Television Review – Suits 8.10 “Managing Partner”- where it’s clear who’s really running the firm

Well, we’ve reached the mid-season finale of Suits season eight. It’s certainly come around fast and this week’s episode tied up some plot lines, but left others (it’s obvious which one sticks out) frustratingly at a standstill.

My immediate reaction to 8.10 was a feeling of being underwhelmed. First, it’s a weaker mid-season finale when compared to many of the others we’ve had in the past (think Louis finding out about Mike, Mike getting arrested, Jessica leaving, last season’s kiss) and that did surprise me. I’d been expecting a big moment to keep us dangling over the next four months and although I’m relieved in a way that there isn’t something to drive me nuts about over the hiatus, it also felt rather anti-climatic.

On that note, I’ll delve in to the specifics.

Alex vs. Samantha – Part 2

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I have to say, I’m so pleased the “fight” for Named Partner is over! It’s taken up so much of 8A and I’ve not been hugely invested in the outcome, so I’m very happy everyone is moving on. Louis spoke my exact thoughts when he said he was “sick of this shit.” You’re preaching to the choir, Louis. In itself, the case in which Alex and Samantha fought this out wasn’t bad, it was just a bit dull and what became the most interesting aspect of the whole storyline was the further insight we saw in to Samantha (more on that later) and the consequences that flowed from the battle for the firm as a whole.

Samantha Wheeler’s history continues to unfold

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To say she’s only been in the Suits world ten episodes, Samantha Wheeler has certainly made herself very much at home and I’m a fully paid-up member of Team Wheeler. This week provided deeper insight in to Samantha’s history, her own and her history with Robert Zane and both elements proved fascinating.

We’ve all known that Samantha and Robert’s history clearly ran deep and very likely involved something shady and this week we saw that this was partly true. Zane has indeed been her mentor and surrogate father for 12 years (what is it with this show and 12 year periods?!), but we also learnt how that relationship came to be. For a split second, I thought Robert was going to be shady, but thankfully that wasn’t the case and instead, it was his dodgy fellow partners, who had pulled a Forstman on him to keep him quiet. The reveal that it was only with Samantha’s help that Robert took control of his firm was a lot of fun and truly gave validity to why he’d be so keen to back her, no matter the promise.

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We also discovered some further information about Samantha’s personal life, all of which provide plenty of possibilities for further storylines. We now know she has never known who her parents are, so having them reappear could be explored (although, no cheesy shocker of her being Harvey’s half-sister or something, please). I was also intrigued by the line of dialogue in the flashback, which suggested that she may have spent time in the military, as the federal agent referred to her previously serving her country. If she had no family and moved through the foster system, perhaps joining the military provided her the family she’d never had. Again, this is something else that could be explored in future episodes. It’s all very promising and I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead for the newly-branded Named Partner.

Congratulations to Louis Litt!

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First of all, let’s all take a moment to enjoy Louis Litt finding some happiness! It wasn’t too long ago that he was sobbing in to Rachel’s arms over the loss of Tara, or was being mugged at gunpoint. Yet, by the end of 8.10, we welcomed the new Managing Partner and I was thrilled to see I actually got something right when it comes to the plot, as I mentioned in my review of 8.09 that I thought Louis should be in charge. That’s not something I’d have contemplated before season seven and yet, since then, Louis has slowly started to show he’s the right man for the job at the moment.

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Right from the start of this week’s episode, Louis was the mature leader. He made clear the fight between Alex and Samantha needed to be clean, something Harvey and Robert couldn’t stick to. He then advised Katrina not to risk destroying the firm by getting involved; advice Donna gave to Harvey in the same episode. He was putting the firm above anyone’s own personal need. So, by the time the battle between four people was coming to a head, Donna’s strategy was the clear and obvious solution and hearing Louis lay down the law to Harvey and Robert was fantastic. He was calm, serious and a leader. Jessica Pearson would be so proud, Louis!

On the personal front, we also learnt that he and Sheila and going to be parents. I’m pleased for Louis, even though I’ve not really been a huge fan of the way Sheila has conducted herself this year. I can only hope that all the unresolved questions hanging over them (religious upbringing, who will spend less work time etc.) don’t create any insurmountable hurdles. I certainly wasn’t a fan of his guilting Sheila in to giving up work. Not cool, Louis. Finally, highlighting just how much Louis has grown up recently, his last scene with Harvey was a delight to watch and top marks to Gabriel Macht and Rick Hoffman. Harvey telling Louis he’d be an excellent Managing Partner and outstanding father was one of the best bits of 8.10. These two used to be so aggressive and angry with one another and now their friendship is very real and the affection in that hug was lovely to see. Hopefully this will survive Louis taking the reigns!

We all know who the real Managing Partner is (and it’s not Louis)!

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In last week’s review, I commented that the title of 8.10 could refer to Donna, based on all the relationships she’s managing so damn well and that proved to be partly true. We saw Donna, yet again, keep the firm from turning in to a pile of rubble, this time by convincing Louis to step up. It makes perfect sense. Harvey has already acknowledged that, deep down, the role isn’t the one for him and I agree. Plus, last week suggested Robert may be starting to re-evaluate his priorities and he also knew that it needed someone else to step between him and Harvey. It was fantastic to see Donna demonstrating her talent for reading the situation and the personalities involved and saving everyone from themselves!

It was also lovely to see Katrina come to Donna for advice about Harvey’s proposition, which I have to say, I wasn’t impressed with. Harvey, Alex, Samantha and Robert can play their games, but dragging Katrina in to it was crossing a line in my view. I was also a little surprised that Donna advised her to do it, especially as she has first hand knowledge of the risks of pretending to be someone you’re not to obtain documents. From now on guys, leave Katrina out of your dodgy shenanigans! Even Harvey by the end realised who the true managing partner is and he looked pretty impressed by the realisation too.

So….No review would be complete without discussing Donna and Harvey, so let’s do it…..

The frustrating Darvey dance continues (insert deep sigh here)

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It’s ironic that I’ve ended this first half of season eight feeling frustrated when it comes to Darvey, as I’ve been one of the few people who has remained fairly positive throughout the last nine episodes. For me, I’m happy as long as I can see some sort of narrative plan and this seemed to veer a bit off course by the end of 8.10.

The subject of Darvey probably needs a post all its own (shout if you’d like one!), but in essence, I’ve enjoyed seeing some tension this season. Following the wedding not everything was resolved. They’d been through a lot and hadn’t really moved past it, but season eight began with them trying to get back on decent ground, which with these two includes the flirting of years gone by. When that blatant flirting was replaced by arguments rather than a resolution, after 8.05, I could understand it. Harvey’s abandonment fears resurfaced and affected his emotions and we saw some of the underlying resentments both still carry in the wake of season seven.

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It felt as though we were building to something credible. There was no after works drinks and they became more and more distant, as Donna grew more independent in her role as COO. Clearly, I knew we wouldn’t see something definitive to close out this half season; that would be too simple, but I did expect something that made sense and as much as I enjoyed the last scene between them, it felt out of sync with the tone that had been building between them. It was a scene that would’ve fitted up to 8.05, but coming at the end of 8.10, I sensed it was more of a “we should give the fans something” moment, which personally, I’d have been happy without. Is the tension and resentment behind them? Are they “back to normal” again? Who knows now.

I think the back half of season eight is going to be crucial for this particular relationship, especially based on the information we now have on what is to come. Do I think Darvey is endgame? Yes, but I may change my mind come the end of 8.16.

Speaking of the future. Looking ahead to 8.11-8.16 (WARNING: Spoilers ahead!)

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I end each post looking ahead to the following week’s episode. As we won’t see the series return until next year (I’m guessing January, as there’s no Winter Olympics in 2019), we have less to go on. All we really have is the information gleaned from the interviews that have surfaced in the last day and the very brief promo.

First, we know the firm will become Zane, Specter, Litt, Wheeler, Williams. The stationery firm responsible for their branding needs must be thrilled by how much money all these changes bring in! It was never about beating someone else to the job for Alex. He just wanted the title and so I’m not surprised that the choice Samantha gave him at the end of 8.10 has resulted in him putting himself last.

Second, something covered last season is going to come back and apparently “sort of rear its head for one or maybe more episodes.” Time to start thinking about season seven again if you can bear to. As long as it’s nothing to do with Paula! That’s a dealbreaker for me!

Finally, creator Aaron Korsh has stated that in the back six episodes they’ll be delving in to Donna’s backstory AND giving her a love interest. Taking these two elements one at a time, I’m thrilled that we’ll be learning more about Donna on a personal level. We still know very little, so there’s so much scope here. Will we meet her mother? Does she have a sibling we’ll meet? Will we see her first starting out at the DA’s office, before Harvey, or get a glimpse in to her life away from the firm and the people in it? I want all of it, but I’ll settle for some of this list! We’ve explored Louis, we know all about Harvey’s issues, so it’s time for a focus on Donna and it’s the element I’m most excited for in 8B.

As for the love interest? Well……..I’m torn about this, which is driven by the uncertainty about the show’s overall future. The consensus seems to be season nine is looking good and if that’s true, then I’m all for Donna having the chance to have someone come in to her life and give her another possible path. If season eight was to be the last, then this idea seems nuts, as it would mean they only had six episodes to resolve everything (including Darvey finally coming together). So, assuming we have the time, who could this love interest be? Someone new, or someone from her past, with whom she’s already deeply connected? We’d get to see another side of Donna and also, I hope, another side of Harvey. Perhaps, seeing someone else take her attention and affection is what he needs to realise what he could lose. It took Paula’s presence for Donna to evaluate her feelings for Harvey. Having him do the same, perhaps in therapy, would be a brilliant parallel. Plus, it could set them up for the moment most of us are waiting for!

It’s now a waiting game. See you all in 2019 for new episodes, but expect a couple of Suits-related posts before then! Thanks for reading!

Suits season eight will return in early 2019 (I hope) on USA Network in the US and via Netflix in the UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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! 

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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

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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)

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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! 

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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!

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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! 

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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 – 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 8.07 “Sour Grapes” (and that’s definitely not just the wine)!

I’ve got to give the writers on Suits credit, their episode titles often have multiple meanings and that was certainly the case this week. One of the plot lines may have involved a vineyard, but there were more sour grapes flying around this week than those in Robert Zane’s wine vats (and that’s before we get to Louis’s problems). This week also marks the return to directing for Gabriel Macht (his last episode was in season 4). It can’t be easy acting and directing yourself and he did a great job.

So, on we go to the episode itself, starting with the actual grapes.

Robert Zane – building relationships and dealing with plenty of prejudice

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I’ve loved seeing Robert in charge the season, but Donna was spot on a few weeks ago when she pointed out to him that he needed to let the team work how they work best. He’s clearly taken that advice on board and as well as appreciating Donna, this week he was building a better relationship with Alex, asking for his help over Samantha’s on a personal matter.

Alex has been the character I’ve been least bothered about this season, so it was great to see him having a more interesting role this week, working alongside his boss, but not being afraid to let him know when he was being unreasonable. It was also satisfying to see Suits yet again raising the subject of racism and how that doesn’t just disappear, no matter how successful someone is. Yet, this story also highlighted that it’s not just race that can cause prejudices, but also the resentments that arise when you are seen as being successful by those who may be jealous of that success. Not only did Robert have literal sour grapes, but he also had to work through the sour grapes held by the wine-making community he’s now a part of, who saw him as the big Manhattan ego muscling in. Having the show tackle real and interesting issues is always a big plus. Also, I have to say, I love Zane owning a vineyard! Time for a firm retreat where they all get merry on the wine (well, once he actually makes some they can drink)!

Oh and line of the week goes to Robert Zane. You all know the one!

The road to parenthood is not as easy for Louis & Sheila as they’d hoped (in more ways than one)

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It wasn’t just Robert Zane’s storyline this week that was a very real subject, as we saw Louis and Sheila tackling a difference of viewpoint on parenthood that, if left unresolved, would lead to sour grapes between them later down the line. On mistakenly thinking that Sheila was already pregnant (I knew it wouldn’t be that easy), they discovered a new problem – their wildly different wishes regarding the religious upbringing of their child. I had wondered this a while ago, but assumed they’d have worked through this already. I mean, it’s not a small point. Louis wants his children to be Jewish. I’d have thought this would be obvious to Sheila. You would also think two adults of their age would have talked about this before getting pregnant, right? The fact they hadn’t is another red flag to me that these two haven’t truly thought their relationship through and makes me wonder if it will ultimately end in tears and getting engaged when such serious issues are still unresolved didn’t seem to be the wisest choice to me. Time will tell I suppose, but it was great to see another very real issue that many couples have to resolve being highlighted on screen.

 

Samantha continues to become a team player (but also has her eye on the ultimate prize)

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We’ve seen Samantha really start to develop her relationships over the last few episodes. She’s already in with Zane, her and Alex now have respect for each other and their ultimate goal and last week saw her bond with Donna. 8.07 saw her working with Harvey and continuing to earn his respect, as he learns more and more that she is a valuable team player and can get the job done. I’m betting Harvey isn’t fluent in Chinese (and let’s face it, she’ll be fluent, because nothing else would cut it for this woman)! I love seeing the team coming together and the more I see of Samantha, the more I love her, but I’m not blind to the fact she’s still playing the game to get the big prize.

The same way the writers have slowly made viewers like her, she’s doing the same with the rest of the gang; doing everything right to position herself for that promotion. She probably worked out on Day 1 that to get Harvey on side, she not only needed his respect, but also needed Donna in her corner. After this week, she seems to have achieved both of these goals (and established a kick ass duo with Donna along the way; that last scene where they made Harvey twitch with discomfort was so damn satisfying!). Does that mean they can’t trust her, or that she’s a bad person? Nope. But the writers also aren’t painting her as an angel either. In fact, she’s probably one of the most complicated personalities in the team and that’s a big plus to the series. After this week, Alex really needs to up his game, as Samantha is moving her pieces in to position on the board, ready to take the game. If she does, I hope the sour grapes that follow won’t break the firm.

Wait a minute, David Fox has a heart? Who knew?!

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The more we see of David Fox, the more I actually like him. He’s proved to be a ruthless opponent more than once, but this week we saw he actually has a heart and loyalty to the person who helped him become the success that he is. Sound familiar Harvey? If there’s one way to earn Harvey’s respect, it’s loyalty and it was fun to see him have to admit that David Fox isn’t quite as bad as he thought he was. I’m also interested to see what else the writers have planned for this character, especially now they’ve shown us he’s a better person than we initially thought. Maybe he’ll ask Donna out again? Maybe she won’t say no a second time, especially after Harvey’s behaviour this week!

Harvey & Donna – both harbouring resentments this week. The question is, when will they boil over?

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Oh, Harvey. There are weeks when you really irritate me and this was another one of those weeks. This episode saw Harvey sour with a number of people: David Fox for what he assumed are his questionable motives and smugness at having Harvey as his bitch (anyone else love that?!), Samantha for her input in his case (until he realised he needs her to get the job done) and then Donna, for making the deal with Fox in the first place. The first two in this list were resolved in Sour Grapes. He’s on good terms with Samantha and now has a professional respect for his newest client.

What about Donna? The issues raised between these two in 8.07 ran much deeper than David Fox’s case and posed some interesting questions for the rest of 8A. Harvey may have been angry about Donna’s deal (one that he gave her carte blanche to make), but what was more worrying was his declaration that she’s in her job because he “put her there.” Excuse me, Harvey? Did you really just say that?! Have you reverted to your 7.01 alter-ego? It was a statement that made me want to reach in to the television and strangle him with my bare hands! Hell, even Robert Zane now sees Donna’s value in her role and both respects and appreciates her, which he made very clear. Pops and Red are indeed becoming a wonderful team in their own right.

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Donna really shouldn’t have to be reminding Harvey that she earned her position, even though seeing her stand her ground so passionately was glorious and it highlighted he’s not the only one feeling sour in this “friendship.” Not only did she remind him she deserved her job, she voiced more than once that he always does what he wants, regardless of anyone else and crucially, that he didn’t respect her (okay, so she also flagged she isn’t a liar, which we all know isn’t totally true when it comes to a certain kiss, but I’ll let that slide). Her conversation about gifts with Samantha also highlighted that she doesn’t feel he appreciates her either. Those aren’t small things and unlike his relationships with Fox and Samantha, by the end of this episode, Donna and Harvey weren’t “back to normal.” Donna is clearly still angry with Harvey at the end (that last expression on her face is not a happy one) and possibly angry with herself for having feelings for a man she has perhaps suspects will never be able to give her any more than he already does.

It’ll be very interesting to see how this plays out over the coming the weeks. There are clearly emotions they need to deal with. Will that happen? Will it lead to other emotional revelations? Will Donna decide to move on and find fulfilment with someone ready to give her that and if so, how would Harvey react to that? Anything’s possible, but I’m becoming more certain that all these bubbling resentments have to boil over. Will there be fireworks? God, I hope so!

Looking ahead……..

We already know next week involves something from Samantha’s past, which she needs Harvey’s help with. Her backstory is still unfolding, but we know she had a difficult childhood and went through some form of trauma. With the episode title being “Coral Gables” I’m wondering if this will refer to a foster home or orphanage where she possibly grew up? There’s also apparently more obstacles for Louis on the path to having a child and from the photos, it seems he’s in need of Dr Lipschitz’s help to process them. My biggest question though, will Donna and Harvey pretend their unresolved issues don’t exist? Probably.

See you all next week!

Suits continues next week with episode 8.08 “Coral Gables” on Wednesday night on USA Network in the US and on Thursday via Netflix in the UK. You can watch the promo here: https://youtu.be/0ls6nHWMtwQ 

(Screenshots courtesy of USA Network)

Television Review – Suits 8.04 “Revenue Per Square Foot” aka Louis needs a big hug!

It’s that time of the week where I dissect the latest episode of Suits. It’s hard to believe we’re already four weeks in to this eighth season!

The promo for the episode suggested this was going to be a darker week for Louis Litt and that certainly proved to be true and allowed the writers and Rick Hoffman to delve in to the emotional depths of this much-loved (well, by me anyway) character. However, 8.04 also provided the opportunity for the new ZSL team to pull together and actually start to be more like a family, with some lovely scenes between various characters, both established ones and some still relatively new. The further we get in to season 8, the happier I am about how much I’m enjoying it!

Getting in to specifics………

Rick Hoffman continues to show what a tremendous actor he is (and reminds us all how much we care for Louis Litt)

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Oh Louis! I went in to this episode prepared for what happened to Louis, thanks to last week’s promo, but it was still tough to watch. Having said that, I love a darker, angst-ridden storyline and although this one didn’t last long, it allowed Rick Hoffman and the writers to delve a little in to darker territory, with Louis’s mugging having emotional repercussions for him and his colleagues.

It goes without saying that Rick Hoffman was fantastic this week. I always love the stories that allow him to show a more emotional Louis (4.10/4.11 leaping to mind) and his response to try and hide what happened from everyone else made perfect sense for him. The moment he lost it with Samantha was handled so well, really highlighting a man at an emotional breaking point and his subsequent scene with Harvey was just lovely. One of the items on my season 8 wish list was the continuation of Harvey and Louis’s friendship and this scene was just what I was looking for (plus Gabriel Macht and Hoffman were both wonderful to watch). Seeing Harvey so kind and supportive to his friend and giving him great emotional advice was a joy (I’m so proud of your character development, Harvey) and him calling Louis “buddy” – it may have made me feel quite moved. Oh and that hug with Robert Zane? I want one!

Samantha Wheeler – truly part of the team and the family

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I’ve liked Samantha since episode one and over the first three episodes, we’ve been able to see her hard edge and her strong, confident attitude about her ability and what an asset that is to the firm. Last week we saw an inkling of the kinder side to her, by her helping Alex even when she didn’t need to and this week we saw exactly what kind of person she is and that’s one who cared enough about Louis to recognise something was wrong and let those that could help him know he needed them.

Seeing her tell Harvey he needed to be there for Louis made me smile and I loved the end when she offered to teach Louis self-defence! It was just lovely and Katherine Heigl did a great job of showing this softer side to her character, who we also learnt a little more about, by her revelation that something similar happened to her and that Robert Zane was there for her. I liked Samantha before this week, but following 8.04, I love her. Welcome to the family Ms. Wheeler!

Robert Zane learns an important lesson

Well, technically he learnt two if you include the knowledge that Louis Litt gives the best hugs! That aside, this week was important for Robert now he’s part of ZSL. Yes, it’s right he’s the boss, yes he was right when he told Harvey that he’s better at it than he is and yes he is absolutely right that they all need to be reminded who’s the boss from time to time, just as Jessica used to do. However, Donna was also spot-on when she told him that he needed to sometimes let them do things their way and that perhaps his slightly abrasive attitude could backfire on him the way it clearly did at his old firm. It’s great having Wendell Pierce in the series more and I’m excited to see what lies ahead, such as will we get to see more of his backstory with Samantha or will it remain a bit of a mystery, just as Harvey and Jessica’s bond was? Time will tell. Now, we just need to see him mudding with Louis!

Donna Paulsen continues to keep the firm together by supporting everyone else

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Yet again, it was Donna’s job this week to see the potential storms on the horizon and head them off and she’s so good at it, people such as Robert Zane don’t even realise how much she’s done. I’m still not really invested in Alex’s storyline, so had he left I wouldn’t have been that fussed, but knowing the upset it would cause when the firm is still in a period of adjustment, she successfully stopped the problem by doing what she does best – reading how people feel, knowing what they might do and helping them, sometimes without them realising. I loved that she engineered the whole Holly Cromwell element and that Harvey worked it out. Her relationship with Robert Zane is also developing well and demonstrates how much she’s grown and how confident she now is in this role.

We need more Gretchen! 

God bless Gretchen! She should be in every episode. She’s always awesome and Aloma Wright and Rick Hoffman continue to shine together.

Sheila Sasz – I used to like you, I really did, but honestly, just Leave Louis Alone!! 

I admit, I’m a little surprised by how much I’ve changed my view about Sheila Sasz. In the earlier seasons I really liked her a lot and her relationship with Louis was always fun and loving and I was truly sad to see them part ways. I had been pleased to hear she was coming back, but then the “let’s make cheating fun” storyline began last season and I started to cringe. It wasn’t really funny to me. Call me boring and old-fashioned if you want, but you can’t have the same fun, playful scenes between them when the context for it is cheating. Plus, she was messing with Louis’s emotions, which is never going to endear someone to me.

So, here we are in season 8 and I was hoping that it’d be smooth sailing. They’d decided to give it a try, decided they both now did want the same things in life (namely, a child) and I hoped Louis Litt, who ended season 6 sobbing in Rachel’s arms, was going to find some happiness. Yet, I’m coming to the conclusion we’e heading for yet more heartache and if the promo for next week (more on that shortly) is anything to go by, I’ll be happier for Louis is he lets this unhealthy, messed up relationship go.

Alex Williams is finally able to show some initiative (and stop whining)!

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I can’t quite put my finger on why I’m still a little bored by Alex Williams. I am a fan of Dule Hill and Alex is a good guy, trying to do the right thing after getting himself in to so much trouble over at his old firm. Yet, I’ve been finding his constant moaning rather tedious; moaning to Harvey, moaning to Samantha last week and then moaning again to Donna this week about the position he was in. So, I practically cheered when Donna effectively told him to quit whining and act! Someone had to say it! The result – we saw him show some initiative and show Harvey and Robert that he’s not a chew toy for them both to fight over. I’m still on Team Samantha when it comes to Named Partner, but I’m pleased to finally see Alex become a bit more interesting, even if he still has work to do.

Donna & Harvey – Sharing food and jokes. Now they just need to start sharing a bed!

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I’m becoming increasingly intrigued by Donna and Harvey’s relationship this season. I can see what I think the writers are trying to do with their relationship following season 7B; they went through a lot of emotional turmoil, which was frankly needed, but it did all happen in a few weeks for them and when you’ve as much emotional baggage as these two have, I didn’t expect fireworks overnight (even if I’d have loved it).

What we’ve seen so far this season is the re-establishment of their foundation, which hasn’t really been the same since season 4; they are comfortable with each other again, joking, teasing, flirting and it feels lighter and more fun than it has in ages and I’m loving it. Crucially for me though, it doesn’t feel identical to the early seasons, as though they are simply retreading old ground. Instead, there is something slightly different about it that I find hard to describe. They just seem so solid in what they have and I’m hoping the next few episodes will see them finally beginning to explore what’s really there between them. All it’ll take is a bit of honesty from both of them. Come on guys, you’re so close now (unless of course they are already together in secret and we just don’t know it yet)!

Looking ahead to 8.05 – the most anticipated episode of the season so far! 

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Next week we reach 8.05, entitled “Good Mudding” and this is the episode the fandom has been talking about for quite a while; ever since May when Aaron Korsh took part in a podcast and we learned that someone in 8.05 gives up something important to them. The synopsis points towards Louis and after seeing the promo, can we assume this is his dream of being a dad? Maybe, or maybe he gives up his relationship with Sheila? Quite frankly after the way she’s been treating him recently and if it transpires she’s been leading him on about having kids, then I hope he does! No one needs this type of game playing in their lives!

 

Not only do we have this puzzle though, but we’ll also be seeing the Specters again next week, with Marcus, his wife and Harvey’s mum popping up, which I assume is due to Marcus’s divorce. Has he cheated? How will this affect Harvey? I’m hoping for some good family drama!

Oh…..and there’s Harvey and Donna talking about strawberries and whipped cream (see the flirty photo above from 8.05). Discussing the restocking of the office fridge, or The Other Time…? Who on earth knows, but I can’t wait to find out!

Suits continues next week, on Wednesday in the USA on the USA Network and on Thursday via Netflix in the UK. You can see the promo here: https://youtu.be/RPTyNLAIeDs

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

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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! 

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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)

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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”)

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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! 

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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

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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!

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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! 

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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

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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

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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