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Suits is back for season 5, and so are my recaps!

doctor's office

Harvey is in therapy – in a suit, natch. Though all he wants from his comely English-accented doctor who has an extremely large office is more sleeping pills so he can stop having anxiety dreams about missing important meetings. Which is also happening in real life because he has not replaced Donna since she left to work for Louis, nor can he apparently manage basic administrative tasks like keeping an appointment calendar or checking his phone messages.

The doctor’s cozy sweater suggests she is a nurturer but her therapeutic approach is more of the tough love variety: she insists he tell her again what’s happened since the Season 4 finale, and this time, don’t leave shit out like he did the first time he came to her seeking prescription drugs.

rachel and mike in bed

So back we go to 6 weeks earlier. Mike and Rachel are in bed the morning after Mike proposed (though is Harvey telling the doctor about this part? I hope not) and Rachel, looking pretty in some very good eye makeup (all the women look great in this episode), gazes adoringly upon her engagement ring as if getting one was her life’s ambition, which seems inconsistent with her character to date, but I’m in favor of the wedding taking place for wardrobe eye candy reasons, so let her gush. She and Mike agree to keep their engagement secret at work except maybe for Donna and Harvey, then dive under the duvet where Mike makes an amusingly oblique reference to doing a sex thing they saw online, which reminded me of the Seinfeld episode about Jerry’s swirl move, a prime example of sex humour by way of omission/vagueness that we can all learn from.

donna&louis

Donna tells Louis she’s going to work for him but not till she completes a two week notice period she feels she should give Harvey. Louis says she might as well stay with Harvey forever rather than give Louis false hope like the soul-bruising time he bought a Welcome to Team Litt cake when he thought Mike was going to become his associate, only to have the cake (and his dreams of bro bonding) go to waste when Mike went back to Harvey.

Donna spends the rest of the episode assuring Louis she is committed to the move. She also conducts a silly and possibly actionable double-entendre-laden conversation with him at a deli about how she can’t wait to ease the pressure on his about-to-burst Dictaphone, haha, not that funny.

Harvey does his bit to ensure Donna stays gone by acting like a spurned lover and living up to the nickname Mike gives him of Captain Dickhead. He directs Donna to clean out her desk and leave right away, he gives Louis the can opener to return to her (oh god, not the can opener!), and he refuses to hire a replacement secretary because he’s sure that Donna will be back. He also misses meetings and calls about an important trucking company bankruptcy blah-blah case, and irritates Jessica in the process, who at one point wears a gorgeous, shiny fitted jacket and shell combo that would make great wedding wear. Just saying.

gina torres fitted jacket

Harvey also yells at Mike and blames Rachel, who was only trying to help, for an oversight/mistake that hinges on a printer running out of paper – like a key document would only be read on paper and never checked on a computer screen? Come on now – that Donna was no longer around to restock.

When not pissing off clients and colleagues, Harvey suffers from panic attacks that send him, dizzy and sweating, to the office restroom, to throw up (tastefully shot) which is the real reason he went on the anti-anxiety medication. But he stops needing the medication after Comely English Doctor makes him realize that the panic attacks will only go away once he accepts that Donna has left him, which he does when he finally decides to start interviewing new candidates for her job.

gabriel macht eyelashes

Donna stands up to Harvey’s dickheadedness and refuses to come back when Harvey has a change of heart and asks her to return for two weeks. Their intense, fraught-with-relationship-tension conversation about this affords the viewer a lingering shot of Gabriel Macht’s adorable sandy-coloured eyelashes, which I hope are real, unlike the lush lash extensions adorning the women in the cast. Donna also deals with Louis’s insecurity about whether she’ll stay with him, which he manifests by yelling at her and demanding that she work late – like Norma, who supposedly worked every night till midnight without complaint, ha.

donna in blue dress

Wearing a beautifully draped and figure-flattering pale blue dress (the costumers are continuing their stellar work from seasons past of choosing madly expensive but lovely work clothing – this dress is by Armani Collezioni, according to wornontv.com), Donna tells Louis that the can opener was part of a ritual she and Harvey had when they closed a deal.

You didn’t expect her to reveal what that ritual was, did you? She doesn’t, but when Louis and Donna close their own first deal, she introduces a new ritual, and presents him with a Welcome to Team Litt cake identical to the one he had made for Mike last season, which she knew to get in Louis’s favorite Mocha Fudge flavor rather than German Chocolate, because she is Donna.

rachel with tiffany gifts

Donna also guesses that Rachel and Mike are engaged without being told, and gives Rachel a small engagement gift that’s from Donna alone, and a bigger one that would have been from Harvey if Donna still worked for him, but alas, he wouldn’t think of giving a gift because thoughtfulness (along with loading paper in the printer) was always Donna’s job.

Harvey proves her wrong, and shows he has slightly humanized and redeemed himself in a sweetly funny scene in which he presents Mike with a ribbon-tied copy of Bride’s magazine, so that Mike can “pick colors” for the wedding. Mike is puzzled by this notion – check his puzzled face below – but Harvey knows picking colors is a thing because he is a Grown Man.

brides mag

The boys quickly reassert their masculinity by heading off to see a Nets game from Harvey’s courtside seats, though not before bickering about which one of them gets to sit next to Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Bro-bonding indeed.

knicks tickets

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.

The season finale features two time frames, both with that sly dog villain Forstman in them. Cue hair and makeup!

Twelve years ago, Harvey and Donna meet in a way that’s supposed to be cute but comes off as a little obnoxious if, like me, you’re starting to suffer from some Donna-as-overconfident-know-it-all fatigue. The highlighted hair with bad bangs that she wears in the past doesn’t help matters.

meet cute

Harvey & Donna both work for the D.A.’s office but don’t know each other. Harvey has won a high-profile white collar crime case and is celebrating in a bar when Donna introduces herself and ‘auditions’ for a job as his secretary, though with a nod to series continuity, her main goal is to become an actress. Harvey discerns that she’s not just a pretty face, and seems interested in her, both professionally and sexually, but before they can seal the deal, they’re interrupted by Forstman, also with supposedly younger-looking hair, who wants to buy Harvey a drink.

forstman past

Harvey doesn’t know Forstman either but he turns him down pretty quick when Forstman offers to hire him for big money to do corrupt Forstman-like things. Harvey’s only making 50 grand (!!) at the D.A.’s office but he’s not in law to make money, even though he’ll be earning 500 grand when he returns to corporate law sometime soon.

better bro

Harvey’s brother Marcus, a Troubled (gambling) Relative who does not look like Gabriel Macht, is trying to turn his life around and open a restaurant. While seated in The Gabardine, an upscale downtown Toronto diner that Harvey discourteously refers to as a dump, Marcus tries to show Harvey a business plan to take over the place and asks him for $150K that Harvey doesn’t have. Marcus wants to go to their mom and her boyfriend for it, but Harvey can’t have that because he’s so mad at the mom for cheating on and leaving the dad and kids in a longstanding plot point AKA Harvey’s Relationship Baggage that he carries around with him everywhere.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 9.52.27 AM

Harvey goes to see his pal Jessica, and makes a silly comment about having seen her wear that dress before. She shuts that down by informing him she never wears the same dress twice, hah, and refuses to bring him into her firm earlier than planned so that Marcus can get the investment money which she figures he’ll just gamble away or pay to someone who wants to break his legs. She warns Harvey not to get anywhere near Forstman either, but he does anyway and says he wants the job after all.

cars

When Forstman learns why Harvey wants the signing bonus Forstman offered him, and the job, they start playing who’s-got-the-bigger-dick with talk of betting and racing cars against each other. Forstman tricks Harvey into giving him some insider information that he uses to make $100 million on the stock market in one day. Harvey is pissed when he finds out, quits the job, and threatens to prosecute Forstman but he can’t because Forstman will implicate him for giving him the tip and Marcus has already received the $150,000 cheque Forstman sent over, so Forstman’s got Harvey in a bind the way he gets everyone in a bind – through blackmail, dirty tricks and preying on their concerns for their Troubled Relatives.

donna coffee

Harvey vows to get back at him someday, returns to the D.A.’s office, and hires Donna as his secretary though she is wearing a heinous fuzzy sweater that’s a far cry from her present-day wardrobe. She adds vanilla to his coffee and he loves it. End of past story.

cahill

In the present day, our blue-eyed buddy Cahill from the S.E.C. ambushes Harvey in his apartment lobby. He hasn’t been able to find any trace of the dirty money Forstman paid off Woodall with earlier in the season, so Harvey had better find it in 5 days if he wants Woodall and Forstman to burn in hell and be prosecuted.

rachel excluded

Harvey goes over to Mike and Rachel’s apartment to ask Mike to dig into the Woodall money sitch. Rachel complains that Harvey has been ignoring her professionally since Mike returned to the firm so she skips law school the next day in order to help Mike, and to prove to Harvey that she exists.

rachel coat

Rachel eventually figures out that Woodall used Forstman’s money to help his own Troubled Relative, an ex-wife who suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s and is living at an expensive care facility. Score one for Rachel in Harvey’s eyes. Mike is impressed with Rachel’s compassion for the poor demented woman – Rachel wants to help people, just like he does! I was impressed with her latest in a series of cute coats that coordinate beautifully with her pencil skirts.

donna & louis

Still in the present, Louis goes nuts in some funny/sad scenes about the sudden off-screen death of Norma, his never seen but often spoken of ‘battleaxe’ of a secretary. The person he confides in most about his emotional turmoil is Donna, who has not recovered from hearing Harvey’s confession of love, or did he mean the platonic kind? from last week.

better urns

Harvey is too Harvey-ish and emotionally repressed to clarify the love declaration beyond saying he said it to cheer her up (Doh! And no.) This pisses Donna off even as she helps Louis get over his rage and sorrow (he hated Norma’s clogs and for leaving him, but he also loved her). Donna comforts him through a breakdown he has over choosing an urn for Norma’s ashes, and helps organize a memorial ceremony in Louis’s office, during which he says Norma had a point about not letting life pass you by. The perennial heart-on-his-sleeve wearer Louis tells Donna how wonderful and supportive she is, and asks her to take Norma’s place, because Harvey doesn’t know how lucky he is to have her.

donna quits

Donna says no at first – she can’t leave Harvey – but changes her mind when Harvey continues to be an unfeeling cold fish with baggage who thinks he and Donna have everything already (except, like, physical love, and a romantic commitment), so why spoil their beautiful friendship by taking it further? The upshot: Harvey, who hates being left, is left by Donna, who will from here on work for Louis.

forstman + balls

Two more plot lines to tie up for the season’s end! In one, Harvey tries to get Woodall to turn against Forstman by confessing that Forstman trapped Harvey similarly years before with regard to Harvey’s own Troubled Relative. Blah blah fishcakes, Forstman comes to see Harvey late at night at the office and threatens to reveal the dirt he has on Harvey if he gets turned in. But Harvey is wearing a wire, and Cahill is listening in. They got him! And Harvey’s brother is no longer troubled, by the way.

proposal

Finally, Mike, moved by Louis’s admonition to seize the moment, proposes to Rachel with Grammy’s ring, and in a tear-inducing scene nicely acted by Meghan Markle, she says yes. Woo! Mike even asked (off-screen) her dad for permission. Does that mean Zane Sr. gets to find out Mike’s Secret next season? And who’s dying to see how the women on the show will be costumed for the wedding? I am. But wait, the wedding’s totally going to happen, right?

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist whose latest book is a comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club. Her recaps of Season 4 of Suits are her first foray into the wild world of TV show recapping.

There was a lot of back-and-forthing and reversals of positions and decisions in this episode, but the big reveal at the end (wait for it!) made all the preamble worthwhile.

The Donna-is-in-BIG-trouble story line was the focus of most of the episode, so let’s get a summary of the B story concerning Jessica and Jeff out of the way right off the top. Last week Jeff told Jessica their relationship was over because she’s a lying liar that lies. This week she comes into his office to ask him if he’s also going to resign. He says not right away, but maybe soon.

jeff looking sharp

Jessica meets her sister Leah for dinner, and asks for advice about Jeff without telling her why they broke up. Leah suggests Jessica fight for the man she loves.

sister

So Jessica, wearing a lilac suit with a lacy skirt that is rather bridal, or at least bridal-adjacent, goes to Jeff’s office and tells him she loves him, she refuses to give up on them, she wants him to stay in the law firm, and she wants their relationship – personal and professional – to continue.

lilac suit

resignation

He looks embarrassed for her during this outpouring of feelings, but says nothing, only to tender his resignation at the episode’s end, because he doesn’t want to the relationship part to continue, and she wants both, so she gets nothing except this weirdly weaponized skirt (those crystal protuberances snap off, sprout whirling blades, and can be whipped across the room at one’s enemies, right?).

weird weaponized skirt

My guess is she’ll be fine about this before too long. After all, she has a Lawren Harris painting (!!!) in the front hall of her palatial house.

lawren harris painting

But is this the end of the Jeff character’s arc on the show? Maybe, maybe not, as previews for next week indicate that the corruption in the D.A.’s office story line from earlier in the season involving those two cutups Woodall and Cahill (whom Jeff once worked with) is coming back for the finale.

On to Donna, Donna, Donna! (said in Cary Grant’s voice). Harvey meets her on the street outside her apartment to ask her what the fuck re: the video Evan Smith showed him of Donna illegally obtaining evidence.

street meeting

She says she didn’t do anything illegal and “I’m not an idiot” only to later tearfully admit she fucked up and is guilty of felony fraud because she did kind of impersonate a federal agency employee, that is, she implied she was one. But she only did it because she wanted to feel like she was an important contributor around the office rather than just that hot, super-connected, know-it-all babe who answers the phone.

H&D in office

Harvey wants Mike to drop the case against Liberty Rail because he thinks Evan is using Donna as a bargaining chip, and to hell with seeking justice for the poor people who died in the accident, it’s more important to save Donna.

For a few minutes, we all think the crisis has been averted, but it turns out Evan is not trying to make a deal, and Terence Wolf, the D.A., has it in for Harvey, so he will not drop the charges. Wolf even arraigns Donna on the little-used ‘intent’ aspect of the fraud charge (don’t ask me) and somehow hopes to get her to rat on Harvey’s past irregular dealings in the process.

terence & harvey

If the charges are sticking then the lawsuit is back on, because Harvey is mad as hell at Evan Smith. Mike has had to tell the Joe train mechanic guy that he can’t pursue the lawsuit, which causes hard feelings with Joe, who needs the money because he is a poor working man who is reduced to operating machinery in an auto shop or maybe it’s a factory, and who thought Mike was a man of his word.

factory

Except Now Mike has to go back and say, so hey – funny story: forget what I said before, the lawsuit’s on again. It’s too late and go to hell, says an aggrieved Joe. Whereupon Mike guesses/realizes that Joe has taken a confidential payout from Liberty Rail to drop the whole thing.

try this guy

Mike needs a new person to sue on behalf of, but no one who works for Liberty Rail will speak to him. Rachel suggests he contact the driver of the train who was blamed for the accident, then let go with a severance and a healthy dose of guilt-for-life. We know he’s embittered because he uses 3 large red toolboxes to work on his old car in his driveway all day, but he perks up when Mike tells him the accident wasn’t his fault and he agrees to sign on.

3 toolboxes

Louis, who is well and truly recovered from being mad at Donna, is concerned and sympathetic to her plight (there are heartfelt hugs), and is also certain that Harvey will save her from the charges. But when Harvey’s adversarial relationship with the D.A. seems to be throwing shade on Donna’s chances of escaping prison, Louis offers to represent her instead so Wolf will back off. Donna says no thanks, then well, actually maybe that would be a good idea because Harvey’s acting a little psycho and Donna is PETRIFIED she’s going to end up serving 3-5 years in prison. But on third thought, she has faith in Harvey, really she does, so no thanks Louis.

louis hug

Harvey physically threatens the Joe guy to get back into the lawsuit, and ascertains that money is Joe’s only object, which seems to give him an idea. He and Mike meet with Evan Smith and tell her to find a way to pay off the Liberty Rail employee who is the sole witness to Donna’s fraud attempt, or else they will proceed with the lawsuit that will expose the company’s negligence. Evan protests that for her to silence the witness would be an obstruction of justice, but Harvey doesn’t care. All that matters is Donna go free.

thank you

Donna and her cleavage thank Harvey for saving her over convivial drinks at her apartment (though was I the only one who thought the unreadable expression on Evan’s face, the rather pretty green bead trim on her silk blouse, and the better-looking hair than previously at the end of her meeting with Harvey and Mike all might indicate we ain’t yet seen the last of her and this case?).

not over yet

Anyway, Donna apologizes for doubting Harvey and considering Louis as a substitute for even a minute, and he apologizes for snapping at her, but he snapped because it’s just so important that she, of all people, has faith in him.

you know I love you Donna

“Why?’ she asks, and oh yes, oh yes, all you Donna & Harvey shippers, here comes the big payday: “You know I love you, Donna,” Harvey says.

And … mic drop.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist whose latest book is a comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club. Her recaps of Season 4 of Suits are her first foray into the wild world of TV show recapping.

jessica draped dress

Top line: the women’s costumes, especially Jessica’s, were gorgeous this week! And Patrick J. Adams directed the episode, including, presumably, the opening shot of Rachel sitting in bed, wearing a sweater without pants (as one does – not) and almost but not quite showing the camera what she has or doesn’t have on, under that sweater, in the spot where her pants would be if she were wearing them.

risky shot

The ‘sexy’ banter between Mike and Rachel that follows touches on the topics of Game of Thrones (2nd episode in a row for a GofT reference, and after two GofT cast members have appeared on previous seasons of Suits – someone on staff is super into that show), sexual domination, and being tied up (yawn, and ew), which means we’re relieved and grateful when the landline phone rings, Professor Gerard calling for Mike.

gerard

Gerard asks Mike to convince Harvey to take on a whistleblower case. Some guy who used to work for Liberty Rail says he was fired because he knew about the company’s coverup of faulty ‘heat sensors’ – this episode’s drinking game prompt – that caused the big accident we heard about last episode in which people tragically died. Mike says no thanks, because Harvey and Jessica are not keen on seeking damages from big corporations they would rather have as clients, but then Gerard mentions that he knows Mike’s secret (AKA The Secret That Will Never Ever Die As a Plot Engine), not that he’s blackmailing Mike or anything.

donna cactus

Mike remembers he became a fake lawyer because he wants to help people, same as Claire, from last week’s flashback, did. So he tells Harvey he’s taking the case on himself, and Harvey says no, then okay fine, after Donna, wearing a beautiful fitted blue dress that totally works with her colouring and her enviably trim and fit figure, brings Harvey a cactus which she waters (wtf?), and tells him not to interfere with young Mike.

On to the episode’s B story, which is a kind of comic/dramatic love-hate triangle involving Jeff, Jessica and Louis. Jeff suggests to Jessica that they go on a romantic vacation together to Paris, her favorite city.

jessica sweater

Jessica agrees to go after doing some decorous chopping of leeks (because leeks = French cuisine) in what looks suspiciously like Harvey’s condo kitchen, while she wears a lovely draped backless sweater that no one would ever cook in, over a bra that either has a very low back strap or is magical.

tricia helfer

In making his case against Liberty Rail, Mike deals with a female lawyer named Evan Smith, played by Canada’s own Tricia Helfer, who I thought might be a former pro wrestler (that would be Trish Stratus) but no, Tricia is a former model (and looks it) who is known for her role in the Battlestar Galactica TV series (the circa 2004 one). Her character is all limp but serious bobbed hair, silk blouses, pastel coloured suits, icy demeanour, and coolly uttered comebacks to Harvey’s wolfish come-ons when he gets involved.

Turns out the whistleblower guy has sued a few past employers and gotten cash settlements, but even so he’s telling the truth this time, really he is! At some point, to provide plot tension, Harvey gets mad and yells, “This isn’t about your parents, Mike!” (though isn’t every episode about Mike’s dead parents, kind of, and their effect on his life decisions? And of course, about Mike’s Secret) and gives Mike 24 hours to make his case, which is not enough time to subpoena the company’s records of safety inspections or whatever. Mike retorts that Harvey is a “cold, heartless, son of a bitch” but it’s okay, they still love each other, and I just realized that Mike has stopped wearing the skinny ties he was once known for. Is this because he wants to help people? And why is that tie so ugly?

heartless

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 8.59.43 AM

Harvey’s 24 hour ultimatum leads Donna to do A VERY BAD THING in order to help Mike, which is to con her way into the TriRail offices posing as some kind of inspector, and grab copies of the reports that incriminate TriRail for not having followed proper procedures.

donna white dress superhero

The scene in which Donna does this conning/impersonation is played as general Donna Awesomeness, complete with wacka-wacka musical underscoring. Later, when Donna is wearing a flattering A-line wrap dress – in the show’s trademark colour for women, white – Rachel even calls Donna a superhero for getting the goods, but, spoiler alert: this will not end well.

receptionist

Louis brings the comedy by his varied and several depictions of outrage over the fact that the law firm’s receptionist is answering the phone “Pearson, Specter” and not saying the “Litt” part. He discusses this with Rachel, who kindly (they’re friends again), advises him not to harass the support staff, and with Jessica, who is wearing a fabulous white jacket and kicky black skirted suit when Louis quotes at her the immortal Aretha Franklin song R.E.S.P.E.C.T, saying it’s what he deserves.

jessica B&W suit

When Jessica finds out Jeff paid the receptionist to leave off Litt’s name as a prank, she asks him to make nice with Louis. He says he’ll do anything for the woman he loves, including congratulate Louis sincerely and go for drinks with him. Jessica, wearing the hell out of an elegant pleated white shirt, goes all dreamy-eyed at the thought of Jeff’s devotion.

jessica pleated shirt

jessica grey dress

She’s so touched that, while wearing her second beautifully draped grey dress of the episode like the fashion boss she is, she asks Harvey about the time he told Scotty Mike’s secret. When Harvey admits he wishes he’d told Scotty sooner, because maybe then the relationship might have lasted, she decides it’s time to to tell Jeff. Guess how that’s going to go.

the 3some

Mike presents the contraband evidence about the heat sensor coverup to Evan the hot lawyer. Harvey comes along to declare Evan hot and also to gloat about the settlement and public admission of guilt they’re going to get out of Liberty Rail.

showing vid

But Evan has the last laugh when she lures Harvey to a bar that evening for drinks and shows him video evidence of Donna doing The Very Bad Thing. So he can forget about that settlement – and Evan is going to report Donna’s crime to the district attorney!

bar talk

Louis and Jeff yuk it up over drinks – both actors sell a funny bit about football first downs – but when Jessica comes over to Jeff’s place afterwards, he reveals that Louis let slip while under the influence that the Hardman embezzlement happened two years ago, so now Jeff knows that wasn’t the reason for Louis’s promotion to name partner. Jessica tries to explain that’s why she’s there, to tell the truth, but Jeff declares their relationship over.

we're over

So I guess the trip to Paris is off?

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist whose latest book is a comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club. Her recaps of Season 4 of Suits are her first foray into the wild world of TV show recapping.

Flashback episode alert! We’ve got two timeframes running this week and both feature Michael Jordan references, because he’s timeless, yo.

rachel in bar

In the present day, Donna and Rachel meet for a drink at a bar so Donna can dismiss a pickup artist with some snappy banter and Rachel can wear a pretty black cocktail dress of the type Donna usually wears to work. They chat briefly about how someone said Rachel resembles Khaleesi’s translator on Game of Thrones, then recap (from episode 12) that Donna told Louis about Rachel having gotten Katrina (again MIA this week) a job at her dad’s firm, and that Louis asked Rachel to be friends again. Trouble is, Rachel could only be friends with him if he can forgive Mike, and he can’t.

harvey swacket

Meanwhile, Harvey, looking suave in a black swacket with coordinated throw cushions, is having a drink with Jessica in his apartment. After they dispense with their icebreaker topic – which basketball play was Michael Jordan’s best – Jessica asks Harvey to make peace with Louis, but Harvey can’t till Louis forgives Mike. So make him forgive, Jessica says.

Harvey decides to force his errant children to get along by tricking them into taking a road trip together to see his first big client, McKernon Motors, at the company’s plant.

all 3 in car

Louis is all up in both men’s grills (sorry, couldn’t resist) during the drive – he tells Harvey he drives like a savage animal, and tears into Mike: he refers to him as a fraud, a disease, a liar and a conman. From his seat in the back of the car, Mike delivers some childish insults of his own, and plays up his vulnerable side – he admits he doesn’t know how to drive, and reminisces about playing I Spy with Grammy on car trips. Louis retorts that Mike is probably lying about being an orphan whose parents died in a tragic car accident.

When the happy trio stops at a gas station that looks like a relic from a 1950’s movie, Harvey goes inside, and Mike and Louis start fighting – in their suits – outside of the car. Louis gets Mike into a chokehold, and blurts that Mike ruined his life and the law firm, but Harvey calls him off before Mike suffocates. Then the two of them make up and become friends again because there’s nothing like a bit of vicious wrestling to bring two work colleagues together. That Mike said he was sorry might have helped, and also when he swore that the only thing he ever lied to Louis about was Harvard.

chokehold

Post-reconciliation, Louis says, “You’re not a fraud,” though Mike is, but who cares as long as we’re moving on from the constant obsessing over Mike’s secret. Harvey gives the reconciliation his paternal seal of approval by handing over the McKernon account to them to share, and Louis offers to teach Mike how to drive on the way home. Aww.

The flashback parts of the episode follow two unrelated story lines from 6 years before the present day: one depicts the rivalry between Louis and Harvey when they were both associates wanting to be promoted to partner, at a time when Hardman was the big boss; the other shows Mike in his bike messenger/stoner days.

blurred skinny pants

The Harvey/Louis back story goes like this: Harvey just signed Michael Jordan as a client! Donna, in a bad bangs hairpiece, was possibly more bossy and know-it-all-ish then than she is now! Harvey wears unflattering skinny pants and short suit jackets to indicate this flashback takes place in the past! Let’s team up Harvey and Louis to get ahead together! But Hardman is a manipulative, promise-breaking, double-talking asshole who pits us against each other for sport! Fuck that, I’m going to try to make partner on my own! Me too! But now someone has to lose so the other can win! Don’t you know that loyalty is all that matters? No, it isn’t, winning does! I hate you forever because you didn’t fight fair! Me too! The end.

apartment

The past Mike story line brings back Mike’s mostly but not totally bad news drug dealer friend Trevor, and Mike’s Grammy, sympathetically played by actress Rebecca Schull (who is apparently unrelated to Amanda Schull AKA Katrina Bennett). Trevor wants to pay Mike’s rent for a year in a rundown but roomy 2 bedroom apartment to make up for getting him expelled from college and prevented from ever going to Harvard (see season 1). But Grammy does not approve of Trevor, so Mike won’t agree to move in.

grammy

While delivering packages to a free legal clinic, Mike crushes on Claire, a law student who is interning there. Claire, played by Patrick J. Adams’s real-life fiancée Troian Bellisario, of Pretty Little Liars fame, is beautiful, smart, serious (she wants to become a lawyer to help people!), and will only date guys who are of the same mind.

better meet cute

So Mike lies, says he’s a law student at Columbia, helps her with an immigration case, and flirts and banters with her charmingly (she is charming and convincing too). Though, this being Suits, they bond somewhat implausibly over references to movies (Indiana Jones, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) that are not of their own era, while eating sausages at groovy downtown Toronto spot Wvrst.

date at Wvrst

For a few days there, Mike gets all motivated to put down the weed, go back to college for real, study the law, and become the man Claire would like him to be. He gives up that plan when Claire’s suspicious boss discovers Mike is not a law student and tells Claire, who has no time for that noise and cuts him dead.

mike smokes

Mike defies Grammy and moves in with Trevor, resumes smoking, and laments ever meeting a woman of Claire’s ilk again. Cue the final flashback scene: Jessica interviewing and hiring an eager new applicant to the law firm – beautiful, smart and serious Rachel. She might want to help people too.

she got the job

pere and fils

If you want to get buzzed, drink every time you hear the word respect in this episode. Though it’s also about manning up, wiping the slate clean, taking a charge (obligatory basketball reference – mine), being a grown-up, and doing what needs to be done (lying) to win, regardless of boring old ethics, sportsmanship, the law, or whether you actually like a single person that you work with, and zzz.

So yeah, Louis still thinks being a name partner equates to being a total dick, and Donna is still trying to overlook his dickishness and be friends again, I’m not sure why – because she’s the show’s Mother Hen? Harvey is still threatening Louis physically (not the most attractive trait in a person, and I just don’t buy Gabriel Macht as a tough guy, sorry), Rachel’s skirts are still one or two sizes too tight, Jessica is still lying to Jeff and feeling guilty about it. And veteran character actor Stephen Macht (father of Gabriel) is back as Professor Henry Gerard, a ethics professor from Harvard Law School who has committed yet another crime, because we are all flawed human beings, even the father figures we formerly put up on pedestals while also blackmailing them.

Let’s rip through the plot summarily, starting with our girl Jessica, who meets Harvey on the roof of the office tower wearing a chinchilla (silver fox?) stole, though I could have sworn it was summer last week when Louis strolled around outdoors with Katrina, played by Amanda Schull, who I just discovered is a trained ballet dancer who starred in the film Centre Stage 15 years ago. Check a young Amanda in this deeply weird clip from that movie, where she pirouettes to Jamiroquai in her toe shoes and heavy black eyeliner, and looks alarmingly like Kelly Taylor (AKA Jennie Garth) on Beverly Hills 90210.

jessica fur

Back on the Toronto rooftop, Jessica and her fur are worried that Jeff is going to find out she lied when she told him Louis was made partner because he knew she’d covered up the Hardman embezzlement. When she asks Louis to play along with her story if it ever comes up with Jeff, he demands to be given one of Harvey’s clients in return, because he ain’t doing nothing for nobody no more unless he gets something good. Jessica caves, because – reasons.

harvey threatens louis

Louis saw that his old idol Professor Gerard was in the office and asks to take over his case, whatever it is. Harvey, who has Issues with Gerard,  refuses to hand him over, threatens to knock out Louis’s teeth, yells at Donna, and acts generally bad-tempered and tiresome. Under Donna’s influence, Harvey eventually agrees to let Louis take on a client named Joan Walsh, who owns a cosmetics company, and was the first client given to Harvey by Jessica when HE became name partner.

rachel hands over file

Rachel tries to warn Louis about Joan Walsh’s capricious ways, but he’s too busy being an arrogant jerk to listen to her and he does bully-ish power move shit like make her stand up and hand him a file rather than walk two feet over to her desk. He takes Walsh out for dinner, and pisses her off by trying to talk business when she wants to drink Manhattans, eat dessert and dance the cha-cha (heh), and also when he makes a business suggestion he wouldn’t have made if he’d listened to Rachel. Rachel later helps him save the situation because even when he treats her like shit, SHE IS A PROFESSIONAL. And a team player. And a grown-up. In a cute coat.

I am a professional

When Walsh informs him that Harvey and Jessica offloaded her onto him because neither of them can stand her, Louis yells at Donna that she betrayed and tricked him with the story about Walsh being Harvey’s first client as name partner. Donna, wearing a sleeveless dress in a week when it was cold enough for Jessica to wear fur,  explains that she’s been supporting and helping and caring about him all along and tells him to “get on the goddamned team.”

goddamned team

Louis goes to see Jeff, demands respect from him in an assholish manner that seems to be an act (for once) and in the process, convincingly backs up Jessica’s story about the embezzlement. This gets him a nod of approval (or was it a nod of respect? drink!) from Jessica.

jessica nod

As for the Macht père et fils duo, here’s their story. You may (not) recall that earlier this season Harvey went to Gerard, esteemed Harvard ethics professor who never liked Harvey, to see if he knew Mike’s secret, for some reason I don’t remember. While in Boston, Harvey discovered that Gerard had serious gambling debts and used this knowledge to blackmail Gerard into doing something or maybe not doing something.

Now Gerard is in trouble again, because when he was traveling, the TSA found $25,000 cash on him, he couldn’t explain where it came from, and he’s been accused of stealing from a victims’ compensation fund he was administering. He wants to hire Harvey – not Louis or anyone else at the firm – to defend him, not because Harvey is a good lawyer, but because all Harvey cares about is winning.

Harvey is insulted (he is too a good lawyer!) and besides, he doesn’t believe Gerard is innocent, so he refuses to take the case till Mike convinces him he should, for the sake of the victims, and because it’s the mature thing to do.

Mike grills Gerard to prep him for court on the poker game story he’s come up with to explain where the money came from. Mike realizes Gerard is lying, and divines the truth: that the money came from a student who bribed Gerard to fix his failing grade in the course, though Gerard doesn’t explain what he wanted the money for (not to pay gambling debts, it appears). Mike finds the bribing student, and strong-arms him into signing a document saying he lent Gerard the money. Problem solved. Harvey even agrees to cover the loan repayments from his unethically-earned mountain of cash at home.

bros

Harvey confesses to Gerard that not only was he hurt that Gerard didn’t respect him, he was disappointed to learn that Gerard is weak and has faults like regular people.  Gerard apologizes for letting him down and admits he respects Harvey’s legal wizardry. He also says he’s figured out that Mike didn’t attend Harvard. But Gerard and Harvey are father and son bros now, so Mike’s secret is safe with him.

after work drinks
Over after-work drinks at a fancy bar, Harvey thanks Mike for his work on the file. Mike asks if Gerard knows his secret – there was something about the side-eye the old man gave him when last they met that got Mike wondering. Not to worry, Harvey says. Gerard doesn’t know. Dum-da-dum-dum.

Next week: a flashback episode! And Patrick J. Adams’ real-life fiancée Troian Bellisario guest stars.

Of White Dresses, Bowls of Shit, and the phrase “Name Partner” Repeated Ad Infinitum

Previously, in the mid-season summer finale, Louis finally figured out Mike’s secret AND that every other series regular already knew it and hadn’t told him, and he used this knowledge as leverage to demand from Jessica that he be made a name partner (check Rick Hoffman’s entertaining enunciation and facial tics/expressions when pronouncing the new firm name in the previously bit) or else he’ll blow the whistle and Jessica, Harvey and Mike will be sent to jail! or be in deep career-ending shit, anyway.

louis face

The episode begins minutes after that demand was made. Jessica, wearing a dove grey suit accessorized with a delicate, multi-tiered necklace that clashes with her brass balls, summons Harvey back to the office at night, and updates him in Louis’s smug I’m-now-your-overlord presence. Louis wants the announcement of his new name partner status made the next day but Jessica says she needs some time to sell the deal to the senior partners, and instructs Louis not to tell ANYONE until she’s ready.

jessica necklace

Louis, of course, ignores this dictum and tells EVERYONE. He starts with Mike, whom he does not plan to fire, but to break, by overloading him with horrible, below-his-intellect-level, gasp – paralegal type work. He also tells a teary Donna, who is wearing white dress #1 of the ep and whose mascara is at last smeared (hooray for verisimilitude!), that their friendship meant nothing and she’s dead to him.

donna white dress #1

Louis also shits all over Rachel’s lawyering abilities and future as a lawyer. This causes her to cry, and Mike to threaten to beat up Louis. So happy families, all around.

Louis takes time out from stabbing his way through the Jessica-Harvey-Mike-Rachel-Donna quintet to check in with Katrina and offer her back her associate job (recall that she was forced to resign in the summer finale), though he does not tell her about Mike’s secret. She appears to accept his job offer, but later Rachel asks her father, Robert Zane, to hire Katrina, not as a favour, but because she’s a damn good lawyer. Not sure what the strategic thinking is behind that suggestion.

Harvey also drops in on Zane, to thank him for pretending he might hire Louis, and to tell him not to bother pretending anymore because Louis is returning to the firm. Zane thinks Harvey owes him one regardless, and asks him to deal with a dispute Zane’s firm is having with another law firm. Turns out Harvey’s ex Scotty now works for the other firm, so Harvey meets her at a bar, and asks her to settle the dispute. More tears ensue as Scotty rightly calls out Harvey on what a hard-hearted dick HE is, but hey, she loved him once and he’ll be in big trouble if Zane figures out the Mike story (which Scotty knows!), so she’ll do what Harvey asks this once but NEVER AGAIN. If this is her actual final appearance on the show, it’s nice to see that the costumers dressed her in a pretty sapphire-blue dress, rather than something like the awful crinkly white number she wore in her previous final scene. Any bets as to whether she’ll be back someday? I predict Scotty and Harvey as a romantic couple is part of the series’ end game. Maybe.

scotty sad smile

Harvey accurately describes Louis as being a total dick in victory, yet despite Louis’s asshattery, or because they don’t want to eat shit (big bowls of it, according to Jessica, in white dress #2 of the episode) forever, the others try to make peace with Louis, or be sort of friends again, or at least get him off their backs, because (episode title).

white dress #2

These efforts mostly backfire, as when Mike reminds Louis, after being made to memorize all of Louis’s cases, that he used to be a man of integrity. Not anymore, Louis snarls. Donna, in white dress #3, pushes the hardest for détente and promises honesty with Louis forthwith, only to be asked by Louis if she ever slept with Harvey. She tells the truth – that she did, once. Look for that admission to be used against her and Harvey in the future.

white dress #3

Jessica and Harvey publicly welcome Louis to the firm as name partner and preside over an unveiling (that Louis insisted on) of his name being added to the sign in the office reception area. My favorite bit: when Mike and Rachel lean against the wall amidst the unveiling crowd and talk about how fucked up everyone and everything in the firm is, also known as what I used to do at office parties when I had a semi-corporate job. They also compliment each other’s gutsiness and willingness to beat up bullies, and say they love each other because yeah, violence!

mike&rachel talking shit

announcement

Jessica and Harvey deliver snarky speeches at the law firm gatherings that make their antipathy for Louis clear to anyone with ears, though Jessica thinks her barbed comments sound more sincere than Harvey’s. In fact, she thinks Harvey’s such a bad actor that she conceals from him until the last minute – lest he spoil it – her little power move against Louis: that his new partnership agreement includes a clause he must sign asserting he’s a co-conspirator in the Mike-is-a-fraud situation. Louis balks but signs because he wants the name partnership so badly, as Jessica knew he would and does. Jessica thinks she’s one-upped him here (which, has she, really? Looks to me like Louis is still winning, so far).

peplum suit

Jessica, in a fabulous black peplum suit, celebrates her little finesse move by lying to Jeff – she admits Louis blackmailed her but says it was because of her non-Mike-related past business crimes/sins, though she has the decency to look conflicted about this lie behind Jeff’s back.

Remember Jeff? Hunky guy who’s sleeping with Jessica but has a thing about honesty between fuck buddies who are also law firm partners? He brings the number of key players who don’t know the secret that will power the engine of this show for at least one more season to three (the other two are Robert Zane and Katrina). But something about his broad shoulders and furrowed brow tells me he’s the person who’s going to find about it next.

jeff

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist whose latest book is a comedy of manners about food and sex called The Oakdale Dinner Club. Her recaps of Season 4 of Suits are her first foray into the wild world of TV show recapping.

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