Suits Recap – S8, E2: Pecking Order

In which we’re subjected to (more) cringe-making sex talk from Louis and Sheila, Gretchen makes a couple of brief but welcome appearances, Donna wears gorgeous dresses, Samantha gets involved in everyone’s business, and she relaxes her  hairstyle to signal that she may possess one or two redeeming human qualities. Or she’s pretending to possess them.

louis & sheila

It’s nice for Louis that he has found love with someone who loves him back. It would be nicer still if we could be spared Sheila’s crotch-grabbing, reckless use of silly sexual euphemisms, and inane role playing. But slipped into her ridiculous assertions that Louis is a Viking god/king is her fervent belief that he not only wants to be managing partner of the firm, he should be.

Thing 1: he doesn’t want it. He’s afraid to tell Sheila this (and as a result, he can’t get it up, despite all the god/king talk) because he thinks she’s only attracted to his power.  When he asks Dr. Lipshitz for Viagra, Dr. L divines the real problem and advises him that true power comes from admitting the truth. Louis asks Sheila to love him for who he is. After some resistance and a stealth visit to Dr. L herself, she comes around and suggests they start trying to have a baby. Good luck with that.

Thing 2: Zane and Harvey didn’t consider Louis as an MP candidate during their tussle for the position, or even discuss the issue with him, which rightfully pisses Louis off. He confronts Harvey and Zane, and demands to be included as an equal partner in the firm. In a deft bit of misdirection, we leave a scene thinking those two bullies alphas are irritated by Louis’s outburst, but they end up acknowledging his partnership rights by sending him an engraved antique clock (this is meant to be a sincere, appreciative gesture, I think, and is taken as such by Louis).

clock

Donna and her dresses start the episode wondering what the hell is the deal on  Samantha after Samantha asks her to approve a huge expense account allowance, and says that Donna the reality is disappointing compared to Donna the legend.

Donna navy dress

Donna advises Harvey to keep Samantha close (as one would an enemy) and digs for more info on her. When she finds out that Samantha spins a different story on her background every time she meets someone, Donna asks Gretchen for help, and Gretchen asks Katrina – the only lawyer on staff who had worked for both firms before the merger. Katrina’s intel is that Samantha is either feared or loved, there’s no in-between – and that she’s a great lawyer, someone you want in your corner.

Gretchen, Katrina, Donna in file room

The managing partnership may have gone to Zane, but he and Harvey are still working out who’s in charge. When a former client of Mike’s shows up looking for legal help, Harvey takes him on, and warns Zane to let him handle his own clients. Instead, Zane  asks Samantha to look into the file as well, so she can demonstrate to Harvey why Zane values her so highly.

harvey & zane

The case concerns $50 million missing from the bank accounts of a tech startup called Podspace, run by two young guys called Max and Nick. It doesn’t matter what happened to the money. What matters is that Samantha insinuates herself into the case, Harvey bristles, and they clash and disagree. At one point, each proposes a different fraudulent solution to the problem (great crooked minds think alike?) In the end, Samantha comes up with a could-be-worse way out for all. Harvey thanks her for her good work and tells Zane he’s starting to see her worth. That’s why her name should be the next one on the wall, Zane says, making Harvey wince because he made the same promise to Alex, not that he tells Zane that.

Donna pink dress

Donna admits to Harvey that Samantha is an asset, but points out that Alex and Samantha can’t both be made name partner at the same time. Harvey pledges to figure out a way to get what he wants.

Samantha also gets in Alex’s face this week, because Alex’s ambition is causing him to make stupid mistakes. Mistake #1: he asks Zane to play golf with him as a way to win his favour. Zane doesn’t want to play golf with a suck-up. He tells Alex the way to impress him is to bring in a “big fat client.”

Alex asks Katrina which of the clients who stayed with Zane’s former firm he should go after. Katrina warns him off Starboard Airlines (these generic company names!), formerly Samantha’s client, but, mistake #2, Alex goes for it anyway. He meets the company president, an arrogant rich guy named Gavin Andrews. Andrews will throw the corporate business Alex’s way if Alex can arrange for him to get ‘permanent custody’ of a Renoir painting that Andrews’s angry ex-wife loaned to the Met Museum upon the recent breakup of the marriage. Alex waylays the wife in the lobby during an intermission at a ballet performance (as one does) that apparently called for black tie (as they don’t) at Toronto’s Ed Mirvish theatre (not a ballet venue). He gets her to agree to give up the painting if she gets the villa in Bordeaux in the divorce settlement.

Alex at Pantages

Alex considers this a victory, but Samantha pops into his office – with her hair not blown out into a severe bob for once – and warns him that Andrews is a nasty piece of work whom Alex should avoid, given his past experience with nasty (blackmailing and corrupt) clients. Alex is not afraid, because he is getting worse at reading people with every passing week.

Samantha wavy hairNext week: the return of the enjoyably smarmy landlord who owns the building where the law offices are located.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her latest novel The Showrunner, now available from your favourite bookseller, is a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz that an advance reviewer called a “sophisticated, compelling, and surprisingly complex drama.” Check out its book trailer here:

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Suits Recap- S8, E1: Right-Hand Man

In which the Suits universe carries on without Patrick/Mike and Meghan/Rachel, new adversarial pairings are set up, and I find my interest in the show waning in direct proportion to my lack of interest in two of the three new regular cast members.

But on with the recap!

Adversarial Pair #1: Harvey vs. Robert Zane

Harvey & Zane

Zane and some lawyers from his old firm have joined Specter Litt, which is going to have Zane’s name added to it, in an order yet to be determined. As long as the Litt name comes last, Harvey and Zane joke – at Mike & Rachel’s wedding from last season – because they are both kinda mean to Louis.

Convivial laughs-between-bullies aside, back at the office Zane wants to be managing partner of the new firm, and Harvey doesn’t want to give up being MP. They decide to fight for the role by means of an unfriendly challenge. They each have a client whose business conflicts with the other’s; the first who convinces one of these clients to drop a competitive division from their operations wins. Won’t that be fun for the clients? Donna listens in remotely on the meeting (natch) and warns Harvey not to cross Zane, but too late, it’s happening.

Adversarial Pair #2: Alex vs. Samantha

Samantha

Alex (whom I might like more if he was less intense/stiff, and if Dule Hill’s stellar real life tap dancing skills could be worked into the plot – maybe tap could be his form of therapeutic exercise, like Harvey and his ultra-boring boxing?) wants to be the next name partner, but he has to earn it first, so he takes on the role of Harvey’s right-hand man in the wager for the managing partnership.

Though we have not heard a word about Zane having a right-hand person in lo, these many seasons, he has one, name of Samantha Wheeler, played by Katherine Heigl, the not very exciting addition to the Suits cast. Samantha is a tough cookie who speaks in a grating monotone. We know her character is a match for Harvey because she kick-boxes, which is funny, because kick-boxing plays a (small) role in my Hollywood-noir novel The Showrunner, about women working behind-the-scenes on a TV drama in Los Angeles. The novel was published in June, 2018, and a recent review described it as “deftly crafted,” “inherently engaging,” and “unfailingly entertaining.” So go buy it! [end of shameless plug]

Samantha wants to be a name partner too, so it looks like she and Alex will be battling  for that honour throughout season 8. Maybe they could have a dance-off for it?

Adversarial Pair #3: Harvey vs. Samantha

Samantha gives the finger

Harvey gives the finger

These two don’t interact that much in this episode, but they don’t like what they see of each other, hence the mutual giving-of-the-finger they indulge in at episode’s end. And yeah, in addition to being the type of person who lies, and says “kiss my ass” and “I don’t care,” Samantha respects an adversary who distrusts her, because being untrustworthy is like, her brand. Great. We have that dynamic to (not) look forward to.

Also ambitious (but less adversarial) is newly promoted series regular Katrina Bennett, played by Amanda Schull. I’ve always liked Katrina/Amanda, not just for her great posture and beautifully styled hair (which I had hitherto thought was all her own, though after seeing the egregiously fake – and glorious – manes  in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, I’m convinced anew of Mindy Kaling’s past assertion that every woman in film or TV is wearing a wig or extensions.)

Katrina & Brian

In a nicely played scene,  Katrina and Louis agree that they care deeply for each other in a non-sexual way. Katrina is protective of Louis – she doesn’t want him to give in to Sheila on the topic of cat choice, for instance. With a view to advancing her career, she asks to be in charge of laying off  the associates who will no longer be needed after the merger with Zane. She wants to man up and be Ned Stark, if that’s what it takes to become a senior partner. “Make them clean deaths,” is Louis’s wise, Ned-Starkian counsel.

Katrina is data-driven in her approach – she develops a model that rates the associates on their quantifiable metrics, like productivity and billing. She’s proud of her objective reasoning, but when Louis finds out that his other protege – soft-spoken, good-hearted, new-father Brian Altman, is at the top of the kill list, he refuses to let him go. Katrina fires him anyway, at a restaurant lunch on Wellington Street in Toronto’s St. Lawrence neighbourhood, which is also where Alex is living (and jogging in the morning).

Donna Cleavage

Donna, showing off daytime cleavage so low and deep it reveals untanned skin on her breasts that her bikini top presumably covers, has a talk with Katrina about the intangible quality that makes Brian a keeper – he makes everyone around him better. Kinda like Donna, in a more executive capacity. Last season, Katrina told Harvey that making Donna a partner was a bad idea. Now that Brian called her a robot, however, Katrina sees that emotional intelligence (and Donna) are maybe worth something. She hires Brian back, then asks him to help her evaluate the other associates. He won’t at first, but does on Donna’s urging. Katrina fires a young woman associate who cries and begs to be retained. Katrina realizes how hard the hard stuff is to do, and asks Donna to have a drink with her. Let’s hope these two become friends and office allies.

Samantha is not anyone’s ally, except Zane’s. She tries both bluffing and threatening to get her way in the Zane-Harvey battle and almost wins it for Zane, until Harvey steps into the ring and pushes Alex aside, behaviour that Zane correctly points out does not befit a managing partner.

Donna black dress

Harvey is loath to lose face and relinquish the managing partner role to Zane, but ever-wise Donna (in one of her many flattering shift dresses – and et tu, Donna, on the hair extensions?) suggests to Harvey that he’s been to the top of the mountain already, and scrapping on the ground is way more fun. As for Alex, his new supporter Louis convinces him that if he wants to become name partner, he should befriend Zane rather than fight Samantha. Good luck with that, Alex. Donna and Zane are becoming buddies though, because Zane learned about “the mighty Donna Paulson” from Rachel, which is nice.

Random end-notes:

  • Something Alex does that made me feel even less sympathetic to him:  appears in a ridiculous Lexus commercial that touches on the episode’s plot. Not the actor’s fault, I suppose, but ugh.
  • Donna, Samantha and Katrina all sported heavy sets of false eyelashes on their upper eyelids, and little to none on their lower ones. Is this a thing now? If so, can it stop, so they look less like weird Clockwork Orange-inspired dolls?

Next week: More intra-firm conflict, courtesy of Samantha.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her latest novel The Showrunner, now available from your favourite bookseller, is a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz that an advance reviewer called a “sophisticated, compelling, and surprisingly complex drama.” Check out its book trailer here:

Suits Recap – S7, E15+16 Finale: Tiny Violin + Goodbye

The two-hour finale makes for a hodge-podge of story lines: Mike works on a class action suit that leads him to his Seattle future, Harvey travels to actual Chicago (not Toronto pretending to be Chicago) to shoot Jessica’s back-door pilot, law firm machinations end with Specter Litt merging with Robert Zane and some of his lawyers,  and oh yeah, there’s a hastily put-together but still glam wedding.

wide wedding shot.png

Mike’s last case first: Tall Nathan asks Mike to help him with a suit against a battery making company that contaminated soil near a school, covered up the problem, and is trying to compensate the affected families (children have permanent cognitive damage from lead poisoning) for the measly sum of $60K per family. Nathan needs the fees a large settlement would bring to keep the clinic running, but lacks the manpower to argue the case. With Donna’s blessing, Mike agrees to give of his time.

Tall Oliver & Tall Nathan.png

A lawyer named Andy Forsythe waylays Mike in the Specter Litt lobby (like this is not a shady thing to do) and offers Mike & Rachel jobs at a Seattle law firm he’s starting. The firm’s mission: to fight class action suits against Fortune 500 companies. He gives Mike 48 hours to respond (also not at all shady).

Mike pisses off Tall Nathan by refusing a new settlement offer of $100K per family, and forces the case to court. Whoever funds the clinic then withdraws their support. Mike thinks Forsythe is behind the funding withdrawal and gives him shit for his fake job offer ploy.

donna green dress.png

Tall Nathan needs 500K to keep the clinic running. Mike asks Donna for the money from the firm. She says no way, and no wonder she said before that Mike wasn’t ready to be a senior partner if he’s gonna make unreasonable requests like this! But she tells Louis about the situation, and Louis makes an ‘anonymous’ gift to the clinic from his own pocket.

Mike and Tall Oliver keep working the case, and make revelatory discoveries about liability insurance and school grounds beautification projects. In a dramatic court scene, Mike badgers the company president into admitting that the company knew about the contamination and tried to cover it up. Mike gets the company to agree to a settlement of $1 million per family.

Since Forsythe had nothing to do with the case (whoops), Rachel & Mike decide to take him up on his job offer and leave New York very soon. Really because this is the season finale and Patrick & Meghan did not renew their contracts. They also decide to get married in like, 3 days, before the finale ends.

Donna nice coat.png

Rachel sees Donna in this nice coat and asks her to organize an elegant but quickie wedding, but we don’t get to see the wedding till after a hell of a lot more story happens.

The law firm crisis: Stanley Gordon brings in a lawsuit from Specter Litt’s former partners. They want to be paid because the firm’s criminal actions damaged their reputations. Alternatively, they will take back their jobs. Harvey divines that Gordon’s ultimate plan is to let someone else takeover/buy Specter Litt, for which Gordon will earn a hefty finder’s fee. And this threat to the firm was triggered by Harvey’s statement denouncing Jessica, which happened because she took the fall for Mike being a fraud, which was Harvey’s fault.

Jack Soloff's hair.png

Jack Soloff and his splendidly ratty head of middle-aged long hair return briefly, but he is of little help. Scottie (!) also appears. She refuses to take back anything bad she ever said about the firm. She has said yes to Harvey too many times and regrets it, plus the strapless corset jumper dress garment she’s wearing makes it difficult for her to move. And their romance is not rekindled, though Harvey had previously said they should reconnect when he was done with therapy. Scottie guesses correctly that Harvey has unresolved feelings for Donna, and besides, her time travel show is doing okay over at NBC.

scottie.png

Harvey goes to Zane (his firm employs the lawyers who left SL) for help. Zane resists at first, but upon discovering that his own partners are ready to stab him in the back, he joins forces with SL to defeat Gordon, and part of his firm will merge with SL! This deal is arranged with Louis and Mike (not even a senior partner, and he’s involved in the firm restructuring?) running point, while Harvey is in Chicago helping Jessica. And Zane wants his name to come first in the firm, by the way. Maybe Wendell Pierce will be a series regular in Season 8.

harvey & zane.pngOn to Jessica, and the complicated origin story presented here for her as yet unnamed spinoff series. So many new characters! So many ethical compromises Jessica makes! So many gorgeous clothes that Gina Torres wears the hell out of! Despite the beautiful fashions (and Manolo Blahniks), I doubt I will recap the new show when it comes out – it seems too focused on politics and double-dealing for my taste. But here’s what we learn in the pilot:

Jessica moved to Chicago to “make a difference” and to try to reconnect with some poor-ish relations she has there – we meet a cousin and an aunt – about whom she has always felt guilty because she grew up on Park Avenue in New York, and her demanding father did not keep in touch with the relations after leaving Chicago. She is still living with hunky lawyer Jeff Malone in a fancy penthouse, though he appears only briefly.

Jessica begins the episode trying to fight a dirty developer named Pat McGann, who is redeveloping a block of community housing. His initial proposal called for the development to include 35%  low-income housing, but that percentage has dropped to 5%, because McGann could give a fuck about anything but making a buck. Jessica wants to fight him in court but her license has been revoked in Chicago as well as New York, so she asks Harvey to come argue the case for her.

jessica & harvey in actual chicago.png

McGann has the mayor in his pocket, and the mayor refuses to meet with Jessica, so Jessica has two enemies,  right off the top. Also opposing Jessica is the mayor’s right hand, a young lawyer named Keri Allen, played by Rebecca Rittenhouse, late of The Mindy Project. It was she who had Jessica’s Illinois law license revoked. She acts tough but is wounded when Jessica accuses her of sleeping her way to her position. Bit of a low blow there, Jessica.

jessica & keri.png

Harvey and Jessica are thrown out of court, her attempt to blackmail the developer fails, and they are both threatened by a menacing thug who turns out to be the mayor’s private muscle. When the Specter Litt crisis, not to mention Mike and Rachel’s wedding, seem to be calling Harvey home, Jessica bids him return to New York to take care of his family. She’ll remain in Chicago to take care of hers, and skip the wedding (Priorities!!).

mayor & jessica.png

The elusive mayor, name of Novak, finally summons Jessica to a late night meeting on a scary street under the L, and offers her a job working for him if she drops the lawsuit against McGann. Is he totally dirty or just a little? Not sure, but he’s attractive in a gangsterish way, so looks like there will be some sexual tension ahead between those two. Jessica decides to take the job despite Jeff’s warning that to do so will result in her becoming either a crook or dead. Here’s hoping she keeps up her fab wardrobe on a government salary.

And finally, we get to the wedding.

vows.png

I can’t identify the Toronto location (might be the King Edward Hotel), but it’s dressed and decorated prettily. Though will priests perform ceremonies in hotel-type wedding venues? Don’t they usually require something called a church? Harvey and Donna are the only attendants, and visible among the guests are both of Rachel’s parents, Tall Oliver, Louis, and Sheila Sasz, though none of them speak during the wedding scenes.

Instead, the lines are given to Mike and Rachel’s vows (yawn), and to Mike and Harvey bantering about who is the better or best man, then saying goodbye to each other. And here I confess that this cynical recapper teared up (for like, one second) when they hugged.

harvey:mike hug.png

Afterwards, Donna checks in on a lonely-looking Harvey at the bar, and he asks her to dance.

shall we dance.png

harvey & donna dancing.png

Everybody dances!

everybody dance.png

And so we end Season 7, and say goodbye to Patrick J. Adams and Meghan Markle forever, or until Patrick comes back to make a Scottie-like cameo some time next year.

Can you believe Season 8 of Suits begins in July already? See you then.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her seventh novel, coming in June 2018,  The Showrunner, is a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz that an advance reviewer called a “sophisticated, compelling, and surprisingly complex drama.” Check out its book trailer here:

Suits Recap – S7, E14: Pulling the Goalie

In which Harvey and Mike work together on a case that’s all about sacrifice, Donna almost gets outfoxed by a guy named Fox, and Louis gets Sheila back! After sort of taking the high road, or his version of the high road.

louis and sheila

We open with Louis telling his shrink Stan that meeting Sheila’s fiance, whom he calls  Shithead Xander Fuckface, was a heartbreaking experience. Stan suggests that Louis end his affair with Sheila so he can stop feeling terrible; it’s time to let her go.

Xander shows up at Specter Litt, warns him to stay away from Sheila, and insults Specter Litt as a shitty law firm and Louis as a shitty lawyer. Louis picks up the gauntlet and with Katrina’s help, runs with it. He launches a nuisance lawsuit against Xander’s client, something  to do with tech law, about which Louis knows nothing, and Xander is an expert. The lawsuit goes to court, where Louis is stymied by Xander and Katrina takes blame for a mistake that she didn’t make.

An angry Louis fantasizes about telling Xander he was sleeping with Sheila. Stan tells Louis he must find a way to win the case without hurting Sheila, or Stan will have to stop counselling him.

Katrina finds a way to win the suit, but Louis and Xander continue to fight over the  settlement, including that Louis wants a clause put into it stating he is the better lawyer. Sheila asks Louis to reduce the settlement, let Xander save face, and be a bigger man.

Katrina gives Louis the side-eye

Louis asks Harvey for advice on the case, and Mr. Noble Sacrifice (re: Paula, who wasn’t that great a catch, let’s not overvalue her, please, the whole doctor sleeping with patient thing was pretty shady) says sometimes we all need to make sacrifices, even business ones, for the people we love.

Louis settles the case without being too rancorous. Katrina is mad that Louis gave in, but admires him for being a good man. Turns out being a bigger man gets him Sheila back. She leaves Xander and tells Louis she loves him because he fought for her and made sacrifices for her (why this episode wasn’t titled Sacrifice, I don’t know.) They go off to have sex with no role playing (yay for us) and she’s even ready to consider having children – she’s ‘pulled the goalie’ by throwing away her diaphragm. At age 50 (Rachel Harris/Sheila) and 47 (Rick Hoffman/Louis), these two are a little old to be getting pregnant but hey, stranger things have happened. Like that Mike became a legit lawyer.

mike & judge rawls.png

Mike is approached by a woman judge (last name Rawls) who was involved in the Mike-as-fraud trial proceedings, and treated him and Harvey fairly then. A law firm has gone after her, saying she should have recused herself from judging a case for which she stood to make a personal gain.

She wants Mike to represent her and clear her name, because no one else will, she thinks Mike is a good lawyer, and he kind of owes her one. Harvey doesn’t want the firm to get involved because of a potential conflict that would arise with another client, but Mike suggests they both owe Rawls, and hey, it might be fun for Mike & Harvey to work together again.

Mike at bat.png

Sure enough, they discuss the case while hitting balls at a batting cage in their work wear, a scene that appears to exist for the purpose of reinforcing that Harvey is athletic and Mike is dorky (sounds about right). They also talk about their personal lives over dinner at a bar. Harvey says he broke up with Paula because she’s not the One, but when Mike asks if Donna is, Harvey won’t say.  Mike confesses he might have had something to do with the kiss, since he advised Donna to express her feelings. Harvey reams out Mike for this later, when the Rawls case is not going their way. He calls Mike a suck who was guilted into helping Rawls, and tells him he has to be willing to sacrifice things that matter to him, like how Harvey sacrificed Paula after Donna kissed him because Mike told her to.

harvey & mike in bar

Mike rightfully points out that he knows all about sacrifice – since he went to prison so Harvey wouldn’t have to. Eventually, they both apologize, and after the usual back-and-forthing they save/clear Judge Rawls by figuring out (with a moment’s help from Louis) what the ulterior (criminal) motive was for the law firm that was going after her.

Harvey, not ready to drop the Donna storyline, asks Mike about it again. Mike admits he was rooting for Donna over Paula. Harvey says he doesn’t want to be with anyone right now, so there.

donna & david fox

Donna is back at the firm, but things are still a little tense between her and Harvey since the goddamn kiss (and her resignation and re-hiring), so when she gets hoodwinked by a snaky but cute (and notably shorter) property magnate named David Fox, she tries to solve the problem without getting Harvey involved. Fox owns the building where the Specter Litt offices are located, and he wants to illegally increase the rent by 100%.  He flirts with Donna by boasting about his vast real estate holdings in NYC, and tricks her into formally notifying him that the firm has restructured, which makes the current lease invalid. After an initial panic, Donna puts her thinking cap on, comes up with a plan that involves buying the air rights across the street from Fox’s buildings with views,  and gets Rachel (having a weird hair day) to help her execute it. She not only foils Fox, she gets him to give them a decrease on their rent, and presents the new lease to Harvey as something she arranged to thank him for taking her back. Way to be deceptive, Donna.

donna & rachel

Next week: Mike and Rachel get married and make their exit from the show in the two hour season finale. And Jessica Pearson returns in a back-door pilot for her Suits spin-off.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her seventh novel, coming in June 2018,  The Showrunner, is a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz that an advance reviewer called a “sophisticated, compelling, and surprisingly complex drama.” Check out its book trailer here:

Suits Recap – S7 E13: Inevitable

In which Harvey and Mike banter to beat the band, as if (spoiler alert) their beautiful friendship is soon to be over; we say goodbye (and good riddance) to Paula; Harvey refuses to accept Donna’s resignation from the firm; and we welcome back Stu the trader, and Harvey’s mom.

Harvey, alone

Let’s start with the case of the week, because it’s neither very interesting nor very germane to the relationship drama/character building goings-on that keep this show alive.

A former client named Teddy walks unannounced into Harvey’s office, making us realize that the show writers have not bothered to give Harvey a new secretary to replace Donna. Jessica never had one either. I guess in the Suits universe managing partners don’t have dedicated support staff. Makes no sense, but okay.

A few years ago, this Teddy person sold his shoe company to Adidas, who have now sold it to a sharky guy named Baxter. Baxter has decided to move the manufacturing off-shore so he can make more money. Teddy wants Harvey to see if there’s a way to stop this happening for the employees’ sake. Harvey asks Mike to take care of it, giving Mike the opportunity to joke about them being Superman and Aquaman, versus their old Batman and Robin shtick.

donna nice dress

Mike comes up with another way to increase the company’s income that still protects jobs, but Baxter refuses it. Harvey and Mike decide the solution to Baxter’s dickishness is to short his stock. Donna, wearing a great dress that is, for once, office-appropriate, and has a bit of an Anna Karenina or maybe Doctor Zhivago vibe to it, asks her old buddy Stu the trader to do the stock manipulation. When he brings up the illegality and risk involved, she tells him he’s getting soft and needs to strut his gunslinger stuff again.

When the stock-shorting doesn’t have the desired effect, Teddy and Harvey come up with a new plan inspired by Donna’s new COO position at Specter Litt: they will give the shoe company employees an ownership stake, and they & Teddy will buy the company back from Baxter (yawn).

Meanwhile, in Harvey’s private life, he makes a dinner date with Paula so that they can remember why they like each other (how much fun does that date sound like?). When asked, he suggests she wear “the dress with the thing,” the thing apparently being a low-cut neckline that shows off her cleavage. Kind of like the necklines Donna wears to work every day, right Harvey? His mother, with whom I had forgotten he is reconciled, calls and cheerily suggests dinner on the same night. Paula doesn’t think she and Harvey are really at the meet-the-parents stage yet, but agrees to meet the mom. The dinner seems to go well. The mom tells a story about how Harvey the adorable child once stood on the piano and sang (we need to see the home video of this, please). Before leaving, the mom thanks Paula for being the special person in Harvey’s life who suggested he mend fences with her a few months ago, which comment leads to this reaction

awkward Paula reaction

because the special person who suggested that was Donna. After dinner, Paula tells Harvey she can’t handle being in a three-person relationship with an ex who is also his co-worker. Harvey, looking for a way out of this dicey sitch, asks Stu to offer Donna a job. Stu is happy to do it, because he thinks Donna is aces.

Donna does a good acting job (those theatre skills) when Stu offers to hire her, and says she’ll think about it. She then goes to Harvey. She knows he put Stu up to the job offer, and asks why he didn’t fire her if he wants to get rid of her, and why didn’t he stick up for her? He could never fire her, he says.

Donna visits Paula to apologize for the tragic kiss mistake and pleads for Paula’s support – as a woman and a professional –. for Donna to keep her job. Paula asks her to swear nothing like the kiss will ever happen again. When Donna hesitates, Paula sees where this is going – someone’s going to have to leave the show, and it won’t be a series regular and star who has renewed her contract for season 8.

Donna reads in voiceover a resignation letter that she leaves on Harvey’s desk after cleaning out her office. Harvey goes to Paula, says, “I wanted this to work more than you know, but I can’t give you what you need,” and breaks up with her. They both cry, Paula more so.

donna good hair evening.png

Harvey makes a surprise drop-in at Donna’s apartment, where she is having a great hair evening in her classy lounge wear, as one does (not). He rips up her resignation letter, and asks her if she’ll come back – she will. He declines to come in. Not tonight, he says. Looks like Donna better decide soon if she has feelings for him or not.

On the Louis and Sheila front, we see no under-mud sex acts this week, thank god. Instead, they indulge in some role-playing games: she plays a burglar who breaks into his house, there’s talk of a prisoner and guard scenario, and also of a story line involving a director of admissions (her real job) and a janitor.

When Sheila’s upcoming wedding announcement is printed in the Times, Gretchen warns Louis that disaster will ensue if he keeps seeing her, but he tells Rachel (wearing a lovely, work-appropriate blouse), when she asks if he would like a plus-one for the wedding, that he has never felt so confident and king-like since embracing his bad boy side.

Rachel white blouse

That’s until he walks into Sheila’s office in costume as a nerdy professor (or something) and is introduced to Sheila’s fiance, Xander. Louis saves face (those theatre skills) and exits awkwardly, then overhears Xander mocking him, and Sheila going along with the mocking. Where’s confident King Louis now?

Like Harvey, Rachel also gets in some bantering time with Mike. Rachel and Mike’s conversations mainly concern a questionnaire on life plans that Father Walker has asked them each to complete, part of the pre-marriage counselling he’s giving them. Mike claims he’s not a planner (since when?) and can’t think that far ahead. Rachel introduces him to a game her parents used to play called Bullshit. The idea is to spitball crazy, half-formed hypothetical ideas at each other, without fear of censure.

Mike & Rachel playing Bullshit

So where would they be in the future if they could do whatever they wanted? Mike likes the idea of moving to San Diego, surfing every morning, and working 2 hours a day at a legal aid clinic that they would run together. Rachel suggests living for a year in Iceland, and having the adventure of a lifetime. Give the showrunner and writers credit – this conversation paves the way nicely for Mike and Rachel’s exit from the series, to happen at the end of the 3 hours that remain in this season.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her seventh novel, coming in June 2018,  The Showrunner, is a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz. Check out its book trailer:

Suits Recap – S7 E12: Bad Man

In which Louis gets the episode’s A story, complete with flashbacks to his teen years; Dr. Lipshitz and Tall Oliver return; and Jessica appears briefly, wearing what may be the most entertainingly ridiculous item of designer clothing that the show costumers have dressed her in yet.

mud job

Question: the sex talk between Sheila and Louis is supposed to be silly and stupid, and make them look foolish, right? Asking as someone who is embarrassed for the actors when they perform cringe-worthy scenes like the one where Sheila ambushes Louis at his mudding place, reaches under the mud, and seems to give him a hand-job. Yuck. Her reason for doing this: she wants to continue fucking Louis on the sly, though her wedding is a week away.

When Louis discusses the Sheila issue with his shrink Dr. Lipshitz, whom he now addresses as Stan, Stan asks what’s behind Louis’s pattern of falling for unavailable women. This question leads to flashbacks of Louis in 1986 in Scarsdale, when he was a burly, smiley teen who dated a girl named Mitzi, and his idea of a fun night out was to take her to a production of Uncle Vanya.

Mitzi only dates Louis because he’s a good guy her parents approve of, and she’s under the thrall of a bad boy who is Louis’s opposite.  Young Louis is devastated when he learns about Mitzi’s two-timing, courtesy of his younger but wiser sister Esther (remember beauteous Esther?).

In the present, Louis decides to sic a private detective, Holly Cromwell, and a gambler on Sheila’s fiance in order to discredit him, but Gretchen shuts down that plan, and suggests that if Louis loves and wants Sheila, he should tell her so.

Columbia Law School on Hoskin

Louis approaches Sheila outside Wycliffe College on the University of Toronto campus (subbing for Columbia Law School, which I bet looks rather unlike either Wycliffe or U of T’s Trinity College across the street, seen behind Louis) here:

Louis by Trinity College

He suggests they try to start over, but (like Paula) Sheila is not interested in having her heart broken again. She just wants a bad boy to have sex with.

wycliffe college

By the way, this whole doughy-loserish-guy-as-bad-boy thing reminds me of George’s bad boy episode on Seinfeld, and I think Seinfeld did it funnier. Anyway, Dr. Stan feels that Louis is not and never will be a bad boy, but Louis goes back to Wycliffe College at night, kisses Sheila right there out in the open, tells her they’re going to fuck in her office with the door unlocked, and declares himself a bad man. As if this will end well.

I like Gabriel Macht, but his slender build and Earth-father off-season social media persona make it difficult for me to suspend my disbelief any time Harvey boxes aggressively at his boxing gym, or threatens to beat people up while dressed in an expensive suit.  So picture me scoffing during this episode, when he does both. He also gets his own set of flashbacks, both to childhood (the actor playing him as a child is inexplicably dark-haired, why?) and to 10 years ago. The flashbacks are in service to Jessica’s request, after her name is removed from the wall (and dragged through the mud), for $2 million of her payout to be made to an untraceable bank account. She won’t say why. She does say that she’s not breaking the law or trying to evade taxes, and will declare the amount eventually.

Luckily, Harvey has for years been running an unpaid, off-the-books ‘side tab’  for Rick, a music publisher/record company mogul who owns the rights to Harvey’s dad’s semi-obscure jazz recordings. Harvey asks Rick to pay part (!) of his tab to Jessica’s untraceable account, but Rick can only pay if he sells his catalogue (worth millions, though not as many as formerly) to another company. And if he does that, Specter Senior’s music will no longer be played, not even once a year by a semi-obscure jazz radio station. Harvey struggles with this decision, but convinces Rick to sell. He also convinces the youngish buyer, whose New York office affords a great view of Toronto’s old and new city halls (located side by side downtown), to pay a price slightly higher than his first insulting offer.

Old and New City Hall

Harvey laments the loss of his dad’s music with a sympathetic Donna over an office drink, because they are friends, and always will be, even if Donna’s striking Dolce & Gabbana day dress is more suited to a garden party or wedding than to a routine day at a  law firm.

donna in dolce & gabbana

After the payment is made, Jessica calls in from Chicago to say that her pretty but crazy-ass-cut Monse top doesn’t work as office-wear either, but she doesn’t care. She tells Donna she knew all along about the side tab, of course. The implication being that getting Harvey to finally collect on it may be why she asked for the untraceable deposit. As a way to clean house post-exit, from afar.

Jessica in Monse

In case you wondered about Paula’s not-much-of-a-cliff-hanger reaction to Harvey’s confession from last week: it was that she needed some time alone to think about Harvey’s lying, Donna-kissing ways. Or she did until the end of this week’s episode, when Harvey comes over and says he likes Donna being a part of his life and sharing in his victories and defeats, but he still wants to be with Paula. Paula admits she feels threatened by Donna, and they (P&H) make up. Bets on whether their relationship lasts into season 8 with Katharine Heigl coming on board as a series regular?

Mike and Rachel show no sign this week of getting their wedding underway, despite their pledge to do so last time. They do, however, cook and prepare to consume more pasta, the official food of their couplehood. They also spend time with Tall Oliver, who approaches Mike about a deal between a local food bank that Tall Oliver represents and a Specter Litt client that has jacked up the price of products it was selling to the food bank at cost.

Tall Oliver is Mike’s friend, and his fight-for-the-little-guy motives are good, but Mike has to fight for his own client. Even Rachel encourages Mike not to go easy on T.O. After some verbal sparring, legal ass-kicking and back-and-forthing between the lawyers and their clients, Mike wins the case in his client’s favour and tells T.O. he shit the bed, just like Harvey would have told Mike. Afterwards, tall Oliver drops in at Mike’s apartment to thank him for treating him like an equal (this is how male friendship works in the Suits universe, go figure), and calls Mike a motherfucker, but in a friendly way. Then he, Mike and Rachel sit down to some linguine with pesto, because pasta rules.

Tall Oliver Kitchen.png

The purpose of the case seemed to be to show that Mike is adopting Harvey’s tough love tactics and behaving more like an asshole senior partner, but when Harvey offers him the position, Mike declines, saying he wants to spend more time with Rachel before they both quit the series. Only four more eps remain!

Next week: Conflict between Harvey & Donna and between Mike & Rachel. But will there be pasta?

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

Suits Recap – Season 7, Episode 11: Hard Truths

Rachel + MikeHere we go, finally, starting off the back six episodes of season 7, AKA the last TV episodes of Meghan Markle’s acting career. This is also the beginning of Patrick J. Adams’s home stretch for the show, but what proportion of viewers tuning into Suits these days are here to scrutinize Meghan? Seems like that many to me, too.

Hell, Vulture, a site that has shown little interest in Suits before, is even keeping a running summary on Meghan’s remaining scenes in Suits, with gifs. IMO, Meghan’s new international fame is why USA Network decided to delay airing the back six, originally scheduled for January, till now, so that Meghan’s Suits wedding at the end of April would lead up nicely to her real-life May wedding date.

Meghan scrutiny aside, this episode is mainly about the Kiss (treated as SUCH a big deal) that Donna planted on Harvey in S7 E10. You know, this one:

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 12.42.22 PM

We open immediately post-kiss. Harvey is rattled/flustered/thrown for a loop. He won’t talk to Louis about the pressing problem that is Jessica’s disbarment as arranged by lawyer nemesis Malik, and goes home, presumably to put on a cardigan, drink, and stare into a fire while reliving the passion that coursed through him when Donna’s lips touched his. But, surprise, Paula is at his place, having used the key he gave her. Rather than tell her what happened, he asks her to move in, ostensibly because she makes him feel like the outside world – replete with attack kissers and attack lawyers – doesn’t matter. She declines his offer, though, because she fears heartbreak, and possibly because her shrink sense is tingling about the timing of Harvey’s suggestion.

The next morning, Harvey storms into Donna’s office, says he does NOT want to talk about the kiss, and angrily asks her to promise it won’t happen again. She’s like, okay fine, whatever, because she felt NOTHING. Moving on to business matters, she suggests the firm hire a new senior partner, but he shits all over that idea because she’s not a lawyer, and he doesn’t trust her judgement anymore. Louis agrees that Donna should go ahead and bring in for a meeting some hotshot senior partner prospect who’s in town, but Harvey, in full asshole mode, sabotages the interview to spite and embarrass Donna.

donna + harvey

Donna, wearing a too shiny for work satin cocktail dress, confronts Harvey in the Bay Adelaide Centre lobby and they discuss the kiss. She confirms she doesn’t want more from their relationship, since she felt NOTHING. He is still pissed because a) he did feel something, and b) now he’s lied (by omission) to Paula and it’s all Donna’s fault. Funnily enough, Paula doesn’t agree when he does confess, two days after the fact, to the kiss having happened. She’s only mad at Harvey for the lying.

On Louis’s advice, Donna apologizes to Harvey. She is sad he thinks he can’t trust her judgment on work matters, but hey, what about all the flirting and work spouse bestie confidences they’ve engaged in over the years? She’s not the only one who has acted inappropriately.  Harvey eventually comes around and tells her he appreciates the times Donna put him first. He also takes her advice when she says she doesn’t think it would be a good idea to make Mike a senior partner, as Alex had suggested. And they hug.

Harvey + Donna Hugging

Alex gives Mike a juicy case to work on, partly to thank him for helping rescue Alex  from the thorny Reform Corp sitch earlier in the season, partly to help Mike advance in the firm, and partly on Harvey’s urging. The case is a dispute between Alex’s client, a Fortune 500 company called Quality Foods, and one of their distributors, Arctic, who transport food in refrigerated trucks.

The purpose of the case seems to be to give Mike and Rachel something to do, or not do, together. Mike asks Rachel for help with it, she says no, she’s too busy. He thinks there’s something scammy going on with it, she thinks he looks at all corporations through evil-tinted glasses now. Despite being busy, she does some research into the case, and finds out there is a scam going on. By way of explaining what she thinks Arctic is up to,  she asks Mike to recite their freezer contents by memory, and he reveals that the freezer contains pizza, ice cream, pasta sauce, and leftover lasagna made by Rachel. (Also vodka). Wait a minute – are we supposed to believe someone with Rachel’s ultra-slim build is eating that kind of carby and dairy-heavy diet? I don’t think so.

After they ‘win’ the case for the client, Mike gives Rachel credit publicly and privately for figuring shit out, and tells her they should work together more often, cuz it’s fun and otherwise they don’t see each other much. She suggests that instead, they work on getting their wedding underway in time for the season finale. He agrees.

On the Jessica disbarment front, Harvey & Louis try to find a way to remove Jessica’s name from the firm gracefully, and to give her the pay-out she deserves for her ownership stake at the same time. Louis tries to strong-arm the Ethics Committee guy into stalling the announcement of Jessica’s disbarment, but only gets a few days reprieve.

Harvey at Harbourfront

Harvey goes down to Toronto’s Harbourfront neighbourhood to see Stanley Gordon, a former name partner of the firm who we’ve met before (don’t ask me when or why) and who apparently takes meetings on his yacht in Toronto harbour. Sidenote: does anyone have an idea what New York-adjacent location the pier is supposed to represent, or should we just all now accept that Pearson Specter Litt is a New York law firm that has its head office in downtown Toronto?

Harvey wants to restructure the partnership agreement so Jessica can get paid, and he needs Gordon’s permission to do so. Gordon was ousted by Jessica once upon a time, so he’s in no mood to comply unless Harvey fixes some problem he has with a charity that took $10 million from him in exchange for naming rights on a new building, and did not make good on the naming.

Harvey meets the charity woman, accuses her (with reason) of doing money laundering, and gets her to agree to the naming, but Gordon still isn’t happy. Louis points out that all Gordon really wants is to disgrace Jessica. If she’s to get money, she also needs to be publicly shamed for the Mike as fraud lawyer thing, though Harvey, Louis and Mike were all also to blame. Especially Harvey, who hates the idea of blaming Jessica, but is convinced by Louis that there is no other way out.

An off-camera Jessica agrees to the hard truths of being named “selfish, unethical and reckless” in a press release from the firm, signed by Harvey and Louis, announcing that a “disgraceful chapter of the firm’s history is coming to a close.”

Harvey gets to deliver his own hard truth when he admits Paula that he once, years ago, slept with Donna, another lie by omission he has perpetuated. Her reaction to this confession? Tune in next week to find out.

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