Those Lips, That Hand
Air date: April 19, 1999
Summary/Review by TK Baltimore
Skip summary and go straight to TK's "Bits and Pieces"
Note from Dana: I would like to thank TK Baltimore for being the guest summary/review writer for this episode. If you don't already know, I am on my honeymoon this week, and TK has graciously stepped in so that Ally fans everywhere don't have to wait several weeks for this summary. If you would like to e-mail her for any reason, her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks TK!
Ally and Renee are in their apartment, talking about the case that they're both on tomorrow. It's a murder case, and Renee is preparing hard-core because she doesn't want to lose to Ally's firm again. Ally and the Biscuit are on defense, and Renee tells Ally that if the Biscuit starts pulling his little tricks, she'll go for contempt. Ally isn't very threatened. Ally is more stressing about the fact that she's about to be 29... only a year from 30. Renee makes a half-hearted attempt at comforting Ally, telling her that people say women are in their prime in their thirties. Ally asks which people say this. Renee suggests that it's women in their forties. Ally feels like her life is passing her by (all she got out of her last relationship was a tetanus shot). Renee tells her that at least her twenties, which were a disaster, are almost over.
The firm is having a meeting, discussing the Shepley murder trial which starts today. Ally says Renee is gunning for them. Nelle thinks Renee has it all tied up. Ally reminds Nelle that their client is innocent. Nelle tells Ally that their client cut off his wife's hand. Ally stresses that it was after she was dead, and their client only wanted to save a little piece of her after her death. Richard asks about the Feinman vs. Lombard Insurance case. Billy says it's all set, the client is claiming agism, and he'll handle it with Georgia. Georgia is surprised that he's choosing her, and almost objects, but then thinks better of it and keeps her mouth shut. Richard asks how their chemistry is, and Billy says it's fine, and thanks for caring. Elaine comes in and says she's making plans for Ally's birthday at the bar. Ling asks if Ally is turning thirty-five, and Ally, after imagining shooting her with a machine gun, tells her it's twenty-nine. Nelle let's it slip that it's John's birthday too. Elaine says they could do a double celebration, and John says they couldn't, and runs out telling Ally that they're going to be late for trial. The meeting breaks up. Richard asks Ling to meet with him in his office.
Nelle follows John and asks if she gave something away. He says everything's fine, trials just make him nervous. She reminds him that trials relax him. He admits that birthdays make him uncomfortable, he's turning thirty-five, and he feels like he should be farther along. Nelle tells him to get farther along he needs to take that road not taken... and she doesn't mean her. He runs off to court.
In Richard's office, Richard tells Ling that he they should break up. Although he adores her, he can't be in a relationship without any sex. He says he loves the hair, the finger-licking, but it's just not enough, and he's going to explode. She says she thought men could just take care of that. He says it's not the same. She is not amused. As a test, she licks his finger. He starts to lose it, but stands strong that they should break up. She continues to lick his finger, and he falls to his knees. She rubs his finger over her (non-existant) wattle. She takes her hair and pulls it over his face and tells him, "It must be hard being human. I wouldn't know, 'cause I've never tried." She walks out, and falls to the ground, wriggling pitifully towards the door after her.
Georgia stops Billy in the middle of the office and asks for the real reason that they're on this case together. Billy starts making excuses about it being new business and a good thing for them to work on if they ever want to go for partner... and then admits that he just wanted to do anything possible to reconnect with her. Their client, Mr. Feinman, walks in. They do awkward introductions because they can't stop staring at his enormous comb-over. It's almost like he has a full head of hair but it's all going sideways. It's so bad that Billy pulls an Ally and uses the word "hair" instead of "here" at one point.
At the court house, Ally and John are with their client, Mr. Shepley, in a waiting room. Mr. Shepley is nervous. John is sort of comforting, but it's obvious that he doesn't sympathize very much with what Mr. Shepley did. Mr. Shepley re-iterates that he cut off her hand AFTER she was dead. Ally notes that the coroner can't prove it. John starts to say that Mr. Shepley just needs to keep his composure, and that they have a pretty good defense, but ends up muttering off in a stutter that he tries to cure with "Poughkeepsie" but ends up using "Black and Decker."
At the trial, Renee is questioning the cop that stopped Mr. Shepley's car and discovered the hand in the back seat. John is trying to kiss up to Whipper, who is the judge at the trial. She, of course, cuts him down. John tries to get the jury to tell the cop he was silly for arresting Shepley, but Whipper cuts him down. When it's John's turn to cross-examine, he walks up with squeaking shoes. When Renee objects to his squeaking shoes, he demonstrates that they don't squeak. Renee ends up coming off paranoid. John's questioning of the cop demonstrates that the cop left out some info that made his testimony more damaging to Shepley, like the fact that Shepley told the cop where to find his wife's body, rather than the cop "discovering" it like he made it sound. He goes on and on until Renee objects a few times and Whipper yells at him. He finishes, and walks back to his seat with squeaking shoes, staring at Renee. He then throws a stomach growl her way. She is frustrated, but has given up objecting.
Renee is questioning the coroner on the stand. He says cause of death was cardiac arrest, which could have been caused by the trauma of having an arm cut off. Ally cross-examines, and gets out of the coroner that he can't rule out that the cardiac arrest preceded the arm being cut off.
John is questioning Dr. Joyce Brothers on the stand, who says that the trauma of having a loved one die could have made Shepley do something as strange as cutting off his wife's arm after her death. Renee cross-examines, and asks if this was normal. Dr. Brothers says it wasn't normal, but it could be explained. Renee asks if Dr. Brothers would date Shepley. Ally and John object, Whipper sustains. Renee has no more questions.
Back at the office, Georgia, with Billy by her side, is complaining to Richard that she can't handle this case because she has a things about comb-overs. Richard says to sit next to Mr. Feinman and don't look at him. Mr. Cord and his lawyer, Mr. Thomas, come in and Billy directs them to the conference room. He tells Georgia that Richard is right, she should just sit next to Feinman and not look at him. Georgia is frustrated, but follows them to the conference room. Richard is busy typing something into his little palm organizer, when Ling walks up behind him and simply says, "Sex," in a low husky voice. He is completely distracted from what he was typing and turns to her. She looks him in the eye, says, "Sex," once more, and wanders away. He is left almost drooling.
In the conference room, Feinman is arguing that his job performance selling insurance packages was fine. Cord insinuates that his job performance wasn't up to snuff. They end up arguing, and the lawyers have to break it up. Mr. Thomas asks Feinman about Cord's concerns about Feinman's credibility. Feinman says they were unfounded. Thomas asks if Cord ever brought them up. Feinman admits he did. Thomas asks what the concerns were. Feinman says it was his hair. Billy and Georgia try not to react too strongly. Feinman says he can't be fired because his boss doesn't like his hair-style. Thomas says that's it's more than that, that Cord claimed that what was on top of Feinman's head was a lie, and people who might buy insurance from him would see him as an inherently dishonest person. Feinman says it's his own hair. (At this point, I think it would be good to note that Mr. Thomas is almost completely bald, and Mr. Cord is fairly bald.) Thomas pulls out a comb, and starts to hand it to Feinman, asking him to comb back his hair. Feinman actually recoils. Thomas says he needs a viewing. Billy says it's not happening. Cord says he needs to see what's not there. Billy says this is a deposition, not a chance to hold Feinman up to ridicule. Thomas pushes it, saying he knows it's sensitive, but it's necessary, because a comb-over is a fraud. Feinman keeps re-iterating that it's his own hair. They start arguing, everyone gets to their feet, Billy says they're going to have to get a court order, and Georgia starts to lose it. She excuses herself so that she won't burst out laughing in front of everyone.
Back at the courthouse, in the waiting room, Ally tells Shepley that Renee offered manslaughter, and it's something to think about. Shepley says he didn't kill his wife. John tells him that what matters it that since he did sever his wife's hand, even after her death, the jury is likely to think Shepley's a little... Ally says, "Nuts," and lock him up for that even if they don't think he killed her exactly. Shepley says he can't accept manslaughter, because then to the world his wife becomes a woman who was killed by her husband, and he can't do that to her memory. John says that if he was concerned about public opinion, then maybe he should have reconsidered taking that little memento. Shepley asks the lawyers if they've ever been in love. John is dumb-founded. Ally says that doesn't explain it. Shepley says he wishes he could explain. He says this is the first thing he's done in his whole life that people ever asked him about, that really he's a pretty boring person. John tells Shepley he better be convincing on the stand, or his love life may improve, but it won't be what he had in mind. Ally can't believe John just said that. John makes an apologetic gesture, but then tells Shepley that they are in trouble.
Elaine is practicing her song at the bar with the backup singers. The backup singers are great, but Elaine cuts them down. Richard is having a drink. Elaine comes over, takes his drink out of his hand while he's taking a sip, and tastes. Richard asks what she's doing, and she says she's practicing her number for Ally's birthday party tonight. She says that Ally hates the attention, so Elaine is doing her best to make it all about Elaine. Elaine asks Richard what's wrong. Richard asks Elaine if she thinks he's being used by Ling. Elaine realizes they still haven't had sex. She says some women just don't like to jump right into bed. Richard says that Elaine does. She says that goes with who she is, 1-800-ELAINE. She offers to sleep with him if he wants. He turns her down. He says he dumped Ling, and things haven't really changed. Elaine offers to talk to Ling for him.
John is questioning Shepley on the stand, and Shepley says that for the last few years of his wife's life, he sat by her bedside and held her hand, just like they always did, when they went for walks or watched TV, he always held her hand, and after she died, he just couldn't let go.
Before Renee's cross-examination, Ally and John are taking a break together. Ally asks if John think Shepley is innocent. John does, but seesm wistful. He says that when Shepley asked if they'd ever been in love, John realized he hadn't. Ally can't believe it. John tells Ally that Nelle thinks he's in love with Ally. She's shocked. They make a little more small-talk, and he kisses her. Then he apologizes. Then he takes back his apology. Ally just stands there in shock.
Billy, Georgia, Feinman, Thomas, and Cord are in a judge's chambers arguing about seeing what's under the comb-over. Thomas reiterates that Feinman, with his comb-over, is perceived as not trust-worthy, and therefore can't sell insurance properly. Feinman says again it's his real hair. Thomas says it doesn't matter. Billy says that Feinman can't be fired for appearance. Thomas says it undermines his credibility. They argue, Thomas says that they need a picture in case it goes to trail and Feinman changes his style between now and then. This convinces the judge, who orders Feinman to let them see what's underneath. Feinman decides to drop the suit, and gets up to walk out, but Billy convinces him not to. Feinman asks Georgia to look away, but she can't help but look back when she notices them uncoil about eight feet of hair from the top of Feinman's head.
Renee gets up to cross-examine Shepley, and her shoes squeak. She points at John and tells Whipper that it's his fault. She comes off like a little kid complaining to her mom that her brother hit her. Whipper just wants to get on with the trial. Renee gets Shepley to admit that he was hoping his wife would die before she suffered. Renee says that it was strange that Shepley didn't call anyone after his wife died, like an ambulance. She insinuates that the cost of home care is expensive. She pulls out the electric saw buzzing to shock the jury. Everyone objects. Whipper says to turn it off. Renee finishes by holding up the saw (no longer buzzing) and saying, "This isn't what loved-ones do to eachother." Ally and Shepley are both upset.
Elaine is in the bathroom trying to talk to Ling. She tells Ling that the center of a man is his ego, and the center of his ego is his id, and if you don't let his id feel good about itself, it will go elsewhere. Ling tells Elaine that men want what they can't have. Elaine says that that's true for awhile, and Ling may be able to keep Richard begging for more with the finger and the hair thing, but eventually, they need more. Elaine reminds Ling that she's easy, so she knows.
Billy comes out into the courthouse hallway where Feinman and Georgia are waiting. He says the Mr. Cord said that if Feinman drops the suit and gets a haircut, he'll get his job back. Feinman doesn't want to get a haircut, he thinks Cord just has a thing about comb-overs. He asks Billy and Georgia if they could tell he had a comb-over when they first met him. Billy stalls and says that he couldn't tell, but Georgia could, and she told him. Feinman asks Georgia. Georgia says that she couldn't tell for sure... then she tells him that everyone can tell, and it looks really terrible. She then tells him that he's a good-looking man, and maybe he could come back to the office and let Ling cut his hair. He says that then he'd be bald. Georgia tells him he IS bald. Feinman claims that it can't be that noticeable and Billy just walks away.
Ally is upset with how Renee attacked Shepley. Renee says she was just cross-examining a murderer. Ally says he's not a murderer and Renee is blinded by her political agenda and need to beat her firm. Renee is offended. Ally says that chopping off a limb to induce a heart-attack is a sad excuse for a murder plan. Renee tells Ally she shouldn't try to argue this with reason, because reason does not explain why this guy chopped off his wife's hand. Ally says love explains it, and she feels sorry for Renee because Renee is too jaded to realize that possibility. Renee tells Ally that only Ally would interpret mutilation as love. Ally says that Van Gogh cut off his own ear. Renee says Van Gogh was crazy. Renee understands that Ally is on her client's side, but she can't believe that Ally actually believes what she's saying. Renee tells Ally that that makes her hopeless. Hopeless.
Ally is walking back to the office. Vonda Shepard is singing a romantic song, and when she gets to a line about "how he longs to take your hand" Ally suddenly hears an electric saw. She shakes it off.
John is walking barefoot, preparing his closing. Ally says maybe Renee was right, but she still wants to believe in Shepley and that strength of love. John asks her if she wants someone to cut off her hand after she dies. Ally says they both know that's not going to happen. John says he's back to being sorry he kissed her. Ally says it's okay. John says they look at their client, and the guy with the comb-over, and say how pathetic they are. But maybe it's the lawyers that are the pathetic ones, because their clients are out living their lives and doing things, and the lawyers are just standing on the sidelines, ready to represent them when they fall. Ally tells John he just has the birthday blues. She hugs him, and says they're not pathetic. She says, look at her outfits, or what a great lawyer John is. John says he doesn't want "He Wins His Cases" on his tombstone, and does Ally want "Smart Dresser" on hers? He says he's thirty-five, he's never met anyone he's wanted to chop up, and no one's ever wanted to chop him up, he hasn't lived. Ally is shocked by how upset he is. She suggests that maybe she should do the closing. John agrees.
Renee is doing her closing. She's factual, saying that the pathologist said the hand was cut off before death, and plays on the shock value. She says that sometimes things are how they look, and the jury should use common sense. Ally does her closing. She starts with facts, like how the pathologist said it was possible that the hand was cut off before death, but couldn't say for sure. She says she could rest on reasonable doubt... but she tells the jury that today is her birthday, and on her birthday she gets panic attacks about underachievement. She says that the DA, who knows her best, called her hopeless last night. Twice. Ally says she is not a person without hope. In fact, she thinks hope is the only thing she's got going. The thing she hopes for the most is emotional dependence. She knows it sounds crazy, but she wants that weakness. She wants to meet, fall in love with, and be with someone she can't bear to live without. She's glad not to be in Shepley's shoes today, but she envies what he did a little. Obviously what he did is not normal, and she would never do that, but she wants to know the love that made him do it. He loved his wife more than life, and when she died, he couldn't bear to let her go, so he did something crazy. Maybe it's the DA that's a little hopeless, because she can't believe in a love that powerful. We all want to be madly in love someday. Shepley was and probably still is. The jury, John, Shepley, and Whipper are moved. Renee is frustrated.
Ling comes striding into the office with her wicked witch theme song. It comes to a screeching halt when Georgia calls out her name and asks her if she forgot about the haircut. Ling says she'll be there in a minute, and resumes her beeline for Richard's office (her theme song resumes with her). Richard is huddled behind his computer when Ling slams the door. She demands to know why Richard is talking to Elaine about their sex life. Richard says they don't have a sex life, and that's what he talks about. They start yelling. Richard says he feels like a yoyo and he's not even sure if they're a real couple. Ling says that if she made love to him, he'd go blind. This stops Richard in his tracks. Ling says it's not something she's proud of, but she's amazing in bed, and she can't take another man saying that there's no one else after her. She says that no matter what she does, it's always the best sex the man has ever had, and then there's no more talking, no more movies, no more dinner, just sex sex sex sex sex. And she wants to get to know him, because she likes him. She says if they have sex, things will be different, and she needs to cut hair. She storms out. Richard is speechless.
She storms into Billy's office, where Georgia starts to introduce her to Feinman. Ling says hi, picks up the scissors, grabs his hair, and in ten seconds is done and walks out. They're all a little shocked, but Billy and Georgia are pleased to realize that Ling actually gave Feinman a good haircut. Feinman looks in the mirror, and says now he has to go through life as a bald man. Georgia says he'll go through life as him. "Bald," he says. Georgia says he's a good-looking man. He goes to the bathroom to look in that mirror. Georgia smiles after him. Billy tells Georgia she's a good person. She turns her smile to him. Billy says it's nice to see her smiling again, even if it involved a comb-over. She stops smiling and says some things can't just be combed over. He says he knows, and he'd like to work on that.
Back at the courthouse, the jury comes back in. Shepley is surprised that it was so fast. Ally says maybe it's good. The jury pronounces Shepley not guilty. Shepley thanks his lawyers, and asks Ally if it would be pushing it to try to get the hand back. Ally says that would be pushing it. John congratulates Shepley, and then goes to talk to Renee. He says that he does believe his client was innocent. Renee is not comforted. John leans in and kisses her, and says, "Life is for the living." Renee doesn't know how to react. John walks away.
At the bar, Elaine is fabulous on stage. Richard and Ling are at the bar. Ally, John and Nelle are at a table. Nelle says she has a surprise present for John. John says he won't stand for being embarassed. Renee walks up to join them, and Ally greets her as "Hopeless." Renee is not amused, but says she couldn't miss her roommate's birthday because she didn't want Ally to be alone. Ally says she appreciates that, and kisses Renee on the forehead and tells her she loves her. Georgia, Billy and Feinman are at a table. Feinman picks up the creamer to admire himself in the reflection. Georgia and Billy grin at eachother watching him. Elaine comes over to flirt with Feinman during her song. She carresses his bald head. Everyone applauds when her song is over.
Richard tells Ling that since she told him she's amazing in bed, he's lost all interest. She wonders why he isn't intimidated. What if he doesn't please her? He says it's not about pleasing her, and anyway, she's not the only one with erotic tricks. He knows a couple ways to drive her crazy. Such as? Such as this little place in her knee-pit. Ling is curious, but doubtful. He tells her to stick out her leg. She does, and he uses his trick. Her eyes widen in amazement as she almost has an orgasm on her bar stool. She asks who taught him that, and he says he's the teacher. He teases her a little while longer, and then suddenly pulls his hand away. She tells him not to stop. He says no, he likes dinner, he likes movies, and he doesn't want her always asking for the knee-pit trick.
John's favorite Barry White song starts to play. He perks up his ears and then turns to Nelle, assuming that this is his birthday present. She's grinning like a cheshire cat, and says it gets better. Barry White's voice chimes in, and then Barry White walks into the bar with a microphone. John's mouth drops open when he sees Barry. Barry walks in, reciting the opening monologue, and shakes John's hand on his way to the stage. Nelle asks John what he thinks, and John can't take his eyes off Barry and can't get a sound out of his throat... he just puts his hands to his face. Ally says she thinks he likes his present. As Barry starts to sing, John gets up and starts dancing by himself, dancing all around Barry, and always staring at him. Ally gets up to dance, saying it's her birthday too. Everyone eventually gets up to dance, Richard bribing Ling with the knee-pit trick. They do the dance.
TK's 'BITS AND PIECES':
Okay, first of all, I love the title of this episode. I didn't know much about it before I saw it except for the title, and I was wondering what it could possibly mean, but it worked so well. So much kissing, so much about chopped off hands....
Also, and maybe this was just me being clueless, I had no idea that Barry White was actually going to be in this episode, so I was just as surprised as John when he walked into the bar. Maybe I wasn't in quite as much awe, because I don't think I worship Barry White quite like John does, but still, it was a great surprise.
Dr. Joyce Brothers was the guest star I DID know about, and boy, did she have a little nothing role. Why did they bother publicizing that? In fact, why did they bother casting her?
So this is going to completely change the Ling/Richard chemistry. He's got her at his beck and call now. What I don't understand is why he didn't use this knee-pit trick before. It's obvious that she's had the upper-hand in this relationship all along, so I don't understand why he wouldn't have pulled this one out of the bag earlier when he was getting so frustrated with her teasing him. It's not like Richard to hold back. I wish him luck. Those two deserve each other.
I'm very glad that Renee and Ally made up at the bar. Renee is the one thing that Ally has always been able to count on. Maybe Renee gives Ally a hard time sometimes, but she's always a true friend, which isn't always true of Ally's friends at the firm. I was really worried about them after that whole hopeless argument, but it seems like they have forgiven and forgotten.
So that's it. I have enjoyed my guest appearance on Dana's Ally McBeal Site. Please check out the rest of TKTV if you get a chance.
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