Television Review – Suits 9.09 “Thunder Away” – as we near the end, Suits delivers another strong, satisfying episode

This week we’ve reached the penultimate episode of Suits. I hate that I’m having to write that sentence. I’m still a little in denial. Yet, before we look ahead to the finale, through episode 9.09 the writers and cast treated us to one of my favourite episodes of the season, if not the series, as the whole Suits family came together to try and rid themselves of Faye, while Harvey tried to deal with his grief, following 9.08’s heartbreaking loss.

Okay, let’s get in to the detail

Watching Harvey Specter grieve for his mother made everyone cry, right?

I maintain that Gabriel Macht doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his performance in Suits. He’s such a complex, richly textured character and this week truly highlighted how much he’s changed over the years, in large part due to him learning to let people in to his life and allow himself to be vulnerable and not see it as a weakness. Thunder Away also provided another storyline for Gabriel Macht to shine, as we watched Harvey try and come to terms with his mother’s death.

I was worried that with so little time left, it would be glossed over, either with a time jump of a few weeks, or by the need to move the story along, cutting short the time given to Harvey’s emotional state. Thankfully, writer Genevieve Sparling did a wonderful job of weaving Harvey’s pain through the storyline. Yes, there were moments he seemed his usual self, yet these were quickly followed by moments where his raw emotions caused him to lash out and struggle to hold himself together (poor Katrina was really in the wrong place at the wrong time). It was a very authentic portrayal of someone dealing with loss, which I’m sure many viewers could relate to and Macht delivered in each and every scene.

The heartbreaking eulogy at the funeral, where he reflected on how his mother had been there for him and how he wished he’d realised sooner, was so difficult to watch (especially as it also caused me to think back to the scene in The Painting when we saw him trying to deal with his father’s loss, as his mother gave the eulogy). Then there was the moment Harvey saw Mike standing at the back of the mourners, where gratitude mixed in with his grief in such a real way. The fact so many friends were there for him was so different from his father’s funeral too, again highlighting how he has let people in over the years. Then there was the moment he first looks in the envelope his brother gives to him. It’s such a delicate performance that not many actors could deliver so beautifully – the way he reacts to seeing what’s inside, trying not to break down while conveying to Marcus that he isn’t able to talk about it.

Let’s all hope that this is the last of the sadness for this wonderful character and as we know that he now has a ring in his pocket, it seems that he may finally be able to find some much deserved happiness.

……..which leads me to something that needed its own section!

Harvey has an engagement ring! I can’t quite believe it!

This is not a drill folks! Harvey Specter has an engagement ring for the woman he loves! I admit, I wasn’t sure what Darvey content we’d get this season, but I had been hoping for a proposal at the very least and now it looks like that’s a certainty for the finale!!

The moment Marcus gave him the envelope (it was so lovely to have Billy Miller back one more time), I knew what would be inside it and the scene in which Harvey read the last words he’d ever hear from his mother, while holding the ring she had hoped to pass on to him for the woman he loved, was so beautifully scripted and acted. Yet again, Gabriel Macht gave a performance that was so relatable, as sadness, mixed with a smile on knowing how much Lily wanted to meet his someone special, passed across his face in those few seconds. Plus, I appreciated the acknowledgement by the script of the fans’ excitement at the thought of seeing Donna meet Lily, through Harvey telling his brother they’d been making plans, combined with his mother’s own words. It made the fact we were never able to enjoy this moment a little easier to bear.

The Harvey / Louis relationship continues to be one of the highlights of Suits for me

I’ve said in previous reviews how much I love the evolution of Harvey’s relationship with Louis. We’ve been through so many ups and downs with them and yet this week, we reached the moment Louis Litt had been waiting for – for Harvey to acknowledge that he loves him. In a way, my reaction was similar to Louis’s. As Harvey declared Louis was someone he loved, I couldn’t stop smiling and Louis’s immediate reaction, looking up in surprise and joy was some superb acting by Rick Hoffman.

Scenes of these two together are always so loaded with history and 9.09’s moment in the bullpen was one of my favourites. There was humour, affection and even an attempt to quote movies (until Louis ran out of knowledge) and it was a scene in particular that reminded just how much I love these characters and how much I will miss them.

It was a tough week for Samantha, but her and Mike make quite a team!

Mike may have acted like a jerk in 9.05 (like Samantha, I too was raging when he called her second fiddle!), but I was thrilled he came to the funeral to lend his support to his friend, especially as the one person who understands what it’s like to lose both parents. Yet, that wasn’t all he was back for in 9.09, as he teamed up with Samantha to try and rid the Suits world of Faye Richardson, who has become more and more horrid as the weeks have passed. Having buried the hatchet, they certainly made a strong team and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one conflicted watching the court room scenes. I was rooting for them, while also knowing that Harvey and Louis winning would hopefully get Faye out once and for all (I still don’t totally trust Faye’s word though).

Having Harvey and Louis represent a woman they can’t stand, while also pitting them against their close friends (all while Harvey struggles to grieve) made for fantastic television. I had no idea where the episode would go and that kept the tension from start to end. Plus, having this follow on from the last couple of weeks, in which we’ve seen Samantha go on a road trip with Harvey and then support Louis when he needed to help his sister made it feel all the more cruel for her. Having seen her and Louis working together last week, it made his brutal attack on her in court all the more difficult to watch, yet also created some wonderful drama. I remember thinking how cruel Louis was during Donna’s mock trial in season 2, but he took that to a whole other level against Samantha.

Donna reminds Faye that no one hurts Harvey and gets away with it!

Donna was the instigator of the plot to try and remove Faye, determined to try and bring some stability back in to their lives, especially at a time when Harvey was coming to terms with such a profound loss. Not only that, but it was also Donna who reached out to Mike, knowing Harvey needed him and would clearly feel unable to ask while they were against each other in court. Yet, my favourite Donna moment this week had to be when she towered over Faye and let her know she’d be coming for her if she hurt Harvey. It was such a powerful moment between these two women and Sarah Rafferty nailed it!

Katrina makes a mistake that costs her everything

Out of all the main characters on Suits in season nine, Katrina has been the one least likely to cross lines. She’s been clear about the type of lawyer she wants to be and so it was difficult to see her crumble on being fired by Faye towards the end of the episode. After being unfairly kept out of the loop this week, it was Katrina who unknowingly made Louis and Harvey’s lives harder, by helping Mike and Samantha. Her actions were understandable. If I’d had to see Louis so cruelly go after Samantha in court, without any explanation as to why it was necessary, I’d have also felt the need to help. Yet, despite her honesty, Faye still refused to change her pattern of behaviour, instead firing yet another member of the firm. Now it’s two jobs they need to save next week!

So much nostalgia!

With two episodes left, I fully expected the Suits writers to start ramping up the nostalgia this week and I wasn’t disappointed. We had movie quotes, Harvey and Mike reflecting on the good old days, the duck painting proudly hanging in Harvey’s apartment, a reference to the can-opener, a reference to Louis’s mankini and the best one of all – Donna’s line about where it all began – Harvey taking on a fake lawyer!

Looking ahead – one last time….

I still can’t quite believe we’ve reached this point, as we wait for the finale of Suits and have one last opportunity to speculate about what might happen in the finale, which is named “One Last Con”.

First things first, I’m aware of the HUGE spoilers out in the world, but in case anyone reading this review isn’t aware of them, I’m not mentioning them! That seems fairer to me.

So that aside, what do we know? With all the personal storyline elements that need to be included in a satisfying way, I’m assuming the Faye storyline will be dealt with pretty quickly, although I’ve still no idea how that’ll conclude. Will Mike’s testimony somehow mean Samantha loses in court, but somehow keeps her reputation, allowing her to rejoin the team? And what’s the One Last Con of the title that Mike refers to in the promo? He isn’t in the loop on the deal with Faye, so is this personal in nature instead of work-related?

Faye out of the way, we have to cover Louis and Sheilas’s wedding, Harvey and Donna’s engagement, Katrina’s unemployment and the setting of the foundations for the future, so we know where our characters are likely going in their lives once they leave the screen. Will Donna and Harvey move to Seattle to join Mike and Rachel, as was raised in the last scene this week? Or maybe Boston to be closer to Marcus? Will we see Baby Litt? Will Jessica appear? Will Rachel appear? Okay, I know the last one is clearly not going to happen (no matter how much I’d love to just hear her voice on the phone)! Yes, the finale is confirmed to be a little longer in length, but that’s still a hell of a lot of plot to get through!

So far, season 9 has been one of the strongest of the series and I have all my fingers crossed that the writers have found a way to bring the series to a close in a satisfying way, that makes me laugh and cry. Let’s face it, I’m going to cry whatever happens – it’s the last episode of Suits for goodness sake!

I’ll see you all here in a few days for one last review. We can console each other!

The series finale of Suits, episode 9.10 “One Last Con” airs on Wednesday night in the USA on USA Network and will be available in the UK on Friday via Netflix. You can watch the promo here: https://youtu.be/RvUmWNJUiIA

(All screenshots thanks to Suits USA / USA Network)

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