In which we find out Alex’s secret and it’s a doozy, Anita Gibbs and her expensive-looking wig make a return appearance, we get an origin story on Louis and his shrink, and the flashback filter makes everyone look vampirish and sickly, except maybe Donna in her fake bangs.
We start with Mike telling Rachel he plans to take the prison case to criminal court because he can’t let it go, and doing that would not be a violation of his agreement with Harvey. She is fine with his decision as long as she doesn’t have to lie to Harvey about it.
Mike tries to give the file to his old nemesis Anita Gibbs. And I have to say here that the way that Mike has faced down his biggest enemies, Gibbs and Frank Gallo, and asked them to work with him on the case, is either a measure of his brave and bold resolve, or is just crazy. Also possibly GoT-ish, from what I know of the show, to make alliances with people you despise in order to fight a big foe.
Anita will only pursue the case for the Dept of Justice if Mike can bring her proof of conspiracy between the two corporations involved, and that proof has to be from the company PSL does not represent because of attorney-client privilege.
Mike gets the proof he needs by asking Benjamin, the PSL IT guy, to do some illegal hacking of the company that isn’t their client, Reform Corp (shades of Mr. Robot‘s Evil Corp or what). But Harvey catches wind of Mike’s plan, and quickly signs up Reform Corp as a client, so it too will be protected.
And why does Harvey do this? Because he owes Alex big-time, thanks to what went down several years ago, pre-Mike, in the days when Harvey and Louis were associates and the Hardman in Pearson Hardman was running the firm. Back then, Louis gets a partnership ahead of Harvey, and Harvey is pissed. But the first time his lawyer pal Alex, an associate at Bratton Gould, floats the idea that they offer BG a deal to take the two of them on as junior partners for the price of another more senior solo lawyer, Harvey says no, the deal doesn’t sound good enough for him.
Past Jessica makes past Harvey work on a case with past Louis. Louis lords it over Harvey, and when Harvey complains, Jessica tells him to stop whining and suck it up. Sort of like how she has had to rise above sexism, racism, and arrogant bossmen on her way to becoming name partner.
After Jessica puts him in his place, Harvey is humiliated and angry. He tells Alex to go ahead and make BG that 2-for-1 offer and gives his word he’ll take the job if his rock star rider type requirements are met. Bratton agrees to the terms but warns Alex he will be in deep shit if Harvey does not accept.
No surprise, Harvey changes his mind – mainly because Jessica told him he was the best lawyer in the firm, she wants him to be her work husband, and she has made Hardman promise Harvey is next up for a partnership. Alex is screwed, but he accepts Harvey’s decision graciously. And now Harvey owes Alex a big favour.
What was unknown to Harvey until the present was that after Alex’s play backfired, he was treated like shit by BG for years, until the day he was asked to take on a new client, Masterson Construction. Masterson partnered with Reform Corp and together they illegally and secretly used prisoners to build prisons. Alex didn’t know how criminal the two firms were being until a prison guard – who had told Alex that an inmate died during construction – was killed. Alex tried to extricate himself from the whole mess because murder! – and discovered that Bratton and Masterson Constr. had fixed the books so that Alex was complicit in every underhanded move they made. Rather than blow the whistle and end up in jail, which would leave his daughter fatherless (this guy has a family and personal life?), Alex stayed quiet at BG, his secret festering for years, until Harvey came along and offered him a partnership at PSL.
Remember a few weeks ago when BG was coming after PSL’s clients, and Alex signed a paper that made BG stop doing that? That paper said Alex was responsible for everything bad that ever happened with the prison building scheme. Now we know why he was so eager to stop Mike’s class action suit.
Alex starts the episode confessing all to Harvey, and ends it confessing all to Mike, against Harvey’s orders. Good thing too, because now Harvey can stop threatening to fire Mike for persisting with the case and they can all try to take down Masterson Construction and Reform Corp together before everyone’s futures are threatened. Especially since the boss of Masterson turned down a big cheque Harvey offered him to no longer be their client. He’d rather have them in his clutches, bwah-ha-ha.
Still in the past, Jessica commands Louis to go into therapy. Louis calls Dr. Lipshitz a Nazi upon hearing his German accent, but thaws a little when he learns Dr. L is a German Jew. He thaws further upon learning that Dr. L is excited to work with him, given that Louis is transparently screwed up and given to revelatory outbursts about his psyche. When Jessica hears that Louis is working on himself, she gives him responsibility for the associates for the first time, which doesn’t make much sense but okay, sure.
Also in the past, Donna and her bangs give Harvey grief about not consulting her when he was thinking about the two of them jumping ship for Bratton Gould. And she has a six month anniversary dinner with ‘Mark,’ a guy she’s dating who is thoughtful enough to give her a copy of Shakespeare’s sonnets as an anniversary gift. Too bad he breaks up with her on the spot because he’s sick of hearing her talk non-stop about Harvey.
Next week: In the series’s 100th episode, Rachel joins Team Prison Case, and we get the return of (the) Mark.
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.