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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.