Television Review – A jam-packed episode of solid storylines for all, with added Darvey gold, in Suits 8.14 “Peas In a Pod”

It’s Valentine’s Day and tonight I had a date with the Suits gang (what more do you need? Well, besides wine!) and I have to say, what a fantastic night it’s been, as season 8B continues to pick up steam, as the strong episodes keep on coming! One of the signs of a great episode of television for me is when it feels longer than the run time and 8.14 certainly packed so much in to its 45 minutes, that it felt much longer!

This week was called “Peas in a Pod” and as is often the case with Suits, it’s a title that described more than one dynamic on the screen, not to mention plenty of other strong storylines included too. There’s a lot to unpack, so let’s get straight to it!

Louis Litt rescues Dr Lipschitz for a change!

For years before we ever met him in person, Dr Stan Lipschitz had been saving Louis Litt, helping him navigate the stresses of life, all of which has helped make him the calmer, happier man he is now and it’s because of this, that watching Louis do everything he could to help his friend, while also managing to respect his wishes, was pretty damn satisfying. Sure, for a moment I was excited at the thought that Donna was going to help by going to see him (which, let’s face it, would have been spectacular), but that aside, this was a strong storyline, which in other episodes would have been the highlight. Ray Proscia always plays our favourite therapist (well, it’s hardly a tough choice, is it…!) with such compassion and class and his bond on screen with Rick Hoffman only gets better  with every scene. Hurry back Stan! I think Harvey might need to talk!

Alex Williams gets a satisfying storyline at last! 

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Finally! I’m a big fan of Dule Hill and I have always liked Alex Williams, but I’ve just never really been that invested in his stories and then there was the tedious fight over named partner. So, the fact that this episode gave us so much great content AND a decent storyline for Alex was an unexpected, but very welcome bonus. We were able to see just how decent a person he is. Yes, he’s become embroiled in shady deals for dodgy people in the past, but it’s never been by design and this week saw him trying to do right by his client, while also helping show compassion and understanding to a grieving husband. Plus, we were also treated to more Alex / Gretchen interaction and after her mistake not too long ago, it was lovely to see the two of them back on good terms. She supported him through a difficult case and in return he’s setting her up with his father-in-law! Now, that’s truly fabulous!

Katrina was kicking ass (and no Brian in sight, thank god)!

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Although, overall, I’ve loved 8B so far, the path they’ve taken Katrina down recently has not been enjoyable for me. Ironically, the week where she’s having to help Samantha, who has called in her favour and which could have been fraught with drama, proves to be the most enjoyable, as we were able to see Katrina not only demonstrating she’s a great lawyer, but that she’s grown in confidence and strength, now able to hold her own with Samantha, while being treated like a professional equal by Harvey, who trusted her judgement when he needed to understand the intricacies of Samantha’s fight with Scottie. Bravo, Katrina! Leave Brian in the bullpen. You don’t need him! Seriously….you really don’t need him…..

Samantha vs. Scottie was pretty great television!

Alright, before I talk about all the positives, I have to start with the negative, because it was so damn distracting. Corsets? White corsets? What is it with these two women and white corsets? They even included the scene with Scottie wearing a near identical (and ridiculous) outfit in the “previously on Suits” bit. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. No more crazy fashion statements please, Suits!

Anyway, back to the important things – pitting Scottie against Samantha was certainly fun to watch and I fully admit that I was Team Samantha all the way. I don’t dislike Scottie (and Abigail Spencer is fantastic), but she’s always annoyed me over the years, mainly because she was predominantly written to be running after Harvey and never seemed satisfied that he was trying hard enough. So, seeing her back and it not being for a repeat of her and Harvey’s previous tussles was fun. As Harvey said himself to Donna about his previous dynamic with Scottie – things change. Yes, yes they do, don’t they Mr Specter…..(I’m getting to it, I promise).

Instead, we were able to see two successful, driven, intelligent women go head to head. Peas in a pod? Not quite and was there any doubt that Samantha would win? Not in my opinion, but that didn’t make this any less fun to watch.

It was also a clever way of showing just how much Harvey has changed over the years. In the past he’d have waded in, possibly made it worse and still ended up pissing everyone off. Instead, 8.14 had him trying to be the peacemaker. He cares for Scottie and he admires Samantha and those two emotions motivated him to help resolve this without fireworks…..well, after Donna gave him some more hard truths and motivated him to take action, that is.

I do have one question though – was Samantha a Marine? I’m guessing that wasn’t a literal statement about messing with the wrong Marine, but then again, we learnt in 8.10 that she’s served her country in the past…….Ms Wheeler’s backstory continues to intrigue me!

……..and then of course, there was THE BIG ONE…….

The Darvey emotional pot is starting to boil over!

Well, well, well, this week was certainly interesting from a Darvey perspective! So much was thrown at the audience in just a few scenes. There was subtext as usual, but the key difference this week was that Harvey and Donna’s feelings for each other were not only implied in certain scenes, but also directly addressed in others, all of which culminated in that gloriously angsty elevator moment.

I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s go back to the beginning – right from the “Previously on Suits” we were on notice that Darvey was on the episode’s radar. I mean, that 7.15 Scottie scene was so loaded, it had to come back around, right?! Yet, what I loved most about the Donna / Harvey element of this week’s episode, was that even though I was expecting something, what was delivered was so much more interesting.

I was convinced Scottie coming back was going to be significant from a Darvey perspective and knowing she paid Donna a visit at home had me anticipating a talk in that scene. Yet, while that was just a repeat of their previous interactions (when they talk about Donna’s feelings without actually taking about them), the scenes her presence triggered were so damn good. First, there was Harvey’s “Things change.” Sure, he was talking about his and Scottie’s work dynamic, but his feelings towards her have changed too, which made this comment fun to hear.

Then we had the scene in Harvey’s office, with so much unresolved sexual tension, I could barely concentrate on the dialogue! What were you going to say Harvey? That Donna was always jealous of Scottie? Why would that be? The fact he almost voiced that and the fact she practically dared him to was the content I’ve been waiting for! So much angst in so few seconds. She wanted you to say it Harvey! She needs you to take a risk for her and her frustration at his cowardice was great. I’ve thought Donna was still pissed off with him on some level and seeing that reach the surface for a change was exciting. Plus, surely this moment shows that they’re both aware of their feelings on some level. It’s funny that Donna described Scottie and Harvey as peas in a pod, when it’s really them who are like twins now, both letting fear hold them back now?

Then there was THAT phonemail, which was spectacular! Bravo Scottie for picking up where Mike Ross left off! Their love (yes, that’s right, love) for Harvey has always been what these two women had in common (is that another example of peas in a pod?!) and it was fun to see them have such an honest conversation. We all hope Harvey sees what EVERYONE else sees too. And Donna’s face! Gold. That’s right Donna, everyone knows – literally everyone – well, maybe not your boyfriend, not yet anyway…….

Yet, just when I didn’t think the Darvey content could get any better, we had that final elevator scene. I was ready for seeing Harvey caught off balance by the appearance of Thomas Kessler; of seeing him hurt and confused by his reaction to Donna being with a great guy. Yet, the scene wasn’t about that at all – it was almost THE moment. He almost…..almost……opened up and all thanks to Scottie! Am I frustrated that we didn’t see her call to Harvey, especially when we’d seen the still photo of him on the phone, suggesting maybe…maybe, it was filmed? Damn right I am, but I’m hoping that by keeping this scene from us, they’re saving the moment we get to see Harvey’s feelings for Donna on full display, for a scene in which he voices them to her. Well, that and I hold on to hope of a DVD deleted scene!

Fair play to Gabriel Macht and Sarah Rafferty, whose on-screen chemistry has always been one of the finest aspects of this series. They played this moment so well; so subtle and full of glorious angsty subtext. Harvey’s slightly nervous voice, him shifting on his feet and fidgeting, dipping his head, so clearly awkward and nervous by what he was about to raise. Then there was Donna’s curiosity, turning in to hopeful anticipation. You could feel her hopes rising, thinking that maybe he was actually about to take an emotional step towards her. Damn you Thomas! I think you’re great, but that was the worst timing ever. Donna’s lingering look towards Harvey, as she stood as far from Thomas in that elevator as possible and Harvey’s look of confused pain were the episode highlights for me.

The only minor grumble – the moment Louis asked Donna if she’d told Harvey about Thomas. I know it was mirroring him asking Harvey the same question when he was with Paula (which really made no narrative sense) and it’s true Louis is in the know about her kissing Harvey, but it still felt unnecessary to me.

Has the time come? Are we finally about to step over the Darvey finish line? Dear god, I hope so. I cannot take another 7.16 Darvey Dodge!

…….which leads us to next week……

Looking ahead – that promo is Litt Up!

There are only two episodes left in season eight and there are still some big questions left. The obvious one following the promo for 8.15 “Stalking Horse” is what choice does Donna make? She clearly chooses Thomas, or his interests/her relationship over Harvey (oh, sorry, I meant the firm…..honest). That promo is so reminiscent of 4.15’s “Intent” that I’m already far too excited. We also know Daniel Hardman returns to play some more games before the season ends, so I’m assuming he’s back next week, setting up for whatever finale fireworks they have in store. Can I just have the episodes now? Please?!

Ahh well, only a week to wait. See you then!

Suits continues next week with 8.15 “Stalking Horse” on Wednesday night on USA Network in the US and on Thursday via Netflix in the UK. You can see the promo here: https://youtu.be/qu3O2_8IYtU

(Photos via: Suits USA)

 

 

 

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Television Review – Dates, Mistakes, Prunies & a Whole Lot of Gambling in Suits 8.12 “Whale Hunt”

It’s Thursday, which here in the UK is Suits night for me (thanks as always Netflix UK!) and after a solid start to 8B last week, I was looking forward to seeing what came next. Before we get in to the detail, one of the big themes across 8.12 was gambling, whether it was Katrina and Brian with their emotions (just no, but I’ll get to that!), Donna with her heart, or Louis and Harvey at the poker table. Some of those gambles paid off and some did not, but overall, this was a strong episode of Suits, which only served to remind me how, although no show can get everything right, I’ll truly miss this one once it comes to an end.

Right, enough of the negativity (well, until I get to THAT Katrina plot line). We have 14 episodes left after all. For the moment, let’s get in to the positives and this week, for me anyway, there were quite a few of them.

Valerie Weiss really knows how to shoot a great looking scene!

If I see that the director of an episode of this show is Valerie Weiss, I start to get excited and that’s simply because her visual taste is just so damn good. Remember that closing shot of Donna and Harvey so near, yet so far? Or the lovely Donna, Louis and a mug of mud moment? Of course you do and this week the tone was set from the very first shot, starting on Donna’s gorgeous shoes and soaring from there, through to the lovely shot of Harvey and Louis sharing that drink, to Donna’s glow throughout. Hurry back Valerie! You’re welcome any time!

Donna takes a risk on love and I am thrilled! 

We knew this was coming for months, but tonight we finally got to see the blossoming of a new romance on the show and I know this statement won’t be popular but, I loved it. I don’t think we’ve ever seen Donna look as excited as we did this week, once she’d realised that Gretchen was right – there was nothing stopping her from dating this great guy, who wanted to take her out. She doesn’t work for him (sure, the firm does, but it works for countless clients), she’s not breaching any ethics (can you hear me, Paula??!) and it’s about damn time we saw her smile like that. Sure, I would have liked Donna and Harvey together long ago (well, more specifically in 7.16), but they aren’t and for the moment, I’m all in for Donna taking us along for the ride as she has some fun!

And let’s face it, Thomas Kessler is a GREAT guy! He’s clearly smart, successful, charming without being sleazy, funny and already seems to have worked out who Donna is and what she needs. The moment he showed he was two steps ahead (like she usually is), having made reservations was a lovely touch – it wasn’t “Hey, I knew you were in to me, so I obviously made plans.” Instead it was “I was hoping you’d change your mind and I think it’s time someone put in the effort for you for a change.” Not only was it pretty sexy, it was also exactly what Donna needed and the tone of her voice as she answered that he was right said it all. This is a woman who’s realising that life is not long (no matter what Harvey thinks), that she’s not getting any younger and that it’s time to put in the effort in to herself and her life. After watching Donna taking care of everyone else’s lives for years, it was about time!

Plus, it can’t be denied that it seemed to be a damn lovely date. I’ve been on some crappy ones and the good ones stand out; where the conversation is easy, where you have things in common and can joke with each other without fear of offending, or being too familiar. Thomas seemed to have done his homework on Donna too and she seemed somehow younger and a little shy, or perhaps thrown by her feelings. A man who knows about theatre – now there’s a keeper (well, for the moment. We have an endgame to get to don’t forget).

Is it moving pretty damn fast? Yes, but they aren’t in their 20s, or even 30s, where perhaps playing the game is part of the fun for some people. They are older and know what they want and I loved Thomas’s direct approach about wanting to lay his cards on the table about his feelings (take note, Harvey) and that last scene truly made me smile. Is he being set up as too perfect? The perfect juxtaposition to a certain poker player with so many complicated flaws? I’d still go all in and say yes, but for now, I’m going to enjoy this storyline. It’s something new and it’s giving us a chance to see Donna in a new situation and that’s fine by me.

Harvey & Louis work out their issues over poker & prunies!

First it was couples therapy and now Harvey is enjoying a nice cold (caffeine free?!) prunie with Louis?! What on earth is happening?! Harvey  and Louis’s complex relationship has always been a highlight of Suits for me, but I’ve always enjoyed them most when they are on the same team, as friends and colleagues. It’s a genuinely lovely dynamic and 8.12 showcased it perfectly.

We started off seeing Louis call a truce after the strains of last week and offering the olive branch to Harvey in the best way possible – by giving him permission to do what Harvey does best (well…..until he messes it up….). We then had the inevitable rivalry, leading to the clashing of egos, followed by them making up. Honestly, as Dr Lipschitz pointed out, this is a relationship and like any other, it needs to be worked on! The poker scenes were great fun, especially once Harvey decided he really didn’t give a toss about landing the client (he seemed a bit dull anyway) and gave beating Louis his full attention.

Was he a douchebag to Louis (or as Louis put it “an equal opportunity asshole”)? Was it reminiscent of the Harvey of early years, bullying him to boost his own ego? Yes on both counts, but what was different and highlights just how much they’ve both changed was that, after a kick up the ass (I’ll get to Queen Gretchen), they could move forward. Harvey actually apologised (I’m still waiting for him to do the same to Donna, but I’ll take what I can) and so did Louis and hearing them each acknowledge what a brilliant lawyer the other was, was a genuinely lovely moment. And over a prunie no less. Last week popcorn with Robert, this week prunies with Louis. What’s next Harvey? Going with Gretchen to her weekly mahjong game (actually, that would be hilarious)?! You know you could have been going home with Donna by now…..right?! In the meantime, I hope this brotherly relationship continues.

All hail Queen Gretchen! 

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I love Gretchen! I loved her from the minute Aloma Wright appeared in season five. You just knew she was going to be fantastic and Whale Hunt was one of my favourite episodes for her so far. Not only did she encourage Donna to put herself first for a change and leave the children to fight, while she got her freak on, but she kicked Harvey’s ass! It’s true, she’s a better match for Louis when it comes to who she works for, but I admit I’ve missed her interactions with Harvey from season five and seeing her hand him his ass in his own office, while also managing to drop in to conversation that Donna was off enjoying herself (I wonder why they did that……*cough* Darvey endgame *cough*), was glorious! Who didn’t love the visual of adult Louis and Harvey in bunk beds?! Don’t you dare retire any time soon, Gretchen!

Alex & Samantha are actually getting along and it’s a surprisingly enjoyable! 

I’ve made no secret of the fact that the “Whose name is going up on the wall” rivalry plot line drove me mad and so finally seeing Alex and Samantha getting along was rather refreshing. Will I ever care about them the same way as I care about Donna, Harvey and Louis? No, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in them and this week made a change from the shouting and aggression of 8A. It was also fun to see Alex caught in the middle between two confident, successful career women! His trepidation about getting caught in the cross fire made me like him more. He knows how good they both are, respects their ambition and wants to get the hell out of the way! No thinking he’s better than them, no presumption that he can resolve their issues for them because he’s a man. He respected them enough to let them get on with it! Bravo Alex!

Gambling with Katrina’s character is NOT good entertainment

……..Then we come to the storyline negatives and they all revolve around one horrible gamble, which ended in total disaster and that’s Katrina taking a chance on being able to work with Brian without complications. You should have cashed in your chips and gone home before it was too late Katrina………

I really really don’t like this storyline.

It was one of the points on my fears list for 8B before the series returned. Katrina is a wonderful character and Amanda Schull has always played her brilliantly, right from the start when she was the bitchy associate putting down the mighty Rachel Zane! So far season 8 was doing some if its best work when it came to Katrina – seeing her struggle with the pressure of being a woman wanting to climb the ladder in what remains a man’s arena, hearing her painfully voice her confusion about the aspects of her life that may still be lacking and seeing her navigate new ground by actually making a friend. There is so much they could be exploring with her, but what do they choose? Another storyline around potential cheating and infidelity! Come on! Enough already. We get it. Everyone in this show has to have a cheating story, but NOT Katrina and Brian. Plus, just when I didn’t think my stomach could turn more after the perfume sniffing scene, we then had the almost kiss while he’s holding the baby he’s recently had with another woman?! NO NO NO!! To be honest, it’s just as offensive as the therapist dating her patient story decision.

I’m not sure what the point of this is, but enough already. You’re ruining two lovely characters. Stop it!

…………….

So, that’s it for another week. What’s on the horizon in 8.13, entitled “The Greater Good”? It seems Stu is in trouble with the SEC following the questionable actions he did to help Harvey / the firm in season 7 and Sean Cahill is either going to turn a blind eye, or bring even more trouble. Oh and then I’m guessing we’ll have Donna arriving late for work after her night and Harvey’s life will get a whole lot more painful! One thing about Suits – it’s never dull! You can watch the promo here: https://youtu.be/lsaoTvTfiZw

See you next week!

Suits season 8 continues next week on Wednesday night on USA Network in the US and on Thursday in the UK via Netflix.

(Photos: USA Network/Suits USA)

 

Television Review – Suits 8.08 “Coral Gables”

I’ve been enjoying season 8 of Suits so far. Yet, this episode was the first one that I’ve really felt was quite dull and more filler than meaningful stories, with a number of strands feeling unresolved by the end. Either that, or it was setting up a number of possible storylines to come in the next couple of weeks, in which case, maybe I’ll look back on it more favourably than I do at the moment. Oh and the title was a bit silly too (referring to the place both Gretchen’s friend and Samantha’s foe had moved to – boring). They really could have come up with better.

Let’s get in to some specifics:

A missed opportunity when Louis’s past comes back to haunt him

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I was a little disappointed with the Louis storyline this week. Leaving aside (for the moment) my feelings on the Sheila/Louis relationship, the handling of the bullying element of the plot line was rather strange to me. Yes, Rick Hoffman was very very good (as always), especially in the therapy scenes and I did love Lipschitz’s method of getting adult Louis to resolve the issues he’d been holding on to since his teenage years; that scene between Louis and his younger self (and that lovely hug) was wonderful work.

However, why not address the consequences of his behaviour with the bully?! Are we to believe he didn’t remember Louis, despite just how cruel he was to him? Or was he pretending because he (hopefully) feels ashamed of himself? Plus, was it merely coincidence that the homework Louis used to do for him was Biology? You know, a key subject for someone who is now a hugely successful fertility expert?! Wouldn’t it have been a more satisfying storyline to have Chaz acknowledge his behaviour and admit the help Louis gave him in Biology is what helped put him on the path to who he is now?! Instead, the plot still felt unresolved. Or maybe this is the first set up for the future – will Sheila have surgery? Will something go wrong?  Time will tell.

Oh and I said I’d come back to Louis and Sheila. I continue to feel their relationship is headed for trouble, or maybe heartbreak. It just feels a little off. Plus, this week we had Sheila arranging to see a fertility doctor without telling him, or thinking he’d want to be there?! Their relationship still seems very much all Sheila’s way and I’m bored of it. There are other relationships that need attention (I bet you don’t need three guesses for what I’m thinking about). Move along please!

Romance for Samantha & Harvey? Nah, they’re more like annoying siblings!

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Samantha and Harvey bonded this week and realised they’re more alike than they wanted to admit. Well, that was obvious to all of us, right down to the boxing. Catch up guys! I’m guessing there will be some fans out there panicking about the possibility of this becoming the next disastrous romance for Harvey, but I can’t see it happening. They just don’t have that chemistry and their interactions / dialogue felt more like siblings than anything else to me; the taping her mouth shut; jockeying for a boxing match and general needling of each other isn’t flirty or romantically slanted in my view; these are simply two competitive, work-hungry people, who want to show the other that they’re just as good as they are.

I also enjoyed Harvey trying to find out more about her history with Robert (as I’m curious too) and his awareness that she’s clearly opened up more to Donna, much to his annoyance. It was also good to see Harvey setting the line for her in terms of how things work at the firm. No threatening / ruining the life of anyone whose intentions are decent and honest, Samantha. Harvey may work in the grey, but there are lines you don’t cross.

Again, this storyline felt somewhat unresolved, or a set up for future plots. Will there be a similar set of circumstances in the future, just as Harvey referred to and if so how will Samantha handle it?

The consequences of a simple mistake for Gretchen. Yes, it was a bit dull, but hilariously, it’s one of the few plausible legal plots the show has ever had!

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First things first, I love Gretchen and Aloma Wright always brings so much to her all-too brief appearances, so it was great to see her having her own storyline this week. Yes, it was a bit boring, but it’s one of the few semi-plausible legal plot points that Suits has covered since it started! Could a deal fall apart all because someone didn’t send a piece of paper? Yep and it would be a nightmare for the lawyer responsible. Would a senior partner be handling the signing of his own documents? Less likely, but hey, Alex needed a plot line this week (although, personally I’d have rather had Katrina). In the real world an associate would have been responsible for that and there’d be a copy of the signed document, sent electronically as back-up to the original but, in truth, the story served one (or possibly two) purposes.

First, it showed that Alex is decent enough to not fire Gretchen to save face with his client (which many partners would have wanted to happen). Is this again showing he’s perhaps the more honest choice for Named Partner than Samantha? Possibly. Second? Well, this is where I again highlight this episode’s amount of potentially unresolved / set-up plot lines and this one concerns our favourite COO. Having Donna come to Gretchen and help restore her self-belief after a knock back was lovely, but the episode went further than that, with the mention of Gretchen hoping Donna has someone there for her to do the same if she’s feeling like she should quit. It felt jarring to me. What was the point of it? Was there none and it was simply Gretchen being kind, or is this laying the clues for something happening that puts Donna in that exact position in the near future?

Donna still in need of her own personal storyline

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Following on from the strange dialogue from Gretchen I’ve mentioned above, we’re still waiting for Donna to have her own independent storyline this season. She continues to be the strong support system for everyone else (this week Gretchen), yet we still know little about her. Soon we’ll know more about Samantha after half a season than Donna after eight! Whether we’ll be seeing Donna considering leaving this year remains to be seen, but what is certain is that she needs a personal storyline to truly make her character have the depth she (and Sarah Rafferty) deserves.

A non-existent week for Donna and Harvey

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I’ve used the word “unresolved” a lot so far in this review and when it comes to Darvey, it’s the most apt word there is! We’ve had flirting, fighting and bubbling resentments for Darvey so far this season and it seemed strange this week didn’t have any content whatsoever. True, we learnt that Donna did indeed tell Harvey about Samantha’s plan, which was a relief. Mind you, we all know Donna’s no liar, right? Well, not unless it’s about Harvey anyway, so we should’ve had more faith that she’d make sure he knew something shady was going on. I’m confident this integral plot line (and let’s face facts, it is integral) still has further to go over the next two weeks.

Talking of unresolved….

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How’s Katrina? Has she made some more friends yet? Achieved senior partnership? I understand not all the main cast can have significant story time every week, but as Katrina’s storyline has been one of the more interesting this year, she better be back next week! Also, has Harvey had any more therapy? He clearly has emotional baggage to unpack; that comment to Samantha about him not being able to say what he’d rather be doing, for a start! We all know it involved strawberries, whipped cream and Donna, so go and let it off your chest to Dr. Lipschitz, Harvey. We’ll all feel better when you do!

Looking ahead (only 2 episodes left until that loooong hiatus………..)

 

Next week is already the penultimate episode before the mid-season hiatus begins, so I’m assuming we may start to see hints of what could be involved in the mid-season finale. 8.09 is called “Motion To Delay” (which would be an ideal tagline for a Darvey movie, but that’s another story) and from the promo, it seems it’s war between Samantha and Alex. Don’t get me wrong, I like Alex. He has a good heart and wants to succeed without screwing people over, but I admit, I’d vote for Samantha. The idea of two partners from the same firm going against each other in court sounds ridiculous. Have they not heard of a conflict of interest?!

The only other story element we know is that next week sees the return of an old foe – there are so many options, but from a narrative perspective, will it be a more personal foe, such as Malik or Travis Tanner (especially as that would be very interesting from a Darvey perspective) than someone like Hardman? Only a week to find out!

Suits continues with 8.09 “Motion To Delay” next Wednesday night on USA Network in the US and on Thursday via Netflix in the UK. You can watch the promo here: 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Television Review – Suits back at its best in episode 7.09 “Shame”

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I’m a little later than usual this week with my Suits review, but wanted to post my thoughts on episode 7.09 anyway, seeing as this was probably my favourite episode so far of this less satisfying season seven. There wasn’t actually much I didn’t like about it! It was so much more satisfying than the 100th in terms of storylines. We had strong plots for everyone this week, with Louis dealing with the shame of his actions, Rachel working with her dad, Mike trying to have fun with Harvey, which goes slightly differently to what he had planned, Gretchen kicking ass, Donna dealing with the choices she’s made in her life and all of PSL gearing up for another excruciatingly personal mock trial. Throw in some fabulous song choices and this was the type of episode you’d expect for a milestone hour.

So, as usual, let’s delve a little deeper in to the episode……….

Louis Litt walking the walk of Shame (insert bell ringing) & lashing out again!

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I have to start by saluting the writers’ homage to Game of Thrones with the brilliant scene in which poor Louis Litt starts to have regrets about his night with Sheila, visualised through him following in Cersei Lannister’s footsteps. These types of scenes are always some of my favourites in Suits, where it doesn’t take itself too seriously and it ensured an amusing start to the hour. We also saw, yet again, the consequences of Louis’s choices impacting on those around him, as he lays in to Brian, a character I already like quite a lot, only to realise how out of line he has been by the end of the episode! I really do hope we see much more of Jake Epstein in this role, especially with Louis, as they have the potential to be a lovely duo.

Zane & Zane take on the world!

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Rachel has always had a difficult relationship with her father and one of the few enjoyable aspects of season seven for me has been seeing the two of them become closer, culminating in them taking on this case together this week.

The fact it is personal for Robert Zane adds an extra layer of depth and I’m looking forward to seeing whether this experience causes Rachel to consider moving firms permanently. Wendell Pierce is fantastic in the role and seeing Robert proud of Rachel was genuinely lovely. Not enough credit is given to Meghan Markle for her role as Rachel, who yet again this week, was not only a great lawyer, but also a wonderfully supportive friend for Donna, in what was one of the best scenes of the episode.

Let’s have a round of applause for Gretchen! 

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Who doesn’t love Gretchen? She has been an asset to the show ever since she first breezed in to the office to put Harvey in line and let him know he wasn’t manly enough for her! We haven’t had nearly enough screen time for her this year, but Aloma Wright was superb this week, as Gretchen had to put Louis down for his terrible behaviour and then still have his back, ensuring that by the end of Shame, Louis and Brian (his very own Mike) are closer than ever.

Introducing Andy Malik, the new troublemaker

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I already quite like Deputy Attorney General Andy Malik (played brilliantly by Usman Ally), possibly because his storyline opens the door to the progression of the Donna / Harvey storyline (more on that below), but it was also nice to see someone not intimidated by Harvey and more than able to play dirty to try and get what he wants. My only complaint was the way this story was introduced, with Mike deciding Harvey needs to pick a fight with a big bully in order to look macho in the legal world. That was pretty lame in my opinion, but I’m looking forward to seeing just what the PSL family have to do to beat this opponent.

The setting up of the oncoming Harvey / Donna storm……..!

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Well, it’s been a strange year so far on the Donna and Harvey path. After the out of the blue parachuting in to the story of Paula Agard, they have been much more distant this year, with not just their potential relationship, but also their close friendship taking a nosedive. It’s not been particularly enjoyable seeing them this way, especially seeing Donna so unhappy at a time when she should be enjoying the higher status she has achieved.

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Shame provided some vital signposts on the potential Darvey path (I still think they will end up together, even if it isn’t until the last episode). We’ve seen Donna recognise and make peace with her feelings for Harvey and accept he is seemingly happy with someone else. This week we saw her make the crucial admission that she had put him above herself and that this is something she now regrets. This was a brave statement from Donna and suggests that she is perhaps ready to take her life in a new direction, possibly one without Harvey.

Then came the key to the episode – Andy Malik’s goal to discredit Harvey and use Donna to achieve it. Both of them acknowledged this week that any such cross examination of Donna will be brutal, with her personal relationship with Harvey, a bomb waiting to explode. Sucker Punch has always been my favourite episode of Suits, so the fact we saw them referencing that episode and the last mock trial, intimating Louis is about to do this for a second time, is incredibly exciting. A storm is brewing and I can’t wait to see it unfold, as it is sure to have serious implications for these two characters.

Looking ahead – this mid-season finale is going to be tough..!

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First things first, how brilliant is it that the mid-season finale is entitled Donna?! That title sets the tone before we’ve even seen the episode. Donna has been through so much this season and 7.10 now presents the possibility of her facing the humiliation of another mock trial, in which her sleeping with Harvey must come out (Louis does know this information after all) and her possibly taking the stand in court (although I still think it’s unlikely both of these scenes will happen in one hour).

Throw in the promo’s tantalising clip of Mike telling Donna to tell Harvey how she feels, the stunned, upset look on Harvey’s face in the promo and still photos and Agard in the mix and this is looking set to be a gut-wrencher of an episode, which I’m assuming will end on an angst-ridden cliffhanger. Will Donna walk away? Will she admit to Harvey she loved him, but has let him go? Will he finally wake up to the truth of his feelings, ready to address them in the back six?

There’s also the inclusion of Jessica (as creator Aaron Korsh has suggested in interviews that Gina Torres would be in episode 9 or 10). Will she offer Donna a job, or at the very least a short-term position to help her in Chicago? I actually have no idea, which makes it very exciting indeed. I just hope we are not disappointed. My fingers are very firmly crossed!

The Suits season seven mid-season finale, episode 7.10 “Donna” airs on Wednesday at 9/8C on USA Network in the USA and via Netflix in the UK on Thursday.