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

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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

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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)

Television Review – Suits 8.08 “Coral Gables”

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

Let’s get in to some specifics:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donna still in need of her own personal storyline

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

A non-existent week for Donna and Harvey

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

Talking of unresolved….

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Television Review – Suits 7×14 “Pulling The Goalie”

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After last week’s episode, in which there were some significant leaps forward in terms of character development (I’m looking at you, Harvey) and relationships (you know who I’m talking about), the big question was what lay in store this week in the unusually titled “Pulling The Goalie.”

Overall impressions, this was a decent episode of Suits, which reminded me of all the various elements of the series that made me start watching it when it first aired. Practically all the pairings and duos you love on the show had scenes together this week, which was both wonderful to see, but also a little bittersweet, as it only reminded me that in a week’s time so many of these relationships and friendships will come to an end (on screen anyway). Also, ironically, with so many enjoyable storylines this week, I realised my least favourite scenes in 7×14 were the Darvey ones (don’t all gasp at once!) for reasons I’ll explain a little later.

So, as we dig in to the detail a little more, there’s only one person to start with……

Is this the beginning of real happiness for Louis Litt? I’m still not certain, but I sure as hell hope so!

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Louis’s storyline in this episode was probably my favourite and unsurprisingly, Rick Hoffman was on fine form, filling his performance with all the passion, determination and emotion that makes Louis such a memorable character.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Louis’s choices last week and watching him sneaking around with Sheila did not sit well with me, as it was clear it would all end in tears. It also made me start to dislike Sheila, a character I’d always enjoyed being part of the show before. I hoped this episode would turn things around somehow and by the end, it had, maybe not totally where Sheila is involved (her treatment of Louis seemed very unfair for most of this episode), but there is hope of happiness again for Mr. Litt and who doesn’t want that for him?

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Sacrifice was a hot topic this week and Louis continued to show remarkable growth by realising it was time to let Sheila go; to sacrifice their unhealthy relationship so that he could find some peace after all the misery his actions were causing him. With the help of Dr. Lipschitz (he gets a special mention later), we watched Louis act not like himself. Instead of humiliating Sheila’s fiancé, both professionally (through the case he was ready to destroy him with) and personally (by telling him about his affair), he was the bigger man. He sacrificed the satisfaction he’d feel at sticking it to Xander F*ckface, for Sheila, because her happiness mattered more to him. Wow! Louis Litt, I’m impressed. It really must be love for you. I just hope it’s reciprocated.

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If Sheila doesn’t work out, I could get behind this! 

It certainly seems to be for now, with Sheila realising that the person who excited her, went to battle for her and was willing to sacrifice something for her was the person she truly loved. Harvey and Donna could really learn from these two with a simple concept – honesty.  Louis and Sheila were honest with each other. He was honest about his feelings for her. She was honest about not wanting commitment and he thought he could accept that. On realising he couldn’t, he was again honest. The scene in which he expresses his need to regain his honour because he knows he doesn’t get the girl or get to be happy, was incredibly moving. Then, on realising the truth of her feelings, she told him the truth. Radical, I know, for this show!

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Louis happy at long last! 

As Louis struggled with his feelings and his decisions, we were also treated to seeing him turn to two friends. The first was Katrina, played brilliantly as usual by Amanda Schull (who will step up to be a regular next season), who supported Louis in his mission to win back his professional honour (even though it wouldn’t heal his heartache). Hoffman and Schull have superb chemistry and I admit, were I willing to invest in another ship for this show, I’d be tempted to back these two. Sheila, watch how you treat our Louis, there could be another choice!

The second was Harvey. The scene in 6×13 where he asked for Harvey’s advice was lovely and this week we were treated to something similar and even more heartfelt. The moment Harvey said “Then, my friend,” brought a lump to my throat. Seeing these two as a strong team, but also good friends too, gives me hope for season 8. More of this please.

Dr.Lipshitz – therapist of the year (not that he had much competition)! 

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Another big part of Louis’s storyline this week was his loyal and supportive therapist and I think he needs a big round of applause (and one for the wonderful Ray Proscia too) ! Bravo to a therapist who speaks about his oath to his profession being greater than his words to his patient, not to mention this gem: “Louis, I don’t say it lightly, but I have taken an oath to do no harm and lately, I have been feeling that our relationship is doing harm………” Are you there, Dr. Agard?! Can you hear that? I’m not sure if the writers are deliberately paralleling two very different therapist relationships, but this little speech made me laugh at the irony!

Donna and Rachel – the fabulous team we should have seen much more of in seven seasons 

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Don’t mess with the women of Specter Litt!

I’ve commented before that Donna and Rachel don’t have nearly enough scenes together. Their friendship has been such a lovely element of this series, but it’s not had that much screen time when you really think about it (plus, the DVD deleted scenes highlight this too). This week it was as though the writers were making up for lost time with four scenes between Sarah Rafferty and Meghan Markle in one episode!

We’ve seen Harvey and Mike teaming up to kick ass for years, but this week we were able to see how awesome the team of Paulsen and Zane are, as Rachel helped Donna out of a sticky situation she’d landed herself in, which could have cost the firm its offices. Their final scene in 7×14 as they show Specter Litt’s landlord who’s boss, before sauntering out side by side was glorious. We should have had so much more of this! Sure, I’m not convinced air rights work quite that way, but it’s Suits. None of us actually watch this for accurate legal detail, do we?!

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Also, although I agree that the show had to comment on Donna’s inexperience at her new role (it would have been silly if they hadn’t), I’m ready to see her shining in the role now. She could have found a way to thank Harvey that didn’t start with her making a mistake and being made a fool of. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to move on! Season eight better have some meaty stories for Specter Litt’s COO.

Even more of TV’s greatest bromance! 

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Why on earth have we not had more of this?!

A highlight of last week was a return to one of the show’s fundamental foundations – the Mike and Harvey bromance and this week saw even more of it. There was banter, arguments, confessions, apologies and batting practice. Yes, I admit, I enjoyed the batting practice scene. I’m only human after all!

As with Donna and Rachel’s scenes, having so many to enjoy this week again highlighted to me how much I (and indeed the show) will miss Marvey. Mike has always managed to help Harvey be a better version of himself when it comes to his career and I do wonder if that will change once he’s gone. I also enjoyed the added insight in to Anita Gibbs. Tapping their phones is so something I can see her doing! Plus, it was about time, Mike used the “I went to prison for you” line on Harvey. I’m amazed it hasn’t happened earlier!

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Mike – both thrilled and terrified by what he helped cause! 

The promo last week had us all wondering how Mike was going to move forward with his mission to get his “parents” together and it was fantastic to see him admit to Harvey his part in Donna’s actions and press his friend on whether Donna was “the One”. Harvey still says no. But, Harvey, you just said that Donna kissing you ultimately led to you realising Paula wasn’t the One. I think you may need to go away and think about that some more. I’d expected Harvey to be angrier than he seemed at Mike, so their later argument was another episode highlight, quickly turning from the case to Harvey blaming Mike for Donna kissing him and with sacrifice the theme of the week, we had Harvey declare, incredibly passionately, that he’d sacrificed everything that week, which I assume, in his mind at the moment, is Paula, who he saw as his chance at a real relationship and a possible future. Ouch! We wouldn’t want Donna to overhear that…….oh……never mind…….

Yet, by the end they were best friends again, with Harvey even allowing Mike to officially declare his allegiance to Team Darvey. Welcome aboard Mike.

Which leads me to my least favourite element of Pulling the Goalie………

Darvey – Have I actually reached my limit? Not quite, but I’m getting close.

Look, I love this couple and I still think they are meant to be together. There have been too many markers along the way for the narrative to not eventually be heading there. Yet, it seems that this won’t be happening any time soon if 7×14 is anything to go by.

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So, after all the emotional trauma of Inevitable, it was to be expected (or, indeed inevitable) that the focus would shift and these two confused souls would have time to regroup. My biggest moan about their relationship this week was that it just felt repetitive. If the writers aren’t wanting to put them together for fear the audience will get bored and switch off, well, newsflash, having yet another Donna and Harvey have drinks together and ignore the feelings swirling around them (which are now more obvious than ever before) scene is boring too. We’ve seen this so many times now. As Donna said, they drink, they flirt. Wake up already! Go and borrow some honesty from Louis and Sheila!

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I haven’t seen this before! Oh…wait….

We also had the amusing declaration by Harvey that he doesn’t want to be with anyone romantically right now. That makes sense. He did just break up with someone and I probably wouldn’t have wanted these two to be cheapened by leaping in to bed immediately, but what’s the next scene – Harvey heading to spend time with Donna, so they can gaze at one another across the rims of their scotch tumblers. I could actually strangle both of them at this point. Oh, and I may be in the minority, but having Donna refer to herself as something Harvey had decided to keep really didn’t do it for me either.

Does Harvey honestly still think the kiss meant nothing to her? Is he really this dumb, or was Agard right and he, on some level, enjoys being the focus of Donna’s attention and affection and doesn’t want it to stop and furthermore cannot face what he really feels? We need to see some acknowledgment from him soon, even if it’s not to her yet, before this gets even more infuriating. Will we get it this season? I’m not convinced, but there’s only a week to wait.

Speaking of the finale…..

Next week – A final goodbye (I’ll have my tissues ready)

Suits - Season 7

So, with 7×15 and 7×16 being shown back to back, we only have one week left of Suits season 7. From the tidbits we’ve learnt so far, it seems there is a lot to pack in to 90 minutes. There’s the introduction of Jessica’s spin-off in Chicago, the return of Scottie (let’s face it, that could go anywhere. I’m not even going to try and guess), the beginnings of Louis and Sheila’s romance, a clinic case involving Oliver and a certain wedding, which will no doubt be an emotional affair.

I’m making my prediction that, with Rachel and Mike heading off in to the sunset and Louis now happy (for the moment at least) with Sheila, any progress of the Darvey train will be slow. We know there are glances and dancing, but is that going to be it, with the hint of possibly more to come in season eight? Knowing this show, I’m going to guess yes. At least there isn’t long to wait!

Suits continues next Wednesday night on USA Network in the U.S and next Thursday on Netflix in the UK, with 7×15 “Tiny Violin” and 7×16 “Goodbye.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Let’s get stuck in shall we?

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

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

Sarah Rafferty’s Powerhouse Performance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He chose Donna.

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

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

The future looks golden for Mike and Rachel

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

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

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

A return of the best bromance on TV!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Television Review – Suits 7×12 “Bad Man”

 

 

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After the superb start to Suits’ back six episodes last week, my excitement to see what happened next was incredibly high and Bad Man, although not as strong an hour as Hard Truths, was still a decent episode of the series and, crucially, continued to move the narrative forward down a path I understood (even if I didn’t enjoy some of it). Provided the show and the characters’ actions make sense, I’m going to try and enjoy the ride.

Louis Litt – can he ever really be a bad man?

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Throughout my frustrations with 7A, the shining performance across all ten episodes for me, was Rick Hoffman and so far, we are continuing to see Louis on a positive, mature, named-partner worthy professional trajectory in 7B. His personal life however is more complex and 7×12’s main focus was on Louis and how his past has shaped him in to the man he is and the decisions he makes when it comes to affairs of the heart.

This episode saw the return of Sheila Sazs, played brilliantly as always by Rachael Harris. I loved their dynamic in the past and was sad when they parted, each wanting different things from life. Sheila has always seemed to be a better match for Louis, compared to others, especially Tara (I really couldn’t warm to her) and seeing these two actors playing off one another is always a joy.

However, Sheila’s reappearance in Louis’s life may not necessarily bring happiness for him and I really think he’s had enough heartache. Would I love to see them work out? Absolutely. Yet, they both still want different things and so, I’m not clear how this could work, unless we are honestly going to see Louis happy with simply being something on the side. She’s currently leading Louis down a emotionally dangerous path and I admit, even though I cheered his assertiveness at the end, Sheila is still causing him to behave in a way I expect he’ll regret.

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As part of Louis’s story this week, we were also treated to young Louis (if he’s 17ish in 1986, that makes Louis a lot older than I thought he was, but I’ll let that go). The casting director did a great job finding a young actor to play teenage Louis, who is cruelly taken advantage of by his first infatuation, just as Sheila is doing to him now. It was also lovely to see young Esther sticking up for her brother too.

Helping Louis navigate his past, his present and his emotions in Bad Man was Dr. Lipschitz, who I honestly feel has been around for years, due to how wonderfully Ray Proscia plays him. His mudding relaxation tape was wonderful. Suits marketing team, you really should release one of these for all of us! In the meantime, Ray Proscia kindly provided me with my own Lipschitz meditation session via twitter! Thanks Ray!

Seeing Louis’s therapist truly help him through his issues and confusion only highlighted all that is wrong with the other therapist’s role in this show.

Bad Man – the episode where I finally can’t stand Paula. At all!

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Let’s be clear, I cannot stand how Paula Agard has been used as the plot device in season 7, but I’ve not been fully on board the “She’s evil” train that has many passionate supporters online. Yes, she’s a disgrace to her profession, dating a former patient, admitting to fantasising about a patient and pretending Harvey’s issues no longer exist, but I have been trying to see her as human and capable of making a mistake.

Bad Man however, was the hour where I finally gave up trying to have any understanding for her behaviour. How on earth can she be surprised that Donna and Harvey have a sexual history? How can she be surprised that he hid that from her, knowing all she learnt about their unusual relationship in his therapy sessions – which he only needed because of the effect Donna has on him. Come on now, Paula. You really aren’t this stupid, are you? Why are you still with this man? He was an emotional mess and he clearly still is. You cannot therefore be mad that he is not functioning the way you want the fantasy Harvey you have in your head to act! She did at least finally admit she’s threatened by Donna. What a shocker!

I just hope that this mess dies a death very soon (although, Christina Cole is doing a great job driving me nuts in the role)!

Harvey Specter – annoying, but I at least understand him again!

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My biggest complaint with early season seven was how out of character Harvey was. It made liking him or caring about him extremely difficult. Yet, so far in 7B, I understand him again. I certainly don’t enjoy seeing him still blind to the obvious, but I can understand what is going on in his head again. After all, Donna said she felt nothing during that kiss and he has always been emotionally dumb, so I can believe that he thinks she’s telling the truth and is therefore focussing on trying to make his relationship a success, for fear of never having that connection with someone in his life, which he does finally seem ready for.

As for the final scene with Paula – Harvey, who really helped you make up with your mother? Do you really think it was Paula? We all saw The Painting where you were pretty clear who the special someone in your life was, who helped get you to Boston and it wasn’t Paula Agard. I hope realisation, on this point at least, dawns next week (more on that below).

It was also lovely to see another glimpse in to his past with his dad, as it’s always such a rich emotional aspect of his character and it was a relief that his relationship with Jessica seems to have survived the damning statement we saw him sign last week. One niggle though – Harvey has his father’s master tapes after tracking them down in season 4, so is that different music to the records that will now never see the light of day? I guess that isn’t really important.

Pearson & Paulsen – I need more of that!

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Gina Torres and Sarah Rafferty never had enough scenes together in the series and so the call between these two strong women was a fantastic addition to this week’s episode. We know we’ll see more of Jessica as her spin off is set out, but this was a nice nod to how important she remains to the PSL family (it’ll always be PSL to me). I also liked the foreshadowing of Donna mentioning it being time to move on, seeing as I think that’s what she decides to do next week.

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Sarah Rafferty also had some wonderful moments this week, albeit not as powerful as 7×11.

Donna and Harvey are still keeping some distance following last week’s events, which is understandable, but we still saw Donna doing what she has always done – being there to support Harvey professionally and personally. It’s Donna who makes him face the fact he has to give up his father’s legacy for Jessica. It’s also Donna who tries to support him with his relationship, by encouraging him to reach out to Paula, while respecting his decision to not have a drink with her. The fact it is Harvey who changes his mind in this scene was very interesting to me. He can see the danger of spending such intimate time with Donna and yet he can’t stop himself. I’m looking forward to seeing if this emotional push/pull continues next week.

Mike Ross – working within the law for the second time in two episodes! 

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He may have done a lot of questionable things during the show so far and has certainly acted as though he was entitled to do so on more than one occasion, but I’ve enjoyed seeing Mike grow up this season. There was a good part of 7A where he was the only decent male character when Louis and Harvey were acting like idiots and as we near the end of his time in the show, we are now getting to see Mike use that brilliance of his to be successful within the bounds of the law.

That’s two weeks now where he has not resorted to shady behaviour to succeed. Well done Mike! Having him also “pull a Harvey” on Oliver (who I find so irritating!) and bring him down a peg or two was also fun and he clearly learnt a valuable lesson. Will he ultimately choose the clinic, or something similar as a reason for leaving? Possibly and seeing him act in a more legitimate way gives me hope he’ll make a success of whatever awaits him, especially with Rachel to guide him (as she did again this week). I really will miss these two.

Next week – It’s “Inevitable” and I’m very very excited!

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To say I’m desperate to see 7.13 is an understatement. From all the rumours and vague comments from those who have seen it already, I’m preparing myself for a pivotal episode. The title is exciting in itself – Is it inevitable that something happens again between Donna and Harvey? Inevitable that Donna has to leave? Inevitable that Paula Agard realises she is kidding herself? The possibilities are endless.

There is much we don’t know, but what we do know already has me guessing and second guessing. We know Harvey’s mother is in the episode in some capacity. Whether that’s meeting Harvey and reminding him about who his someone special was, who knows, but I really hope so! We know Paula is going to try and guilt Harvey in to not working with Donna anymore and that Donna is going to feel Harvey has failed to be there for her in some way. Does she resign and go to work for Stu (who appears in the promo photos)? Does Harvey go after her? Does he go inside her apartment and if so, does something happen?

I honestly haven’t been this impatient for the next episode of a show since the early days of The X-Files! Roll on next week!

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