Television Review – Suits 8.15 “Stalking Horse” – This week was all about emotional trauma – past, present and future ones to come…

Welcome to another Thursday night Suits fans! I have to say, I’ve been anticipating watching this episode all day, all too aware that it was very likely going to be an emotional roller coaster. So, with a glass of wine, I settled in for the penultimate episode of season 8. One word probably sums up the content of this week and that word is traumatic. Every plot line on offer in “Stalking Horse” involved dealing with emotional traumas, some old, some new and some that the event’s of this episode will very likely lead to in next week’s finale.

Diving straight in……..

Louis (and Samantha?) confronts a very emotional past trauma

190208_3904770_Stalking_Horse

Starting with the past, Louis’s mugging was a superb early plot line of season 8 and one which affected Louis very deeply. I thought it was odd how it was never referenced again and so bringing it back in 8.15 was a great choice. It allowed us to see Rick Hoffman shining in yet more heart-wrenching scenes, as poor Louis had to relive such a traumatic experience. Was it bonkers that they’d actually allow a witness to testify before revealing that the case was invalid? Of course. I can’t imagine that would ever happen, but this is a TV show and the fact it opened the door to those great scenes between Louis and Samantha bringing his mugger to justice means I’ll allow it.

Talking of Samantha, this storyline also gave us more hints in to her history, both what she went through and whatever she did with Robert all those years ago. They certainly have a few skeletons in their closet! Seeing Robert so protective of her is lovely and it reminds me of when Rachel was around. He’s desperate for Samantha to stay on the right side of the law. Mind you, I found his last comment to her rather odd. Is he worried in general that she’ll continue to be reckless? OR was it a neat way of flagging how interfering in things you shouldn’t has consequences (can you hear me, Donna??).

Brian & Katrina deal with a horribly current emotional trauma (as does the audience after those perfume and baby scenes from 8.12)!

img_3087

Oh Brian and Katrina. I really liked their bond. It was sweet and could have been such a fun, satisfying friendship. And yet…….it’s all fallen apart and all because, unlike another pairing in this show, these two aren’t capable of brushing their growing feelings under the carpet. I suspected the “We’ll work together for a year” solution Katrina came up with was doomed and sure enough, this week saw the end of the road. Am I sorry to see Brian go? In a way, yes, as I liked him, but the whole flirting over his child with another woman ruined it for me and the longer this dragged on, the more I was starting to dislike Katrina. The ironic thing about this whole storyline – if Donna and Harvey had admitted this same truth years ago – that it’s impossible to work with someone you care for, but can’t be with, without admitting those feelings – maybe they’d be in a totally different place right now. All the best Brian. Make sure your new desk has that family photo on it to stop this mess happening again and don’t worry Katrina, you’re fabulous without him!

Quick round of applause to Louis too. Yet again he demonstrated why he’s the best man to be managing partner, acknowledging Brian’s contribution to the firm, his worth as a lawyer and his respect for someone putting family first. Classy Louis, very classy.

And so we come to the storyline with past and present emotional traumas, which this week laid the concrete on a whole skycraper full of new ones……lucky lucky us………..

Donna & Harvey make some very stupid, but very human, mistakes

Well…. it wasn’t an easy night for Donna and Harvey was it? It was painful and tense and deliciously angst-ridden! I have mixed views on some of the content, but what I did love about this week was that both Donna and Harvey made some incredibly stupid mistakes, but these highlighted that they are as flawed as each other and aren’t the superheroes they are sometimes shown to be. They are human and they make mistakes.

Before I get in to those errors in judgment, I will say that some elements really irritated me this week. I don’t tend to agree that the show is badly written, as when there’s so much to analyse, for me that’s a testament to how much is woven in. However, when it comes to Darvey the narrative tends to take occasional leaps off the cliff. We had 7.01 (shudder), then we had the confused up/down path of 8A and this week again seemed to forget what had gone before. Last week ended with a monumental moment – Donna reminded of her feelings by Scottie and then Harvey trying to start a conversation about them relationship! That was HUGE. And yet, the very next day, we’re back to sports jokes and “I’m happy for you” – unlike when Donna said it to him about Paula (and it was clear she was lying), he actually seemed fine with it.

Really Harvey?! Come on. Be brave. Writing of scenes like that actually make me start to think maybe I’ve imagined it all and he really doesn’t love her. In fact that whole conversation between them was weird and felt very clunky and knowing they cut Donna’s “You sure” line (seen in the promo) is just infuriating! Was she meant to challenge his declaration of happiness for her and have him pretend? That would certainly make her more determined to hold on to Thomas. I guess we’ll never know, but the scene seemed unfinished either way. Then there was Donna’s “I’m so excited Harvey, I want to take him out to celebrate” – again, it felt odd, but perhaps this too would have made sense if we’d seen her challenge how he felt and have him lie. I admit, the scenes made me start to get irritated with Donna, but that doesn’t mean I blame her for the disaster that followed (well, not entirely).

Personally, I think they share the blame this week for the disastrous situation they were left in at the end of the hour and I’ll tell you why.

In defence of Donna Paulsen:

As blame goes, Donna isn’t solely responsible for what happened. She was totally in the wrong to put Harvey in the awkward position of telling her information he shouldn’t. Really, had she just swanned off and told Thomas she smelled a rat like she threatened to, that would have solved everyone’s problems! No breaking of privilege and everyone’s happy! She was also in the wrong to then moan to him about putting her in a shitty situation – nope, that’s all on you Red. Own your choice.

BUT – her decision to tell Thomas was very human and believable in my view. She cares about Thomas, she sees what a decent man he is and how much his business means to him. Staying quiet and potentially watching him lose that success would have eaten away at her; their relationship wouldn’t have lasted, as the lie and her guilt would have got in the way and where she is right now, she sees Thomas as her chance at a future, or using the flashback analogy, he’s her Paris trip. Harvey is still too much of a risk. They had that moment at the elevator last week, but then he’s joking about sports? I found her reference to the clock striking midnight also fascinating as, to some extent, I think she sees this relationship as her chance at a form of fairytale, of having a future with someone.

For me, it wasn’t about playing games with Harvey, or trying to push him in to opening up. I saw it as, for once, the mighty Donna Paulsen didn’t think three steps ahead. She acted on impulse and didn’t think about the possible consequences. Thomas could lose his company’s future and she could lose him; all Harvey was losing was a client. He’d survive that and she wouldn’t have to lie and risk her relationship. In that moment, I don’t think she thought about the danger it could put him in, or how important her faith in him is to Harvey and her sorrowful declaration that she does have faith in him proved that to me. The conversation with her mother was also interesting. It seemed to suggest that she’d choose to have faith in Harvey, yet at the eleventh hour she chose the her version of the Paris trip. She chose Thomas. And yet, as soon as Harvey confessed how hurt he was, you could see her mother’s words about why she’d supported her father rushing in to her mind. She knew she’d screwed up, even before Hardman came slithering in to the office.

In defence of Harvey Specter: 

I admit, Harvey frustrates the hell out of me a lot of the time and yet I still root for him. He’s always been the heart of Suits for me and I have always wanted him to find happiness in the end. He’s done plenty of stupid things recently when it comes to Donna – the petulant interview in 7.11, the trying to find her another job in 7.13 and his arrogant declaration of putting her in her job earlier this season being the latest ones, but ultimately we know he loves her (well, I think we do), so it’s easier for us to let them go. Donna doesn’t have that information though, not yet anyway and this week saw Harvey making some more stupid mistakes concerning our favourite redhead. He should not have told Donna the truth about Thomas’s deal, no matter how much she pressured him and I feel for him that the idea of her breaking their trust is so alien to him, I imagine he never thought she’d do what she did. Yet, he shouldn’t have told her. It was a breach of ethics, unprofessional and dumb.

BUT – his decision to tell her was perfectly realistic. She’s his weakness and he tells her everything, even when he shouldn’t. He also did do everything he could to try and fix it and knowing his history, the chances were he’d have been successful and he did all of that, not for Thomas, but for Donna, because of his feelings for her. If only he’d actually tell her those feelings instead, we’d be in a very different position! He also has every right to be angry at Donna and his reaction at the end was perfectly understandable and very human. He was hurt, with the personal and professional elements of their relationship so tangled together that I don’t think either of them has been able to separate them for years, which is all part of their problem. And what’s all the more heartbreaking about all of this, is that at the time he needs to be at the top of his game, for the fight of his life, he’ll be at his weakest, full of doubt and pain. Poor Harvey. Hang in there, buddy.

And so……….looking ahead, to perhaps one of the most exciting (and terrifying) episodes when it comes to potential…….

Next week is all about Harvey! 

Hell, the episode is even called “Harvey”! The promo gives little away. All we know is that Daniel Hardman is determined to bring him down. He wants him out of the firm for good and it seems that he is putting Harvey on the stand in some form of hearing. Is it an ethics hearing? A deposition? A trial? We’ll see next week, but it looks as though, just as Donna was in the hot seat in 7.10’s “Donna”, it’ll be Mr Specter taking up that same seat in 8.16’s “Harvey” – this show loves parallels after all right! Plus we know his old mentor Cameron Dennis is back too. Is he going to try and stick the knife in as well??

Possible theories for what could happen when it comes to Darvey? Well, we have a shortened ten episode season 9 left. I still believe Darvey are endgame, but the question for them is, will they cross that line now, or in the series finale? What’s exciting (and terrifying) about 8.16 is that it could take this in either direction. Plus we also know that the creator changed the way this finale would go quite late on. Was it from one direction to the other??

The predicament Harvey is now in could bring them together, through emotional apologies, admitting of mistakes and acknowledgment of feelings. Will Donna beg Thomas to lie and breach his moral code to save Harvey (Hardman has no proof after all)? That would likely spell the end of their romance, as he’d hate her putting him in that position and also likely see her love for someone else. We know Harvey ends up at some point at her apartment. Could it be time for the emotional floodgates to open? Maybe. Or maybe Donna’s choice will push them apart, with him unable to forgive the hurt she’s caused, at least not until nearer the end of season 9? Either route is possible right now and this time next week we’ll know……I admit, I’m a little terrified!

See you all her next week to unpack the finale!

Suits continues next week with the season 8 finale, 8.16 “Harvey” on Wednesday night on USA Network in the USA and on Thursday in the UK via Netflix. Watch the promo here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXRdEITNzZA

Advertisements

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! 

e16a04e6755c6c529e8e13ec8e39

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)!

Capture-35-2.png

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)

 

 

 

Television Review – Past choices came home to roost for everyone in Suits 8.13 “The Greater Good”

It’s Thursday night, so it’s time for Suits and I have to say, season 8B is just getting better and better for me, with this week’s latest episode continuing the run of strong stories, both the ones that are only here for one week, or the long-simmering ones, that just keep building and building (yes, we all know what the obvious one is, I’ll get to it)!

With the title, The Greater Good, the overarching theme was past choices and actions and how they continue to affect your life, no matter how long it’s been, whether a night, a day, a year, or 13 years……..Almost all of the gang were affected by their pasts in 8.13 and it was a lot of fun to watch.

Let’s dig in to this week’s detail and start at the top of the tree with the Managing Partner……

Louis realised that choosing to step up is not the path to an easy life!

Ahh Louis Litt. Just when he no longer cared about it, he found himself sitting on the throne and this week saw him truly understanding how tough a job it is (which only makes me love Jessica more, seeing as she made it look easy)! It was fun to watch him navigating the waters of his new role, flying off the handle like old Louis with Katrina and Robert, before remembering that’s not who he is anymore and reminding me just why I thought he’d be the best man for this job. His lovely interaction with Katrina was a real highlight. Between you or Brian, Louis, I’d choose you hands down!

Katrina’s choice to have Brian as her associate has consequences

The low-point of last week’s episode for me was the Katrina/Brian thread and I was dreading where it would go next (well, it couldn’t get any worse at least). This week Katrina had to find a way through the emotional wreckage, that would leave both of them unscathed, which was absolutely correct. She is the one in the position of seniority and it’s interesting to see the genders flipped for a change. She technically put him, as her subordinate, in a difficult position (even though, professional lives aside, they were both at fault and his behaviour is just horrible), so tarnishing his reputation was out of the question. I loved her conversation with Donna, which was also nicely used to bring up her “complicated” relationship with someone she works with…….hmm….I not sure I know who that is…..I’m not quite sure the solution is ideal though – they have to keep working together – for a YEAR? I can’t see this ending well……Tread carefully Katrina and Brian, how about you put a photo of your wife on your desk alongside your baby? Remember her? You better!

Samantha’s past turns up at her door, with an insight in to the childhood choices, that have helped shaped her in to the woman she’s become

In 8.10 we learnt about Samantha’s past in foster care and this week we were given a greater glimpse in to that early life through the arrival of her foster mother, who she clearly cares deeply about. This stand-alone story was a lovely thread of 8.13, as we watched Samantha come to terms with the truth of her foster mother’s choice not to fight to keep her (that had to be hard to hear) and with the help of her surrogate father, Robert Zane, she was able to move forward and forgive her, while at the same time use her own past as a way to help save the potential future of another young kid in need. I like you more and more every week Ms Wheeler.

Stu faced the harsh reality of doing favours for PSL/ZSL/ZSLWW (or whatever name it has this week)

Suits-Episode-13-Season-7-Inevitable-6

I love Stu. If they’d ruined Stu, I would have exploded! There would have been angry tweets and possibly angry letters and no one wants that, so thank goodness, Stu lives to fight another day as the greatest gunslinger. I thought he was mad to manipulate that stock, but he knew the risks, whether he wanted to admit it or not. Having said that, I did feel sorry for him, being another person getting caught up in the shady world our favourite law firm tends to keep slipping in to, especially when it looked as though Harvey really wasn’t going to be able to fix it. The whole “I’m Harvey Specter. Don’t mess with me” line really isn’t working as well as it used to these days. Thankfully, Donna came up with the way to save the day – the “We’re all guilty here, let’s just pretend it didn’t happen” solution! It certainly covered Harvey, Donna, Stu, Sean Cahill, the annoying trader whose name I’ve already forgotten, not to mention capturing Katrina and Brian too! My one sadness is that this may very well spell the end of his flirty friendship with Donna, which would certainly be a loss. Will we ever see Stu again? If not, it was fun while it lasted! It was also lovely to see Sean Cahill back, as his relationship with Harvey in early season six was one of the best aspects of that time in the show and it was a reminder of just how many great guest actors this series has had. Heck, it was even nice to see Joe Miler pop up and be doing well.

……and then there was the BIG one……the story thread that’s been fuelled by so many past choices and mistakes that it could power Manhattan…….

All those Darvey choices from the past continuing to dictate both Donna and Harvey’s current behaviour

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been introduced to the new man in Donna’s life and I have to say, I think he’s pretty great (and fantastically played by Sasha Roiz). A man in his early 40s, with seemingly little baggage, who’s kind, thoughtful, successful (and not arrogant), witty, charming and rather sexy. They don’t exist in the real world do they? Also, crucially in my opinion, the focus was on him and Donna; their flirting (as inappropriate as I thought it may have been to call a client stupid) and their first date, culminating in that fabulous last scene, where Donna had a man in front of her being direct about how incredible she is and how much he wanted to be with her. I don’t think I even wrote the word “Darvey” in my last review, as the foundations were being laid.

This week………could there have been more Darvey subtext? Personally, I feel sorry for Thomas. He seems too decent to deserve the inevitable heartbreak that’s coming his way at some point and in any other world, he’d absolutely be the man for Donna Paulsen, but let’s face it, we all know the truth (sorry Thomas).

First things first, I’m thrilled Donna has moved on. That may be a controversial statement for some, but honestly, I’d have been more frustrated had she not. Yes, she’s clearly harbouring unresolved feelings for Harvey and yes she did lie about not feeling anything when she kissed him, BUT she did make a move (as questionable as the timing was). She then wanted to talk about it. He closed that down. He wanted a promise of no repeats and when she then raised their blurry lines, it was Harvey, thanks to his own fear at his emotions, who said it didn’t mean he wanted more – to the woman who not that long ago told him she wanted more of something *insert long sigh here.* What’s a woman to do? Sit and wait and see if things change? Ultimately the choice was Donna’s and she’s chosen to see if she can find happiness with someone else. Life is short and none of them are getting any younger. Ultimately it’s her life and her choice and she isn’t trying to hurt Harvey. He’s hurting himself.

On to this week – how was the morning after the night before? Well, on the surface, it’s all going swimmingly. Early morning banter and kisses, supportive phone calls and three nights together in a row? All very promising, except that this week Donna’s new relationship seemed to be used at every opportunity to remind us of one thing and one thing only – HE ISN’T HARVEY! There’s the morning coffee (which won’t have vanilla), the dramatic pause before she admitted to him she “overslept” as though she wanted him to know, but chickened out of spelling it out, and the conversation with Katrina (who can be added to the list of people who clearly know about the the Darvey tension), which both raised the topic of Harvey and also highlighted that Donna is doing everything she can to ignore that mess. As she said herself, it’s about falling for someone who has nothing to do with that firm. She’s papering over her Harvey feelings, the same way he buried his by dating Paula and seeing her so keen to see Thomas again, to forget about her life and her feelings, felt very true to life. Sometimes we all need to run away from things for a while.

And while Donna is trying to move forward, Harvey is growing more and more aware of his choices, whether he’s ready to acknowledge them or not. We’ve seen him in therapy talking about being alone and this week made that very clear. The two closest people in his life were unable to take his call. They were both out, living their lives, because unlike Mr Specter, they know that life isn’t long. Gabriel Macht is always fantastic in this role and he is a master when it comes to the scenes where the story is all in his face and that final scene was beautifully played by him. The balance of the light, jokey message to Donna and the pleasure at wanting to tell Mike about his day, sinking in to a much sadder place, as he admitted he missed his friend, before gazing off in to space in his empty apartment. Oh, Harvey, I still love you and my heart did break a little for you, but this is an existence of your own making. You could be spending the night with someone you care about if you’d just been brave.

What’s exciting about this though is that he still has time! And as I’ve thought for quite a while now, the final push he needs is to see Donna with another man; one who realistically could make her happy. It’s the only thing left that has the potential to shake him out of this pattern. And once he’s awake to the truth of his feelings……? Well, then it’s all going to get very interesting indeed!

……………………………………

So, all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed The Greater Good. The story strands threaded together well, the writing was strong and it served as a reminder of just how strong this cast is, both old and new, regular and recurring. It’s episodes like this that make me sad to think that there’s not much longer left. All we can hope for is that the remaining episodes will be this satisfying.

Looking Ahead – time for the angsty fun to really begin!

img_3268

So, what’s coming next week. From the promo and the photos, it seems we’ll see Harvey meeting Thomas. Oh, that’s going to interesting. Scottie is also back and it seems winding up Harvey, making social calls to Donna’s apartment and going head to head with Samantha. I’m already excited!

 

See you next week, same day, same place!

Suits season 8 continues next week with 8.14 “Peas in a Pod” on Wednesday on USA Network in the US and on Thursday in the UK thanks to Netflix. You can watch the promo here: https://youtu.be/uisdLHPIoCc

(Photos from: Suits USA/USA Network)

 

 

 

 

 

Television Review – Suits 8.09 “Motion To Delay”

As I am writing this review of last week’s episode of Suits, the day before the mid-season finale airs, the irony is not lost on me that the episode on which I’ve been delayed in posting my thoughts is entitled Motion To Delay! Interestingly, 8.09 was the first episode of season 8 that linked back to the old seasons, through the inclusion of the ghost of Frank Gallo. There were also a number of different plots within the episode, but the writers were able to keep all the plates spinning, resulting in quite a satisfying hour and one that I found much better than last week.

As always, let’s dive in:

Congratulations to ZSL’s newest Senior Partner, Katrina Bennett! 

IMG_2072

It was so lovely to see Katrina achieve her dream of being senior partner this week, with Louis escorting her, in his own special way, in to her new office. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Katrina’s journey so far this season, as she navigates the harder elements of rising the ranks in such a competitive and life-consuming profession and it was lovely to see her able to take on a case that truly mattered to her, now that she had the power to do so. However, it was also satisfying to see her not succeed without a struggle and her seeking Harvey’s advice (don’t forget it was him that brought her to the firm originally), was particularly lovely. It also demonstrated how much he’s grown too, in a scene where he really was a sounding board to someone junior to him.

There was another element to Katrina’s story this week and that involved her newly-blossoming friendship with Brian. I don’t know about you, but I spent most of the episode with my fingers crossed that they weren’t going to take this plot strand in to the cheating sphere. It really would sour my opinion of both characters and having them simply by great friends, supporting each other through the chaos, will be far more interesting in my view. Thankfully, the writers haven’t chosen what would be the cliched route yet and the more we see them together, the more it seems Brian isn’t looking for anything more than a friend (and no doubt an advocate for his career progression down the line). As for Katrina, I’m still not convinced she has romantic feelings towards Brian; rather he’s more of a symbol of what she knows is still missing in her life and which was only highlighted more in her lovely final scene with Louis. I’ve missed them together, so it was heartwarming to see him there to support her and congratulate her on such an incredible achievement.

Alex vs. Samantha – Part 1

IMG_0478

It seems that the mid-season finale is going to spend a lot of time on the battle for Named Partner between Williams and Wheeler (more on that later), so this week could be seen as the warm-up round, as they found themselves on either side of a case between two clients. It only made things more interesting to have one of those being the shady client Samantha can’t stand and Alex was stupid enough to take on. I have to say, based on what we’ve seen of Gavin Andrews, I agree with Samantha that whatever happened to the painting was probably deliberate! I also didn’t think she was out of line suggesting the firm drop him. Hasn’t PSL / ZSL had enough of dodgy clients? This was the perfect opportunity to legitimately ditch another one!

Donna’s conversation with Samantha was also fascinating, as I too was initially surprised to hear Donna suggesting to another woman that she hold back from what she wanted. Coming from someone who’d fought so hard recently to achieve a more prominent position, independent of a man, it seemed a little out of character for Donna to do this, although her ultimate goal seemed to be firm harmony, which has always been something she’s been involved in too. What I did love though was the dialogue here and how, by the end of the scene, Donna understood and respected Samantha’s position and not that it matters, but I’m still Team Wheeler.

Life Is Short (No Matter What Harvey Says)

IMG_0475.JPG

Motion To Delay also saw the firm, yet again, under threat. This time is was from Tommy Bratton, still annoyed that his criminal activity had been curtailed and his career halted. Shouldn’t he just be grateful not to be in prison?! This could have been yet another episode where we have someone make lots of threats and then have the team find a way to beat them. Let’s face it, Suits does that A LOT! However, the writers chose to incorporate the sentiment that none of us are here forever and you never know what’s around the next corner, with the revelation that Bratton was dying, followed by his unexpected death later on.

What was most interesting to me in this plot strand was how Bratton’s death affected Robert Zane and Harvey quite differently. Harvey acknowledges how if you found out your days were limited that surely you’d make the most of them, but he was more detached from the reality of what happened and it didn’t seem to cause him to reflect upon his own life, unlike when he was faced with Louis’s changing circumstances earlier this season. He also even commented to Katrina that “life is long.” No, Harvey, that’s not the lesson you should be taking from this! Life is not long. You do not have all the time in the world, so hurry up and tell Donna you love her! Mind you, the comment seemed to sum up his current frame of mind, as this season he’s seemed to be struggling with the changes around him. Perhaps every day feels like a long struggle to him right now?

Robert on the other hand, took the news of Bratton’s death very badly. Yes, he’s older and had known the man personally for many years, but it seems to cause a bigger shift in his outlook on life. Just as Louis has started putting more of a focus on his personal life this season, Robert too seemed to be weighing his choices for the future by the end. Will we see him stepping back from the office? I think it’s very possible.

What’s going on in that brain of yours, Donna? Just ASK HER, Harvey! 

IMG_0476.JPG

We didn’t have much between Donna and Harvey in Motion To Delay, with the scene we did have being quite formulaic when it comes to them – Donna gives helpful insight, Harvey realises she’s right and follows her suggestion. In this case, it was Donna pursuing a lead of her own with Frank Gallo’s daughter, but let’s face it, we’ve seen this same scenario hundreds of times. I did find Harvey’s question and overall mood in the scene interesting though. As I’ve said already, he seems emotionally exhausted this year and the interaction lacked any spark, or banter and as for the question, I certainly think Harvey would like the answer to that to cover more than just work!

It’s not quite the same as the Mike and Harvey bromance, but I do love Zane and Specter!

IMG_0479.JPG

We’d heard creator Aaron Korsh say that, just because Mike was gone didn’t mean the movie quotes would disappear too and sure enough, this week saw Harvey find a new partner in crime when it came to the movie quotes. I loved this more light-hearted scene between the two characters and it reaffirmed that they may have their differences, but there is still an affection and respect there.

Looking Ahead – we’ve reached the mid-season finale already! 

IMG_2065.JPG

Blimey, time flies! We’re already at episode 8.10, which will leave us with a few months to ponder what awaits us over the final six episodes of season eight. Entitled “Managing Partner” we already know that the episode will involve a fight for named partner between Alex and Samantha. Who’ll win? The obvious answer would be Samantha (perhaps using her mysterious past with Zane to her advantage?), but perhaps things won’t work out the way we expect. Also the title could suggest Robert does choose to step down, leaving the managing partner role open again for either Harvey or Louis. Part of me honestly thinks Louis would be better placed to take this on right now, but we’ll have to see.

Or the title could simply relate to Donna, who manages so many partnerships in the office at the moment, whether with Harvey, Robert or the other characters. The synopsis suggests Donna has to make some sort of decision for the good of the firm, which intrigues me. Will Harvey see this as a betrayal, only solidifying the distance that’s existed between them so far this year? They certainly look quite serious and a little sad in the promo photos we’ve seen. Plus, the cast includes landlord David Fox. Is he back with more work for Harvey? Is he still trying to get Donna to have dinner with him? He did redeem himself a little last time, so it’s not totally ridiculous is she said yes.

I honestly have no clear idea what’s going to happen and whether or not we’ll be left with as excruciating a cliff hanger as we were this time last year! Not long to find out!

Suits continues tomorrow with 8.10 “Managing Partner” on USA Network in the US and on Thursday in the UK via Netflix. You can see the promo here: https://youtu.be/odjg7v3_eLU

 

 

 

Television Review – It’s all about relationships in Suits 8.06 “Cats, Ballet, Harvey Specter”

img_0409

After last week delved in to the personal lives of some of our favourite characters in such a satisfying way, the sixth episode of the current season of Suits was all about relationships, some personal, some professional and some walking the fine line between the two. The result was an episode that covered quite a lot of ground in a short space of time and reinforced just how strong season 8 has been so far.

With so much to cover, I will dive straight in to these complex relationships!

Donna and Samantha – Both on the same team after a shaky start! Long may they reign!

IMG_1942.JPG

I thought Samantha was fantastic from the start, but the more we see of her, the more she develops, as do her relationships with those around her. So far, she’s come to an understanding with Harvey and Alex, two of the people she’d not got off on the right foot with. The other person with whom there were unresolved tensions was Donna and this week saw these two strong women finally work as a team to kick ass and I loved it!

First observation – Donna was in the wrong for once and it was refreshing to see. She’s by no means perfect and at times I think people forget that. She doesn’t always read a situation correctly and this week saw her blinded by the personal and not see the truth of the situation. Let’s face it, as Alex said, if Samantha thinks something’s shady, you should probably believe her and Alex and Samantha were right to look closer and stop that money in the interests of the client who’d donated it. Having said that, Samantha also learnt a valid lesson; that she needs to trust people sometimes, which she was able to admit by the end. She should have talked to Donna before acting on her suspicions and when they did team up, look how fantastic it was and I’m looking forward to seeing how these two can hopefully form a strong friendship. Heck, maybe Samantha has a handsome friend she can introduce to Donna to help Harvey wake up!

Katrina’s very realistic work struggles continue to be a highlight of the season

katrina-battles-for-named-partner-suits-s8e6.png

Amanda Schull made an impression when she first appeared in the series, as the rather nasty associate out to show how good she was, even if it meant hurting people on the way (who can forget her comment about lawyers sleeping with paralegals, but marrying other lawyers to Rachel?!) and has now thankfully become a much more well-rounded character. In fact this season’s storyline for Katrina is one of my favourites so far.

More than any other plot line, it’s the most realistic to me, highlighting a number of issues that professional women face in the workplace and especially one as male-dominated as the legal world. We’ve seen Jessica at the top, but we didn’t see her struggle to get there and we watched Rachel achieve the early successes of starting down her career path. Katrina is perfectly placed to highlight the obstacles and difficulties between those two levels; that the higher you manage to rise, the harder it gets, both professionally and also on a personal level.

Before I get to her friendship with Brian, which was the heart of her story this week, look at what else was covered – despite doing everything asked of her for a promotion, she’s now got to give more, because another male partner is supporting the male candidate. We don’t know him, but it’s on point in highlighting that women often have go that extra mile to get on the same playing field with the men. Then we had the suggestions of what focussing on her career has perhaps cost her. She’s likely always put her energy in to academics and then career goals over friendships and relationships and the older you get, the more that choice starts to resonate, which we’ve already seen this season with Katrina, but which came up again here. She’s given up a lot to get to where she is and perhaps it’s not everything she hoped it would be. Funnily enough, I saw parallels between her and Harvey this week, as I think he’s coming to some of those same conclusions too.

fullsizeoutput_1149.jpeg

We also need to look at her relationship with Brian. There’s been a lot of discussion online about these two, as they seemed to grow closer and with Brian being married and always seeming to be a good guy, I was certainly uneasy about a possible affair-style story. What we saw instead this week, was much more fascinating. We’ve learnt Katrina has perhaps let her personal life suffer and so the fact she’s actually formed a relationship with Brian was special to her. It’s possible Brian is her first real friend (well, besides Louis) and she came to realise that, which made me feel truly sad for her.

Did she see it romantically? I don’t think so, but equally, I think she came to a realisation that she also needed to draw some lines, on seeing how it could potentially head that way even if that wasn’t her intention (after Donna’s delicate intervention, where she of course wasn’t talking about her heart overruling her head when she kissed Harvey…of course not…they’re just friends….). Katrina is Brian’s superior after all and had she been a man acting that way with a married female colleague, it may not have seemed quite as sweet. As for Brian, I think he’d never in a million years think someone like Katrina would be interested in him and so the idea of romance probably hasn’t even occurred to him. Some shows would have gone down the affair path and I’m pleased Suits didn’t do that. They have enough cheating storylines after all!

Assuming she’s now going to become a Senior Partner, we’ll see what’s next for Katrina, but I hope she finds fulfilment in whatever form that is and if she does want a sweet guy, there’s always Benjamin!

Mike may be gone, but the Harvey / Louis bromance is a thing of beauty! 

fullsizeoutput_1147.jpeg

Having seen the promotional images for 8.06, the biggest anticipated storyline was how on earth Louis was able to drag Harvey to see his therapist! I’m a huge fan of Dr. Lipschitz (always played to perfection by Ray Proscia) and after all the work he’s done with Louis, we were all wanting him to work his magic on Harvey and it seems we’ll get our wish! Louis talking about his friend to his therapist has also been comedy gold and this week was no exception (the “I’m right, you’re wrong, touch his hair and leave” line had me cracking up), but the couple’s therapy scene was fantastic.

Seeing Harvey expressing his views about how he perceives Louis and then watching it morph in to revealing some of his own insecurities was so fascinating to watch and thank god this therapist is actually good at his job and spotted it too (more on Harvey later). The bullpen has been a recurring location recently for these two complicated men and it made perfect sense for their final scene to take place there, in the place they met and worked for years. Seeing Harvey admit his fear to Louis was such a step forward and Rick Hoffman played Louis’s joy at realising they’re not that different brilliantly. They really are brothers and it’s lovely to see that bond after all those early years of fighting and one-upmanship. I still think Louis’ll win on the mudding topic one day too. Go on Harvey, you know you’re curious about it!

Speaking of Harvey…….

We’re finally starting to get to the root of Harvey Specter’s emotional issues and it’s so exciting! 

I’ve said it before in my reviews for this season, but I’ll say it again, Harvey Specter has come so far personally over the course of this show. Gabriel has said in interviews that he was trying to push that development early on, having been used to working on films in the lead up to getting this role and having to learn to reel it in and let it develop over time. The fact the series is still going eight seasons in means we’ve finally been able to see Harvey’s professional, but more importantly, personal, journey and we’re now getting to the really interesting depths of his emotions.

IMG_1932

We all know that sometimes our problems can mask underlying issues we don’t want to face and for Harvey, his relationship with his mother has always been the focus. Now that he’s been able to reconcile with her and try and put that behind him, he’s left facing emotions that he can’t avoid / brush under the emotional rug. Last week’s domestic story affected him deeply, as he freely admitted to Donna and in 8.06 we saw the wider reaching effects of that on his personality. Gone was the more playful, flirty and mature Harvey of recent weeks and after his brother’s call about his divorce, back was the angry, hurtful and colder man of seasons past. It only highlighted how much he’d changed to see him lashing out again. Yes, he had a point being irritated about Louis not putting the client first when it was an emergency, but Lipschitz was spot on in reminding him that he’s acted that way for years and Louis just had to put up with it! Plus, there are better ways to make a point than lashing out and as Donna reminded him, he’s not that man anymore.

IMG_1934

Harvey’s solo session with Lipschitz was a stand out scene this week, with Gabriel Macht really demonstrating what a brilliant actor he is and how well he knows Harvey. Seeing him acknowledge that he’s envious of Louis and his recent personal “wins” was quite something, only surpassed by his heartbreaking admission of his fear of ultimately being alone, which is now so deep-rooted that he sees it in everything, even in scenarios which a person perhaps wouldn’t – yes, a client leaving is bad for the billables, but a personal loss? Not many people would take that personally, nor would many people feel the loss of a sister-in-law (especially one they haven’t had a close relationship with) so acutely.

As someone who firmly believes that this fear of abandonment is the biggest reason for Harvey not facing his true feelings for Donna, it was incredible to see just how strongly that fear grips him and helps highlight why, although 8 seasons in, he’s still not ready for that relationship. He’s closer than ever to being ready and now we all need to pray to the God that is Lipschitz that he can help him take those final steps. Like Katrina, he’s realising that professional success isn’t everything. Do I think he wants a family with Donna? That’s too simplistic a conclusion, but seeing Louis forging a family life away from the office is causing him to look at himself and hopefully with some proper help, he’ll realise that it’s time to take a risk to have more.

Bravo to Alex Williams, who did some “Donna whispering” of his own this week

It’s usually Donna working behind the scenes to bring people together, so it was fun to see Alex taking on that role in 8.06 in order to help Donna and Samantha resolve their trust issues with each other. I’ve spoken before about how Alex’s storylines have been falling a bit flat with me, but I do like his character and this week he was instrumental in brining these two brilliant women together. Bravo Alex!

Looking ahead…….

 

IMG_1920.JPG

Next week is 8.07 “Sour Grapes”, which was also directed by Gabriel Macht and is the episode I saw being filmed during my recent Toronto holiday! What do we know so far? We know that David Fox, their delightful landlord, is back, no doubt stirring up trouble when he comes to call in that free legal advice from Harvey. Could that be the sour grapes? Probably!

We also know that Louis’s sister Esther returns, so it’ll be interesting to see whether that’s for business or because of something personal. From the setting of this photo and the detail in the promo that Sheila may be pregnant, I’m guessing it’s personal. All I really want though, is Dr. Lipschitz to sit Harvey down for as long as it takes to help him see what (or, more specifically who) he needs in his life to finally be happy!

Suits continues next week with 8.07 “Sour Grapes” on USA Network in the USA on Wednesday night and via Netflix in the UK on Thursday. You can see the promo here: https://youtu.be/8W7ltB1iHcw

 

Television Review – Suits 8.03 “Promises, Promises”- where the new ensemble really finds its feet

image.jpeg

After finding last week’s episode a little bit flat, this week saw the new era of Suits really finding its feet. The biggest take away from 8.03 for me was just how strong this ensemble is. After the loss of three of the original cast, that was a risk and yet, three episodes in and the dynamics that are starting to bed in are pushing the series forward and bringing a new energy that works.

As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this week, so let’s delve in to the reasons why a little more.

Promises, Promises (and it’s becoming clear which will be broken)

Right from the start of the episode, we were reminded of exactly what promises the title was referring to. Even I’d forgotten about the promise Louis had made to Katrina, so with that and two people both hungry for their names on the wall and there were plenty of expectations flying around Zane Specter Litt. I’ll delve more in to Katrina’s journey later, but when it comes to named partner, it’s already becoming clear it should be Wheeler and not Williams up next.

Harvey, is that you? The loss of Mike is causing Harvey to have an identity crisis! 

IMG_1744.JPG

Watching 8.03, there was one fact that couldn’t be denied. Harvey Specter is not the same man we first met in 2011’s season one. Remember him? The man who didn’t need to know the details of the pro bono case he passed off to Mike, because he doesn’t care about the clients? The Harvey we see now wouldn’t recognise that person!

Promises, Promises highlighted just how important Mike Ross was to Harvey, both personally and professionally. He made him care and the loss of his friend and partner in crime has noticeably been affecting Harvey so far this season. He’s seemed a little sad and off his game; lost in the new environment of ZSL and that was finally addressed this week. No surprise that it was Donna who pointed out the truth to him. In order to deal with the loss of Mike, Harvey’s trying to be him, to keep the spirit of him alive in the firm. It’s sweet and seeing Harvey Specter caring for someone who has no one to fight for her was lovely to see, but Robert, Louis and Donna were right; this isn’t what the firm does and creating a storm with their landlord over it rather than simply passing it to the clinic was perhaps one step too far in a work context, but a more emotionally open Harvey can only be a good thing.

I’m loving the character progression of Harvey, which seems back on track after the swerving off course in 7.01. He’s realised Managing Partner isn’t who he is, he’s learnt how to care for people and that caring doesn’t necessarily make you weak and he’s seemingly realising that work isn’t the only thing that matters to him; people matter too. I’ll be interested to see how the upcoming return of the wider Specter family will impact on him. Maybe he’s close to realising there’s something else missing from his life away from the firm and that he needs to take a risk to be truly happy. Time will tell, but right now I’m proud of you Harvey!

Katrina learns the importance of teamwork (and makes a friend)

IMG_1742

The writers have already taken Katrina on an interesting journey. It’s now hard to remember that when she arrived we all disliked her for her nastiness towards Rachel and now Amanda Schull is a series regular, we are able to delve deeper in to this character. We already know Katrina is a superb lawyer and a strong woman, but 8.01 showed the difficulties of a woman trying to climb the ladder in the corporate world (if you’re strong and a little ruthless, you’re seen as cold and heartless) and I loved Suits showing just how hard it is to be successful in this world. This episode saw Katrina understanding that being a great lawyer isn’t enough the higher you get; you need to be able to lead people and have confidence in them to be able to delegate. That’s not a skill that everyone finds easy to do. Look at Harvey; until Mike, he didn’t let anyone do his work. Through Katrina’s interaction with Brian this week, allowing him to support her when she was struggling, she learnt that too and grew in her role as a result. She also made a friend and the more we see of her, the more I love her.

Wheeler vs. Williams? There’s no contest!

suits-season-8-2

Three episodes in and Samatha Wheeler is rapidly rising up my list of favourite characters in the show. Two of the promises on the table at ZSL are the ones to make each of Samantha and Alex the next Named Partner, but let’s be honest about this – at the moment, there’s no contest. As Samantha said herself at the very end of the episode (in which Katherine Heigl shone), she’s already miles ahead of Alex and she’s not afraid of letting him know it. I love her up-front attitude when addressing the position they are both in and her level of confidence and find myself wishing I had that same attitude!

IMG_1745.JPG

We also saw another side of her this week, not just the game-playing meddling we’ve witnessed for the last two weeks. Here, we saw her help Alex out, even when she didn’t have to. His tantrum in the lobby made me laugh. Just like Harvey with Donna in 8.01, he was effectively moaning that she didn’t save him from himself! Seriously Alex? The gender reversals between Alex and Samantha are fun to watch, while also making an interesting point – if a woman had acted that way, how would they have been perceived? I think we sadly all know the answer to that.

I do like Alex, but he’s still the character I’m least interested in and he certainly has a lot to learn. Samantha’s warning had been clear that the guy was dirty and yet he chose to ignore her and then cry about it when she was right! Come on Alex, you need to get better at reading people, otherwise it’ll be Zane Specter Litt Wheeler Bennett before you can blink (which I’d actually be fine with)!

My one wish now, a scene between Samantha and Jessica. Now that would be glorious!

The comedy is back!

One of my favourite elements of the series has always been the comedic aspects of the storylines and characters and that side of the show has been lacking recently (the Sheila / Louis stuff last week was just cringeworthy, rather than comedic, in my view). Yet, 8.03 was sprinkled with fun moments, surprisingly coming mostly from Robert Zane (still played superbly by Wendell Pierce).

I loved the nod to the ridiculous amount they drink on Suits without any side effects, by Robert nursing a hangover. Careful Robert, you need years of practice to spend a night drinking with Harvey. You better ask Donna for tips! Then there was the Zane / Litt dynamic, which is already so much fun to watch, especially his reaction to Louis’s disgusting hangover remedy! Robert and Harvey are also developing their own rapport and this was topped off with the banter back between Donna and Harvey. Hopefully season 8 will continue to keep the balance between drama and comedy right.

Donna and Harvey are more than Darvey and I love it!

IMG_1740

We’ve had some ups and downs between these two characters over the last season and this week’s episode really demonstrated that their relationship is stronger than ever. Do I want to see them ultimately end up together? Of course and I’ll feel annoyed (and a little cheated) if we get to the series finale (whenever that will be in the future) and they aren’t together. However, am I annoyed that they are not cuddling up in bed now and making heart eyes at each other across the office? No, I’m not. I love where their relationship is right now. It’s a mature, strong, multi-faceted relationship, that is the result of years of work by the writers, Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht.

They’ve always been a team and Harvey may well have seen her as an equal, but now the world gets to see it too and they needed that equal-footing before taking any romantic steps, whether they realise it or not. We’re past the teething phase of Donna in her new role and in to the phase of watching her kicking ass. Unlike Alex this week, Donna’s biggest strength is her ability to read people and she shows that not all the cases at the firm can be solved by legal ability alone. Her scene with David Fox was fabulous. She strode in to his office and came out on top and he was grudgingly impressed. Who wouldn’t be?!

The brilliance of their partnership is that they are already a couple in almost every respect and whenever they do cross that line (I still think it’ll happen one day) not much will really change and that’s thanks to the depth of the relationship they already have. Now, all we need is for them to have the confidence to take a risk and go for it. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy “The Adventures of the Sledgehammer and the Velvet Glove” (I might use that for a story title)!

Looking ahead…….

The promo for next week seemed pretty grim for Louis Litt, who appears to be mugged at gunpoint! That’s quite dark for Suits and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles it. Personally, I’m hoping for another Harvey / Louis moment. Perhaps a traumatic event is just what this still relatively new team needs to finally pull together. We’ll find out in a week!

All photos / screen shots are courtesy of SuitsUSA / USA Network.

Suits continues next week with 8.04 “Revenue Per Square Foot”, which airs on Wednesday night on the USA Network in the USA and will be available on Thursday in the UK via Netflix. You can see the promo here: https://youtu.be/g3BUfaWo1bE

 

 

Television Review – Suits is back & off to a strong fresh start (8.01 “Right Hand Man”)

Blog Post Cover.jpg

There’s been a lot of discussion in the build up to this season and plenty of concerns. Would Katherine Heigl’s new character take centre stage? Would the show be able to bridge the gap left by Meghan Markle, but more importantly Patrick J Adams, when, let’s face it, the foundation of Suits was always Mike and Harvey’s relationship and how they made each other better men? Heck, there’s even been concern about whether or not the new titles sequence would honour the original cast members enough (short answer there – it does and it looks great).

A couple of days ago, I set out my wish list for the new era of Suits and having watched the first episode of season eight, I’m pleased to say, in my opinion, the series is off to a strong start and I’m very very relieved and rather excited!

So, diving in to the detail……..

No one kicks ass with as much style as Robert Zane! 

NUP_182521_0124.jpg

I’ve always loved Robert Zane. He had a brilliant relationship with Jessica Pearson and he’s always been in a league above Louis and Harvey, much to their annoyance and yet they’ve all bonded through his daughter and her loyalty to her family and her work family. Tonight saw Zane establish himself as the boss and let’s face it, that’s exactly how it should be. Harvey has always been at his best when no.2 to Jessica, able to have more freedom to play by his own rules. Could he run the firm? Yes, I think he could now, after a few teething problems in season 7, but ultimately it’s not who he is and that’s what he understood and accepted by the end of “Right Hand Man.” He’s not a series regular, but I’m still sure we’ll see a decent amount of Wendell Pierce this year and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Donna finally getting to shine in her role as COO

IMG_1600

Last season saw Donna move up the ranks. Senior partner was nuts and I’m pleased that was changed pretty swiftly. Would someone in her position realistically become COO of a law firm? No, but this is Suits and it’s allowed to leave reality at the door to some extent and Donna certainly deserved to be more than someone simply seen as just answering Harvey’s phones!

Having seen a lot of bumps in the road since her promotion, as she navigated her new role and her confidence in it, I’m thrilled that if the season opener is anything to go by, this year we’ll get to see Donna (played brilliantly as always by Sarah Rafferty) truly shining and reminding everyone just how essential she is to the firm. In just one episode, we saw her offer advice to Katrina, Brian and Harvey, as well as earning the respect of the new managing partner by the end of the hour. Plus, bugging the conference room was pretty darn smart. My only hope now, is that the show doesn’t follow a predictable path and have her and Samantha going against each other, rather than supporting each other as strong women in a man’s world. Oh, and top marks as always to the costume department. Her wardrobe continues to take my breath away (and Harvey’s, if he’s being really honest with himself)!

Welcome on board Samantha Wheeler!

IMG_1604.JPG

The addition of Katherine Heigl to the cast certainly drew a lot of criticism from some people, but from what I saw in 8.01, her character looks to be a fun, feisty new member of ZSL (this acronym will always by London Zoo to me, but that’s a separate issue). I love that she’s confident and not intimidated by the likes of Robert Zane and Harvey Specter and another strong woman in the team is exactly what the show needs. We’ve seen her interact with her mentor, Zane, and with Harvey and Alex, so now I just want to see the dynamic between her and Donna. No nasty cat fighting please. I’m guessing her and Alex will be vying for their name on the wall all year. At this point, my money’s on Samantha!

A deeper insight in to the personality of Katrina. More please! 

IMG_1603

Amanda Schull’s Katrina has always been one of my favourite recurring characters and now she’s a series regular, it’s fantastic that we’ll be able to learn more about her. This episode certainly provided some fascinating insights in to her drive and personality. Katrina has always been ambitious and 8.01 was no different, as she volunteered to fire associates being let go due to the merger. That’s no pleasant task for anyone and showed a great drive to rise in the firm and gain respect of those senior to her by taking it on.

What I loved though, was that this episode revealed some of her own feelings about not being appreciated, as well as highlighting some of the many difficulties women face in such high-powered environments. They do have to give up more than men to succeed in worlds like this one and it was nice to see this flagged, while also providing depth to Katrina. I love Brian and was pleased he was staying, but the moment he called her cold and implied that’s what people say about her made my blood boil – oh look, a strong women making tough decisions and she’s cold-hearted. They’d never say that about a man and that’s a fact. Plus, she also revealed that perhaps she isn’t happy with the sacrifices she’s had to make to get where she is. As Donna picked up on, she was talking about herself, not the associates, when letting Louis know all the sacrifices people make to work hard, which again highlighted issues that women have to navigate in the world all the time.

We’ve also only really seen her interact with Louis and Mike to this point, so it’ll be fun to see her working with the others. She’ll never replace Rachel, but it was nice to see her and Donna already forming a closer bond and I hope that continues.

Harvey Specter back where he belongs

suits-wordpress.jpg

As I’ve already said above, although he could have led the firm, ultimately Harvey wouldn’t have any fun doing it. He’s always more interesting when he’s not at the top of the decision-making tree and, initially in this episode, I was surprised Donna didn’t see that, until she revealed at the end, she’d known all along and let him make his own mistakes so that he’d work it out too. The scene in which he basically cried like a baby to her for not saving him from himself made me laugh. I honestly wanted to give him a dummy to suck on. Honestly, what a baby! Donna really is the boss of him, it’s hilarious.

With Zane in charge, it gives Harvey more scope to get out on the ground and be the type of character he used to be in the early seasons and no doubt we’ll see him having some teething problems with Samatha Wheeler and his loyalties with Alex Williams. I also hope this more level pegging between him and Louis will only strengthen their friendship.

Then there was the best change of the episode – Harvey is returning to his old office! He never looked at home in Jessica’s domain and it’ll be great to see him back behind his old desk. It’s where he belongs and I’m very pleased about it.

Donna and Harvey – back to being a strong, united team

Season seven had its ups and downs for Donna and Harvey. After the solid foundation we left them on in season 6, episode 7.01 opened with the bonkers Agard plot and also the overnight shift in their dynamic. Season 7B had them coming to an understanding about how important they are to each other, especially Harvey, choosing his relationship with Donna over the life he was trying to build with Paula (how she didn’t see that coming, when he met her after having panic attacks at the idea of losing Donna, I will never understand). I know lots of people are annoyed that they are not together romantically yet, but, as was the case with other on screen slow burns (Mulder and Scully, Brennan and Booth, Josh and Donna to name just three), the show knows that part of the draw is watching the sparks. I was growing frustrated last year, but I also want to see them emotionally ready for that next step and they’re not quite there yet. Yes, it’s a big part of why I love the show, but Suits isn’t just The Darvey Show to me, so as long as they have great content that continues to develop them emotionally and that suggests a positive ending, I’m fine with that.

Toronto looking its best as always

IMG_1542

I have a new admiration for the locations team and crew in general after my recent visit to Toronto, the home of Suits (watch this space for a post about that!). It’s taken for granted that Suits is set in New York and the crew do a superb job or finding locations in Toronto that fit that image, but that also highlight just what a fabulously diverse city it is.

Looking Ahead…..

Next week’s episode is called Pecking Order and from the promo, it looks as though Harvey and Donna are going to be going up against Samantha Wheeler. As long as this doesn’t become a drawn out battle, before they realise they are all on the same team, I’m all for some good conflict. Welcome back Suits gang, I’ve missed you. Will I miss Mike and Rachel? Of course, but at least it seems that the show is going to be fun, fresh and full of new story opportunities going forward.

Suits season 8 continues next week (Wednesday night in the USA and Thursdays on Netflix in the UK). Check out the promo here: https://youtu.be/Mq7_h6a4Ml8