Previously: Cage and Nelle had a weird thing going, Renee ran into Matt, Ally had whimsy moments, Renee went out with Matt, Nelle kissed Cage.
VONDA sings us into this season’s Christmas episode with Silver Bells over the snowy landscape of Boston. Nelle stops by Cage’s office in a little black dress, since she’s going to a client’s Christmas party, to let him know she’ll finish her project tomorrow. But Cage feels the heart drums, so he follows her out. She’s in the main office area looking at paperwork, under the mistletoe, and he tries to sneak up on her (to VONDA singing a jazzy version of Silent Night), pretending to do other things when she looks over at him. She finally turns around and asks what he’s doing, and figures out he wanted to kiss her. Why did he need to be sneaky about it though? Whatever the deal is, they’re interrupted by Richard, who has an update about the firm party. Then he is interrupted by Billy, who informs everyone that Sheldon Maxwell just got fired. There’s reference to this guy being a big trader, and Richard calls everyone in to work on ANOTHER wrongful termination case.
Post-credits, Ally storms into the office, as she’s supposed to be at Renee’s party right now. Elaine catches her up: Sheldon is C&F’s biggest client, so much so that his business supported the very opening of the firm. Ally trips on her way into the conference room, where Sheldon is seated with everyone, and when things resume, we get the rest of the details. Sheldon is a bit cagey in telling his attorneys that his employer thinks he’s lost his mind, since two days ago he saw a unicorn in his office. Ally is struck by this admission, and he adds that the problem is that he told people about the sighting, as well as the fact that he saw one last year at his house. Richard asks if anyone is up on unicorn law, and Billy volunteers, pulling Ally in as well. There’s a bit where Billy asks about precedent with a kid who thought he was Pinocchio, who turns out to be Cage, and as far as I can tell it’s only in there to remind us that Cage is quirky.
Ally gets off the elevator at the courthouse, and a well put-together woman stares her down. They trade barbs and the woman suggests that Ally “could eat a cookie”, and now that I’m writing the recap I realize I totally forgot about this scene because there is nothing else related to it in the entire episode. Get your editing together, show! Ally finishes her random detour and finds Renee to tell her she’ll have to miss her party, then gets back on the elevator, which Matt is now emerging from. We cut to Matt and Renee in an empty courtroom, where she rebukes him for showing up since she said not to contact her. He says he can’t walk away, she must know it too, and it will be complicated but she can’t pretend there’s nothing there. Did they just lift this dialogue straight from the Ally/George conversation?
This episode is pretty egregious on several levels, and right now has become a complete cartoon, as Cage tries to sneak up on Nelle again, to the strains of VONDA’s singing. Nelle finds him hiding and is about to kiss him and end this nonsense when Ling arrives, greeting everyone warmly. Ally asks her what the catch is and her happiness collapses, but bounces back when Richard comes over. Cage goes to follow Nelle to the elevator and accidentally grabs Ling’s boob, causing her to freak out. Nelle points out that she was standing under the mistletoe, so maybe Cage was going for a Christmas kiss, and for some reason this makes everything fine again. Elsewhere, Ally and Billy are discussing their unicorn case strategy when they’re approached by Richard. He tells them that Sheldon’s job is all he has, so he wants him well taken care of.
A bit later Ally arrives home, where a movie is playing on TV but nobody is watching. She just walks into Renee’s room, only to find Matt and Renee going at it. She leaves awkwardly. But of course Ally can’t leave it alone, and the next morning she gets neurotic over the incident while beating her over-cooked toast with a knife. She asks about Matt’s wife, and Renee recounts that “he says it’s basically over”. Ally scrapes at her toast feverishly.
At C&F, Richard tells Billy that they got Whipper for Sheldon’s trial, and is distracted by Elaine building a stage for the Christmas party…
And back out of the office to the courtroom, where Billy and Opposing Counsel are arguing at the hearing. Billy says that the unicorn sighting doesn’t affect Sheldon’s job performance, and OC counters that they can’t wait until it does, when Sheldon loses client money. Whipper admits that she wouldn’t be pleased if she lost money and then found out her broker had been hallucinating. At this point Ally stands up to tell a story: in third grade she was elected class president (is that a thing in elementary school?), and was great at it even though she still believed in Santa Claus. OC is rightly skeptical about this comparison, but I guess Whipper is on the fence, as she orders an evidentiary hearing.
Out in the courthouse hall, Matt stops Renee, and she pulls him into what looks like judge’s chambers. Matt wonders if she assumed they’re done now since they consummated their physical connection, because actually he has feelings for her, and they start making out. Cut to Richard and Cage talking in the latter’s office. Cage admits he’s afraid to kiss Nelle, and he wants to be the one to make the move this time. Richard makes a joke about his best move being to hire an escort (Remember? I don’t think the character supports that action anymore), then apologetically suggests that Cage is intimidated by Nelle’s beauty. He then goes a step too far by comparing her “porcelain skin” to Cage’s late preferred toilet, sniffing a piece of the bowl that’s in the office, and Cage finally kicks him out.
Billy is questioning Sheldon in court, laying out the basic facts that he saw a unicorn that nobody else did, but he doesn’t think it’s a hallucination. On OC’s turn, he confirms that Sheldon’s job is a high-pressure one, and asks him if being distracted by a unicorn isn’t bad in those circumstances. Sheldon answers that he’d never take investment advice from a unicorn, which is not particularly reassuring. OC clarifies that he’s not questioning Sheldon’s intelligence, but rather his mental stability, since people who are hallucinating could have other erratic behavior. He gets Sheldon to admit that he’s suffered from depression (if I remember correctly from Zeke, that’s actually a proper way to get information during a cross-examination, so good work), and that his doctor knew he’d seen a unicorn, but just told him he was lucky.
Billy and Ally do some post-game analysis in Ally’s office, and they agree that Sheldon held his own. Billy closes the door and asks if Ally knows why he wanted her on this case. Another completely random moment as she asks if he’s leaving Georgia, then whimsies about her own inflated head getting pierced by an arrow. Actually, Billy remembers that when they were seven, she saw a unicorn in her living room. Ally tells him she knew it was a fantasy but he says she claimed it was real, and we get a flashback to young Ally bathed in blue light and a unicorn silhouette. Ally says that she knows that’s impossible now, and Billy suggests that he put her on the stand to corroborate unicorn sightings. Uh, okay, if you think that’s really your best strategy. She asks if he really remembers and he says, “I remember everything”. Gag, let’s leave that plotline alone, please.
Renee and Matt are at dinner, where he once again assures her that he and his wife are basically living apart. He promises he’ll leave, but he doesn’t want to destroy her around Christmas. Renee recognizes that she’s not thinking clearly, but points out that they don’t have a future together as long as he’s with his wife. She asks how much time he needs, and I cringe when she follows it up with, “I don’t mean to sound cruel, I’m just protecting myself.” I guess she feels like she needs to watch her tone while asking her married lover to leave his wife. Matt hesitates, then confesses that his wife is four months pregnant. Renee gets up and leaves as VONDA’s hit 90s single starts playing. She runs into Ally outside but tells her she needs to go, and Ally stands there looking dissed.
A bit later, Ally finds Renee alone in a courtroom, and Renee tells her the big news. Ally says that this is only a problem if she and Matt are in fact together, then asks what she needs. Renee already knows what Ally’s advice would be, but she’s torn. Matt knew her before she was tough, she says, and Ally unfairly responds that Renee is being kind of weak at the moment. She says that she’s just afraid that Renee will get hurt, and Renee agrees with the sentiment.
Back at C&F, Ally has apparently relayed this sensitive information to Billy, who asks, “is it the worst thing in the world for her to be with this guy?” Hold your comment, because Ally points out for me that the guy is married, and then Billy gives her A Look and says he can’t figure her out, living as she does by only certain absolutes. Stupid question, stupid commentary, shut up Billy, you get 0 points and have failed the Decent Human test.
A man who I think is Sheldon’s boss is next on the stand for the hearing, claiming that the firm’s liability could be through the roof if investors knew they ignored the unicorn stuff, and they can’t wait around and let Sheldon get to the point of dementia. During Billy’s questioning, Boss lists seeing unicorns as at least a symptom of dementia. Billy asks if he’s Catholic, and once he’s agreed to that, asks if he agrees that there will be a second coming of Christ. If Sheldon saw Jesus instead of a unicorn, would he get to keep his job? Boss says that that would also be a problem, and Billy engages Dick Mode to inform everyone that the unicorn is a common symbol of Christ. Whipper asks if he’s really implying that his client saw God. He insists that the apparition isn’t grounds for termination, but Boss is not having it.
After the hearing, Ally goes back to some chambers, where Sheldon is waiting. She tells him that they may reach a settlement if he’s willing to accept a lesser role at the firm, which he’s not big on, so she also suggests that he recant, because Whipper would probably go easy on him. Sheldon tells her he needs to believe the unicorn was real, and asks when Ally saw one. She stutters, since he’s apparently figured this out on his own, then admits that she did, when she was little. Sheldon says that people who see them share unicorn traits, like that they’re “lonely with virtuous hearts”, and hang on a sec while I vomit. Ally gets all nostalgic about how she petted it, and Sheldon agrees that they can only be approached by a person of pure spirit. He also asks if she touched the horn, as “his horn is his power, it protects against everything” and can lead you to love. Damn Sheldon, you seem to know a lot about unicorns, and I didn’t think you were crazy before but I sure do now. Ally reassures him that maybe he’ll have another chance to get close to one, and he replies that he won’t if he stops believing.
Ling arrives again at C&F to hand out candy canes and presents. Georgia and Elaine stop her and tell her they’re suspicious of her good will. Nelle tells them to give her a break, as she’s giving to the less fortunate in the spirit of the season. Keep it up Nelle, you’re the only thing getting me through this episode.
Because here’s some more random shit where Renee and Ally are on the street, just flailing around on a steam grate for a while, before Ally eyes up some flannel PJs in a store window. She’s whining about PJs being the only thing keeping her warm in bed, when Renee gets a page. Renee also whines that her life must be bad if Ally’s trying to cheer her up, then updates her that Matt has called her six times in two hours.
The hearing is drawing to a close, and OC makes his summation: a surgeon whose hands shake doesn’t get to kill a patient before getting pulled from surgery, and Sheldon’s mental acuity is similarly vital to his job. (Sheldon is sitting at the table with a pen to his head like a horn, which Ally carefully removes when she catches him.) Billy’s closing is that Sheldon is being fired for believing in a mythical creature. Whipper points out that the problem is that he SAW it when nobody else did, and Billy asks “Why should I have to explain?” I don’t know, because that’s what they’re paying you for? He points out that in a week they’ll wake up to celebrate an inexplicable virgin birth, so what’s the difference? He says that Sheldon probably hallucinated a lonely creature of hope at Christmas, and if he’s not hurting anyone, how can they rule on his path to happiness? He turns to OC: “So you could never see a unicorn? Good for you. Or maybe not.” Sick burn?
At C&F, Elaine is coaching Cage through the “I want a hippopotamus” Christmas song, but he ducks out because it doesn’t feel organic. Elaine starts rehearsing it herself, and Billy fills Richard in on the case over her dulcet tones.
Renee finishes decorating the Christmas tree at the apartment, then starts dancing around to Ally’s theme song. Ally arrives home and Renee tells her it’s helping, and she can hear it in her head. She suggests that Ally join in, and we’re treated to a short dancing montage. Ally says they should do this every day, but Renee loses her mojo, and tells Ally that she needs a reminder about common sense. Ally’s not so useful for that, though, as she wonders if they want love but keep applying too many rules about how it can come along. I don’t know, the “not allowed if they’re married” rule seems pretty legit to me. Ally tells Renee that she never sees her open up to anyone, and if Matt can get her to do that, maybe she should be with him. Um, okay, let’s wait until someone’s friend advises that with your boyfriend, Ally, and then we’ll see how you feel about the liberating properties of love.
At the office, Cage uses a rolly chair to sneak up on Nelle AGAIN, but misses and kisses Georgia.
Ally is about to leave home and is asking Renee if she’ll be at the C&F Christmas party when she gets a page from Whipper. Renee asks her if she really thinks that she and Matt should give it a shot, and Ally tells her it’s crazy but it just might work. Get out of here with this nonsense. Cut to the courtroom, where Whipper asks who she is to decide what crazy is. She muses that people seem to be more empty and looking for hope these days, and they tend to look in strange places, not just at Christmas. “I’m gonna let them keep their unicorns,” she proclaims, and declares the termination unlawful. Sheldon thanks Billy and Ally, and assures them he won’t spread it around if he sees another unicorn.
Party time! Elaine sings “Run Run Rudolph” on stage as everyone dances, and there look to be dudes in dom outfits and reindeer fezzes as part of the choreography. Ally and Billy are at the punch bowl, and she tells him she thought his whimsy was dead, but he insists that he was just arguing a case. She tells him she misses him more at Christmas, then adds, “Don’t say anything back. It’ll hurt either me or Georgia, either way I’ll get angry”. God, it’s not often that you’re asked to root for a character who’s so emotionally selfish. This is some ridiculous self-centeredness she’s blasting. Meanwhile on stage, Cage and Richard have emerged in what are basically Chippendale reindeer outfits. Why? They own the damn firm, does Elaine have dirt on them?
Later, Ally’s up in her office, where she’s joined by Billy. He says it was Ally who made him believe in things he couldn’t see, and he misses that. Ally counters that she tends to get attached to things that aren’t there, which is dangerous. Billy gets nostalgic about a time when he snuck into her house and her dad caught him “stuffing your stocking”, which I don’t think is supposed to be innuendo, but that seems like a super obvious one. That doesn’t matter though, since what Billy does next is hold up mistletoe behind Ally so he can kiss her, which is #inappropriateasFUCK, and wish her a Merry Christmas. Mistletoe is not a legally binding entity, people! You don’t get to be married and kiss your ex-girlfriend and be like “oh but the plant was there so chill”. God, this episode.
Renee is waiting at home for Matt, who knocks, and apologizes since he had trouble getting out of the house with his wife there. She asks if they’re really separated, and he says again that it will take a while. She goes to get her coat, but he’d rather hang out at the apartment instead of the C&F party. She asks if his wife knows where he is, and I don’t think they’re exactly in an open marriage, Renee, you’re cheating with him, so signs point to “no”. Renee tells him that she’s going to get out while she can, and he wants to discuss it, but she shoots him down. She knows he doesn’t want to destroy his wife, but she won’t let him destroy her. She tells him there are no hard feelings, and they exchange gifts. He goes in for a kiss and she gives him her cheek. I would have slammed the door in his dumb face, so she’s nicer than me at least.
Most of the gang leaves C&F after the party, leaving Ally, Nelle and Cage. Cage goes to sneak up on her another damn time, and is mostly more successful this time since he takes his shoes off. He gets close to her then stops moving when she sees him, but as she would have to look at him in order to kiss him, I’m not sure what the plan of attack is here. Nelle tells him that it won’t be his move, and asks if that’s okay. They start making out.
Ally’s in her office and Cage stops by to tell her they’re leaving, before he’s yanked out of frame by Nelle. As Ally heads toward the elevator, a wild Unicorn appears! There’s lots of blue light around, and the unicorn is very shiny. Ally tells it “Hey, you”. She wishes the unicorn a merry Christmas and hugs it, and I can’t believe that screenshot lost out for post header. Aw, heck, it’s Christmas, here it is anyway:
VONDA sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” over the closing montage: Whipper looks up unicorns, Richard and Ling walk in the snow, Renee hangs up stockings, Ally takes a picture for a couple on the street, Billy and Georgia walk together and kiss, Elaine has a random gift, and Ally, as always, walks home alone.