Either there’s just no previouslies this week, or the showrunners realized this season is so repetitive that we don’t need them. So onwards and upwards, to VONDA singing “The Rainbow Connection”. I love that song, so I’m on board, but my mellow is harshed by seeing Ally walking with Butters at the hospital, floating above the ground like before. She tells him she thought about becoming a doctor, but she doesn’t like death, blood, or scrubs. I mean, you don’t really like any of the stuff for the job you do have, either. Ling walks in and Ally falls from the heavens so she can introduce her to Butters. Ling whimsically morphs into a Predator before leaving, bumping into a wheelchair and chiding the crippled person. Butters heads off to the room of a bald Haley Joel Osment, and Ally follows him in. HJO sees Ally bathed in white light, and tells Butters he’s seeing an angel. Butters introduces her to the kid, Eric, and Ally lets him know that she’s not otherworldly, but “sometimes I’m sweet”. He takes her hand and asks her if it’s time to go.
(Side note of interest to Hamilton fans: when I was confirming that our guest star can see dead people, I caught Renee Elise Goldberry’s name in the cast list, as she was one of VONDA’s regular Ikettes. You’ve come a long way, my friend.)
At C&F, Richard asks the gang where Ally and Nelle are. Elaine says that Ally is visiting Butters, and Nelle comes in with sunglasses face-painted over her eyes, since she doesn’t have any meetings today. I really don’t know what this is about, but see attached:
Richard reminds everyone that he and Cage will be out all week in court, at which point BIlly points out that the charge is attempted murder, and they have very little criminal experience. Richard’s logic is that if they lose, the client will go to prison, and they’ll lose his business anyway. He’s a little nervous but he thinks they’re ready. Their employees and the sound effects don’t seem to agree.
Butters is examining Eric (medically) while the latter talks about the Red Sox. Ally tells him that they don’t actually want them to win the World Series, because if they did, they wouldn’t be the Red Sox, what with the Curse of the Bambino and all. Eric’s mom (Julie) comes in and greetings are exchanged, before Eric asks if Ally knows OJ, being a lawyer and all. Unfortunately she doesn’t, but he asks her if he can help her sue someone. She asks for the details, and when he proclaims that he wants to sue God, everyone looks somber.
Richard and Cage talk to their client, Harvey, at the courthouse, as he wonders if they can plead on manslaughter charges. Cage says for that he’d have to have killed someone, but apparently the victim in this case survived, and “heat of passion” isn’t a mitigation for attempted murder charges. Richard suggests Harvey should have finished the job if he wanted a lighter sentence. Renee approaches to ask whether Cage and Fish are handling this case themselves. Cage is offended, so she pulls him aside and chides him that this isn’t fun and games. He assures her he’ll beat her again, and she warns him that if he’s using Richard as first chair to build a defense on inadequate counsel, it won’t fly. A woman gets off the elevator and looks over at the men as she enters the courtroom. Harvey asks why she’s here, and Richard replies that she’s a witness for the prosecution. “Some of those bullets went flying by her head.” Harvey doesn’t look optimistic.
Over at the hospital, Julie warms up our heartstrings as she tells Ally and Butters that Eric’s dad died, then Eric got leukemia, but now insurance won’t cover an experimental treatment. The church won’t help, either, so Eric is angry at God. Ally doesn’t think Eric can sue Him, but Ling, who has appeared in the doorway, begs to differ. Ally makes introductions, and after a blunt bald kid = cancer comment, Ling tells Eric that he can in fact sue God. Butters wants her to leave, but Eric is down for this. He asks if there even is a God, and Ling confirms, because “who do you think these doctors walk around pretending to be?” She asks if he’s willing to be strong, because she knows a good firm, but Ally manhandles her out of the room. Eric tells his mom that he still wants to sue.
Ling and Ally arrive at C&F, where Ally insists she won’t take the case, but Ling says she doesn’t want her to anyway. Ally winds up for a rant, but Nelle interrupts, and as Ally recaps the situation, Billy and Georgia join the discussion. Ling points out that Eric needs money for treatment, and she overheard the nurses saying that his dad died getting hit by a branch in a lightning storm. That’s an Act of God, and since the church is the House of God, they can sue the church. She leaves to pee, and Georgia asks where she comes up with these theories. Nelle tells “Georgette”, as she calls her, that Ling was the editor of the Law Review at Cornell, so she’s usually right. Billy asks for clarification, as none of them can believe that Ling has professional credentials, and Nelle looks intrigued that they didn’t know.
Renee has her client on the stand. He testifies that “we” were in bed when Harvey came crashing in, screaming at them, and and started shooting, hitting the man in the chest and shoulder. On Richard’s cross, he brings up that the plaintiff was “in his [client’s] house, in his bed, in his wife”, and gets him to admit that the affair had gone on for six months. He asks if the sex was good and Renee objects, but Richard keeps it up with the sex quips. “May I call you Steve?” he asks the plaintiff, who answers “My name is Rodney”. At any rate, Rodney and Harvey worked together for eleven years, but Rodney never would have thought his friend would shoot him, as it’s not in his nature to just open fire. Richard suggests that Harvey was outside himself or temporarily insane, but Renee objects, and the judge agrees that a witness can’t issue a legal opinion. Richard makes a “layperson” pun and is done, returning to his seat, where he tells Cage he was in a zone.
Ally is still at the office when Julie and Eric arrive. He asks Ally to be his lawyer and she patronizingly agrees. Julie apologizes and Eric runs off to play office-basketball with an extra, so Julie can tell Ally that this has re-energized him, and ask if she’ll really do this for him. Ally stammers and stops Ling, who claims not to remember Julie or Eric until she’s reminded of the case. She recommends that they bring it before Whipper, since she’s basically senile. Eric runs up and asks Ling if she’ll be on the team. She declines, but reminds him that he has to be strong, having him stomp his foot for emphasis. He accidentally stomps Ally’s foot and Ling says she’s going to head out shopping. “I bet he was cute with hair”, she muses, and once she’s gone Eric tells his mom that Ling is cool.
The woman witness, who we can gather is Harvey’s wife, is on the stand. Renee asks if Harvey was screaming anything in particular when he stormed in, and Wife claims he was shouting “I’ll kill you both!”. Renee rests. Cage awkwardly climbs over Richard for the cross-examination. He asks if Wife was being truthful when she took her vows, and she agrees, because she didn’t plan on the affair (the paramour’s full name is Rodney Wilcox, by the way. Nice.), it just happened. She admits that that doesn’t make it right. Cage points out that she deceived her husband for six months, and when he has her describe her cover stories, he senses remorse. He asks her how the affair happened, and she says she fell in love. Sappy music plays and Harvey looks sad.
Ally has Julie and Eric in her office now, as she’s taken the case, and tells them she’ll consult with “Cool Ling”, as Eric calls her (Ally is taken aback by the nickname). Ally says she understands that Eric is angry, but asks what he hopes to gain. He says he has questions for God, and figures that if he sues Him, He might be up for a talk. Ally asks what kind of questions, but Eric says that’s “between me and Him”. Eric asks Ally whether there’s really a God, because his mom says there is, but he thinks it might be like Santa Claus.
Story time! Ally talks about her baby sister, who was three years younger and her best friend. When her sister was five, she got sick and died, so Ally stopped believing in God. Then one day, she looked up into the sky and saw a blimp, and didn’t know what it was, so her mom told her it was God, and Ally believed it. “Were you a really stupid kid?” Eric asks, bless his heart. Ally says her mom knew she’d figure it out, so she told her that God had man make the blimp to remind people he was up there watching, and she still wonders if that’s true. Eric said he hasn’t seen a blimp, but Ally suggests that maybe God has a different mode of communication for him. “Maybe he sent you,” says Eric, and we see Ling has been listening in the doorway.
In the Unisex, Ally has apparently asked Ling to take Eric’s case, but she says practicing law causes wrinkles. Ally points out that Eric likes her, and she could catch up on her shopping by catalog (lol). She doesn’t think she can sell the lawsuit like Ling can to the church lawyer. Ling agrees to come out of retirement this one time, and practices a short, cheerful jury intro before letting her face fall into its usual glare.
Renee’s turn in court again, as she talks to the psychologist who evaluated Harvey. The doctor reports that Harvey was agitated but not insane, and he knew the nature and quality of his act when he shot the gun. Then it’s Richard’s turn, and he gets all technical about the implications of the words “quality” and “nature”. This turns into vaguely-related babbling, and the judge reminds him that his job is to “ask questions, and you should appear to be drug-free while doing so”. Richard asks if adrenaline isn’t like a drug to excuse himself, then asks the doctor if he’s ever been wrong. He agrees, but insists that he’s not wrong here. Richard asks whether on the occasions he’s been wrong, he knew it at the time. The doctor looks at the judge, who shrugs, and admits he didn’t. Renee looks disappointed.
Ally, Eric and Julie are in the conference room with Gale, the church lawyer, who’s having a hard time taking this seriously. Ling comes in and he asks her why he should consider this legitimate. She starts fast-talking that Eric’s parents gave to the church, acting in good faith, and now he’s in need, so the claim would stand in a court of law. Besides that, the media would love this case, and since any articles would mention that the church wouldn’t pay for an experimental drug, the settlement amount would be less than the salaries of PR people to defend the church’s morality from such neglect. Basically, since she’s naming God as a defendant, her client is a cute bald kid with a big smile, and his parents gave to the church, the moral thing is for the church to give back. She tells Eric to smile for effect, and pronounces his efforts “medium”, but points out that he’s still bald.
Harvey is taking his turn in court. He tells Richard that when he saw Wife (Sheila) and Rodney, his life flashed in front of him and he went into a rage, grabbed the gun, and doesn’t remember much else. He admits that he’s glad he didn’t kill Sheila, though. Richard tells the court that you can see how the jury might want Rodney and Sheila dead (objection/sustained), says that Harvey was temporarily insane when he grabbed the gun (objection/sustained), and generally bumbles until Cage asks to take over. He approaches Harvey and asks if he still loves his wife, which he confirms, as he hasn’t loved anyone else in his adult life, and he doesn’t think he ever will. Cage looks satisfied.
At C&F, Eric tells Nelle that her face paint looks goofy, so she tells him that that guy who “looks like a Ken doll” (Billy) likes it, and adds a snide comment about Georgia being Barbie for good measure. Ally walks in looking stunned, and updates everyone that the church is willing to settle. She calls Eric and Julie over, since they’re going to get things moving. In the conference room, Eric tells Ally that he believes in angels, and while he thought Ally was his earlier, now he knows it’s Ling. Ally assures him, “between the two of us, you’re covered”.
Ally and Butters are having drinks at VONDA Bar later, and Butters tells her that the oncologist should get them the experimental drug in a couple days. He thanks her, which she defers to Ling, and she asks if the drug can save Eric’s life. Butters describes how it works, and Ally has her fingers crossed. He asks if she knows what he’s thinking, and she replies that one of her New Year’s resolutions is less fantasy and more reality, so they start making out.
Time for closing arguments! Cage tells the jury about a pretty girl he asked to prom in high school, and how that experience proved that love could produce “mind-altering chemicals”. That was just puppy love, he says, so how much more intense is it when you’ve committed your life to someone? Imagine NOT experiencing insanity (ugh, that phrasing again) in those circumstances. He finishes by saying that love can cause you to do destructive things sometimes…or, believe Sheila. Richard stands up to add something, but Cage pulls him down. Renee starts her counter with “you gotta being kidding”, because legal insanity isn’t rage or shock, but the inability to distinguish right from wrong. Harvey tried to kill a man and “his defense is achy breaky heart? Please.” (Looks like she took a page from Cage’s old playbook, there.)
Elaine answers Ally’s phone at the office, and when she hangs up she tells Georgia that things aren’t okay. Cut to Ally joining Julie at the hospital. Apparently Eric is barely awake, and Butters tells them that his T cell count just dropped. Another doctor says that Eric isn’t in pain, but he is dying. Julie cries and Ally stammers about how he’s supposed to get the treatment. The doctors say that they can see Eric, and the non-Butters one confirms that Eric knows what’s happening. Julie walks off, leaving Butters and Ally to comfort each other, until Ling arrives and they all look sad.
A bit later, Ally and Ling are in the hospital waiting room, and Julie comes out to say that Eric wants to see them (Butters is already in his room). Eric tells Ally that he’s tired and scared, since when it’s time to go you see your angel. Ling sits in front of Ally on Eric’s bed and makes a quip about comments like that selling fortune cookies. He tells her that the way she talks to him, he never feels like he has cancer, then asks where Ally went. She subs back in, and he says he had a dream that he was her angel, and she’ll have to get a new one now. She says she’ll stick with Eric, and he takes a turn as he calls for his mom, asking where he is, and she tells him he’s in the hospital with his friends. Eric asks for his song, and she sings about always chasing rainbows. Ally and Ling stand back and Ally starts crying.
The jury returns for this week’s court case. Richard asks if it’s good when jurors look over at you, but Cage warns “not when they’re staring”. The jury finds Harvey not guilty by reason of temporary insanity, which was pretty obvious if you’ve seen any other episode of this show, but Renee tosses a pen in frustration. Harvey shakes Richard’s hand, then stops Sheila on her way out, clarifying that he never shot at her. She apologizes and confirms that she’s still with Rodney. Harvey also apologizes, then sadly watches his wife leave with his friend.
Ling and Ally are in the waiting room again, when Butters comes in to tell them that Eric is gone. Julie enters and says that Eric lived up until the end because of them, and she’s really grateful for the last few days. She hugs Ally, but Ally thinks Eric was right that there is no God. Ling points out that they knew he was dying, so it’s not the world’s biggest shock, and they should “get over it”. She leaves, and her face falls once she’s out of eyeshot. VONDA sings “Rainbow Connection” again while Ally and Butters sit down, and I think I might cry now, only Ling beats me to it as she breaks into tears outside.
Mini montage: Richard, Cage and Harvey sit at a table in VONDA Bar, all looking sad. We see a shiny ghost image of Eric walking down the hall with someone until he fades out. The montage ends at C&F, where Billy is looking for Ally. He finds her upstairs, and when he gives his condolences, she declares it “just one of those days”. He invites her to the Bar, but she says that won’t do it for her. She thinks she should feel lucky, since Eric was going to die anyway, so at least she got to meet him first. “Not everybody gets to go face-to-face with their angel,” she says, and it’s lines like this that take the episode from moving to saccharine. Billy offers to walk her home but she says she’ll go solo. I have to say, Ally being sad is much more effective than her manic/neurotic state.
VONDA sings “Starry Starry Night” as we fade back to the Bar. Nelle asks Richard if he’s heard from Ling, but he says she had to do something. As Ally walks home, she hears a blimp, and looks up to see that it has a scrolling message of “Just Looking”. Ling, at a nearby newsstand, watches Ally, who just stands there staring. This was our Very Specialist Episode yet, I wonder if we can beat it.