'Boston Legal' does the cell block tango

Jamesspader_bostonlegal_s4_240 I was so excited for Boston Legal's Halloween episode tonight. Last year brought us the famed Buzz Lightyear versus Buzz Lightyear face-off (and this being Boston Legal neither Buzz is currently on the show, so I can't tell you who, long term, won the war). While that was fun, I was completely convinced that tonight's episode would be better.

I forgot one little thing -- there was no episode last week so if there is a Halloween episode it will be next week. Despite their being no scary costumes I was able to console myself with the appearance of Lorraine, always a frightening prospect. She showed up very early tonight, made fun of Alan's "word salad," and as per usual, creeped me out.

Patrice Kelly (Mare Winningham) is probably the person that ought to have scared me most tonight, but she didn't. I actually really liked her. She was smart, scarily so, and if that wasn't obvious from her first appearance, it certainly was by the second time Alan saw her in jail (right before the arraignment). She told Alan exactly what to do at the arraignment, was correct in those assertions, and pointed out to Alan the ultimate truth about the man she killed -- "he had it coming." I'd like to add to that the fact that the victim, really, only had himself to blame. If you'd've been there If you'd've seen it I think that you would have done the same.

Patrice even told Alan that God spoke to her and that his exact words were "shoot him in the head." The statement wasn't particularly wise or witty, but the temporary insanity defense was strengthened by her saying it. Asking Alan to get Denny off the case and add an African-American associate was pretty smart too. Patrice clearly thought the entire sequence of events through quite well.

Of course, saying that makes me wonder why, if she had thought the entire thing out, she went to see Alan in advance, and almost ruined the temporary insanity defense. That part of the story makes very little sense to me. Sure, because of it the sequence of events is odd and funny and very Boston Legal, but it doesn't quite fit with how smart she seemed at every other turn.

I will forgive the show this mistake, and in exchange all I ask with this case is that Mare Winningham not show up next week and the week after and the week after killing new people left and right. It was funny when Betty White did it a couple of seasons back, but I'd rather not see the show go down that road twice. If the producers opt to disregard my opinions, hopefully Betty will show up again and while pushing that sandwich cart point out the error of their ways.

Not creepy, but much more annoying tonight was how we found out about Alan's background via his conversation with Lorraine. I'm nominally curious about Alan's background, who he is and where he came from, after all, to be interested in this show is to be interested in Alan. However, the fact that we learn some of his most intimate stories via this woman distressing. Alan kept these stories a secret for years and then told this woman, who I really dislike, about them. Plus, she tried to work out Alan's problems with his mother by measuring him for pants. It was a very Boston Legal thing to do, but in the hands of Lorraine it annoyed me. What is it about her that I dislike so? Anyone?

Truly scary tonight was the Joseph Washington case which turned into a case against Megan's Law which ended up with Joseph Washington having his rape conviction overturned. I'm not going to tackle the pros and cons of Megan's Law, but rather Jerry and Katie's having defied Carl Sack. What were they thinking? Yes, there is an argument to be made that Katie and Jerry did what they felt to be right, but, as Sack pointed out, they did it in the completely wrong way.

Johnlarroquette_bostonlegal_s4_240 I think that Sack's next discussion with Katie and Jerry, after the case was finished, really helped show us about the man. He knew exactly what happened, he knew exactly why Jerry and Katie were distressed, and he still tossed hours and hours of work down onto their desks. He also gave them some wise, heartfelt, thoughts that made them feel better. But, whatever else he did, he did not lighten their workload. It was a good dichotomy, and it made me like Sacks and Larroquette more than I already did.

Okay, here's my biggest question about tonight, and it deals with the Washington case. I don't know how I feel about it, so I want to throw it out there for everyone to debate -- what do you think about the show using a mostly white town and a black man for this case? I am sure that it was a very conscious decision on the show's part, that they knew that this is where Washington's multi-episode arc was headed when it began. Did it tug at your heartstrings more this way or did you just feel a little used?

Will next week's episode be the Halloween one? Hope springs a kernel, dear reader, hope springs a kernel. And, I write other things over at The TV and Film Guy's Reviews.