We need only to "Rewind" five years into the past to figure out just how our Suits came to be.
Whether by design or by coincidence, Aaron Korsh and company have turned the phrase "nothing new under the sun" into a commentary on the life and times of Pearson/Hardman.
At first it seemed a catchphrase that allowed Mike to force a wannabe-author to sign a deal with the company trying to shut her out of millions in the season premiere. Many episodes later, its context and meaning have evolved into something much bigger and much more powerful.
If you thought you were watching a new episode... think again. The genius thing about this hour was that what you saw is nothing you haven't seen before.
We now know how Harvey came to take his place as a senior partner at the firm. He saw an opportunity and he grabbed it. Jessica couldn't have known when she asked him to smoke out the firm's embezzler that she would be making a deal that would inextricably link them in quite the way it did going forward; but the power grab by a struggling associate is very similar to Louis' backhanded attempts to suck up to Hardman now.
Where Harvey had a guarantee that his efforts would be rewarded in the way he intended, Louis is relying on nothing more that the hope that Hardman will reciprocate the loyalty. If only Louis knew that his perceived savior had set him up to be a patsy five years prior, maybe he would have thought twice before running to Hardman to rat Mike out for meeting with Monica.
Another interesting similarity between where Louis is and where he was is that five years ago he was ignorant to happening to him and the firm. The only difference now is that he's a little smarter and can snake his way into the loop, whether by dictaphone or being in the right place at the right time.
I saw it coming a mile away that Louis would likely be at the cafe when Monica and Mike met. Louis declared five years ago that he would always be there on "Thursdays at 1 p.m. for the rest of his life." Clearly, nothing has changed.
Donna also played a crucial role in Harvey's promotion. If not for Donna, he would never had made the connection between Monica's Tuesday tennis and Hardman's same-day Harvard Club lunches... which turned into a coverup for Alicia's chemo treatments - neither of which were true!
No wonder Donna felt so betrayed by Harvey. Without her, he wouldn't be who or where he is today.
Mike's story was a particularly enlightening one. From his relationship with Trevor, to meeting Jenny, to finally discovering what led him to start taking LSATs for others, he had plenty of moments which led him on the path to Pearson/Hardman.
I was struck by how his relationship with Jenny developed. The timing just seemed to be wrong for them with Nikki in the picture, as orchestrated by Trevor. This played to me a lot like how Rachel took a backseat to Jenny in the beginning. Another fun thing to note is that Mike mouthed "I love you" after Jenny quoted A Few Good Men, much like he did after meeting Rachel for the first time. They will never know it, but they had a lot in common besides feelings for Mike.
Similarly, we finally know how Mike got into taking the LSAT. The idea clearly wasn't his own' if it hadn't been for Nikki's disposable cash and lack of morals, Mike probably wouldn't have found an avenue of income that didn't involve pushing drugs to support Nana Ross' in-home care. That's love if I've ever seen it. You can know that there's nothing Mike won't do to care for the only parent he has left.
Speaking of parents, Harvey had a vulnerable moment visiting the grave of the father who never got to see him make partner. Gordon Specter seemed a proud dad, though it's unclear if he was a single parent. What we do know is that Harvey loved him dearly, visiting his grave at what can honestly be said is a moment of need in his life.
Zoe's time at the firm also developed more context. She and Harvey clearly had a relationship in the past that colored their interactions in the present, but she also seemed to be at the forefront of Harvey's change in demeanor when it came to caring about others. He demonstrated that his lack of sensitivity to others is not anything new. He lost his father without ever getting to speak with him again. Why then, five years later, when he loses, perhaps less permanently than his father, does he not try and do more to prevent it?
Harvey owed that to Donna in more ways than one.
This was another interesting similarity that I drew, only this time, between Donna and Monica. They both got left out in the cold as collateral damage in a plot much bigger than themselves. While wrongdoing could - and was - claimed in either case, there really wasn't anyone to fight for them besides themselves.
It would be impossible for me to end this review without examining, at its core, the betrayal that arguably set this entire plot in motion both today and five years ago: the clash between Jessica and Daniel. Daniel is clearly to Jessica as Jessica is to Harvey. When Daniel betrayed Jessica's trust, she hesitated to accuse him until shown more definitive proof. When Harvey provided it, she didn't hesitate to take him down in the most ruthless was possible.
Daniel's current plan for payback, however it may play out, has a similar bite. No doubt it will be the war we've only begun to see this season.
The only question that remains: do we think that Pearson/Hardman - and a few choice associates - have changed? I might have believed that if the episode had ended with Harvey at his father's grave. But the fact that when he returned to the firm that Jessica and Harvey had facilitated and orchestrated Mike's inquiry into Monica as a play to get votes, I couldn't help but cringe a little bit.
The only redeeming feature of this sequence, and perhaps the entire episode, was Harvey's declaration that he was getting Donna back!
Other highlights from this installment:
- Donna and Rachel meeting. Yes, Rachel, Donna does know everything.
- Louis admitting he had slept on Jessica's couch, raided Harvey's liquor and eaten every single raspberry bran bar that ever entered the office.
- Harvey and Donna's banter back in the old days, we got such a great taste of it this week!
- Mike revealing that his mother read Curious George to him every night when he was younger.
- More background on the can opener...and learning that THUMB TACKS were also involved. What on earth are Harvey and Donna up to?!?
- Almost every scene involving Mike and Trevor including some form of food. Munchies, anyone?
- The nickname "H-dog" for Harvey. Enough said.
- Harvey visiting his father's grave.
What a great episode! Not a single second was wasted in telling this story.
So, Suitors: do you buy that Pearson/Hardman hasn't changed?
C. Charles is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.