I’m tempted to just end this post there, to be honest, but that would be a disservice to an absolutely terrific episode which, miraculously, manages to cover a lot more than just Cary’s predicament, no matter how important and stomach-churning that predicament is.
As Cary’s nightmare continues, however, Alicia also finds herself in trouble for “joking” – Cary kidded around about how best to smuggle drugs, Alicia sorta kinda maybe threatened to stab one of Grace’s teachers to death. Sans context, it’s not funny but, um…. “Have you seen Darkness at Noon?”
Despite the entire storyline hinging on a piece of quite staggering stupidity from Grace herself – what in the name of all that is not demented possessed her to give the note to anyone in the middle of her mother’s election campaign, let alone a teacher? – it’s still a supremely elegant, smart and utterly hilarious look at the often fuzzy boundaries between comedy, criminality and just plain bad taste; an achingly topical subject in these Twitter-tastic times of instantaneous, global communication, when a day doesn’t pass without the world finding out someone has said (or written) something daft and “publicly shaming” them for it.
As if pushing all those hot-buttons isn’t enough, however, the “joke” sub-plot also works in a delightfully sly dig at political patronage and, to top it all, gives us a completely charming Finn/Alicia scene in a diner. Bless. There really is a lot of fun to be had in this episode. But, still, all I can think about is poor, beaten Cary. For once, even Kalinda can’t save the day (My GOD, Lemond Bishop is terrifying) and the scene where he finally chooses to stop fighting and breaks it to Alicia is crushing. “You’ll come and see me?” Oh, Cary. By that point, Alicia isn’t the only one in tears. Sniffle.