Simply put, Suits delivered what will go down as one of its very best episodes in "High Noon."
If there was any question that the battle between Jessica Pearson and Daniel Hardman would end on anything other than a decisive note, you clearly haven't been watching closely.
It would have done a complete injustice to the season to have Jessica simply walk away victorious. While I was pleased that Hardman took control for the purposes of the advancing the plot and characters, that didn't make the transition any easier to watch.
And that transition took place almost immediately, with Harvey and Donna being demoted to the 46th floor. The only good thing about it was how the move only seemed to strengthen the relationship between the two, which Donna was quick to point out to a detrimentally smug Louis midway through the hour.
Not only was the move immediate, but so was Hardman's decision to get Harvey fired. And who better to sick on Harvey than his greatest nemesis, Louis? Who's the attack dog now?!? He sought to remove Harvey and made it almost impossible to do his job by making sure no associate was available to him.
One thing is for sure: now that Jessica is back on top, I'm sure Louis will be paying ten-fold for the indiscretion. Like Donna said, he betrayed his team. No matter how much they hassled Louis, there's no question that Donna, Harvey, Mike and even Jessica respected him and valued him in their own way. Louis may not have felt it, and it certainly could have been expressed more, but he let his anger rule the day. He'll be lucky if the team ever adds him back to the roster.
On the flip-side, the stress of the regime change was far more than Mike could handle in the wake of Grammie's death. He blew up at Harvey and relapsed into his drug habit.
The best part about this whole tragedy was the simple fact that Rachel was there to stand beside him the entire time, through the rage that caused him to go off on her at the episodes beginning, to her attempts to get him ready for the funeral the day of, she was everything he needed - and didn't have - in that moment.
I will never forget that she didn't freak out on him when she found the weed. She just asked him if it was a good idea, which convicted him enough to demonstrate a false attempt to get rid of the weed. I think it was important that he didn't get rid of it completely because clearly a person doesn't change overnight, and it was necessary for the shenanigans that took place with Harvey later.
But focusing on the Mike and Rachel relationship, they have come a very long way overall from the encounter that seemingly destroyed any chance they had at being together in the future.
The only detraction from this path was the non-ring-wearing married childhood friend, Tess, who magically appeared at Grammie's service. Granted, Rachel cautioned Mike that they not continue their file room makeout session because people don't make the best decisions when they're reeling from grief - but that didn't mean he ought to booty call a married woman.
Really, really dumb move, Mike!
Another relationship that went to the next level was that of Mike and Harvey. One thing I have never seen, but hope very much to see again, is a stoned Harvey. That's the Harvey Specter that should come out to play more often!
From his munchies to his confession that he peed in Louis' office, he was a bag of unexpected fun at a particularly dark time. More shocking was his sudden realization that Hardman planted the CM Motors document.
Props to all you out there who predicted this way back. I know I was patting myself on the back for speculating this possibility on Twitter and in previous Round Tables.
Even better was their instantaneous pursuit to prove it, even as Louis tried to pin Harvey for failure to take a drug test.
What a position of power it was for Jessica, Harvey and Mike to mount a case against Hardman quickly enough to blindside him, just in time for the hearing. Well played, team, well played.
For all of Hardman's efforts to break them, he only proved they can't be broken.
My only complaint is that we didn't see them suffer a little longer. We waited all this time to see whether or not Hardman would take control and then he does so... only to have it ripped away again within effectively two days, which only played out to us in the course of 42 minutes cumulatively.
Like I mentioned before, I hated seeing him so smugly take over, but I think for the sake of growth of everyone overall, we could have stood to suffer a little longer.
And we may still. Notice that Hardman effectively told Jessica that this was not the last page of the story. Expect him to come back in some capacity - and in a big way - the next time we see him.
Lucky for us, the show has six more episodes and will return with in early 2013. With the cliffhanger of Rachel finding Mike with Tess, we don't have to wonder what her reaction might be, only how it will play out when the show comes back.
Other Hhghlights from the mid-season finale:
- Mike's words about Grammie at her service. Had me in tears thinking about my own Nana.
- Donna claiming that he mind was too busy being awesome to have those reports done.
- Stoned Mike and Harvey putting together that Hardman had set them all up.
- Jessica, Harvey and Donna sharing a drink to celebrate, with Louis on the outside looking in.
- Harvey going toe-to-toe with Tanner to find out whether or not that CM Motors document was a fake. Who should be disbarred for fraudulent conduct now, Tanner?
- Harvey revealing to Mike - but not the rest of us - what the can opener is all about.
Did you see it coming that Hardman really had planted that document, or that Jessica would take control again so quickly? Sound off now on this tremendous Suits finale.
C. Charles is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.