to the Message BoardCoffeerooms Ally McBeal

Hope and Glory
May 15th 2000
by Papa C

episode photos

Ally is still seeing the British attorney, and things are going well. In the unisex, Mark asks Ally if things are serious, and she tells him that's a personal question. He tells her he was only asking because, if they weren't, he could ask her to dinner, but if they were serious, that would be bad. Ally tells him it wouldn't be bad, just inappropriate. Mark says that's fine, forces a smile, and says that was embarrassing. Just then, Richard, then John, then the British attorney all come out of stalls. Embarrassing, indeed.

Nelle turns traitor. Following the advice of an attorney named Hope (who happens to have had a fling with Richard in the past), she sets up her own practice. First, she finds a way to trick Elaine into joining her. She tells Elaine that she wants to make her her own full paralegal, and double her salary. Then she comes back and tells her Richard wouldn't let her, and that he said she was just a dumb, horny blonde who isn't qualified. Elaine is understandably upset, so she says she'll talk to him again. No go, she says. But, she's decided to leave the firm anyway, and wants to take Elaine with her. Elaine wants to talk it over with Ally - at least be up front with her - but Nelle tells her that would only put Ally in a bad position, since she'd have to tell Richard and John. So Elaine says she'll take the job, since Richard and John don't value her anyway. Nelle tells her to download all the client files. Elaine asks if that's okay to do, and Nelle says that, for any clients who come to her instead, she'll need the file, and the others they just won't use. But, since Elaine feels uncomfortable with it, Elaine can just tell Nelle the password instead and she'll do it. So she does.

Next, a major client of Richard's stops by to say goodbye. Richard is confused, and he tells him he's decided to go with Nelle. Richard says fine, but doesn't he still want Richard overseeing things? The man responds that can't be possible, since Nelle has already quit and set up her own practice. Richard is shocked. He sounds an alarm and tells everyone that Nelle's office is to be locked and he must be informed if she sets foot in the office. Just then, she shows up. She smiles and tells Richard she has quit and set up her own practice. John and Nelle exchange insults, and then she says, "Come on, Elaine", and they leave. Everyone is stunned that Elaine is leaving, but Nelle doesn't leave any time for her to explain. So Elaine just offers that she's going somewhere where she'll be valued. Richard is stunned.

The four remaining principal attorneys - John and Richard, Mark and Ally - meet to discuss what to do. Mark says they've got to take her to court. They present their cases to the judge. Hope, Nelle's attorney, says Nelle had to leave because not only did Richard break his promise about becoming partner and then admit that he never keeps his word, but Nelle was accosted with a hairbrush by the other partner, John Cage. John is muttering obscenities, and Hope suggests they take this to an arbitrator, so they won't have to air all this unpleasantness in front of everyone. The judge thinks it's a good idea. Mark advises Richard and John that they should do it. They agree. An arbitrator is randomly picked by the judge.

The bad news is that they have been assigned an arbitrator who has a reputation for hating men, and has the nickname Bulldog. Nelle begins her side with an almost tearful testimony of the belittling relationship she had with John, in which he made her wear shoes with remote-controlled drop heels so he could adjust her height, and wear a hair bun with a remote attachment so he could loosen her hair at will. She mentions that she was accosted with the hairbrush, then gets up to use the bathroom, sniffling, but asks someone to go with her, since she feels afraid of the unisex bathroom they have there. John and Richard are seeing red. John insults Nelle, and tells the arbitrator, "Pipe down, Bulldog!". Mark does some good: he tells that Nelle was asking the other attorneys' clients to come to her, and told them she may be leaving, 3 months ago: 2 months before Richard refused to make her partner. Still, things are not looking good. Then Ally goes to see Elaine.

Ally tells Elaine that what Nelle told her about asking John and Richard to make her a full paralegal was not true - she had never talked to them. Ally asks Elaine why Nelle needed HER. Elaine responds that maybe because Nelle thought she was good at her job, and not just a horny dumb blonde. Ally tells her of course she is good, but there must be something Nelle needed. Elaine realizes it was the access code to the client files on the computer. Ally tells Elaine that Nelle did not just download them, she deleted them. She stole them. Elaine realizes she was duped.

Before the judge makes her decision, Elaine and Ally show up, and Elaine testifies against Nelle, telling how she tricked Elaine into going with her and that she stole the files. Bulldog says she'll bring back her answer.

While awaiting the decision, John and Richard fight in the unisex. Richard asks John to not come back in the room, because he's making things worse, and they're all there because of him and his hairbrush. John retorts that Richard is the one who broke his promise to make her partner. John pushes Richard, who pushes back. They end up like two schoolboys on the bathroom floor. Hope comes in and breaks it up. After John and Richard leave, Bulldog comes out of a stall.

When they reassemble, the judge gives her verdict: she doesn't have evidence that Nelle actively stole clients from Cage and Fish and therefore cannot prosecute, but she orders that Nelle pay back $300,000 restitution for the losses. Cage and Fish thinks it's too low, but it hits Nelle hard.

Nelle later goes to see Elaine, who is setting up her desk again at Cage and Fish. She asks if Elaine really intends to go back to work there. Yes, she does. Elaine tells Nelle she is not a nice person. Nelle asks her to be honest: which does she really admire more, a nice woman or a woman who's really a bitch deep down? Elaine responds that she admires honesty. Nelle leaves, muttering, "What do you know?", but Elaine gives her some parting words to think about: rich, successful people like Nelle often end up alone and friendless.

Hope, Nelle's attorney, gives Nelle a bottle of wine and tells her to go toast herself and celebrate. Nelle is not enthusiastic, with the $300,000 to repay, but Hope tells her she's done well. Nelle mentions she now has no friends.

Ally and Mark sit with Richard and John in the bar, and she tells them she'll sit there all night till they shake hands. They're both grumpy, but finally Richard tells John he loves him. John tells Richard he loves him, too. They shake hands. Ally goes to dance with her new beau. Mark dances with Elaine, and John with Renee. Richard is upstairs in the office, necking with Hope. Nelle is sitting alone in her office, drinking her wine and looking unhappy.

NEXT WEEK'S SEASON FINALE: an Ally musical.

 
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