The summer finale of Suits did what well-crafted, satisfying stories are supposed to do: it gave us an ending that was unexpected but inevitable, an ending that surprised, yet made sense given all that has come before, in this half of the season, and even further back. So that was some good work by the Suits creators and writers – nicely done. Heck, I was so busy admiring the story-building skills on display in this episode that I hardly noticed the fashions. Except for when I paused to marvel at and envy the slimness of Sarah Rafferty’s rib cage in one of her many fitted white dresses, and when I was jolted into remembering some of my own long ago work fashion mistakes at the sight of the severe V-neck Glen plaid dress that Katrina wears in the scene when Jessica shows up to give her the axe. I hope Katrina, her loyalty, and her beautifully coloured curtain of blond hair get to stay for the winter part of the season, and that she gets some softer, more flattering clothes to wear too.
Harvey’s a little volatile in temperament, isn’t he? One minute he’s making his compassionate face at Louis on a fake-looking boxing gym set (the generic boxing posters, all in pristine condition, were the giveaway), and saying that he’ll do anything for the guy, and two commercial breaks later, he’s ready to go punch Louis out. Though I have to say that Gabriel Macht, a very handsome and fit-looking man, is the possessor of a lean build more suited to a male model than to a boxer, his demonstration of an acceptable array of punches notwithstanding. It seems more like tennis would be his sport. Or downhill skiing. Or yoga.
Anyway, Louis asks Harvey to let him take three clients from Pearson Specter to wherever he will go now that he’s resigned, because otherwise no law firm will hire him, and Harvey says he will speak to Jessica about it, though the firm’s by-laws, as written by Louis himself, do not allow for any client-poaching by departing lawyers.
Jessica, who always says no unless forced to say yes, refuses Harvey’s request and reminds him he should be worrying about holding on to his own client, a drug company called Versalife that may need to be dropped because of a merger going on with two other big drug companies. This means Mike, who has realized Jessica is not his biggest fan, and needs to hit a home run to win her over, must find a way to get past the dreaded SEC regulation 10b-6 which may inhibit the law firm from representing quite so many drug companies. Note: a quick google check indicates that 10b-6 is a real regulation of some kind, but let’s not bother ourselves with knowing another single thing about it. It’s not as if we watch this show for the legal stuff, am I right?
Harvey, still in the helpful phase of his compassionate-angry cycle, presents Louis with New Job Option #1: a corporate counsel position with Proctor & Gamble in Cinncinnati. Louis refuses this, compares Cinncinnati to Siberia, and says that New York is Rome, he and Harvey are both gladiators, and New York is where they must do battle. After ever-compassionate Donna suggests Louis might be happier in Boston so he can woo his former fiancée Sheila, Harvey arranges New Job Option #2, an interview for Louis with a law firm in Boston. I was briefly convinced that this Boston option was going to work out, and that Louis would continue on the show as a Boston lawyer who comes frequently to New York to do business, but no. Louis stops in to see Sheila at Harvard before his interview and the joyous reunion does not go as planned. Sheila sees that Louis is coming to her in desperation and refuses to be his way out. So much for Job Option #2.
Mike, who is almost as compassionate as Donna, though less inclined to have his eyes brim with attractive tears that do not affect his eye makeup, takes over a box of Louis’s shit that was left behind at the office, and tries to engage Louis in friendly chit-chat about a golden key that is the Chekhov’s gun of this episode. Louis’s request to be left alone to brood in peace spurs Mike to set up New Job Option #3: he asks Rachel’s dad Robert Zane to hire Louis at his law firm, though Rachel warns him that all her dad’s favours come with a heavy price. Like Rumpelstiltskin, I’m thinking.
Zane interviews Louis and says he will make him senior partner if he can bring just one client with him, more as a test of his legal skills to see if he can break the Pearson Specter partnership agreement than because Zane wants the client. Louis goes to visit a former client to try to take them back and runs into Katrina who says he mustn’t (and can’t legally) do that, but she tips him off to the opportunity presented by Versalife and that pesky 10b-6 regulation, and asks in return to be taken with him to Zane’s firm. And for the next twenty minutes or so, I thought, okay, this option is going to happen. I could see Wendell Pierce, the actor who plays Robert Zane, becoming a featured player again in season 5, and the who-owes-who-what-to-whom Rumpelstiltskian thing could come back to haunt various characters and yeah, that would work.
Louis manages to steal Versalife as a client, which gets Harvey fighting-mad, and gets Jessica pissed at Mike because she figures Mike alerted Louis to the opportunity. Mike comes up with an alternate plan that calls for a visit to old man Gillis (hello again, Michael Gross!). With Harvey standing by as referee, Mike apologizes profusely to Gillis for everything he did, said and fucked up with regard to the takeover of Gillis Industries, and makes an impassioned plea for Gillis to put aside his burning hatred of Mike long enough to buy a division of Versalife that’s developed an effective but not necessarily profitable drug to fight addiction (recall that Gillis’s dead son was an addict). Gillis agrees, and Pearson Specter takes back Versalife as a client.
Mike and Harvey celebrate their Versalife victory with a dinner out at which they lovingly if lamely call each other pussies, but they feel guilty enough about Louis to each try to make amends in their own way: Harvey visits Zane and asks him to take Louis on sans accompanying client, and Mike drops in on Louis to break the Versalife news to him, be told by Louis that he’s a brilliant lawyer (“No you are,” Mike says, and made me laugh) and casually asks again what’s up with that damned golden key, anyway.
Jessica acknowledges that Mike’s Versalife solution was crafty so he can stay a little longer, but tells Katrina to resign or be fired because Jessica knows what she did. A tearful Katrina agrees to resign.
Next comes the one-two punch of the episode and the whole summer season: two intense and powerful dramatic scenes that showcase the impressive acting range of Rick Hoffman as Louis. In the first, Donna comes upon Louis in Harvey’s office, asks why he’s there, and proceeds to crumple before our eyes as Louis moves from a state of casual amusement to quiet intensity to rage mixed with sadness over how Donna has betrayed his friendship by consistently lying about and covering up Mike’s fraudulent existence at the firm. You see, the golden key was something all summa cum laude Harvard graduates receive, which Mike would know if he were really one. Louis has finally figured out Mike’s secret and is ready to call the police and have Harvey, Jessica and Mike all arrested and charged with fraud. Donna too, maybe.
Louis leaves Donna gasping and barrels down the hall to confront Jessica, who reigns over their conversation in a full-on Ice Queen controlled fury. She admits to being a liar and a hypocrite, refuses to apologize, and calls his threat to watch her be led out of the office in handcuffs a bluff. Now tell me what you really want, she hisses. And only at that moment do we see how all the story threads have come together, how the setups have paid off in the perfect possible outcome. Only now do we say, out loud, to the TV screen, with Louis, that he wants to be – and will be – made a name partner. Of the firm to be known hereafter as Pearson Specter Litt.
Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto writer and novelist whose latest novel is a food-centric comedy of manners called The Oakdale Dinner Club. Her recaps of Season 4 of Suits are her first foray into the wild world of TV show recapping. Suits will return to the USA network and Bravo (Canada) in the winter of 2015.