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Boston Legal Fodder

Boston Legal: Patriot Acts

patriot.jpgThe episode opens with news Denny and Alan have made it into the Coast Guard reserves. They leap abound as giddy as school children, but their friendship quickly becomes strained after the opening credits. A judge wants Alan to argue for his town's motion to secede from the United States of America. Alan takes the case much to Carl's chagrin, but Denny is flat out offended by the notion. Alan has his work cut out for him - with Jerry and Katie's aid, he must convince Judge Clark Brown to grant the motion. The town's effort to secede will doubtlessly be stonewalled later, but the entire effort is merely designed to shed light on the issues which are driving the town away from the US - not actually facilitate any practical succession. Unfortunately, that plan hits a major stumbling block when the defense retains outside counsel - in the form of Denny Crane and Carl Sack.

The rivalry between Denny and Alan starts with a simple $50,000 bet, but as the bet's amount surges, so does the intensity. Denny effectively argues that none of the town's grievances are anything new - from Japanese internment camps to the Watergate scandal, the American government has done bad things long before the current political climate. Jerry himself is amazed by Denny's prowess, and notes his Alzheimer's affliction - something Alan takes immediate offense to, sending Jerry on his own wood cigarette-spurned tangent. Alan apologizes and explains how much he hates putting work before friendship, but Jerry compares friendship to backyard garden - something we plan to tend but always end up forgetting.

The courtroom confrontation between Denny and Alan takes an ugly turn, and it gets even uglier in the office, where Denny accuses Alan of disregarding his patriotism, and therefore, not really understanding him at all. With their friendship at stake, Alan is more conflicted than ever, but he doesn't let it cloud his closing, which is still as effective as ever, as he reflects on losing America not in the physical sense which Denny mentioned in offset of WWII, but instead, in a supremely ideological sense. Though Judge Clark Brown is sympathetic, though, he cannot allow the case to go further, thereby "quashing" the case once and for all. Alan congratulates Denny, who still holds him as his best friend - and even gives him a "discount" as the bet Alan owes. Shirley even congratulates Denny - with a brief but substantial kiss.

On the balcony, Alan shares with Denny Jerry's theory on friendship, and the two decides - right then and there - to go fishing (Denny has been unsuccessfully trout-fishing in his office fish-tank). The two head out to the harbor, walking down the Boston streets with fishing rods and overalls, while the sign on the empty balcony reads "Gone Fishin'.

Overall, this was a good and touching episode, but it still didn't reach the heights of Season 2's "Witches of Mass Destruction", which did the best job of painting both the direction of the country as well as Denny and Alan's ideological difference - anything after that point seems more or less a retreading. With only 13 episodes left, I wonder where David E. Kelley will take us. Will Denny descend further in Alzheimer's? Will his spotless victory ever be tarnished? Will Jerry and Katie ever hook up? Will Clarence ever do anything again? Only the summer's time will tell!

Posted by Richard on May 21, 2008 11:04 PM
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Thanks for this recap! Ever since they switched to Wednesday nights, I keep missing the show or tuning in only halfway through. Last night it completely slipped my mind!

-- Posted by: Julie at May 22, 2008 9:40 PM

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