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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