Suits Recap: Season 7, Episode 3 – Mudmare

In which besties Rachel and Donna shout mean things at each other but all is okay after they apologize (is that how friendships work?), Harvey and Mike lock horns about a pro bono case, Louis has a breakdown, and Mike gets case-blocked by new partner Alex.

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We open with Louis mudding, and we know this is a dream because a bare-chested Harvey is mudding next to him, which will never happen in the Suits’ version of real life, though I’d like to point out that this is the second consecutive episode in which we have seen Gabriel Macht’s chest and shoulders – so much for the show-no-skin clause I was sure he had in his contract. Alex also shows up in the mud room to taunt Louis, because this is actually a mudmare, though when informed by phone of the dream, Louis’s shrink Dr. Lipshitz suggests a more positive interpretation: Alex could become a new friend for Louis.

Louis tries too hard to befriend Alex, of course, though his welcome gift of a honeysuckle plant is appreciated, and Alex has two cats, so things are looking up until he cancels a lunch date with Louis to go to a meeting with Harvey.  Louis of course assumes that Alex canceled to be mean, and that Alex and Harvey are laughing at him. Dr. Lipshitz talks him down from the Seven Stages of Louis and into doing his breathing exercises.

At lunch with Harvey after their meeting, Alex asks what Louis’s deal is, and Harvey explains that Louis is like the Frank Burns character on the TV show MASH. This is a pretty tough reference to make for anyone under 40, but Alex gets it: Louis loves Harvey, hates him, and wants to be him, all at once.

When Louis later confronts Harvey about letting Alex’s concerns take precedence over Mike’s, Harvey meanly tells him off, and accuses Louis of jealousy, which sends Louis into mental breakdown mode. He calls Dr. Lipshitz, distraught, addresses him as Harvey, and pours out all his hurt, self-loathing, anger, and despair. Hard to know what direction the Louis character will take after that scene.

Must have been a slow week at the NYT, because the profile they ran of Mike looks like it took up major column inches, especially when blown up to poster size,  laid out with mocking captions, and posted on Mike’s office windows – all thanks to Harvey, and a bit of a dick move considering it was Harvey’s idea that Mike do some self-promotion to repair his reputation. Though Harvey says the display is all so he can make a joke about how Mike should wear black next time he’s photographed, because it’s more slimming.

Mike takes this ribbing with a smile, kind of like how Patrick J. Adams smiled when my son, a fellow (but younger) Northern Secondary School alum, disturbed PJA at the Wayhome music festival last weekend and asked to take a pic. “For my mom who writes Suits recaps,” my son said, to my mortification at a remove. Love the picture though!

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Back on Suits, Mike is supposed to be working on a corporate merger file for Harvey when he is approached by a Mr. Reyes, a man whose son died in a privately run prison, and who has sought out Mike after reading the NYT article. Mr. Reyes doesn’t believe the prison’s story – that his son, who was in for possession of one ounce of marijuana, got into a fight shortly before he was to be paroled, then died of a heart attack  – and wants Mike to find out what really happened, to prevent other convicts from dying needlessly.

Harvey gives Mike his blessing to take on Mr. Reyes’ case pro bono, and brings in Alex to work on the merger. But Mike’s digging into how the prison is run – on a bare bones budget that neglects prisoner safety – causes trouble at the law firm. It seems that one of Alex’s clients is a land developer who sometimes builds prisons, including the one where the son died. And Harvey does not want to piss off any of Alex’s clients.

Harvey tells Mike to drop the case or he can forget about doing any more pro bono cases.  Mike meets Tall Oliver down in Parkdale on Queen West, ribs him about his comic book buying habits (it’s better than being a corporate stooge, Tall Oliver retorts) and asks him to take over the case and file a lawsuit against the prison management company. Tall Oliver is skeptical at first, but agrees.

Harvey is not happy with Mike handing off the case to the clinic, and makes him sign a declaration saying he will have nothing further to do with the case. A testy Mike introduces himself to Alex, presents him with a list of the next 12-14 lawsuits he plans to file, and testily asks him to check now for any potential conflicts among them, because he never wants to bullied by a client again. Alex tells him he will check, and that he has just told his construction company client the same thing. Are they all good now? Not quite, but at least neither of them broke down.

Donna and Rachel have tense times too, as they try out their new roles as COO and Associates Supervisor, respectively. Rachel is pissed off when an upstart 4th year associate named Stephanie tries to bypass her instructions and shrug off assignments, but she doesn’t want to fire her. A second confrontation between them turns ugly and public when Stephanie implies that Rachel is not deserving of respect because she is less experienced. It gets uglier when Donna steps in and gives Stephanie total shit, making Rachel look ineffective and weak.

Rachel and Donna have a yelling match in the restroom about the bullpen incident. Rachel says Donna belittled her in front of the associates, Donna says Rachel is not ready to supervise staff. Later, they both apologize – Donna explains she isn’t that ready for her new job either, and besides, Harvey treated her like shit earlier. Rachel says she realized she doesn’t want to supervise the associates, she wants to be a lawyer. So Donna takes over the associates and promptly fires Stephanie.

Also: Harvey (who had a hella lot of screen time and character interactions this week) cooks a steak dinner for Dr. Paula. They are cozy with the wine and fire and all, but she has to wonder whether the two of them dating is a big mistake (IMO, she’s got that right!), ethically or otherwise. She’s scared their relationship will not work out, and she will feel and look like a fool, to herself and to others “Let’s be scared together,” Harvey says. Meh. I still think this won’t end well.

Next week: Alex’s old law firm comes after PSL.

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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