Victoria’s Suits Awards 2017!

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So, as it’s the Emmy Awards tonight, I thought I’d mark the day by creating my very own set of awards for a show that has deserved recognition over the years, but always seems to slip under the radar at awards season.

Therefore, I bring you my first Suits Awards 2017, recognising some of the greatest achievements in the first half of season seven! I’ll start with a big thank you to those of you who have provided suggestions for categories and award titles. You know who you are and it is greatly appreciated!

…….So on to the Awards……!

Do let me know in the comments any categories you’d add!

1. Favourite Performance – Rick Hoffman as Louis Litt!

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Season seven has so far been an emotional rollercoaster for Louis Litt. I’ve been frustrated with him, angry with him, sad for him and laughed aloud at his comedic antics. Rick Hoffman should have been nominated for his performance so many times (This Is Rome immediately comes to mind) and I have loved every minute of him so far this season. We’ve had his emotional near breakdown, his nastiness, the lovely rooftop scene and that utterly heartbreaking final scene in Donna’s office, not to mention his delight at meeting Brian’s baby, his hilarious GoT walk of Shame and his mud mare! A masterclass. Bravo Rick Hoffman. I look forward to many more years of getting Litt the hell up!

2. Favourite Returning Guest Star – Wendell Pierce as Robert Zane

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Wendell Pierce always adds gravitas to any Suits episode and season 7A has been no different. We’ve seen him step up in the prison case, almost punch Harvey (a missed opportunity Robert) and then grow so much closer to his daughter, bringing us the force that is Zane & Zane. You can come back as often as you like Mr Pierce!

3. Best Character Development – Sarah Rafferty’s mighty Donna Paulsen

IMG_7321Season seven has brought a much deserved spotlight on to Sarah Rafferty’s Donna and we’ve learnt so much more about her in such a short space of time. We’ve seen Donna step up and ask for greater recognition and respect, navigate her new role, face humiliation in court and face the biggest unknown in her life – how she truly feels about Harvey. Rafferty is superb in the role and she’s taken it up a level so far this season, whether the heartbreaking moment she learnt about Paula and pretended she knew, to her conflicted walk through that hotel to her ex, to that final brave act, it’s been an emotional viewing experience. I hope she is here for years to come.

4. Favourite one-liner – Gretchen putting Louis firmly in his place!

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All hail the mighty Gretchen! She’s been a joy in the series ever since she first arrived in season five and questioned Harvey’s manliness! Aloma Wright is superb in the role and her dynamic with Rick Hoffman never disappoints. Hearing her warn Louis to change his behaviour or suffer the consequences was brilliant. There was no doubt she was totally serious!

5. Favourite Shot – the shot of two people alone in their offices, so near & yet so far, in “Home To Roost”

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This was a tough decision, as I did have a shortlist due to the fact that the directors and director of photography on Suits always make the show look visually lovely. However, the closing shot from “Home to Roost”, directed by Valerie Weiss, as we see Donna and Harvey, each at their desks; so near and yet so far, with the skyline behind them, was just beautiful. Runner-up mention to Patrick J. Adams’s lovely rooftop shot from behind Donna and Louis in “100”.

6. Favourite New Character – Ray Proscia as Dr Lipschitz

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We’ve seen a few new faces so far this season, but the winner has to be the much talked of Dr Lipschitz, played by Ray Proscia, whose therapy sessions with Louis have been on our radar for years. It’s a testament to how good Proscia is in the role, that I already feel as though he’s been around for ages. I hope he continues to guide Louis in season 7B. Maybe he can also recommend a new therapist for Harvey too?!

7. Favourite Location – the office of the COO

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Yes, the final scenes cemented the winner of this award, but it was on track to take the prize anyway. First, it’s a gorgeous office (I want that marble desk!); nicer than any corporate office I’ve ever seen and fits the personality of its occupant perfectly. Full marks to the set decorators and props team. Then there’s the fact Donna now has an office, which is such a fantastic development and yes, we now have those gorgeous final few minutes with Donna, Louis and Harvey in that location.

8. Favourite New Team – Louis and Brian 

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I already love Brian. He’s a decent guy, who has started to form a wonderful dynamic with Louis Litt. I loved his outburst in “Shame” when his parenting skills were questioned and him passing Louis his son was too cute for words! I hope for much more of Jake Epstein in the show. It’s about time Louis had a Mike of his own!

9. Best Friend – Rachel Zane

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I have always loved Rachel, played wonderfully by Meghan Markle and one of her finest qualities is how wonderful and supportive she is as a friend. I’ve missed her and Donna’s scenes and it was lovely to see them open up to each other again this season. They helped  one another find their way in their new roles in the firm, but Rachel was also the best friend every woman wants too – reminding Donna that she deserved the best, thereby averting her friend making a huge mistake, not to mention listening to her when she needed a friend and making clear that she is no fan of Paula Agard! We’d all be lucky to have a friend like Rachel.

10. Favourite Montage – the close of the 100th episode

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Patrick J. Adams did a stunning directorial job on the 100th episode and I loved the closing montage, as we watched both Louis and Donna head towards making what could be a huge mistake. It’s so well crafted and truly highlights what a great eye for the visual look of the show Adams has.

11. Favourite Song – Waves by Dean Lewis

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Suits always manages to choose superb songs to compliment its narrative and there were so many fantastic additions to my Suits playlist from season 7A. Special mentions to Love & Hate by Michael Kiwanuka from “100” and The One I Love by Mirror Fury from “Shame”. However, there could only really be one winner and that’s Dean Lewis’s beautifully, emotional acoustic version of Waves, which played over the final three scenes of the finale, adding even more emotion to Harvey’s talk with Jessica, Louis’s heartbreaking monolgue about love and that kiss. I hope all Suits fans have bought this song immediately (his album is also excellent too)!

12. Funniest moment – Louis’s mudmare! 

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Suits has always been able to balance drama and humour brilliantly and a lot of the comedic moments usually belong to the mighty Louis Litt and season seven has been no different so far. The winner has to be Louis’s hilarious mudmare from “Mudmare”! Seeing him and Harvey mudding, before his fantasy is ruined by the appearance of Alex Williams, had me laughing out loud! Runner-up mention to Louis’s Game of Thrones-inspired walk of shame through the corridors of PSL!

13. Most emotional scene – Louis’s heartfelt speech and THAT kiss!

IMG_7498.JPGThere have been a few contenders for emotional scene, but it had to be these last few minutes of “Donna”. Let’s face it, it was an emotional moment for both the characters and  the audience! I’m not sure we’ve recovered yet, so god help Harvey! Beautifully acted and directed, it was a mixture of a joyous payoff for the Darvey fans, but was also undeniably a little sad, as we see Louis in so much pain and then Donna and Harvey just as lost as he is. There will be troubled waters ahead, as that kiss will clearly have ramifications for their lives from now on. I could also have awarded it Biggest Shock, as cynical me never dreamt we’d see such an intimate moment at this point in the series. I’m so pleased I was wrong!

14. Best Matchmaker – Mike Ross

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Yes, Louis Litt may have been the trigger man in the end, but he had no idea what he was stirring up. Mike Ross on the other hand had a set goal – try and bring two people he cares about, the chance of happiness. Seeing him try and bring his “parents” together was so sweet. Now he just needs to have the talk with Harvey. Do it for all of us Mike!

15. Finest Achievement in Non-Verbal, Emotional Acting

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Not every actor can convincingly convey an emotional depth without words, but we are all very lucky as Suits fans that Gabriel Macht is superb at expressing a range of emotions without saying a word. This was never more evident than in those closing seconds of the mid-season finale, as Harvey was rendered speechless by Donna’s kiss. The palette of emotions you see flow through him is extraordinary – confusion, shock, a little anger and then that lovely slight hint of the beginnings of a smile, which disappears just as quickly as he stops himself, all the while his eyes convey just what a mess he is now in. Nuanced, emotional brilliance at its best. Bravo Gabriel Macht!

16. Guardian Angel Award – Gina Torres as Jessica Pearson

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We all miss Jessica, but she’s still been around in season seven so far and she has to be recognised for continuing to pull the strings in the background to keep the PSL ship upright! While Harvey was doing a super job of making everyone want to kill him, Jessica’s actions meant that soon the team was all back supporting the greater good of the firm. Not only that, but in the mid-season finale, she gave up her New York licence without a fight for the good of the firm and her friend Harvey. It’ll always be Pearson Specter Litt to me, even when he name comes down.

17. Special Recognition Award for winding up fans – Aaron Korsh!

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I admit Aaron Korsh’s tweets always make me laugh, as he navigates the potential minefield of audience reaction. It’s a fine balance. Yes, he winds some of us up sometimes, but when he does it in such a witty way, I have to give credit where credit is due!

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So, those are the worthy winners of my first Suits Awards 2017! Who needs the Emmys right?! If any winners would like their trophy, just let me know and I’ll happily send them to you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Television Review – Suits 7.10 “Donna” – a stunning mid-season finale that will keep us speculating for months!

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I’ve needed a few days to digest (well, get over the shock, if I’m being honest!) of the mid-season finale of Suits, before committing my thoughts to the page. It’s been a bumpy road over the last ten weeks for me. There have been some wonderful moments, performances and ideas, but there have also been some questionable narrative choices, which had me feeling incredibly irritated (if you haven’t read my review of 7.01, that will give you an idea).

Thankfully however, this mid-season finale more than lived up to my hopes and astonishingly, exceeded them! Typical – just when I start to enjoy the series again, it’s time for yet another hiatus!

So, let’s delve in to episode 7.10, with the wonderfully tantalising title of “Donna”!………….

More screen time for Rachel Zane (about time too)

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The last couple of episodes of season 7A have seen Rachel Zane step more in to the spotlight, as she works on a case with her father. Other than her pro bono case with Jessica last season, Rachel tends to stay in the background, a support in the storylines of other characters and so it’s lovely when Meghan Markle is given more material of her own. Rachel’s difficult relationship with her father has been there throughout the series and it has been incredibly satisfying to see the two grow closer together recently, culminating in this storyline in which Zane and Zane (it’s always fab to have Wendell Pierce back) take down the man who hurt her aunt. The scene with Rachel laying down the law to a boardroom of old, white men was pretty darn fantastic.

Oh, and one more thing before we move on, bravo to Rachel for continuing to be a fabulous friend. Her reaction to Mike helping Paula was spot on; she is Team Donna and it was great to see that so clearly!

Welcome to the family Alex Williams (it took me a while)

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First, I love Dule Hill. He’s a wonderful actor, but I haven’t really connected with Alex Williams so far during his time in Suits. This mid-season finale though was when I finally joined the team and realised I liked this character and I hope this grows in 7B. Watching him kick some ass was fun and I loved the way he marched straight in to his old boss’s office. Suits has so many great actors to give material to, but maybe we’ll see more of Dule Hill, now that Alex William has finally settled in.

Jessica Pearson reminding me how much I miss her!

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I knew Jessica was coming back in the finale, but I’m sad it had to be as the person taking a hit because of the choices of Harvey and Mike! There’s something else for you to be seriously guilty about Mr Specter! Gina Torres and Gabriel Macht have always had a fantastic chemistry in the show and this emotional moment was another one, as we see Harvey’s fear at stepping up without her supportive presence come to the fore again. He misses Jessica and quite frankly so do I!

The scene reminded me how Jessica often helped us see better side of Harvey (and probably helped him be better too); the kinder, more vulnerable side and it was nice to see that once again, after finding him so irritating for most of this season. It’ll always be PSL to me, even when her name comes down.

Mike Ross just wants his parents to be happy (time to talk to Dad though Mike)!

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Mike Ross has joked about Harvey and Donna’s relationship to his friend and mentor on and off since the show began, but I’ve always thought he was only half joking. Just like Rachel (and to a lesser extent Jessica and Louis), Mike seems all to aware that his two “parents” have deeper feelings than simple friendship. Watch his face in Intent when Harvey says that Donna is different; you see him acknowledge the truth of Harvey’s feelings, even if Harvey won’t.

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So, it was lovely to see his attempt to bring happiness to the lives of two people who he really cares about. He goes from helping Paula Agard get Harvey a gift (didn’t she just do that, what on earth does he need another gift for Paula? Feeling worried?), to encouraging Donna to express her feelings. That’s a really thoughtful gift Mike – a break-up! As a fan, I applaud you! My only problem with this tactic is that he targeted the wrong parent. It’s Harvey that needs this conversation Mike. Get right on that in 7B please. Off you go!

Yet another stunning episode for Louis Litt / Rick Hoffman (Give him an award already)!

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I may have had my issues with 7A, especially the early episodes, but there has been one constant from start to finish and that is Louis Litt and Rick Hoffman’s superb performance of such a multi-faceted character. We’ve seen every emotion run through Louis so far this season and 7.10 provided a beautiful end note for him until the show returns. I loved the fact he finally used that dictaphone for good, not evil, to help Alex.

However, more importantly, it was his friendship with Donna and his own heartache that resulted in Hoffman bringing tears to my eyes in his final scene. After feeling he let Donna down, he unwittingly helped her by opening up about his feelings. That last monologue about losing his soulmate is one of the most moving scenes I have seen on television in a long time (beautifully written by Genevieve Sparling). Whether you’ve experienced something similar or not, you can imagine that feeling and I wanted to give him a big hug. It’s not too late Louis – go and get your soulmate! The fact this beautiful scene only acted as the catalyst for that ending, is the icing on the cake!

……. and so we come to the ending…..and what an ending it was…..I’m still in shock…..!

Donna & Harvey – one of television’s greatest romances (whether they are ready to face it yet or not)

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It’s been a rollercoaster of a half season in the Donna and Harvey storyline. I haven’t liked where Harvey’s character was taken in the early episodes (and no, that’s not just because he is dating Agard; I hate that for other more substantial reasons), but he’s started to soften again in the last couple of weeks and I’m hoping the fall-out of that ending doesn’t propel him back down the path of being a douchebag! Resist Harvey, please!

Season 7A has also given us a greater exploration of Donna’s character, feelings and life and it’s about time too! We’ve seen her stand up for what she wanted and take on a position that, although you wouldn’t immediately consider for her, is one she can handle and thrive in. We’ve also seen her finally face the reality of her possible feelings for Harvey. It’s been the unspoken truth in the series and we’ve now had Donna acknowledge the frightening thought for her that Harvey may be her soulmate; the only one she wants to share her life with; frightening because he is seemingly happy with someone else.

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All of those feelings of fear, uncertainty and love bubbled up as 7.10 progressed and on re-watching it, I realised that the ending was inevitable. Although I was stunned the first time, never expecting Donna to make such a bold, brave move, it was where the episode had always been heading….and it was a superb minute of television, propelling this couple further up any list of television’s great romances, even though they still aren’t even there yet! Those closing seconds were an acting masterclass by Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht (only made more emotional by yet another spot-on song choice in the acoustic version of Dean Lewis’s Waves).

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Rafferty was superb throughout the episode, as Donna was emotionally ripped apart by Malik, her integrity called in to question because of her relationship with Harvey, but watching her react to Louis’s pain was heartbreaking. She is putting herself in his shoes, knowing that she could be potentially heading towards the exact same position and it terrifies her; the confusion, the fear, the pain – it’s all there in Rafferty’s expression and eyes, as she stumbles back on to that window ledge and her knee-jerk response on seeing Harvey before her felt very true to the moment. She needed to know how she really felt and maybe try and feel how he felt too. Does she have her answer now? I guess we’ll see in 7B.

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The episode may have been called Donna and she may have been the instigator of that intimate kiss, but Gabriel Macht’s performance should not be underplayed in this episode. Yes, I’ve felt Harvey’s character has changed this year, but we saw his gentler side return recently and his need to protect Donna has always been admirable and in that final moment we saw a thousand different emotions flow through Harvey and all thanks to an actor able to convey immense depths of emotion without saying a word! You see the conflict in Harvey; the shock of Donna’s actions, the fact he cannot quite process it and the confusion it stirs up for him, which will no doubt be a huge part of 7B.

He may not speak, but it’s in his eyes, his face and my personal favourite subtle touch, his lips – there is the tiniest quirk of an upward smile to them, as he stands there in shock, before he pulls it back. It’s as if the realisation that Donna maybe does love him, just as Paula said, hits him, makes him happy for just a split-second, before the reality of everything else (the fact he is seeing someone else, meaning Donna has put him in a position he hates more than anything else, being the main one issue now). Beautiful, nuanced acting at its best Mr Macht!

Looking ahead – only 4 months to wait………

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Well, credit where credit is due to Aaron Korsh and his writing team. They have managed to give a stunning moment for the Darvey fans, but also one that only leads to more questions.

Harvey and Donna were never simply going to fall happily in to each other’s arms easily. It wouldn’t be realistic. Now we are facing a much juicier narrative path, summarised by one of my favourite words for television drama – Angst!! I foresee arguments, angry words, angry, confused Harvey, all of which, I hope, helps us build to a satisfying resolution. I fully accept the writers may not bring these two together until nearer to the show’s end, but at least now there is a rich canvas of material for the series, centring around this dynamic, which I hope will eventually bring them together.

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Harvey and Donna’s relationship aside – what else do I hope for in season 7’s back six episodes?

Well, happiness for Louis List. I mean, come on, the man deserves it! Whether it’s him winning back Sheila or meeting someone new, I really want to see that for him. I’d also quite like to see the long-overdue Rachel / Mike wedding, especially as I have a sinking feeling that Meghan Markle’s time on the show could be drawing to a close. Plus that wedding would bring even more angst for the best man and maid of honour!

We know we’ll be seeing more of Gina, as 7.16 will act as the pilot of what could be her new show (if it gets picked up) and I also look forward to more of lovely Brian, kick ass Gretchen and Katrina too. I also think Harvey’s mother will need to make an appearance, in light of the position he now finds himself in and I think this may help him see her in a new light. We really are lucky Suits has so many wonderful characters to draw on.

So, here’s to four months of speculation, analysis and online discussion. I’m just so pleased that my reaction to 7.10 was so different from my reaction to 7.01! Oh, and all fingers crossed for renewal news. I really would like a season 8, but the longer the silence on that subject goes on, the more worried I become.

Right….I’m off to rewatch those last two scenes again…..for the millionth time…..!

Suits will return to USA Network in the USA and Netflix in the UK in January 2018.

 

 

 

Television Review – Suits 7.08 – The 100th: a classic case, but some very disappointing character “development”

It’s certainly an achievement these days for a television show to reach 100 episodes and this week saw Suits celebrate the milestone with a mixed bag episode. I liked aspects of it and I strongly disliked other aspects of it, which make me concerned for the direction of some of my favourite characters going forward.

As always, I’ll start with the aspects of the episode, entitled 100, that I thought worked well.

Robert Zane is the King! 

This week’s episode had one true king and hero and that’s Robert Zane. Why would you work at PSL if you could work for this guy?! I mean, seriously?! I knew Robert would save the day on the prison case, which became the main thrust of this episode and he did it brilliantly. He showed not just the evil CEO, but Harvey and Mike that he is the boss and that compared to him they are all little boys pretending to be grown ups. Wendell Pierce is never around enough and it was great to see him really shine here. My only disappointment was that he didn’t follow through in hitting Harvey. I was counting on you Robert!

Rachel Zane stepping out of the shadows

I have always liked Rachel. She is one of the most decent characters of the central cast and is usually the voice of reason. My problem has always been that Meghan Markle is under-utilised in the show.

Therefore it was great to see Rachel sticking up for herself here and wanting to step up in to the game. She was also, yet again, a great friend to both Louis and Donna and her text messages towards the end of the episode helped prevent one of my beloved characters plummeting off a cliff personality-wise (more on that later), so bravo to Rachel this week.

Also, the death of Gallo rules out one theory I had that his reappearance would eventually lead to the possible death of Rachel. I really hope Meghan Markle stays with the show. She would be missed if she left.

The talented direction of Patrick J Adams

It was lovely that Patrick J Adams was able to direct this milestone episode and he did a superb job as usual. Adams has a brilliant eye for directing and every shot looked gorgeous. He clearly knows what will look great on screen visually. The rooftop scene was lovely and the warm lighting in Harvey’s apartment, not to mention the intercutting of the final montage between Louis and Donna worked very well. Let this talented young man behind the camera more often!

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Okay, those were the positives. Now for the negatives and I’m disappointed to say that there are some pretty strong negatives…..

Bring back the old Donna Paulsen! Please stop this direction of her character! NOW!

I have always loved Donna (and Sarah Rafferty continues to be superb in the role) and a lot is always said about what a strong woman she is. The route the writers are taking her down this season is a contradiction that perplexes, frustrates and saddens me.

If a romance between Donna and Harvey is off the table, whether permanently or in the short-term, that’s fair enough. I never watch a show feeling I or any subgroup of fans deserve a certain storyline to happen (even though, narrative-wise they still seem destined to be, in my view). That aside, the writers could have chosen to further strengthen Donna on screen, but are moving away from that. In a season in which she has been given a huge promotion to COO, thereby raising her profile, status and screen time (all fantastic choices!), they have also, in my view, weakened her character through their choice of direction for her relationship with Harvey.

Only those casual viewers, or perhaps those invested in another relationship, would believe, seven seasons in, that the love between Donna and Harvey was one-sided. The only woman he has ever directly said “I love you” to is Donna, there was all his actions in Intent, there was the way he reacted when she left him, there was the 6.11 dream and their growing bond across the back end of season 6. I have male friends and this is not how we behave!

Yet, now, we are facing a Suits where Harvey is supposedly truly in love with his therapist (that’s my laughter you can hear), never loved Donna and Donna is left to be portrayed as the lonely, jealous woman, who has wasted her life pining for a man who doesn’t want her. That is not the way to celebrate a powerful woman on screen! I may not think fans deserve a storyline, but Donna, as a character, deserves better than this! Oh, and I note that the line from the promo in which she said she put Harvey first for too long was cut in the episode. How come Suits? Is it because you like dangling Donna as just waiting for Harvey in front of viewers. Take note – we don’t like it!

We could have had Donna revisiting an old flame and potentially finding her own happiness personally and professionally and yet she is left being offered to be a mistress?! Really?! In 2017?! So, only Harvey can be happy, while Donna waits around for him. No thanks. That makes her look ridiculous and me so angry with the writers. The only reason I am not sending Drogon (yes, I love GoT too) to reek carnage at this point, is that the writers did not have Donna go through with sleeping with Mark. Had she done that, her character would have been irreversibly damaged for me. For the moment, I simply remain hugely concerned for where she is headed.

Yet more pain for Louis Litt

It seems that the Suits writers just like making Louis’s life miserable and honestly, it’s getting boring now. Yes, fair enough, for one night, he has had a good time, but surely the consequences of that are going to make him miserable yet again.

Again, is Harvey the only one allowed to be happy?! Especially in the season where he least deserves it?! Rick Hoffman plays every scene of Louis’s with skill and depth and should have won an Emmy for this role years ago and I loved his scenes this week with the ladies, Gretchen, Rachel and of course Donna, but it’s time to stop the angst and give this man a break. It’s what he deserves.

Harvey’s “love” for Paula Agard

I’m sorry, but the introduction of this plot in 7.01 made no narrative sense off the back of seasons 5 and 6 and it continues to be ridiculous. It doesn’t ring true. I don’t think there’s any need for me to say anything more on it!

Where was Jessica?!

I know we’ve seen Gina Torres more than perhaps we all expected this year, but I was hoping for a brief scene for her in the 100th. She was a huge part of the show and is greatly missed, in a series that is becoming less about strong female characters without her presence.

Looking ahead…….

Next week’s episode is called Shame (fits perfectly with how I feel about elements of the show right now). From the promo, it looks as though we are back to business as usual. I guess we’ll see what I think about it next Thursday.

Suits continues its seventh season on Wednesday nights on USW Network at 9/8c in the USA and on Thursdays on Netflix in the UK.

 

 

 

 

Television Review – Truths and Lies in Suits 7.06 “Home To Roost”

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The last week seems to have flown by, but it’s that time of the week again for me to mull over another episode of Suits.

This week’s instalment was very much an hour revolving around truths and lies, with all of our main characters facing either the consequences of a lie (theirs or someone else’s), or some uncomfortable truths, all of which began to build a fascinating narrative that I assume will play out over the remaining four episodes of this first half of season seven.

As regular readers will know, I’ve been less than impressed with the direction of Suits during this seventh season, as old narratives seemed to be thrown out of the nearest window and I had a hunch this would be a make or break episode for me, once the synopsis revealed Home To Roost would include Harvey’s struggle to tell Donna about his “relationship” with Dr Agard. How they handled that and how they portrayed Donna was key for me.

So, let’s start there shall we?

Could two people be more confused about their feelings than Donna & Harvey?!

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This episode was perhaps the most revealing one so far in Suits history, when it comes to exploring Donna and Harvey’s feelings for each other. Yes, we had The Other Time, but that was the past and since then, things have been implied, or left open to interpretation. Home To Roost finally started to reveal some truths.

I’d been dreading Harvey telling Donna about Agard, not because I will have a tantrum at him being with someone else (well, not yet anyway!), but because I did not want Donna to be portrayed badly, falling to pieces in front of Harvey. I therefore breathed a huge sigh of relief on seeing the choices made on screen. First things first, Sarah Rafferty stole the show in 7.06, giving a beautiful, honest and very believable portrayal of a woman who is, after years of denial, finally facing the truth – that she loves Harvey and knowing he has chosen to be with someone else hurts her deeply, even though she wishes it didn’t. That is a hell of a lot of progress.

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I loved that she pretended she already knew about Paula, laying out to him exactly what he’d done in 7.01 so accurately and yet, making it clear to viewers that she was putting the pieces together as she was saying them. The look on her face as he left her office was utterly heartbreaking and some of Rafferty’s finest work on the show. you could see the emotional wheels turning in Donna’s mind.

We also finally had Donna voice the truth of her feelings to someone else and having it be Rachel was lovely. Meghan Markle and Rafferty on screen together is always a treat and it’s about time it was Donna opening up to her rather than the other way around and it was a good decision to have Donna wishing she didn’t have these feelings. I mean, it’s not ideal is it, when he is with someone else? I noticed the episode was written by one of the female writers on the show and I can’t help thinking that that was a huge benefit to such a key episode for Donna.

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That brings me to Harvey Specter. I still don’t like him this year (memberships for the Big Pile of Everyone Hates Harvey Club are open, just let me know if you want to sign up!), but we may at least be inching towards him finally acknowledging his feelings. I still hate how Agard is being used this year, but I actually enjoyed her putting a few truths to Harvey. Did you hear that Harvey? Even your girlfriend thinks you clearly have feelings for Donna. Hearing someone actually tell him that he has feelings for Donna and that she loves him was a huge step for this show and I’m excited to see how this plays out. The final scene between Donna and Harvey, in which they are both not being totally honest with the other was a heart-wrencher and full marks to both actors, the director and director of photography for that gorgeous last shot, of two people so close and yet still so far.

So, will Darvey finally happen this year? The door is either inching open or slammed shut right now. It’s all down to Aaron Korsh, but the narrative path must surely now be moving towards our favourite couple realising they are fooling themselves?! Surely?! Hopefully it’s just a matter of time now. I have my fingers crossed.

Mike is lying again – that didn’t take him long!

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While Donna faced some truths (and Harvey perhaps is starting to), Mike Ross was back to keeping secrets. He’s only been an approved lawyer five minutes for God’s sake!

Mike wanting to work on the prison case is admirable, but he made an agreement no to and in the real, adult world, that agreement means something. I’ve been a big fan of Mike this year; compared to Harvey and Louis, he’s been the only mature man at PSL, but this week saw the return of the more annoying version of Mike – the one who thinks the rules don’t apply to him.

Sure, law firms take on pro bono, but not cases that could ever conflict with their clients and I don’t see how Mike’s desire to help those really in need can ever work at PSL. Rachel was dead right when she said he had to choose and it will be fascinating to see whether that is a choice he is forced to make before the mid-season finale. In the meantime, Mike yet again risked the financial security of his original client on the prison case and it didn’t pay off. It’ll be interesting to see where this will go now. Maybe he gets Robert Zane to take it?

Shout out to Meghan Markle for some fab work in her scenes with Patrick J Adams. The two have strong chemistry and seeing Rachel deliver some hard truths to him was very satisfying.

Louis Litt – On the road to recovery (I hope)!

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Louis Litt’s arc so far this season has been my favourite aspect of what, for me, has been a confused narrative and Rick Hoffman just keeps getting better and better.

This week, we watched Louis face the truth that his behaviour had consequences and that honesty was the best way to resolve it (did you hear that Mike, honesty, maybe you should look that word up in a dictionary). By the end of the episode, we saw the best side of Louis; a man who is kind, thoughtful and decent and his gift to Brian was superb. Suits USA, where can I order one for my friends?!

It was also fun to see the beginnings of Louis’s potential mentorship of his own associate. Maybe he’ll finally have his own Mike. I already like Brian, so I hope we see much more of him. My only complaint was that we haven’t seen enough Katrina yet this year.

Alex Williams – just how dirty is this guy?

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It wasn’t only Mike lying this week, as we continue to see Alex Williams’ actions indicate that he is worried about much more than losing a client. I was pleased for Harvey to finally wake up from his rose-tinted view of Alex at the end of this episode and see that he is hiding something. I look forward to learning just how dirty he is next week.

Looking Ahead to Full Disclosure

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So, next week’s title is an interesting one and from the promo, I assume this will be where we learn exactly what Alex Williams has been up to and how it involves his past with Harvey. We already know 7.07 is a flashback episode, so I’m guessing we’ll see the early days of their friendship and how whatever history they have is going to potentially screw them over now. As I’m still not a huge Harvey fan this year, I’m hoping it’s going to hurt, just a little!

We also know that next week’s episode sees the introduction of Mark Meadows (Jay Harrington) as Donna’s ex. After this week’s episode forcing both Harvey and Donna to really think about their complicated relationship and Harvey’s reference to it bothering him when she was with Stephen Huntley, I’m very much looking forward to him discovering her hot ex is back on the scene. That’s someone else to be the object of her attention and affection Harvey – how does that sound to you? Hold on to your seats folks, things are about to get very interesting!

Suits continues next week: Wednesday on USA Network at 9/8c in the USA and Thursday via Netflix in the UK.

 

Television Review – Suits 7.03 “Mudmare”

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Thursday morning means it’s time for a new episode of Suits, as season seven starts to find its feet. There was thankfully lots to enjoy this week, particularly if I ignored the elements of the current narrative that drive me nuts (you know what I’m talking about)!

So, on to my thoughts this week (all screenshots are thanks to Suits USA and Netflix UK by the way)…..

Mudmare for Louis, a dream for viewers!

IMG_6902Well, we can finally tick off off our wish list, the dream of seeing Harvey and Louis mudding together! It may only have been a dream (unlike 6.11, I saw this one coming Aaron Korsh), but visually it was everything I had hoped for and Gabriel Macht played it wonderfully. The fact they managed to weave this scene in to Louis’s anxiety about losing his friend was perfect and this opening provided some much needed light relief, which has been lacking from Suits for far too long. While we are talking about Louis….

The brilliance of Rick Hoffman

IMG_6911I’ve already commented this season about how superb an actor Rick Hoffman is and he continues to be one of season seven’s biggest strengths. His ability to move so comfortably between comedic and serious, emotional moments is hard to beat and this week was a rollercoaster for Louis Litt. It was lovely to see him and Donna playing off one another again, albeit briefly and I hope Hoffman and Sarah Rafferty have many more scenes together. As usual he also had all the best lines!

Louis has come so far as a character and at this point, the one thing that keeps pulling him down is Harvey, who continues to treat him with a level of disrespect that infuriates me. Louis may be emotional, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t right a lot of the time, especially the concerns he raised the week (as well as last week) about Harvey’s decisions for the firm.

I predict an explosion coming between the two named partners and the powerful ending of Mudmare made me a little concerned that Louis may be headed for his biggest breakdown yet. If I were Harvey, I’d keep out of his way, but as a viewer I hope we see him learn to regret his mistreatment of his so-called friend.

Women in power finding their feet

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This week was also a strong episode for the women of PSL, with both Meghan Markle and Sarah Rafferty having a chance to explore each of their characters’ new roles in the firm.

I tended to agree that Donna as a Senior Partner was rather silly, but having her now in a senior managerial / personnel role is a much better fit. Having her still finding her feet in this new function and admitting when she doesn’t always get things right was authentic and Harvey should take note of admitting when you mess up! I assume there will be more challenges ahead for Donna, but she’s more than up for the challenge.

Seeing her stand up for herself with Harvey was very satisfying too. They may have been a unit before, but it was great to see that she won’t blindly follow when she thinks he is wrong. How arrogant of Harvey too, to think that he can speak for her on all things!

Having Rachel take over the associates was another aspect of episode one that I found a little silly (I won’t repeat all my moaning about the premiere, don’t worry). Yes, she has been in the firm a long time, but in reality, a newly qualified lawyer would never be in charge of those years ahead of her. However, this is Suits and we need to suspend reality, so in this world, it was great to see her want to step up, especially when Louis was incapable of doing the job. I’ve always viewed Rachel as one of the most mature characters in the series and seeing her understand that a supervisory role was perhaps not right for her at this point in her career seemed very true to the person she is.

Rafferty and Markle don’t have nearly enough scenes together and so it was lovely to see them play both confrontational and conciliatory with one another this week. I hope we get plenty more of them over the coming weeks.

The enigmatic Alex Williams

IMG_6910He may have only just joined the PSL family, but I’m already questioning exactly what history Alex Williams has with Harvey. In every episode of this season so far, he has managed to flag up to Harvey some favour, or past incident, that he let go. It clearly must be significant and has the ability to influence Harvey’s decisions as managing partner, which I assume is only going to have further ramifications later on. Dule Hill is a fun addition to the cast and I’m intrigued to explore his character’s past with Harvey and how it will continue to impact on the present, as well as his relationships with Mike, Louis and the others in the firm.

The maturity of Mike Ross

IMG_6907While the new managing partner continues to falter in his role, it’s lovely to watch Mike flourish. We knew conflicts between corporate and pro bono would  arise and no doubt this week was only a flavour of what’s to come, but Mike has a new lease of life, free of the secret that limited his life in so many ways and the interview was a great way of acknowledging his past, without having to bring it up every time he works on a case.

We didn’t get much of the bromance between Mike and Harvey this week, with the exception of the fun scene in which Harvey’s creative headlines papered Mike’s office (Big Boy Pants: The Mike Ross Story was my favourite)! We did however see Mike continue to grow in confidence and stature and at this rate, he’ll be the one running the firm when Harvey and Louis kill each other! Bravo Mike, you win the award for Most Mature Male in the show for a third week running!

Then we come to Harvey………if you can hear me giving a deep sigh, then you’d be right….

The continuing decline of the once great Harvey Specter

IMG_6913Can someone please find the real Harvey Specter? He must be around here somewhere! I’ll get to his bizarre relationship, but that aside, we are still seeing a terrible version of Harvey this year. Is this setting up that perhaps, like Rachel, he’ll realise managing partner is not the right role for him? I still think Louis is the better choice for seeing what is best for the firm as a whole, but that’s a whole other topic.

Harvey (or Henry, as some of us fans are calling this imposter), may be starting to feel comfortable behind Jessica’s desk, but he is still miles away from being the leader she was and this week saw him using some unpleasant tactics to exert his will. Harvey has never been great at hearing opposing views, only ever really listening to Jessica and Donna and watching him use Louis’s personal insecurities against him in a business context, in front of Donna, only made me miss the old version of him more. It was cruel, unprofessional and is, I hope, something that will bite him in the ass.

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Then there is the as yet unknown cards Alex Williams is holding over him. He only needs to mention it and Harvey is falling over himself to do whatever he asks. Should corporate work come before pro bono at PSL? Yes, absolutely (sorry Mike, it’s business), but as Mike pointed out, this wasn’t a direct client conflict and it seemed clear Harvey would never have folded had it not been Alex’s demand. It will be interesting to see what other questionable decisions his past with Alex causes him to take and the divisions these will cause.

And then there is his insane “love” for Paula Agard. I’m not going to repeat myself from previous weeks (read my other reviews for that), but this plot line continues to baffle me. “Darvey” aside, I still don’t know where the writers are going with this. Yes, you have a connection with her Harvey – she was your therapist!! At least this week, Agard herself started to voice the questionable reality of their relationship (yes, it’s a terrible mistake, yes, it won’t work out and yes, you’ll look like a fool Paula). Why couldn’t she tell her mentor about it? She knew she would have told her it was unethical and unprofessional, that’s why and she’d be right! Oh, and if Harvey thinks it’s crazy to care what others think about their relationship, why didn’t he tell Donna about it when he had the ideal opportunity? Hmmm, Harvey? Nothing to say?

I will always hate how Agard has been reduced from the strong, professional woman that she was in season five, to simply being a plot device in the journey of Harvey Specter, but I truly hope Aaron Korsh and co have a way of having Harvey learn from this dalliance (it cannot last, surely?!). Whether that will ultimately lead to him and Donna getting together, who the heck knows these days, but I certainly don’t see that coming any time soon, if at all. Right now, I’d just like to see him being the type of man he used to be, before he fell and hit his head (or whatever happened literally overnight between 6.16 and 7.01)!

Looking ahead?

acfd389d76f022db4a8078bf92aeThe promo for next week doesn’t give us much detail, other than a battle with Alex’s former firm, who are looking to divide and conquer PSL. Maybe it would have been better Harvey, if  you hadn’t already opened a huge divide between you and Louis (who I expect will prove to be the better man than Alex come the end of the year).

Will we start to see the return of the old Harvey? Who on earth knows. I’m just thankful that, at the moment, I continue to love the other characters enough to keep watching.

Suits season seven continues on Wednesday nights on USA Network at 9/8 c in the USA and for UK fans, you can watch on Netflix every Thursday. 

 

 

Television Review – Suits 7.02 “The Statue”

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Well, after last week’s episode seemed to drive most of this show’s previous narrative path off a cliff, I confess I wasn’t particularly looking forward to seeing what they had in store in episode two. I was therefore relieved that, for the most part, the storyline of The Statue made sense, especially in the new landscape in which we find ourselves in season seven. Yes, there are still things I don’t like (more on that shortly), but it was a hell of a lot better than the premiere (feel free to read my thoughts on that here).

Harvey Specter – A child beginning to grow up?

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As those who read last week’s review know, I couldn’t stand Harvey last week. His character literally changed overnight, which did a disservice to him and all of his previous character development. This week, saw a mini journey for him over the course of just one episode. At the beginning, he makes so many mistakes I was shaking my head in despair – throwing his new-found power at Louis, throwing out offers of named partner to whoever he pleased, shouting down Donna’s concerns and insulting Jessica to her face. Someone get him to a therapist…….oh wait…… (I’m getting to that don’t worry).

As my main complaint last week was poor narrative structure and plotting, it was a relief that this new, not improved version of what was my favourite Suits character, actually experienced some growth over the hour. He messed up, a lot, but he learnt from those errors in judgment and is slowing beginning to put things right and most of the final decisions he made, including with regards to both Alex’s and Donna’s positions at the firm, were the correct ones. I can only hope that season seven continues to have a plan for him, which is consistent and believable (and sorts his personal life out once and for all).

All hail Jessica, the voice of reason & sanity!

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Raise your hand if you miss Jessica Pearson! This week saw the welcome guest appearance of the superb Gina Torres, with both present day and flashback Jessica playing a part in the narrative (yes, an actual narrative this week). In a week where we watched Harvey stuff up, the voice of reason yet again was Jessica. Harvey has always listened to her and she finally made him see sense and start to act like a man capable of being in charge of PSL.

Gabriel Macht and Torres always had wonderful chemistry on screen and that continued here. We still know very little about the origins of their friendship, but its depth and meaning to both characters is always clear, strong and an asset to the show overall. I assume we won’t see her again until the 100th (she must be in it, surely?!), but they should try and bring her back as much as possible in my opinion!

We all got Litt up!

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Thank god! After his stumble last week, Louis Litt was back on fine, fun form and I for one was thrilled to see it. From a professional, PSL perspective, he was yet again absolutely right, highlighting why I still think that in the end he should be in charge of running the firm. He may be emotional, but he sees the bigger PSL picture. It took Jessica to make Harvey see sense on brining over Alex Williams, but she didn’t say anything that Louis hadn’t already expressed. I only hope the truce and understanding that seemed to exist between Harvey and Louis at the end of this week remains. They work better together than when at each other’s throats!

It was also lovely to have some of Louis’s wit back. Most of the times I laugh out loud when watching Suits is thanks to the superb Rick Hoffman and this week was the same. Stuffing a cat?! I’ve missed this version of him and Gretchen is the perfect sidekick for him now that Donna is moving in to a different place in the firm. Now all we need is for Louis to find some happiness. Oh, and more of his therapist please. I can see that dynamic getting quite fun!

Donna Paulsen – COO (much better than Senior Partner)

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I’ve seen criticism about the lack of realism in a secretary becoming a senior partner. I would agree with this, although in a show with a premise like Suits (and which never delves in to any realistic legal detail – go watch The Good Wife for that), moaning about Donna’s storyline not being realistic is hardly logical. Have those people been paying attention to Mike all these years?!

By the end of this week Donna has a position that makes more logical sense and respects the show’s narrative (it’s that word again). As COO she can act as a director of personnel and handle the administrative elements of management that Harvey will clearly have no time for (and would most likely be terrible at). I hope this allows her to build a role and a level of success and respect that she deserves. I also hope she finally finds some independence from Harvey and maybe even some happiness too.

Putting the ghosts of the past behind Mike

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Mike is really stepping up this year, which is wonderful after the petulant, demanding version of him we saw in season six when he was in prison. Seeing him get out on his own and be successful, was lovely to watch and Harvey was right that he needed to confront his ghosts and take control of his narrative going forward (see, creative team -narrative is important)!

If this is anything to go by, Mike is shaping up to be a formidable opponent, which I imagine will make things even more interesting when he inevitably has to go up against Harvey (that corporate / pro bono conflict must be around the next corner surely?). There wasn’t much of Rachel this week, but hers and Mike’s mature and genuine relationship is a joy and only highlights the craziness of the show’s new “relationship”.

You knew I’d have to get to the show’s weakest link eventually……..!

Love is not in the air Harvey. Wake the hell up Paula Agard!

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I’ve previously asserted my stance as a believer that Harvey and Donna belong together. In the words of Donna, this series is not my first rodeo and I’ve watched enough “will they / won’t they / should they” on screen to know when the answer is clearly yes. I still think that is the case here, although whether the writers of this show will ever have the courage to follow their own narrative is another question.

As for Harvey’s new relationship with his former therapist (I still cannot believe it, to be honest), it just stands out from the rest of the show as being crazy and illogical, unless it is being used to continue the long game of having Harvey Specter finally admit where his feelings truly lie. Last week, I could not understand why it was included. Not because I was inconsolable that Darvey wasn’t a reality in the first five minutes, but because this romance made no sense, having had no build-up or signposting in the entire previous season.

I’m going to put my lack of faith in the creator of this show on hold momentarily and hope that the very fact this relationship has come out of nowhere and seems nuts, is actually the point. The whole first scene was so saccharine and the polar opposite of the very real connection between Mike and Rachel. That has to be deliberate….surely? Yes Harvey, she knows you better than anyone in some respects – that’s because she was your THERAPIST! I’ve seen lots of chatter this week about transference and in my book, that is the only thing that makes sense for this storyline. He needs an emotional anchor and he does not feel that that can be Donna (in my opinion, because he is still too afraid to face how he really feels about her). The scene in which Donna accurately predicted that he would seek out Agard was gold! He looked terrified!

That leaves me to say one more thing on this topic – WAKE UP PAULA! I still think it’s a disgrace that the writers have reduced what was a strong, intelligent, professional woman, who took part in one of the show’s most compelling plots, to a bedfellow for Harvey. She deserved better and I hope she sees sooner rather than later, that Harvey (whether he realises it or not) is using her as an emotional crutch and an escape from someone else. Non-Darvey people can mock me all they want, but I’m simply following the narrative that has been set out over six seasons (and especially since season four). Time will tell, I suppose.

And finally – welcome Dule Hill!

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As a worshipper at the altar of The West Wing, it’s fantastic to have Dule Hill join the cast. We didn’t see much of Alex Williams this week, but the markers were set that his past with Harvey is perhaps about more than friendship. What does Harvey owe him for and how will he try and collect? I’m certainly looking forward to finding out, as well as watching him interact with Louis (I assume the flowers come next week)!

So, overall, 7.02 was a much better viewing experience than the premiere. There was structure, a narrative that made sense and it gave me a sense that perhaps Korsh and co do actually have a plan. I certainly hope so. I dearly love Suits and have all my fingers crossed that they don’t let themselves, or the fans, down.

Suits continues weekly on Wednesdays 9/8c on the USA Network in the USA and on Thursdays on Netflix in the UK (thanks again for that Netflix)!

 

 

 

Television Review – Suits 7.01 – Skin In The Game (or as I call it, “WTF?!”)

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Last night Suits returned to television screens for its season seven premiere. As one of my favourite shows still airing, I’d been looking forward to watching it, to seeing everything Suits does best, namely creating a fun and entertaining world around a close knit family of characters, while gradually growing their individual characters and the dynamics of the group. It had achieved this so much in the latter half of season six. Yes, some storylines were still farfetched (that character and fitness committee test does not exist in reality folks and “The Donna” itself was a tad nuts), but it still managed to keep the characters true to themselves and the journey they’d already been on since the show began. You could see the progression of their journeys.

In my view, the season seven premiere didn’t just stray away from some of these characters’s established personalities and storylines, but invalidated so much that had gone before. I’m determined to be constructive in this review, but I’ll be honest, it’s going to be a challenge!

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Before I get in to specifics, I’ll start with a disclaimer. Yes, as the years have gone on, I’ve become a viewer hoping for Harvey and Donna to get together, which is in part due to the structuring of the relationship by the creator Aaron Korsh and their progression to date. It still seems to me to be the logical place for it to go, just as it was for Booth & Brennan in Bones, or Josh & Donna in The West Wing. I’ve always assumed they’d get there, but maybe not until the very end, until the ridiculous use of it by the network’s official sources even had me thinking maybe they’d be bold and actually try and write a real relationship for them some time this year.

However, being on “Team Darvey” as it’s known, does not mean I don’t watch the show hating any suggestion of other relationships for the characters along the way. I was a big fan of Zoe for example and would have loved to have met Mitchell. The key for me has always been that the storylines stay true to the characters and develop them in a logical, fulfilling way.

That is therefore why I had huge issues with last night’s season opener. I’ll take it a step at a time!

Timing is everything

First things first, Skin In The Game starts the morning after the end scene in the season 6 finale. We know this because Rachel says she’s worried about Louis after Tara dumping him the night before. Therefore, no time has passed, so you would expect there to be a gradual shift / ratcheting up of new storylines. Instead, we have Harvey, Donna and Louis acting in ways, literally overnight, that are simply not realistic, or in line with their personalities. Had there been a passage of time between 6.16 and 7.01, this may have made the entire episode a little less crazy, but without that, it makes some of the characters’s decisions seem rash and ill-considered.

Harvey Specter’s character being put in reverse gear and driven off a cliff

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Harvey has always been my favourite character in Suits. I’ve loved watching him grow from the arrogant, cocky, emotionally-stunted man, to a more well-rounded human being. He may still sometimes act a little crazily, but his development has always felt organic and a natural progression, as he life has changed and he has matured. Season five and six added to this wonderfully. We had his anguish about losing Donna, his therapy helping him open up about his issues about her and his mother, his guilt over Mike taking the fall, his OTT behaviour to get him out of jail, his desperate schemes to get him admitted to the Bar and on a personal level, his willingness to listen to Donna’s advice about reconciling with his mother, enabling him to find closure for that part of his life. We last saw him uncertain about what Donna wanting more meant and then the following night celebrating Mike’s success.

I’m not sure what I expected from 7.01, but it was not to open with Harvey speeding around to his therapist’s house and declaring he’d got through all of these issues and he’d realised she was the one he wanted to share his successes with. Seriously?! Where do I even start?! There’s been no mention of Dr. Agard since season five, at which time he did flirt with her to deflect having to open up in their sessions and she shot him down, remaining professional throughout. Then, there’s the fact that her last interaction was with Donna about Harvey and since she was last on the scene, we’ve seen him dreaming about being intimate with Donna. Where is the consistency? If you’re not going to write Donna & Harvey together, fair enough, but don’t throw in signposts to it that even a blind man would see! It almost felt like Donna saying she wanted more freaked him out so much that she could mean him, that he literally sped off in to the arms of the nearest woman who already knew him and was still around.

To have Harvey suddenly declaring he’s been harbouring feelings for Agard is rather bizarre in itself, seemingly coming out of nowhere from the character’s standpoint, but he’s made some strange choices in the past, so you can chalk it up to that. However, what is even more crazy here, is that she suddenly has feelings for him too, declaring to him over dinner, in one of the worst scenes of written dialogue I’ve seen on television, that she’d fantasised about being with him in a scene out of a Richard Curtis movie! Really?! Did you see how messed up he was?

Plus, on a professional level, it seems out of character that such a successful, professional woman would act so inappropriately. I note the throw away line about enough time passing in the APA (I assume the American Psychological Association) guidelines. These seem to say two years and I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been two years since episode 5.01, let alone since his last session in 5.10. Suits has never been a show famed for details of the law I know, but surely they know their own timelines if they’re going to through a rule in to try and justify their ludicrous plot line.

Donna and Harvey’s relationship aside, this new love interest for Harvey is simply not credible. If the writers has wanted him to be in a new relationship, fine, just make it one that’s believable, say if he’d reconnected with Zoe, sped back in to the arms of Scottie or a new character altogether. To bring back what was an interesting, strong, intelligent female character carrying out a professional role and reduce her to being a woman who’s all along been fantasising about this Richard Curtis-style ending (I’m amazed it wasn’t also raining!) with a man she knows has clear issues, invalidates part of her purpose, which seemed to be to treat a man in need of therapy! The Dr Agard from season five would never have entertained such craziness the way she was written. After a rewatch, I admit the last scene is pretty sexy, but it still makes no sense for it to be the therapist!

It wasn’t just this aspect of Harvey’s character that took a reverse turn tonight. I’ve often thought he took advantage of Donna (which to some extent she’s allowed), but I always believed he respected her. Tonight, we saw him refuse to give her the time to discuss what she wanted (more on that choice later). He brushed her off and only gave in under protest and when he selfishly saw it would benefit himself. Nothing he did was because he wanted to support Donna, which after 13 years of being as close as they are (romance or not) seemed horribly insulting to her and their friendship.

For the rest of the episode we had him running around trying to be the cock-sure player of old because he was scared of having to fill Jessica’s shoes. I had no problem with all of that though, as it at least made sense in the context of where he is in his life in that moment. He seemed to be having one last wild ride, before he had to step up and be the serious boss and that did fit with the person he is.

Sadly though, the fact I now desire someone to run him over with his fancy car, when he was my favourite character, says it all.

Donna deserving more and much more than she’s getting

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After Harvey, I’ve always loved Donna, for the confident, loyal, witty woman she is, played wonderfully as always by Sarah Rafferty. I was excited this year to see what Donna’s wanting more would lead to. It needed to be credible and thought out, so that path for her would surely take a few episodes to be established right? Wrong! Literally overnight, Donna has decided more means a partnership at the firm. Again, seriously?!

Now I know big law firms can have managers or COOs, which I suppose is what they are lazily labelling as a senior partner here, so that type of position is not totally bonkers, but I’m not sure she’d be able to invest in the firm. Legal detail has never been Suits’s focus, but for such a pivotal storyline for a lead character, I expected better. I just don’t buy that Donna would rush in to this overnight and it seems to have been done in part to stir up unnecessary tensions between her and Harvey and her and Louis. I am all for Donna having a larger role in the season, with her looking out for her own interests for a change, I just don’t think this was really the best choice. For non-lawyers it’s confusing, but also it just seems a bit excessive even for Donna. She could have been office manager or Head of HR (as many online have suggested) for example, still giving the same input, but from a more logical position based on her previous role. To be fair to Harvey, I can understand his surprise and indeed reluctance.

Plus, the end of the episode had Donna unpacking her office alone. It didn’t seem to be a particularly satisfying result for her and I found myself wishing she’d taken time to find something away from the firm and more specifically out from Harvey’s shadow, both personally and professionally. If they spend the rest of the season having her waiting for him to be ready, while he’s off having a fling with Dr Agard, I’ll be very annoyed. Too many woman in the show are starting to become present to service the needs of the men.

Louis – unbalanced yet again

Poor Louis Litt. I find myself saying that a lot. I’ll start by saying Rick Hoffman is a superb actor and is the main reason I like Louis so much, even when he’s being irritating as hell and his performance in 7.01 is excellent.

I agree, it’s natural, knowing Louis’s explosive personality, that following his break up, which cost him his fiancé and the chance at starting a family with her, he’d become unpleasant, but again, it’s the fact this happens instantly and with such venom. I found myself doubting that even Louis would be so awful to Donna and Rachel when hurting. The constant cycle of crazed Louis, to bumbling silly Louis is becoming annoying and they owe the character so much more writing-wise.

The positives (see, I’m trying to find some balance)

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It was no surprise that the best bits of this episode came from the women, with Donna, Gretchen and Rachel making the men look like weak little boys. I particularly enjoyed seeing Rachel step up and stake her position more. Keep the strong female dynamic coming, especially now Gina Torres is no longer a permanent feature in the show.

Shockingly, I also ended the episode really liking Mike. He really does believe he is trying to help the clinic, despite being blinded by the conflicts that will be unavoidable between working in the corporate and clinic worlds and he also stood up to Harvey, giving him some home truths in one of the best scenes in the hour. On top of that he was the only man in what used to be a supportive family, actually pleased to see Donna achieving something for herself. I’ve missed Mike’s scenes with Donna and this was a lovely moment.

I also enjoyed the bromance back between Mike and Harvey. It was one of the key attractions to the series when I first started watching it and there hasn’t been much room for it in recent seasons. As I assume it won’t last, I enjoyed these brief moments of fun, interspersed between all the frustrations set out above.

Oh, and the soundtrack to Suits remains one of the best on television.

So, what’s next?

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I admit I’m less enthusiastic for next week than I thought I would be before watching the premiere. I can only hope the writers start to find their way back to who these characters were at the end of last year and return to the stories aiding their development, rather than reversing it. There is also the arrival of Dule Hill to the show, which I’m hoping will be another positive for next week’s review.

I’ve always loved Suits and even if a storyline hasn’t quite worked out how I wanted it to, I could see the reasoning that had led the creator Aaron Korsh and the writers in the direction they had taken. My biggest concern right now, is that there doesn’t seem to be a logical direction for some of its key players and if previous development is suddenly meaningless, then I start to ask what the point really is.

Suits continues on Wednesday nights on the USA Network.