I have to say: This show is really onto something with the team of Alicia, Lucca, and Jason. I would watch them all day. However, on the other side, we have the Cary-Diane-Howard issue, that at times, is great comic relief, and at other times, just feels like it needs to wrap itself up. And then there’s the return of Marissa, who’s just the best.
So let’s start with the winning team (in my heart, at least).
Alicia and Lucca’s first official case together revolves around Maggie, a young woman who swears she paid off her student loan debt, but is getting constant harassing phone calls from a man named Bob at APY Collections saying that she still owes them $8,000. Thankfully, Jason — and his intimidating voice — is around to do a quick background check on Bob, threaten him to stop making the calls, and get to the bottom of what’s really going on. Fun fact: Poor Maggie has found her way into the hands of a scam artist by believing a voicemail and then sending her check to the wrong address. In other words, she paid her $8,000, but she paid it to the wrong person, meaning she still owes APY Collections $8,000. Yeah, that’s rough.
So while Jason looks into the scam artist, Grace — who’s worried that Alicia and Lucca aren’t charging enough on cases to pay the bills — tries to find out information on Maggie’s for-profit college, Colosseum. And it doesn’t take long for Lucca to come up with the idea to sue the school. After all, Maggie borrowed money for an education that didn’t wield a job.
But, of course, the skeezy school covered its own butt by having all students sign an arbitration clause in their enrollment agreement (which no one reads). So with court out of the question, Alicia and Lucca head into arbitration, where they try to prove just about everything, from the fact that the school has unqualified teachers to them targeting veterans to each and every lie the school has ever told its students.
But all of that comes crashing down when Maggie gets on the “stand” and admits that she missed two-thirds of her classes and didn’t even buy textbooks. Sure, she was trying to save money, but still, it’s hard to say that the school is the reason she’s unemployed when she never even gave the school a chance.
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However, when Maggie mentions her study group, Alicia gets an idea. Well, to be fair, Eli gives it to her, but still: The students should all go on a debt strike. It’s already happening at another for-profit school, so why not?
Just like that, Alicia and Lucca take a list of 350 student names to Colosseum and let them know that they’re officially on strike. And when that causes the school’s stock to fall, a shareholder suit is filed.
That’s the good news. That bad news is that Colosseum is now suing Alicia and Lucca. Looks like they got that bigger case they were looking for.
As for Jason, well, he tracked down the scam artist and got Maggie’s $8,000 back … by using a crowbar? It’s better not to ask. At least, that’s the way Alicia’s looking at is as she invites Jason in to have a drink. (Just for the record, I fully support whatever’s happening here.)
NEXT: Neither Eli nor Howard will go down without a fight
Elsewhere, this episode found Eli reuniting with his daughter, Marissa, who’s back because she’s worried that her father is spiraling. And although she’s not completely wrong, Eli has certainly been in a better place.
For now, he spends his days watching all of Peter’s interviews and waiting for the moment that Ruth makes a mistake and Peter comes crawling back to him. And when that doesn’t happen, he finds a way to mess with the campaign on his own. Despite Marissa telling him about a job offer in Israel — and her getting Alicia to temporarily fire Eli — Eli plants the seed of a debt strike in Alicia’s mind, knowing full well that Peter has been outspoken about the right to unionize. So how could he support a wife who supports it?
Yeah, politics are complicated. But the takeaway is that Eli has won this round. And I love this interaction between Eli and Alicia after she’d fired him earlier…
Eli: “I’m staying on.
Alicia: “Okay. Sounds good.”
I could use more of these two, come to think of it. I really enjoy them.
Finally, let’s touch base with the battle of Cary/the world versus Howard Lyman. This week, Howard tells a client that Cary went to jail, which of course sends Cary into a fit of rage. But when Howard threatens to file suit, Diane pulls Cary aside. Because Howard is a member of a protected class, they have to settle this. At Howard’s request, Diane agrees to implement in-house mediation.
Howard’s first order of business: Stop the name-calling. But given that Cary isn’t the only one guilty of that, Diane tries to inform Howard that everyone picks on everyone at the office, but Howard takes things to the next level by showing them items that people leave in his office from adult diapers to catheters.
After that realization, Diane and Cary promise to take meaningful steps to correct the ageist culture they might have unknowingly created. And step one of that involves everyone participating in sensitivity training. I bet you never thought you’d see Diane and Cary stuff cotton up their nose and put popcorn kernels in their shoes, did you?
As Howard puts it, now you know why I take naps. Then, because he’s Howard, he proceeds to cry so that the attractive young female associates will comfort him.
For me, Howard is a lot like Louis Canning in that I realize that they are great characters that lead to even greater moments. But at the same time, there are moments where they bug me so much — which I realize they’re supposed to — that it makes me not want to watch them. If I had it my way, every episode would feature just a little less Howard and a little more Jason. (And no, it’s not because of his age. It’s because of how he exploits it. I refuse to put popcorn kernels in my shoes.)
What did you think of the episode? Hit the comments with your thoughts or find me on Twitter @samhighfill.