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