In which Harvey realizes that hooking up with the beauteous Esther was a mistake, and both Jack Soloff AND Daniel Hardman reappear, sometimes together (face plant).
The return of Esther
Esther is back, dressed in some of the best costumes of the episode, including this great business executive blouse in which she asks Harvey if he will handle a lawsuit brought against her company by some guy with a nut allergy who almost died after eating one of her muffins, which are supposed to be totally nut-free.
In a move Esther later describes as ‘sweet in a dickish way’ but just seemed dickish to me, Harvey accuses Esther of using the lawsuit as an excuse to see him again, and tells her to get Louis to handle it instead, because Louis is a damn good lawyer and Harvey wants to do him a solid.
Louis is touched to be asked, and with Rachel’s help, eventually wins the case, though not without arguing with Esther about doing it his way versus hers. Along the way, Donna divines that Esther and Harvey have had sex, and tells Harvey he must tell Louis about that or she will tell him, because her days of lying to Louis (though not to wedding planners) are done.
Harvey, his mother and his combative shrink
Dr. Paula is proud when Harvey opens up about his mother, who we see in a flashback featuring a dark-haired child actor playing Harvey, who was definitely a blond child, come on. Child Harvey comes home early from school because he’s sick and finds his mother doing post-coital laughing and shirt-buttoning-up with her ‘cousin.’ (I really hope he wasn’t her actual cousin, because ew.) But aside from the cheating with her cousin thing, the mother seemed nice enough to Harvey, didn’t she?
Dr. Paula’s pride turns into recrimination when she finds out Harvey slept with Esther. She accuses him of being as snaky as his mother, what with the sneaking around and breaking of promises. Harvey gets angry about this accusation, as usual, but sees her point.
He returns to the office intent on telling Louis and runs into Esther, who is being flirty and wearing an insane but eye-catchingly stylish dress of the sort Donna wears, asymmetrical hem and all. Esther asks if he’d like to take her out sometime, which why couldn’t she just ask to take him out instead (whither equal rights?). Harvey brusquely shuts that down and hurts her feelings. A few minutes later, Louis, who has guessed all and gotten Donna to confirm it, storms into his office and confronts Harvey on the topic.
Fisticuffs ensue, Louis gets punched in the mouth AND thrown into a glass coffee table which shatters dramatically, and Harvey’s in deep shit now, including with an appalled Jessica.
Jack Soloff & Daniel Hardman: An Unholy Alliance with a Side Dish of Mike
Jack asks Mike to work with him on a case involving a teachers’ pension fund and some derivatives. Everyone’s motives in this story line are twisted: Jack claims he’s trying to make up and make good, but he’s been consorting with Hardman on the sly; Jessica tells Mike he must work with Jack because she said so and also to test Jack’s two-facedness; and Mike manufactures evidence in the case (a big stack of forged emails) as a way to win it, because now everyone’s go-to tactic is to do fraudulent illegal-type stuff and lie. SMH.
Jack and Mike disagree on tactics and don’t get along, until they do, when they impress each other with their respective acts of cagey underhandedness.
Working with Mike changes Jack a bit – he informs Hardman he doesn’t want to conspire to overthrow Jessica anymore, and makes a recommendation that Mike be promoted to junior partner. Jessica, who already had a “get away from my house” talk with Hardman on the street, is properly pissed by this development. She tells Mike that while he is the best associate she has ever known, he will turn down the partnership because now is not a good time for his lack of a law degree to come to light – and can I just say how glad I am that his living-a-lie situation has not come up yet this season? Though I guess it makes sense for it to come up now.
Next week: Harvey vs. Louis redux.