The bulk of the first season of Suits revolved around the budding partnership between Mike and Harvey. While the breezy and brotherly rapport between the two has always been enjoyable, it rarely left time to develop the interpersonal relationships within the rest of the Pearson Hardman office. This season, Suits has slowly started to bring the rest of the characters to the foreground -- especially by focusing on the friendship between Donna and Rachel, the complexity of Louis, and the war between Jessica and Hardman. "Discovery" continued that trend with mixed success.
The one low point was Rachel's runner. Rachel has always been a problematic character on Suits because so many of her traits revolve around the existence of Mike. This episode removed her from the main cast and instead paired her with a lovesick Harold, a character that I actually love because he's used just the right amount. However his crush on Rachel and office supply gifts meant to survive as comic relief mostly just fall flat. Rachel has the potential to be an interesting character, especially as she took a step forward and started to work toward her goal of becoming a lawyer, which is why it's so frustrating to see her revert back to being just the pretty paralegal.
That said, the rest of the episode more than makes up for it. For the most part, Mike and Harvey are separated which leaves them to mix it up with their other colleagues. Against his wishes, Mike pairs up with Louis to work on a case about false advertising. As with most of the small cases in the show, it's not too interesting but it serves to build a relationship between them. The two have a history of butting heads and, as Mike points out, it's not just because of Harvey's influence. Louis always seems to walk the line between being a respected lawyer and being the joke of the firm. Everyone remarks upon Louis' desire to become more like Harvey but it's always had less to do with him wanting to be a better lawyer (as he's arguably just as good as Harvey) but more to do with him wanting to get more respect from his colleagues. Louis can be unbearable at times but it was still nice to see Mike watch in awe as Louis worked. Admittedly, the heavy-handed speech Louis makes to his opponent about the hardships of being looked over within a company was a little too obvious but it did work to help Mike understand Louis better. The two finally get to a point of a mutual respect where they can speak frankly about their past attacks although it's clear that it's only temporary. Louis is a character rooted in insecurity and a fear of being left out in the cold; a brief talk with an associate won't change any of that.
Meanwhile, Harvey is working on a reopened case that he previously won while representing a car company against the family of an accident victim. This episode marks the return of Travis Tanner. Tanner is one of the few memorable guests from the first season because he's a character who is actually on par with Harvey. Sure, it's always fun to watch Harvey easily win case after case without breaking a sweat but it's even better to watch him go toe-to-toe with a lawyer who often manages to be two steps ahead. They're two sides of the same coin which provides a thrill during the scenes when they face off against each other in a battle of intelligence and insults. When Tanner shows up this time, he reveals that not only is there new evidence in the accident case -- a memo from the car company that was delivered to the office yet Harvey has never seen -- but also that he's intending to sue Pearson Hardman for fraud. Most of the tension in "Discovery" stems from the question of whether or not the memo actually exists. Tanner is known for his shady tactics to win cases and it's hard to believe that Donna would ever let something that important slip through the cracks but it becomes clear that this memo would have to exist in order to propel the plot further instead of turning it into another simple case of the week. So of course, after spending most of her time sifting through boxes and boxes in the file room, Donna predictably finds the memo.
The lawsuit against Pearson Hardman is an interesting direction to take and it's a clever device to get Jessica, Harvey, and Hardman finally on the same side to unite against a common enemy. Hardman's return to the firm has been the main source of conflict in the season so far but we've only gotten very brief explanations as to why his character is as contentious as he is and the show has yet to really develop him or try to redeem him. What's most exciting about the lawsuit plot is that it's a way to shine the spotlight on Donna. Donna is arguably the show's breakout character and has been becoming more complex and intriguing as we get glimpses of her backstory. Her error in the car accident case has put her job, the company, and her relationship with Harvey in jeopardy. Suits has done a great job at hinting at her feelings for him while also maintaining their solid friendship and it's exciting to watch the show threaten to cut these ties in the near future.
- "What do you want to do to him?" "Things." "That is not a legitimate answer."
- Is anyone else curious to know what else is in Harvey's massive record collection?
- Tanner and Harvey didn't have nearly enough scenes together as I wanted, but hopefully that'll change when he returns.