Suits Season 5 Episode 3

Suits Season 5 Episode 3

It is quite clear now that this season aims to tackling theme of ambition. Harvey is a character so defined by ambition it is almost eponymous. But so is Louis Litt, and also the new introduction, Jack Soloff, who is perhaps a more formidable threat. The core difference between Louis and Harvey though, as noted by Harvey in one of his more vehement moments, is the fact that Louis’s ambition is driven by a deep-set dissatisfaction with himself and who he is, which Harvey somewhat (obviously) misinterprets as greed. This often leads him to act without scruples. And perhaps these scrupleless moments of indiscretion further aggravate Louis’s deteriorating self esteem. It is an interesting complexity, which has been explored before, but never as adeptly or tragically as done so in this episode.

Louis does not get much screentime here, but the few seconds he does get are perhaps the most crucial. He is unable to detatch himself from Jack Soloff’s plans against Harvey. Then in the final scene – at night where Louis is working alone in his office – Harvey walks up and makes his usual poignant threat. But Louis’s silent response is neither his characteristic sobbing ‘that his friend doesn’t like him anymore’, nor his now equally characteristic loud vehemence of ‘standing up for himself’ when put down by Harvey. Rather his expression, although one of slight confusion, is mostly calm and resolute. Because he now knows where he lies. He is unsure of whether his relationship with Harvey can ever be repaired. He knows he cannot detatch himself from Soloff. Both his scruplelesness and Harvey’s opinion of him have resulted in his self-esteem being at an all time low. It is tragic. And the fact that he reacts only with silence, as if he has completely given up now, accentuates this.

Again this episode showcases a newfound cinematic flair. It is not flawless, but it is refreshing to see some visual ambition in the show. This is best exemplified by Harvey’s roleplaying scene with his therapist (who attempts to get to the bottom of his Donna-troubles by impersonating her). Reluctantly and unexpectedly Harvey pours out his aggression on her, and the pacing of the scene is brilliant. Perhaps it became a little bit too obvious and on-the-nose actually turning the therapist into Donna – it was already clear beforehand – but the narrative ambition there must be applauded.

And on the B-side, Mike uses his eidetic memory (almost forgot he still had that) and a little bit of flair to impress the judge of the case he is working on with Robert Zane and get their case moving in the right direction. But obviously, the real ‘judge’ is Robert. Perhaps I am being too harsh (this is the third review

straight in which I have berated this B-plot) but consider the question – Why is Mike doing all this? This entire plot is moving towards Mike winning Robert’s truest and most complete approval. Thus, it is not because Mike actually has the ‘compassion’ he claims to have for the penniless plaintiffs he represents. That professional flaw and intriguing (albeit overplayed) character trait has been brutally sacrificed for a soap-operatic personal arch. It needs an eulogy.

Suits Season 5 Episode 2

Suits Season 5 Episode 2

Fortunately, Mike’s B-plot does not get much screentime in this episode. Hope his wedding plans are going well – I don’t really care about them.

Who I care about is Harvey. It is obvious from the start that he is taking out his Donna-frustrations on Louis (and Jessica pointedly points it out), and what makes this even more painful is that it happens whilst Louis is at his butt-kissing best. Louis tries to butter up Harvey and in turn, Harvey slaps him right in the face. Consequently, Louis sides with our newcomer partner , Jack Soloff, in a war against Harvey. Obviously, as always, Louis and Harvey reconcile, but unfortunately, not before Louis can put a stop to the first steps of the plan to ruin Harvey. Harvey and Louis fit together like two imperfect puzzle pieces – Harvey is always angry with Louis when he is at his best, and happy with him when he is at his worst, and because Louis’ self-valuation is so reliant on what Harvey thinks of him, it is easy to sympathise with both characters.

New Suits recruit John Pyper-Ferguson as new character Jack Soloff is formidably good. He is well-dressed, immaculately bearded, with a slight touch of an intriguing sophisticated accent that almost makes him simultaneously reminiscent of both Edward Darby and Daniel Hardman. This, combined with his innate unflappability makes him seem to have the potential to be one of the best antagonists the show has had. In his assault on Harvey, his first point of attack seems to be Harvey’s wallet, and with Louis’ help, he manages to land the blow. We would have to wait till next episode to see how much it hurts.

Unlike the last episode, which seemed very character driven, this episode has started pushing the major players into play. We have established Harvey as our wounded hero, Soloff as the main antagonist, Louis as the inexplicable pawn, and Donna (or Harvey’s sanity – they are almost one and the same) as the prize. It has been hinted numerous times how Soloff’s affront on Harvey may indirectly put her at risk. Perhaps this would evolve into something more significant later on, but for now, the season plot has started to take shape, and so far it looks good

Well, on the B-plot front, it seems like Mike’s wedding plans are not going so well. He has now set himself the insurmountable task of impressing Rachel’s father and this further aggravates the problem noted in the previous episode

review. With profession-focussed shows (a la House of Cards, Homeland, Mad Men etc), it is great when personal lives are used to accentuate professional plots or highlight aspects of a character that would otherwise remain hidden if illuminated only by a professional light. But when the profession is now used as a tool for the development of personal lives as an end in themselves – where the personal lives have become the central focus over the professional – the show has lost the plot.

Suits Season 5 Episode 1

Suits Season 5 Episode 1

The first notable comment about this episode as a whole is that it seems too hermetically sealed. Fine, it is established quickly that Harvey has panic attacks – good. But it is established and resolved all too quickly. He both has the beginnings of the problem and the beginnings of its resolution in the first episode. There are hints of further plot developments to come, but as always, Suits seems to be rushing its character development again. However, the opener was good. Rarely is Suits a show that one could describe as visually ambitious – it does have its rare moments – and the season 5 opener of Harvey’s nightmare was one of them.

Towards the end of the last season, the general consensus may have been that Suits seems to be running out of ideas. Here, however, the show seems to have pulled one more cat out of a bag that’s rapidly running empty. This season aims to explore Harvey more, as he crumbles without the support-structure that is Donna by his side (and at Louis’ side instead) . I cannot help but perhaps draw parallels between this and my anticipation for the upcoming season of House of Cards whose main protagonist also just lost his partner in life and crime.

The best-executed moment of this episode is easily Harvey’s main confrontation with Donna. It is sumptuously intelligent and more layered than lasagne. Harvey is being childish in the way he treats Donna. In fact she more or less says so. She offers to give him a transitionary two-week grace period and he rudely scoffs at the idea. But the tone and dialogue of this scene is so perfectly pitched. Underlying his disregard and anger, and underlying his petulance, is a hint of the familial issues that have been elucidated in previous seasons – particularly his childhood being adversely affected by his cheating mother and the split of his parents. For Harvey, at least in this scene, the bonds that hold his team together is more than a mere employment contract, it is more than even mere loyalty, it is stronger than even marriage. It is a bond that he needs to never be broken, so as not to repeat his broken childhood. Like Harvey says, “As far as [he is] concerned, two adults who care about each other don’t move on at all”. It is deep and profound, which makes it even more aggravating that the show seems to be rushing the ensuing character development.

However, the notable thing about this cat is that it is Harvey-centric. Although its ramifications stretch to Louis and Donna too – which perhaps suggests that in the long-run Louis’ deep-set self-esteem issues may be confronted, it abjectly leaves Mike out. His story is now somewhat relegated to a B-plot and continues the trend becoming less professional and more romantic. In fact it verges upon soap-operatic. We only get a mere moment with him and Rachel, but that moment is more than enough to show where his plot will focus – his engagement and impending marriage with Rachel. As with any profession-focussed show, I guess sometimes indulging in the private lives of the characters is inevitable, perhaps beneficial. In fact when the wider professional ramifications of personal troubles are explored any show could verge on brilliant. For evidence, one could refer back to previous seasons of Suits or the aforementioned House of Cards. But when personal lives are explored for their sake and their sake alone, which

Mike’s plot seems to be now, it detracts from the show. I mean, the show is still called Suits, not Wedding Planner’s Diaries, right?

In conclusion, the season premiere is halfway promising – promising us Harvey like we have never seen him before and a more confident deconstruction of who are now the three most interesting characters. And the other half unfortunately continues in the same soap-operatic trend of the previous few seasons concerning itself with Mike’s romantic endeavours. It is sad that what was Suits’ greatest strength at the start (Mike’s character arch) has now evolved to be perhaps its greatest weakness. Hopefully the ensuing episodes will give Mike’s B-plot just as little runtime as it was given in this episode.