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mug shot

Over an opening montage of Mike getting booked at the police station, and stripped of potential self-harming instruments like shoelaces and his tie ­– hey, what about the thread in his suit and shirt buttons? – we meet Assistant U.S. Attorney Anita Gibbs, the back six’s low-voiced villain, and we learn that the big fraud Mike is charged with really is about him pretending to be a lawyer, and not about some other illegal thing he did as a fake lawyer. This is a satisfying payoff for the show to make, at long last, on the show’s now years-old premise. So good job, show.

anita

We know Gibbs is a tough cookie, because she doesn’t give a fuck about things like violating Mike’s rights by not letting him see a lawyer for hours, or keeping him in jail overnight to scare him. Also because she has Mom hair, and wears department store-bought clothes.

Mike is tough and cocky too (cookie, cocky, kooky) – he tricks Gibbs into videotaping him talking about that rights violation, and immediately ID’s the federal marshal posing as a cellmate who tries to intimidate/scare him about life in jail.

mike and thug

Mike’s façade cracks when Robert Zane shows up (sent by Rachel) claiming to be Mike’s attorney. Robert wants him to rat on Harvey in exchange for his freedom, and also to never speak to or see Rachel again.

robert zane is pissed

Mike won’t betray Harvey, but he looks pretty rattled when Robert throws him against the wall, and he crumples when Harvey finally shows up. Mike figures the jig is up because of the small matter that he is actually guilty. Harvey, ever the pragmatist, points out that the onus is on Gibbs to prove Mike isn’t a lawyer, which should be difficult thanks to the fraudulent hacking into databases these two have orchestrated in the past ­– Michael’s credentials are technically in order. You know what would be kind of funny though? If season 6 of suits saw Mike in jail using his Mr. Memory skills to engineer a prison break. Suits could even do some crossover episodes with the coming remake of Prison Break, about which I am extremely dubious, though I was a big Wentworth Miller fan back in the day.

jessica is pissed

Meanwhile, back at the Pearson Specter Litt ranch, Jessica’s first impulse is for the principal cast members to dissociate from Mike, for fear of being pegged as “unindicted co-conspirators” (this episode’s drinking game prompt), which they basically all are, so good luck with that. She also wants Harvey to tear up the resignation letter he submitted last episode as part of his deal with Forstman, because of the bad optics of his resignation coming on the same day as Mike’s arrest. Except he can’t, because if he does, Forstman will unleash Hardman again in attack dog mode to take Jessica down. So Harvey has to find a way to defend Mike while pretending he did not resign, and hope that Fortsman doesn’t find out he’s pretending.

gibbs in court

Harvey negotiates with Gibbs to get Mike released without bail pending trial. She tries to double-cross Harvey in the courtroom and have the judge prohibit him from defending Mike, but Mike plays his you-violated-my-rights card and takes the hand.

scottie closeup

Next, the boys try to figure out who leaked their secret to Gibbs. Harvey swallows his pride, eats crow, and pays a visit to his old love Scottie, who has a chic new haircut and a frosty attitude. She bitterly says she didn’t squeal, but can’t promise she won’t in future.

trevor streetcars

Mike, in turn, ambushes his old buddy Trevor the Turncoat on what’s meant to be a Manhattan sidewalk except there are Toronto streetcars in the background. Trevor also denies having tipped anyone off, but says his only motive for keeping quiet is to protect his own family. Aren’t old friends grand?

sweaty harvey

Gibbs shows up at Harvey’s gym to tell him that if the reason he’s boxing in the middle of the day like an unemployed person is because he was fired or made to resign by the the firm, that’s evidence he’s a co-conspirator, so haha gotcha, unless, of course, he’ll turn on Jessica. While looking convincingly flushed and sweaty, Harvey reaches into his bag of insults and suggests Gibb take a remedial class in fiction writing  (huh?) at NYU.

jack caught in web

When our merry band of co-conspirators realize Harvey must return to work at the office to ward off Gibbs and her suspicions, Mike comes up with the solution to Forstman finding out – he threatens Forstman’s inside man at the firm: Jack Soloff. If Jack lets Forstman know Harvey hasn’t quit, Mike will tell Gibbs Jack was the main man at the law firm who knew all about Mike’s fraud. Jack somewhat reasonably protests that he never did anything bad to Mike so why the blackmail? Guess he sealed his fate when he went after Mike’s surrogate parents Jessica and Harvey.

rachel cries

Rachel is mighty fretful this episode. She’s beside herself with worry after Mike is arrested, and goes to her dad for help, only to have him advise her to quit the firm and Mike. When she won’t, because of true love and all, her dad gives her a very cold shoulder and asks Jessica to fire her, which she refuses to do.

Zane senior asks Rachel to convey a message from Gibbs to Mike that he can be free if he turns on Harvey (a message Zane already delivered to Mike in person so why he repeats it to Rachel, I don’t know), and she makes the mistake of considering the idea for one second, thereby incurring Mike’s wrath. By the end of the hour, she and Mike have made up and pledged their love anew, which made their earlier tension seem manufactured for drama’s sake, but whatever, the sweater coat she wears in this hug scene is nice.

mike & rachel hug

Louis warns Donna to avoid any contact with Harvey and Mike (again with the unindicted co-conspirator concern) but, while wearing the hell out of some beautiful figure-flattering dresses, Donna says she just can’t stay away.

donna slate dress

When Jessica asks Louis to find something in the bylaws that will stop Jack Soloff from trying to boot her out again ­– which Jack pledged to do as soon as he found out about Mike’s arrest – Louis instead comes up with a bone-headed suggestion that he take over from Jessica as managing partner at the firm. Jessica accuses him of self-promotion and selfishness and reiterates her demand that he find a loophole in the bylaws.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 8.10.46 PM

Louis doesn’t do that, but he does realize that the team player/We Are Family thing to do about this whole mess is to release Donna from his employ so she can help Harvey, even though he will miss her, and he fears what the consequences will be for her. This move earns him Jessica’s sincere thanks via a drop-in at his mudding spa (salon?) during which we get gross close-ups of Louis’s mud-covered nipples, and Jessica wears a heinous black ‘vest’ that looks like a scrunched up satin tablecloth glued onto a white shirt.

mudding

Nipples and vest aside, Jessica and Louis have a heartwarming bonding conversation about Lord of the Rings, during which he gets in a good joke about how horrible he would be if he got hold of the One Ring That Rules Them All, since he’s no Frodo. Jessica compares him instead to the ever-loyal Samwise Gamgee, and he opines that he’s always thought LoTR was more about friendship than about power. Sort of like Suits, don’t we all know.

donna at harvey's

Donna announces her return to Harvey’s side in a work capacity by making a surprise appearance inside his apartment late at night (no mixed messages being sent or received there). And when he hears she’s come back to him, Gabriel Macht as Harvey does that actorly thing where he softens his eye expression, and wins us all over.

softened eyes

Next week: we find out who sold Mike up the river.

KimMoritsuguTheHungryNovelist

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper whose latest novel is a suburban comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club.

Mike & Harvey as Batman & Robin with complementary suit & tie combos - nice work, costumers!

Suits returns, starting tonight, Wednesday January 27th, for the first of the back 6 episodes of Season 5.  I will once again be recapping the show, but because I don’t get screeners (ha ha, as if),  and because Wednesday nights are when I go dancing (priorities!), my timing pledge will be to get each recap up before the next episode airs.

In the meantime, for those who remember when this blog was mainly about food, I offer a relatively foolproof recipe for flaky buttermilk biscuits, adapted from a Taste of Home recipe published in 2001.  I’ve kept to the same 4 ingredients the recipe calls for, but varied the method slightly in an attempt to achieve maximum flakiness and height.

IMG_5530

These slightly salty – in a  good way – biscuits are best served warm (fresh-baked, or reheated in the oven) , and slathered with cultured butter. And they go as well with savoury foods like eggs and bacon or hearty soups, as with desserty combos like raspberries and whipped cream. Either way, they’d make a fine accompaniment to an episode of Suits.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits (adapted from Taste of Home)

Ingredients
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
2 cups self-rising flour*
3/4 cup buttermilk
Melted butter

*As a substitute for each cup of self-rising flour, place 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour to measure 1 cup.

Directions

In a large bowl or food processor, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add  buttermilk and pulse just until moistened. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; gather dough together into a mound; knead 3-4 times.  Pat down to a 3/4-in. thickness, so that the dough is about the size of an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper.

To create layers, fold the two ends of the dough into the middle as you would fold a piece of paper to put it into an envelope. Gently flatten the nowstacked dough again with your hands until it’s about 3/4 inch thick and paper-sized again.

Using a sharp knife (no biscuit cutter necessary), cut the dough into 9 square biscuits. Place in a round greased cake pan with the sides almost touching so that the biscuits have nowhere to go but up, OR place the biscuits on their sides in the cups of a greased muffin tin. Brush with melted butter and  bake at 425° for 11-13 minutes (a few minutes more if using the cake pan method) or until golden brown. Yield: 9 biscuits.

hugs

The good in this episode: Harvey and Mike make what seem like real, significant life/career change decisions, and there’s a nice cliffhanger of an ending for the summer finale. The bad: a shitload of unconvincing flashbacks that felt more time filling than illuminating.

Mike’s Story

young mike

A talented child actor who quite resembles Patrick J. Adams plays Mike as a child of about 11, and comes off as both bright and sensitive in flashback scenes. In one, Grammy (who is not made up to look much younger than the last time we saw her, in the recent present) tells him his parents have died in a car accident. In another, a Catholic priest named Father Walker tries to comfort him, but young Mike is already on the road to becoming a pot-smoking, jaded dropout who has lost faith in God, saints and stupid shit like rules.

horrible wig

More flashbacks, to Mike’s subsequent high school days, feature Patrick J. Adams in a horrible wig that makes him look not like a teenager, but like a 34 year old in a horrible wig. Horrible wig Mike clashes with Grammy over his desire to throw away the children’s books that his mother used to read to him, and with Father Walker about some stolen collection box money and an F Mike received on a history paper at the Catholic school he attends. Though not for much longer. He’s going to drop out and go to – oh no, not that! – a public school.

bookshelf

In the present day, Mike visits Father Walker to confess to his fraud sins and to ask for advice. Father Walker challenges Mike’s assertion that he has become a good guy overall, and pushes him to admit he’s afraid of ruining Rachel’s life if he marries her, and afraid of losing her if he quits being a fake lawyer.

Mike returns the stolen collection box money, which he never spent, but only took years ago to protest against the empty solace and utter meaninglessness of religion (or something). To prove the opposite (or something), Father Walker shows him the bookcases Grammy bought for the church playroom when she repaid the stolen money without ever telling Mike. And guess what’s in the bookcases! Yup, Mike’s old children’s books. Which Father Walker thinks means Mike has gotta have faith (like his namesake George Michael) and not worry that he will lose Rachel.

Everybody say AHHH

Everybody say Awwwwww.

Having seen the light, or maybe a light, Mike, in a subtle but effective all-the-feels scene, hands in his resignation to Harvey, who hugs him(!!!) and lets him go, for reasons I’ll get to in a moment. Mike tells Rachel his decision, and she’s cool with it, as Father Walker predicted – she might even be happy/excited about this development. That is, until Mike, while walking out of the office with a standard issue archive box of sad belongings, is arrested by a couple of plainclothes guys, for “conspiracy to commit fraud.” That wording begs the question of whom he conspired with, and who else is being charged. And is the arrest really about his fake lawyering, as showrunner Aaron Korsh, in the post-finale interviews he gave, tried to make us believe? Or is it about some other dirty tricks Mike engaged in while being a fake lawyer?

Harvey’s turn

Dr. Paula has booked a full day with Harvey, at his request, so he can talk about whether he should resign from Pearson Specter Litt like Forstman wants him to. This discussion leads to flashbacks from when Harvey was ten or fifteen years younger – and working for the D.A.’s office, maybe?

grey streak mom

I’ll put aside for a moment that Harvey in his late twenties does not look any younger than present day 43-year-old Harvey, and that the ‘aged’ look on the actress who plays his mother consists mainly of some grey streaks in her hair and some crudely drawn lines on her face. Are we also supposed to believe that a) either every time Harvey’s mom has an affair, Harvey catches her doing it, OR that she is a serial adulterer who has been having affairs for years; b) her trysts repeatedly take place in her own home in the afternoons; and c) Harvey’s dad, a jazz musician turned car mechanic, never knew about them? Because that’s an awful lot of disbelief to suspend.

sparring

We see in flashback that it was Harvey who told his dad about the affairs (and thus ended the marriage), during an unfriendly father-son sparring session, and Harvey has mixed feelings about the incident. His lying, cheating mom deserved to be outed, he appears to think, but he might regret having broken up the family – and damaged his younger brother’s psyche – in the process. As for quitting his job in the present, he has two reasons not to: one because he is not the type of guy to “lay down” when attacked, and two, because he doesn’t want to break up his Pearson Specter Litt family. Except for the Litt part, maybe.

When Dr. Paula opines that the Forstman dilemma isn’t about laying down, and that if Harvey quit, he wouldn’t be breaking up the law firm family, he would be saving it, Harvey runs off to resign and get Forstman to stop funding Hardman’s evil plan to take over the law firm.

Meanwhile, back at the office

Say what you will about Jack, that's an impressive head of hair he's got there

Say what I will about Jack, that’s an impressive head of hair he’s got there

Jack gives Jessica advance notice of the no confidence (in Jessica) vote he is calling for from the partners that evening. When Jessica can’t find Harvey (who is with Dr. Paula), she commands Louis once more to find out what Hardman has on Jack.

Louis does not find out, but, ever subtle, he threatens to kill Hardman. Hardman nullifies the threat by having his secretary record Louis making it, then says he will hostilely take over Esther’s company if Louis does not vote against Jessica.

Jessica forgives Louis for sticking up for his sister when she finds out, tells him they will be always be partners, and throws a paperweight around in her office to demonstrate her frustration. Her own flashbacks have revealed that her present day hair and wardrobe are WAY better than they used to be, and that she was once kind of secretly married to a nice-seeming, professional-seeming black man who divorced her because she was overly devoted to her career. The law firm matters to her, you see, because she’s sacrificed having a love life for it, and because it’s her family. Except for her sister.

donna & dr. p

Donna goes searching for Harvey at Jessica’s request. She strolls into Dr. Paula’s home office after Harvey has left, and a slightly awkward encounter ensues. Dr. Paula behaves professionally and shares no confidences of Harvey’s, but Donna is pretty sure she knows what the doctor is thinking, and it’s that Donna is amazing. Sure Donna, whatever you say.

harvey with termination letter

Harvey presents the partners’ meeting with a copy of a termination letter Forstman has sent to Hardman. The partners, led by Louis, vote in favor of retaining Jessica as managing partner. Afterwards, Harvey tells Jessica he is stepping down and that Mike has quit. She is saddened by both these developments, but especially by Harvey’s departure.

But will Harvey’s resignation stick now that Mike has been arrested? What’s the story behind the charges against Mike? Is the wedding now off? What does Hardman have on Jack Soloff, and do we care? Find out the answers to some or all of these questions in early 2016, when the back 6 episodes of season 5 will air in North America, and I’ll return to recap them.

KimMoritsuguTheHungryNovelist

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper whose latest novel is a suburban comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club.

In this penultimate episode of the summer season, the writers tease us with hints that real changes might happen, both to the show’s somewhat tired five-year-old premise that Mike is a fake lawyer, and to the firm of Pearson, Specter, Litt. But will real changes happen?

Trouble in Love Land

Mike, sensitive guy that he is, develops a rash because he can’t help but wonder if former flame Claire was on to something when she said he shouldn’t marry Rachel if he loves her. It’s okay though, because Rachel is all, “I love you SO SO MUCH that you shouldn’t feel bad that you commit fraud daily and I could probably be charged as an accessory to that fraud. Now, let’s neck.”

Mike with rash

However, Rachel gets rattled when her mother starts talking New York Times Style section wedding announcements and a 300-person wedding guest list that includes the dean of Harvard Law School. Rachel lies and says Mike wants a small wedding, and tells her mother to butt out, which is a bit harsh, Tai.

This is not the Plaza Hotel. But where is it?

This is not the Plaza Hotel. But where is it?

Rachel goes to Donna, who is helpfully wearing a pretty purple (pink?) lace bridesmaid’s dress (which is by J Mendel and costs only US$2800, according to wornontv.net), to ask whether she should tell her mother Mike’s secret. Donna helpfully says that is a terrible idea because then the mom would have to keep it from Rachel’s dad, and imagine how that would go.

donna purple dress

When Mike worries aloud that he is ruining Rachel’s life, she admits he IS taking away her dream wedding plans, but she still wants to marry him because she love, love, loves him. So Mike meets his old buddy Trevor for a drink to invite him to the wedding. Trevor is now married to an unseen virtuous woman and has given up drug dealing and dirty tricks like the betraying of best friends. He advises Mike to take a similar high road by quitting his job, and Mike seems to seriously consider this option.

Mike seriously considers quitting his job.

Mike seriously considers quitting his job.

Yes, Mike! Take the advice of this person who did you grievous wrong in previous seasons! Quit and get a quickie law degree from some cheap online university, then practice for real.

The Hardman is Unleashed

A partners’ meeting is held to vote on Harvey’s suspension, and after Harvey makes a speech offering to reduce his compensation (let’s reverse his position on this a few more times, shall we?) after all, no matter what the outcome of the vote, he is NOT suspended, no surprise, though the vote is close.

harvey addresses partnersJack Soloff slips another item onto the meeting agenda and casually suggests that Hardman rejoin the firm. Jessica and Harvey spit fire at this suggestion, and Donna gives Hardman grief when he shows up at the office and trades insults with everyone he meets. He offers to bring a new, unnamed billion-dollar client to PSL if he were to rejoin, and when Jessica says over her dead body, he promises he will instead take away all the firm’s current clients by having his moneybags client acquire them.

Jessica is pissed.

Jessica is pissed.

Jack (whom we can now hate again, whew) tells Mike he recommended him for partner as a bid to buy his loyalty, but Mike is ever true to Harvey, so forget that plan. Louis, meanwhile, realizes he brought on the whole Hardman problem when he started to conspire with Jack to take down Harvey, so he scurries around trying to fix it.

louis & jack

He warns Jack that Hardman is a devil who cannot be trusted, guesses that Hardman has something on Jack, and tries and fails to find out what it is. He suggests to Jessica that they make Jack a name partner to appease him, but Jessica has a better idea: she tells Jack to resign. His counter suggestion: she can resign. And let the partners vote on who they want least.

Mike & Harvey as Batman & Robin with complementary suit & tie combos - nice work, costumers!

Mike & Harvey as Batman & Robin with complementary suit & tie combos – nice work, costumers!

Harvey & Mike decide Hardman will try to steal good old McKiernan Motors first, so they separately go to two money men who hate each other: Sidwell and Giannopoulos, and get them each to agree to offer a generous sum for McKiernan just to spite the other. When Hardman’s client’s counter-offer is even more generous, Harvey realizes that the client must be criminal mastermind Charles Forstman.

forstman

Harvey visits Fortsman in a country club type jail and threatens to use his legal superpowers to have him transferred to Rikers Island, but Forstman’s not scared. You want me to call off Hardman, he says? Step down from the firm. All Forstman wants is  to see Harvey laid low. And Harvey seems to seriously consider this option.

Harvey seriously considering the option to quit and looking weirdly like Joseph Gordon-Levitt while doing it.

Harvey seriously considering the option to quit and weirdly looking a bit like Joseph Gordon-Levitt while doing so.

Do it, Harvey, quit! For the sake of changing things up!

Sidenotes:

  • It’s nice to see Harvey and Mike together again fighting crime, er, waging legal war together, and some of their bro banter entertains, but enough with the movie quotes already
  • Louis refers to Jack having a “pirate beard” (heh)
  • I laughed when Donna suggested she and Louis follow Harvey and Mike’s example of seasons past and smoke pot so they can think up a way to stop Hardman

Next week: Jessica smashes some office furniture, “someone is going down,” and I’m yelling Timber.

KimMoritsuguTheHungryNovelist

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper whose latest novel is a comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club.

In which Troian Bellisario (Patrick J. Adams’s real-life fiancée) of Pretty Little Liars fame makes a return appearance, Jack Soloff is not totally detestable – for once, and Jessica storms around in Angry Boss with Great Hair mode much of the time.

The Aftermath of the Harvey-Louis Beatdown

donna louis

Louis is in high dudgeon since Harvey attacked him, and wants to hire outside counsel to sue Harvey’s ass. Donna looks aghast at Louis’s injuries, but suggests he keep his grievances within the family/law firm.

Louis wants for Harvey, as punishment, to be suspended from work for three months, unpaid. To prevent that motion from coming up at a partners’ meeting, an angry Jessica orders Harvey to go on vacation.

jessica pissed

Everyone knows Harvey never goes on vacation, but he leaves work anyway and goes to see Dr. Paula wearing casual clothes (OMG moment #1)!

harvey casual

After hearing about the fight, Dr. Paula concludes that both men hide their hurt feelings (Louis about Esther, Harvey about his mother) behind angry words (Louis) or punches (Harvey) rather than expressing them – so they’re exactly the same person (OMG moment #2)!

Harvey takes this insight to heart and goes late to the office in his casual clothes (which does not make all hell break loose, for some inexplicable reason) to apologize to Louis and explain. He admits to the panic attacks, being in therapy, Donna’s departure having hit him hard, and even that he has unresolved family issues.

Louis appears to accept the explanation and apology, and he suggests Harvey attend the partners’ meeting the next day in vote on Mike’s promotion to junior partner. Then Louis pulls a Jack Soloff style double-cross and moves to get Harvey suspended anyway. The actual Jack Soloff points out, reasonably, that according to the bylaws, the vote on that can’t happen for a few days.

donna dicta

After the meeting, Harvey asks Louis what the hell, Angry Jessica calls Louis despicable, and Donna wants to know what Louis said that prompted Harvey to punch him anyway. When she finds out that Louis recorded Harvey talking about therapy etc., apparently with the intent of playing it back to the partners to publicly humiliate Harvey, Donna warns him she will quit working for him if he keeps up the dirty tricks. Thus badgered and cowed, Louis suggests to Jessica that he call off the vote, but a fed-up Jessica says no.

Mike, Rachel & Claire Form a Law/Love Triangle

Jack Soloff would be suspicious if Mike didn’t accept the partnership promotion he suggested, so Jessica reverses her earlier command that Mike must refuse it, and hands him his first case as partner, something about a software company that might be acquired by Google.

rachel mike gooeyAmid gooey expressions of mutual love, Mike asks Rachel to work on it as his associate, but he backs out of the first meeting when the software company’s lawyer turns out to be Claire Bowden, his lost love from last season’s flashback. Claire knows he is a fake, and is played by Troian Bellisario, who is admirably crisp, unsmiling, and no-nonsense in the part.

mike and claire

When Claire asks, Rachel says the Mike Ross at Pearson Specter Litt is not the Mike Ross Claire once knew, he’s some 45 year old dude. Rachel tries to handle the case alone, and makes a tactical error that scuppers the deal and incurs Mike’s irritation, though who is he to talk? She eventually comes up with an alternate plan that works, but she has to take Mike’s name off the paperwork because a background check would be necessary to make the deal happen, which is how Claire figures out that Mike IS the same guy she knew. Rachel admits that she and Mike are engaged, and begs Claire not to expose Mike. Claire agrees, but when Mike approaches her privately to thank her, she tells him that if he really loved Rachel, he wouldn’t drag her down into his fraudulent circle of hell with him by marrying her. She’s just saying.

Sidenotes:

Jack is being squeezed/blackmailed by Hardman to do something shady, and he doesn’t want to do it! Plus he gives Harvey some decent advice for how to manage the vote about the suspension. Are we supposed to like him now?

The show continues its tradition of making unbridled, detailed Game of Thrones references with a funny scene in which Mike explains to Louis that Harvey is the Jon Snow of the Suits universe, so he shouldn’t be stabbed and left to die.

My thought: Couldn’t Mike just quietly take the bar exam someday without going to law school, pass it, and become a real lawyer that way? Or like, do a quickie law degree from some on-line university? Just so the question of whether Mike’s secret will or will not be exposed doesn’t drive the plot of this show FOREVER?

Next week: The suspension vote happens? And Hardman tries to take the firm away from Jessica.

KimMoritsuguTheHungryNovelist

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper whose latest novel is a comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club.

In which Harvey realizes that hooking up with the beauteous Esther was a mistake, and both Jack Soloff AND Daniel Hardman reappear, sometimes together (face plant).

The return of Esther

Esther is back, dressed in some of the best costumes of the episode, including this great business executive blouse in which she asks Harvey if he will handle a lawsuit brought against her company by some guy with a nut allergy who almost died after eating one of her muffins, which are supposed to be totally nut-free.

esther blouse

In a move Esther later describes as ‘sweet in a dickish way’ but just seemed dickish to me, Harvey accuses Esther of using the lawsuit as an excuse to see him again, and tells her to get Louis to handle it instead, because Louis is a damn good lawyer and Harvey wants to do him a solid.

Sweet but dickish, or just plain dickish?

Sweet but dickish, or just plain dickish?

Louis is touched to be asked, and with Rachel’s help, eventually wins the case, though not without arguing with Esther about doing it his way versus hers. Along the way, Donna divines that Esther and Harvey have had sex, and tells Harvey he must tell Louis about that or she will tell him, because her days of lying to Louis (though not to wedding planners) are done.

Harvey, his mother and his combative shrink

mom&harvey

Dr. Paula is proud when Harvey opens up about his mother, who we see in a flashback featuring a dark-haired child actor playing Harvey, who was definitely a blond child, come on. Child Harvey comes home early from school because he’s sick and finds his mother doing post-coital laughing and shirt-buttoning-up with her ‘cousin.’ (I really hope he wasn’t her actual cousin, because ew.) But aside from the cheating with her cousin thing, the mother seemed nice enough to Harvey, didn’t she?

Dr. Paula’s pride turns into recrimination when she finds out Harvey slept with Esther. She accuses him of being as snaky as his mother, what with the sneaking around and breaking of promises. Harvey gets angry about this accusation, as usual, but sees her point.

esther dress

He returns to the office intent on telling Louis and runs into Esther, who is being flirty and wearing an insane but eye-catchingly stylish dress of the sort Donna wears, asymmetrical hem and all. Esther asks if he’d like to take her out sometime, which why couldn’t she just ask to take him out instead (whither equal rights?). Harvey brusquely shuts that down and hurts her feelings. A few minutes later, Louis, who has guessed all and gotten Donna to confirm it, storms into his office and confronts Harvey on the topic.

louis post-punch

Fisticuffs ensue, Louis gets punched in the mouth AND thrown into a glass coffee table which shatters dramatically, and Harvey’s in deep shit now, including with an appalled Jessica.

Jack Soloff & Daniel Hardman: An Unholy Alliance with a Side Dish of Mike

mike&jack

Jack asks Mike to work with him on a case involving a teachers’ pension fund and some derivatives. Everyone’s motives in this story line are twisted: Jack claims he’s trying to make up and make good, but he’s been consorting with Hardman on the sly; Jessica tells Mike he must work with Jack because she said so and also to test Jack’s two-facedness; and Mike manufactures evidence in the case (a big stack of forged emails) as a way to win it, because now everyone’s go-to tactic is to do fraudulent illegal-type stuff and lie. SMH.

Jack and Mike disagree on tactics and don’t get along, until they do, when they impress each other with their respective acts of cagey underhandedness.

jessica & hardman

Working with Mike changes Jack a bit – he informs Hardman he doesn’t want to conspire to overthrow Jessica anymore, and makes a recommendation that Mike be promoted to junior partner. Jessica, who already had a “get away from my house” talk with Hardman on the street, is properly pissed by this development. She tells Mike that while he is the best associate she has ever known, he will turn down the partnership because now is not a good time for his lack of a law degree to come to light – and can I just say how glad I am that his living-a-lie situation has not come up yet this season? Though I guess it makes sense for it to come up now.

jessica mike

Next week: Harvey vs. Louis redux.

KimMoritsuguTheHungryNovelist

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper whose latest novel is a comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club.

In which the series regular women wear beautiful dresses, Snidely Soloff returns, and so does McKiernan Motors.

Harvey and Dr. Paula Had Better Not be Headed for Romance

harvey pj's

In case you forgot that Harvey and Dr. Paula played true confessions and had a big “we’re done” spat last week, we get replays of their therapy scenes in the previouslies AND in the opening scene flashback, during which Harvey gets out of his big old lonely bed wearing so many pajama-ish clothes that I think Gabriel Macht must have a no-skin-showing clause in his contract.

When Harvey gets to the office, a former adversary named Sam Tull is waiting to see him. Tull’s employer (something about assets) is falsely accusing him of criminal wrongdoing (something about an unauthorized trade) in order to avoid covering a big loss. Tull wants Harvey to defend him despite their past mutual hatred because he knows Harvey will do anything to protect his clients and keep them from going to jail.

Harvey agrees. Could it be that deep-down, like Mike, he might want to help people too? Aww. But he freaks out when the ‘proof’ of wrongdoing that Tull’s bad-guy boss brings to the table is that he can provide testimony from a shrink Tull was seeing on the company dime (and therefore doctor-patient confidentiality does not apply). And that shrink is Dr. Paula.

In a manner Dr. Paula calls arrogant, Harvey orders her not to testify, but she is compelled to by subpoena. When she gives her deposition – saying Tull expressed guilt feelings but did not confess to doing anything wrong – Harvey undermines her testimony by referring to the tragic blunder she told him in confidence last week.

Dr. Paula chews Harvey out for this betrayal, including calling him a narcissist. Harvey sort of apologizes, and when he explains his motivation for the betrayal – he was just trying to help Tull – she softens. I really hope their constant arguing does not later turn into lust.

rachel color block

Rachel has been working the case with Harvey (and keeping an eye on his mental health). While wearing an elegant color-block knit dress (or maybe two piece outfit) that makes her look smarter and more serious (also, way fit) than the frilly stuff she often wears, she suggests Harvey ask Dr. Paula for her files on other patients who work for the bad-guy company, to be used as a bargaining tool. That ploy appears to work off-screen, because Harvey later visits Dr. Paula bearing flowers from an exonerated Tull. And guess what – they’re not ‘done.’ Harvey is ready to talk about his mother.

harvey with flowers
Imagine a world in which engine manufacturers called McKiernan Motors and Fletcher Engines exist

Dominic Barrone of McKiernan Motors meets with Mike and Louis to ask them to quickly firm up a handshake deal he made with an old friend to buy a battery manufacturer. Louis annoys Barrone by wanting to do proper, not-so-quick due diligence and good thing, too, because they discover a problem that makes the deal a no go. As an alternative, Mike and Louis suggest McKiernan look at buying the battery division of a company called Tanaka that happens to be represented by Snidely Jack Soloff.

jessica hair

Jessica, sporting the kind of gorgeous highlights and hair styling that I can only dream (and often do) of having, has urged Louis to put aside his pettiness and get Jack Soloff onside as an ally rather than an adversary. So when Jack, in his usual assholish way, asks for 100% of the fee if the deal goes through, Louis agrees.

louis kimono

Louis sets out to woo the head of Tanaka by decorating the boardroom Japanese-style (check the video of the Japanese flag waving on the wall TV screen) for a meeting. Mike is (rightfully) certain that this is a terrible, offensive, making-all-the-wrong-cultural-assumptions idea, but Mr. Tanaka (who, judging from his accent, appears to have been born and raised in Japan), loves it, which causes Mike to make amusing WTF reaction faces.

mike wtf face

Mike and Louis think they have a deal, but Soloff convinces Tanaka to back out, because he’s a mustache-twirling villain who needs to go away. McKiernan fires Pearson Specter as its law firm, but when Mike and Louis apologize and explain what happened, they are hired back. Meanwhile, Soloff has quickly signed up another bigger engine manufacturer, Fletcher Motors.

jessica + soloff

When Jessica finds out about this, she pays Soloff a visit and tells him to drop Fletcher Motors, because the firm’s first loyalty is to McKiernan Motors. He will, but warns her that when he does, the whole firm will know it’s because Harvey is Jessica’s pet/favorite. Jessica gives him one last chance to work with her, rather than against her, and stalks out of his office. The rather formal satin dress she wears when delivering this ultimatum gives off more of a wedding vibe than a ‘I WILL cut a bitch” one, but her regal bearing makes her message loud and clear.

mike honey

The light comedy portion of the episode revolves around Mike’s request of Donna that she help secure the Plaza Hotel as a wedding venue, and on Rachel’s birthday. After some random coffee room banter about honey, Donna sets about recreationally impersonating and blackmailing people to get what she wants, like she did that time when she got into BIG TROUBLE and almost went to prison. But this is all about making Rachel’s dream wedding happen, so I guess that’s okay. Along the way, she gets to know Gretchen a bit better and she gets to wear this gorgeous green print dress, which might be my favorite of the many expensive dresses Donna has ever worn.

donna green dress

Gretchen made me laugh when she surmised that the reason she and Donna haven’t bonded before now is that Donna wasn’t ready to say goodbye to her metaphorical little girl on the first day of school. You mean Harvey is my little girl? Donna says. But no, the little girl Donna was afraid to leave behind is herself, because Gretchen is WISE.

Next week: Hardman returns (ugh). And so does the beauteous Esther, so that Louis and Harvey can go back to hating each other when Louis finds out Harvey slept with her.

KimMoritsuguTheHungryNovelist

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper whose latest novel is a comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club.

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