Before we get into that, let's finish up this Thanksgiving
weekend with one extra moment of gratitude. Congratulations to The Good Wife
for reaching that all-important milestone of 100 episodes, the traditional minimum for syndication. Considering the
havoc that fall football plays with this great show's schedule, I think we
should all give a little thanks to the fans for hanging in there.
Where There's a Will
As we begin "The Decision Tree," Kalinda's on her continuing mission to gather dirt on newcomer Damian Boyle. If that means driving more than 100 mph through the streets of Chicago, so be it. (Nice nod to the episode number.) She follows him right to the office of Florrick, Agos.
This time, he's on legitimate business, delivering Alicia's $150,000 partnership contribution refund. Before she'll sign the contract LG wants, however, she asks Clarke Hayden to review it. One thing stands out: a clause requiring she give up any future claims to income from cases involving the late Matthew Ashbaugh (played in flashback by Fringe's John Noble). Alicia calls Ashbaugh's widow to find out if there's something she should know.
The answer's a big yes, but it's not what Alicia expects. Ashbaugh left behind two wills. One left his $24 million estate to Mrs. Ashbaugh. But a later, handwritten will divided the money evenly between the charity Smile Train and Alicia. Time for court!
Party Out of Bounds
It's holiday time, and Florrick, Agos decides to throw its first party to both entertain and attract clients. There's an issue, however. Lockhart-Gardner -- excuse me, LG -- just happens to be throwing its party the same night, so only 30 people have said yes out of 800 invites.
After some persuasion from Robyn and Cary, Alicia agrees to invite Peter. The governor-elect's a big draw, right? Maybe so, but Eli's being a Grinch about Peter appearing in the same room with clients like Colin Sweeney, "the white O.J. Simpson." Even Marilyn's no help, saying this is a publicity problem, not an ethics problem, and therefore not her problem. Besides, once Peter decides to go that's it, she says, because it's about Alicia. He'll do anything to help Alicia.
Peter not only agrees to come, but he wants to bring Jackie. (Alicia cringes.) Later, when her mom, Veronica (played by Stockard Channing) learns Alicia's having a party and invited Jackie but not her, Alicia expands the guest list yet again. This wouldn't be an issue except for one thing. After word gets out that Peter's coming, suddenly more than 800 people RSVP yes.
In probate court, Cary and Clarke try to prove that Ashbaugh's second will is valid, and Alicia deserves the money. Acting on behalf of the widow, Diane and Will argue to junk it. The main witness, a hooker named Paula, witnessed the will for Ashbaugh. LG makes the case that she signed the will while providing "services" to Ashbaugh, but Clarke -- in one of his first court appearances as a litigator -- fumblingly manages to prove that she witnessed the document legally. Score one for F-A!
The judge decides that both wills have validity, so Alicia has claim to part of the estate. In one last stab at a win, however, Will tells the judge that Ashbaugh may have been manipulated into drawing up a new will -- by Alicia. They get another day in court, this time with Alicia set to take the stand.
That night, Will develops the decision tree of the episode's title. As he writes out likely questions, he vividly pictures the answers Alicia will give. As the imaginary Alicia answers, he considers alternate lines of questioning. Deeper and deeper into his memory he goes, as we learn that he and Alicia were in the most passionate moments of their affair while dealing with Ashbaugh's legal troubles.
In particular, he remembers being in bed with Alicia, who jokes that Ashbaugh's a little in love with her. That means she can get him to see things her way, although she's talking about following her lead when it comes to his corporate enemies, not about creating a new will.
In his mind, Will envisions Alicia on the stand admitting that she can get men to do her bidding by getting them to fall in love with her. He even accuses her of lying about loving him just to steal his clients. But even in his imagination, she tearfully denies this. This just makes him angry. "I don't like you when you're weak, Alicia," he sneers.
He's interrupted by new lover Isabel, who tells him to come to bed. "Let it go," she says, not knowing what he's thinking about. "I'm here now." But can Will let his love for Alicia go? Is he set to destroy her dreams because he believes she destroyed his?
Kalinda Brings Her Work Home
As part of her investigation into Damian -- who is now a partner at LG, much to Diane's dismay -- Kalinda's back to chasing Damian at breakneck speed again. He seems to enjoy the hunt and even calls her to ask for a date. Before he can make much headway, however, our favorite PI gets pulled over by the cops.
Wouldn't you know it, the detective who nabs Kalinda for speeding and reckless driving happens to be a friend of Damian's? The cop, Jenna (My Boys' Jordana Spiro, who apparently specializes in characters who live in Chicago), holds Kalinda all day to keep her off Damian's trail. All this togetherness apparently leads to, you know, togetherness in someone's apartment.
Though Jenna suspects that Kalinda really just wants insider info on Damian, they seem awfully cozy.
Will's Bad Day in Court
The next day, back in the real world, Will tries to get Alicia to admit that Ashbaugh was in love with her. She says that's probably true, and that she did use her influence to get him to sign the will.
A smug Will thinks he has her on the ropes. But not so fast. Alicia says it was David Lee who wanted her to persuade Ashbaugh to sign the original will -- the one that left his estate to his wife. She didn't know anything about the second document.
Somehow, things haven't gone the way Will imagined, and he never has his chance to humiliate his ex-lover in court. Plus, Alicia may just have won $12 million.
Easy Come, Easy Go
Back at the crazy-crowded party, Alicia's kids are chatting with her about the potential financial windfall when she spots Lamond Bishop across the room. When she tells her children that Bishop is Chicago's biggest drug dealer, Zach gets off the best line of the night: "You know, sometimes I think of you as Mom, but other times as this really interesting person who lives in our house."
As she's crossing the room, the phone rings. She grabs the receiver, finding a surprised Will on the other end. He only called to tell Cary that they discovered another batch of handwritten wills from Ashbaugh. It seems he left money to many women, not just Alicia. In all likelihood, the court will invalidate all of them, including hers. After she hangs up, Will looks forlorn. (And apparently, the LG party isn't as popular because we can't hear much noise outside his office.)
Alicia goes to tend to her husband's reputation. Though Colin Sweeney is a no-show, she still understands that Peter shouldn't be seen with Bishop. Too late, as Peter arrives with special guest and real-life political bigwig Donna Brazile. She's come to check out the governor-elect's future plans and, hey, she loves a party! Peter ends up in a brief, awkward encounter with Bishop, but there doesn't seem to be any damage done.
Anyway, Eli should count his blessings if Bishop's the only potential problem on his hands. As Veronica queries Marilyn about the details of her pregnancy, we learn a few key facts. One, she's three-and-a-half months along. Two, it's a boy. And three, she's picked a name already: Peter.
Really, I had to rewind the DVR three times to watch Alan Cumming's perfectly-timed champagne spit-take when he hears that bit of news. Happy holidays from the folks at Florrick, Agos and Associates!
Similar to last week's episode
, which introduced the troublesome Damian Boyle, this one raises more questions than it answers, particularly when it comes to the future of Alicia, Will and Peter.
The would-be King of the Legal World doesn't look so regal when his memories of lovemaking with Alicia and his imaginary cross-examination don't mesh with reality. More than ever, we're seeing that Isabel is a weak substitute for the real thing he once had with Ms. Florrick. Will he ever get over her? Will he continue on his crusade to ruin F-A in revenge?
Also, while Alicia seems committed to Peter, could Marilyn's bun in the oven come out looking like the new governor? Finally, can you get champagne out of office carpet?
At least I now know exactly what I'm getting as one of my holiday gifts -- the next dozen episodes of The Good Wife's excellent season 5 -- no regifting necessary!