Suits Recap – Season 5, Episode 5: Toe to Toe

In which Jack Soloff returns, for what I hope is the last time but probably isn’t; Teddy from Nashville cuddles in bed with Donna (dream sequence!); and the comely English therapist gets some character development.

Harvey and Dr. Paula Agard (yes, she has a name)

poker

I like how Harvey’s therapy sessions form the organizing principle of this episode and maybe this season. The scenes may not be very realistic (are they?), but I find them more dramatically interesting than some of the drawn-out legal cases (cough, Hessington Oil, cough) that have framed past seasons.

tanner & donna

Harvey starts his latest appointment by relating a dream in which he finds Donna naked in his bed, being cuddled by a smirking Travis Tanner. “This Travis Tanner person,” as Dr. Paula excellently puts it, is Harvey’s lawyer foe of past seasons, a guy known to play dirty and to taunt Harvey about his cheating mother, as the previouslies reminded us.

When Harvey tells Dr. Paula that Donna isn’t the woman in the dream, she intuits that he’s lying and suggests they play a hand of poker for some truth-telling. He wins, so he asks her what is the worst professional mistake she ever made, as a kind of trust test. After only a slight hesitation, she reveals that she once “killed someone,” when, as a favor to a long-time client, she assessed the mental competency of a young man locked up in rehab to see if he could attend his mother’s funeral. The young man was released on her say-so and promptly killed himself with a drug overdose.

This admission moves Harvey to reveal that Donna was the woman in the dream, but Dr. Paula, evidently a Freudian, feels Donna was actually a representation of the real cheating woman who fucked up Harvey’s psyche big-time – his mother! Harvey hates any mention of his mother issues so he tells Dr. Paula they’re done. And right when he seemed to be having a breakthrough, too.

Tanner Tanner Bo-Banner

Tanner comes to Harvey looking for a settlement on behalf of his client, a young woman named Alyssa who is being sued by Harvey’s client named Petrov over some intellectual property (Petrov claims Alyssa stole business ideas from him).

doorway haircut

Harvey thinks a fight with dirty-dealing Tanner is just what he needs right now, and invites Mike to join in on the fun, like the good old days when they worked together instead of Mike going off on his do-gooder missions. He also asks Mike what’s up with his new hairstyle, which is a good question. As is this: Mike doesn’t ride a bike or wear skinny ties anymore, so why the hipster hair?

boys in court

Trouble is, Harvey interprets every move Tanner makes as underhanded and out to get him. He counters with dirty tricks of his own to “bury” Alyssa, as per Petrov’s instruction. Tanner claims he’s mostly a reformed man who’s just trying to do right by his client, though he can’t help being a little taunty still. When he likens Donna’s departure to that of Harvey’s mother (has Tanner been talking to Dr. Paula, or what?), Harvey punches him on the street. And Mike becomes concerned that Harvey might be acting a wee bit unstable.

mike& rachel in the library with the candlestick

Mike whisper-consults with Rachel on the subject, then arranges clandestine meetings with each of Alyssa and Tanner. When it seems that Tanner is telling the truth about his changed ways, Mike asks him to prove it by resigning from the case. Cue the off-stage hand-over of the suit to our girl Katrina Bennett, and a quick settlement agreed to by Harvey because there ain’t no battle like a Tanner battle.

Louis the Mudder

Louis’s comic story line this week is about how he wants to go mudding, and how everyone he asks to come along – Donna, Rachel, Jack Soloff, Jessica – outright refuses. Here’s Donna saying no:

donna no

Louis’s other story line involves trying to get the firm’s new compensation structure (that again) changed, like he promised Harvey he would. His first attempt to do this is to tell Jessica that a pre-existing by-law clause makes the vote that was held moot, but she knows he’s lying, tells him to “cut the shit” and advises him to find a less shady way to get the change reversed.

soloff betrayal

When Donna suggests that Louis ask What-would-Harvey-do?, Louis comes up with a dumb scheme to promise Soloff a cut of a big new imaginary deal in exchange for holding a new vote. Soloff agrees, then betrays Louis at the next partners’ meeting, which leads to Louis retreating to the supply room to sit on the floor, despondently throw pens into a mug, and say he shit the bed.

despondent in supply room

A few time-filling machinations later, Louis confesses to Jessica that he left Harvey’s income statements in the copier a few weeks ago, and Jessica shadily uses that information to threaten Soloff with firing unless he agrees to accept the fabricated story about the overlooked bylaw clause and reverse the vote.

jessica getting it done

Jessica has gotten shit done, as usual, and in a printed floral bed/suit jacket yet, plus she saved Louis’s ass, I don’t know why. Because he’s more funny and entertaining to be around than that drip Jack Soloff? That must be it.

And in a nice story line payoff, Rachel and Donna agree to go victory mudding with Louis TOGETHER.

Next week: Dr. Paula gets involved in one of Harvey’s cases.

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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Suits Recap – Season 5, Episode 4: No Puedo Hacerlo

In which Harvey over-flirts, former dancers move about in a dancerly fashion, we are rewarded with a distinct lack of Jack Soloff, and I learn that No Puedo Hacerlo is Spanish for “no can do,” or possibly, “fuck that noise.”

Harvey & Esther Sitting in A Tree

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Harvey and Mike are walking through the lobby of their building doing their old-school basketball schtick about whether Harvey feels competitive with Robert Zane (“Did Magic ever worry about Bird?” etc.) when Harvey spots an attractive, well-dressed woman trying to get by building security to visit someone without an appointment.

Harvey makes a beeline for the woman and aggressively flirts with her, to the tune of let’s have breakfast tomorrow after we spend tonight together. Harvey is handsome and rich and smart and all, but his lines here strike me as calling for a whoa-there-buddy reaction. Though he made similar out-of-place remarks to the model-looks lawyer played by Tricia Helfer last season, so at least his character is being consistently written, I guess. Captain Dickhead, indeed?

The woman, played by Amy Acker, an actress with a dancer’s bearing (and background, according to Wikipedia), appears charmed by Harvey’s attention, but departs for an important meeting with her brother Louis. Turns out this Esther is a wealthy lifestyle business mogul who wants the renowned Harvey Specter she has heard about from Louis all these years to represent her in divorce proceedings.

esther & harvey

Relations are plenty frosty between Louis and Harvey, but Louis asks the favor anyway, and on Donna’s advice, appeals to Harvey’s respect for Family Ties. Harvey agrees on two conditions: that Louis stay completely out of the case, and later, that he take Harvey’s side on the compensation issue of last week. In return, Louis makes Harvey promise not to sleep with Esther, a promise that will be broken by the episode’s end, though not to Louis’s knowledge.

The divorce is happening because Esther’s husband cheated on her, and children (not shown) are involved. Cue the pressing of Harvey’s hot button on cheating spouses and child abandonment! The husband wants 50% of Esther’s business based on a verbal contract they made twelve years ago when he gave up going to medical school in favor of her career.  After Rachel uncovers the fact that the husband was never accepted at any medical school, a settlement is agreed for him to get 25% of the company, which is still more than Esther wanted to give. Harvey convinces Esther to accept the deal for the sake of the children, and because did she ever thank the husband for his 12 years of devotion to the family? Maybe she should have. He then takes her home to bed (not shown), and thanks Donna for HER twelve years of devotion to him, which thank you makes Donna look like this:

donna post-apology

Louis, Man of Many Emotions

Louis brings the comedy and the pathos this week and reveals his own childhood emotional baggage. In his middle school days, cool guys sometimes befriended him when all they wanted was access to the beauteous Esther, so he’s paranoid about Harvey handling Esther’s divorce. He flatters Rachel to pump her for info on the case, and during a divorce-related meeting, he does this in an attempt to listen in:

louis wall

When Louis angrily accuses Harvey of figuratively screwing his sister (by offering too much to the husband) merely to get back at Louis, Harvey assures him he is doing the right thing by everyone because Family Matters. Louis apologizes sincerely for misreading the sitch and it looks like Harvey and Louis might be having a rapprochement. Or at least a temporary truce.

Mike, Robert Zane and The Insurance Case

I’m already bored by this story line so I was glad it got wrapped up though it was nice to see Katrina (played by former ballet dancer of Centre Stage fame, Amanda Schull) appear at Zane’s law firm (yay for continuity re: last season), and she was given some nicer costumes this time, like this pretty cocktail dress that goes well with her awesome curtain of blonde hair.

amanda katrina

Robert and Jessica want to accept the offered $25 million settlement from the insurance company, which works out to $70K per claimant, but Mike doesn’t, so he and Robert clash. Robert reluctantly lets Mike counter the offer, which leads to one of the lawyers saying “No puedo hacerlo.” Mike discovers what might be a conflict of interest that is making Zane wanting to settle but when he tells Jessica and Rachel about it, they both get mad at him for suggesting Robert could be dirty or dishonest.

Mike eventually decides to accept the settlement because the original plaintiff is just happy to have justice done, and anyway, he has brought Rachel and Robert closer together by allowing her to come to her dad’s defense, so okay, whatever. Until Jessica, wearing a rather heinous sheer black lace top, reveals that there was something fishy going on, but it wasn’t Robert being crooked, it was his client the hedge fund. She fixes it somehow so no one gets in trouble, the plaintiffs still get paid, and Robert now owes her. So everyone’s happy, heinous lace top notwithstanding.

heinous lace top

Random Recap Addenda:

1) I really liked this businesslike but pretty ombre blouse that Rachel wore, though I liked it more before I realized it was sheer and worn over a tank top.

rachel grey blouse

2) Hungry Novelist that I am, I also quite liked the pulled chicken sandwich and Frenchy salad that I picked up this week at Flock, the new Toronto artisanal rotisserie chicken and greens place run by chef Corey Vitiello, who is apparently dating Meghan Markle.

IMG_6186

Next week on Suits: the return of the dastardly Tanner character, played by Eric Close, AKA Teddy on Nashville.

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.

Suits Recap – Season 5, Episode 3: No Refills

In which the intra-office tension keeps on coming, Charles Barkley stops by for a cameo, Mike uses his memory skills, and Harvey has another panic attack.

Jack Soloff, Season 5 Antagonist, vs. The World

jessica peplumed

Jessica, looking typically fierce and regal in a peplum power suit and great hair, wants Harvey to kiss (the ass of) and make up with partner Jack Soloff, who despite last week’s victory on the compensation issue, is still out to disempower Harvey further, because Harvey is arrogant.

Harvey makes a conciliatory gesture of arranging a golf date for Jack with former basketball star and current sports commentator Charles Barkley, but Jack literally throws the gift away – he doesn’t give a shit about Charles.

midthrow

One of Jack’s clients is a Barkley fan though, and when Harvey engineers a meeting between the two, the client leaves Jack for Harvey. Jack complains to Jessica about this client stealing and she tells him she and Harvey are a united front, though she later gives Harvey an angry talking-to for antagonizing the antagonist instead of smoothing things over like she told him to.

Jack demands support from Louis of his new plan to reduce Harvey’s compensation further. Louis wants out of the Harvey fight, partly to appease Donna, who gave back his ballet-themed music box gift because she’s angry at him for putting her in an awkward ethical situation the week before. Jack threatens blackmail unless Louis backs him up with more underhanded shit to make Harvey suffer. And Harvey threatens to bury Louis if he sides with Soloff again. So Louis is now involved in quite the hate-quadrangle.

Harvey vs. Donna

gretchen

Gretchen proves her worth as Donna’s replacement by a) coming to work early and trying to play a practical joke on Louis; b) saying she did not read the document that revealed Harvey’s income and thinks anyone who did should be fired; c) digging up background info on Jack’s clients that helps Harvey try to steal them, and d) confessing to her own anxiety issues in the past to help him with deal with his.

Gretchen does this last bit because Harvey has still NOT recovered from Donna leaving him. When Donna hears from Louis that Harvey intends to get her back, she waits for Harvey in his office to give him hell. Wearing a lovely blue dress with an asymmetrical hem that would be hella difficult to wrangle while sitting in a desk chair,  she assumes a power stance to inform Harvey that she is not a piece of property and they are never ever ever getting back together going to be boss and secretary again, no matter how badly Louis treats her.

power stance

Harvey deals with the issue by displacing his anger onto Soloff and Louis, and by being rude to Robert Zane because he fears Zane is going to take Mike away from him. When Jessica calls him out (more like yells him out) on this, he has another panic attack, this time in front of Mike.

He returns to his comely English psychiatrist looking for more drugs but she still won’t write a prescription until he does some talk therapy. They do a role play exercise, and Harvey admits he feels abandoned AND betrayed by Donna. The doctor-as-Donna points out that she didn’t go to work for Louis to hurt Harvey, but to put herself first for a change, and okay maybe to twist the knife a little, because hey, he rejected her after that awkward I-love-you admission last season, so serves him right kinda.

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Mike & Robert Zane vs. the Evil Insurance Company

Jessica is not pleased that her rival Robert Zane has been brought in to “her house” to work with Mike on the insurance company suit, but to avoid looking weak, she plays hardball with Robert about how their firms will split the legal fees if the case is won, and makes him fake-promise to treat Mike like an equal partner.

zane&mike&ocad

In service of their case, Robert and Mike take a Town car to a back alley with a view of OCAD University in Toronto – that’s the elevated checkered box in the background of this outdoor set dressed to depict Poorsville, New York, complete with an atmospheric old car up on blocks. The two men clash, albeit politely – Robert criticizes Mike’s office, has no time for movie dialogue banter (thank god), and withholds key bits of info like that he has gotten a wealthy hedge fund to underwrite the lawsuit. The evil-seeming insurance company lawyers threaten to tie up the case for years in court, but Mike makes a speech to a judge about the plaintiffs that shows off his Mr. Memory skills and makes him look compassionate to boot. So the Mike and Robert team wins the first round, and Mike earns some respect from Robert as well.

sofa hug

Jessica and Rachel, Mentor and Mentee

Rachel is a bit too smiley and girly for my taste in this episode. She is huggy and kissy with Mike in the office, then, in a self-described attempt to be charming and delightful, she climbs onto the couch behind Mike when he is trying to work, and drapes herself all over him in a manner that does not irritate him, though it sure would me.

In a minor plotline that doesn’t hold water, Jessica asks Rachel to check a draft speech – to be made by a client who is an important black female surgeon – for potential exposure. Which, huh? What kind of speech could the doctor be making that might be actionable? Rachel is a big fan of this surgeon (more huh) but while checking the speech, she rewrites it (huh x 3) to make it more something – powerful? punchy? Jessica invites Rachel to attend the event at which the speech will be made, which causes the two of them to dress up in evening wear – Jessica in a rather bridal Zac Posen gown, which she pulls off, because Gina Torres can pull off just about anything, and Rachel in a burgundy number that doesn’t do her any favors, and that Jessica insults in a typical Suits we-slam-each-other-because-we-love move.

r&J dresses

While mincing out the door in their tight dresses, Jessica reveals that she is the one giving the speech that Rachel rewrote for the doctor (as I have been known to note in the margin of my creative writing students’ manuscript pages – “sense?”) and that she asked Rachel for input on it to cement their mentor-mentee relationship. Rachel reminds Jessica of her younger self and she wants to develop her.

Next week: Louis’s attractive sister flirts with Harvey!

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.

Suits Recap – Season 5, Episode 2: Compensation

The season’s second episode features internecine law firm conflict, oh my! Also callbacks to two guest players from past seasons who each pop in for a single scene reappearance, a couple of new law firm characters, and one good yelp-out-loud joke.

Let’s go one story line at a time, starting with:

The Aftermath of the Michael/Rachel Engagement

colette

Rachel and her dad Robert meet for dinner at a NYC restaurant played by the Colette Grand Café in Toronto’s Thompson Hotel, which is located on the same block as my adult son’s apartment. This scene was shot one day a few months back when I happened to stop by. I saw the trucks lined up outside, asked a security guard what was filming, heard it was Suits, and tried to storm the restaurant (not really – all I did was timidly walk in and out of the hotel lobby), only to find the café firmly closed – including the bakery counter part of it, which sells, when open, nice miniature hazelnut madeleines – and all its windows covered with blackout curtains.

So I did not even glimpse Meghan Markle or Wendell Pierce shooting the scene wherein Robert complains that chicken nuggets are not on the menu of the fancy restaurant they’re in, then hands Rachel a pre-nup he’s had drawn up that he thinks Rachel and Mike should sign so that the considerable financial assets he will one day leave Rachel will not fall into Mike’s hands.

Rachel sees the pre-nup as an instance of her dad trying to control her, but after a heart-to-heart with Robert, Mike figures out that Robert is actually trying to protect her. So Mike signs it, but Rachel doesn’t, because their love is bigger than money and pre-nups! And because she has her own heart-to-heart with Jessica, during which Jessica alludes to her trust issues with Jeff of last season as having taught her not to treat her personal relationships like business ones.

The Aftermath of the Harvey/Donna Split

donna+harvey coffee

Harvey appears to be over Donna’s departure – he’s cordial when he sees her in the office, and finally hires a replacement for her. Or is he over it? He passes on a candidate who, like Donna, is attractive and over-confident, in favor of an experienced older woman named Gretchen, who supplies the episode’s big laugh when she tells him he needn’t worry about any boss-secretary sexual tension between them, because she prefers her men to be manly.

manly

When Louis accuses Harvey of being jealous of Louis and Donna’s new work partnership, Harvey reveals to Louis something he’s never told Donna: that he generously supplements her firm-paid salary out of his own pocket and is continuing to do so while she works for Louis, unless Louis wants to take over those payments. Harvey eventually does tell Donna about this, but she is more pissed that he kept this info from her than pleased that he was doing it, so that doesn’t go well.

And Louis and Jessica both accuse Harvey of working out his Donna anger on Louis. Poor Harvey. Sort of.

Louis, a random new guy and the compensation issue

soloff+louis

A lawyer who everyone calls by his full name (so that we’ll remember it?) – Jack Soloff – joins the cast as the new head of the firm’s compensation committee. He wants to even things out at the firm by making billables more important than contingency cases, an internal policy change that would affect (reduce) Harvey’s income the most.

Louis brings up the subject in a partners’ meeting so that he can be seen to support Harvey, but that plan backfires, with both Harvey and Soloff pissed off at him afterwards. When Louis finds out by how much Harvey is supplementing Donna’s salary, he decides to support Soloff’s suggestion after all, so that he can earn extra dough with which to pay Donna.

At the height of the conflict, Louis decides to leak the amount of Harvey’s compensation to the law firm by doing the old trick of leaving a confidential document in the photocopier to be discovered by the next person who comes along. Donna strongly counsels against this ploy, but Louis asks her to decide whose side she’s on, once and for all, and she stays quiet in her pretty green and blue print dress.

green blue dress

Harvey, moved by the story of a client who wants to sell his successful athletic shoe business because his good friend recently died, and is that all there is? etc., apologizes to Louis sincerely for all the shit-flinging and suggests they bury the hatchet. Too late, Louis tries to take back the compensation document from the photocopier. Harvey is super-pissed when he finds out everyone now knows the HUGE number of dollars he makes. He vows to get Louis fired, and asks Donna to admit that Louis leaked the info, but Donna won’t, because she’s chosen a side and it’s Louis’s. For now.

harvey threatens

Louis gets the new compensation policy passed and declares that he’s won, but Harvey doesn’t care anymore because it’s not about the money, it’s about ownership of the chattel known as Donna. And Harvey is going to get Donna back, dammit.

Mike the Do-Gooder Rides Again

jimmy, harold

Mike meets two former associates who used to work at Pearson Specter Litt for drinks to announce his engagement to Rachel. One of those associates is (Childe) Harold, of the curly blond hair and the thin-skinned permanently blushing cheeks. The other is a guy named Jimmy, who asks Mike to look into taking on a class action suit against an insurance company that neglected poor-ish patients who died because the company wouldn’t pay for treatment. Jimmy’s law firm won’t allow him to take on the case but he’s hoping that Mike the do-gooder will, because didn’t he used to want to help people?

Mike looks into the case, but when Jessica finds out, she nixes spending the firm money on the labor and prep that would be required (this is one of those contingency situations Soloff is so against), whether Mike thinks it’s winnable or not.

sidwell&mike

Mike goes next to see his old investment banker boss Jonathan Sidwell (tall Canadian actor Brandon Firla makes his one-scene reappearance) to ask him to underwrite the case, but not only won’t he, he will besmirch Mike’s name with all the other investment bankers because he’s holding an extra-tall grudge against Mike for how the Gillis situation played out in season 4.

chicken nugget

Mike’s last option is to go to Robert Zane, who had earlier mentioned having been poor-ish himself back in the day. Mike presents Robert with a gift/bribe: a zip-loc bag containing what are meant to be homemade, deep-fried chicken nuggets cooked by Rachel, though the one Wendell Pierce tries to choke down a bite of looks like a breaded fish filet that came out of a Costco frozen food box. Zane agrees to take on the case but suggests he and Mike do it together. How will that work? Find out next week!

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.