work. I was hoping that someone would write about something good the show was doing that I was missing or dismissing. But no. It turns out that most other folks are ripping it harder than we are.
G: Yes. I think we acknowledge it when it’s quality. We’re fair. And I’m more of a sucker for craft than you are, so I think we balance. But this was some klutzy@ss writing and plotting that even Christine Baranski’s face could not save.
I did notice, however, that a helpless Diane wears no statement necklace.
R: There’s been too much back and forth on the necklace/brooch thing for me to make a fashion ruling. She did wear one of her big ol’ chains in court.
G: But when Wiley arrived she wore no adornment.
R: The cape dress was pretty great on its own.
G: Fair. Okay, so what do we think of MARTYRDOME? Is Kalinda seriously going to go out like that? with the two of them fighting to sacrifice themselves for each other?
R: No. My thought was that Kalinda was more likely to go to Bishop than to Pine. Since she knows that Bishop wants out.
G: That’s still martyring herself, but yeah.
R: Well, she’s in the line of fire, she’s gotta duck somewhere.
Bishop gives her more options, and he’ll need another one himself now that Alicia won’t be in office. Not that she promised to be helpful.
G: And of course, to appease people like us, Kalinda happened to have a free second in all that so she could call Alicia and get a haxxor to help her. Also, seriously, why is nobody in power threatening consequences for Kalinda or talking about them? This episode made no sense and I am annoyed.
R: You mean why isn’t Pine charging Kalinda for falsifying evidence?
G: Yes. It was like Kalinda confessed and all possible legal consequences for her just faded in the face of those for Diane.
R: Well, without Diane presenting it in court, there was no offense. The charges of hacking would be harder to prove, and Diane is a bigger fish. The consequences for her are a much greater loss of prestige. The SA’s office isn’t looking for a conviction, they’re looking for leverage to get Bishop. But it wasn’t played very well, even though I think it mostly makes sense.
G: Okay, I guess that’s fair. But if anyone’s actually investigating Bishop, K’s association with him has been fairly clear to see. Given that she appears at Dylan’s school like ALL THE EFFING TIME and was mistaken for Bishop’s wife.
R: I agree that there should have been more direct pressure for Kalinda.
G: My problem is that it’s still another way of sidelining Kalinda. Last season (at the end when we weren’t diablogging), Diane referred to her as a “Girl Friday,” which was frankly offensive in context, and I feel like this episode just pushed that further. Kalinda, once the force that upended everything the firm thought it was in several directions, is reduced to professional helpmeet. Which would be problematic even if she weren’t the only central POC on the show.
R: Well, yes. There isn’t much more I can add to that. Except: Shall we submit our rankings for MARTYRDOME 2015? Who martyr’d more? MOAR?
G: Well, Diane tagged out early. She can referee or something. I love me some Diane, but she don’t put herself on the line for anybody.
R: No, thank goodness. If we’re going from the least martyr-y, Peter managed not to get sacrificed to Alicia’s attempt to exonerate herself of election fraud charges. It’s hard not to imagine Peter enjoying commenting to the press about it “being Alicia’s turn” to be trashed. So: not a MARTYRDOME champion. And I don’t mind.
G: Yep. He’s out. I’d argue Eli was more martyr-y than usual.
R: Really, how so?
G: I mean, it’s a low bar to jump, with Eli. But he was definitely putting himself on the line in the way he supported Alicia, more than he usually does.
R: It’s for Peter’s brand. He likes Alicia, but it would hurt Peter.
G: It made me miss the Eli of “I’m lowering my pants. To make it easier for you to KISS MY @SS!”
R: Goodness, I miss all the BAMFness that used to be in this show.
G: For serious. Even when it didn’t completely make sense, it added some energy that we’re just lacking right now. Really, Alicia isn’t a martyr, per se, either. She certainly tried to save herself.
R: She’s going to think of herself as a martyr.
G: True. So she may outrank Eli.
R: I think we’re supposed to see Alicia as the winner of MARTYRDOME, since she wasn’t corrupt in the way that she was forced to resign for. I don’t know that I agree, because her reason for fighting the charges is not: I have work to do, but: Whaa, I wanna win!
G: Which, to be fair, is how the show sees a lot of politicians, including the ones we like, and I’ve always appreciated that.
R: I’ve got one more thing on Alicia and then we can go to Cary vs. Kalinda in the MARTYRDOME finals. Other reviews have pointed out how hollow Alicia’s pursuit of the SA’s office actually is: She starts to oppose Castro because she thinks he’s corrupt/has an agenda. But when Castro drops out and she gets an opponent who is actually a better person by her own admission, she stays in it.
I’m not a fan of Prady as much as some, but I don’t hate him more than Alicia. She really is just in the race to win. And loves to deny that she’s being selfish about it. In her mind, Alicia thinks she’s winning MARTYRDOME, because she wants to WIN.
G: Ooh, how paradoxical! And, again, you are spot-on, but as is often my problem with the show these days, I wouldn’t mind that if they were willing to call it into question a little more.
R: You can’t win at MARTYRDOME by loving yourself so much.
G: Rewatching episodes in S1-3, I really was remembering how good they used to be at that. Calling the people we empathize with into question by means of our actual empathy, not by means of tricks.
R: Yeah. And yet, we get weird self-conscious schtick where two old dudes between two ferns read Will and Alicia’s totally not sexy emails on a YouTube video.
G: That was almost cute, but didn’t quite make it there.
R: There’s this bizarrely mis-aimed sense of self-awareness.
G: But do we include Grace in MARTYRDOME?
R: Nah. Jesus is the only martyr she has time for.
G: Her true hurt, her resulting adolescent passive-aggression? I miss the kids having journeys, honestly.
R: Grace wishes her mom was more of a martyr, but realizes she’s just a hypocrite. I wish Grace would campaign against her. And then maybe Alicia would really look in the mirror.
G: Oh, I’d like to see that happen. MoreGrace on EVERY SHOW WE WATCH!
R: Indeed. The call is tough to make in Cary vs. Kalinda in MARTYRDOME finals.
G: The bottom line is, all Cary’s moves are legal.
R: In the world of the story, Cary would win for his unreasonable desire to go right back into the same mess he just extracted himself from, thereby rendering Kalinda’s “sacrifice” that got her into this mess moot. If he loves her, it’s kinda $hitty of him. It’s like he’s martyring both of them at the same time.
BUT, given that we know that Kalinda doesn’t get out of this and stay on the show, that throws the judging for me on a meta-level. Because Kalinda has sacrificed 3 WHOLE SEASONS worth of story existence in order to finally make some kind of ultimate sacrifice and free herself from the gravitational sinkhole of this show!