Whether under oath or in conversation - or should we say argument? - the grand total of all associate exchanges was one big "Sucker Punch" in one form or another on Suits this week.
Indeed, Pearson/Hardman is under attack. Not only from the outside, but from the inside as well.
Tonight marked what I hope was the absolute re-education of Harvey Specter. In some ways, I believe that he truly was re-educated. He finally removed the blinders and saw all the people who went to bat for him and all the suffering they had endured for doing so. His decision to vote with the half of the partners who settled demonstrated that Harvey does, in fact, care about other people.
The opportunity that recognition allowed, however, was quite the unintended consequence. Then again, Hardman is who he is. He's not the repentant guy we all might have wished him to be. That said, you can win a battle and still lose the war. In order for this firm to even hope to return to its former glory, it's going to have to win both. That's quite a feat when one of the managing partners is standing squarely in your path.
I thought the decision to execute a mock trial to get a feel for what might go down in court played a crucial role for everything that takes place from here on out. We learned a lot during this trial about how far people are willing to go, and even what the true dynamics of their relationships are, and it all took place in the court of associate opinion.
From Louis' contempt for Harvey and his salary... to the revelation that there's more feeling than meets the eye to Harvey Specter... to just exactly how Donna feels about her current situation, there is no denying that Pearson/Hardman is a broken place in desperate need of reconciliation. This mock trial gave everyone the opportunity to challenge, push and even humiliate their fellow co-workers under the guise of testing the waters to their limit like Tanner would no doubt do in court.
I've always said that divide and conquer was a simply but effective strategy. It's the exact strategy that Hardman has invoked by calling a formal partner meeting to discuss Jessica's fitness to be the head of the firm. Not only did Hardman feed off of Louis' need to move higher on the pay scale to undermine Jessica and Harvey, he also fed off of Mike's need to exonerate Harvey by nailing Tanner to a wall with some sort of evidence of misconduct to pursue his own agenda.
The real claws are coming out, and the only way to clip them is to regroup and form a united front.
Problem is, Hardman's place on the bench gave him a front row seat to the airing of the Post-Hardman firm's dirty laundry and all its weaknesses. Now he knows everything he needs to and can exploit it to the fullest.
Pearson/Hardman truly is at war.
What really made this episode were all of the intricate and well-played nuances to every relationship at the firm, past and present.
Jacinda Barrett made an appearance as Zoe, a jury consultant who resigned from Pearson/Hardman a few years ago. I loved her accent and the way she carried herself, holding steadfast in matching every one of Harvey's well-crafted charms.I think it was important that people got to know that Harvey was capable of caring about other people, and I was glad she was able to bring that out.
What I was both intrigued and disheartened to watch were all the sequences that involved Donna. She looked great in street clothes and that summer dress, I just wish we could have seen her in them during happier times.
It was critical that we got a full reaction from Donna about her firing from the firm. It later explained her antagonism towards Mike and her hurt over not being saved like Harvey had managed to do for Mike. She has every right to be angry. I would have been too if I was in her position. She deserved it for completely destroying a document, but Harvey really seemed paralyzed when it came to saving Donna, and it was likely because he was too busy trying to save himself.
Louis cornering her on the stand was probably the most epic moment at the trial. I really wish we would have gotten her answer. I just wanna know how it was the Louis knew about what happened between her and her ex-boyfriend. I have a hard time believing that Norma would have volunteered that information. Wouldn't that be against Secretary/Girl Code?
Similarly, I am intrigued by Louis' reference to her as "that beautiful woman in there" when he was yelling at Harvey. Could Louis truly have feelings for Donna or was that simply a reference made to make Harvey feel even worse about what he'd allowed to happen to her as a result of his actions?
Oddly enough, it was in these heated moments between them that I got the most distinct sense of the chemistry that was and/or is still brewing between Harvey and Donna. I fully recognize that this is not the time, and know that the writers feel the same way, but I you can't help but wonder where all that chemistry came from? Perhaps next week we might get our answer.
Big side-note/highlight that couldn't go without discussion from this episode was Louis hooking up Mike to a lie detector. What a crazy intense moment that was! He almost got caught, until he modified his statement to say that he had a diploma from Harvard Law. That was a cool and epically calculated response that saved him from getting caught.... this time.
Highlights from the episode that stood alone:
- Rachel taking the stand in Donna's place.
- Rachel "Pleading the Fifth" so strongly on Donna's behalf.
- Mike calling Harvey out for his ungratefulness towards everyone bending over backwards to help him.
- Everyone getting "Litt Up" courtesy of their least-favorite associate Louis Litt.
- Louis' passive aggressive interrogation of Jessica Pearson.
- Jessica dishing it right back out to Louis.
- Louis going completely off on Harvey and telling Harvey the whole fiasco was his fault. Unfortunately, Louis is completely right!
- Everyone being on trial this week in one way or another.
This was probably the best episodes of Suits to date for so many reasons. Although that declaration may be challenged next week when the flashback installment airs.
What do you think we'll learn about our favorite and fabulous characters in that flashback?
C. Charles is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.