Suits Season 5 Episode 10

suits season 5 episode 10

Episode 9 was deeply rooted in pride and consequently, the summer finale was biblical, driven by flashbacks, self-fulfilling prophecies, and gravitas.For some, one of the drawbacks of this episode may be its over reliance on flashbacks. However, in my opinion, it was one of the strengths. The episode may have lacked some thrust – considering the plot only lasted a few hours, but it did not lack any intensity or substance.At the start, Soloff calls an emergency meeting to oust Jessica as managing partner of Person Specter Litt. It is unclear whether he actually does this begrudgingly due to Hardman’s blackmail or genuinely. Either way it may not really matter after Jessica’s threat to fire him regardless in the last episode. Perhaps that was misguided.

However the threat of the impending vote that may not go in Jessica’s way actually gives the show an opportunity to show how much the firm actually means to Jessica – and how much she has personally invested in it. With a flashback. It seems her commitment to the firm was actually a cause for her divorce (when she literally brought work home by considering the idea of young Harvey living in with her). Effectively, her work life is her personal life, and she is about to lose it. This is a rare moment when we actually see Jessica fearful. In typical Suits fashion, she violently sweeps her desk – but this in fact wasn’t the truest representation of her character. Rather the best moment was two seconds earlier during a little tete-a-tete with Louis.

For a brief moment, Jessica believes she may have enough people on her side to win the vote, until Louis comes in with bad news. Hardman and his unlimited funds (through Forsman) threatens to take over Louis’s sisters company unless he votes otherwise. As Donna notes, if it was anyone else Louis would not have cared, but this was his sister, his only sibling, his family. He had to vote against. And in Jessica’s most nuanced moment of acting, she expressed poise, tears disappointment and a rare understanding for Louis, and perhaps one of the sweetest lines of the show. “No matter how this turns out, Pearson would always consider Litt her partner”. This was perhaps Jessica’s most telling moment in the entire show. And Louis’s too perhaps – because his internal conflict shows how much he cares for the firm. Regarding both characters, it was a perfect episode.

Last episode, Harvey was faced with a decision, quit or get Jessica ousted. So he runs to his therapist. That’s where he spends most of this episode – combined with flashbacks of him discovering his mother cheating. This episode manages to find some beautifully convoluted connection between Harvey’s fears from that incident and the current proceedings to grant his character some deeper nuance. And somehow it works. In him eventually telling his father, he splits up his family to his younger brothers detriment and he feels he was not strong enough and that’s why he told his father. Essentially, he lay down so he lost, and he is afraid of doing the same thing here. If he lays down for Forsman, it may seem like the right thing to do, but he will lose out. This in fact defines Harvey so completely – it explains his stoic emotionlessness and arrogance. Obviously, as the therapist points out, his logic is flawed, and he eventually steps down in order to save Jessica.

And now on to Mike.

Mike may have seemed prideful in the last episode but it seems in truth he was actually conflicted about the burden of his secret. That deep set conflict perhaps now became clear after his run-ins with his ex-girlfriend and Trevor in the last two episodes. In this episode he goes to see a priest who is established, through another series of flashbacks, as someone who took it upon himself to guide Mike upon the loss of his parents. His scenes are particularly emotional – how he lost all discipline and faith due to their deaths but nonetheless the priest and his grandmother still protected him and loved him against his preferences. He visits the priest because he is afraid that Rachel will leave him if he quits and no longer is the glorious lawyer he once was. I guess perhaps it is a legitimate fear, but the priest convinces him to have faith in Rachel – to believe that she will always be there because she loves him, like the priest and his grandmother was for him (and, perhaps an unspoken connection, like God is for all of us). So consequently, Mike returns and quits his job.

And then, as he leaves, he gets arrested for fraud.

(and I couldn’t be happier)

This raises lots of questions about how the show will proceed. Who told on him? What happens next? Could they just give us lots of options but no concrete answer a la Sherlock? Or will they pull in some underwhelmingly random character with an apparent grudge from first season a la The Mentalist? And what does Mike’s future hold? How will it affect his old cases? And all Pearson Specter Litt other cases? And clientele? And reputation? And will Jessica, Harvey, and Louis be seen as complicit and jointly liable? And what about hottie-hot-hot-hacker-babe that gave him his fake forged certificate in back in Season 1? And how will Rachel survive? And the firm? Could this be some ploy by Hardman to get rid of his opposition within the firm in one fell swoop and pick up the scraps? Could this be what he was ‘blackmailing’ Soloff with and he was simply trying to protect the firm from ruination by actually helping Hardman? But then how could Hardman possibly have found out? And why didn’t Soloff just come to Jessica for help? Or could it be Rachel’s mum who found out and did this because she suspects Mike has Rachel in his fist? But then what of Robert Zane? So much speculation! So much speculation! And we have 5 months before Suits returns!!!

However, two things can be said with utmost certainty. This episode and last episode worked as a one two punch delivering the best of the show as a whole ever – the previous episode with its relentless intensity and this one with its structured deconstruction of its core characters. It’s reliance on flashbacks was a necessary good, and whatever the episode may be said to have lost in urgency, it more than gained in gravity. And secondly… I haven’t been this invested in the show in a long time.

This brings us to a break in season 5, find out when Suits will be returning.

Suits Season 5 Episode 9

suits season 5 episode 9

This episode shifts focus from Harvey’s demise. Yes it is still imminent, perhaps, but his tumble is more aggressive now, because it is pushed on by the returning devil Daniel Hardman. However, his fall isn’t driven by his psychological fragility anymore. The stakes have been risen. And now, Harvey isn’t the only one threatened. Jessica is too.

Soloff is Hardman’s puppet – whether voluntarily or coerced is unclear but nonetheless he is effective. And through the entire season so far he has planted seeds that are now coming to fruition. He has painted Harvey as a character who only cares about money (which is in fact true). He has painted Jessica as a character who only cares about Harvey (which is perhaps true – and best illustrated by how poorly she treats Louis in contrast). And, with Hardman’s help, he has brought financial opportunities that will make everyone else rich, but Jessica and Harvey’s distrust would make them unwilling to accept. He has effectively segregated, alienated, and belittled the authority and respect of Harvey and Jessica. All Jessica can do is to say with her usual vehemence that Hardman “will not step foot into the firm”. In the very next scene, Hardman walks right through the firm, posturing, and declaring that he is now able to steal all of Pearson Specter Litt’s clients one by one and there’s nothing Jessica and Harvey can do about it until fear drives all the other partners to reinstate him as Managing Director.

And the reason why this is the best episode of the season so far is that this is true. The entire episode is the team futilely trying to one-up Hardman’s mystery buyer. But it turns out that they cannot, because Hardman’s mystery buyer is not driven by any commercial interest. He has infinitely deep pockets and he is driven by only one motive – spite for Harvey. This mystery buyer is Forsman.

Therefore, it seems the only way to stop Hardman is if Harvey steps down. And if Harvey doesn’t, Hardman wins, takes over the firm, and Jessica steps down.

Mike too is under fire. As seen in the previous episode, his dark secret has reared its head again. But it is not same old same old, because he is no longer the victim of his secret. Rachel is. This point was established in the previous episode and was driven home here. She can’t have the wedding that she always wanted because it risks making Mike’s secret public. And she has to lie unconvincingly to her overly perceptive and caring mother (the parent to which she is closest to). In a touching, emotive, but somewhat sappy scene, Rachel opines that she would forego all her dreams and her relationship with her mother to be with Mike forever. That is sweet, but that isn’t the point, as this episode expertly shows.

It is now clear that Mike is an utterly selfish character. All he has to do is to quit and he is scott free and he and Rachel can live happily ever after. His ex girlfriend was perhaps too morbid when she suggested his only out was to split up from Rachel. Trevor (remember him – last seen in Season 2 – and in flashbacks in 3) returns in a brilliant cameo reminding Mike that he is still living as a criminal and all he has to do is to quit, before it becomes too much. It is very near so. His secret has already become a shaft in Rachel’s relationship with her mother (and has ruined her somewhat puerile dreams of a Disney-esque wedding). However, Mike scoffs at Trevor’s suggestion. Why? Previous seasons established that perhaps it is the only thing he is good at (at least as opposed to investment banking, although that is very hard to believe), and that he craves Harvey too much. Their bromance is way too strong. However in the final face off with Trevor, one more reason is perhaps subtly suggested. It is suggested through omission, through the fact that Mike gives no reasons to back up his scoffing away Trevor’s suggestion, but nonetheless remains stoic. Pride. Mike can’t quit because he doesn’t quit. He is too good to quit. He will not be beaten by some secret. He is good enough to succeed in living his lie. He is prideful.

And that is the point of this episode. The true trade off of Mike’s secret isn’t Rachel’s dreams, family, and happiness. Rather the trade off is his job at Pearson Specter Litt. If Mike quits, Rachel can have everything she wants perhaps. And he will have her. And they will live happily ever after. But Mike’s pride won’t let him. He is prideful. Just for a second, I was left hoping his fall would be biblical.

The next episode is the summer finale, and the gravity couldn’t be greater. Who would be left standing Harvey, Jessica, or Mike? And you know what’s great – we can’t imagine a way all three would.

This is the penultimate episode before the mid-season break. Keep track of when the next episodes will be airing.

Suits Season 5 Episode 8

suits season 5 episode 8

Mike takes the promotion. Not that Jessica wants him to. It is clear that him taking the promotion puts him, and his secret, in the spotlight – but him rejecting the promotion raises questions too. So Mike has no choice but to take the promotion. And his secret it outed in his first case.

But before we discuss that, let’s talk about Harvey. Remember how calm episode 6 was in his absence. In contrast, this episode is tense because of him. He negatively affects everyone in the episode. Donna is put in a tough position between Louis and him. Mike is used as a bait. In fact, the fact that Mike’s secret is out again could be traced back to Harvey. Jessica’s authority is undermined. And Louis is inconsolable. All because of Harvey.

However Harvey makes a sincere apology to Louis and it looks as if he gets away with it again until it turns out that Louis is playing him to get him suspended for months. And in fact we do feel that that may be the best thing for the firm. Obviously, being Louis, at Donna’s impetus, he changes his mind again when it’s too late – the night before the vote to suspend Harvey is to be made.

It is quite an interesting complex developing. Harvey needs to be punished and humbled, even if that humbling is self-inflicted. In fact Soloff, in one of his most genuine moments, tells Harvey this point blank. And as an audience, we don’t mind seeing that happening. But we do not want the relationships in the firm to be broken beyond repair. And Harvey and Louis are in a very bad place now. Furthermore we are seeing how Jessica is truly a flawed maternal figure for both Louis and Harvey – with her favouritism reaching extremes. Ultimately we need Harvey to be brought down a peg or two, but not so much that he topples over everyone around him.

Mike decides to use Rachel as his associate on his first case but she ends up doing all the work because the opposing counsel happens to be Mike’s ex girlfriend who would know his secret if she finds out he works there. Obviously she finds out. Ultimately, Mikes secret has become a trope we’re kinda tired of now. Like Superman and Kryptonite. Like a bug buzzing in your ear. It’s something that nothing can be done about, so it’s very irritating… usually. But not here. Because of the hard truths. The ex-girlfriend explains to Mike the people he is actually damaging with his secret, most importantly Rachel (who has an intense scene begging the ex not to report Mike to the DA). The truth is that Mike, in maintaining his secret, is selfish and self-serving. This needed to be pointed out to him and now it has. It will be interesting to see where they go from here now.

Soloff too has an intense scene, although it is a bit ambiguous. It seems Hardman may be blackmailing him to work against the firms interests. No details has been given, but he smashes shit up, so at least the gravity has been established. In that, the scene was successful – I am curious.

Suits Season 5 Episode 7

suits season 5 episode 7
And this is perhaps where the final tumble of Harvey begins. At the end of this episode, Harvey and Louis engage in a bit of fisticuffs. Perhaps that is an understatement. Harvey gives him a black eye and uses him to smash a coffee table, without Louis even being able to land a shove. And the episode makes it clear that although Harvey is the one standing at the end of the fight, this is simultaneously a professional and personal fall. This is one thing Harvey can’t get away with. Jessica cannot support him. And Louis is now (violently) estranged not because he did some “underhanded shit”, but because Harvey can’t respect him and keep his junk in his pants.The most poignant point in this episode however were the parallels drawn between Harvey and his mother, especially with his relationship with Louis and Donna. Obviously Donna knows Harvey slept with Louis’s sister against his wishes, and Harvey, against her wishes forces her to keep it secret. The same way young Harvey knew his mum cheated on his dad and forced him to keep it secret. The therapist points out this parallel which Harvey vehemently denies. Unfortunately he doesn’t realise until it is too late. Hopefully he won’t be able to just apologise his way out of this one the way he did with the therapist in the previous episode.

On the other side of the office, Mike and Soloff work together, and they actually make a good team, although a unique one where they manipulate each other to get the best out of each other. In fact it works so well that Mike gets recommended for junior partner – a promotion which he obviously cannot take?

Soloff somehow has actually managed to become a fairly likeable person, although it has now been made known that he is under Hardman’s wing. However the truth is not so clear. He once was cohorts with Hardman but wishes to be no more. But as we all know now, it is not so easy to cut yourself off from Hardman. Perhaps Soloff is not really the prime antagonist in this episode. It seems he may just be a drawbridge which Hardman can use to invade the castle. This makes him a little bit more sympathetic. And seeing how well he gets along with Mike even more so. Furthermore, it seems his recommendation was genuine. It’s a shame Mike can’t take the promotion.

Suits Season 5 Episode 6

suits season 5 episode 6
There was not much tense drama in this episode. There wasn’t much Harvey either. Are the two equivalent?
However, in the absence of drama, most of the characters had very relaxed very comic moments that still made this episode particularly enjoyable. Louis, with his usual lack of social guile, indulges in a bit of Japanese cultural appropriation in order to close a client which, if not for his genuineness, would have been a poor move. However, it worked. I suspect this is the closest you may ever get to a political statement from Suits. It was not particularly overt, and if it was so that would have been brash, on the nose, and undermine the comedy of the scene. It was a perfectly pitched scene, which was Classic Louis, and classically funny. 
Donna, being Donna, takes charge of getting Mike and Rachel the most prestigious venue for their wedding. It seems she may have bitten off more than she can chew though – which Gretchen notices. This is their first scene together and it’s nice to see their battle of wits and mutual respect, but Donna’s best has to be when she puts on a French accent to convince the couple who booked the venue to change their booking. It’s bold. It’s brazen. It’s Donna.
The notable thing is how in both scenes, as with most of the episode, Harvey is conspicuously absent. This is perhaps the first step in Suits crafting Harvey’s fall. So far we’ve seen Harvey broken. Now we’re seeing Harvey as unneeded. It will be interesting to see where this leads.
Harvey does feature in this episode though. The episode actually opens with a flashback to where he, as a kid, catches his cheating mother, perhaps just driving home the point that Harvey’s familial troubles may be the centre of his psychological ones. This was a point reached at the end of the last episode.
However, his current case actually sees his therapist coming in as a witness to testify against an ‘innocent’ man with information that would otherwise have been privileged. In order to undermine his testimony, he betrays her trust by using a part of her backstory she told him in confidence. It’s sad. It’s tense. It’s Harvey.
As usual, a simple charming apology gets him back in her good graces. This is so typical it is actually annoying. Personally, I’m tired of seeing Harvey talk his way out of every thing. It may be just me, but I’m actually keen to see his fall. And that may be the best success of the season thus far. He has undeserved privileges. He has Jessica’s unwavering bias. And he comes with such a burden that although we do sympathise with him and his psychological troubles, we almost implore his professional demise. 


Suits Season 5 Episode 5

suits season 5 episode 5

Suits has perhaps pulled off a really slick trick just as the mid season lull is starting to kick in. In this episode, we see Louis at his funniest and yet he is not the sideshow. Rather, he is the A-story and the episode still seems to carry as much gravitas as any other, or even more so.

The episode starts off with Louis happy that his relationship with Harvey is repaired. So happy that he is hell-bent on escorting one of the ladies of the firm on their “virginal” mudding session. It is shamelessly hilarious. However, on a more serious note, he still wants to rewind the damage he has done, so, characteristically, he attempts to do some “underhanded shit” (Jessica has a wonderful way with words) – pretending to sign a big client and split the earnings with Soloff so that he will withdraw the vote that cut Harvey’s pay. And characteristically… he fails. In that failure however we kind of get a taste of the quality antagonist that Soloff might shape up to be. He not only deftly sees through Louis’s ploy, he manipulates him completely, eventually locking the vote for 12 months. Fortunately, Jessica comes in like a deus ex machina and resolves the situation, but this is the first face-off between the two and we get the sense that this is where the main battle will eventually be fought. Pearson v Soloff looks like it may be a dramatic one.

On the Harvey front, a ghost from the past comes back to taunt him. In the same cinematic and narrative ambition that has somewhat characterised this season thus far, his plot line is told in a non-linear fashion. The ghost from the past is Travis Tanner (evil-Harvey from previous seasons). Harvey sees him in bed with Donna. This is a dream however, resulting from his anxiety about his current case in which he is up against Tanner. But now “apparently” Tanner has turned good. All evidence points to that, but Harvey still does not believe him and his hatred for Travis drives him to extremes. However, the important thing here is that Mike sees the extremes he is driven to. In the previous episode, Mike witnessed Harvey have a panic attack. As a result, he now doubts Harvey’s state of mind and judgement. Eventually, by convincing Travis to cut himself out of the case, he gets Harvey to ultimately make the right decision, but the question still stands – can Mike trust Harvey in the state he is in? As a result of the dream though, Harvey is again seeing his therapist, who psychoanalyses him based on both the dream and the case that preceded it. She eventually interprets his dream – that it was not Donna he saw, but his mother. And on that bombshell, we cut to black.

Solidly in mid season now, the main plot arches and character dynamics are starting to take shape. The trust between Harvey and Mike isn’t as solid as it could be. Soloff is poising himself to soon be in the perfect position to face off against Jessica. Louis’s lack of wit and scruples means that, although he is in a good place with Harvey Donna and Jessica now, we do not know how long that would last. The crux of Harvey’s psychological problems has now been pointed out as not Donna, but rather, his mother – a point that was made in a previous review. And all this is achieved with little lull in the charming comedy that makes the show loved by loads.

Fortunately, the show has moved away from Mike and Rachel’s nuptials.

Suits Season 5 Episode 4

Suits Season 5 Episode 4
Let’s talk about Mike. To be fair, that was the A-side this week.

To recap… Mike is working on a charitable human-interest case with Robert Zane in order to get to know him better and vice versa. In essence, he is trying to get his future father-in-law’s truest approval. It sounds like an incredibly soap-operatic plot – and it has been so far… up until this episode. Robert Zane accepts a menial settlement which will in turn raise the stock price of another Zane client. This raises all sorts of concerns for Mike – does Robert not care for his clients; is Robert lazy; is Robert unethical and criminal; can Robert be trusted. As a result, he takes his concerns to Jessica (in what I must note is perhaps the rudest and most disrespectful way possible – they have a shouting match) and it is seen that not only has his altruistic character trait still not been resolved yet, but also he is at first unwilling to give Robert the same benefit of doubt that was given to him (when it was first discovered that he was a fraud).

It is already clear how much better this plot arch has become. It is complex and character driven. We find out more about the tri-partite relationship between Jessica, Mike, and Robert (and by extension Rachel). It is not about driving a personal story – it still remains unclear if Mike truly has Robert’s approval as their relationship has not really changed massively. It is about fleshing out aspects of characters that haven’t been done so far. Unfortunately, this was a little stunted by how convoluted the case became and how quickly its facts were skirted over. However the important points were clear: Robert is not unethical, criminal, lazy, or uncaring, Mike now understands that he can trust Robert and give him the benefit of the doubt, and Robert may be beginning to understand that he can do the same for Mike.

Therefore, in that regard, this plot arch was actually pleasing this week.

On Harvey’s side of the office, we had some equally interesting developments. First and foremost, we get to meet Louis’s sister (Esther) and she’s HOT. And nothing like Louis at all. Obviously Harvey can’t keep his hands off her, both before and after he finds out she is Louis’s sister. Esther uses Louis to get Harvey to represent her in her divorce proceedings. Her husband claims they had a verbal contract promising him 50% of her company in lieu of him going to Stanford Medical. She is willing to go so far as to perjure herself to ensure this doesn’t happen. Harvey deftly removes any possibility of that. It transpires that the husband did give up his time to take care of the children and family whist Esther focused solely on her business. However it is clear by the end that this is simply an analogy of Harvey’s divorce with Donna – Donna being the party that has given up all the time and Harvey being the opaque, insensitive, and hurt Esther. So obviously through this case he realises he needs to reconcile with Donna, and he does so. It is the usual Suits formula and it works alright here.

There is a slight twist to the formula this time though – Louis’s insecurities. He believes Harvey is trying to screw (over) his sister to get to him. However Harvey is actually trying to do right by Esther to bury the hatchet with Louis. Eventually, with Donna’s help, Louis sees the light. The difference this brings is subtle and important – it is the first time Louis’s deep-set insecurities are being challenged and tackled. He delivers an emotive monologue close to the end demonstrating that they in fact go all the way back to his childhood. Hopefully, the emancipation of Louis Litt will not end in this episode and we will continue to see him unfurl and evolve.

In conclusion, aside from a few smatterings of positive character development, particularly with Louis and Mike, this was all in all a rather pedestrian (and slightly convoluted) episode. Nonetheless, one can still see a positive trend forming.

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.