That was surprisingly meaty for what was, essentially, some very well-polished wheel spinning. Smart, compelling wheel spinning, yes, but wheel spinning nonetheless.
When Jessica, Harvey, and Mike ousted Daniel Hardman and inadvertently sent Pearson Hardman down the path of potential destruction, it was pretty much a given Hardman would return one day and exact his ultimate revenge. The surprising thing is that his return came so soon, and his threat isn’t vanquished within one episode and put on the back burner for another six, waiting for a convenient narrative time for the threat to rekindle.
No, instead Suits brings Hardman in, lets Jessica and Harvey defeat him in the short term, and still keeps his threat as real as ever by having him remain as the counsel on the giant Folsom Foods discrimination case. It works because Hardman is a fun, slimy, wily character in a show that doesn’t have a great stable of recurring players yet (unlike, say, The Good Wife, which is teeming with great, quirky supporting roles), so when he shows up, he’s an immediately welcome presence.
The smartest decision the writers made here was to use Hardman’s own backstory in the case he brought against Pearson Hardman by bringing back his old mistress Monica Eaton, who is now suing the firm for $10 million for wrongful termination. Hardman’s goal is to get the wrongful termination coded as a gender discrimination case in order to discredit Pearson Hardman when they are trying the Folsom Foods cases, weakening their position. It’s perfectly low down and dirty, especially when Hardman brings Louis’ interest in Monica to the forefront of the case, saying she was harassed and Jessica and the rest of the firm ignored it.
There’s a lot of questionable legal nonsense that happens in the details of the case (some of which seems fairly incorrect, but I do not claim to have a legal mind) but the most important aspect is the reveal that Jessica agreed to sign a confidentiality form when Hardman left the firm, and now it’s back to haunt her relationship with Harvey as well as her pride. Jessica is probably the least developed main character on the show and although we still don’t know much about her backstory, her disgust at not being smart enough to see what Hardman was doing with the confidentiality agreement says a lot about how she feels about herself and how important it is for her to always be on the top of every situation. This is the thing that colors her relationship with Harvey most of all, and this relationship has evolved into one of the most important on the show. I hope we find out more of Jessica outside the job in the future, but this was a great glimpse into her mind as the female head of a high-powered law firm.
What was most telling was how, after getting talked down from Harvey over getting “beat” by Hardman on the confidentiality agreement (even though they ultimately "won" the Monica Eaton case when Mike got her to agree to settle), Jessica immediately goes to Robert Zane and inquires about the merger he offered last week. Jessica frames it as good for them both—especially because it would mean the end of both their ties to Hardman—but Robert sees it more for what it is: A plea from someone who is starting to recognize her firm might be in over its head. With Hardman planning on stretching Pearson Hardman past capacity by asking to try seven Folsom cases in seven districts at the same time, Pearson Hardman is nothing if not under attack. With no one to fall back on once Robert rejects her merger offer, how will they manage to get out of this mess?
Also great this week was the continued thawing of the Harvey and Louis feud. Although Harvey hated when Louis collaborated with Hardman it was still obvious how much he didn’t want to see Louis’ character besmirched in Monica’s deposition, and their scene together in Harvey’s office where he shows Louis the deposition transcript is wonderful. Less interesting is Louis’ strong power stance against Hardman in the elevator because the character isn’t quite as compelling when in attack dog mode, but it was nice to at least see him stand up for himself, even if it went one tick too far.
Although the firm is basically in the same place we left them last episode when this one ends, it does end with Harvey almost finally getting what he wants: Hardman’s name taken off the lobby wall. How long until Pearson Hardman is Pearson Specter? And doesn't that kind of sound like a ghost hunting business instead of a law firm?
- Everyone knows my devotion to Donna, but her slapping Hardman (twice!) went too far for me. Use your words, Donna, not your hands.
- Jessica spoiling the Giants game for Robert Zane was perfectly timed and completely evil.
- I really enjoyed Rachel this week and all of her interactions with Mike. Making her an active participant in her own life instead of just a satellite around Mike’s has done wonders for the character.
- Also, I hope Wendell Pierce keeps recurring as Rachel’s father because he’s great, especially in scenes with Gina Torres.
- “Success is the best revenge.” “Bullshit. Revenge is the best revenge.” REVENGE!