“Blind-Sided” S2 / E11
- B- Community Grade
Suits is a show obsessed with right and wrong and people’s interpretations of those tenets. The very premise is predicated on characters doing the wrong thing and then attempting, week after week, to prevent the delicate house of cards they’ve built with their lies from falling down around them. Seeing as the show allows these characters to live so far in the wrong, it’s interesting how often the central conflict of an episode hinges upon the struggle to do the right thing.
The character who most often espouses doing the right thing is Mike, who has never fully embraced all the lies he is forced to tell on a daily basis. Mike is the perpetual fighter for the underdog, the one who is the least comfortable with all the down-and-dirty ways corporate lawyers fight to get a win for their clients, and “Blind-Sided” was all about that central conflict. Mike—already on the precipice of a severe downward spiral, still smoking pot frequently and sleeping with married woman Tess following the death of his grandmother—is rocked even further when the case of the week deals with a young man who accidentally kills someone in a hit-and-run. This immediately throws Mike back to when his own parents were killed by an impaired driver, the very event that sent him to be in his grandmother’s care.
It’s an emotionally rich idea full of possibilities for Mike’s character. The problem is that the execution of this idea is about as subtle as a football to the groin. (Seriously, Mike says “there is right and there is wrong” or a variation on the phrase so many times you kind of want to rub his face in “right” until he chokes.) The story starts innocently enough, with the case as a tragic accident Harvey and Mike have to work to keep from ruining a young man’s life. Where it goes off the rails a bit is when an already-unbalanced Mike digests the case in an unhealthy manner and uses it as a way to avenge old demons, especially once learning the kid was actually high, making the circumstances of the accident much more nefarious.
Sticking out the most is a completely justifiable confrontation between Mike and the vulture lawyer who took advantage of him and his grandmother after his parents were killed, capitalizing on their grief by offering them a bum deal. This is a scene that feels essential to the character but sticks out like a sore thumb in this episode, simply because it’s too much. By the time Mike gets to the confrontation, his position on both the case and he and Harvey’s duties on the case are perfectly clear, so anything he has to say to this lawyer just feels like overkill. In another episode, this confrontation could be revelatory. Here, it feels almost oppressive.
The theme here, and perhaps the stated theme of where the rest of the season is headed, is how far these lawyers must compromise themselves to get desirable outcomes for their clients. The interesting thing about the way it’s presented within this episode is that it’s unclear exactly what we’re supposed to take away from this. Was Mike correct in thinking what their client did was wrong? Yes. But was what Mike did by breaking privilege in an attempt to get their client’s deal overturned wrong? Also yes. The conflict between those two actions is fantastic, and something I am so pleased the show is exploring, I just hope in the future these conflicts can be more subtle. Also, there’s a fine line between a character believing in something and a character being an asshole about something, and Mike was so far on the asshole side of self-righteous tonight that it’s going to take some work to reel him back in. Breaking privilege is never okay, Mike.
Still, Mike’s horrible attitude did lead to the best scene of the whole episode, where Harvey adamantly tells Mike to get over it and get his shit together, because he’s tired of rescuing him at every turn. This was a scene that’s been a long time coming, especially once Harvey hires Katrina Bennett (and further angers Louis in the process) just to keep Mike’s secret. It’s not like Harvey doesn’t have a stake in this game, but the sheer number of times Harvey has risked his entire reputation on Mike is kind of baffling, especially since Mike is constantly holding some sort of moral superiority over Harvey’s head. Mike needs to either quit and let himself and Harvey off the hook, or accept his place at Pearson Hardman and not try to fight what he and Harvey do at every turn.
But maybe that’s where this is all leading: to a place of acceptance. Will it be Mike accepting that he sometimes has to be a kind of a piece of shit in order to be good at his job? Or will Mike find a way to practice corporate law in a gentler, more moral way? As much as his self-righteousness angered me in this episode, I’m very glad Suits is so willing to allow their characters to explore these issues in a way that allows for shades of gray.
- Thank goodness Mike and Tess are over, but I hope they cool it a while before bringing back Mike and Rachel. They’re really kind of great as antagonists, and Rachel’s little “you don’t know me as well as you think you do” speech brought a welcome edge to the character. Meghan Markle is good at playing bad.
- The rise of Louis was my favorite thing about the summer episodes, but his scenes here struck the wrong note for me. The idea of Rachael Harris’ character as the female Louis was funny the first time around, but the quirk went too far here and it was jarring. Also, him being subjugated by the woman he was attempting to hire? Maddening for the character.
- Donna remains awesome, but she should not wear that awful dishwater blush/rose color. Donna, you’re better than that color!
- “Fear never felt so good.” Louis’ story might have been terrible, but that line reading was great.