Suits Recap – Season 7, Episode 1: Skin in the Game

In which Harvey drives a Ferrari convertible around Toronto, Rachel wears new hair about which I have doubts, Louis acts like a jerk, and Donna’s search for ‘more’ in life is rather quickly resolved.

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I don’t get why either, but Mike being back in the firm makes Harvey decide to romance his former shrink Dr. Paula, so he drives up Toronto’s University Ave, past the Toronto General Hospital, to Lowther Avenue in the Annex/Yorkville neighbourhood, a location I identified by a) scouring Google maps’ streetview of Yorkville side streets, and b) riding over there on my bike to confirm the specific spot on the block, diligent recapper that I am.

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Harvey finds Dr. Paula walking on the street by her house when he pulls up, which does NOT happen in real life mild stalking, as I may know from personal experience, having maybe once walked very slowly by a modest house in Toronto’s west end where Suits was purportedly shooting one hot summer day last year (or was it the year before?), only to fail to see anyone of interest except a security guard and a crew member wearing a Suits T-shirt.

Harvey asks Dr. P out, and she brings up the ethics issue with regard to doctor-patient dating, but in a friendly, slightly flirtatious manner. He points out sufficient time has gone by since she last treated him, and she agrees to one dinner. And yes, he should definitely bring the car to their date, because in the Suits universe, a smart, accomplished woman who previously told Harvey she is not impressed by his wealth and sexual history is a woman who digs a dashing guy in a vintage expensive sports car.

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Back in law land, Mike gives Tall Nathan at the Tall Guys Legal Aid Clinic a cheque for $500K,  but oops, this means Mike is leaving to work fulltime for PSL after all. Tall Nathan sits down to make his height less noticeable and takes the money, but he and Tall Oliver won’t believe that Mike will alternate his fatcat corporate cases with pro bono ones until they see him doing it.

Fresh off showing his dick car to Dr. Paula, Harvey is all banter and jokes with Mike about bike racks and Jedis, and wants to  put on one last show case with him before he has to stop having fun and perform boring managing partner duties. The last case involves a vodka company run by a tough talker named Stillman (get it? vodka = a still + this guy is a man?). Stillman wants to sell his company and he wants it done quickly or he’s going to fire PSL, so here we go with another classic Suits fake tight deadline to propel the plot.

Harvey & Mike giddily plan a party featuring an open bar and models (of the fashion variety) for prospective vodka business buyers. Harvey goes to a modeling agency to hire the models (as if he wouldn’t just look at headshots or delegate this job to Donna) but all he can think about amidst all the beautiful faces and skinny young bodies is Dr. Paula, so he calls her, and phone flirts, which she is into.

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At dinner, Harvey makes the big date mistake of NOT LISTENING when Dr. Paula is filling him in on her background (a brother who teaches at Cambridge U is mentioned to underline that Paula is not a mindless pretty face. Unlike models.) In Harvey’s defence,  he has been under some work strain, but Dr. Paula is all, “This was a mistake,” and “Doctors and patients should never date, especially since I have been known to fantasize about being kissed manfully by you on my doorstep, you handsome devil. I was a fool to entertain that fantasy, but I’ll throw it out there now so you can pick up on it later in the episode.” And she stalks out of the restaurant.

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At the vodka buyers party, Harvey reveals that because he is an astute biz world observer, he knows that the serious bidders for the business will be the guys at the party who are not chatting up the models nor getting wasted on the free booze. Nice sexist and stupid thinking, boys. Meanwhile, Mike and Harvey get to drink, cuz woo-hoo! They’re bros in suits!

The next day they meet with two of the three serious bidders who have come forward and start a bidding war. Too bad Mike finds out soon after that Stillman wants to sell because he has been accused of stealing another company’s vodka recipe.

Harvey goes to confront Stillman about his deceptive ways, and is ordered to do his job and make the sale. But after a who-asked-you? pep talk from Mike about how Harvey is afraid – afraid! – to take responsibility and fill Jessica’s large shoes, Harvey goes back to Stillman (who has a weird habit of spending his work hours in the vodka plant that looks an awful lot like a brewery) and dictates a cockamamie plan to buy the competitor and market the identical formulas as separate brands or some such nonsense that will be a win for everyone except possibly vodka consumers.

The biggest story line this week is Donna’s. Early on in the ep, she buttonholes a distracted Harvey to say she has figured out what the formerly vague ‘more’ she wants from life is, and it’s to be a full partner at the firm (not a name partner though, let’s save that for next season). In a nice touch of sympathetic characterization, we see her cocky demeanour slip for a moment behind Harvey’s back, when she whews with relief after she makes her request and he doesn’t laugh her out of the building.

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Instead, he’s, like, “I’m busy booking models for a party, but I’ll take it under consideration.” He continues to dodge her on the topic even after she presents him with a cheque for 500 grand (Gretchen’s idea) to show she’s serious, and even when she punches above her weight class by dealing with Louis bullying the associates he claims to love except he’s a fucked up person who expresses his affection by being not just mean, but actionable-harrassment-type mean. And Donna deals with the Louis sitch despite Louis insulting her big-time and ranking her on the firm’s Ladder of Importance as far below Rachel, who is of course far below Louis.

By the 3rd or 4th time Donna asks Harvey about her partnership, after mentioning that BTW, other law firms have partners who aren’t lawyers, so it’d be no biggie if PSL did, he says okay, you got it.

That was quick.

At least one fan tweeted at series creator Aaron Korsh that Harvey’s capitulation was a sign of his poor management skills (sign #2 after the whole models party plan, if you ask me) but Mike thinks it’s about time, and I say sure, let’s go with it for Women Power reasons, and in the hope of fewer “because I’m Donna” scenes, and more interesting story lines for Sarah Rafferty, who seems like a lovely person from her Instagram feed. Really.

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Nowadays, it’s difficult to watch Meghan Markle as Rachel and see beyond the Prince Harry’s girlfriend filter. My “What’s happened to her hairline?” thoughts upon seeing her were quickly followed by wonderings on how soon she will leave the show, will she and Harry go public at the Invictus games in Toronto this fall, and could she possibly want to live the life of a royal, even a minor one, what with the tabloid scrutiny and the never-ending smile-and-be-gracious public appearances? Regardless, Rachel doesn’t have much to do this episode, aside from making weak she’s-a-good-sport jokes with Mike about how she is going to meet some Chippendale dancers (!) because the writers apparently could not come up with any guys who are more enticing and 21st century-ish that she could joke about meeting while Mike is partying with models. Guys like Nico Tortorella, Idris Elba,  John Cho, or Harry Styles, say.

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Rachel also gets yelled at by Louis when she suggests that maybe she should take over the associates, but in the end, thanks to new partner Donna, Rachel does take over the associates. Which should make for more interesting story lines for her this season than being a good sport about her fiancee’s partying. By the end of the episode, her hair even looked more becoming. Oh yeah, and she compassionately suggested to Louis that he speak to Tara, and get some closure on their breakup by voicemail.

To finish things off, Harvey caps off his good day as the firm’s official new managing partner by, you guessed it, driving back to Dr. Paula’s townhouse, taking her in his arms, and kissing her passionately. And what do you know, she too is tall.

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Bonus point: The word fuck is uttered (and promptly garbled/swallowed by someone in post-production) twice in this episode! Could it be that the glory days are ending of shit as the profanity of choice on this show?

Next week: Harvey and Dr. Paula have sex.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her most recent book is a suburban comedy of manners called The Oakdale Dinner Club. Coming in 2018: The Showrunner, a darkly humourous, suspenseful novel about female ambition inside the TV biz.

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