That wasn’t necessarily a better episode than the première, but it certainly made me feel much more comfortable with where season three is heading. Harvey’s righteous indignation—which practically oozed from the cracks in the walls at Pearson Darby last week—was dialed down to more human levels here, so much so that his vendetta against both Jessica and Mike felt far more earned.
It helps that all of the various conflicts felt better fleshed out here, which was especially helpful with regards to the Hessington Oil case. As Suits has progressed, it has tended to give less and less time to the cases, sometimes giving so little information about them that they become abstract to the point of incomprehension. Thankfully the business of getting Ava Hessington free of bribery charges is presented in a fairly straightforward manner, mostly because the case so far is less about actual logistics than about being a parallel for what Harvey is going through with Jessica and Mike.
Yes, this is one of those dreaded “the case mirrors what is happening in the characters’ real lives” plots, and although the symmetry is as unsubtle as a Louisville slugger to the skull, Harvey getting any sort of clue is so welcome that it almost doesn’t matter how ungracefully it’s done. It once again boils down to Harvey’s most prized trait, loyalty. Just as Mike was forced to turn against Harvey, Ava Hessington’s protégé is forced to turn against her when Cameron comes calling, supplying damning security video evidence of Ava’s blackmail. Harvey manages to manipulate the situation just enough to get Cameron to agree to a deal, but the most important thing he learns throughout the whole ordeal is that although Ava’s right hand man betrayed her, the thing she’s most worried about isn’t the conviction on her record or the fine she’ll have to pay, but that when she returns to work her most trusted ally won’t be there by her side.
It’s painfully unsubtle, but Harvey and Mike on the outs was not a sustainable storyline, so for Harvey to realize he can forgive Mike without abandoning all of his lofty ideals is a big step. What hasn’t changed is Harvey’s dedication to going after Jessica, because although he and Jessica hash out everything that happened between them and why it did—in a great scene that showcased exactly why Gina Torres is so important to this show—Jessica refuses to admit she would do anything differently if she had the chance to do it over again. It all comes down to Harvey and Jessica’s completely different views of winning; Jessica is willing to do whatever is necessary to get the win she needs for the firm, while Harvey is far more interested in getting the win he needs for himself than in what is best for the bigger picture. Harvey’s moral code is still his compass, no matter if that moral code works for the greater good of those around him. It’s a small, tricky distinction, but it is consistent with the way Harvey has played the law game to work in his favor since the pilot. It feels like more of a sane stance for Harvey to take than his reign of terror in the première, simply because we now see there are cracks; if he can forgive Mike, there’s certainly room for an eventual truce between him and his self-professed mentor, Jessica.
The biggest loser in all of this forgiveness, however, is Louis. Louis, between his Dead Poets Society speech and his intense, cheesecake-and-mud wooing of Mike, had a great week, but in the end once again fell victim to the unshakeable bond between Harvey and Mike. With his associates gone Louis has his eye on scooping up Mike while he’s free, inviting him to work on a tricky eminent domain case for a chance to make legal history. Louis and Mike’s easy chemistry always makes them a great team and it’s no different here—at one point, Louis describes Mike as half Harvey and half Louis, which seems frighteningly correct—and the nice part of the whole endeavor is how they actually seem to like each other most of the time, too. Mike is poised to say yes to be Louis’ dedicated associate full time, but right before he gets the chance Harvey swoops in with his perfectly tailored suit and his promises of forgiveness. Louis standing in the background holding a celebratory cake while Mike and Harvey reseal their alliance with a high five is one of the more heart-tugging scenes the show has staged. Poor Louis. He never seems to get the win he’s craving.
This episode also marked the welcome return of Donna and Rachel’s friendship, which has its own complications now that Harvey and Mike are on the outs and Rachel knows Mike’s secret. Rachel is just now finding out about the more ugly parts of her past with Mike, namely that Harvey told Mike to lie to her, and Donna encouraged him to break it off with her instead of lying. Rachel keeps getting put in impossible professional and emotional situations because of her ties to Mike, and watching her work through every one and still be able to go back to him is an interesting thing to behold. At this point I can’t decide if it makes her incredibly strong and loyal or incredibly weak and stupid, but it remains something I enjoy watching, which is good enough for me.
As for Harvey and Mike, now that their partnership is restored it only seems logical their next step is to go after Jessica. While it still feels like there could be rough times ahead, it doesn’t feel like the oppressive prison the season opener made it out to be. In fact, it just might be fun.
- Muddy Louis Litt ass. My eyes will never be the same.
- The pop culture references were flying here: Dead Poets Society, Moneyball, Jerry Maguire, As Good As It Gets. Lots of dudes in those movies. Lots and lots of dudes.