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Multiple appearances by Suits USA merchandise (mug available in the online gift shop on your way out), tense meetings, blue files handed back and forth, tight dresses worn well, Rachel bringing her hotness to makeout scenes, Eric Roberts pwning crisp white dress shirts worn open at the collar, and Harvey taking a break from being angry to joke that he’s George Clooney’s better-looking brother – this episode has it all!

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Louis, in good spirits (because of his triumph as Shylock last week?), dance-walks through the office handing out his You’ve Been Litt Up mugs to deserving colleagues. Donna, who looks fetching in a sexy-widow-type black cocktail dress, receives a mug containing a necklace that’s a replica of one worn by Dame Judi Dench when she played Ophelia (Dench actually did play Ophelia in London in 1957). Donna is touched by this gift. Louis is grateful Donna helped him overcome his stage fright and asks her to give Harvey a mug too.

Sidenote: I’ve recently discovered wornontv.net, a website that identifies selected styles (and provides info on where to buy them) shown on selected TV shows, including Suits. The site is how I found out that some of the beautiful dresses worn by Donna and Jessica can be bought at retail for prices that begin around the $1,000 mark, and go up from there. Of course they cost that much.

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Jessica is worried about “exposure” on her sneaky purchase last week of those boring-as-hell Wexler shares so she asks Jeff Malone to double-check his work. When he refuses, Jessica, wearing a pink top I don’t like with lovely silver-rimmed pink crystal (quartz?) earrings that made me want to get my ears re-pierced so I can wear them, takes Louis out to lunch and asks HIM to double-check the transaction.

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Louis praises Jeff’s work but finds a small error that will allow the firm to cancel the sale and not get caught doing something untoward. Jessica is pleased but tells Louis not to take any action until he checks with Harvey. When Harvey doesn’t return Louis’s calls, Katrina (She’s back! With her hair as beautifully styled as ever, though Amanda Schull must be bummed at how little screen time she’s gotten in the last three episodes) urges Louis to act quickly before Jeff figures out his mistake, corrects it and gets the glory.

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Louis offloads the shares, Forstman scoops them up, and Harvey gets super pissed off, like he has done every episode this season – being without Mike is making him SO cranky. Louis meets with Forstman and puts on a convincing performance (no stage fright there) as someone who hates Harvey with a passion (the diary he produces that lists, by date, every insult Harvey has ever hurled at Louis, is a nice touch) and will do anything to fuck up his deal.

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Louis gets the shares back from Forstman for Logan to purchase, and his successful subterfuge makes Harvey happy enough to suggest that he and Louis drink Scotch together in Louis’s mugs, which is not a euphemism. (Or is it?) Except Forstman makes Louis do illegal tax-evasion things with the money, which Louis does not tell anyone about except Katrina, nor will he refuse to comply, because Harvey likes him again and that’s worth being dishonest and compromising his principles for.

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Rachel, Rachel, Rachel. Rachel does that thing we’ve all done where we go see the guy we used to be into and pretend we no longer have feelings for, with an ostensibly above-board and high moral ground excuse that nevertheless requires dressing up in a low-cut top that looks like the top half of a nineteen forties bathing suit underneath a fabulously chic light grey wool coat (by Burberry, according to wornontv.net, and it costs only $2,495!) that’s all business. She also visits Logan at his condo in the early morning (again) when everyone knows early morning drop-ins end badly. Especially when you indulge in shivery flashbacks on the way over in the cab of that time a few years back when Rachel acted completely out of character and steamily seduced Logan, the married man, in the law firm library, when he just wanted to do the right thing and go home to his wife.

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Logan sees through Rachel’s fabulous coat to her looking-for-trouble bathing suit top right away, calls her on her motives in coming over, recites back her come-on line from the flashback about their sexual chemistry, and starts a makeout sesh with her full reciprocation (though he goes awfully quickly to the two-handed butt grab, didn’t you think?) until she shakes herself out of her sexual stupor and runs out of the apartment. She spends the rest of the episode confiding in Donna and wringing her hands about is she a bad person and how could she betray Mike and should she tell him what happened. Donna says Rachel is a good person who had a bad moment and warns her against telling Mike. Rachel decides she must tell him anyway, because drama. And conflict.

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Mike spends this episode in a series of one-on-one meetings with Harvey, Sidwell and Forstman, and a two-on-one meeting with Logan and Harvey. Throughout, he acts clever, cocky, secretly nervous, and like he might manage to complete the takeover and find a way to not cut Sidwell out of the deal as per Forstman’s decree. But it all blows up in his face, because Forstman is the devil, and Mike won’t leave his personal animosity toward Logan out of his business dealings, and let’s face it, Mike can’t succeed without Harvey at his side to complete him.

Sidwell – played by a Canadian actor named Brandon Firla, who has a very amusing, self-deprecating bio on imdb.com and who is hella tall (6’5”+), enough to tower over not-short Patrick J. Adams in their final scene – fires Mike. So much for Mike’s investing banking career. Wait till he gets home and Rachel tells him what she’s been up to with Logan! Fisticuffs will ensue, also attractive facial cuts and bruises, according to next week’s preview. And weed smoking, I bet.

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Rachel is asleep alone in bed (in full eye makeup and a cute sleep T-shirt and shorts) when her cell phone vibrates, Logan calling. She does not pick up, but freaks out when she sees it’s past 9 am, and figures out Mike turned off her alarm so she could sleep for all of 6 hours. But she can’t afford to sleep what with the demands of law school and law work and Harvey the mean boss, can’t Mike see that? He suggests she ask Harvey for a day off.

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Harvey catches the end of a Cahill-prosecuted trial on the courtroom set and engages Cahill in a pissing contest in the aisle. Actually it’s more of a silly who-played-with-tougher-toys-as-a-child contest, which Harvey wins by saying he was a Rock-Em-Sock-Em guy as opposed to Cahill and his wussy little Battleship barbs. Which means they were both not tough at all since actual tough kids play with kitchen knives and bent crack spoons, duh. Harvey threatens to have Cahill fired if he keeps going after Harvey’s clients, but Cahill is not scared.

Mike exposits to Amy, who looks a little more mature this week (because she’s not wearing a girlish tunic dress?), that he hasn’t taken Forstman’s money yet. Maybe he can just use it as leverage (again with the leverage!) against Harvey and Logan. He meets Harvey by an elevator bank and tries to do this but Harvey sees through his bluff right away and says no dice. Foiled again.

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Harvey goes up the elevator (continuity!), and talks to Jessica about some Gillis Industries shares that the Wexler hedge fund  will soon be offloading. (These Wexler shares will be discussed far too many times during the episode.) Jessica acts all bossy when she tells Jeff Malone to find a way to acquire these shares, by hook or by crook, but she says this while wearing a tight white dress that verges on being bridal, with basketweave panels on the bodice and the hip and an off-the-shoulder sleeve/strap thing. The dress looks good on her but the costumers are just fucking with us now – the dresses Jessica and Donna wear are gorgeous and flattering, but they are so not office-wear.

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Donna is going to perform the role of Portia that evening in an amateur production of The Merchant of Venice with a three night run. I know, what? But just go with it, because this subplot is the big (and only) story line in which Donna and Louis appear in this episode. Louis finds her rehearsing her lines in the file room, is shocked to discover she is not yet off-book, and offers to help her learn her lines, even if it takes all day. He is well-equipped to do this because he happens to have memorized every word of every Shakespeare play. (Like I said, just go with it.) She confides in him that she gave up her acting dream when she was younger to get a paying job but has always wondered if she would have made it as an actress, and what if it turns out she is not good? He gives her a rousing pep talk that includes a mention of the stage fright he has suffered since grade school when he wanted to play a molar in the school play and was assigned the part of Plaque Man (heh) instead, then mocked for it.

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Mike and Sidwell (whose first name is Jonathon) have a bonding moment over Sidwell’s tombstone awards, which are these cheap acrylic trophy things that are apparently imprinted with details of financial achievement and given to banker types on completion of big deals. (Talk about nerdy toys.) Or it would be a bonding moment if Mike weren’t worried about having to cut Sidwell out of the deal as Forstman has decreed.

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After listening to and smiling at a voicemail from Logan saying his Board loved her takeover suggestions from last week, Rachel, in a suitable shirt for once, asks Harvey for “a day or two” off so she can do some of her law school homework. Harvey gives her total shit and says no. Joke’s on him when she faints in class the next day and is hospitalized for exhaustion, and he’s called because he’s one of her emergency contacts. Bad Harvey.

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Donna tells Louis she triumphed on night one of her Merchant of Venice run (though, if you ask me, there’s a pretty gaping plothole here that Louis didn’t go see her perform after coaching her the whole day). She asks Louis to fill in as Shylock for night two, because the show’s Shylock broke his ankle. Louis agrees, gets dressed up like this (that’s some expensive getup for a community theatre production), but is seized with stage fright just before his entrance. Donna talks (yells) him out of it, and he goes on to his own triumph, only to withdraw from night three because he’s happy being a lawyer. Donna reveals the play’s lead did not actually injure himself (but agreed to give up his part for one night? How likely is that? Not. Gaping plothole number two) and that she wanted to give Louis a chance to shine. Donna and Louis compliment each other in their own bonding moment.

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After a meet-awkward at the hospital where Rachel is “resting” under sedation (?! ) – totally not how I was treated when I fainted in a public place and was taken to emergency by ambulance a few years ago, but never mind – Harvey calls off the dark pool bidding auction he and Mike were about to have for those damned Wexler shares, and the two go out for a steak dinner. Noted vegetarian Gabriel Macht gamely puts food that could be fake steak in his mouth in this scene, and Patrick J. Adams doesn’t even pretend to eat. They share the third bonding moment of the episode when Harvey shows Mike a pic of Louis in his Shylock costume, complete with codpiece, and indulge in some not unfunny speculation about the size of Louis’s dick.

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Harvey and Mike are almost kind of getting along like they used to when they worked together when Cahill ambushes them on the sidewalk outside the restaurant. He’s having them watched and he thinks he can make a case for the two of them colluding on this takeover deal what with Rachel working for Harvey and living with Mike and the number of clandestine meetings Harvey and Mike have been having at elevator banks, hospitals and steak houses. He also tells them someone (Jessica!) bought the damned Wexler shares, which makes Mike feel like Harvey played him, and makes Harvey swear he will “fix it” but when he tries, Jessica won’t let him. Oh and Mike tries to return the money he got from Forstman but he can’t because Forstman has now told Sidwell about it without telling him that Mike will cut Sidwell out of the deal. Meaning that Mike is now not only in bed with the devil, he’s being … FOILED AGAIN.

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Rachel wakes in the hospital from a bad flashback/dream in which Logan proposes to her, then morphs into Mike, whom she calls a fraud she could never marry. She’s soon back at the office, where there is a thoughtful bouquet with a warm but not cloying note from Logan saying he’s glad she’s okay. On the way out of the office, Donna, wearing a pretty lace-trimmed blue dress that reveals too much lace-framed cleavage for work, runs into Harvey, who waits for her holding a bouquet of flowers and standing next to a lingeringly and lovingly shot product placement Lexus. He’s going to drive her to the theatre and catch her closing night because he may not be a Shakespeare fan but he’s a Donna fan. Good Harvey.

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We open with Donna, showing cleavage and doing her best tight-dress-and-heels sexy walk through the Sidwell offices. She struts right into Mike’s glass box before his Wannabe Donna assistant – whose name is Amy, it pains me to have learned, because I want her, with her unearned sassy attitude, to go away – can stop her.

Donna tells Mike she’s pissed he used the personal info she told him about Harvey’s father’s recordings as a weapon against Harvey. Mike apologizes, asks if she has received the guilt gift he sent over (an expensive handbag, I believe) and while she acknowledges that the bag was a good idea – of Amy’s! – she warns Mike never to betray her again. Mike looks amused rather than alarmed by this warning, because he is NOT GETTING the message of this episode: betrayal is bad.

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Harvey drops by Eric Woodall’s house (that’s supposed to be in Montclair, New Jersey, but I’m thinking Oakville) wearing a full suit and tie at 7 am (as one does), so he can catch Eric opening his door to pick up a newspaper in his pajamas and bathrobe. Harvey threatens to have Woodall fired again, and Woodall laughs evilly and says the issuance of the Seven Subpoenas to Pearson Specter’s clients by the SEC is not his doing but the work of his old buddy from the Justice department who also works at the SEC and whose name I thought at first was Keogh or Keyhole but turns out to be Cahill. I prefer to call him Keyhole.

Sidwell, in asshole mode, fake-admonishes Mike for using Sidwell’s money to buy more shares of Gillis Industries without asking, flip-flops and compliments him for acting brashly in classic investment banker style when he did buy them, then says Mike had better de-leverage Sidwell from the holding within a week, or he’ll be fired. That’s two threats of termination in as many scenes. Mike asks Amy to help him approach Giannopoulos, Sidwell’s former boss, and noted rich jerk.

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Jeff has an I-can-benchpress-more-than-you-can conversation with Harvey about who is in charge of the SEC case which Jessica settles when she walks in wearing an elegant gold-trimmed jacket and long skirt that look more appropriate for evening than daytime and tells Harvey to let Jeff do the job she hired him to do. Later, Jeff tells Jessica he doesn’t need her to babysit him, and Jessica says he should think of her as a bazooka. Hard to imagine saying that line without laughing. They work together for the rest of the episode and bring about an apparent defeat of Keyhole and the withdrawal of the dreaded Seven Subpoenas, only to discover that Keyhole had manipulated them into this move. Ruh-roh.

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Logan pops by Rachel’s office to ask her to evaluate five companies as possible targets for his next takeover, since the Gillis deal might tank, partly because Rachel made him promise he’d lay off Mike. She bristles at first, then agrees to do the work because she is his lawyer. And because things are a little tense at home what with Mike being an asshole and all. She later brings Logan five other companies to consider that have underperforming assets rather than disposable ones, and after a lot of disagreement, some eye-fucking on Logan’s part (Brendan Hines is quite good at doing the sexy eyes, as previously noted), and an attempted kiss that Rachel rebuffs, he decides to present her more constructive takeover ideas to his board of directors.

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Harvey asks Louis to help him take Mike down with regard to the takeover bid, causing Louis to reference The Karate Kid and strike this pose as if, once again, he will be all about the comedy this episode. He goes to court pumped-up and ready to slay Mike, but Mike hoodwinks him into thinking that his former fiancée Sheila (the Harvard admissions director) has become engaged to some studly guy (later revealed to be a photo-shopped-in Lorenzo Lamas, circa 1995, which is a pretty funny idea). Louis takes this pretty hard as he is still devastated by his breakup with Sheila, and he fails to win the court battle, which leads to Harvey yelling at him for shitting the bed.

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After interfering Amy (who claims to be doing a Ph.d in psychology on the side – yeah right) counsels Mike to solve a problem for Giannopoulos to get him to invest rather than approach him with a proposal, Mike presents G with a legal workaround for a problem he is having with some Southampton beachfront property. G likes this but he will not consider investing in anything Mike suggests. In the building lobby, Louis is waiting to explain to Mike that actions have consequences and business people hold grudges. Louis told G that Mike gave Sidwell a way out of G’s company, so G will never forgive Mike for besting him and neither will Louis ever forgive Mike for the low blow of the Sheila engagement prank.

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Mike seeks out an overly tanned but fit-looking Eric Roberts, AKA another rich jerk, name of Forstman. Forstman has a grudge against Harvey with regard to some past business dealings. Forstman agrees to invest in Gillis Industries solely to irritate Harvey, but only if Sidwell gets no cut of the deal, because Forstman is mean that way.

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In a nicely written scene made quite moving by Rick Hoffman’s delivery, Harvey reluctantly, on Donna’s advice, comes to Louis to thank him for thwarting Mike’s pitch to Giannopoulos. Louis confesses he has blown it again, because his gloating over Mike is what gave Mike the idea to contact Forstman. When Harvey says Louis shouldn’t let his emotions lead to stupid mistakes, Louis says, “It’s not fair. I’m emotional, you’re cold. You’re loved, I’m hated.” Harvey claims he’s not as cold as advertised, but I was too busy feeling genuinely sorry for Louis to pay him much attention. And to think that gazing at Gabriel Macht in all his suited, pompadoured glory used to be the reason I watched this show!

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Harvey thanks Mike for returning his father’s recordings and warns Mike not to get into business with the evil Forstman. Mike says he has no choice, Harvey says there is always a choice. A closing montage shows Rachel looking very rattled by Logan’s advances, Mike apparently doing the deal with Forstman and Sidwell, and that Jessica’s choice is to show up at Jeff’s house at night with some DVDs (All About Eve!) and rekindle their romantic relationship. And I must at this juncture state that D.B. Woodside, despite my earlier stated predictions to the contrary, has done an admirable job of keeping his shirt on so far this season, while still appearing to be straining the fabric of said shirts with his manly chest.

The food:
Cream Cheese Sandwich Loaf AKA Frosted Ribbon Loaf AKA Run for your Life

Party Sandwich Loaf, as per Betty Crocker

Party Sandwich Loaf, as per Betty Crocker

The story:

In a scene from my new novel The Oakdale Dinner Club, Alice, one of the main characters, attends a wedding shower – in 1992 – of her best friend Mary Ann. Mary Ann is a traditionalist who has asked her mother, an accomplished cook, to prepare ancient-fashioned wedding shower fare, including a Cream Cheese Sandwich Loaf, which, for the uninitiated, is one name for a loaf of bread that has been sliced horizontally; stuffed with layers of things that don’t go together well, like deviled ham, shrimp salad and egg salad; ‘frosted’ with cream cheese; and decorated like some kind of bizarro savoury cake.

When I wrote the scene, the cream cheese sandwich loaf I described was based on one I had sampled, probably in the 70′s, and that looked, in my mind, something like the pic above, courtesy of Betty Crocker – click here for a defies-belief recipe.

What the sandwich loaf in the story was not meant to resemble was this monstrosity, produced in my very own kitchen, in an act of food preparation that convinced me I am not and will never be the cook Mary Ann’s mother Sarah is in The Oakdale Dinner Club.

Cream Cheese Sandwich Loaf as per the Hungry Novelist

Cream Cheese Sandwich Loaf as per the No-Longer-So-Hungry Novelist

Look at that thing! Between the squished layers of bread (I used a higher fibre white loaf from Cobs Bakery which could not stand up to my Hulk Smash slicing attempts, through no apparent fault of its own), there is a layer of tuna salad and frisée lettuce, a layer of egg salad, and a layer of cream cheese and cucumber because I started thinking about tea sandwiches but should I have used watercress? I don’t know. And those are pecans and gherkin pickles on top of the cream cheese frosting, because why not. (Also, why.)

How did it taste, you ask? Yes, I ate a slice – I wasn’t about to throw the perfectly good ingredients away. And it tasted okay, if okay means it was too bready, too cream-cheesy, and its components would have been better served up as a scoop each of tuna salad and egg salad on a bed of lettuce with maybe a slice of buttered whole wheat bread alongside.

Like Alice in the novel, I found this dish a mite too exotic. But it makes for a good punch line. Both here and as item #5 in this very funny Buzzfeed list of 21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Recipes.

NUP_163440_2521 season 4 cast photo suits macht adams torres marke hoffman iliketowatchtvblogspot SThe more I watch Suits, the more I realize how small the cast is. While there are name-ish actors in meaty, multiple episode arc guest roles this season, the series is no longer all about Batman and Robin – Harvey the mentor and Mike the protégé. It’s become much more of an ensemble show, with the six series regulars – Harvey, Mike, Jessica, Louis, Rachel and Donna – sharing the stage, the drama, and the great clothes.

The episode begins with Rachel – who gets a lot of on-screen minutes this week – coming home in the morning after an all-nighter at the office as Mike is preparing to leave for work. Mike would obviously have known where she was (they may not want the Gillis takeover case to come between them but surely they would text each other about little details like where they’re sleeping at night). He asks her whether she was working or studying anyway as well as a few more questions, including whether she loved Logan Sanders back when she had the affair with him, and by the way, who ended it?

A tired Rachel admits via a crazy amount of close talking that she did love Logan then, but not anymore, and she ended it, so leave her alone, she needs to nap.

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Donna and Mike meet for coffee on a bench. Donna is trying to keep Mike and Harvey from being like Ali and Frazier (friends turned enemies) and mentions that Harvey has recently located the master tapes of his dead father’s jazz saxophone playing, also known as the Chekhov’s gun of this episode.

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Logan drops into Rachel’s office and wields his softened eye expression to tell Rachel that he’s no longer the wuss she knew who has petty things like emotions and he means to play dirty in the takeover battle with Mike. When she says she can take it, he hardens his eyes and face and goes to tell Harvey it’s time to shoot Mike, whom he scornfully refers to as Harvey’s “surrogate son” – ooh, burn – in the back, and hit him below the belt while he’s at it.

Sidenote: After I remarked last week that Brendan Hines, the actor who plays Logan, resembles Veep actor Reid Scott – see evidence here, that’s Reid on the left, and Brendan on the right:

reidscott                                   brendanhines

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brendan Hines tweeted that he attended Reid Scott’s wedding this past weekend! I called it first: they’re actually brothers. Maybe even twins who were separated at birth.

 

 

Back on Suits, Harvey decides to strong arm a banker into cutting off Gillis’s company over brussel sprouts, but Mike, wise to Harvey’s tactics, swoops in and threatens to have Harvey up before a grand jury since said strong arming is apparently not legal. Can anyone ID which Toronto restaurant this might be? I can’t.

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Logan next threatens to hire a private dick to uncover dirt on Mike which prompts Harvey to go to Walter Gillis and tell him Mike was once a drug dealer who did drugs. This upsets Gillis because his son’s death was drug-related, as Harvey knew, so Gillis later fires Mike but only after telling  Harvey he’s a piece of shit.

Mike and Harvey shout it out in Harvey’s office, where Harvey says he’s a saint for deflecting Logan from finding out about Mike’s whole lawyer-impersonation fraud thing with the (true) drug story. He also says he ‘made’ Mike, and “without me, you’re nothing.” As in the song “You’re Nothing Without Me” from the Broadway musical “City of Angels” sung here by my boy Santino Fontana with Greg Hildreth.

Mike says nyah-nyah–nyah-nyah-nyah  and tells Harvey he has Specter Sr.’s master tapes, so there. And he doesn’t care that Gillis fired him because he bought more stock and will save the company with or without Gillis being his client.

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After Donna, wearing a surprisingly flattering high-waisted skirt with a top that allowed for much distracting boob-bouncing when she walked, piles on and tells Harvey he’s an asshole, Harvey asks Rachel to convince Mike to give up the takeover bid. Before Rachel can bring up the subject though, Mike reveals he hired a P.I. to investigate Logan, and found out that Rachel lied for Logan when she testified in his divorce proceedings that he had dumped her after their affair. Rachel assures Mike that it was she who did the dumping, and the reason she turned down Logan’s marriage proposal (!) was because she didn’t want to spend her life with Logan, she wants to spend it with Mike. Awww.

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The next morning, Rachel goes over to Logan’s apartment, and has a flashback to a time when they were lovers and she dropped in and the wife was there and it was super-awkward. Luckily, the wife is not home in the present, and Rachel convinces Logan to back off on Mike because Logan owes her for that lie she told when he decided to try to get his wife back in the middle of his divorce proceedings, which like, huh? Whatever. Logan goes and apologizes to Mike and says he doesn’t want to “win dirty” but really he doesn’t want to hurt Rachel. Maybe he is still capable of feeling an emotion or two.

Victorious, Rachel tells Harvey she got Logan to back off , and returns the master tapes to him from Mike. Does this mean Harvey and Mike are friends again? Or only that people can take a brief break from telling Harvey he’s an asshole and a piece of shit?

In other news, a brief rundown of the Louis-Jeff Malone-Jessica story line this episode, which got significant minutes but was more comedic and less prone to exchanges of insults and true confessions than the Mike-Harvey-Rachel one: Louis makes friendly overtures to Jeff via tickets to the ballet. In an attempt to spend more time with Jessica, with whom he would like to have sex despite her insistence they keep their relationship strictly work-related, Jeff plays Louis on a variety of levels: he gets Louis to ask Jessica to work with Jeff on the SEC case, compliments Louis on his fit physique, and gives him an invasive shoulder/chest massage that leads Louis to believe Jeff is gay and in love with him.

 

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Jessica, in a gorgeous but impractical white suit, gets in a good line to Louis, that, “I’m glad you two are going to be walking to school together from now on,” refuses to work with Jeff at first, but ends up doing so when he turns serious and explains that he doesn’t delegate to associates since that one time he did, someone made a mistake and someone else got killed as a result (long story). Jessica and Jeff work well together, but she does not weaken on the no-sex rule even after he promises to make sure no one will ever know, because she knows there are no secrets on primetime drama.

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When Louis, wearing a nicer than usual for him purplish tie, figures out Jeff is not gay, is trying to get into Jessica’s pants, and was only pretending to befriend Louis to advance his own agenda, he is hurt and mad and vows never to let down his guard again. Poor Louis.

 

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We begin with Mike and Rachel at their apartment on a weekday discussing how working against each other on the takeover of this Gillis guy’s company mustn’t come between them and trying to set ground rules for how to deal with it. Rachel’s credibility is undermined by the wearing of a satin pajama button-up jacket/top (sans pants, of course) of a type last seen on Doris Day in the 1950’s (and on Debra Messing in Smash, don’t remind me). Their work/sex banter alludes to borders and the U.N. and leads to morning sex opening an episode for the 2nd straight week!

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Louis completes his transformation into the show’s sad puppy character by practicing a amusingly and ridiculously cheesy presentation (on Bristol board!) that he plans to make to Jessica to advance his case to be senior partner, only to discover that once again his ambitions and aspirations have been dashed: newcomer Jeff Malone has been given Louis’s case and a swanky corner office. Katrina does some nice work here as Louis’s comrade in light comedy, and her hair looks amazing from the back in this scene.

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Rachel flashes back to when she was necking in bars with a clean-shaven and married Logan Sanders (sorry about that terrible pic with the reflection of my window in the background, he moved in so fast on the kiss and the bar lighting was weird), and he claimed to be in love with her and didn’t care who knew it. He later makes misogynistic sexual remarks to Mike in reference to what he plans to do to the company he wants to take over, in an effort to prove whose cock is bigger because they’ve both had sex with Rachel, so we now dislike him more than ever. I looked up the actor (his name is Brendan Hines), and it turns out he’s 37, older than he looks. In some google image pics, when his hair was longer and wavier, he’s working a vibe that’s part Adam Brody, part Reid Scott (of Veep fame), and part a boy I ‘dated’ for 4 weeks when I was 14. But we can still dislike him.

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Harvey was trying to rush things in the takeover fight, Mike subpoenaed Harvey with a complaint about violating privilege or something, they end up in the chambers of a judge played by actress Amy Aquino, who I’ve always liked, she’s got a great smart, no-nonsense affect to her, and she allows Mike more time. This is the scene where my husband walked in the room and said that Gabriel Macht looks like he has no neck in those spread collared shirts.

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Rick Hoffman aces the wussy, self-pitying body language (check his heels raised behind him as he reclines on a couch, stomach down) in this scene while writing in what Katrina calls his ‘pussy diary’ when she sweeps in and urges him to man up against Jeff Malone.

Louis goes on to have a confrontation with Jeff that involves Louis repeating mindlessly that he eats cock for breakfast lunch and dinner, and we’re supposed to think he doesn’t realize what he’s saying, haha – no.

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Harvey yells at Rachel when she dares to suggest he didn’t want her to attend a meeting with her current and ex-lover present, but really he’s cranky because he prefers Mike to Logan Sanders too and having to side with Logan and listen to his stubbled, entitled attitude is making him edgy. If you ask me, Harvey could have taken the opportunity while he was being snappish to chide Rachel for wearing an inappropriate, if pretty, halter top to work with one of her trademark high-waisted pencil skirts.

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Jeff & Louis inadvertently make a good team in a fast-paced, lively, well-written and acted scene during which they interrogate a germaphobe who is somehow connected to the SEC investigation. Jeff’s suit, shirt and tie combo are pretty sharp here too.

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After counseling Louis to be more compassionate (or something) about people like the germaphobe, Donna the busybody tells Jessica she really ought to give Louis the corner office for all of his loyalty and time served to date, and perhaps because Donna and Jessica are both wearing beautiful and beautifully fitted dresses made out of textured fabric that are wildly impractical for the office, or for doing anything strenuous, like sitting, Jessica agrees and makes Louis’s week/month/year.

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Under threat of being fired from his new job, Mike compromises his principles, goes back on his word, and faces up to the cold, hard ways that business is done in this wicked world. He does this by suggesting Gillis use his $500 million “Asian expansion” war chest money (wait, isn’t this a DVD rental business? 2nd episode of the season and already I’m not following what’s going on, business-wise) to fund his employees’ union pension plan in order to stave off the takeover bid coming from Logan Sanders, whom we dislike, and from Harvey, who’s still one of our heroes, despite looking neckless lately. Mike gets Gillis to agree but only after much yelling back and forth, including the part where Mike blurts out that Gillis is “a naive old man having a tantrum.” Old man? Michael Gross is only 66!

The food:

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The story:

My new food-centric novel The Oakdale Dinner Club is now available, where books and ebooks are sold!

As part of my half-baked fun-filled campaign to promote it, I’m Writer-in-Residence this month at Open Book Toronto where there is an almost embarrassing amount of content on me: an interview that lists 12 things most people don’t know about me (or do they?), some book recommendations, and several blog posts about my writing life.

At the end of my launch week, I went to see the movie Chef, and was so taken by the food-porn-to-the-max grilled cheese sandwich made by the chef character in the movie for his 10-year-old son that I tried to recreate it in my kitchen the next day, with very tasty (if fattening) results that I blogged about over at Open Book Toronto.

After the end credits of the film, a short sequence shows famed L.A. chef Roy Choi, who was a producer and food consultant on the movie, instructing actor/writer/director Jon Favreau on how to make the grilled cheese sandwich. Or so I’m told, because I did not know this before I went to see the movie and didn’t stay in the theatre past the end credits! This, even though, I put in a past-the-end-credits type teaser, for fun, at the end of The Oakdale Dinner Club!

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Fevered internet sleuthing – one review mentioned which cheeses were used in the film sandwich, and that olive oil was a factor in the pan, random best grilled cheese recipes elsewhere suggested grating the cheeses for faster melting – led to my very own recipe for how to make a gorgeous grilled cheese sandwich in the manner of Chef the film, a movie I highly recommend if you like food, eating, and feel-good movies about food and eating.

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Gorgeous Grilled Cheese in the Manner of Chef the Film

Ingredients:
- 2 not too thick, not too thin slices of good quality, airy white bread, such as sourdough or ciabatta
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup – depending where you fit on the risk aversion/thrill-seeking continuum – of grated cheese, made up of 1 part Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 part extra old cheddar (white or orange) and 2 parts Swiss Gruyere
- generous amount of unsalted butter
- a drizzle of olive oil for the frying pan

Method:

- Butter generously one side of each slice of bread
- Heat small amount of olive oil in frying pan until hot and swirled over surface of pan
- Place one slice bread, buttered side down, in pan, turn heat down to medium
- Pile up grated cheeses on bread, as much as you can handle
- Place second slice of bread on top of cheese, buttered side up
- Cook over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes or until bottom slice is golden
- Flip sandwich over and cook until other side is golden
- Press down on the sandwich with a spatula if you wish to compress it a little
- If cheese is not melted when both sides of bread are golden, turn heat down to low and cover frying pan, let cook for another few minutes until cheese is melted to your satisfaction but top and bottom are still crunchy
- Slide sandwich out of pan onto cutting board and cut with big, sharp, impressive-looking chef’s knife
- Slide two halves of sandwich onto plate and arrange one on top of the other at an angle (see photo) to look more arty, appetizing and well, gorgeous
- If you’re me, gild this lily with a little sea salt sprinkled over top
- Eat while still hot, with or without your condiment of choice (chutney, ketchup)

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