Synopsis of Alone Again

Written by Dana Hagerty

Ally and Cage have been asked to step in and represent Vincent Robbins, a 72-year old bank robber who has been in jail for 18 years, and is now charged with attempting to break out of prison one month before his release. The trial is to start today. They visit him and his attorney, Michael Huttle, at the prison. Cage asks what Huttle wants them to do. Huttle says "Whatever it is you do to make juries disregard the law. Pinch your nose, get it to whistle, take a moment, make your feet squeak." Cage asks Ally to say it with him, and together they say "Troubled."

Richard asks Georgia to handle a case for Marcia Halliday. She wants to sue her ex-fiancÚ for emotional distress because he left her at the altar. Richard says "Her scorn is our profit. If she's ugly, say yes." He says that if she's pretty, she can always find someone else to marry her. He adds she gets no points for personality.

While Cage, Ally and Huttle talk with Robbins at the prison, Cage begins blinking a lot. Robbins thinks he is making fun of him because Robbins also blinks a lot. Cage explains that "it's a little tourettesian", and that he picks up on the body movements of others. When Robbins looks over at Huttle and says that Cage is very peculiar, Cage hums, stutters trying to say "Poughkeepsie," and finally just goes with "New York." Ally then explains to Robbins what Cage just did. (Ally's explanation can be found in my review.)

At the courthouse, a woman who obviously knows Cage runs up to him. She is Hayley Chisolm, and not only did they go to law school together, but she is the A.D.A. on the Robbins case. Hayley just moved here from North Hampton. She does this little hop and explains to Ally that it is "this thing we do." She's very excited about seeing "my little biscuit" again and about going up against each other on the case. She walks away and does the little hop again. Ally doesn't believe that they were just friends, and gives Cage a bit of a hard time about it, then walks away, doing a little hop of her own.

Marcia Halliday is meeting with Georgia. She says it isn't legal to sever a man's penis (she knows, she hired a lawyer to look it up), so she wants to sue her ex-fiancÚ. She says she was utterly humiliated when he left her at the altar with 300 people looking at her with pity. She appears to not be really certain about suing her ex, and says maybe she should just go to counseling. Richard, who has been eavesdropping, comes in and tells her that won't help her. He asks if he can call her Marcia, and she says she guesses, but that her name is Mary. He encourages her to go forth and be vicious.

A guard is being questioned by Hayley about Robbins' attempted jail escape. He said that Robbins was building a large chest in shop class. It was like a hope chest, but it was square. The guard saw him out in the yard, next to the wall, jumping on the box. He had somehow made it into a trampoline. He kept jumping till he went over the wall. He wasn't able to move once he went over the wall. The guards just went out and brought him back. As she walks back to the table, she does a tiny little hop. Cage gets up to question the guard. He introduces himself and asks him "How do you do?" The guard says fine, Cage says splendid, then says "Nothing further," and walks back to his seat.

Outside the courtroom, Cage tries to get Hayley to come down from trying to get Robbins to go back to jail for 12 years. She says it is office policy. He asks her how Fred is, and she says she is divorced. When she walks away, Ally asks Cage if Hayley knows that he was in love with her. He stutters, tries "Poughkeepsie," then settles on "Giuliani."

Back in the conference room, Elaine introduces herself to Mary and shows her her newest invention. It's a husband CD, containing all the sounds of a spousal relationship. We hear a car door opening (this is supposed to signify the husband opening the car door for the wife like a perfect gentlemen), snoring, a toilet flushing, music from a ballpark, and flatulence.

Vincent Robbins takes the stand, and tells his side of the story. He says from the day he arrived, all he could think of was getting out of prison. He began collecting rubber bands and he would knit them together, concealed by the afghan he was also knitting. He finished one month before he was to be released. So why did he go ahead with it? Well, he says that after planning it for 18 years, he had to just see if he could actually do it. When he did, he felt like he was flying. And when he landed, he thought he had broken every bone in his body. But in his mind, he had never been freer. "I was free forever," he said.

Hayley is crying and saying this is one of the reasons she got transferred. She says she once offered to adopt a boy who burned down his neighborhood because he talked about his abusive parents on the stand. Cage knows Hayley too well, and calls her on it. She quickly stops crying. She uses a remote to open and close her briefcase. Ally asks Hayley to come out with them to the bar that night, and even though she has Lamaze class (she's not pregnant, she's just, let's see, how to explain it, a lot like Cage), she finally decides to join them.

Ally is surprised that Cage and Hayley never went out. He says he tried to ask her out, but she just thought it was a joke. "I opened the door and it came back to strike me in the nose," he says. Ally says she is pretty much over Billy (99 point 60 percent, she says), and one day she will completely be over him. But she says she will never get over the idea that when Billy left, she let him. She encourages him to take a chance with Hayley.

Richard and Georgia are taking their positions behind the table when the judge on their case comes in. And surprise! It's Whipper. Georgia thinks she should recuse herself. Whipper and Fish go back and forth Richard says verbal spankings leave him wanting for more. Whipper says that courts don't legislative love and even second year law students should know that. Richard says "I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you spent too much time up close to a hair dryer." That is the last straw. Whipper calls everyone in to her chambers. Everyone has calmed down a bit, and Richard says that courts delve into marriage all the time. He says it all comes down to fairness. "Underneath that robe, besides a phenomenal body, is a great judge. Behave like one," Richard says.

Hayley has offered four years to Robbins, and when Cage takes it to him, he says no. He says going over that wall was the first thing he's ever truly followed through with, and that it's time he took another chance.

At the bar, Cage is dancing with Hayley and they look like they are having a great time.

Upstairs, Richard, Georgia and Mary are meeting with the ex-fiancÚ's attorney in an attempt to settle. Richard asks the attorney "May I call you Dick?" The attorney responds "My name is George." Whipper comes in and says she didn't recuse herself because she thought the claim was baseless. But after thinking about it, she agrees that Richard is right and she does recuse herself.

Back at the bar, Elaine is dancing with an elderly guy with a walker. Hayley asks Cage if he hated her husband. She says when she and Cage stopped talking after she got married, she just assumed it was because he hated Fred. He says he didn't hate Fred.

Renee and Ally are in their apartment, wearing robes and face masks. Renee tells Ally she should join a dating service. After all, she killed the inflatable man, and they go to the bar three times a week and never meet anybody. Ally says that's because they sit at a table, that they should sit at the bar if they want to meet people. Renee got a tape from a video dating service for Ally to look at. They guy likes to smell girls' eggs.

Hayley is giving her closing. She agrees that Robbins' story was almost romantic. The way he went up and over the wall. But he broke the law, and no matter how cute he is, she has a job to do, and she tells the jury that they have a job to do, too.

Cage says that after spending 18 years collecting those rubber bands, Robbins HAD to go over that wall. He says that to survive in prison, you need hope, and for nearly two decades, Robbins' hope could not be dashed. Cage then says he knew a man who was secretly in love with a woman. She was his best friend, and he never told her for fear she wouldn't return his feelings. She says that when you don't know, hope lives. But courage is when the time comes to jump, and you jump. He says courage is knowing you can't NOT jump.

Elaine is still playing her husband CD for Mary. We hear utensils scraping against plates, and Elaine says with this sound, you never eat alone. Then we hear a belch, and Elaine says there's too much reverb there, but it's fixable.

Mary tells Richard that she wanted to sue her ex because she felt sorry for herself. She says her love for him was real, and her pain was real. But after listening to Richard negotiate and strip it all down to money, she feels sorry for him. She wants to withdraw the suit. Elaine watches her leave, and tells Richard that she thinks she will send Mary one of her CD's. Richard starts to attack Elaine. "You think the cure to somebody's loneliness is a compact disc. That's your answer," Richard says. Elaine says "I don't have the answers, Richard. Maybe you could let me in on your secret."

In the hallway at the courthouse, Hayley asks Cage if he was talking about her. He appears that he is going to say no, then says yes. She tells him that she loved him, too, but not in the same way. Cage blows it off with "It was a closing argument. I'm trying to win an acquittal for my client." Ally calls them back in to the courtroom. The jury is back. And the verdict is not guilty. Hayley congratulates Cage, and asks if they can have lunch tomorrow. He says he will have to check his book.

Ally and Cage go back to the office, and while Ally tells everyone that they won and that John was fabulous, John disappears into the unisex. She follows him. Mary shows up to sign the dismissal papers, and Elaine is given the job of helping her. Ally goes into the unisex, and when she doesn't believe his first "I don't want to talk about it," Cage starts yelling at her, with a very high voice. "Ally, I don't want to talk about it. Sometimes I feel better not talking. That thing about talking was made up by a bunch of yappers. I want to be by myself, not talking." She starts to leave, and he tells her thank you, and touches the side of his nose. Ally does the same.

Richard goes to see Whipper in her chambers. He says he has three things to say. First, he realizes that when people who love each other part, no court of law can fix it. Second, he knows it is a slippery slope when you start asking judges to legislate couples. And third, he misses her. Whipper says she would like to take all of that under advisement. Richard turns and leaves.

The episode closes with Vonda singing "Alone Again (Naturally)." Cage leaves the office. Elaine and Mary finish the paperwork. They stand up, shake hands, and Elaine puts her other hand over their hands, a small gesture to let her know she really does understand. Ally and Renee are at the bar, and are sitting at the bar. Whipper leaves her office, taking a teddy bear with her. Richard is in an arcade playing a video game. Elaine appears to be the last to leave the office. And Cage walks home, alone.

©1998 Dana Hagerty. All rights reserved.


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