It takes actors of singular talent to build an enormous, evocative and special relationship in the span of twenty minutes and told only via flashbacks. Julianna Margulies and John Noble, using his Australian accent on American television for the first time in eons, are two of those actors. Compounding the melancholia induced by this episode? The idea that Noble won’t guest again on the show. With very little time they give a whole history to the relationship of Alicia Florrick and her never before seen client Matthew Ashbough. Noble slots into place so smoothly–like any one of the big named guest stars the show regularly traffics in, but he’s sadly a one shot wonder. The first time we see him he’s a blurry ghost of a man dying over and over again on a CCTV. The next time we see him is in a series of brief moments with Alicia. They’re flirty and fun and he comes off as equal parts irascible and charming (though the latter is everything to do with Noble and nothing to do with the text). It’s as bittersweet as it is funny–the former coming to the forefront with a quick cut back to Alicia, stuck in the present and still in a bit of shock. His death shakes her more than she’d like and it is through this disconcertedness that Michelle and Robert King dig into the character of Alicia Florrick. This episode is a glimpse into the inner workings of Saint Alicia. They don’t peel back Alicia’s layers or leave her raw–can that even happen to Alicia? She’s such a private character and has been wounded publicly so many times before that she can come off as almost robotic sometimes. Yet she will never give up that veneer she’s carefully constructed–not after so long. So this episode shakes her a little and forces the veneer not to crack, but to shift from side to side, and in those movements we catch a glimpse of the mind of one of television’s most fascinating characters. The shifting of the veneer leaves little bits of her exposed over the course of the hour. It moves one way and we see a concerned mother, another way and we spy that bitter daughter. Amanda Peet’s wonderful ASA, Laura, shows up as a friend and rival and we see something only hinted at for months now–the depth of her affection for Will. Maybe it was never love. You’ll remember that when Will accidentally used that word Alicia eventually broke up with him. But what they had was magic. The whisper of fabric on bare skin and the breath of words in wanting ears. Alicia has told herself it was done. She’s burrowed into Peter’s arms to escape the feelings engendered by Will, but the death of Ashbough and Laura’s plan to ask Will out bring it all to the surface, so it bubbles beneath the veneer, flexing that wall Alicia’s crafted and threatening to warp it beyond measure. Until Grace calls. It’s her children that tug Alicia back from the brink. They always tug her back. They’re an albatross about her neck if your cynical. It’s a sign of complexity that the extraordinarily cynical Alicia doesn’t view them that way. She loves her children. In all the world the life and loves she’s sacrificed are worth it because of Grace and Zach. They give her focus too. When the threats that sprout up after Ashbough’s murder arise and deflate just as quickly it is her children that center Alicia and allow her to stabilize that veneer of her’s and return to status quo. Ashbough, the man who sued just to spend a little time with Alicia, shakes her to her core, but her children, who she trusts more than her own mother, brace that same core. Notes Despite this being the Alicia Florrick power hour everyone was busy. Kalinda gets labia blocked while bar hopping and then does everything she can to protect Alicia–including agitate her flirtation with Cary (those crazy kids) Diane gets the offer of her career when Peter asks her to be a Supreme Court Justice if he wins the election. She worries for about two seconds then works with Will to assess and treat the potential fallout. Matthew Perry, taking a break from the underrated Go On returns to be the biggest asshat ever. After sounding like a OUAT Evil Regal with his justification of dirty deeds he starts a rumor about Zach. This leads directly to the return of BAMFy Peter Florrick. Who uses all that dangerous cunning and brute strength to punch Perry (wonderful) and then start a rumor about him being back on the sauce (perfection). Maybe this will make the other guy rethink Peter’s “no kids” offer for campaigning–but probably not. Alicia used to be a wild child and had Zach out of wedlock. Makes sense. “Are you mad?” …. “I’ll meet you there shortly.” The Cardinal decides both candidates are dirt bags and hugs neither of them. Eli is overjoyed. Next Week: Morena Baccarin shows up as Colin Sweeney’s new wife. Woman you have a bad habit of marrying kind of awful dudes (or being a lizard queen). Kiki So what is your take on Alicia comment about love? Do you think the season of build up between A/P reach its point? Does she truly still have some feelings for her husband? http://fempop.com/ Alex Cranz Oh she absolutely has feelings for her husband. How deep they go I couldn’t say, but she hasn’t just been sleeping with him to get over Will. Kiki Yea I agree, something there that keeps pulling her back!