An old friend returns to a new "The Good Wife," as Matthew Lillard reprises his role as Jonathan Coulton — er, Rowby Canton, the singer-songwriter Florrick-Agos defended back when they were Florrick-Agos, in Season 5 (but Rowby is even less like Coulton than he was then). Since they successfully won his copyright infringement case then, Rowby again asks them for help, going to Cary first, who joins Alicia and Lucca to fight the suit.
Not only does Rowby work with Lucca, but he falls in love-at-first-sight with her, and the two cross some boundaries to have a brief fling. It doesn't seem like the wisest decision for Lucca to become involved with a client, especially in the middle of the case, but she does seem to have an impetuous streak (and what happened to her date with Cary?). She also knows that Rowby has a son now (who looks like he's 5, even though he presumably wasn't born yet when we first met Rowby two years ago), so his wife is probably somewhere too.
Rowby admits that he and his wife are divorced, because she wanted "a two-car garage" and he wasn't able to give it to her. I'm not going to think too hard about that, especially because it feels like one of a string of specifics here that don't quite add up. I'm unclear on where Rowby is in his life. He's apparently doing well, having completed his recording contract with a label, who is now claiming ownership of his latest song and viral video. But how successful were his albums? Is he still the struggling artist he was, or does he have a modicum of success, fame and money? He's playing birthday parties, but the professor who testifies for him has a fan's knowledge of his work, so he clearly has some fanbase. And why would he write a song called "Good Morning Magic Sunshine," if he's trying to get his kid to go back to sleep?
I know. I'm being nitpicky.
Whatever his story, the record label is not backing down, with its ingratiating, patronizing lawyer finding excuse after excuse to lay claim to Rowby's song. Alicia and Co. go a few rounds of battle, and even win the initial suit, only to have another suit brought against him that they're not able to win. And now that the case is over, Lucca's ready to end her relationship with Rowby and go "back to real life."
While it's fun to talk about music and hear all the song references, this episode also illustrates what I hate most about law, in the inelegant words of Rowby: "The law just gives people so many ways to be mean."
Meanwhile, Alicia and Lucca are having other problems — of course — this time with Alicia's downstairs neighbor. Thanks to some misnumbering in the elevator, she's been interrupted repeatedly by people looking for Alicia, and takes it upon herself to scare away potential clients. This includes two strong rich women who left Lockhart, Agos & Lee for Florrick-Quinn's struggling business, but now they feel that the lack of offices is a problem. Diane, Cary and David naturally see this as a chance to steal back their clients.
The neighbor reports Alicia to the building's housing committee for running a business out of her home, and then serves her with eviction papers. Grace steps in and rescues her mother — thanks to some unsolicited advice from Eli's daughter Marissa (hooray! Sarah Steele is back), who is looking for a job, and trying to figure out what happened between Alicia and Eli — by proving that Alicia is not the only one presumably breaking the housing committee's rules.
Though grateful, Alicia repays Grace by firing her, explaining that Grace needs to focus on her own future, rather than her mother's. Could she possibly end up getting a job with Lockhart, Agos & Lee?
Speaking of such things, Cary returns to tell Alicia that the clients are not joining either firm. It seems they want Alicia and Lucca as lawyers, but with Lockhart Agos's infrastructure. Cary asks Alicia to return to Lockhart Agos, bringing Lucca with her. I guess we all knew it had to happen eventually, but how does David Lee really feel about this?
As Marissa tries to uncover why there's such strife between Eli and Alicia, Eli tells her what he did. (I love her reply when he asks how she knew Will was in love with Alicia: "I have eyes.") She also intervenes and asks Alicia to forgive Eli, but she can't yet. It's too soon; Alicia's hurt and needs time to heal. Marissa still wants her to tell Eli he's forgiven, but she refuses. I can't say I blame her for that.