Television Review – Suits 9.03 “Windmills” – An episode of decisions, conflicts and a Darvey date!

Following last week’s arrival of Faye Richardson and the demotion of Louis from Managing Partner, I was excited to see where the characters would find themselves this week. I may have preferred 9.01 and 9.02 to this episode, story-wise, but the good news is that there was a great deal included in this week’s instalment, some of which may (or may not) drop hints of what else could be coming up in the remaining seven episodes.

One last time behind the Suits camera for Gabriel Macht

This episode marks the final time Gabriel Macht will step behind the camera to direct on Suits. Having already directed some of my earlier favourite episodes (especially 4.11), this week again highlighted that he has a superb eye for making this show look great on screen. It also can’t be easy to direct yourself and yet this episode Macht was in the position of having to direct 13 versions of himself, thanks to Louis’s hilarious dream! Hopefully we’ll see him stepping behind the camera again on future projects.

Harvey and Donna continue to navigate their new relationship and it is fantastic to watch

I’ve always been of the view that the notion that putting together a couple in a series would ruin their relationship, taking all the tension out of it, was ridiculous and it’s fantastic to see that the Suits writing team have embraced Donna and Harvey’s romance. What I love most about this, is that because we have a whole ten episodes to watch it develop there’s time to see some very real scenarios play out between our favourite TV couple.

The season premiere focussed on the early steps of their romance, 9.02 introduced a little tension in terms of their ability to communicate with each other and Windmills built on both of these, as the pair explored the realities of working together and being together.

Donna rightly doesn’t want Harvey to change to being a yes-man (the reference to her much older sister was fascinating here – is that a hint we’ll be meeting her?), but I equally understood why Harvey’s instinct would be to please her by seeming to agree with her. Yet, they talked about it and were able to find a solution!

And then there was their first date (where they were sitting in the exact spot where I had lunch with a friend on a visit there last month!). They may have spent 15 years together, but watching them realise that that doesn’t necessarily mean their new romance is going to be easy, was a lot of fun. Seeing them awkwardly grasping for non-work conversation felt very authentic for two people who have effectively lived their jobs side-by-side for years. Yet, by the end, they had started to relax in to this new situation, proving that seeing your favourite characters finally get together doesn’t suck out all the storylines, but instead opens up so many more possibilities.

The hostility towards Faye only gets worse

Last week, Faye’s wrath was firmly levelled at Louis, whereas this week she was infuriating more than just him, although he continued to despise her (the ears being full of rage line was a personal favourite).

Romance aside, Harvey and Donna both had run-ins with the firm’s Special Master this week and it was satisfying to see not only these slices of tension, but also how they drew on each other for support too. Understandably, both were outraged at Louis’s demotion and Harvey reacted the way he knows best – finding a way to beat someone, while proving a point to Faye. Although, as Louis pointed out, this was a little unnecessary (I was right about the Tilting at Windmills reference), it was good to see Harvey’s competitive fighter spirit come out once again, as he went in to bat for Billy from Ally McBeal (sorry, it had to be said!). Oh and that line Harvey says towards the end “I’m the guy it always works out for.” Anyone else wonder if that’s foreshadowing that perhaps, before the series ends, that run of luck might come to an end? Just a thought……..

Donna meanwhile was faced with one of her biggest fears, the perception that she doesn’t deserve the role she now has, when Faye demanded she act as her secretary, which I have to say, felt out of order to me. I’m sure this is only the start of Donna’s problems at work with this woman and I’m curious to see where the writers will take this plot line.

Louis had some important decisions to make this week

Last week gave us the man-kini and the bowling scenes. This week, the comedic element continued to be provided by Rick Hoffman, as we glimpsed inside one of Louis’s dreams. There was so much to love here – Louis as a judge, Alex being turned on by Louis, Donna comparing his sexual abilities to Harvey and 12 Harveys in the jury box (plus one cat)! If you take time to watch all the different expressions / personalities of those jurors it only gets funnier (and bravo to Gabriel Macht for pulling that off, as actor and director)!

Comedy aside, Louis had some serious decisions to make about his career. I may be sceptical that a managing partner whose firm is being controlled by the Bar would be so readily offered a judgeship, but this is Suits after all, so I’ll suspend reality on that point. I’ve also been saying for a while that I could see Louis heading down a new career path before the series ends and this is certainly one role I could see him thriving in. Having been so humiliated by Faye, it makes sense that he’d consider walking away, especially when he thinks Donna and Harvey are no longer in his corner. Although they’re back as team by the end, it’ll be interesting to see if these hints at a new role for Louis Litt develop later on.

Katrina tackles someone’s unethical behaviour head on & I’m so proud of her!

Katrina has certainly continued to grow in confidence since her promotion to partner and this week required her to step up again, in order to stand up to the unethical tactics of an overly ambitious associate.

I have to say, Suits has had some unpleasant characters over the years, but associate Susan may be my new least favourite. Why? She’s an example of how dreadful women can be in the workplace if they let themselves. Threatening to spill the details she has guessed about Katrina’s relationship with Brian, in order to improve her career prospects was incredibly shitty, but also pretty stupid too. I mean, blackmailing your direct boss is absolutely the right way to kick off a successful career track……… Yet, Katrina handled the situation with style and class, making it clear that she is no longer someone that can be pushed around and I felt very proud of her. Better luck next time, Susan (although honestly, I hope we don’t see you again).

From adversaries to partners – Samantha and Alex continue to build a solid working relationship and friendship

These two characters might not have started out on the right foot in season 8, but over time and especially this season, they have grown to both respect and like one another and this week saw them working together to try and find a way to get rid of Faye. Sure, they clashed when Samantha tried to cross the ethical line, but she’s changed enough to actually take Alex’s contrary view on board. Having their friendship further highlighted by Alex taking her home for dinner was also lovely to see, especially as it was a storyline that served another purpose too – it helped Samantha decide to look for her biological parents, which I can only assume will be revisited later on in the season. By the end of this episode though, I was left with the impression that Alex and Samantha could very well succeed at heading a firm together, which could again be where the series finds itself at the end and if that is the plan, the groundwork is certainly already being laid.

Looking ahead!

Next week’s episode is called Cairo and I have no idea what that could be referring to (unlike 9.03, which I got right as being a Tilting at Windmills reference).

What do we know, or can guess? Well, from the promo, it seems 9.04 is when Faye finally finds out about Harvey and Donna’s relationship and as a result seemingly wants Donna to give up her vote (presumably because she thinks she might now not be able to be impartial). That seems a bit silly to me, but I’ve been waiting for a storyline in which Donna’s position, or people’s perception of her, comes under strain due to her new relationship with Harvey.

As well as that, summaries released suggest that Harvey may be trying to impress Donna’s father this week. If that’s true it’ll be interesting, as the two have always had a rather rocky relationship.

Whatever happens, as season nine is continuing to be satisfying on all story levels, I’m already looking forward to seeing what’s next!

Suits season 9 continues next week with 9.04 “Cairo” on Wednesday night in the USA, on USA Network. This week’s episode will be available in the UK on Netflix tomorrow and will continue to be weekly every Friday. You can watch the promo here: https://youtu.be/cIRPrXeOR9E

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Book Review – Keep You Close by Lucie Whitehouse

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My local bookshop, West End Lane Books in North West London, is wonderful at arranging events with some of the finest writers around and a couple of weeks ago we were treated to readings and discussion with two such authors. One of these was Lucie Whitehouse, who talked about her latest book Keep You Close and having just finished it, I can guarantee you are in for a thrilling read from the first page to the last.

Rowan Winter grew up in Oxford. Her mother died when she was young and her father travelled all the time, meaning she kept to herself – until she met Marianne Glass and soon, not only were the girls close friends, but Rowan became almost part of the Glass family. Ten years later, Marianne has been found dead, an apparent fall from her flat and although they hadn’t spoken in a decade, Rowan suspects there is more to Marianne’s death. She knows Marianne had severe vertigo and never went near the edge of the roof, so how could she fall?

Keep You Close is a brilliantly written book, in terms of plot, character and construction, as Lucie Whitehouse skilfully weaves the past and the present together, while always suggesting that there are still secrets the reader has yet to uncover. I find so many books, although great reads, give their endings away too obviously and it is wonderful that this novel doesn’t do that. There were moments that really did make me stop and go “Oh, now I see! How clever!” which is all down to Lucie Whitehouse’s cleverness in constructing her story.

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Author Lucie Whitehouse

A key to any novel is its characters and one of the strengths of Whitehouse’s novel for me was the fact I genuinely liked Rowan. She was flawed from the outset, but I couldn’t help but like her because she was so believable. As the book moved forward, I was desperate for her to discover the truth so that I would know too! Marianne was also a very real presence in the story despite her death at its start and I very much enjoyed the way her life, both when she knew Rowan and just before her death were weaved in to the story in order to build the mystery and anticipation.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Keep You Close. With interesting characters, an intriguing mystery and a pace that builds the further through you go, it’s the perfect psychological thriller, which keeps some surprises up its sleeve until the end!

If you’re already a fan of Lucie Whitehouse or, like me, hadn’t read one of her novels before, but love a great thriller, then this won’t disappoint. I’ll certainly be reading more of her work and recommending this book to friends and family.

Keep You Close by Lucie Whitehouse is published by Bloomsbury and available from all the usual book stockists.

 

 

tell them

Such an emotional and powerful message from an incredible man.

Life as a Widower

The eighty-five-year-old driver who killed my wife, Desreen, was jailed today for eighteen months for causing her death by dangerous driving. He was also banned from driving for life. I suspect he, his family and friends are feeling really quite dreadful right now, and, for what it’s worth, mine and I aren’t exactly celebrating either.

You see, I’ve had time to think since attending the trial and I’ve realised that you can punish a crime but you can’t transfer pain. Any suffering caused to the defendant as a result of his sentencing could in no way take away mine. I’ve since learned that, having suffered so much myself, I genuinely wish no hurt on any other person and I never wished a prison sentence on the driver, either.

In fact, I wasn’t even going to mention the sentencing on my blog at all. But then I reminded myself that justice for Desreen is best served not by a…

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1914 – 2014

Semi-Partisan Politics

WW1 centenary London 2014

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Picture: A view from West Hampstead, London. A solitary beam of light (“Spectra”, by Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda) pierces the London sky as lights are switched off across the nation in observance of the outbreak of the First World War.

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Headline London Debate: Should Britain Make Eid And Diwali Public Holidays?

Semi-Partisan Politics

Samuel Hooper London Live Headline London Eid Diwali Public Holiday 2

Yesterday, London Live TV’s Headline London lunchtime news programme covered the Eid celebrations taking place in the capital, and asked whether the UK government should make Eid (and the Hindu festival of Diwali) nationwide public holidays.

The idea was first raised in Parliament last week by Conservative MP Bob Blackman, in response to an online petition signed by more than 120,000 people. I vehemently disagreed with the proposal at the time, for the reasons set out here.

Semi-Partisan Sam was pleased to be invited to debate the issue with poet Mohamed “Mo Rhymes” Mohamed and political activist Peymana Assad on the Headline London panel. The debate was courteous and good-natured, which cannot often be said of debates on religion – but I believe my argument, founded on national unity, church/state separation and the rights of the individual won the day.

London Live’s website only shows the first part of the panel discussion…

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