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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!