Suits – The Challenge of Darvey

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I have been wanting to write more substantially on the subject of Donna and Harvey for a while now and as we wait for the show’s return later this month, it seemed to be the ideal time to reflect on the complicated, yet fascinating relationship of Donna Paulsen and Harvey Specter. No one can deny that the actors, especially together have strong chemistry. I’ll go as far as to say theirs is some of the best I’ve watched on TV. It’s one of the reasons I was pulled in to this show and the superb work Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht bring to the screen together as these characters, continues to be one of the most fascinating aspects of Suits for me as a viewer and over the years, the question that has continued to be asked by fans is whether Harvey and Donna will ever become more than friends.

Where do we currently stand? After eight and a half seasons, it’s still the same Darvey question. To quote Donna’s much-loved Shakespeare – is it “To be or not to be”? It’s the question that also divides fans of the show.

Before I get in to the nitty gritty, I’ll be honest – I am a big supporter of Darvey. It’s the endgame I am hoping for and I will feel very disappointed were the show to end without them together.

That disclaimer aside, I’m also someone who, despite wanting them together, wants the circumstances in which that happens to be true to their characters and the narrative of their journey (apologies, I hate the word journey, but for once it seems a valid word to use on this occasion).

So, as we await the final six episodes of season 8, I wanted to take the opportunity to dig a little deeper in to the craziness of Darvey! I have no further insight in terms of the content of 8B. I don’t have access to screeners, writing my reviews after the show airs, so this post (as with all my Suits ramblings) is based purely on my personal opinions and speculation.

So…….let’s start at the beginning…………

The Story So Far & Why We’re Still Waiting

We’ve come a long way haven’t we, Darvey fans? Some days it feels like an eternity with very little progress, but looking back, there has been movement in the right direction and all signs still point to the answer to this will they / won’t they being yes. Let’s face it, the signs have always been there. Had they not been, we’d have all focussed on the show’s other couple, Mike and Rachel and saved ourselves the pain!

So, let’s think about what progress was essential in order for Darvey to happen, which does explain the need for a slow burn, well, up to a point anyway. For me, this falls in to two significant story points and I’ll take each one in turn.

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1. Harvey Wasn’t Ready

The first key element was the emotional development of Harvey Specter. Let’s face it, he’s the focal point of Suits. Yes, it was about him hiring a fraud and their bromance, but I always felt (and continue to think) that Harvey is at the show’s centre.

When we first met him he was confident professionally, but he was also emotionally closed off to most of the world, hurt and angry about his mother’s betrayals, resulting in him trusting very few people. Not all of that has changed. He’s still not going to trust everyone he meets after five minutes and we won’t be seeing him dancing along the corridors of the firm, without a worry in the world, but he has grown emotionally and he had to in order for Darvey to ever happen.

I remember an interview with Gabriel in which he recalled the creative team having to pull him back from changing Harvey too quickly, due to him having become used to working in film and when I watch Harvey now, I imagine this is who Gabriel was hoping he’d become.

Yes, he already had Donna in his life when season one began and this had no doubt been a key step in shaping him, together with Jessica’s arrival in his life, but as Donna admitted to Jessica early on, having to look out for Mike gave him someone else to care about, reforming the family bonds he’d let go of along the way. It opened him up and the more open to that brotherhood he was, the better a person he became. True, a lot of his “I don’t care about people” attitude early on was a front to some extent, but along the way, the front was seen less and less. Caring, it seemed, didn’t make him weak after all.

Harvey’s need to become more emotionally open was vital in order for him to ever be able to hold down any relationship, especially one with Donna. Look at his attempt to open up in 4.15 (one of the best episodes of this show) – he started off so well, but ended up making things so much more complicated through his inability to process his feelings and his fear of losing someone so important to him.

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Mike & Harvey’s friendship was so important to Harvey’s growth

As this episode and the cracks it caused in Donna and Harvey’s relationship highlighted, Mike’s arrival alone couldn’t solve all of Harvey’s emotional problems. It became clear to viewers, as well as those close to Harvey, that the scars and resentments he had carried through adulthood continued to affect his psyche and the only resolution was one that involved his mother. Healing that rift, or at the very least, letting go of his anger, was essential to the growth of Harvey Specter.

Do I wish they’d addressed this sooner than season 6? Absolutely yes, but at least when they did, it was written in a way that made sense. Harvey was floundering. His longstanding constant support system had shifted due to the loss of Jessica. Without a mother, or close family connections, she had become family and having her looking out for him gave him professional freedom, but also personal security too. She was there when he needed her. It therefore made perfect sense that her departure in 6.10 caused him to lose himself and lash out (poor Louis, always in the line of fire).

However, timing is everything and had he not already become a more emotionally open man through his relationships with Mike and Donna, this could simply have been another one of those angry Harvey phases, after which nothing changed and perhaps things may have got worse.

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The reconciliation that was a long time coming

I suppose I should also take a moment to acknowledge the role of therapy in his development. Harvey seeking therapy in season five was clearly a contributing factor in his progress, as this too opened up his hard shell and arguably without it, he may not have had the self-awareness to understand that Donna was right in saying it was time to deal with his mother. Let’s face it, in earlier seasons, any attempt to bring up his mother were shut down pretty swiftly. What is deeply frustrating, is that instead of building on what was a strong, important storyline in season five, which had been handled very well, the writers felt the best way to bring back his therapist would be as his love interest. I’ll never agree with that choice, but to the Paula Agard of season 5, I say thanks!

So, by the time we saw Harvey hugging his mother in 6.12, I cheered. Take season one Harvey and thanks to the effect of Jessica, Donna and Mike in particular and a dash of therapy, what we saw by the end of season 6 was a man who’d grown up. He was more emotionally aware, less angry and was not as terrified of being seen to care. For me, at this point, he was finally ready to give a real, mature and stable relationship a try.

Yet, although I would have loved Darvey to happen right then and it may be unpopular for me to say, the time still wasn’t right, which brings me to point number two…….

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2. Donna Wasn’t Ready

Sure, Harvey may have been finally written in to a place in his life where a romance wouldn’t have seemed out of character, but the truth is, Donna wasn’t ready for a relationship with him at that moment.

When we were first introduced to Donna she stood out, despite her small amount of screen time, due to the talent of Sarah Rafferty. She made the audience want to see more of Donna. It reminded me a lot of the increased role given to another Donna, played by Janel Moloney, in The West Wing and thankfully the Suits creator saw what we all saw.

I still love those early days of Donna and Harvey. They had only known each other a short time and they were more free with their affection. Their (then unknown, but hinted at, to the audience) past didn’t seem to weigh them down as it did later. He’d make a suggestive joke, she’d straighten his hair and clothes and they had fun together as a team. Mike entering their lives was as if a couple was testing the waters with a puppy before starting a family!

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The early Darvey days!

Crucially, Donna seemed happy with her place at the firm back then. She was working for the best closer in the city, had a stable job she excelled at and probably the best salary of any legal assistant too. Everyone knew Harvey, so everyone knew Donna and her skills and abilities supporting him from her place outside his office were never in doubt.

Yet, it made sense that this couldn’t go on forever and ironically, I’m again drawn back to a moment in The West Wing where that Donna’s position as an assistant (to a character most fans were hoping she’d end up with) is questioned by a colleague and friend who points out she’s outgrown it and is really only still there because of her boss, not the job. We all love Donna for many reasons and one is her ambition. She wants to be the best at what she does and ultimately, by season 4’s end we all knew she was (I’m overlooking the committing a crime for now).

I’ve also always disliked the cliche story of the boss dating the secretary. It is, for me, outdated and not the message that should be celebrated in the 21st century. Therefore, despite desperately wanting Darvey to happen, Harvey and Donna romantically involved while she continued to sit outside his office and answer his phone did not appeal to me at all and it limited what the writers could do with Donna in the show. Therefore, having her leave to work for Louis was fantastic! It gave them space professionally. With Harvey now in therapy too, the pieces could slowly start to come together. Perhaps the end was in sight……………

Then came Mike’s arrest and the focus, understandably, story-wise moved elsewhere. I get it, I do, despite my annoyance at the time and at least Donna’s awareness of her need to progress in her career was returned to once Mike was out of trouble. Yes, “The Donna” was a bit cheesy (although I wouldn’t say no to its return), but it served a narrative purpose. The itchy feet she’d felt and put on ice, that had only been fuelled by Harvey’s inability back then to express himself emotionally to her, were back and she could see that her current role was no longer enough. I strongly agreed with this narrative choice. Someone as ambitious and driven as Donna would absolutely be looking to spread her wings. Plus, if she wasn’t working for Harvey anymore, well then that was one less obstacle in the way of a romance!

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Donna searching for more in 6.16

The end of season six left the Darvey question wide open. What was her “more”? Would they face their feelings (don’t forget we’d already seen Harvey’s dream of their blissful morning not too long ago by now)? What was Harvey thinking in that moment of honesty and vulnerability from Donna, especially this new more emotionally open Harvey and not the one from years gone by?

Season seven had the potential to bring the final pieces together; Donna to find a role that gave her the same satisfaction and fulfilment she’d had in earlier years and become an equal to Harvey professionally and Harvey to finally allow himself to love and be loved by the woman he’d even described to his mother as being someone very special to him and not run from it.

And this ladies and gentleman, is where I get frustrated!

The Season 7 Cruelty! 

Up to this point in Suits, I’d been able to appreciate the Darvey story arcs and rationalise why the slow burn torture was continuing. I was a hard-core X-Files fan after all, this is not my first time dealing with this nightmare and I could at least see reasons why it made sense that it had taken this long to get these two characters to this point! I won’t linger too much on season seven, mainly as it’ll make me want to throw my notepad across the room, but I couldn’t delve in to the challenge of Darvey without addressing the season where I lost faith (for a while) in the Darvey narrative.

By my own reasoning, Donna still wasn’t ready for a relationship with Harvey when we started this season; she had other aspects of her life to focus on, so opening 7.01 with them in bed would have felt a bit odd story-wise. Yet, as I’ve already said, Harvey, thanks to his new-found family ties, seemed ready to build a relationship, so I was open to him exploring that in the meantime. The problems for me were the timing and the choice of Paula Agard as that someone (no not his someone special, that position is filled remember)!

I still honestly cannot believe 7.01 happened and I shudder at the very memory of those ridiculous lines of dialogue, whereby Harvey recounts all his emotional progress and that Paula was the first person he thought of to share his life with! Come on now. I know the man is a bit slow in the emotional uptake, but that was just insane! All that progress and at the first sign of Donna leaving him, or wanting more in some way still unclear to him and he ran LITERALLY OVERNIGHT to his therapist FOR A DATE?! The horror of it!

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Donna & Harvey summed up in one shot

Looking back now, I can see what the writers were trying to achieve – have Harvey get serious with someone and watch the effect on Donna and their relationship. My problem (besides the ethical choice of his therapist, former or not, in his bed) was that he was arguably in the right place to start that with anyone. The need for her to be someone he’d already opened up to just seemed lazy to me and the same goal could have been achieved through the introduction of a former flame we’d never met.

Unless of course, it had to be with a character with whom a relationship was destined to fail, due to how ludicrous it was…………Surely there’s only one reason why that would be crucial………But I see what I want to see apparently……

Overlooking the identity of the woman and the fact it happened the very next day after 6.16 and the storyline did make sense for Darvey log term. They both weren’t ready at that time, so why not let Harvey show Donna that he’s now a man who isn’t running from a serious commitment (well perhaps with her, but not with someone else)? The fact Donna gained a new role out from the shadow of his desk by early season 7 also meant that having her finally start to, perhaps unwillingly, acknowledge her feelings for Harvey made sense too.

I could spend hours discussing my dislike of how quickly Donna’s career change was  dealt with (which, in my view, diminished the logic and satisfaction of the change) and how I still think there were more suitable and indeed credible roles for her (Head of Personnel, or even working somewhere else), but I’ll move on.

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It was inevitable

Despite, the narrative veering off of course in 7.01 and 7.02, by the time we reached that kiss at the end of 7.10, it felt like the natural next step. Harvey was actually giving love a serious shot. That’s great, except him being oblivious to the fact he was dating the nearest copy he could find to Donna (in terms of her connection to him, that is).

Donna meanwhile was setting out on a new career path, giving her a renewed sense of purpose. With that ticked off, all there was for her to focus on was what was still missing – love, and seeing Harvey seemingly finding it with Paula was understandably confusing for her, especially when the reappearance of Mark perhaps raised truths about her feelings for Harvey that she’d buried years ago. No, I don’t think she’s been pining for him for over a decade, but I do think there’s been that niggle of hope buried deep down, which every so often has scratched the surface of her heart. After all, she admitted to Rachel that she’d wanted to try all those years ago, so she’d clearly developed feelings for him while at the DA’s office and we didn’t imagine her comment to Louis about losing the love of your life twice in 7.08! Hmmm, that’s Mark and……..I wonder who else?

They’re not young and carefree anymore either and although NOT ideal to kiss someone seeing another woman, Donna’s spur of the moment action made perfect sense for her character in that moment. After all that she’d been thinking about, to then have Mike and Louis mess with her mind too, well, it was inevitable. The question then was would this be it, the moment we’d all been waiting for, or would the writers chicken out?

We sadly all know the answer………

The Darvey Delaying Tactics Really Begin

It’s talked about quite a lot amongst fans that the writers keep finding excuses not to put Donna and Harvey together romantically. I agree that this is true, but my problem with it is that up until recently I thought it could be justified by the narrative, due to the points I’ve mentioned. There was a point, however, when the writers’ reluctance to go down this path seemed frustratingly clear and that point for me was the end of season seven.

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7B gave us some superb angst!

Personally, I loved 7.11 – 7.15. This run of 7B contained two of the strongest episodes of the series in general for me (7.11 and 7.13) and the added Darvey factor was a bonus added to already strong episodes. Yet, what makes this period of the show so frustrating for fans hoping for a Darvey ending is that even cynical fans like me, who’ve suffered through such shipping hells before, started to think this was it. The final countdown!

What was in their way?! Harvey was a better man, Donna was now his professional equal in the eyes of the wider world, there was no Mike drama to distract them and the show’s only couple was leaving. Add to that Harvey giving up his relationship for Donna, before even knowing if she’d come back, the reminder of his “someone special” chat with his mother and it all felt right, not just from a potentially biased fan’s perspective, but from a narrative one too! Hell, we even had Scottie pointlessly brought back to effectively hit Harvey over the head with the fact that he’ll never make a relationship work because of his feelings for Donna! We may all “see what we want to see” but there’s no other way to see that scene!

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The Season seven finale had so much potential

Yet, despite gazing across the aisle at each other, after walking down it arm in arm and dancing cheek to cheek, season seven ended with no real progress. Sure, the arguments that they are just friends are diminishing (who dances that close with their friend?!), but fans still saw nothing significant happen! I admit that I was very disappointed. I felt tricked. I’d moved from my cynical stance to an optimistic one and been stood up! The fact Mike and Rachel’s swan song also didn’t give them the goodbye they deserved was just the bitter icing on the already disappointing cake.

It was the right time for Darvey to be explored, alongside the other changes about to happen at the firm and not having the courage to let that storyline finally flourish will always seem a mistake to me.

…….which brings us to……….

Season 8 so far – Did the Darvey narrative lose its way?

I’m a realist most of the time and having seen the Darvey dodge so clearly at the end of 7B and with season eight, particularly the first half, effectively being a reset for the show, I’d begrudgingly accepted that Donna and Harvey becoming a couple was about as likely in 8A as Louis and Robert Zane hooking up!

I told myself that would be acceptable, provided the narrative path already walked by these characters held. No repeat of the horrors of 7.01 please! Images of the series starting with Harvey in bed with Esther had crossed my mind, but it seemed nuts. The Agard hell had served a purpose. His next relationship had to be with Donna. The end.

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Business as usual to start 8A

I know many dislike 8A and feel there wasn’t enough Darvey content after 7B’s promise. However, when it didn’t happen then, I wasn’t expecting miracles from 8A and I still enjoy watching Suits for multiple characters. An episode isn’t terrible for me just because Donna and Harvey don’t have scenes together. The new dynamics were fun, Samantha was a great addition and we were able to see how Mike’s absence truly affected Harvey, now he has a more well-rounded personality. Harvey caring about the cleaning staff? Season one Harvey would be shocked!

Therefore, for me, 8A started surprisingly well. As for Donna and Harvey? They were working together at times, but also separately and Donna was able to grow in confidence in her new role, while interestingly, Harvey struggled to deal with the new world order and his place. As he seemed to struggle, Donna seemed to thrive, which was an interesting shift to watch. They also seemed to be in a good place again and arguably they were both in the right place for a relationship with each other. At long last. Plus they were both single!

By 8.05, the flirting had even returned. We’d had jokes about pulling pigtails, stealing food, but then Harvey raised the stakes. Friends don’t think of each other when they’re alone like that, Harvey……..Actually friends don’t have kinky sexual histories to think about in the first place! Had I been wrong on the no Darvey development in 8A?! Had I reverted to being too cynical?!

And then came to the next glaring Darvey dodge by the writers…… Harvey’s brother’s marital breakdown.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved it as content. Domestic Harvey is a huge draw for me and Gabriel really nails those scenes. The episode even ended with Harvey acknowledging a weakness to Donna, but being okay about it. Hello character development! It was so satisfying to see and was a highlight of 8A in my opinion.

……and here comes the But!

However, what followed for the rest of the season from a Donna and Harvey perspective, for me anyway, was nothing more than a slamming on of the brakes, when the train had barely started to pick up speed.

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From one emotional extreme to the other in 8A

We went from the flirting and the sort of talk a married couple would have, to…….Harvey being a total douchebag. Yes, I’m talking about the moment when he threw in Donna’s face the she was only in her role because he put her there.

This was where the rush-job on Donna’s ascendency at the firm came back to bite the writers, as I suppose he was right – technically she is only COO because he agreed to it. It wasn’t a natural progression, as it would be from junior associate to partner, or senior partner to managing partner. It wasn’t a role she’d have likely been given elsewhere either, but the fact also remains that Harvey wouldn’t have given the COO role to her had she not asked for it! Had she not demanded more recognition for her contribution to the firm, he’d have never thought to move her from outside his office! That’s what made my blood start to boil at his words. He’s lucky she didn’t slap him and although COO is still the wrong choice in my view, Donna had earned a career step up. Plus, there was nowhere else to really take her character if she stayed where she was and as Sarah Rafferty has said herself, in the world we’re in, we must be championing women in positions of power and value their contributions.

For all of those reasons, I was infuriated by the way the writers now seemed to be writing Harvey. He’d come so far and this comment felt more like season 3 / 4 Harvey than the man he’d seemed to become since then and the whole story strand felt shoe-horned in to find a way to push them back apart. With no real obstacles int he way of Darvey, having him act in a way that, at this point in the narrative, felt so out of character, screamed cowardice to me. Sure, he’s frustrated at all the change and feeling unsure of his place, but disrespecting Donna in that way? That’s not the Harvey we’d seen after 6.13 and it infuriated me!

Now I’m all for angst. I love angst, so I’m not against that at all. Had the writing team chosen to pursue this storyline choice in earnest for the rest of 8A, having Darvey griping at each other, building to fireworks, or setting the scene for an emotional showdown in 8B, I’d have been thrilled! I thought that was what they were doing. We saw a shift from the flirting and innuendo, to Harvey lashing out due to his own struggles to deal with his place in the new firm and Donna carrying anger and resentment as a result, perhaps added to the pain she had already recently suffered when he asked Stu to offer her that job. Sure, he ultimately chose her, but I bet that action still cut deep down. That had to be what they were thinking……..

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A confusing way to end 8A

Yet, what really drove me mad was that this tension seemed to be dropped by the mid-season finale. Donna’s anger wasn’t addressed and we didn’t see much interaction between them after that argument. That makes sense if you’re giving space to let those resentments (and the confused feelings never properly dealt with by these two EVER) build up to something.

Yet, how did 8.10 end? Donna and Harvey arm in arm, off for drinks, while she calls him pretty?! Really?! Had 8.05 been the mid-season closer then sure, but it wasn’t! Since then Darvey had not been in a buddy buddy place at all and that whole last scene felt tacked on as a carrot to Darvey fans. It was totally wrong based on the narrative we’d been watching develop over 8A.

…….which leaves me to the future………

8B – Will they? Won’t they? This needs to be the time to move this storyline forward

I’ve already posted my hopes (and fears) for season 8B in a separate post, but when it comes to Darvey, it’s hard to know what will happen.

We know Donna’s going to start a new relationship with Thomas Kessler. Absurdly, having dodged the two biggest natural points to put Harvey and Donna together so far, this storyline isn’t a strange choice. In fact I’m rather pleased about it.

Am I crazy? Maybe, but although I do think Harvey is emotionally ready for a relationship with Donna (even if he doesn’t realise it yet), having missed the 7.16 boat and after Harvey’s crass, disrespectful comments about her career, he’s now got work to do to make it up to Donna. Say sorry and mean it, Harvey. You are the man who can do that now.

Also, let’s not forget, Donna did make a move. She kissed him! She then went to his office to discuss that moment. He shut it down, made her promise it wouldn’t happen again AND said he didn’t want more! Sure, she said she felt nothing, but anyone would say that to save face in that situation! So, combine that with his latest insult and of course she should be looking elsewhere for love!

If Donna were my best friend and I’d watched her go through all of this over 13 years with a man as emotionally unreliable as Harvey, then of course I’d encourage her to find someone lovely to date! From her perspective, Harvey has made clear he is not a romantic option, so it’s right she takes a chance to find happiness when it presents itself. Not to mention the fact that we’ve never seen her in a proper relationship on screen. All we’ve had is the brief dalliance with Stephen (that she thought was short term, even before his shady side was revealed) and a flashback to better times with Mark (no, I don’t count his “be my mistress” offer as a love interest plot line). Hell, we never even met Mitchell! So, I’m excited for the arrival of Mr Kessler and seeing a new side of Donna’s life outside the office and how that affects her at work too.

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Time for Harvey to step up in 8B

Oh and of course, we had the “Harvey’s moving on, what will Donna do?” plot, so I’m hardly surprised that they are now going for a role reversal scenario. It’s predictable, but I’m all for Harvey getting a taste of Donna settling down with another man. Not a criminal lying to her, or a man who doesn’t respect her enough to leave his wife before making a move, but a man who I hope is decent, respectable, successful and who is proud to show the world how special she is. Now THAT’s a real threat to Harvey! That’s someone who should make him sweat!

So, are we heading to another season finale where all the set up will be in place ready for an endgame, as we seemed to be in season seven? If Harvey properly apologises for his mistakes then all he needs to do is make a move. Let her know how you feel, you idiot. Take a risk. The ball’s firmly in your court and if 8B is truly mirroring 7A, then will we see Harvey taking the same action as Donna did in 7.10? Is it time he has to know too? For me, it has to be, if there’s any justice, or indeed any logic to the show’s narrative. If it isn’t, I fear that the writers are at risk of writing these characters in to a corner that will be impossible to write them out of! They risk them seeming so ridiculous that we all give up!

Yet, this is Suits after all. We have Scottie back in 8B, even though I think 7.15 was an ideal ending for her. Is she back to reinforce her last message to him, or is she going to be back running after Harvey? If the show has longer to run and they are looking for more Darvey dodges, then maybe. Do I think 8B and its season finale need to build to Darvey and kick start a new phase of their relationship at long last? YES! OF COURSE! Especially if season nine is to be the last season. In my view, 8B is vital.

Will it happen? All I can say for sure is that, with Suits and Darvey, literally (and scarily for fans), anything could happen. This isn’t made any easier by Aaron Korsh’s continual comments about how he has no plan for their endgame either way. I find that hard to believe. We’re eight seasons in now and the show doesn’t seem likely to run and run, so surely he has some idea of where all of this is heading. Not to mention the fact that, when you step back on really look at the way the show has been written, there are so much that points to them being together. We’ve had direct parallels between them and Mike and Rachel’s relationship, we’ve had practically every other character allude to them being more than friends, we’ve had declarations of love, or to people being the love of their life and we’ve had so much jealousy. But it doesn’t mean……..YES. YES IT DOES!

All we fans can do, is continue to believe that they’ll get there in the end. That has to be the plan, just one no one will ever admit to. It’s the only narrative ending that makes sense after all of this. Just please writers, please give us more than a resolution in the last five minutes of the series finale. That would just be mean! Buckle up, Darvey fans. On 23rd January the rollercoaster continues!

Blimey, that took longer than I expected! Is anyone still there?! If you are, thanks for reading! I’ll be back with my Suits reviews once it’s back on our screens.

Suits season 8 retunes on Wednesday 23rd January in the US and Canada and on Thursday 24th January via Netflix in the UK. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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: 

 

Television Review – Suits 7×13 – It was Inevitable (and Emotional)!!

So, the third episode of Suits season 7B has been one that fans of the show (okay, mainly Darvey fans) have been anticipating for a few weeks now. As the airdate neared, there was talk this episode would be a game changer for the series. Having finally seen the episode, it may not have provided the explosions I had started to imagine were coming, but Inevitable was nevertheless a brilliant hour of the show and continues this incredibly strong run, as we reach 7B’s halfway mark.

Let’s get stuck in shall we?

The exquisite pain of Donna and Harvey’s relationship on full display

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The fact that, although it took half the episode to even touch on Donna and Harvey’s complicated, nuanced and utterly compelling relationship, this will be what stays with you by the end, says a great deal about the writing and acting on display this week. It was never going to be straightforward with these two and I for one am glad about that. It makes the narrative and the emotional centre of the show so much richer this way. There’s a lot to unpack here, so here goes! (Thanks to @lovedarvey for the collage picture above).

Sarah Rafferty’s Powerhouse Performance

Sarah Rafferty is always fantastic and has helped shape her character so much over the last seven years and Inevitable is one of her finest performances to date. We saw Donna at her most vulnerable and yet also at her bravest too.

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After displaying yet again her strengths in her role at the firm, combined with some flirtatious banter with Stu (I do love Stu – more of him please), Donna was faced with a truly heartbreaking experience; the betrayal of a friendship she had treasured and indeed held above all else for 13 years. You couldn’t fail to ache for her, as she stood before her friend (and let’s face it, the man she now knows she loves) and asked him to stand by her, stand by their bond and their history. Rafferty squeezed every drop of emotion out of that scene and had me wanting to simultaneously hug her and slap Harvey in the face (more on him shortly).

We then had to watch her plead with Paula to not force her to give up the career she loves. I really really felt so much anger towards Paula here, but I’ll save that for later. I’ll also put aside for the moment that it was ludicrous that Harvey firing Donna for this reason was a possibility from an employment law perspective (Suits isn’t legally realistic anyway, right?). It was another powerful moment in a very heavy, emotionally charged episode, where we also saw Donna’s inability to hide the fact that she has feelings for Harvey. Literally everyone knows that now other than him!

Yet, after thinking of herself for once by kissing him, she returned to her usual state of being this week – putting Harvey and his happiness above her own. Do I wish she didn’t always do this? Of course, but humans are complicated creatures, especially when feelings (whether acknowledged or not) are involved. Under the clearly false impression that Harvey doesn’t want more with her, she took the only route she could see to try to give them both a chance at moving on. Seeing her leave and hearing her resignation letter was beautifully handled by Rafferty and director Christopher Misiano and will stand out as one of my favourite sequences in Suits (top marks on the song choices too). She hadn’t counted on the unexpected though – Harvey’s emotional growth!

Harvey Specter’s emotional development is almost complete (and about time too)!

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True, I spent most of season 7A wanting to run Harvey over with his car, but 7B is shaping up to be the crowning glory of his growth as a man. Think back to the person we met in the pilot and compare him to the man we see at the end of Inevitable. It’s quite a transformation and the writers and Gabriel Macht should be very proud of what they have achieved with his character.

Was Harvey an ass for initially choosing Paula? Of course! He hurt the closest person he’s ever had in his life and I hope that will be acknowledged in the coming weeks. However, I don’t think he found it easy to do it; it clearly hurt him to be faced with the choice.

It also needs to be put in to context. This is a man, who, after years of casual sex and failed relationships due to his inability to open up for fear of getting hurt like his father, is finally ready to love someone and be loved. A large section of the audience may well be yelling “Wake up Harvey! It’s Donna!” at their screens (yes, including me), but he hasn’t been ready to see it. Add to that Donna’s recent lie – that she felt nothing when she kissed him and he is left with one horrible option – try and hold on to Paula and the stability she brings to his life, at the expense of his one constant. That would mess you up and let’s face it, he’s already a mess. Should he have said no immediately to her awful ultimatum? YES! But then we’d have no drama/story. Going behind Donna’s back to Stu was cowardly, but he was trying to ensure she had a future, which may result in him never having to choose at all and would still give her a positive professional life.

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Yet, by the end, choose he must and on being faced with the reality of a Donna-less existence, his action and his choice was clear immediately.

He chose Donna.

He chose to end a relationship he thinks is his best chance for love in order to hold on to his friend and show how important she is to him. There was no guarantee she’d come back to the firm and he has no expectation of anything more. Yet, finally, he truly fought for her and it was glorious to watch! Those closing moments were superbly brought to life by Rafferty and Macht and I truly felt all the emotion they poured in to it.

And thanks Suits writers for not choosing the obvious ending. Harvey could have easily gone inside Donna’s apartment; the old Harvey Specter would have. The new Harvey Specter knows he needs to process the pain, confusion and guilt that he feels (regarding both how he has treated Donna and Paula) and it was absolutely the right decision to have him walk away. I don’t want a cheap resolution to this complicated relationship and by ending Inevitable the way they did, both characters have time to heal and face the truth of their feelings (hopefully with some help from a certain couple), before taking a step towards one another. Speaking of that couple…….

The future looks golden for Mike and Rachel

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This week proved to be another fantastic episode for the future Mr and Mrs Ross. While Donna and Harvey continue to flounder in fear and miscommunication and Louis continues down the road to disaster (more on him later), Mike and Rachel prove to be Suits’ shining example of how to make a relationship work.

Everything they have been through has only made them stronger and despite a small stumble in this episode on the road to their future, by the end of the hour, they had demonstrated yet again that they are the couple in the show with a mature, grounded relationship. Will it be San Diego? Iceland (was anyone else waiting for Rachel to use Game of Thrones to convince Mike to consider it?!) or somewhere else? We don’t have long until we find out, but as I’ll truly miss them both, I’m going to enjoy every scene we get before we have to say goodbye to them.

Oh, and Aaron Korsh, you’ve shown us that you can write a strong couple in your show, who work together and love each other, without being boring. Remember that for season eight. You can absolutely do it again! You know who I’m talking about!

A return of the best bromance on TV!

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When Suits began, its cornerstone was Mike and Harvey’s relationship and this week we were treated to a return to the fun, light, comedic banter of earlier seasons. I particularly enjoyed the superhero moment. Nothing lasts forever, Harvey told Mike and the audience are aware that this is more true than ever with Mike’s impending departure. I’m still not sure I can imagine the show without Patrick J. Adams and the witty, affectionate, brotherly scenes we had this week are one of the biggest elements that I’ll miss.

Lily beginning to redeem herself by dropping the “Someone Special” bomb!

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All is forgiven Lily! Well, okay, maybe not quite yet after all the pain you caused your son, but I’m starting to like you after the most awkward dinner conversation imaginable! No, Lily, your son’s girlfriend is not the someone very special he told you about. Confused? Welcome to our world. It’s incredibly satisfying to see the writers pulling together story strands from the past with the present and having Harvey’s conversation with his mother from 6×12 come back to haunt him was inspired. How Paula didn’t end it right there and then, I have no idea!

That revelation aside, it was lovely to see Harvey more at ease with his mother after so many years of her shadow hanging over his life, even able to reminisce with her about his father. I was truly happy for both of them. Now, we just need Lily to meet the woman she really has to thank, because she needs to be educated about who the real “keeper” is in Harvey’s life!

Bye, Bye Paula. I can’t say it’s been a pleasure! 

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The re-introduction of Paula Agard in 7×01 will forever grate on me. The fact she was Harvey’s therapist meant I would never have agreed with such a narrative, one only made worse by the lack of any reference to her in season six, before that stupid first scene of the season seven premiere. Has her inclusion this season mainly driven me crazy? You bet, but at least these last few episodes have given a purpose to her existence – helping Harvey realise what really matters in his life. Hey Paula, you could have avoided a lot of pain if you’d simply stuck to being his therapist. For that reason, I have little sympathy for the inevitable heartbreak that hit her this week.

Taking a step back, can I understand Paula’s actions? To some extent, yes. She has clearly had a terrible romantic past, which has deeply affected her and needs help of her own to deal with that pain. I also understand her feeling threatened by Donna following that kiss. She is only human after all and although this ultimatum in the context of the show was farfetched and ludicrous, I’ve certainly heard of women telling their partners to have nothing to do with women in their lives because of their insecurities.

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Was Donna wrong to kiss him? Yes. I love her and it was right for her, but it was hurtful to Paula (forgetting for a moment her past professional role in Harvey’s life). Was Donna right to apologise to Paula? Again, I’d have to say yes and by doing so, Donna showed how her actions weren’t intended to hurt anyone. Was Paula’s demand right taking all of this in to account? OF COURSE NOT! She was expecting a man with issues she was well aware of due to her former role in his life (as his therapist, who was meant to help him), to separate himself from one of the most important relationships in his life! On reaching that point, she should have bowed out. If there is no trust, what do you have?

Christina Cole however, did a fantastic job with the material she had, meaning I couldn’t totally hate Paula and her scene with Rafferty was so painful to watch, but superbly handled by both actresses, as was her final scene with Macht, in which Harvey was finally honest with Paula – he really had wanted it to work, but he could never choose her over Donna.

I was worried she may still be around in 7×14, but I think we’re all safe now. You can mail the apartment key back Paula. No need to drop it off in person.

Being the bad boy does NOT suit you Louis! STOP! NOW!

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While Donna and Rachel have been pre-occupied in recent weeks, they haven’t been on hand to stop Louis from heading down the path to pain and disaster. Turn back now Louis! Before it’s too late!

Yes, I love Rachael Harris and Rick Hoffman together, as the result is always a joy to behold, but this storyline is anything but joyous, as they sneak around days before Sheila marries another man. Louis may have told Rachel he now feels like a king, but I have a feeling the crown is about to slip, as Louis realises that he really isn’t a bad boy. Listen to your therapist Louis and Gretchen. They really do know what’s best for you. It was strange watching these scenes in Inevitable, starting to laugh at the lunacy of their role-play, before remembering the context in which it was taking place and feeling annoyed.

I want better for Louis and I don’t like the fact I’m now really starting to dislike Sheila. Come on Suits writers, make this right!

Coming next week – The Parent Trap (the Suits version)! 

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We don’t know as much about what’s coming next week as we’d deduced before this week. We only have the short synopsis, which tells us Mike is trying to distract Harvey with a case. I assume that’s distracting him from the emotional turmoil he is now in, post break-up and post-betraying Donna. We also know Louis is struggling to keep up his affair with Sheila and we all know things never end well when Louis is unstable. The promo showed Katrina is back by his side in court, so hopefully she provides some support. It seems next week will also see Donna finally confide in Rachel about what has been happening with Harvey (about time!).

Then there is the main promo moment – Mike Ross finally speaking aloud to Harvey and not as a joke, the possibility that Donna is “the One”! Does he know Donna was lying to his friend at this point? Are him and Rachel trying to give their friends a wedding gift of their own? We can but hope! This is the brilliance of season 7B – every episode makes me excited for the next!

Suits continues next week with 7×14 “Pulling the Goalie” on Wednesday night on USA Network in the USA and next Thursday on Netflix in the UK. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Top TV Couples!

I’ve recently been rewatching a few old television favourites and it’s become clear to me that the shows I tend to invest in usually have a strong couple at their heart. Some of these are friendships, some are more than that and others morph over time from one to the other. I’m still considering my list of ultimate TV friendships (watch this space), but in the spirit of it being Valentine’s Day, I’m starting with my favourite television couples.

Of course, everyone’s list will be personal, so I’m sure there will be couples I’ve missed who you would choose, so feel free to let me know your choices in the comments! It also goes without saying that this post will contain spoilers for the shows referenced.

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Fox Mulder & Dana Scully (The X-Files)

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To me, Mulder and Scully will always be the ultimate television couple. It was a relationship that grew from their strong friendship and over the years of the series I loved seeing how much respect and love these two amazing characters had for each other. It bubbled under the surface, but never detracted from the series itself and even 20 years later, the incredible chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson remains as powerful as ever. The magic the two of them share does not come around very often and as yet, has not been beaten. You can read more of my thoughts on these two here.

Harvey Specter & Donna Paulsen (Suits)

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I know some people may argue against the inclusion of Harvey and Donna in a couples list, but their relationship has developed so much recently, that I find it impossible not to see them as meant to be, even if they are not quite there yet! Over the last six seasons we have seen their deeply-rooted friendship grow. Yes, they’ve already been lovers once, but they share so much more than that. Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht have a chemistry that is rare on television and I’m sure their long-standing friendship has added to the fabric of Harvey and Donna’s relationship. These characters wouldn’t be so wonderful on screen were they portrayed by anyone else. As with Mulder and Scully, this is certainly a slow burn, but surely these two have to end up together?!

Josh Lyman & Donna Moss (The West Wing)

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I clearly enjoy the slow burn relationships don’t I, as here is yet another one! From the start of Aaron Sorkin’s political drama I always loved the banter between the Deputy Chief of Staff and his assistant and as the series progressed, their wonderful bond became more apparent. Thanks to Bradley Whitford and Janel Moloney’s on screen connection, any other relationships each character had just never seemed quite as special as the one they shared together. Josh may have been the political player, but it became clear how much he relied on Donna and when she left to pursue her own ambitions, it gave him the push to pursue his new path and when they did finally get together it didn’t overshadow the series, as by then it was the logical and natural next step.

Alicia Florrick & Will Gardner (The Good Wife)

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I still feel incredibly sad when I think about this ill-fated pair, but there was no way they wouldn’t feature on my list, as they are probably the hottest and most moving couple on TV. The attraction between Will and Alicia was clear from the very beginning (in no large part down to the chemistry between Josh Charles and Julianna Margulies) and along with many fans of the series, I had my fingers crossed for their future. They clearly loved one another and Alicia should probably have picked Will before she ever married her dreadful husband. The time they were together treated us to some of the steamiest scenes on television (here’s one for the uninitiated) as well as some of the most emotional, but sadly it wasn’t to be, with Will being tragically killed in series five (something I still wish the internet hadn’t ruined for me in advance). It was an event I never expected, which still makes me reach for the tissues. The fact their love was cut short in such an cruel way makes their whole story all the more powerful and is probably the couple that has moved me the most on television.

Temperance Brennan & Seeley Booth (Bones)

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Bones is a series I’ve missed over the last few years and I’m slowly playing catch up, but what was clear from day one was the chemistry between David Boreanaz’s Booth and Emily Deschanel’s Brennan. I have only reached series eight (the final season 12 is airing now), but what I enjoy most about this series is how the writers were able to transition the characters from friends, to lovers, to marriage and children. It has enabled fans to see their relationship grow in a more mature and realistic way, which is something other shows could learn from.

The Doctor & Rose Tyler (Doctor Who)

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Since it’s return in 2005 Doctor Who has seen some wonderful partnerships on board the TARDIS. However, there is one that touched the hearts of many fans of the series and that was the love between David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler. Yes, nothing ever happened between them, but their bond was never in doubt and their heartbreaking farewell on Bad Wolf Bay was a classic moment that certainly made me shed some tears.

Kevin Walker & Scotty Wandell (Brothers & Sisters)

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There were many relationships within Brothers & Sisters, but for me the most heartfelt and believable one was that between Kevin and Scotty (played brilliantly by Matthew Rhys and Luke MacFarlane). Through all the Walker family turmoil, they were a breath of fresh air with their loving relationship. They weren’t free from problems (most notably Scotty’s affair), but loved each other enough not to throw their relationship away.

Buffy Summers & Spike (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)

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Some may be surprised that the relationship on my list from Buffy is not the one between Buffy and Angel! Yes, theirs was one of the core elements of the series in the early years, but Buffy and Spike’s short-lived relationship was the one that has always interested me the most. When you think about it (and leave aside the undead aspect!), they were a far better match for each other. Perhaps it was the fact Buffy was older than the teenager who fell for Angel, but her connection with Spike came across as a more mature one. They knew each other’s faults and accepted them anyway and some of the scenes between James Marsters and Sarah Michelle Geller in those later episodes remain some of my favourites.

Doug Ross & Carol Hathaway (E.R)

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E.R remains my favourite medical series (more on that here) and although it had some lovely relationships during its 15 years, one always stood above the rest and that was the love affair between Doug and Carol. The fact it became so iconic in the 90s (and was the first big break for each of George Clooney and Julianna Margulies) is more impressive when you think that Carol wasn’t even meant to survive the pilot episode. They went through ups and downs, split up and got back together more than once, but you couldn’t help but root for them and the icing on the cake was Clooney’s surprise return for the last few moments of the episode which saw Carol leave Chicago behind for the love of her life.

Chuck Bass & Blaire Waldorf (Gossip Girl)

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Chuck and Blaire were the best schemers in Gossip Girl, manipulating situations and characters to their advantage and there were many times when I really couldn’t stand them! However, the writers created something very clever in their relationship. Despite their underhanded behaviour, they seemed to bring out the best in each other, which in turn changed my perception of them and thanks to the acting talents of Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester they became my favourite characters in the show. Had they not ended up together I’d have been thoroughly disappointed.

Carrie Bradshaw & Mr. Big (Sex And The City)

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The Mr.Big debate was a big one during Sex And The City’s run, with fans divided as to whether Carrie should end up with him or not. He may have been an idiot for the majority of the show, but I was always of the view that deep down they were soul mates. Despite all the pain and hurt, they always seemed to come back to one another and he would do anything for her. I also loved the fun they seemed to have and Chris Noth and Sarah Jessica Parker sparkled in their scenes together.

Sydney Bristow & Michael Vaughn (Alias)

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J.J Abrams’s spy drama was a highlight of American television at the time of its original run and the will they won’t they dynamic of Sydney and Vaughn captured the hearts of its fans (including me). Yes, there were some utterly bonkers plot developments along the way, including Vaughn’s faked death, but Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan always ensured the relationship between Sydney and Vaughn was genuinely lovely to watch right until the end.

Ross Poldark & Demelza (Poldark)

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Yes, Aidan Turner’s torso has generated a great deal of attention since Poldark was brought back to our screens in 2015, but the best character in my view is the fiery Demelza, superbly played by Eleanor Tomlinson and their romance is what keeps me tuning in each week. They may be from different backgrounds, but they are undoubtably stronger together and do truly belong together. I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead in series three after the ups and downs of the last series.

Lizzie Bennet & Mr Darcy (BBC, Pride & Prejudice)

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Colin Firth may be a successful Oscar-winning actor, but he’ll always be best known for his iconic portrayal of Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. The British public fell under his spell and that of his counterpart Jennifer Ehle. In my opinion, they created the definitive Lizzie and Darcy and every scene they had together sparkled, making them one of the TV couples of the 90s in Britain.

Ianto Jones and Captain Jack Harkness (Torchwood)

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The relationship between Captain Jack (John Barrowman) and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) in Torchwood was hugely important for British television and remains one of my favourites of recent years. What was lovely about the pairing was that they may have been very different personalities, but were in fact perfectly suited. They were playful, affectionate and stood by each other through all the crazy happenings in their lives and Ianto’s emotional death in Children Of Earth was heartbreaking for fans of the show. We felt his loss as much as Captain Jack. Heck, does any other fictional character have a shrine like Ianto’s in Cardiff?!

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So, those are my top fifteen television couples. I look forward to hearing about who you would choose!

Television Review – Suits – Episode 6.13 “Teeth, Nose, Teeth”

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After two character-driven episodes, although the latest chapter of Suits contained a good dose of character development (more on that later), it was a return to the show’s usual rhythm, as we see the characters navigating New York’s legal and business world, while handling a few personal challenges along the way. Overall, it was an enjoyable hour of television; however it wasn’t as satisfying in my view as the last two weeks have been.

There was lots to enjoy in 6.13, wittily titled Teeth, Nose, Teeth as a reference to Louis Litt and as Louis was my favourite character this week by a mile, I’ll start there. Last week was all about Harvey’s personal growth, but this week highlighted he isn’t the only member of PSL to be experiencing a period of personal change.

After Rachel turns to Louis with news that the legal and ethics committee of the Bar have refused her an interview, he doesn’t wade in, explode and make things ten times worse. Instead, he talks the situation through with his fellow named partner, Harvey, and they agree a strategy together! Louis accepting his and Harvey’s strengths was a stride forward for him. The fact he followed this up with asking for Harvey’s advice on his personal life and then actually handled that situation in a rational, mature and loving manner made me want to cheer!

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Louis Litt (Rick Hoffamn) – character of the week!

I do worry though that his relationship with Tara will not end well. Maybe I’m a pessimist, but she comes across as a woman using Louis’s generous nature to have a reliable support in her life. I’m not convinced she loves him and it’ll be a shame if, after this growth, we still don’t see him happy. In fact, with Louis changing for the better and Harvey yet again skirting around the law, perhaps Louis is becoming the man more suited to run PSL in the long-term and I never thought I’d say that!

As for Harvey, it was great to see him more relaxed this week than he’s been in a long time. He was able to actually work with Louis and even give him supportive advice about his complicated relationship. No longer is this type of conversation “not his area” and I hope we see much more of this side to him. It was also lovely to see Donna and him getting back to the witty banter of past years. Yes, I hope they end up together, but for the moment, I’m fine with the type of fun they used to have in earlier seasons coming back to the screen.

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Mike (Patrick J Adams) finds it hard to sit on the sidelines with Rachel (Meghan Markle)

As well as making peace with Harvey this week (and nailing the best line of the episode when discussing his upcoming wedding!), I was pleased to see Mike forging ahead with his desire to try and help people via his work at the legal clinic.  The fact it wasn’t easy due to his conviction made the story all the more plausible. We saw Mike as a man growing up and trying to do the right thing, even if it’s tough. It was disappointing for me therefore, that the episode ended with him and Harvey yet again looking towards the grey areas of the world to get what they want.

As much as I’d love to see Mike and Harvey working together again, how they handle this plot is crucial. From a reality perspective, if they do succeed in getting Mike a hearing to be considered for admission to the Bar (which is the equivalent of their professional body, not just an exam/committee), I hope they don’t just suddenly magic everything fixed, as that is not how it would work and although this is a television show, the solution they come up with has to be one that could happen in the real world for me to take it seriously. I suppose time with tell. I also hope it doesn’t jeopardise Rachel’s hearing, as that could ruin her relationship with Mike!

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Will Harvey (Gabriel Macht) get to hear some home truths from The Donna?!

We’d heard that this week also marked the start of Donna’s own arc. She’s always been integral to the series and on the few occasions we’ve focused more on her (series four’s Intent as an example), they have been some of the best episodes of the series. Yes, I think “The Donna” is fun, it’s lovely to see more of David Reale as Benjamin and there is potential for some highly entertaining moments by introducing it (picture Louis turning to it for advice and it putting him in his place, or Harvey not realising it’s on her desk when she’s no there and it giving him sass), but I was hoping for something with a bit more depth for her. I have faith in Aaron Korsh and Sarah Rafferty is always a joy, so fingers crossed this doesn’t simply turn in to a gimmicky storyline. Having said that, if Harvey ends up getting disbarred for what he’s about to do with Mike, he may need to live off Donna and her possible millions!

So, overall, 6.13 provided some lovely character moments and although I’m not hugely satisfied with Mike’s decision or the start of Donna’s arc, it did what Suits is best at, which is keeping the audience guessing as to where exactly it’s headed. Will Mike get a hearing for admission to the Bar? Will these actions have consequences for Harvey? Will Mike and Rachel actually make it to their vows (for those of us rooting for the Best Man and Maid of Honour, they better do!)? You can watch the promo for the next episode at SpoilerTV here.

Favourite Lines this week:

  • Harvey mocking Mike: “She have a man purse?”
  • Mike mocking Harvey (and officially joining the #Darvey campaign): “We also need to make sure you don’t *cough* Donna at the wedding!”
  • Louis’s analysis of Tara’s ex: “He’s not just good looking, he’s a god damn Renaissance statue!”

Suits series 6 continues with episode 6.14 “Admission of Guilt” on USA Network next Wednesday in the States and with this episode 6.13 on Dave on Sunday at 10 p.m. in the UK.

Television Review – Suits- Episode 6.12 “The Painting”

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Last week’s mid-season premiere, saw the family of Pearson Specter Litt coming to terms with the departure of Jessica Pearson (we miss you already Gina Torres) and Donna approaching a usually off-limits subject with Harvey – his complex relationship with his mother and its impact on him as a person. The fact he even allowed her to discuss the matter demonstrates the steps he’s already made following therapy in series five, but the prospect of him finally confronting his past demons has been highly anticipated by fans of the series.

The great news is that episode 6.12, entitled “The Painting” not only tackles this emotional subject with sensitivity, but proves to be one of the strongest episodes Suits has ever had. The fact that six seasons in, the writers are still producing stories of this quality is a testament to the series as a whole.

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Donna (Sarah Rafferty) providing support as always to Harvey (Gabriel Macht)

The episode has two strands, one focussing on Mike and his pursuit of a fresh start following his release from prison and subsequent decision not to return to PSL and the other following Harvey, as he travels to Boston to try and reconcile with his mother, after 20 years of pain and anger.

After he receives an offer of work at a legal clinic from out of the blue, it’s great to see Mike getting his teeth back in to the law, with work that will truly make a difference to the lives of his clients. He said during his trial that it was these types of cases that made him want to be a lawyer, so hopefully this new path will help him to rebuild his life after prison. I assume his position there will at some point lead to conflict with his former firm, but I guess time will tell. It will also be interesting to see if Mike will ever be able to be a real lawyer, which would be a much steeper hurdle to overcome (although not impossible in the state of NY). In the meantime, this episode allows Mike to start again, with a clean and honest slate. It also lets him be the teacher in the same way Harvey was to him, which is fun to see.

We also potentially see a more mature Louis Litt in this hour, as he puts his anger towards Harvey aside for the sake of the firm and steps up to the reality of Specter and Litt being a team. I really hope this lasts and that the rest of the series sees more teamwork between these two.

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Brothers reunited – Billy Miller & Gabriel Macht

The heart of this story, however, is Harvey and we see more character development here than we have to date. Those that view him as an arrogant, cocky, detached individual haven’t been paying attention to the facets of his character, which we have gradually seen since the series began. Hiring Mike helped give Harvey someone to protect and care about, having Donna in his life helps give him perspective, but even with such influences, Harvey’s emotional limitations have always remained and these were a direct result of his childhood and subsequent relationship with his mother as an adult.

I’ve seen some comments online about him having a childish reaction to his mother’s behaviour, but that’s too simplistic a view. It wasn’t simply the fact that his mother repeatedly cheated on the father that he adored (although had you understood that you’d caught your mum cheating from as young as he was the first time, then it would be bound to affect you). The real damage was due to his mother asking him to cover for her and putting responsibility for any fallout if he told the truth on him. He may have been a young man then, but the pain and mistrust and indeed guilt that would cause a person cannot be underestimated.

If you watch episode 5.10 before this one, it reminds you of just what past difficulties the Specter family had and when you combine this with the flashbacks here to his father’s funeral, you see what a mountain there is to climb to heal their wounds.

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A step towards forgiveness – Lily Specter (Brynn Thayer) & her son move forward

What the writers do wonderfully is show the past pain immediately before the current reality. It adds to the tension, as we know how much is at stake. Having the scene at his father’s wake directly before the dinner with his mother, really heightens how big a step this trip is for Harvey. A couple of years ago he would never have boarded the plane. It’s made all the more emotional and sad when we learn how he’d tried to make peace seven years ago, before coming face to face with Bobby.

Brynn Thayer is fantastic as Lily Specter and we see how she is similar to him in some respects, as they are both stubborn individuals; had she considered her son seven years ago, she perhaps could have foreseen what Bobby’s presence at his father’s funeral would do to Harvey. True, he could have handled it better, but had Bobby not been there, the last seven years may have been so different. Crucially their relationship and therefore the pain they each hold, feels very real and believable.

A new chapter for Harvey & Donna?

There is also a strong performance from Billy Miller as Harvey’s brother Marcus, who has always been in the middle of this broken family and has perhaps suffered more than anyone. He lost his happy family, which resulted in his later problems and then had to accept he could never have his whole family together. We’ve always been aware that his brother meant a great deal to Harvey and its his revelation that he didn’t bother to tell him he was seriously ill, which has the biggest effect. Harvey can no longer deny the pain his continued anger is causing to more than just himself.

Gabriel Macht is simply superb in this episode. He has always been able to display the many facets of Harvey’s character and I’m still irritated that his work during series 5 in particular wasn’t acknowledged at the awards. Yet, in this hour he manages to take his performance to another level, as we see both past and present Harvey and the pain they feel. However, its the raw vulnerability of the character that packs the biggest emotional punch. We’ve never seen Harvey this exposed and the final scene with Lily is truly heart-wrenching, as we see him forgive her as well as himself.


His journey then comes full circle; back to the office, back to Donna. She has been his strength and support all these years, gently helping to open him up to emotions and it’s lovely to see him acknowledge this, but also that he wants her by his side as he starts a new, more positive chapter in his life. Let’s face it, he could have put the picture up on his own, but he wanted her to share that moment with him. As someone rooting for these two, I’m excited to see how a more emotionally open and happy Harvey will choose to move forward, especially as we know that Donna’s life is going to change in some way over the next four episodes. Whether this leads them to one another, or if Aaron Korsh will hold this back until nearer the end of the show remains to be seen. However, no one can argue that Harvey has never been more ready than he is now to move forward with his life and allow himself to truly love someone.

After such a powerful, emotional episode, I understand next week’s is a more comedic affair, which I’m very much looking forward to. It may be season six of Suits, but the cast and creative talent behind this series is by no means slowing down and with a seventh season already confirmed, I’m excited to see what will unfold over the final four episodes of this year.

Suits season six continues its run on Wednesdays on USA Network in the States and Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on Dave in the UK. For my more general thoughts on the show as a whole, feel free to read my series review. All comments very welcome!