After being betrayed by her own lawyer before the Electoral Review Board, Alicia formally withdraws her name from the State's Attorney race and approaches Diane, Cary and David Lee to return as a partner to the firm, which has already been renamed Lockhart, Agos and Lee. Due to a misunderstanding, Alicia ends up believing they are being insincere and follows Peter and Finn's advice to consider starting her own firm. Kalinda attempts to deflect the State's Attorney away from Diane and herself by agreeing to turn over evidence on Bishop. Diane agrees to argue a test case for Reese Dipple (Oliver Platt) against mandatory minimum sentencing.
The miscommunication in “The Deconstruction” winds up being professionally tragic for Alicia’s hopes of coming back to her own firm and personally tragic for Kalinda’s life--or at least her ongoing presence on the show. Cary, trying to save Kalinda from testifying against Lemond Bishop, unintentionally ruins her (not entirely believable) scheme to plant the blame on one of Bishop’s men. That forces Kalinda to flee by the end of the episode, leaving only one artfully lonely hairbrush behind to console Cary.
It’s a strangely anti-climactic exit for a character who deserved a little more fanfare, if indeed this is the last we’ll be seeing of her. For whatever reasons the actors haven’t shared a scene in years, but I wish they’d broken that streak to give us a final in-person conversation between Alicia and Kalinda.
But Alicia’s too busy trying to figure out what she wants to do next. She thinks it’s a return to her firm (now called Lockhart Agos & Lee, “or whatever its name is,” as Peter snarks. Given the rapid name-partner turnover, you do have to wonder how much money Diane and Cary have spent on new signs, business cards and stationary over the past 18 months.)
But Oliver Platt, here to fight mandatory minimum drug sentencing and give Diane an amusing side plot involving Cary's former parole officer, tells Diane that the Florrick name is too corrupt; if Alicia comes back, he’ll take his billionaire business elsewhere. So Alicia ends the episode sobbing, with no state’s attorney’s job and no law firm to go back to.
I’m still not convinced that she’s completely done for in terms of the election, mostly because the show expended so much storytelling time on that plot. But there’s something very meta about Alicia’s last conversation/pep talk with Peter: “You can do it, Alicia. You can come back from this,” he tells her.