Television Review – Suits 9.05 “If The Shoe Fits” Welcome back Mike……well, sort of….

So, we’ve reached the midway point of the final season of Suits. How on earth are we here so soon?! Going in to 9.05 and there was one element that was the focus – the return of Mike Ross! The idea of the show ending without him seemed unthinkable. But…..was his return worth the wait? That’s a different question (more below).

If The Shoe Fits was an episode that allowed all of the show’s central characters to have a significant slice of the storylines and as with many Suits episodes, the title played on a number of levels, from direct fairytale (albeit a dirty one), to a bigger question about the personalities of our gang. Behaviour that used to “fit” certain characters, was, this week, being tested out by others, not always for the better, while others were questioning whether their characters actually fitted them anymore. There was certainly lots to think about.

So……..let’s get in to this!

I’ve missed you Mike! Actually………maybe not……

That pretty much sums up my current thoughts on Mike Ross this week. Don’t misunderstand me, I love Patrick J. Adams and having him back on Suits is fantastic, but only to a certain extent, because by the end of 9.05, I was happily waving Mike off again. Need help packing Mike? Let me call you a cab. The reason? Well, let’s start with all the great elements of having Mike back, before I get to the grumbles.

First and foremost, I’ve missed the Marvey bromance so much! The relationship between Harvey and Mike has always been a series highlight and indeed shaped the show from the start and Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams always clearly enjoy playing off each other on screen. It was fun to see that again and it made me feel incredibly nostalgic, which seems appropriate during the final season. The opening scene was particularly lovely. “The lock was broken. Your brain is broken.” I’ve missed their banter and having them back, as if no time has passed, was a joy (I did miss the movie quotes though). I would have loved a little more chat about the Darvey romance too. Mike was the lead cheerleader after all!

I also agree with the writers that having Mike simply come back for a visit with no purpose wouldn’t have been very dramatic and watching him and Harvey come up against one another is always fun. But, the Mike Ross that arrived this week seemed to be wanting to try on daddy’s clothes and see if they fitted. Mike has never seemed to want to be Harvey. He admired Harvey and wanted to learn from him, but he was always his own person. Yet, the way he swaggered in and threw his weight around, felt very much like the son trying to beat the father and it didn’t feel quite right for the character of Mike. Sure, he’s driven and passionate, but he came off as arrogant and, to quote Samantha, a douche.

The way he dismissed Samantha from the start particularly grated on me. I’ve seen first hand so many times women are disregarded like this by men at work and seeing Mike so casually assume she was beneath him in terms of ability was annoying. Plus, it’s fine having him come all the way back to take on Harvey. I get that. They were competitive to some extent, but to spend ages planning how to get the better of your old friend and mentor just to get a win? Again, it didn’t feel like the Mike we knew.

And then there was how things were left between him and Harvey. This new emotionally intelligent Harvey Specter is not obsessed with winning all the time and having been beaten fair and square, he took the defeat with grace. Heck, when he thought he’d won, he still prioritised going to Mike to make sure they were “still good.” Again, the friendship mattered more than the business to him. Yet, on Mike discovering Samantha had beaten him (albeit in a shady way), he took it out on Harvey! Sorry Mike, but Harvey did nothing wrong. You lost to a woman you stupidly dismissed and Harvey simply wasn’t prepared to screw her over to help you out. That’s fair! You wanted to be on opposing teams. You can’t suddenly expect him to switch sides when it suits you! The “You’ve lost yourself, Harvey” line really annoyed me. That shoe certainly fit Mike by the end of 9.05, not Harvey Specter.

Having said that, it was great drama to watch, but what could have made it more enjoyable for me? If Donna had gone and told him he was in the wrong (although it was nice to see a scene between Mike and Louis), or if Mike had actually realised Louis was right and that leaving in a huff, without making things right with someone so important to him, was just out of character. Where’s Rachel when you need her?!

I think the only reasons I’m not more disappointed by how this storyline ended is that it was lovely to have Patrick J. Adams back and because I already know he has been filming for the finale, so at least I know that the last time we have them together is not going to be this argument. Hopefully when we see you again Mike, you’re acting like yourself and not trying to channel a version of Harvey that doesn’t exist anymore.

…..Talking of Harvey……….

The week where Harvey Specter didn’t get anything he wanted

Photo: Shane Mahood/USA Network

Poor Harvey. He’s come so far emotionally in recent episodes and is clearly ridiculously happy with where he is in his life now (and who he is sharing it with). Yet, 9.05 saw him not getting anything he wanted once that first scotch with Mike was finished. His night in with Donna and a pizza watching his favourite TV show? Sorry, Harvey. Not tonight. Being able to trust one of his partners to not put them / the firm at risk under the scrutiny of Faye Richardson? Nope, no luck there either. How about a wine and cheese night with your girlfriend and your adopted son? Yeah, sorry Harvey. That’s off the table too.

Seeing Harvey so angry with Samantha on hearing what she’d done and then watching him still have her back was lovely and very him, as was him immediately going to tell her what he thought of her actions. He’s loyal to his team after all. Yet, I felt so sad for him when his clear excitement at spending the evening with Donna and Mike (he sounded like an excited child when Mike arrived) quickly fizzled out and ended in disaster. You were mean, Mike Ross! I can only hope Donna cheered him up after the credits rolled.

…….Talking of Donna and Darvey……

Donna was back to supporting everyone else this week

Photo: Shane Mahood/USA Network

Recent episodes have more heavily focussed on Darvey and Donna too (look at last week when the partners marched together to defend her), so this week it was perhaps understandable that both of these aspects took a slight backseat. We were still able to enjoy seeing Donna trying to recreate her fun nights out with Rachel, before realising that’s not actually what Katrina needed (I did love her reaction to Katrina downing that shot too!). We also saw her defend Harvey to Mike, albeit that was far too brief for my liking and it would have been nice for her to say more then, or afterwards.

As for Darvey, 9.05 was light on the most recent Suits romance, but that was okay with me. What we did get to see added further layers of authenticity to their relationship. Chatting on the phone about just enjoying a night in, sharing their favourite, secret television pleasures, seeing how Harvey already knows the weird pizza toppings she likes and then seeing true married couple behaviour, as they prepared for their night with Mike, bickering playfully about who did the shopping! Sure, it would have been nice to see a little more physical affection, but what we are getting between these two is so much fun and continues to truly settle them in to what will be their future once we say goodbye. That scene seeing them bickering about groceries? That’s what we can picture them doing for the next 40+ years!

Katrina Bennett steals the show!

I’ve mentioned in previous weeks how much I’ve enjoyed seeing more of Katrina and this week Amanda Schull really stole the show! I was not a fan of the direction they chose to take Katrina’s friendship with Brian and I certainly don’t want that to be revisited (she can do better), but the scene in which she leaves the voicemails was the episode highlight for me! Your F-buddy! Plus the inclusion of Mother of Pearl, which Schull herself seems to use when she doesn’t want to swear was just fabulous and really let us see more of her comic timing.

The scene in which she had drinks with Donna was also lovely, with Donna for once not judging the situation correctly. Plus, having had drinks in that same bar, it was fun to see it on screen! Oh and just when it couldn’t get any better Katrina is going to ballet class, another nod to Schull herself. Let’s hope Katrina gets to have some more fun this season. Personally, I still think she should go out on a date with Stu!

Finally an episode where I liked Sheila

I liked Sheila when she was initially introduced, but in recent seasons I found her character changed so much, becoming a rather unpleasant person, who frankly was causing Louis emotional heartache. So, it was lovely that this week I actually started to like her again. The role play scenes with Louis were good fun and it seems clear that Racheal Harris and Rick Hoffman get on well and I loved the moment in therapy when they both dropped the roles and were themselves with one another.

Yes, I do feel conflicted about how I feel about Sheila’s 360 degree change on having kids. She’s gone from not wanting them, to now seemingly not wanting her career anymore in favour of her child. For Sheila this week, it was her own character and life priorities that didn’t seem to fit anymore. That does feel a bit of a stretch of her character in my opinion, but seeing her and Louis open up to one another in the end was rather lovely (with the exception of her calling Dr. Lipschitz a Nazi. That wasn’t funny the first time and it’s still not funny). Hopefully baby Litt arrives before the season is over and we get to see these crazy role-playing kids happy and settled.

Alex continues to be the voice of reason on all fronts

Alex Williams has really started to come in to his own this season and his growing friendship with Samantha has been lovely to watch. What has also been interesting is his positioning as the most responsible of the named partners, heightened this week by Faye Richardson wanting him to keep an eye on the battle between Harvey, Samantha and Mike. He may not agree, but it’s interesting that he is perhaps the steady hand the firm needs. Yet, my favourite Alex moment this week was his scene with Louis, in which he acts as the voice of every fan watching, when he declares how screwed Louis is! Chances of Louis taking his advice and doing nothing when it came to Sheila – we all knew there was no chance that would happen and seeing Alex chuckling about the impending disaster was great fun to watch.

Is this the end of the road for Samantha Wheeler?

Well, with five episodes left, I think it’s safe to say that Samantha won’t be fired for long! Let’s face it, almost everyone at the firm has been fired, resigned, or been forced to leave at some point – Louis, Donna (x2), Katrina, Gretchen nearly resigned, Harvey, Robert Zane, Jessica. Heck, it’s almost a badge of honour!

I’ve loved Samantha from day one and seeing her get fired was tough, but Faye wasn’t wrong. Samantha made the wrong choice and as a result she put the firm, herself and Harvey in a difficult position. The fact Faye was suggesting it was Harvey who had been shady was also interesting. She’s a smart woman. Did she know it was really Samantha and was testing her, to see if she’d let Harvey take the fall? Either way, it was great to see Samantha not let that happen. It shows just how far she’s come becoming part of this family. Next week is certainly going to be a rollercoaster!

………which leads us to speculation for next week…….

Looking ahead!

Next week is called “Whatever It Takes” and I assume will focus on the firm fighting for Samantha’s job. I can’t believe she won’t be reinstated over the next couple of weeks, but it’ll be interesting to see how that happens. Behind the scenes photos from filming have also suggested that Harvey and Samantha go on a road trip in a future episode. If true perhaps it’s a way for them to build trust again, having seen it broken this week, as she searches for her biological parents. The promo also shows that the mighty Robert Zane is back, which makes sense when Samantha is at risk. It’ll be great to see Wendell Pierce on the show again.

The worst part of next week? It’s 9.06, meaning we are starting to inch ever nearer to the series’ end (filming will also be finished by then too, which is far too sad to think about). Seriously, maybe the next five episodes should be shown every other week to make this last longer!

See you all next week!

Suits season 9 continues next week with 9.06 “Whatever It Takes” on Wednesday night in the US/Canada on USA Network. Episodes continue to arrive in the UK on Netflix each Friday. You can watch the promo for 9.06 here: https://youtu.be/TdB9mY8xUvU

(All screenshots courtesy of Suits/USA Network)

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Television Review – Suits 9.04 “Cairo” – Strong writing, character development & acting make this a series highlight!

I’m a little late writing my review this week. Blame a combination of real life and the fact that I needed time to convince myself that the episode really did happen and isn’t something I made up!

For me, this latest episode of Suits contained so many elements that I’ve grown to love about this series over the years. It had a little bit of everything – comedy, drama and the importance of family, both the family we are born in to and the one we make for ourselves. Both types have always been integral to Suits, especially for Harvey Specter and 9.04 demonstrated just how far these characters have come over the years. Few episodes of television leave me this satisfied, but this was certainly one of them and I had a huge smile on my face as the credits rolled.

Right, where do I start?

The writing team’s attention to detail continues to impress

I’ve always admired the attention paid to the details by the Suits writing team over the years and this week was a perfect example of a team that know this shows so well, that story points from previous seasons are woven back in to the now, to make the narrative all the more satisfying, especially for longstanding fans, who likely know this world and those details as well as the team behind it! Their commitment to the characters and the series is something I will always be grateful for.

Donna & Harvey – proof that couples can be written in an interesting way on screen!

For those of us who have been waiting years for Darvey to finally end up together, season 9 is a true treat. I admit, I never expected a whole season would be available to this storyline, but I’m so pleased the writers made this decision. Why? It means we get time to see these two characters truly navigate their new relationship and all the ups and the downs and that’s fantastic television.

They may be together now, but Harvey and Donna (probably more so than him) are still adjusting to this new life together, in particular how to communicate with one another and 9.04 gave me something I’d been hoping for since realising we’d have 10 episodes of canon Darvey – arguments! Sure, the romantic elements are fabulous (more on that later), but I was also keen to see them fight, as they find their feet as a couple and this week was a great example of that, as Donna struggles to let Harvey in.

The key is that it was fascinating to watch. So many shows are terrified of taking the characters down the couple path after years of slow burn (I’m an X-Files fan since the 90s, I have bitter experience of this) and I admit, I thought Suits might follow that road too, until perhaps the series finale. Yet, in just four episodes, it’s already proven that, with strong writing and actors as talented and with such chemistry as Gabriel Macht and Sarah Rafferty, that the show won’t suffer by the choice and will instead grow stronger!

Yet, it wasn’t just arguments this week between this couple (part of me still can’t believe I get to type that word to describe them!). Cairo offered me and many other fans so many moments we’d always hoped to see – Harvey telling his mother about Donna and her already knowing about her (I’ll let slide that you said Paula was a keeper, Lily and assume you were trying to be supportive of your son’s dreadful choice!) and going on to say she’s The One (Mike would be so proud); early morning domestic Darvey acting as if they’ve been together for years (one gripe – where’s the cactus?).

Then there was that simply perfect ending, all the way from Harvey letting himself in to Donna’s apartment with his own key, all the way through their sort-of proposal (look, there’ll be a ring before the season ends folks. I bet he bought it days ago!) and then the moment I’ve been hoping for for years – Donna is introduced to Lily. I can’t believe they won’t meet in person too, but hearing Harvey say “Mom, meet Donna. Donna meet Lily” was a huge moment in this series and in the lives of all three of these characters. It was very very special to see. Throw in the wonderful song choice and the incredible chemistry of Sarah and Gabriel and this is easily one of my favourite television scenes ever.

……..Let’s face it, Darvey was a huge element of 9.04, so I wanted to break this down further this week, which leads me to…..

Harvey Specter – a truly satisfying example of character development, which only keeps getting better!

Over the seasons of Suits, the emotional growth of Harvey Specter has been integral to the story. Sure, it was about him hiring a fraud, but I still always saw Harvey as the person at the heart of the series and we’ve been able to watch him truly develop over the years. Yes, I think there has been the odd stumble in how this was written (that opening scene of 7.01 will always annoy me), but without a doubt, the changes in his character have been a joy to watch, as has Gabriel Macht’s superb performance (one for which he doesn’t get nearly enough credit in the television world).

From “caring makes you weak” to the man who, this week, has grown so much emotionally that he was able to take all of Donna’s insecurities and hurtful comments thrown his way, her father’s judgment and Louis’s anger and deal with each one rationally and calmly. He is now so at peace with where he is in his life and where it will go, that situations which in the past would have lead to yelling, anger and possibly emotional withdrawal from Harvey, he is now able to talk through and resolve. It’s incredible to watch.

I’ll talk more about Donna below, but look at how he dealt with Jim Paulsen. Realising getting on good terms with him mattered to Donna, he tried to fix it. Yes, he screwed it up the first time (another excellent writing decision), but he tried again, because he knew it mattered and with the moral support of his mother (a huge plot point in itself), he was able to demonstrate to Jim that, despite their complicated history, he was a man worthy of his daughter. Then there was Louis. In the past, the fact Louis was actually in the right with his argument that ultimately, this is all Harvey’s fault (sorry Harvey!), wouldn’t have mattered at all and Harvey would have never had the emotional awareness to not only understand his outburst, but to swiftly fix it. Yet, this week, that’s exactly what he was able to do. Yet again, Suits demonstrates why this series really is all about family.

I also want to acknowledge Gabriel Macht’s performance this week. He’s always brilliant, but in particular, I always love his ability to play the subtle moments and there were so many in 9.04 – the way he dips his had in hurt and frustration when his initial chat with Jim goes so wrong; the change in his voice when Donna lashes out in his office about the same meeting, displaying his guilt at messing it up and his hurt at her words; his expression after Louis’s outburst when Donna tells him to leave him be; right through to the way he conveys how she is Harvey’s whole world in that last gaze. We’ve been so very lucky to have Gabriel play Harvey.

And then there was Donna…….

Donna struggling to adjust to the new emotionally available Harvey – we understand Donna, we’d be a little thrown too in your shoes!

I’ve covered already Harvey’s incredible development, which has culminated in the man on our screens this week, but as well as dealing with difficulties with Jim and Louis, Harvey and Donna also had to navigate a few bumps in 9.04. Yet, what made this all the more interesting was that it was Donna, not Harvey, who had some lessons to learn.

So far this season, it has been Harvey who been the more open of the two. He’s been clear with her about his feelings for her and his commitment to them as a couple and it didn’t go unnoticed by me that it was Donna who was holding back. Yes, she’s been the one to explain his feelings to Harvey over the years, but I have never thought she was someone fully aware of her own. She’s been as confused as him and while Harvey has been all in since the end of 8.16, it’s seemed that Donna had yet to fully relax in to the fact that this is real. I wondered if it was just me, or whether we’d see anything on screen about this, so seeing her struggle to communicate with him this week was so satisfying. She couldn’t be honest with him about Faye, deflecting her frustrations at the unfairness of the choice put to her, by putting it all on her father and Harvey’s seeming unwillingness to get along with him. I felt sorry for Harvey, oblivious as to the real reasons for her anger in his direction.

Yet, not once, but twice, he took the argument calmly and once issues were resolved, finally called her out on her holding back. Having Harvey be the one telling her that she needed to be open with him about what she was feeling, so that they can tackle it together was clearly a surprise to Donna. Yet, she knew he was right and learnt something by the end of Cairo and now they are both absolutely on the same page about where they stand and where they are heading and I’m excited to see where the next six episodes will take these two complex and wonderful characters, both as a couple and individually.

Specter Litt Wheeler Williams really are a team now and I love it!

It may have been all change at the end of season seven, but 9.04 proved that this group of characters are now, without a doubt, a strong team, both professionally and personally. Watching the four named partners stride confidently down the corridor to stand up for Donna (who Faye really has seemed to unfairly go after recently) was an episode highlight. Yet again, the importance of the family unit was on full display in Suits. I loved hearing them all speak of the little details from the show’s history that bond them together (although if Donna’s going to be baby Litt’s Godmother, has Louis relented on the religion of his child??). Watch out Faye, they may be a bit renegade with their work, but try and come between this group at your peril!

Louis & Harvey’s brotherly bond brings a tear to the eye

Yes, the biggest bromance of the series will always be Mike and Harvey, but I’ve always loved the complicated relationship between Harvey and Louis. We’ve seen them go through so much. All that anger, jealousy and resentment from Louis, all of Harvey’s short tempered outbursts at him (many of my biggest series highlights centre around these two – the fight that had Louis go through a glass table, the end of 4.09 when Louis screws up and goes to Harvey, while he was on his way to him; the beautiful scene after Louis was mugged, to name just three). This week saw the two back in the bullpen, reflecting on the past and putting their latest fight behind them. With the series inching closer to the end, moments like this feel all the more touching and nostalgic and I’m so pleased that these two men will clearly end the series closer than ever.

Samantha and Alex – From rivals to friends, as well as partners

Talking of friendships and great writing, what is unfolding on the show between Samantha and Alex touches on both of these things. They were introduced to each other as rivals for named partner, yet now, they have one of the closest bonds on the show and having Samantha become a surrogate member of the Williams family has been a lovely storyline. It also continues to lay the foundation for where the series could end. The lives of Louis and Harvey are shifting, as they both grow up and start to see that life has more to offer than work and if by the end they decide to move on, leaving Wheeler Williams to lead a firm in to the future, it would feel like a natural progression. I’ll be curious to see if this happens.

Katrina continues to stand up for herself

It’s hard to remember how much I disliked Katrina when she arrived in Suits and this week continued to see her grow in confidence, not just in her legal ability, but in her ability to handle workplace dynamics. In Cairo we saw her confident enough in herself and her opinions, that she was able to stand up to both Faye and Louis and it was wonderful to see. Let’s hope her storyline continues down this path. It’s what this character deserves.

Rick Hoffman & his comic delivery continue to delight week after week

Year after year I find myself frustrated that Rick Hoffman isn’t acknowledged for his portrayal of Louis Litt. Perhaps it’s because the character doesn’t fall in to a comfortable comedy or drama bucket. Instead, he blends both perfectly and that takes such talent. This week, we again saw both of these side of Louis, with his fight with Harvey in the same episode as some of his funniest lines at the episode’s outset. The scene in which he terrifies Susan’s parents is just brilliantly written and performed (the pitch perfect delivery of the “Oh shit” as he leaves the room, a particular highlight for me), only to be followed by one of my favourite comic duos – Louis and Gretchen! What a pair! And the line that made me laugh out loud this week – “I’d be better off with the urn!” Oh Louis, I truly love you!

Alex Williams can finally leave the prison case behind

This was perhaps the weakest part of the episode for me and yet I also understand the choices of including an old story, rather than a new one. I really like Alex Williams and I do think he’s struggled to have as interesting a storyline so far, as say, Samantha, or Katrina and so having a closer look at him was definitely needed. So, I admit, I was a little disappointed that they’d chosen to have his story revolve around the prison case again. We’ve covered this a lot, having it be the focus of a large part of season 7 and we’d already seen Alex talk Mike through all of this week’s flashbacks. So, I found myself wondering why we were covering old ground again. Yet, with so little time, I understand it made sense to have this revolve around something that was already familiar, rather than to try and introduce something new.

That slight grumble aside, I enjoyed seeing Alex struggle with his guilt and have to face Rosalie when she learns of not just what he did, but that he kept it from her and the scene in which his anger and fear exploded in the direction of his so-called friend, who he was trying to protect too, by keeping him away from this client, was one of Dule Hill’s strongest moments in the series so far. It was also lovely that it was Samantha, not Harvey, who saved the day for Alex. I only hope we get to see a little more about him now that this plot has finally been put to bed.

Who doesn’t want to have Samantha Wheeler’s professional confidence?!

I liked Samantha Wheeler from the outset, but she continues to get better and better each week and watching her confidently put Alex’s dreadful “friend” in his place (Trevor may have a rival for crappiest friend on Suits) was a joy to watch! When she confidently declared that she was going to kick his ass the old fashioned way, because she was the better lawyer, it made me cheer. Next time I’m in a tricky work situation, I’m going to try and channel this woman!

Looking ahead!

So, next week will see us reach the halfway mark of season nine. It’s going so quickly! What do we know? Episode 9.05 is called “If The Shoe Fits” and will see the return of Mike Ross! Having him a part of this last run was on everyone’s must-have list and I’m excited to see him come up against the firm, with a case that sounds as though we’ll see him, Harvey and Samantha in some tense moments. It’ll also be fascinating to see if he meets Faye. As the fraud who went to jail, I’m sure she’ll have some choice words to say to him!

Well, I’ll see you all next week (and until then I’ll be watching season 9 so far on repeat)!

Suits season 9 continues next week with 9.05 “If The Shoe Fits” on Wednesday on USA Network in the USA/Canada and on Friday via Netflix in the UK. You can watch the promo here: https://youtu.be/YcuACGMry5Y

Television Review – Suits 9.03 “Windmills” – An episode of decisions, conflicts and a Darvey date!

Following last week’s arrival of Faye Richardson and the demotion of Louis from Managing Partner, I was excited to see where the characters would find themselves this week. I may have preferred 9.01 and 9.02 to this episode, story-wise, but the good news is that there was a great deal included in this week’s instalment, some of which may (or may not) drop hints of what else could be coming up in the remaining seven episodes.

One last time behind the Suits camera for Gabriel Macht

This episode marks the final time Gabriel Macht will step behind the camera to direct on Suits. Having already directed some of my earlier favourite episodes (especially 4.11), this week again highlighted that he has a superb eye for making this show look great on screen. It also can’t be easy to direct yourself and yet this episode Macht was in the position of having to direct 13 versions of himself, thanks to Louis’s hilarious dream! Hopefully we’ll see him stepping behind the camera again on future projects.

Harvey and Donna continue to navigate their new relationship and it is fantastic to watch

I’ve always been of the view that the notion that putting together a couple in a series would ruin their relationship, taking all the tension out of it, was ridiculous and it’s fantastic to see that the Suits writing team have embraced Donna and Harvey’s romance. What I love most about this, is that because we have a whole ten episodes to watch it develop there’s time to see some very real scenarios play out between our favourite TV couple.

The season premiere focussed on the early steps of their romance, 9.02 introduced a little tension in terms of their ability to communicate with each other and Windmills built on both of these, as the pair explored the realities of working together and being together.

Donna rightly doesn’t want Harvey to change to being a yes-man (the reference to her much older sister was fascinating here – is that a hint we’ll be meeting her?), but I equally understood why Harvey’s instinct would be to please her by seeming to agree with her. Yet, they talked about it and were able to find a solution!

And then there was their first date (where they were sitting in the exact spot where I had lunch with a friend on a visit there last month!). They may have spent 15 years together, but watching them realise that that doesn’t necessarily mean their new romance is going to be easy, was a lot of fun. Seeing them awkwardly grasping for non-work conversation felt very authentic for two people who have effectively lived their jobs side-by-side for years. Yet, by the end, they had started to relax in to this new situation, proving that seeing your favourite characters finally get together doesn’t suck out all the storylines, but instead opens up so many more possibilities.

The hostility towards Faye only gets worse

Last week, Faye’s wrath was firmly levelled at Louis, whereas this week she was infuriating more than just him, although he continued to despise her (the ears being full of rage line was a personal favourite).

Romance aside, Harvey and Donna both had run-ins with the firm’s Special Master this week and it was satisfying to see not only these slices of tension, but also how they drew on each other for support too. Understandably, both were outraged at Louis’s demotion and Harvey reacted the way he knows best – finding a way to beat someone, while proving a point to Faye. Although, as Louis pointed out, this was a little unnecessary (I was right about the Tilting at Windmills reference), it was good to see Harvey’s competitive fighter spirit come out once again, as he went in to bat for Billy from Ally McBeal (sorry, it had to be said!). Oh and that line Harvey says towards the end “I’m the guy it always works out for.” Anyone else wonder if that’s foreshadowing that perhaps, before the series ends, that run of luck might come to an end? Just a thought……..

Donna meanwhile was faced with one of her biggest fears, the perception that she doesn’t deserve the role she now has, when Faye demanded she act as her secretary, which I have to say, felt out of order to me. I’m sure this is only the start of Donna’s problems at work with this woman and I’m curious to see where the writers will take this plot line.

Louis had some important decisions to make this week

Last week gave us the man-kini and the bowling scenes. This week, the comedic element continued to be provided by Rick Hoffman, as we glimpsed inside one of Louis’s dreams. There was so much to love here – Louis as a judge, Alex being turned on by Louis, Donna comparing his sexual abilities to Harvey and 12 Harveys in the jury box (plus one cat)! If you take time to watch all the different expressions / personalities of those jurors it only gets funnier (and bravo to Gabriel Macht for pulling that off, as actor and director)!

Comedy aside, Louis had some serious decisions to make about his career. I may be sceptical that a managing partner whose firm is being controlled by the Bar would be so readily offered a judgeship, but this is Suits after all, so I’ll suspend reality on that point. I’ve also been saying for a while that I could see Louis heading down a new career path before the series ends and this is certainly one role I could see him thriving in. Having been so humiliated by Faye, it makes sense that he’d consider walking away, especially when he thinks Donna and Harvey are no longer in his corner. Although they’re back as team by the end, it’ll be interesting to see if these hints at a new role for Louis Litt develop later on.

Katrina tackles someone’s unethical behaviour head on & I’m so proud of her!

Katrina has certainly continued to grow in confidence since her promotion to partner and this week required her to step up again, in order to stand up to the unethical tactics of an overly ambitious associate.

I have to say, Suits has had some unpleasant characters over the years, but associate Susan may be my new least favourite. Why? She’s an example of how dreadful women can be in the workplace if they let themselves. Threatening to spill the details she has guessed about Katrina’s relationship with Brian, in order to improve her career prospects was incredibly shitty, but also pretty stupid too. I mean, blackmailing your direct boss is absolutely the right way to kick off a successful career track……… Yet, Katrina handled the situation with style and class, making it clear that she is no longer someone that can be pushed around and I felt very proud of her. Better luck next time, Susan (although honestly, I hope we don’t see you again).

From adversaries to partners – Samantha and Alex continue to build a solid working relationship and friendship

These two characters might not have started out on the right foot in season 8, but over time and especially this season, they have grown to both respect and like one another and this week saw them working together to try and find a way to get rid of Faye. Sure, they clashed when Samantha tried to cross the ethical line, but she’s changed enough to actually take Alex’s contrary view on board. Having their friendship further highlighted by Alex taking her home for dinner was also lovely to see, especially as it was a storyline that served another purpose too – it helped Samantha decide to look for her biological parents, which I can only assume will be revisited later on in the season. By the end of this episode though, I was left with the impression that Alex and Samantha could very well succeed at heading a firm together, which could again be where the series finds itself at the end and if that is the plan, the groundwork is certainly already being laid.

Looking ahead!

Next week’s episode is called Cairo and I have no idea what that could be referring to (unlike 9.03, which I got right as being a Tilting at Windmills reference).

What do we know, or can guess? Well, from the promo, it seems 9.04 is when Faye finally finds out about Harvey and Donna’s relationship and as a result seemingly wants Donna to give up her vote (presumably because she thinks she might now not be able to be impartial). That seems a bit silly to me, but I’ve been waiting for a storyline in which Donna’s position, or people’s perception of her, comes under strain due to her new relationship with Harvey.

As well as that, summaries released suggest that Harvey may be trying to impress Donna’s father this week. If that’s true it’ll be interesting, as the two have always had a rather rocky relationship.

Whatever happens, as season nine is continuing to be satisfying on all story levels, I’m already looking forward to seeing what’s next!

Suits season 9 continues next week with 9.04 “Cairo” on Wednesday night in the USA, on USA Network. This week’s episode will be available in the UK on Netflix tomorrow and will continue to be weekly every Friday. You can watch the promo here: https://youtu.be/cIRPrXeOR9E

Television Review – Suits 9.02 “Special Master” where there’s a new boss in town!

After last week’s strong season opener, I was excited to see if the second episode in this final season of Suits would meet my raised expectations and the good news is that, overall, Special Master did indeed suggest that the cast and creative team of my favourite series are giving everything they’ve got to this last run.

There is lots to talk about in this week’s episode, so let’s get started!

Introducing Faye Richardson & she certainly makes her mark!

(Photo by: Christos Kalohoridis/USA Network)

Having seen her arrive at the end of last week’s season premiere, this week saw the NY Bar’s Special Master wasting no time at making her presence felt in the halls of Zane Specter Litt Wheeler Williams. And first order of business was stripping that first name from the wall. The introduction of Faye gives the series an opportunity to do something a little different when it comes to threats against the firm. This time it isn’t someone dirtier or shadier than any of our favourites, it is someone who is in the right! Ever since the show began, we may have loved these characters, but they tend to live in the grey, justified by the fact that, usually, those they are against are far worse. Now, Faye Richardson is here, in her words, to help them to “fly right.” Ultimately, it’s for their benefit if they want the firm’s reputation to survive intact!

And what an entrance she makes! Denise Crosby is superb in this role, immediately standing her ground with Harvey, Samantha and truly putting Louis Litt in his place on an epic scale. The scene in which she dresses him down in the kitchen, in front of anyone within earshot, was brilliantly acted by both Crosby and Rick Hoffman and had me cringing in pain for Louis. We’ve seen Harvey and Jessica lay down the law to him before, but this was brutal. As first impressions go, she’s absolutely going to be a character I love to dislike, while relishing all the tension she stirs up!

Louis Litt reaches boiling point!

(Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

The versatility of Rick Hoffman has been one of the most consistent aspects of Suits from very early on and he continues to impress week on week and 9.02 was another rollercoaster for Louis Litt, who by the end of the hour was displaying some of his worst traits, as he seemingly reached boiling point in his personal battle with Faye Richardson. Before that though, we were treated to what I love most about Louis – his unique blend of ridiculousness and kindness, when interacting with his friends.

I admit, the opening scene was perhaps a little too bonkers for me. I mean, sure, Louis is one of a kind, but even he isn’t as stupid as he was coming across when, for the second episode running, he was missing the obvious when it came to Donna and Harvey’s new status. It did feel a tiny bit too OTT, but as it’s Louis, I’ll let it go and the scene was worth it for the look of sheer horror that appears on Harvey’s face on seeing Louis’s outfit!

Yet, this isn’t the best Louis scene this week. Who needs a cat fair, or mudding, when Alex Williams is there to take you bowling! Honestly, from the moment I saw behind the scenes pictures from this shoot, I have been looking forward to seeing Hoffman take his character bowling and it was just as much fun to watch as I’d hoped (and we learnt about yet another childhood trauma. Poor young Louis really did suffer)! It was also a great opportunity to see another side to Alex Williams, who has remained rather serious since he arrived. Plus we got to enjoy seeing Dule Hill tap dance on screen too!

And if that wasn’t enough, we were also treated to Louis mixing genuine affection, with inappropriateness, with Donna, by letting her know how happy he is for her and Harvey, while also fishing for details about their sex life! Oh Louis, never change!!!

Yet, channelling his rage by knocking pins down didn’t last long and soon poor Benjamin (it was so good to have David Reale back!) bore the brunt of the managing partner on the verge of exploding under the weight of the humiliation he was feeling and sure, Faye is right, but did she really need to so publicly embarrass Louis and seem to enjoy it?! With the episode ending with him stripped of his title and position, it’ll be interesting to see which sides of Louis Litt’s personality are on display next week.

Harvey Specter’s incredible emotional development continues to astonish me!

I’ve said many times over my reviews of Suits, that one of the most exciting elements for me has been watching the character development of Harvey Specter. The odd stumble aside (I’m looking at you 7.01), he has gradually been becoming a more emotionally accessible man and now that he’s taken the next step with Donna, his transformation is complete, which was never more evident than in this week’s episode. More than ready to tell Louis last week, he was perfectly at ease breaking the news in 9.02 (his friend’s clothing the only thing causing him anxiety in that scene!), and was also able to speak rationally to Samantha when her knee-jerk reaction to Faye’s arrival was to jump ship. Plus, when it came to Donna, he was able to not only sense her worries about him becoming Thomas’s lawyer, but give her the type of reassurance that she usually provides to him.

Yet, the finest, most satisfying, character moment so far for Harvey was, in what was probably my favourite scene of 9.02, his meeting with Donna’s ex. He was rational, calm and mature, treating this man, who he knows is principled and decent, with respect. And the moment Thomas asked him the same question he’d put to Donna in last season’s finale, Harvey didn’t hesitate, simply pausing ever so briefly, the smallest of sympathetic expressions on his face (knowing that this is not going to be easy for the other man to hear), before freely speaking the truth Suits fans have known for years – that Donna is the most important person in his life and that not only does he now know it, but she does too.

I admit, I was speechless at this scene, played so well by Gabriel Macht and Sasha Roiz. Two men, treating each other with respect and maturity in a situation that could have gone very differently and seeing Harvey so utterly calm and happy to let anyone know how in love he is, was one of my highlights of all the seasons so far.

Meanwhile Donna took responsibility for her choices

The main focus of this week’s episode may have been on other storylines, but the strength of 9.02 was that everyone had a few significant scenes (although I’d have liked more Katrina) and when it came to Donna, it was fantastic to see her be confronted with the guilt she clearly feels about breaking Thomas Kessler’s heart. Personally, I didn’t really like their break-up scene last week, so it was lovely to see Roiz back again this week and as well as the superb scene with Macht, I also loved what I assume will be his last moments with Sarah Rafferty as Donna.

The scene was played with the perfect balance of emotions. These are two people that clearly had a spark and who, had Harvey never been in the picture, could very likely have ended up together. Seeing the way they slip in to light banter to cover up how hard the situation is for both of them, was lovely to watch and I did feel sympathy for Thomas, as he gazed at the woman he clearly could see a future with, while knowing it wasn’t to be. I’m not surprised he changed his mind about staying with the firm!

The episode also saw Donna take responsibility, to some extent, for the choice she made at the end of last season, which ultimately resulted in the arrival of the Bar’s spy. Seeing her lay the truth out to Faye in such an emotionally honest way was one of the week’s highlights and Rafferty demonstrated yet again why Donna has become such a special character within this series.

Samantha helps a friend in need, as the show raises the importance of talking about mental health.

I had been hoping we’d learn more about Samantha’s military service in this season, as it fascinates me that the woman we see now had this kind of backstory and this week we saw a further glimpse in to her past, through the introduction of her friend, who she also served alongside during her four years in the service. Yet, this storyline served a much more important purpose – raising the subject of mental health and how important it is for anyone struggling to ask for help. Seeing someone as strong as Samantha openly acknowledge her struggles and that she’d needed to seek support, as a way to help her friend suffering from PTSD, was so important to see on television. In a world where so many people are still suffering in silence, most shows should be addressing this topic.

Looking ahead……..

We’re already talking about 9.03! Can time slow down? This season is going too fast.

Next week is directed by Gabriel Macht and is called “Windmills” which could mean anything, although the first thing I thought of was the phrase “tilting at windmills,” used to refer to someone battling an imaginary enemy. Is this the start of them realising that Faye perhaps isn’t the bad guy after all? That seems doubtful, seeing as she’s just demoted Louis! What else do we know? The promo suggests Louis is leaving, but I assume that’s a rouse, as although I can see him moving on, I don’t think that’ll happen until later in the run. The synopsis lets us know that Harvey takes a case to make a point to Faye. If we get similar scenes between Crosby and Macht as we did between her and Rick Hoffman this week, I’ll be very happy indeed. Finally it also seems as though something is getting between Donna and Harvey and this new emotionally aware Harvey isn’t happy about it. Good for you Harvey. I’m proud of you!

I’d say I can’t wait, but actually, I’m more than happy for this last run to take as long as possible!

Suits season 9 continues next week with 9.03 “Windmills” on Wednesday night on USA Network in the USA. This week’s episode arrives on Netflix in the UK tomorrow (Friday), which seems to be the new regular slot for this last season. You can watch the promo for 9.03 here: https://youtu.be/VU08Ww6XDRA

Television Review – Suits kicks off its final season with a bang, in 9.01 “Everything’s Changed”

Well, this week finally sees the start of the ninth and sadly final season of Suits (any chance we can rethink that final season bit?) and I’m both excited it’s back, while also feeling sad that the end is not that far away. After the emotional end to season 8, it’s no exaggeration that this might be my most anticipated season of television yet and the good news is, that this final season opener didn’t disappoint!

As always, let’s dive in to the detail.

I usually leave all things #Darvey until last, but let’s face it, this is the biggest part of 9.01 and so there was only one place to begin!

The start of the next phase of Darvey and it was even better than I’d hoped for!

Well, blimey, has everyone recovered from this episode?! I’d had certain hopes for the season and when it came to Donna and Harvey’s new romantic relationship, my biggest wish was that we’d get the chance to see them navigating all the different aspects of this new phase of their lives. What I hadn’t been prepared for however, was seeing so much of that in episode one! Across the 45 minutes, we were treated to seeing Harvey & Donna’s intimacy, love, shyness, honesty, flirty and suggestive banter, mature conversations about tough topics, comic moments AND a fiery exchange – all in the first episode! Unbelievable!

I’ve never hid the fact I’ve wanted this couple together and after 9.01, this their narrative has already become the most satisfying of all television relationships I’ve ever invested in and that’s certainly exciting as we move forward!

I loved almost all of it, so I suppose it would be more appropriate to first say what I particularly enjoyed from this abundance of Darvey riches! Top of that list is this new side to Harvey. Arguably, the title of the episode relates more to Harvey Specter and his view on life than anything else. Gone was the emotionally guarded man of the past and in his place was a man not afraid to tell people about their relationship when Louis shows up and ready and who is more than willing to discuss his emotions. It was quite something to watch – as he tells Donna that he’s glad he came over, that he wants to come back the next night (i.e. this is not a one night thing), that he loves her reading his mind and in their gorgeous last scene, as he makes clear how ready he is for them to be together and that he loves her. Plus, her still technically being with Thomas? He didn’t let it be an obstacle, or a reason to feel guilty and mistrusting of their relationship, which is a huge change for this character (although the edit of that phone call was odd; it’d been nice to see Harvey’s face when he reacted to her still being with Kessler when he came over).

The use of Mike and Rachel’s apartment could have felt a bit odd, but the reason for its inclusion was rather lovely, showing how much Harvey had been hoping the pair would come back (how loaded is he, to be able to afford rent on top of everything else?!) and the call-back to his line to Donna in the pilot episode (well for international viewers anyway – it was a deleted scene in the US) that he loves her because she gets him was just perfect. No doubt this is the first of many nostalgic call backs to the earlier years as we inch closer to the end of the show and it also ensured Mike and Rachel had a presence in the episode, despite not being on screen. One thing though Harvey, with Mike’s memory, I bet he remembers Rick Sorkin too and has worked out your fake tenant scheme!

If I had to gripe, I’m not entirely sure why Donna had to still be with, and therefore break up with, Kessler. It was clear from 8.16 that it was over (and indeed the deleted break up scene had him end it). Whether they’d been together, or not, Harvey didn’t know either way, so I’d have preferred her to have already made the split official from Thomas, rather than her inviting Harvey in knowing that that hadn’t already happened. And my other gripe, there was a fair amount of reference to Harvey being blind for 12 years and coming to his senses, as though Donna had been consciously sitting there waiting for him all that time. I’ve never seen it that way. I think for a large amount of time she was as blind as him, so this irritated me a little bit, but focussing on the positives – we can now look forward to seeing their relationship develop for a whole nine episodes! Perfect!

Louis Litt being Louis Litt!

We’d all assumed Louis would turn up at Donna’s apartment the morning after and discover the big change between his two friends. Yet, in true Louis style, he was oblivious to what was so completely obvious! Although, to be fair to him, were this any other earlier Suits season, his assumption would very likely have been correct – they’d have been doing anything other than “banging it out all night!”

The humour in Suits has always been a highlight for me and this scene was the show at its best on this front – the double entendres flying all around Donna’s living room were brilliant! Darvey aside, I also enjoyed seeing Louis acting relatively level-headed this week. Yes, he was frustrated and angry at the idea of dishonouring Robert’s name, but he didn’t lash out emotionally the way he would have in the past. Just like Harvey, he’s grown up and is moving in to a new phase in his life.

Samantha Wheeler continues to kick ass (in and out of the boxing ring)!

I already loved Samantha’s character, finding her a fun and fiery addition to the series last season and this week I thought she (and Katherine Heigl) was fantastic, taking no prisoners in her fight for her mentor’s reputation.

Seeing her get up in the face of her old partner, when he dares call her sweetpea (what an arrogant idiot he is) impressed not just us, but Harvey too! Then there was her reaction to the knowledge of where Harvey really spent his night – the way she leans back in her chair, the expression on her face, almost predatory in the knowledge that she now has leverage over him, mixed with her anger at the unfairness of it all. Let’s face it, her verbal fight with Harvey was perfectly valid and just like Harvey, she’s loyal to those she cares for and no one more than Robert Zane. Oh and watching her and Harvey take each other on in the boxing ring was great fun! Now that she’s on better terms with Harvey and seemed to make peace with Donna, I’m hoping they’ll be all on the same team going forward. They’ll clearly need to be!

Katrina & Alex – the calming influences of the firm

If I take a step back and look at the firm rationally, then I could see Alex and Katrina making a pretty good team running a firm. It’d be by the book and run with precision. But where’s the fun in that?!

This week saw these two being the calming influences amongst the high emotions flying around. Crucially, it’s fantastic to see Katrina with more strength and confidence in her position, meaning she is the one to present the hard truths to Alex, knowing he’d be sensible enough to take it forward. We also saw her meet Sheila (I honestly hadn’t realised this hadn’t already happened) and overall this was an entertaining scene, in which two rather blunt women were absolutely transparent with each other. Having said that, Sheila didn’t improve in my opinion following her last comment about Katrina’s appearance, which came across as just bitchy to me. Then we had Alex being offered Managing Partner. You never know, that could happen by the end.

Enter Faye Richardson to shake things up!

I suspected the last scene would be this one, dropping the bombshell on Louis that he was no longer in charge of the firm, as we saw the arrival of Faye Richardson, appointed by the New York Bar Association to effectively take control of a firm that is tarnished in the eyes of the wider legal world. She wasted no time in making her position clear and it’ll be fun to see how everyone else reacts. Things are clearly about to get very interesting!

Looking ahead……..

So, next week will see the fallout from the arrival of Faye Richardson, Special Master, who will be laying some ground rules for the firm. I’m excited to see where the writers take this plot line, as it will impact on all of our characters – Harvey and Samantha will no doubt feel attacked, Donna will likely feel judged in a similar vein to Malik in season seven, Louis will likely feel torn between his love of the law (and therefore going by the book) and loyalty to his work family. In the series promo (see below), it sounds as though someone is getting fired down the line. Will it be Harvey? Donna? Louis? Whoever it is, there are going to be ramifications that will no doubt impact on where we leave these characters at the end.

As for what else might be coming our way, 9.01 referred again to Samantha’s military service and so hopefully we’ll learn more about that. We had Harvey acknowledge his change in attitude to cheating (he didn’t even consider Thomas), which I hope opens the door to an appearance of his mother, who he may understand a little more now. There was the return of Professor Gerrard (hi to Gabriel’s dad!), so perhaps this will lead to a new career path for Louis? Oh and Sheila seems to have advanced a few months overnight in her pregnancy, so fingers crossed we’ll see the arrival of Baby Litt! I’m also trying to ignore the return of Brian in the promo – don’t do it Katrina!

Clearly season 9 has the potential to be one of the best of the series!

Any chance we can reconsider this being the end? Please………….

Suits season 9 continues next week with 9.02 “Special Master” on Wednesday night on USA Network in the US. As for the UK, it’s arrival and airing on Netflix is unclear. It might be weekly from this Saturday, or 9.01 on Saturday and then the rest weekly on Thursdays. At this point, it’s not clear, so watch this space. You can watch the promo for next week / the season here: https://youtu.be/qmGkMGBffnw

Television Review – Suits 8.16 “Harvey” (shouldn’t that really be Darvey)?!

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Welcome to the final Thursday in a few months that is Suits day! After six weeks, we’ve reached the season 8 finale. It’s bittersweet, as this is the last time it is a season finale. Next time it’ll be the end.

I was unsure what Suits would be like this year, with three original characters leaving the story (one at least for good), but overall, I’ve throughly enjoyed season 8. We’ve been introduced to a fabulous new character in Samantha Wheeler, have got to know Alex better, especially in these last few episodes after the silly named partner war was over, when he’s really had more of an opportunity to get involved, we’ve seen Louis mature in to the best person to lead the firm, experienced Katrina’s ups and downs as she climbs the ladder of seniority (I’m forgetting the Brian thing) and we’ve seen Donna and Harvey delve in to their emotions in new ways, both separately and together…….very together (I’ll get to it, obviously!). I’m left feeling a little sad that there’s only a finite time left with these characters, but I look back on season 8 much more positively than negatively and that’s all I can hope for with any show.

So……………let’s delve in to the detail!

Samantha’s horrifying past & it’s effect on both her and Robert 

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Over the last 15 episodes, we’ve learnt quite a lot about Samantha Wheeler and way back in 8.04 we knew she’d been through a similar experience to Louis’s mugging and that Robert helped her afterwards. This week, we were able to see just how horrifying an experience that was for her and how she did not want to be a victim, instead determined to seek her own justice when the system failed her. Katherine Heigl has really done a fantastic job with her character, so that I actually do care about her and I’m interested to know more about her (for example, we still don’t know the detail of her military service) and what was lovely about this story, was that it showed us just how special her bond with Robert is. Yes, it’s similar to Harvey’s with Jessica in some ways, but theirs is still very much like father/daughter and seeing them fighting for each other this week (as well as Harvey) was thoroughly enjoyable.

If this is farewell, then it’s been a pleasure Robert Zane

 

Suits - Season 8
(Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

I had suspected that we might be seeing the last of Robert Zane this year. Why? First, there were the story hints – his pain and shock at the sudden death of an old adversary, him stepping aside for Louis without much of a fight and this week, we saw just how much he was ready to give up to secure a deal with Daniel Hardman (half his client list and a slice of his equity stream is no small sacrifice). Then there was the fact that Wendell Pierce will be here in London from March until the end of June acting in the theatre, therefore unavailable for a good chunk of filming. Therefore, his possible departure didn’t come as a surprise.

True, it’s ironic that, had he taken Eric Kaldor up on his offer and retired, then he wouldn’t have ended up being disbarred. Honestly, I wish they’d gone with that, but I get it, the hearing scenario makes better dramatic television. Seeing another fabulous character sacrifice their reputation for Harvey (and here, Donna) didn’t sit well with me, but at least they linked this in with Robert’s need to make amends for his past. He’d already alluded to that with Louis when he admitted to being part of an attack when he was younger and had felt guilt for that ever since, which has clearly been added to by what he did for Samantha. As Alex said, sometimes you just need to take the burden off, no matter what it costs you. I particularly loved Dule Hill’s scenes with Wendell Pierce this week and his look of sadness from the stand as Robert said he was trying to make right what he did, was so lovely.

If this is the last we see of Robert Zane (I’m hoping he comes back for the end in some form), then I say thanks to Wendell Pierce for being such a wonderful addition to this show over the years. Oh……and thanks Robert, for turning down Harvey’s burger offer! We are in your debt!

A not unwelcome return for Daniel Hardman

I was never a huge fan of Hardman and the last time he reappeared I sighed. Yet, this time, I really enjoyed his meddling. He’s such a great villain and he openly loves being vindictive! His scenes with Louis and Harvey helped up the ante and through the flashback with Zane, we were able to see another side of him. By the end, I wonder if he thinks it was worth it, as what he did cost his friend his career. I assume this is the last we’ll see of David Costabile, but as we head towards the end of the series, it was actually fun this time to revisit this particular past foe.

……………….

As for the rest……..well………

It was all about Darvey (no, not Harvey……Darvey………)

I feel as though I need to take a very deep breath before diving in to the rest of this week’s episode’s content! Where to start when I’ve been speechless for hours since I first watched it! Did it really happen? Before we get to THAT ending, there were so many other strong scenes in 8.16, all of which were written in a way that reinforced the episode’s overarching theme – that of Harvey finally opening his eyes to his feelings for Donna and of bringing these two complicated adults together, at long last! As each one happened, I found myself thinking, “Oh that was a great scene, that’ll probably be my favourite”! Special shout out to one scene in particular – Harvey Specter throwing cut glass around his office while swearing is hot as hell and he should do it much more often (plus the shocked look on Louis’s face and the guilt and pain on Donna’s as they watched were so good)!

1. It took an army to FINALLY tip the scales in Harvey’s mind when it came to Donna

After watching 8.16, it’s no wonder poor Mike, the original Darvey champion, never succeeded in bringing his pseudo parents together. He was just one man (even Rachel wasn’t as bold as him). In order for Harvey to finally wake up, it’s needed a small army. We’ve already had Scottie planting some Darvey seeds in both their minds and this week almost every character played a part in Harvey Specter finally knocking on Door 206!

Louis / Robert / Samantha / Alex and hell, even Thomas helped along the way this week and after each interaction I found myself thinking, surely this is it, this is what tips him over the edge. Harvey and Louis’s scenes this week were a pleasure (I love their bromance, I really do) and not only did we see Louis try and save his friend through his pleas to Thomas, but then we had Harvey verbalise that him telling Donna was the same as if Louis had wanted to tell Sheila. So, she’s effectively your wife, Harvey?! Plus, Louis accepted it without blinking. Oh and a side observation – did Harvey leave Louis is his home, or has Louis been taught the secret way of breaking in to Casa Specter?!

We also had Robert and Alex declare how what truly mattered was going home to the women they love. Alex, in particular, was clearly trying to hint to his friend that he should be doing the same, especially after he’d already acted as the Mike Ross of this week, by helping Donna to face up to the truth of her choices when it came to Thomas and Harvey. I loved their scene, as it reinforced everything I’ve said in the last few weeks about her reasons for getting involved with Thomas. It wasn’t really about trying to make Harvey jealous (well, not totally), it was about her trying to move on, but in that scene with Alex you could see her accept the love she has for him.

We had Thomas question Harvey about why he wanted to protect Donna. True, he didn’t say how he felt, but it was another scene in which Harvey had to verbalise how special she is to him. Thomas was then also kind enough to fill his girlfriend in on just what Harvey was willing to do for her. Hard luck Thomas, you were a decent guy, but thanks for your Darvey contribution. Maybe they’ll choose your furniture company for their wedding list in return!

And lastly there was Samantha, who was the last domino, setting off the chain reaction to follow. Having her talk about how important Robert was to her and it starting as a comparison of Harvey’s relationship with Jessica was very clever, before it shifted in to being a parallel to what he has with Donna – the person who loves him despite all his flaws and who he wants in good times and bad (including at that hearing, when he noticed she wasn’t there). It’s funny that she didn’t say anything that was more revelatory than, say, Mike has in the past, yet it was this chat that was the final lightbulb moment. Maybe it was the emotion of the day, or the build-up was finally too much, but what matters is the effect. He finally seemed to believe that Donna might love him and he wanted to find out. The fact that Katherine Heigl is a Darvey shipper herself, made this all the more fun!

2. 8.16 – the episode where Harvey Specter’s development finally all came together!!

I fully admit that I’ve been frustrated with Harvey over season 8 (although nowhere near as much as I was in 7A!) and it seemed clear to me that in order for him and Donna to finally take that next step, he needed to show her how he loved her and that he was ready. Over the course of 8.16, aptly entitled Harvey, we were treated to moment after moment of Harvey showing the audience how much he loved her, before finally showing  her too.

It started early out of the gate – after Donna’s seeming betrayal, old Harvey would have been angry and harboured resentment. There’d likely have been shouting. This time, he was controlled with her and calm. He didn’t lash out. We then learnt that as part of his plan to help save her boyfriend’s deal, he went to Travis Tanner for help! Sure, the last time he appeared he seemed to have turned over a new leaf, but still, with their history?! That’s a pretty astonishing act.

Not only that, but his love for her meant protecting her above himself was all he cared about. Seeing him go to Thomas and rather than yell at him for screwing them all over (albeit for moral reasons), to watch him calmly ask him to lie to protect Donna was stunning. It’s when I really knew he’d finally made peace with how he felt. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is (and Thomas knew that too – pity Paula hadn’t been so smart)!

And then he took those final steps in fighting for her and it was utterly incredible to see unfold!

3……….which leads us to THAT scene…….!!

I doubt many scenes would warrant their own special section in a review, but those last 2 minutes of 8.16 sure as hell do! Personally, I’d gone in to this simply hoping for progress, some admission of feelings, an emotional hug, maybe a kiss if I was really lucky. I never in a million years expected THIS! Who did? From the state of my Twitter feed, it seems no one! Darvey fans around the world seemed to sit communally with their mouths open (other than when they were shouting, or swearing)!

First and foremost – Gabriel Macht and Sarah Rafferty were superb. In a scene where not a single word was spoken, they conveyed every single emotion so clearly. The fact they are so close and have lived and breathed these characters and their relationship for so long certainly helped, but it still needs actors of their quality to bring it to life.

 

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Gabriel is a master at speaking without words and seeing the realisation dawn on Harvey that maybe Donna loved him as much as he’d accepted he loved her, was gorgeous. Then watching him literally run to her, through the firm’s hallways, in to the elevator, stumbling slightly on his way in to it, to a cab (no time for Ray here) and then the way he flew around those hallways to her door. He was a man on a mission! To follow that with such vulnerability as she opened the door (just look at his face again!) as he almost staggers in his rush to get to her, followed by such raw passion and love, all without words was magnificent work!

Sarah Rafferty is also strong in scenes where there are no words (the moment she learnt about Paula sticks out in my mind) and I loved the choices they made for Donna here – the look of tiredness and confusion as she opens the door, followed by the moment you see her understand that he’s ready and begin to smile. Yet, the best choice was the steps backwards, those slow, deliberate steps, without breaking their eye contact. It screamed: “I’m here, I’m ready, if you are too, come and show me.”

As for the rest of it, well…….. it’s possibly the sexiest television I’ve seen. I’ve joked for years how I’d love Darvey to match the passion of a certain couple in The Good Wife (I’ll say no more for those yet to see that), but I never thought I’d see it! It was perfect – initial vulnerability becoming passionate, loving, tasteful and so damn sexy! Plus, seeing Harvey let her lead him off, as if he’s in a daze was the icing on the cake! Tops marks to director Chris Misiano and the editor for all the choices made on this sequence!

Looking ahead…….

I’ve rambled long enough and I plan to write a separate post about my Wishlist for season 9, but I’ll say simply here, now that Darvey are together, I’m excited to see them navigate a personal relationship over the course of this last 10-episode season. There is so much potential for them and indeed for the other characters too (will Louis become a father, will Samantha get over the loss of Robert, will Katrina thrive without the need for sketchy relationships with the wrong men?). Whatever is to come, we don’t have too long to wait, with season 9 likely to start some time around July!

I cannot wait!

Photos: USA Network

Darvey collage: @lovedarvey

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

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

Diving straight in……..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In defence of Donna Paulsen:

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

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

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

In defence of Harvey Specter: 

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

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

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

Next week is all about Harvey! 

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

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

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

See you all her next week to unpack the finale!

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