The episode starts where the last one ended, with Alicia confronting Jackie about making a payment on the house. Turns out, Jackie is quite open about the fact that her endgame is moving in with Peter and the kids, completely replacing Alicia now that she no longer performs the role that Jackie wants her to fit in - and I think it says everything about Jackie that Alicia is nothing more than that to her, the person enabling Peter to become more successful, and when she doesn't she becomes expandable. Alicia threatens her ("I'm a lawyer, watch me"), but interestingly enough, she doesn't really go after her with the law, and instead uses everything else she has - Kalinda, her still functioning relationship with Peter - and doesn't even have time to use the fact that Jackie used her kids' trust fund money (!) for the down payment. Peter talks to Jackie, who then either has a conveniently timed or fake stroke, which gives her the opportunity to demonstrate all the power she has in the most dramatic fashion possible (and what a scene that was, Alicia entering that hospital room like it was a bear cave, Jackie asking her to come closer and whispering "I forgive you" (mafia-style!) before Peter's entrance made it clear that Jackie did indeed win this round.
It fit in well with the other major story of the episode, Mike Kresteva successfully positioning himself as Peter's opponent, lying about Alicia to keep him out of the race. He tells the press that Alicia asked him to change the report to not get Peter involved - a blatant lie - and when Eli tells Alicia not to pursue it because this will blow over as long as they ignore it, naturally, she can't. It's the St Alicia thing again, and I wonder where the season is heading, because Alicia constantly has to make decisions about how to react to things she finds disgusting, and she is constantly learning lessons about how sometimes the most effective strategy requires her to let go of her ideals.
At the end of the episode, she doesn't move into the house (and I think - hope - that possibility is gone for good), and surprisingly, she ends up right where she was at the beginning of the show, by Peter's side, except everything's changed now because she knows exactly why she's there and what she wants.
Kalinda: What's wrong?
- Something the show should try and not do too often: Kalinda solving crimes in like ten minutes. Sometimes it seems a bit too convenient (and they can't pull a "she's crazy and that gives her superpowers" thing in The Good Wife because, well, it's not PLL).
- Jfc Jackie though. I think there is absolutely nothing she wouldn't do to see her plans for Peter realized. She'd be a worthy opponent for Kalinda Sharma.
- Peter asks Kresteva to leave their respective families out of the game, which he declines - because that's Peter's one vulnerability - and he specifically threatens ALICIA. I wonder what that'll entail. Will? It would be all sorts of awesome if it all came down to Kalinda, though, considering that this would provide a beautiful symmetry to last season's finale, and Peter and Alicia are both... involved.
- And talking about symmetry: Vanessa's "Having my ex-husband approving of me makes me more traditional. I'm not saying we have to mean it. I'm talking about politics.", that was of course immediately complicated when they hooked up again and it wasn't just about politics (except, the episode reminded us, for Eli, it ALWAYS is, even when he doesn't want it to be), is a really interesting statement considering where Alicia is at the end of the episode. She makes that distinction several times in the episode: supporting Peter politically has nothing to do with them being a couple... ("Peter, we have had our issues, but I have always respected your political abilities. And I've always thought you were better in office than the alternative.") except of course, it turns them into liars as well, because that is exactly the impression they are giving the public. Everybody lies.
- And also re:Vanessa, what a tiny gross scene when the Democratic committee guy popped up to tell Eli that they "didn't want a woman in the race". Diane would tear him to shreds, but Eli has to become complicit in it because Peter is his personal fucking racehorse. Sometimes getting what you want isn't that great, is it?
- The little moment during the phone conversation with Peter, when she explained to him that Jackie was planning to LEAVE HER OUT, and he responded, calmly, that this was sort of kind of exactly what SHE was planning to do to him... awesomely played by Julianna Margulies and Chris Noth. They have been trying to act like adults, successfully, so Peter can afford to call her out on her minor hypocrisy.
- The confrontation between Mike and Alicia was brilliant as well, as the moment became more and more surreal ("Alicia, don't pretend what I'm saying isn't the truth!"). I'd love to see Kresteva play off Louis Canning.
- Will hooks up with someone. I bet that'll turn out well.
Callie: So I am wrong to want money but you are not wrong to blackmail?
Diane: That's right.
- Callie, to Alicia: "Oh, grow up. Don't play the martyr. You were just as much into the money as I was." Which is interesting, considering all the decisions Alicia has been making and all the times she's walked out of a room wishing she didn't have to make these choices, and specifically, the whole drama with the house. In this episode alone, she knowingly helps a potential murderer go free.
- Cary's depressed and sad and his moral clarity has recently disappeared so everything sux. No wonder Alicia empathises with him.
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